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.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland

Victor Wooten is an innovator, composer, arranger, producer, vocalist, and multiinstrumentalist. He has been called the greatest bass player in the world. He is a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician, husband and father of four, and a five-time Grammy award winner.

Performance Anxiety Part 1

My husband and I both love disc golf.  It's something that we both started together as beginners together so it became "our" thing to do as a couple.  We eventually got to the point after playing for a few years that I wanted to attempt playing in a disc golf tournament.  He was a bit more hesitant than me but I insisted, arguing that it would be a fun way to really test our skills.

I've written a few posts before about how playing disc golf taught me the value of muscle memory.  But during our first few tournaments we both quickly discovered a whole new category of unexplored skills: performing under pressure.  To be blunt, we both stunk.

As a musician, I was no stranger to performing.  I've lost count of how many solo/orchestra/chamber performances I've done.  Before that first tournament I had assumed that performance anxiety wouldn't affect me because of said experience.  I was just going out there to have fun, right?

Well, I was.  But the thing I had…