Skip to main content

Touch vs. Sight

When it comes to learning an instrument, the power of touch cannot be emphasized enough.  Consider how fast and sensitive touch is compared to another sense like sight.  If you touch a hot stove by accident you instantly pull away.  Your hand moves so fast that your skin does not even have time to burn.

By comparison, sight is much slower.  Has someone ever thrown something in your direction (a ball, car keys, etc...) and you are watching it fly through the air toward you yet you still don't react in time to catch the object?

A trademark of the Suzuki Method is that students learn to play without sheet music at first.  This is primarily to allow for the ear to develop.  But it's also to allow that sense of touch to mature.  Despite the sensitivity of touch (or perhaps because of?), it is the one sense that can easily get cancelled out by all the others.  As soon as the other senses are engaged, touch usually takes a back seat.

For example, as you read this blog, are you thinking about the feel of the chair you're sitting on or what your feet feel at this exact moment?

Playing an instrument well is not about having posture that looks right.  It has to feel right.  It has to feel natural, like the instrument has become an extension of the body and not some foreign object.

Comments

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…