Skip to main content

Music is Sound Art

....Or the art of sound.

This is something I tell my students or the parents of my students and they always give me this look like I just said something really revolutionary.  I don't know how/why it happened but somewhere along the way music got separated from the other arts.

It's strange.  People see music as an art but they don't necessarily think of music falling in the same category as painting or sculpting.  But it is an art.  It's just as much of an artistic expression as a painting.  The difference is in which sense is being stimulated.  Painting is a visual art.  Music is auditory.

And just like any other art form you must study the masters.  This means listening to other artists perform your pieces.  The Suzuki Method has become famous (for better or worse) for making children listen to their pieces.  Unending discussions have arisen about teaching students to play by ear and whether this "Suzuki" approach is really all that much better than a "traditional" approach.

Listening and learning music by ear should not be restricted to any one method.  Listening should be part of learning music.  To me teaching a child to learn music from sight reading alone makes about as much sense as verbally describing the sculpture they should make.  Yes, it can sort of give them guidelines.  But if they've never seen a stone sculpture and studied what others have done with the medium, they can only get so far.

Ear training is really just a matter of practicality.  In order to be able to hear if something is in tune or not, you need to listen.  It order to become an artist, you need to explore what has already been done.  You need to explore where the boundaries are and what it would take to push past them.  Beethoven wouldn't have been Beethoven if there wasn't a Mozart before him.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Principles of Sowing and Reaping for the Suzuki Parent: 5 Steps to Beginning Suzuki Success by Preparing the Soil

Last school year, I started a group of 4-5 year old students in a pre-twinkle cello class. One mother actively ignited her daughter Ella’s interest in the cello before enrolling in the program. Over the course of a few months, she helped Ella prepare to engage in a new learning process. They observed lessons, listened to cello music, talked about the cello, and actively built Ella’s excitement - all before starting lessons.

This experience allowed me to see how much a parent can cultivate their child’s interest, motivation, and readiness. It gave me a new appreciation for the parents’ role in preparing young children for a positive Suzuki experience.

Here are five ways to prepare the soil to help your child succeed in a Suzuki experience.


1. Build Your Knowledge

Parents are integral to the success of the Suzuki process. If you start a young child in a Suzuki program, your role as a parent will be very active. Your knowledge and education about the Suzuki method and philosophy helps y…

The Private Teaching Business Model

Over my years of teaching I've come across a wide variety of interpretations about the private teaching business model.  I feel that this is a natural result of the type of society we live in.  Many services these days are either "subscriptions" or "appointments."  For example, a gym membership is a subscription.  You pay a monthly fee to use the facility at any time during their hours of operation.  A doctor's visit or a haircut is an "appointment."  You call ahead to set up a time, you show up and then pay after the services have concluded.

With most services falling into one of these two categories, most people try to rationalize music lessons as one or the other.  However, music lessons are neither subscriptions or appointments.  They are actually a combination of both if the business entity is going to be successful.

The reasons why this hybrid business model occurs are:

1)  The service itself is centered around personal attention (appointmen…

Martial Arts and Music

I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my adult students about martial arts and music.  I always looked forward to my conversations with this student because she happened to be a fabulous Montessori teacher and founded what ended up being one of the biggest Montessori schools here in San Diego.  So she was this wealth of knowledge and it was such a privilege for me to be able to "pick her brain" from time to time.

Going back to the conversation, she observed that music and martial arts work really well together because they both required the same type of focus.  I have practiced martial arts for almost ten years so this is an opinion I have had for a long time but it surprised me to hear it coming from someone else.

Both music and martial arts revolve around the idea of a focused body and mind.  Teaching an extremely young student how to keep their instrument in place for one Twinkle is more mental training rather than physical.  Holding a light …