What do you feel when you listen to music? If it’s uplifting music then you might feel joy, if it’s sad music you might feel down, or even despair, if it’s grand music you might feel expansive and powerful...so what is music? Answers that come to mind are it’s creativity, it’s life, it’s feelings, it’s expression, it’s self expression….what answers come to mind for you?
This led me to consider what then is the purpose of piano lessons, if music is creativity and life, expression and feelings then surely the purpose of piano lessons (or any other instrumental lesson) is to access these feelings, to express them in music. What do students need in order to be able to experience music this way? In short audiation…..watch this video to see audiation in progress - these musicians 'think' music so well they can create great beauty never having met. If this isn't life, then I don't know what is!
Audiation means to ‘think music’, or in the words of Dr Edwin Gordon ‘audiation is to music as thinking is to language’. Just as we ‘think words’, the right sort of teaching can teach people to ‘think music’. (If you’re curious, Dr Gordon spent his academic career studying how children learn music and developing Music Learning Theory, the rigorous academic foundation of Music Moves.)
Audiation means 'to think music'
The wrong sort of music teaching doesn’t teach people to ‘think music’ it teaches them to interpret dots on a page that they generally don’t understand. Think how it sounds when your child reads aloud a book they don’t understand. They read the words, but they don’t understand them. The words have no meaning to the child and it sounds that way to the listener. The same thing can, unfortunately, happen in music playing as well.
The right sort of music teaching teaches children to play with understanding
With Music Moves, students’ audiation is developed from day one and developed over years. They hear and echo tonal and rhythm patterns which are the building blocks of music, they feel and move to the beat, they listen to and play a varied range of music using the entire range of the piano. They develop piano technique that allows them to achieve the sounds they want to achieve, they hear and tell stories about the music they are playing. They experiment and explore sounds at the piano, they compose their own music as well as that played by others, they improvise and create. All these areas are developed over the child’s music learning journey, which becomes an extremely rich and fulfilling one.
Music at its best is enjoyed with other people, it provides a bond, a common experience, a language everyone can, in part listen to even if they don’t fully understand it. Music Moves for Piano is unique, not just in that it really does get to heart of what music is about – audiation (thinking music) - but also because it is designed to be taught in small groups. At Surrey Music School children studying Music Moves learn in groups of around 3. They move together, sing together, make music together, as well as having frequent opportunities to do these things solo as well. From day one your child will be making music solo and with others, learning to express themselves, developing their ear and piano technique and having a joyful, meaningful experience.
You may have noticed musicians performing with feeling, with flow (lost in the moment), with meaning… have a look at these videos to see audiation in action:
Director of Surrey Music School.