I’ve not written a blog for a while now, so I figured I’d knock off a quick one about a couple of my favourite musical bugbears that I hear people bandying about willy-nilly…
And here they are:
1. “Music that I don’t like is just a noise”.
2. “Music is a universal language”.
So, a while back, I was teaching a bit of compositional theory (as you do) and I asked the students a seemingly outrageous question: “What is the purpose of the harmonic minor scale? Why is there a raised 7th in there?”
But I was not deterred and thought I’d push them even further… “OK, what about the melodic minor scale? A raised 7th AND a raised 6th.”
Tumbleweed, and a bell tolling in the distance…
A couple of years back, while on holiday in NYC with the fam, I went to see the Willie Jones III Quintet in The Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at the Lincoln Centre. The Dave Holland Trio (w/ Kevin Eubanks) were at the Village Vanguard downtown on the same evening but they don’t let kids in, at Dizzy’s you can be over 7 years old and they’ll take your money.
You’ll know from my other blogs on music education that I’m of the opinion that a lot of what is being examined in our young musicians (and mature ones, taking the dreaded graded exam journey) is outdated and irrelevant. The system has remained much the same for over 80 years, and shows no signs of changing anytime soon. Most academic exam systems have changed over the years, so why have music exams (and I’m looking at you ABRSM) staunchly remained the same all of this time?
Over the past year, or so, I’ve been thinking about how we educate our young people in music.
People that know me will no doubt be aware of my views on some aspects of music education that I consider negligible in worth (ie. scales and aural tests in ABRSM exams, the Kodaly method and other similar academic delusions) but the topic that I want to talk about today is ‘music appreciation’.