Blog Archives

Musical Creativity: Pt 1of 2

A general perception is that making music is inherently creative, but this is not so. Many who learn an instrument seldom engage in the cores of creative music—composing, improvising, and rearranging. Rather, music education programs focus mostly on the re-creation

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Imagination: Practising Without Instrument, Without Notation.

In recent years brain-scanning techniques have revealed the true ability of the brain to learn via the imagination. In one experiment the brain of a young violinist was scanned to compare two conditions: 1) playing the violin with notation; and

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Practising Music Without Instrument, With Notation.

I suppose I was not practising the piano enough in my university years because my piano teacher suggested I practise in transit from my home to university, on the train. This, Stephen said, would be a constructive way to use

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Playing Music from Memory: Pt 3 of 3

Continued from part 2 of ‘Playing Music from Memory’. Like most choral conductors I have my choirs perform repertoire from memory. In my early career, though, I assumed choirs had memorization limits. One day a colleague challenged me by saying,

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Playing Music from Memory: Pt 2 of 3

Verbal mediation enhances musical ‘big picture’ thinking and provides a structure for learning from memory. Some people visualise the musical score as they play. Others sing the main melody in their head, imagining the contours of the music. Rehearsing the

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Playing Music from Memory: Pt 1 of 3

For musicians, an ability to play from memory opens up the world of practising via the imagination, which grants freedom from notation. Performing from memory indicates a deep understanding and internalization of the music. Playing from memory involves performing a

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Reading Music

Fail not to practise the reading of old clefs; otherwise many treasures of past times will remain a closed fountain to you. – Robert Schumann In the West, reading musical notation is probably the most common method of learning and

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