Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Just love what you are doing and try to play more.”

— Lang Lang

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send me a message here.

1 thought on “Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom”

  1. Hi Joy,

    My name is Charlie Edmonds, from Virginia, and I very haphazardly stumbled across your site in the app store on my iPad this morning. Hope you are well. I’ll do my best to keep my post brief, although I do have a few questions and comments. I am a music lover and have played guitar for approximately 21 of my 28 years. I’ve always been quite drawn to piano and always enthusiastically worked out triads or little power chords to whatever my favorite song was at the time I found an unattended piano.
    My main reason for posting was that I actually took up piano ( I have a sixty one note midi keyboard and a wonderful assortment of sampled pianos on my mac) about 7 months ago. Funny enough I did label and paint the white keys to expedite, and perhaps stunt my long term growth on what has become my compositional tool of choice. I get so excited about spending a few hours here and there because I think to play ten notes at a time, or to play a melody and accompanying chord progression simultaneously is a songwriter’s dream. So I have to ask, WHY, Joy, and as a Mental Health Therapist, we avoid the word “why,” as it puts people on the defensive, understandably, but why do piano teachers spend time teaching or insisting on the use of classical notation reading and writing skills?
    I wonder if I hadn’t been drawn to the guitar for some unknown reason, if i’d even be playing music now or if i’d have fun for the hills when this additional homework flavored note reading was thrust between me and the music itself. Looking down at the keyboard, The major scale, the circle of fifths, the reason an Fmin11 chord has it’s name is now readily apparent to me. I love it. But why do we teach classical notation again? Do gifted musician’s rely on reading music? sight reading and an understanding of theory, yes. I suppose that with guitar, notation was so secondary to learning the art of creating tone, chord shapes, combined with the fact that guitar players aside from nylon string orchestral oriented players don’t read sheet music.
    Granted, I knew what each note was on the fret board before i was rewarded with learning the Nirvana so I so desperately wanted to learn. But i don’t think it was until recently that the idea of intervals and basic theory became part of my musical thinking. And I honestly credit some of the recent creative breakthroughs I am in the midst of to the fact that often times, i’m not so keenly aware of what exactly the consonant 8 note chord is or even what its bass note is. Children, like us adults, love music and are moved similarly to it emotionally (obviously there are individual differences). But unless I were reasonably shown how introducing the mandate of reading notes from a staff, songs that have hopefully moved into a mixture of contemporary and classical, enhances musicality more than it deters or bores young students from a beautiful art, I think finding a rocking guitar teacher might provide some interesting ideas for stirring up enthusiasm and development of musicianship in young people. Sorry for the dissertation. You might very well have points that I never considered and I apologize if my tone sounded at all aggressive. I just love music, and piano especially! I’d donate my pinky toe to play a grand piano in a cathedral or a huge ambient room. Have a great week. Respectfully, Charlie

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