Learning a musical instrument is primarily about sound - producing sound, reproducing sound and experiencing the power of organized sound! Music may look interesting on the page, but does not come to fruition until translated to sound. As we learn to read and spell language, we are often told to "sound it out". And yet in piano education, this phrase is rarely used. And how applicable it is - true mastery comes with the integration of sight and sound. One need not be neglected at the development of the other. Unfortunately, most piano methods prioritize the visual experience and learning to read over the aural exploration of sound and development of the ear.
Zoltan Kodaly said that the characteristics of a good musician can be summarized as follows:
- A well-trained ear
- A well-trained intelligence
- A well-trained heart
- A well-trained hand
hEarItAbility provides the inspiration to develop "a well-trained ear" and "a well-trained intelligence" in any student.
In the early 19th century, Clara Schumann (one of the greatest pianists ever) was taught by her father in such a way that she didn't learn to read music for a year--she played tunes by ear, added accompaniments, and transposed them to various keys. This was the approach of my jazz teacher, so I began my jazz studies by learning to play Happy Birthday in all 12 keys. I want my students to be able to play a repertoire of ear tunes before I begin teaching them how to read. So I knew I was going to like your work and I did. I think it is necessary because parents and children need a book, something tangible to work with. Your approach is something that is very much needed and I think will be widely appreciated.
- Forrest Kinney, author of the PatternPlay and ChordPlay series.
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