Monday, May 27, 2013

How Fast is Fast?

Speed is a real issue for me, it always has been.  As a kid I was antsy, restless, easily bored, impatient, intolerant of anything slow.  Putting it in contemporary terms, I had an attitude: "Get on with it."

Now that I have become aware of the speed of hearing - it works 200 times faster than any other sense perception - I realize that I spent most of my life deceived by a perception that was actually far too slow relative to sound, namely sight.

With so much emphasis on reading and on trusting what we see, I had come to mistake the visual symbols of standard notation for music itself.  This huge oversimplification underlies the vast majority of approaches to music instruction, extending even to college-level ear training and dictation.

I train my young students to remain true to their most vibrant sense of the magic of sound rather than be tied down to the level of their neuro-muscular control.  I have had kids use the metronome to compare their innate sense of fast and slow so that, aware of the variables between friends, speed is not competitive.