Go out and listen to something…

March 27, 2006

more Education

Filed under: Education — burnett @ 9:18 am

originally posted March 26, 2006
1)� Home schooling is only slowly being understood by those outside the home school loop.� One only need glance at a home school newsletter to get the gist of what really happens in their world.� In a way, every child benefits from a blend of home schooling and institutional schooling.� Home school networks are an institution in and of themselves.� And public schools depend on parental involvement, outside tutors, online instruction, etc.� So in the future, which is now, a parent will actually be deciding on the blend of institutional and parental involvement, rather than either/or.�
2)� Item from a home school newsletter:� Genetic Researcher hosts lab on Monday, Jan 5, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. � � Can take 3 students with biology background. � Call 703.555.1212.
Obviously, the so-called home schooled bio student spends a day at NIH or some such thing, observes real science with real scientists, the latest lab equipment, has lunch with scientists, etc. etc.� I’ll take this any day over a high school bio course.� The home school newsletter is full of such field trips and projects.�
3)� It is old news that home schoolers often become accomplished musicians and artists.� Why?� Because they can work without time constraints on their craft in the morning, when they are not exhausted by a day of dealing with 7 different teachers that start � at 7:00 a.m.� � The typical high school student has little if any time, to say nothing of focus, � for the development of skills on an instrument.� And what time there is occurs during late afternoon or evening.4)� A local home schooled 12 yr old documented the construction of the family home:� meetings with the architect, permits, trenches, inspections, concrete, plumbing, electric, framing, paint, finish work.�
5)� What the institutionalized high schooler and the home schooler share is online studying.� Teachers put assignments on line and assignments may be completed and submitted online.� Entire courses can be completed online, and this matter must be addressed by the schools.�

6)� The required state elementary curriculum can be completed in about an hour and a half each day for a typical home schooled student.� So what are kids in school doing for the other 6 hours?

7)� Often I hear, “Now that he’s out of college, he can figure out what he wants to do”.� Why not let him figure that out when he’s 12?� Lots of kids know how they want to spend their time, but have a required curriculum that defeats their goals from the very beginning. � 16 years of this?� Absurd.

Music Education in the early years

Filed under: music education — burnett @ 9:15 am

originally posted March 11, 2006
So often I hear a well-meaning parent say, “Well, we’ll try piano lessons for Johnny for awhile and see if he likes it. There’s a teacher that the local kids go to, and we’ll go to them for lessons.”

There are two problems with this. One, learning the piano is very difficult. The phrase “see if he likes it” would never be used for math studies, English composition studies, etc. In math, one studies the subject from kindergarten forward, and there is no letup until at least age 17, and possibly to age 21. Math is not as difficult as music, since there is no hand-eye coordination, physical coordination, or aural skill required. But the recognition of the requirements for proper math education is established worldwide. Nor is it unusual to have extra tutoring alongside the daily class instruction for math. Therefore, it would make sense to plan on a long term approach to piano lessons, since actual results can be difficult to measure in the early years. A five year plan is a good start.

In the matter of a teacher, the best teachers often cost the same or incrementally more than the worst teachers. It will be worthwhile to take the time to find the absolute best teacher in the beginning lessons. There are many who think that the first lessons are the most important, as they set the stage for focus, interest, attitude toward the work, and other requirements for the long term. The definition of “best teacher” will change from student to student, and any parent of a 5 or 6 year old has strong instincts about whether a teacher is working well with their child.

Charlie Parker & J.S. Bach

Filed under: music — burnett @ 9:00 am

originally posted March 10, 2006

I � have heard the Jazzers say that Charlie Parker is the J.S. Bach of Jazz.� Those who are acquainted with the full output of J.S. Bach are puzzled by this comparison, since the shear volume and thoroughness of JSB’s oeuvre don’t compare to CP.� So how do they relate?�

1)� “Genius’s”� in music are often very, very fast.� They think fast, they perform fast, they develop fast.� Mozart did things ferociously fast.� As did Chopin, Prokoffief, Rachmaninov, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Lennon/McCartney.� And, of course, Bach.� They are simply impossible to keep up with by the average brain.� CP falls into this category.� His music and influence happened quickly.� The musical ideas rushed out of the horn.� His imitators must put all else aside when trying to learn things that fell out of his brain in a matter of seconds.

2)� CP and JSB became the standard.� There were hundreds of fine Kapellmeisters in the time of JSB.� There were hundreds of fine alto sax players in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s.� In each case, there is one by which the others are measured.� Anyone who came after CP knew his music, and had to either copy him, reject him, or just absorb him into some larger picture.

3)� From a musical standpoint, CP’s compositions and solo’s are intriguing to compare to a JSB solo string work. � The lines define harmonies, are impetuous, have rhythmic compulsion, and are rhythmically confounding.� The odd rhythmic placements of JSB’s� fugue subjects and CP’s unpredictable accents both create riveting intensity in the piece.

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