I have visited many music education related blogs over the past few weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed reading the opinions of my colleagues across the country and the world. We are an amazing group of thoughtful and intelligent professionals! Among the plethora of sites I visited however, there were a number that make fantastic and sometimes outlandish claims:
Cut 'your learning time in half' boasts one, offering 'tons of shortcuts' that evidently have never before been revealed. Another site has this bold and amazing statement; 'YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MUSIC' and after just 30 minutes you'll be playing 'DOZENS OF SONGS WITHOUT STRUGGLING, WITHOUT BORING EXERCISES AND YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE TO READ MUSIC'!
Now I am all about entrepreneurship, especially in our profession - believe me, but I am just as passionate about promoting quality music education throughout our communities. So rather than name names, I thought I'd cast this sobering thought out to the blogosphere; embrace the process, beware the shortcut. Remember, this goes for both the learner and the teacher.
I hope that teachers with passion will encourage learners to embrace the process of discovering musical concepts and manage the challenges that come with applying those concepts to any instrument. And I hope that music enthusiasts choose to embrace their amazing journey with excitement, optimism and realistic expectations.
Christopher Small, a very wise music philosopher once said that 'music should be viewed as an act instead of a thing'. He called the act musicking and claimed it to be valid at every level. Rather than searching for shortcuts, let's all remember that the connections formed around the act of hearing, learning and making music are what really matters.
So to teachers and students alike I say, choose your materials wisely and enjoy the process!