Friday, September 26, 2014

When the Ear is Left Out

Leaving the ear out of elementary music instruction is like teaching art to a blindfolded student.  You are not supposed to react to anything you hear.  Just play it and don't notice anything about it for, if you did, it just might stop you in your tracks, make it impossible for you to count (as it did in my case), or just turn you off completely.

The student who came to me thirty years ago to get "the music part" of playing the piano is just now at a point where she can tolerate how much her own individual response is the music part.  Her reaction to every sound, no matter how exposed, how spare, transforms the notation into a process at the compositional level, in which she is called upon to react one tone at a time.  The resulting precision raises as many questions as it answers.

Thus I spend my life in music.