If you’ve had piano lessons before, there’s a good chance your teacher taught you to read music with “Every Good Boy Does Fine” for line notes, and “F-A-C-E” for space notes. I used these mnemonic tools for a long time as a teacher, and with surprisingly limited success. The reality is, students who stop to consider the name of every note end up being very slow sight-readers. I should know––that’s how I read music for years! Here are some reasons why it doesn’t work well.[Read more…] about Not Every Good Boy Does Fine
We live in a culture of now. With the unprecedented speed and convenience of the internet, there isn’t much premium on patience. And when it comes to learning music online, you’ll find sites that pander to our thirst for “instant results” around every corner. Learn piano in just three weeks. Master music theory in an hour. It sounds so enticing.[Read more…] about The Toxic Now
I don’t speak German. At all. Over the years, though, I’ve phonetically learned some German: the words for Beethoven’s Ode To Joy or Brahms’s Requiem. And I sing it well enough that someone from Germany might think I passably speak the language. But if that person came up and tried to converse with me in German, I’d have to jump for the nearest hole in the ground and stay there for a week. Simply because I’ve memorized some text and practiced reciting it doesn’t mean I’ve learned the language.[Read more…] about Learn the Language with Music Theory
Few pursuits are as myth-ridden as music. So this is the first of many installments.
Myth #1: Only a select few people drew from the gene lottery and got music.
This is a very pervasive myth, especially in Western culture. Having taught music for twenty-five years, I can attest that there are many, many people out there, of all ages, who are genuinely musical. And with good instruction and perseverance, it is phenomenal how far a person can get with music. I’ve also found that, with the right kind of practice, a student can discover latent ability that didn’t show itself at the outset.
At the end of the day, there’s only one way to see what you can do, and what have you got to lose?[Read more…] about MUSIC MYTHS PART 1
“When am I ever going to use this?” While I was getting my bachelors degree, more than one fellow student asked me this question. And it’s a fair point. If you’re going to invest any amount of time or tuition learning something, you at least want to know it’ll come in handy down the road. So what’s the big deal about key signatures and time signatures? Do I really have to sometimes call G “F double-sharp?” Why bother learning four-part writing when all I need for my song is a melody and a few chords?
In short, do I have to learn a mountain of rules––if rules are made to be broken?[Read more…] about What Can Music Theory Do For Me?