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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Physicality of Music Part 1

No one ever questions the physicality of a sport.  And it's really no wonder.  The results of a physical game are more black and white.  You either make the basket or you don't.  There's certainly an emotional element to sports but this is secondary to physical performance.  Baseball is a prime example of this.  Every professional sport has stats but baseball fans love statistics.  Every run, hit or strike is accounted for.  You could replay an entire game in your head by just looking at the numbers.

Music is a little different.  It's less black and white.  You don't win or lose at your performance, you feel like you sounded "good" or "bad."  Even worse is that this concept of sounding good or bad is even more vague because it boils down to personal taste.  What one person views as "good" music might be different from what someone else views.

Yes, there might be some general consensus on what is held up to be good music.  But this is …

A Sense of Quality

I've noticed another subtle change in my students after the introduction of the review chart.  I find this change the most interesting so far because it was something that bothered me as a teacher but I didn't know how to word exactly what it was that was bothering me.

The issue boiled down to having an internal sense of quality.  Before I go any further on this topic I'd like to clarify that I have completely realistic expectations when it comes to children and their artistic sensibilities.  In no way did I ever expect an 8-year-old boy to feel the romantic yearning undercurrent to Brahms' Waltz.  Girls are still totally gross... I get it.

But as I teacher I do feel that it's my duty to plant the seeds of quality in their brain.  In other words, it's important to establish a standard.  They need to know how far others have pushed the boundaries of an instrument in order to have something to strive for.  I don't feel like musicians should berate themselves …