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Showing posts from February, 2014

Good and Bad Music?

Music is subjective, which is an easy thing to forget if you were raised with the tastes of one particular culture. Music starts to become categorized as "bad" or "good." If you were raised on Led Zeppelin, 70's rock is "good" and 50 Cent's rap is "bad." And yet if you grew up in a culture that idolized rappers, 50 Cent's stuff suddenly becomes "good."

This subjectivity becomes even more hazy when you're trying to learn an instrument. In order to educate a student it is important that the student listens to good music. Good music is not genre dependent. Good music should be about the quality of a performance. A professional orchestra will play good music. Watching Taylor Swift perform will also be good music.

The reason why this music is "good" is because it's being performed at a very high caliber. Ideally at a level of playing above the student's level. This means the performer has spent ma…

Why Bother Learning by Ear?

I've mentioned many times before on this blog that music is a physical task.  The muscles must be trained to perform.  However, this must be balanced with musicality or artistry.  Learning exact mechanical detail with no emphasis in the art will lead to robot playing.  Focusing only on the art and not training the mechanical detail will hold back ability level.  Playing an instrument is a careful balance of both.

The Suzuki Method has become infamous for its use of ear training in the early stages.  The common misconception is that teachers are training their students to be imitative robots.  Play the piece exactly like the CD.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Any art development does require some imitation.  One of the best exercises a writer can do is examine a passage from their favorite author and try to recreate the style.  The goal is not to become another Steinbeck.  Even if you did manage to copy the style exactly all you would ever be is an imitation of another. …