More Thoughts About Music Inspired By Conversations With Matt Turner and Tad Neuhaus

How we have been taught is how we tend to teach, so it's no surprise that it's a slow process, changing how we teach.  What we learn, we tend to defend, so it's also no surprise that we are offended at the implication that something needs to change.

Here's a question:  Why when it comes to teaching music are we so fixated on imitation rather than innovation?

Some would argue that you must "know the basics" before you can innovate.  But wouldn't it be more natural to learn to keep innovating from the very beginning before we've become bound by accomplishment?

A baby is delighted by the sound of the rattle in her hand.  It's absurd to suggest that we scold her for playing off beat and put sheet music in front of her to teach her 4/4 time.  At what point does our attitude change?

Why is a toddler exploring the sounds a piano can make a delight, but a twelve-year-old doing the same, a nuisance? Why do we equate music making with strict rules of conduct?  Why are we shown on our first music lesson the grand staff, immediately taking the origins of music making out of the body and onto the page?

Why not encourage children to keep exploring sound the way they naturally do, by experimentation? Why can't we see this as a way to enhance our musical traditions rather than a threat?

There are music teachers who use improvisation and composition as the basis of their teaching.  Tell them thank you and encourage them to not give up.

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