Some reminders before we dive in: There are three different kinds of comments you need to make in these online discussions in order to earn full credit. Refer to the rubric you received in class (also available here). The most effective comments in this kind of forum are concise, clear, and supported. Instead of responding to every conversation question in one comment, try to make shorter, separate comments that allow other people to digest and respond to your ideas.

Online discussion #2 is open for comments from Tuesday, September 5 until the end of Monday, September 11. Make sure that you’ve emailed your WordPress user name to music.drjones@gmail.com so that I can give you credit for participating.


 

Most aspects of music—how it’s made, how it’s consumed, what sounds people prefer, how it’s performed, and how it’s learned—evolve in cycles throughout history from being popular/affordable/accessible to being elite/costly/niche. Put another way, aspects of music that were popular in one generation or century are the same features that are considered elite or rare in the next. As cultural norms, wealth, and social needs shift over time, music changes, too. So, the history of music can be an indicator of other broad trends in history, economics, politics, and social structure.

As you read, think about other history courses you’ve taken that help fill in the gaps in this chronological survey. Think, too, about the ways in which this survey reinforces what you’ve learned in school or from reading (literature and non-fiction!) and movies—every piece of information we add helps flesh out your sense of the world and all it contains.

There’s one constant about how music is learned to keep in mind throughout this historical survey. As long as music has existed—and this is true today, as well—people have learned to make music by listening to music that’s already been made and by trying their hand at making music with each other. The skills, techniques, and details of music are passed down directly from an older group of musicians to a younger group.

Ancient Greece and the Medieval period (ca. 12th century BC to 1300)

Medieval manuscript - The Geese Book 1503-10
A manuscript known as “The Geese Book” (1503-10)

For a large portion of European history, the keepers of knowledge were monks and nuns. In between prayers (more on that in Online Discussion #3!) and chores (e.g., cleaning, feeding animals, farming), a daily task for men in a monastery or women in a nunnery was creating copies of important texts by hand. These texts included religious treatises, scientific texts, Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, and music.

The history of how music was learned is also the history of how people thought about music. One of the most important takeaways when thinking about music in the Medieval period is knowing just how important music was in the whole spectrum of human knowledge. The way people thought about education was quite different than it is now, and people divided human knowledge into two groups of related subjects, the quadrivium and the trivium:

Quadrivium

(Mathematical disciplines)

Trivium

(Literary arts)

Arithmetic

Geometry

Astronomy

Music

Grammar

Logic

Rhetoric

Together, all seven subjects constituted a liberal arts education, and mastery of the trivium was required before taking on the quadrivium. Notice where music is placed—it’s of equal importance with math and science. Notice, too, that none of the other fine arts appear anywhere in this list of essential subjects.

Organizing and prioritizing human knowledge in this way is an idea that comes from Ancient Greek philosophy:

“Music is a science, certainly, in which exists sure and infallible knowledge.”

-Aristides Quintilianus, On Music (ca. 130 AD)

“[T]he cosmos is ordered in accord with harmonia (just as the disciples of Pythagoras assert) and we need the musical theorems for the understanding of the whole universe.. [and] certain types of melos [melody, rhythm, and words sung] form the ethos of the soul.”

-Sextus Empiricus, Against the Musicians (2nd century)

“Plato said, not idly, that the soul of the universe is united by musical concord [consonance]… [T]he music of the universe is especially to be studied in the combining of the elements and the variety of the seasons which are observed in the heavens. How indeed could the swift mechanism of the sky move silently in its course? And although the sound does not reach our ears, the extremely rapid motion of such great bodies could not be altogether silent, especially since the courses of the stars are joined together by such mutual adaptation that nothing more equally compacted or united could be imagined. For some orbit higher and others lower, and all revolve by a common impulse, so that an established order of their circuits can be deduced from their various inequalities. For this reason an established order of modulation [i.e., music with a mathematical connotation] cannot be lacking in this celestial revolution.”

-Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, Book I (ca. 500), a summary of the works of Nichomachus (60-100) and Ptolemy (100-168)

 

There are many ways that the works of Greek thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Epicurus, Euripides, and Socrates continue to shape the world in which we live today—democracy, trial by jury, empirical scientific observations, and public theater all come from Ancient Greece, for example. The very assumption that music is a critical thing to study—something that Europeans have believed for thousands of years, long after the quadrivium was abandoned in education, to the point that nearly everyone takes it for granted without knowing where the idea came from—shows how such ideas are tied up in musical behaviors that are passed down over time.

Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras (ca. 1300-1800)

Musicians in these periods tended to be born rather than made. That’s not a knock against how hard they worked, just a pithy way of saying that in music, as in most other trades (e.g, blacksmiths, carpenters, farmers), fathers passed their skills directly to their children by teaching them to follow in their footsteps, and most education took place in the home. Most of the “big name” composers we’ll come across in class learned their craft or at least began their studies with their fathers at an early age (around 3 or 4 years old), who were themselves musicians who had learned from their fathers, who had learned from their fathers… Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven (more on Beethoven in an upcoming online discussion!) all came from families of musicians and began their studies at an early age with their fathers. They heard excellent music making happening right in front of them from their infancy and reinforced what they saw with ongoing lessons in playing (usually keyboard, violin, and singing) and composition.

An important distinction of the post-Medieval era is that knowledge was more widely available beyond the monastery and the nunnery. Major universities were established in the Medieval period that grew in the Renaissance and beyond (Bologna, 1088; Oxford, 1096; Salamanca, 1134; Cambridge, 1209; Padua, 1222; Naples, 1224; Sorbonne, 1150). The invention of a printing press with movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century facilitated the spread of knowledge, too. Both of these developments help support the general cultural trend towards making education fashionable—because book learning had been so rare previously, it was a mark of refinement, wealth, and quality at this point in time to be well-educated, and people who could afford to do so sought out education and ways to demonstrate their erudition.

On the musical side, there was a flowering of new treatises (rather than just copying ancient ones) written and published about music: its history, music theory, how to make music socially, how to play various instruments, and how to compose. Here’s a small but representative sample, with links to original texts wherever possible:

  • Baldassare di Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano (Book of the Courtesan, 1528)
  • Antonfrancesco Doni, Dialogo della musica (Dialogue on music, 1544)
  • Pontus de Tyard, Solitaire premier ou prose des Muses & de la fureur poétique (First Solitaire or Prose on the Muses and Poetic Furor, 1552)
  • Gioseffo Zarlino, Istitutioni harmoniche (Harmonic Institutions, 1558)
  • Henry Peacham, “The Compleat Gentleman” (1622)
  • Johann Joseph Fux, Gradus ad parnassum (1725)
  • Johann Mattheson, Der vollkommene Capellmeister (The Perfect Music Director, 1739)
  • Johann Joachim Quantz, Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (Essay on Playing the Flute, 1752)
  • Joseph Riepel, “Fundamentals of Musical Composition” (1752)
  • Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, Versuch über die wahre Art, das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the Proper Manner of Playing A Keyboard Instrument, 1753)
  • Leopold Mozart, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing, 1756)
  • Georg Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste (General Theory of the Fine Arts, 1771-74)
  • Johann Philipp Kirnberger, “The Art of Strict Musical Composition,” (1776)
  • Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (A General History of Music, 1788-1801)
  • Heinrich Christoph Koch, Versuch einer Anleitung zur Composition (Introductory Essay on Composition, 1782-93)

Music literacy—the ability to read music that is notated on a page—is central to the way classical music is taught from the Baroque era onwards. Musical notation allows musicians to share music with people who aren’t physically in front of them and to learn much more music than a single person can reasonably memorize in one lifetime. Here’s a brief video introduction to music notation that may be of interest to you:

Finally, another important method for learning music emerged in the Baroque era: conservatories. A conservatorio (for boys) or an ospedale (for girls) in Italy was an orphanage.

ospedale della pieta
Ospedale della Pietà, Venice, Italy

A conservatory’s main task was to train parent-less children in music. This may seem odd: Why teach an orphan to play violin when they don’t even have a home? But let’s take everything we’ve learned so far about the history of music into account: (1) There’s a long-standing assumption that music is crucial to making a complete human being; and (2) People who have musical training are considered cultured and valuable. Given that, it’s pretty clear why people caring for orphans—children who have nothing, no money, no land, no dowry—would give those children some cultural capital in the form of musical training. Even a child with no family has something to offer if they can make music. For boys, that meant the potential to make a living—the fact that they didn’t have a father to teach them was no longer an impediment to success. For girls, this typically meant that they became marriageable—the fact that they could make beautiful music made them more attractive to a potential (rich) husband (more on this idea in Online discussion #6!).

Romantic Era (basically the 19th century)

The goal of most music education in the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras was becoming a competent professional musician: someone whose entire career revolves around music making in many ways (composing, performing, playing multiple instruments, teaching, and writing about music). The most important shift that happens in the Romantic era is an increase in amateur music making: doing it for fun rather than for money.

(Hey, this is one of those cycle things again! Music has always been made for fun, but the people doing that in the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras were members of the nobility and aristocracy. In the 19th century, people who didn’t have titles like “King” or “Duke” are able to make music, too—what had been elite becomes common.)

A common pastime in 19th-century Europe was making music at home—singing songs or playing chamber music with the family to pass the evening, playing for guests to entertain them (and to show off!), and keeping female children busy (we’ll come back to this idea in Online Discussion #6). People would learn to play an instrument and read music by hiring a professional musician to be their private teacher.

Jan Vermeer - The Music Lesson 1665
Johannes Vermeer, The Music Lesson (1662-65)

 

University-level music appreciation classes—just like Mu 101!—first appeared in the 19th century in Germany. This tells us some important things about the cultural landscape of the 19th century: (1) People still think that music is really important (those Greek ideals aren’t going away!), (2) But not everyone feels like they understand music as well as they should (and they want to remedy that situation by studying), and (3) Music is becoming more complex, such that it’s harder to understand just by hearing it once without some amount of training or background information.

Education of professional musicians was different; it didn’t take place in the home or in a university. People who showed particular musical talent at an early age in the 19th century didn’t study music with their fathers—middle class parents in the Romantic era were more likely to be teachers, government officials, or lawyers than musicians. Instead, they sent their children to the local (or regional) conservatory.

Wait a minute! Weren’t conservatories just orphanages with musical training? Yes, originally (see above), but once people realized how effective musical training could be if you kept kids captive and immersed in music education, they started choosing to have conservatories take their children and train them professionally. The major music conservatories in Europe that are still active today were established in the early 19th century:

  • Paris, 1795
  • Bologna, 1804
  • Milan, 1807
  • Florence, 1811
  • Prague, 1811
  • Warsaw, 1821
  • Vienna, 1821
  • Royal Academy of Music in London, 1822
  • The Hague, 1826
  • Liège, 1827

Children would typically enter the conservatory between the ages of 5 and 15 and study music there exclusively—no literature, no math, no science—and intensively for 10-15 years. They’d become proficient in all the skills necessary to make music at the highest level: composition, counterpoint, performance, sight singing, and conducting. Many of the “big name” composers you’ll come across in the 19th and 20th centuries were conservatory-trained: Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Maurice Ravel, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Hey, what about the US? Even though the United States declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, much of US culture was still tied to or imitated European culture. This included the working assumption that having musical knowledge was crucial for a person to be fully educated and worldly. The US didn’t have the same long-standing music education tradition that Europe did, and the major US conservatories and music schools were established quite a bit later than their European counterparts:

  • The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, 1857
  • Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 1865
  • New England Conservatory, 1867
  • Boston Conservatory, 1867
  • Yale School of Music, 1894
  • The Juilliard School, 1905
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1917
  • Manhattan School of Music, 1917
  • Cleveland Institute of Music, 1920
  • Eastman School of Music, 1921
  • The Curtis Institute of Music, 1924
  • The Colburn School, 1950
Fry, William Henry
William Henry Fry, American composer, music critic, and educator

Without the same quality of musical training available, American orchestras and opera companies weren’t as proficient as their European counterparts, and audiences weren’t as culturally savvy. Some American musicians experienced a fair amount of culture-envy or cultural inadequacy when they compared music making in America to the institutions of Europe. For example, one such musician, William Henry Fry (1813-64), staged a series of public lectures in New York City in 1853 in a feverish attempt to bring the uncultured (or so he thought) American public up to speed with the European standard-makers. Notice that his lectures precede the establishment of any conservatories in the US—other people clearly felt the same pressure and put their efforts into institutional education.

Fry lecture 1853 NYT
An excerpt from a New York Times article in 1853 describing one of Fry’s public lectures on the history of music

 

The 20th century

The 19th-century trend of home music making was widespread—to the point that most middle-class families had a piano in their living room and at least one family member could play it reasonably well—until the Great Depression (1929-39). In the 20th century we again run up against another one of those social cycles: classical music making had become so common, and seemed so associated with “old people” (like one’s parents and grandparents), that it stopped being fashionable. What was fashionable is popular music—jazz, rock, disco, hip-hop, or pop, depending on the decade in question.

On top of that, the classical music made by those conservatory-trained professional musicians (who immersed themselves in all the techniques, skills, and history of music from an early age) was generally becoming even less accessible to the average listener. As an example of music from a conservatory-trained musician that is difficult for many new listeners, here’s Pierre Boulez’s Structures I (1952) and II (1962):

 

All of this means that the way music is learned in the 20th century is a more extreme version of trends that had already taken root in previous eras: (1) Professional classical musicians are trained intensively, often from an early age, in a style of music that is becoming less and less popular; (2) People who can afford it study music privately in their homes (because they’re continuing that Ancient Greek assumption that there’s value in music study!); (3) Hands-on music making generally becomes less and less prevalent (consider that even garage bands, with self-taught teenagers playing guitars, drums, and bass, are significantly less popular now than they were 20 years ago—just a single generation); and (4) The majority of the public only listen to music rather than playing it themselves, and increasingly they only listen to music that is recorded rather than played live. An oversimplified—and contentious!—description of the way music is learned today would suggest that there is a class of people who are trained to do the music making for everyone else.

There are exceptions to all historical trends, so here I’d like to provide one from the 20th century. The poster below hung in the New York City dance studio of choreographer Merce Cunningham in the 1960s consisting of rules for teachers and students, compiled by educator Sister Corita Kent in 1967-68 and partly inspired by composer John Cage. These rules (although the word “rules” here is used ironically, since the ideas they contain are so broad as to defy the formula of typical rules that must be followed) are an effort in one corner of the art world to buck against the rigidity of the conservatory tradition and the notion of top-down learning (i.e., from professional veterans to their disciples). Cage and his partner Cunningham used these rules as a way to create a learning environment in which they and their students were encouraged to grow, explore and create freely:

cage_merce_corita_rules-thumb-600x762-13868

 

Final thoughts

The question of “How is music learned?” is simplistic but not simple—the answer depends on when in history we’re talking about and who we’re talking about. The common thread in all of the methods people have developed to teach music is that effective learning involves meaningful and constant exposure to people who already make music at a high level, accompanied by rigorous, systematic training in many aspects of music making (e.g., multiple instruments, composition, performance). This should remind you of Online Discussion #1—even though historical music professionals didn’t know the neuroscience of training one’s brain, through thousands of years of passing music down people developed methods that reinforce neural pathways!

-Dr. J.

 

Some questions to get the conversation going

It’s most effective in a forum like this to pick one question at a time to respond to in a single comment, rather than combining several different ideas into one comment.

  • What would be your preferred way to study music of all the methods described?
  • What would happen if you adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in your own life?
  • What kinds of music making/learning does this survey omit or leave out? Why do you think they’re not included here?
  • Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?

100 thoughts on “How is music learned? (Online discussion #2)

  1. In my opinion, an effective way of learning music would be an integration of being taught at home and at school. At home it helps foster as appreciation of music even though one doesn’t go on to be a professional musician. At school it should be an option for those whose families aren’t ‘musical’ but want to study music or just know how its done even if its not the only subject being taught at school or that one is learning. I believe a person can be a musician because they enjoy playing an instrument, composing or singing and have a totally different career. I don’t know want others will say to this. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I totally agree with your comment. I think music being taught at home or at school will be wonderful for many of us who loves music and wants to learn it. I personally love music but my family does not want me to make a career out of it. Therefore, if it was taught in the home or in school it would be very beneficial for people like me to enhance it properly.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree that music should be enforced at home and at school. But not to just inspire children, but to inspire parents to also get involved in knowing music plays a big role in everyone’s lives, and to participate in the learning process of music from generation to generation.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I love your idea. There are bunch of examples about students who want to be a musician but their parents against them. The common reason of this happened is that some parents do not know a lot about music. So, if school can inspire our parents to learn music, there will be less argument between child and parents which is great.

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          1. Yes, I agree that many parents don’t understand and know a lot about music. They might underestimate music and it’s ability to inspire students who do want to become a musician. Music should be taught at home and school.

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    2. I want to tell you that I am not the person who can be a musician. However, I can tell you that I am enjoying playing piano although I cannot play very well. Also, I like your idea that integrate home and school. Especially, students, who want to learn music, don’t have family member for teaching music,need absolutely school.

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    3. I completely agree with your comment. I feel everyone should get a taste of music. Whether it’s by listening to music on your phone while your walking, appreciating the music being listened to in your class, or even singing in a choir forced to take in grade school. Music is such a value part of life, that means so many things to different people. I remember back in elementary school and high school we always had a choice of either art or music. And even if I went with art, I still had a chance to listen and appreciate the music sung by students either at a concert, or singing the hymns at our school masses.

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    4. I agree on music need environment to help develop. The environment always makes a people what they learn and how they act. School and home are the main places that student can learn and act. In the past, people have the prejudice about music, the parent thinks they are an improper thing to do just like nowaday computer, Time has probed everything, music get into every family and everybody can learn and do it well.

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    5. I agree with your opinion and also most good musicians didn’t have a teacher to help them they learn on their own. And if you enjoy playing an instrument, composing or singing your music will be so much more beautiful because you put your feelings into it.

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    6. I agree with learning music at school can also be effective. Sometimes people feel more comfortable learning with other students. Others can simply learn better by watching or having they’re friends teach them.

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  2. Music can be learned in many ways. It is up to us how we want to learn it.I think music demands perfection. Therefore, it is kind of hard at first to learn music. But practice makes everything perfect. Music is a universal language and we all can relate to it. The basic components in every music are the same. But the differences are the way tune is interpreted by different cultures. Different cultures will give you different musical experiences. So when it comes to learning music, I think it is first very important for us to know about the philosophy and the culture of that music place to which it belongs. I used to learn Indian classical music in the back home. The spiritual and contemplative essence of Indian culture that India is known for is very well represented in Indian classical music.At the beginning, it was very hard for me. It needs constant practice.I think it is also important from who you learn it from. He/she has to have a solid knowledge about that particular music.
    Last but not least, if we want to learn music we need to have true desires to learn it because it needs dedication and determination. So, what about you guys? Have you ever learned any kind of classical music? What about Indian classical music? Have you ever listened to it or heard of it?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I did listen to Indian classical music once back in my high school music class. It was a project and the student played a piece in front of the whole class.The piece was rich in culture and so different from classical music that everybody has listened to. It was an amazing experience and I would never forget that.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Music changes a lot in each generation as the generation before. From classic, jazz, and so on the hottest music in the past, to Hip-hop, pop, rock music right now. Do you know the old music still have competitive ability to nowaday music?

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    3. I would like to listen to Indian classical music! This is the first time I have heard of it. This just goes to show how music is appreciated, created and learned in different cultures just like in different centuries; from the Renaissance time until now. In addition this diversity of music helps us peak into different cultures and times which allows us to extract different meanings and add flavor to our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. I interest in classical Indian music. I couldn’t identify whether that was classical Indian music or not whenever I hear Indian music when watch movie. I remember when I read class reading, the text said only Western music and Indian music structure are different. The Western music has 12 1/2 steps. I interest in what is different between Western and Indian music.

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  3. I think knowing the history of how music was taught can be both helpful and effective. Such information can be an aid to assist people on how to appreciate all certain styles of music, and how they came to be from the start. This is also helpful to the next generation to learn and better what has already been established.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you guys had to pick one style of music to study about, which would it be and why ?
    -For me Michael Buble came to mind, some will say his style of music is like “Swing Music”. Therefore if i had to pick a style of music to study it would be “Swing Music”.

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      1. Jazz is so difficult for me. I like to listen Jazz, however, I don’t know what kind does jazz have. Could you tell me kinds of jazz?

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    1. As much as I love Rap music I’d definitely choose to study classical music over it.
      To me classical music is more complex so it allows us to use our brains more.

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    2. I would love to study classical music . Its like the foundation and the sound is so beautiful and original . You can feel the sound of the era through the notes. Classical music can easily tell a story without someone singing.

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  5. My preferred way to study music is that I learned at conservatory. The reason is because of my experience. When I was young, I wanted to learn playing piano. However, my family member didn’t have know playing piano. Then, my parent was suffering to economic situation. So, I asked for pastor using piano for my practice for myself. I tried to figure out every musical notation, but I gave up learn playing piano because of my limitation. After a decade, I could learn playing piano by lesson piano conservatory. I was very happy while I determine how to read notes and musical notation basically. Therefore, I can concern with my story and orphans in Baroque period. The orphans learned from professional institution, music conservatories: a conservatorio for boys and an ospedale for in Italy. So, they could learn music correctly and cultured and valuable from them. In conclusion, those are reason why I prefer musical conservatory.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I truly agree that every student and teacher in general should adopt the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules. They are not rules but more as concepts and ideas you should follow to maximize the efficiency of your learning experience. If I adopted these rules I think I would get ‘more” out of school and life in general. One of their ideas that stuck with me is when they said nothing is a mistake. As a student in college, we keep thinking and reflecting on our past experiences and choices to benefit us in the future. So any mistakes we made, we get caught up in that mistake and it hinders us from reaching our full potential. Our mistakes and regrets should not keep holding us back. We should learn from them and move on.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I prefer to study music at home. One reason is the pressure from the competition can be overload to one person. When there has a lot of people study same thing together at the same time, it must exist a competition between them. The pressure from the competition can encourage us to work on it, but sometimes it might push us too hard on our daily life and start to play the opposite effect. I think the interest of learning music is more important than follow rules and finish homework. Another reason is privity place is more quiet than public, so we will pay more attention on what we are doing. Some people might argue with that, how we learn music if there is nobody can teach us? I will say the internet is very convenient right now, we can definitely study any kind of instrument at home as we like. Actually, I am studying ukulele at home recently. It wasn’t fun at first, I know nothing about it, there is nobody can teach me. However, after I searched a lot of basic knowledge and practiced a lot, I start to enjoy it, especially the time when I practiced by myself and there is no one bother me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I completely agree with the at home method of learning. The pressure that comes from learning alongside a group of people can be incredibly harsh. Although the people themselves aren’t pushing you seeing them thrive puts stress on you to be better. Some healthy competition can be beneficial but you should want to play for yourself and not to “beat” others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely agree with that. I feel that when you are learning music at home it’s a lot more comfortable, aside from the fact that you’re in the comfort of your own home, you get to practice how you want and when you want. It definitely takes away the pressure from feeling the need to be perfect. You can make as many mistakes as you want without having to worry about anyone criticizing you other than yourself and sometimes I believe that’s the best way to learn.

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  8. Adopting the Kent/Cage/Cunningham guidelines is very helpful in regards to training or disciplining ones mind, especially towards learning. For an introverted person like myself, these rules would allow me to step out off my comfort zone, and to change how I normally think to now imagine everything as an experiment trying to bring about a particular conclusion to the decisions I make. Allowing me to socialize openly without feeling awkward, in my search to gain more knowledge from individuals in my surroundings, venturing out of my place of solitude to find a place where I feel socially accepted. Therefore I will be able to interact with people whom I can use as mentors as well as to learn from them how to be more disciplined and be more flexible mentally in achieving my objectives. These rules also takes into consideration that one should not always take themselves too serious and should find time to enjoy life as it happens.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely agree, I am an introvert myself and sometimes I find that I tend to stay in my comfort zone. I feel that if I actually applied these guidelines to my life in general I would get a lot farther. I tend to be very independent but sometimes it’s helpful to see how others do things or how they would go about learning things or dealing with situations. It’s always good to have an open mind.

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  9. Listen to music just like very natural thing, it can happen anytime and every where. For me, listening to music is that time when I need it, to calm, to enjoy, to relax. For musical learning, I feel the same way. If someone born in the musical family, they can get in touch with music easier and more often. But if we interesting in music instrument we more willing in touch with music, we can still be good at it.Music is not for some specific people like in the old day, music is for everyone now. We can sing or play music pretty well, eventhough we starting from a low base.Anything is possible if you have got enough nerve. I think learning music well first thing is to have confidence and be interested about it. After we get more into music, we try to start to find out everything about music, and history is the top thing that helps us, let us know more idea of music.

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  10. My preferred way to study music of all the methods described would be the 20th century music way. It is basically a mix of all the different styles you can lean music. Not every style is perfect and will fit everyone. However a little bit of all the styles could probably bring someone to learn music and have fun with it. For example skills passed down from their fathers stated in the Renaissance, Baroque, and classical periods. For Baroque conservatories trained parentless children music. Having all these varieties of ways to learn music can help us adapt on our own unique way to learn music thats better for us.
    I think knowing the history of how to learn something can be helpful because it can teach you what format of learning is right for you. Not everyone is going to learn the same way, if you find a certain style thats right for you, you will be able to learn it at your full potential. Also there won’t be someone to teach you every little thing in the this world. For example if you would like to learn about tai chi, not everyone would know how to do it. So in order to get more information about it you would research it more. It come help improve your skills on how to do the certain subject you want to do.

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  11. If you could go to a different time except for 20th century to hear the music they play then and to learn the different type of study they had which one could you choose?

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  12. My preferred way to study the music of all the methods described is the 20th because people can learn more than one type of music. Although I preferred to hear more classic music be made even if some people think that it become so common, and seemed so associated with “old people”. If I adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in my own life, well we sometimes do follow those rules even if we don’t know about it. In my opinion, those rules are the rules most people follow even today even if we don’t know they are rules, some of those rules I too follow and I didn’t even know they are rules. In simple words even if I follow them now nothing major will change in my life. To know the history of how a subject has been taught can be helpful as to understand how something has evolved, like music. Music is not the same as ca. 12th century BC to 1300, now there is more sound and yet less. As we learn different types of music we forget some of the old once. To know the history of how music was taught can help us remember the different types of music and also understand what does music mean.

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  13. My prefered way to learn music is by practicing it at home. Either a family member teaching or hiring a private teacher. I also think this is the most effectiveness way of learning music because you can get to choose what type of music you’d like to learn about. For example, you can learn to play classical music, pop or jazz, and the list goes on. And if a family member teaches you, they most likely would love to teach cultural music. My family back in Dominican Republic loves to play music. Almost everybody would be playing their instrument while background music playing as they sing along. I remember loving to see this as a child and wanting to play the drums along with my uncle or sing along with my aunt.

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    1. I agree with you because having a family member teach you to play an instrument would make you feel more comfortable and willing to learn more about your culture and the musical history behind it.

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    1. I learned piano from my grandma when i was 6, but i didn’t like it at that age, so i gave up…. Actually, i am very regret now.

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  14. My least favorite method of learning in these readings were the conservatories. Learning simply one subject from the age of 5-15 for 10+ years sounds incredibly boring and exhausting. Non stop music class and practice like that would make me hate music if I didn’t have an intense love of it. What if after all that practice I’m either A. Not very good at making music or B. No longer like it? I will have wasted the best years of my life and that sounds like a waste of time.

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    1. I agree with you, I think being forced to learn music for so many years would also make me despise it. There’s nothing wrong with learning music but for so many years is a bit excessive especially if it’s not something you want to do yourself.

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  15. If the idea that music was an all important topic to learn throughout history when and why did it move from being a main focus to an elective in most high schools and colleges.

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  16. I believe the most effective way of learning music is through practice and repetition. No matter what type of music it is or where the music is from, If you continuously practice playing a song or an instrument eventually it becomes embedded in your head. Just like the saying the goes “practice makes perfect”. It’s all about practicing & repetition.

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    1. Definitely I think everyone can agree with this. Routine and adaptation is an essential part of the human brain and when you apply music to it you get the same results as you mentioned, it gets embedded in your head. You can learn any instrument with hands on practice. Do you guys think we’re capable of mastering more than 1 instrument at a time with the practice makes perfect method?

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  17. The history of how music was taught gives us a chance to appreciate and understand music. Through out the past, music has been pass on from older groups to young groups, and it still occurs today. Not only do people pass on information such as, how to read,compose, or even how to play. They pass on the value of music, for example, During the baroque era, conservatories trained orphanage children in music which made them more cultured and valuable or during the Medieval Period, music was seen equal importance to math and science. Its helpful to learn the history because it can sometimes give you a reason to learn music. Another reason can be the difference between the music we hear now and the music we listen before. We can determined the factors of the change in music. An example is during the romantic era, people started doing music for fun,while others were musicians who lives Career was to make music since a young age. A difference between eras was the way music was taught.

    What will happen if we had no knowledge of any history of Music? Would our lives be different?
    Would Music be taken seriously?

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    1. Why does the music that to some people is lovely, even transcendent, sound to others like a lot of noise? When you think about it, that makes sense. There’s no reason why we should believe that Western music, for those of us who grew up on it, makes more sense than other musical traditions that, to the uninitiated, don’t sound nearly as beautiful. But it’s still might blowing to think that much of what we find to be appealing or what strikes us as magnificent in music is based on our brains being trained to hear it that way.

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    2. I agree with you we should value music for what it does for our well being. And it is interesting knowing how music is passed on from generations for the youth and how learning music is not simple as it seems. Especially during the Romantic Era because that music during that era had to set the mood right for its listeners.

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    3. I agree with you to a degree. I feel like not everyone is taught or exposed to music the same, and that really changes how people appreciate music.
      I think knowing the history of how a subject has been taught helps form current and future teaching methods. Based of previous questions asked by students and previous test scores or results from assessments; seeing where students succeeded and failed, could help change the way certain sub-subjects are taught. So for example a lesson that was perviously taught through taking notes could this time be interactive where all of the students are vocal, so it could stick with them better. If we had no knowledge of any history of music I think it would really affect how creative we can be. Though we sample and bring back or flip things from the past; because so much was already created I think it would limit what we would come up with. I also think that having no previous knowledge would really hurt the advancement of music.

      Do you think the creativity of music would be affected if we had little to no knowledge of music in the past?

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  18. If you could go to any country in the world of your choice but you had to learn how to play a specific instrument that they have, where would it be ? What type of instrument you think it would be ?

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    1. I think it would be kind of cool to go to Ireland and learn the celtic harp. Its interesting because people usually think of kilts and bag pipes but something as delicate as a harp would be beautiful to learn how to play.
      I read on ireland.com that they had a celtic harp festival since it appeared on their flag. Pretty cool huh?

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  19. I would choose conservatories as a way to study music. Even though the time of studying music is extremely lengthy especially when you’re starting off young, you’ll eventually grow into it and get accustomed. That is, if you have enough interest and motivation to do so.

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  20. I think the schools should push music and playing an instrument on students more. It’s sad that the majority of the population only listens to music. After reading last weeks article and now this one, it shows how important learning music really is. It’d be nice if schools took music as seriously as the greeks did because I rarely see an instrument at friends houses so obviously they aren’t being taught at home.

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  21. Has anyone been able to teach themselves how to play an instrument solely by themselves? I’ve never been taught how to read music but after watching the video, I feel like it might be fairly easy.

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    1. My brother actually taught himself the guitar and become rather proficient at it. He already knew how to read notes, and simply looked up videos on youtube for music and the basics of how to play. Depending on the instrument, I think it is definitely possible to teach yourself an instrument.

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    2. I always tell people that learning how to play and read music on your own isn’t hard, especially in the age of free youtube tutorials. What’s hard is having the dedication to keep learning even when you aren’t very good or struggling to understand.

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  22. In my opinion, studying music in a school that is designed solely for that purpose would be the best way to teach music. Similar to the concept of conservatories, I believe that studying in an environment focused on composing, studying, and playing music would create the best musicians. While learning music at home may make it more common, studying in an environment like the conservatories would produce the best quality of music.

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    1. I agree with you because anyone can teach themselves how to play piano or guitar at home. Getting college level education on the subject would be much better though because not only are you in a social place with others alike you but you’re really learning every nook and cranny there is that has to do with music.

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  23. Because of technology, our society today has incredibly easy access to learning and making music. Will the way in which we learn music ever change again? If so, how?

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    1. The way we learn music is solely based on us actually doing it, reading, watching and listening to music is totally different than when our bodies start to play and slowly create a sense of muscle memory. I can watch hours upon hours of people playing basketball, and read a bunch of articles on how to play, but unless i actually go out and do it i wont truly learn. If there really is going to be a way in which we change the way music or literally anything else is learned its when we put a usb into the back of our heads and download all the information and our bodies immediately reconstruct and adapt.

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      1. I 100% agree but also disagree with this right here. I mainly agree because I also do believe that by us just doing the task helps us learn a lot more than us reading about it or watching. For example when I learn new things I learn by mistakes, so if I learn how to play baseball or learn how to swim I got to be able to actually do it than just read about it and hear peoples feedback on what I did wrong and right. But I also disagree because I also believe that it depends on the type of learning style some has. Like if someone learns by watching someone else do it than they should just stick to that learning style because they are already used to it.

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  24. After reading this and learning that musical notation allows musicians to share music with people who aren’t physically in front of them and to learn much more music than a single person can reasonably memorize in one lifetime stands out to me because this is an influential method that can impact many lives of people. Additionally I have always felt that classical music can stimulate our brains and help us focus more on work,as well as be productive and efficient. This is based of my experience with trying this for an assignment in my previous music course, and I was fond of the ones without lyrics because they weren’t as distracting. It brought me to a place of serenity. For instance Mendelssohn’s chamber music, and string quartet no 6 served as both powerful and eloquent. I also favored the,” Overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. There are various methods of learning how to study to music, such as isolating yourself and plugging in headphones, which is what I prefer, but I am very open-minded of trying different techniques. Studying history of a subject is vital for understand about the past, future and more importantly the present. People often say history repeats itself, but if we study the successes and failures, and we learn from our mistakes because they are lessons, we can avoid them from occurring again in the future. Studying the history can provide us with insight of our culture of origin, as well as cultures in which we might not be as familiarized with. This will help us develop awareness and a better understanding of our surroundings.

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  25. I think that if you’re pursuing a career in music then attending college for it would be the best option for you because QCC for example provides students with what seems like countless classes we can take as well as opportunities to become more efficient in our field of study. Wouldn’t you agree that going to college for music is better than learning about music yourself at home from say youtube videos or expensive music learning programs?

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  26. Knowing the history of music is that the reason why it shows the history of change from past to now. For instance, according to the ancient Greece and the Medieval period, the history showed how people thought about music and whole spectrum of human knowledge. In the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical era, musicians made acquired than to be born: from father. During Romantic era, conservatory for orphans supplied to the others as well. Also, through the eras it shows how music more abundant.

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  27. To what extent do you think that the environment, drugs, physically are dealing with, mentally, and socially as well have on the music industry?

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  28. It was interesting to me to read about the way music was learned over the years. From monks and nun to families and everyone who wanted to study music in school. I noted that if you weren’t a monk or nun, it was hard to lean in earlier times. Also if you didn’t have a musical family like me, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to learn music since it was passed from fathers to sons or daughters from generation to generation. This was in my opinion a sad reality of the past that l’m grateful I didn’t have to live through.

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  29. If I adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in my own life, my brain would develop more critically and self-regulating than now. As I was educated by cramming method of teaching, rather I feel more difficult critical thinking. Like one of rule, Cunningham, that “Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students” would stimulate my brain. Further more, they didn’t have competition and freedom. Then, i would need patient, hence myself-regulating would grow.

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  30. I definitely think that studying music at school is a great way to learn music. School is a great outlet to learn music because it’a not always accessible at home. For example, back in my high school they had various music classes from singing to instrumental classes. Students had access to all different types of materials and instruments. From pianos to drums to guitars, you name it they had it all. I definitely feel like this is very beneficial to people who would normally not have access to this at home. Yet, at the same time I also think that studying at home is a great way to practice as well. Even if you don’t have access to all materials you can always go online and watch videos for example in the comfort of your own home.

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  31. I believe that studying music in school or at home are both great ideas. I think that middle and elementary schools should make students take at least one mandatory music class throughout those years to at least introduce the idea of learning,studying,and composing music. That way if parents don’t teach their kids about music at home they will still have the opportunity to learn about or have an interest in it. I totally agree with the fact that music is valuable and will always be valuable as long as this world exists. Reading this online discussion made me want to learn about music more. One thing that really stand out to me in this discussion are the John/Kent/Cunningham rules. Those rules should apply to every single person in this world. I feel as if everyone applied the those rules into their life and into everything they do that everyone will be successful without a doubt. Im going to apply apply those rules into my daily life and see where it takes me.

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    1. I would have to disagree. Like the trade school of today there are many jobs with many people of expertise needed for them. I am fairly sure that trade school like academies existed back then but one trade will not be widespread since there are too many different jobs that needed to be filled. You also have to take into consideration that entertainment is something like a drug to us humans we cant have enough of it, and like many in this course we enjoy it

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  32. In a way, I feel like I apply some of the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules without realizing. But if I was to follow them to the tee, I think I would be more productive in life. Being that these rules were formulated to help students get the full amount out of their learning experiences ; it would benefit me greatly. My favorite idea here is that we should “consider everything to be an experiment”. I like that idea because it makes me think about failure more lightly. In an experiment, when you fail you learn a whole lot in the process, so the idea of life being an experiment makes me more appreciative of failures. They teach me what to do better in the future.

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  33. Music is learned from inspirations. Our favorite artists have their own idols that they looked up to. Imagine being in there shoes and having to teach us the fundamentals of music. How the songs are made, where the bridge should be, who would be perfect for the chorus, and etc. But truthfully this goes way back then we ever expected. I feel as if you need to understand instruments and notes. Without those two factors music would have never evolved. Back in the 16th-18th centuries music was literally an art. No vocals just plain instruments playing by professionals whose creativities were beyond standard. And they influenced us to come up with our own art which is now expressed through new genres such as pop,funk,rock,heavy metal,hip-hop,r&b,country, and many more. So learning music goes from generation to generation and it is continuing to get more creative by the new upcoming artist wanting to try something new.

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  34. These rules give me a philosophical vibe, Can anyone try to explain the first rule of the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules? “Find a place you trust, and then, try trusting it for a while”
    I think its relating to indulging in knowledge as fully as possible.
    Any other ideas?

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    1. I get where your coming from, but i think its a literal translation. Try to Find a place that suits you and make yourself comfortable.

      No person can indulge in knowledge in a place that doesn’t suit them, some people like being in quiet places like libraries, some like being alone, others like the noise. So to me finding a place you can entrust yourself wholeheartedly will bring you the most knowledge

      this is my opinion if others have any other that they would like to share it would be interesting to see your perspectives ty

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  35. By looking at how people learned throughout history some can make the conclusion that most learning is connected with pure muscle memory. When looking at the base premise of how things are taught it follows of a simple guideline of, “Yes this is good” and ‘No this is bad”. When we learn we get to choose what stays with us for a long time and what stays with us when we need it currently. Then by repeating what we chose to learn so it sticks to us then our body will naturally remember what to do. If we study how things have been taught throughout history we can make a correlation that its easy to learn things we like and repeat in our lives, but whats even better when we deeply analyze the teachings of old we can incorporate them into how we learn now when things seem way to simple, sometimes its useful to go back to the roots in order to fully understand things.

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  36. In John Cages rules i think that it should be more than “pull out everything from your students” because no person can know everything and no person can go through every event. I think that teachers should also pull everything from themselves and improve upon that because even the instructor can learn from the student. No human can be another so learning from each other even if they are younger is a must. The old notion that the the young should learn from their elders should be looked upon and improved, with how fast we improve in both technology and humanity as a whole each generation is ending up with different experiences that even our elders has never been through. So I feel that everyone has much to learn should they choose to.

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  37. “Notice where music is placed—it’s of equal importance with math and science”
    I question this should music be the only thing with equal importance, how about art, dance, sports, shouldn’t they also be an essential subject. Humans from the beginning of our history have been to this day never fully understood, and to me at least everything has a show of importance. If sound represents music then movement represents dance and there is no music without the movement/ vibration of sound, and if music represents sound that represents movement then art represents that imagination/ picture. To my belief i think that music is important but like a blacksmith who forges metal tools you need more than a hammer, you need the furnace, and the fuel to run it. If one is missing he can never complete the process.

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    1. “Notice where music is placed—it’s of equal importance with math and science”
      I question this should music be the only thing with equal importance, how about art, dance, sports, shouldn’t they also be an essential subject? <<<<<<<<<sorry i forgot the question mark

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      1. I do belive that other subjects are important as music, but music could be a factor for people being more proficient in those subjects. If you remember in discussion 1, music helps the use of multiple areas of the brain which makes people above average.

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        1. I agree, I think other arts are just as important and can be just as challenging physically as it is mentally but I have to agree with the fact that what I think what separates music from the arts category is the stimulation in the brain it triggers. What I find interesting is how people in older centuries were able to differentiate the importance of it without really knowing what we know now scientifically.

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  38. I think the way music should be learned like romantic era, because as the reading reference listed above, in this time, the goal of learning music changed, not for money but for fun, I believe that is the main point of learning music. Music is an arts, and the creation of arts shouldn’t cause of money, it should come from live, we need to observe it, feel it, then we can understand it, and finally know how to learn it. like in this era, music is harder to understand, it’s difficult for people to understand it without training or background knowledge, that’s the point, we need to know the story behind, we need to explore and get knowledge from teachers in the school, we need knowledge to figure out what happened in this period in history, and then relate to yourself. why there is a movie show in your mind when you listen to it? is this piece remind you some experience happened before?
    there is something will never change in music, like for piano, the first thing you need to know is how to read notes, and then how to play it by hands. without those, no matter how strong passion you have for it, you cannot create a great song, everything based on fundamental things, practice a lot, you can create a music by yourself.

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  39. “Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?” I thought this was an interesting question because I had the thought myself while reading. When I got to the part about conservatory’s turning into full blown music schools I noticed that it says the schools taught no other subject besides music. I feel that approach was flawed because what I’ve learned as a musician is that all knowledge is interconnected somehow. Something as simple as the electric guitar can acquire a lot of depth when applying knowledge of physics. Knowing the history of how a subject has been taught can open the mind to more fundamental concepts within a subject and help someone understand said subject more expansively.

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  40. I believe that studying music at school can be very influential in helping one learn music. The reason being is because they would be more interested in learning about the different ways to play music and also learn about the history of the Instrument that they want to play. There would be a variety of instruments to choose and learn to play from if you go to school especially if there is a music class and if you are with your friends you would be willing to learn to make music with each other and just have fun. In my elementary school, I had a music class and it was filled with Pianos, Clarinets, Violins, Drums, and a Cello. I really wanted to learn to play a song on the piano and so I did. Every day in class I would sit down and ask my music teacher to help me and gradually as the days went by I learned to play at least one song on the piano. If I adopted Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in my own life I would be more motivated to have fun when learning to make music.

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  41. I find it so interesting how much we have evolved over the years. Think about it, a long time ago people who were wealthy would hire professionals to teach their children music at home. Soon enough it became so common everyone would send their children to the conservatory . Now a days with an investment in an instrument and some time to dedicate you easily go on youtube and take free lessons and learn how to play. Although we still have the option to get private tutoring and going to prestigious music schools we have a more affordable alternative, and one we can accommodate to our daily schedule.

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  42. i feel that learning and knowing more about a musics history and background would make it easier to understand. At times, i wonder where certain type of music such as spanish trap, trap, cumbia, and other types music originate from.

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  43. My preferred way of learning music is the 20th because music of my liking today started to become popluar. music like pop and hip hop. Listening to music is a way of life. Everyone does it someway somehow. Even hearing impaired people love music they listen and feel the vibration of the beats with their hands. I believe music should be taught at home for the child to understand their culture to begin with and taught at school to understand others culture. lessons of appreciation and respect begins at home.

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  44. To me I would rather learn how to play or make music from the comfort of my home with my mother or father teaching me. Reason to me saying this is because since they already have a history of music and know the ” do’s and don’ts” to when it comes to making music, then I would just learn based on their past. Whether they are successful or not I still learn what to do so I may become successful for music. Also I believe that the time period on which one was born at plays a huge role on learning music. For example if one was to be in the 19th century where music was more slow and downbeat as to where in the 20th century where the music was more upbeat with faster tempos. Not to mention that there was more music category’s at the time.

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