Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sight-Reading for Joy

The pressure is on from day one to read music accurately: Play all the right notes and play them in time.

What can that possibly mean when most of the time the pieces that are singled out for instruction at the early stages involve notation that we no longer understand?

Take minuets, for example.  Easy as pie.  Well, not so fast.

How does a minuet go?  If it were a waltz it wouldn't be a minuet.  So what exactly is a minuet?

Until you know please don't assign one to your student of any age.

Rather give music written in our time by people sensitive to the difference between sound making sense and notation being readily decipherable in terms of "right" and "wrong."   There is so much terrific material to choose from: Kurtag, Bartok, Stephen Covello, Ross Lee Finney, Robert Starer--the list is long.  Look into it.

The first sign of joy will be recognition that these sounds correspond to life as we know and live it, which minuets do not.