The Seven Musical Myths Examined
Myth is always all around us in the world of Music Lessons, so are opinions as to what is the best way to go about learning to play an instrument. Much has been written on the subject of how to learn to play an instrument, and passionate opinions abound. It is in this whirlpool of very strong opinions that I offer to take on Seven Musical Myths pertaining to learning to music lessons. Let me begin by saying that these thoughts are my opinion, however, you can judge for yourself my conclusions. My hope is that and at least a discussion can begin to bring out a consensus.
MUSICAL MYTH #1
The first misconception is perhaps the most obvious; You either have the ability/aptitude to play music or you don’t. Many people believe they could never play an instrument, because some other relative or stranger was given that gift – not them. “I’m no Paul McCartney,” they say. The sentiment is that the music gene skipped them and went to someone else. This musical myth is pervasive amongst many people who were not raised with musical involvement in their family. The fact remains that everybody has some level of musical aptitude. As human beings we are born with the need to express ourselves musically. From tapping a set of pencils on a desk to singing in the shower, “the music is in you.”
To prove this point, I offer the following scenario. You cannot go very long, perhaps half of an hour without music finding its way into your mind. Really? Oh yeah, think about it. Try a musical fast if you will. Try to go one day without any form of music in your life. Let’s see, we could go into a sensory deprivation chamber turn out the lights and close the door. The next thing you know, your humming, “Puff the Magic Dragon,” or the theme song from your favorite TV show. In fact, you could go to Walmart or a doctors office and what do you hear? … music. Even in the elevator! Music is everywhere and it is even in the deepest depths of your soul. The issue is not that you can’t create music, the problem is that you may need a little help building on your already present natural ability. Just as every human being has music in them, everyone has a certain amount of natural ability to make music. What we perceive as the ability in others to make music, is the level they possess of sheer natural ability, or their natural ability coupled with training and practice to make great music. Either way, all human beings are musical.
Since learning to play an instrument or music lessons are primarily composed of muscle memory and fine motor skills, applying your level of natural ability (no matter the quantity) results in the ability to make music. Muscle memory and fine motor skills are gained through repetitions – practice. The more repetitions that you do, the easier fine motor skills and muscle memory is gained. Therefore, since everyone has natural musical ability on some level, anyone can achieve the ability to sing or play a musical instrument. If you perform the required repetitions you will gain the level of skill which you are seeking. So, logically the music is already in you. Everyone has some level of natural musical ability, and practice provides the fine motor skills and muscle memory needed to play or sing.
In Part 2 of MUSICAL MYTH BUSTERS we will take on the concept of practice and examine if music lessons are a “help” or a “hinderance.”