Posted on

Why Music Education is no longer about Music

On the Nature of Music

There are three impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics of music, which I think most peo­ple would agree with.

  1. Music is for the ear. We do not eat music, nor smell music, nor see music. In our mod­ern age we call what we see on paper, “music,” but it is not. What is on paper is in part a sym­bol of music, but it is a sym­bol of only the gram­mar of music. There are no sym­bols on the paper for feel­ing or emo­tions, which is the real role of music.
  2. Music exists only in live per­for­mance before a lis­ten­er. A record­ing is not music. The record­ing bears the same rela­tion­ship to music as does a pho­to­graph to a real per­son.
  3. The pur­pose of music is to under­stand and com­mu­ni­cate emo­tions. While every­one under­stood this for thou­sands of years, it became clear with the mod­ern clin­i­cal find­ings on our bicam­er­al brain. The right brain, where the exper­i­men­tal and per­son­al emo­tions lie, is mute.1 It can­not make a sen­tence. The left brain, a depos­i­to­ry of sec­ondary data, includes lan­guage, but when it comes to talk­ing about music or writ­ing about music, as is clear­ly also true with the emo­tions of love, the left brain is tasked with writ­ing about some­thing it knows noth­ing about. Thus the impor­tance of music—a lan­guage of feel­ing which can be heard and under­stood by all.

Con­tin­ue read­ing Why Music Edu­ca­tion is no longer about Music

  1. Con­tin­u­ing research since Dr. Sperry’s Nobel Prize win­ning research on split-brain patients may have caused some lack of con­fi­dence in some read­ers, for it demon­strates more and more the com­plex cross wiring in the three tril­lion cells of our brain. How­ev­er the basic fact of the bicam­er­al brain remains clear, the left side designed for data and the right side for per­son­al expe­ri­en­tial under­stand­ing. []