Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Can You Learn Music Rhizomatically

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I use rhizomatic here in a very loose sense. In the sense of non-linear learning, learning that isn’t systematic or follows a certain path.

It must be difficult to teach music formally to an adult. I have been singing in a choir at school since I was maybe 6 (probably after my I removed my tonsils coz I remember a year when I was not in choir). I learned to play recorder and piano pretty young but never stuck with the piano lessons long enough to learn properly and read sheet music. But I can play anything on the piano by ear. It’s apparently not that rare a talent, and I don’t know if learning music “properly” would have limited my ability to do this.

Right now I am learning music formally for my girl; because my daughter is too young to learn it (fingers too small, discipline not in, difficult to count) but expresses interest in all the ways that matter (and has been singing before she could talk).

Now of course my piano teacher goes nuts teaching me, coz once I figure out a tune my fingers just play it without reading the sheets then I get stuck and don’t know where I am at. And of course I can’t play the left hand intuitively (let’s not get into the fact that i used to play the tune with my left hand Coz I am left-handed and that hand knows where to go faster than my right).

I also read music funny. I mean it’s obvious to me how to “derive” which note to play and I get it right, but I am waiting for the day it clicks and I can read faster without deriving.

I read the left hand notes funny coz I read from top to bottom starting with middle C. Apparently ur meant to read from bottom up. Go figure.

I realize that reading music is not in the complex domain. There is one right answer and one right way to do it. Unlike playing music by ear, which I intuitively know how to do and cannot explain in any way. Is there a way to explain it?

I know people who taught themselves guitar and all kinds of things and can read notes now. I wonder how that goes. I guess I will find out.

But then when it comes to my daughter, do I allow her to develop the intuition before teaching her the skills?

Will keep playing music in front of her and letting her mess around until she shows me a sign…

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