So often you hear people remark, after hearing a good musician perform, that this person is just ‘so lucky’ because they were born with the talent to make music. Our media holds up the picture of the young person who just ‘started playing,’ and supposedly needed no instruction. Musical groups are just a bunch of friends who got together and started playing; there was no rehearsing and such things involved. The truth is, there are many very talented individuals but they all needed instruction of some kind. Even Mozart had lessons from his father.
Things like music have been made to appear more difficult than they really are because of the ‘snob nomenclature’ that the people who participate in it use. Nomenclature is simply what things are called and ‘snob nomenclature’ is the practise of using or making up very technical sounding names for what is usually pretty simple stuff.
People who get involved in an activity such as music use the ‘snob nomenclature’ to create the effect that they are ‘in the know’ and it is supposed to make others feel left out. Music abounds with this ‘snob nomenclature’ and people get intimidated by it right away but they shouldn’t. A few bucks will buy you a musical dictionary and when you see what some of these complicated terms actually mean, you will probably laugh. For example, the term Tetrachord sounds pretty technical but it just means the first four notes of a scale.
There is nothing more mysterious about learning music than there is about learning golf. If you can learn something like golf, you can learn music. Everything has a technique to it from playing pool to making love, so you just need to avail yourself of the correct information and apply it.
Unfortunately, in this country a key element has dropped out of teaching music and this is what makes it seem like some people can cut it and others can’t. This key element is a little subject, well known in Europe called ‘sight singing and ear training.’ This little subject is simply a bunch of melodies that one learns to sing or hum and rhythm drills that one practices by tapping them out on a table or one’s knee.
When this practice is done and the skills are applied to one’s music playing, the results are forthcoming and immediate. Without this, the results are very haphazard, to say the least. Fortunately, there are many good sight singing and ear training books available in this country and one should just buy one and use it a bit in conjunction with their regular music study. In this way it is not so difficult to learn music and it will be enjoyable because one will soon be able to play.