July 20, 2016
Reading is fun – duh – mental
I’m a big fan of learning by ear – it is easy, portable, social, and exciting. Because of this, I often encounter people who expect me to tell them that they do not need to learn to read music or that there is no need to develop proficiency in reading.
Nothing could be farther from the truth! Reading is
Fun – Duh – Mental!
Reading is Fun: First, never forget that reading music is just like reading a book – there’s a story in there, intricately coded in a way that only those who know the cypher can understand, just waiting to give you a bucket of new emotions! There’s Romance, Mystery, Biography, History, from anywhere on in the world – something for everyone! What could be more fun than uncovering the story within?
Reading? Duh! Reading is a necessary tool for every musician. Music captures and retains those patterns that make the music. And although people are typically very good at remembering patterns, you will be able to remember more, better if you have multiple ways to access them. So, if you have learned the tune by ear, you have all those audio patterns (including pitch, rhythm and tempo). But when you add printed music, you also have the visual patterns (including direction, shape, an structure) that really help solidify what you already know (or help you retrieve what you already have stored but ….just……can’t ……………reach……………….in your memory).
Reading is Mental: Just as paper music can help you remember music as an additional pathway, the act of reading music is also a great mental exercise. Again, just like reading the letters to generate the words of a story, reading the notes to generate the phrases of the music in the visual domain provides another means of working along with the other modes including motor and auditory. All this mental work is, well, work. However, this work will really help you develop as a musician.
So, go read a good book (of music). And if it helps you to read better, try reading loud – that is read along with a recording before you ever sit to your harp…because Reading is Fun- Duh! Mental!