Addressing incorrect ideas about SM
Found in: Playing-Based Methodology
Joy O., Alabama
I have a prospective student coming to an FIS. She has a woman from her church teaching her traditional lessons. The teacher told her Simply Music is “mostly memorization”. I’ve heard the objection twice from her already. How would you address this concern with a potential student?
Amy L., California
I talk about how I was a strong reader BEFORE Simply Music and now I read completely differently. When I read a piece now, I see the building blocks, the shapes, the patterns, and the chords whereas previously I read note to note.
Leeanne I., Australia
The road map analogy is a good explanation for students who are worried about remembering. You learn to recognize ‘landmarks’ and after a while, you no longer need a GPS!
Rochelle G., California
In my mind, this is how memorization is often used in music: you learn to read a piece and play it. When you play it well enough, you may choose to or be required to memorize it. This memorized piece of music may or may not be shifted into long term memory. A person may become good at this.
However, if this is all they do with an instrument, they will be limited to only playing music that is composed by other people, and only playing music that they have practiced enough to play well, and if it isn’t memorized, they can only play music when they have the written notation in front of them. Simply Music isn’t a method of memorization; it is a method which gives the piano student tools whereby they can become independent music makes and players.
Sue L., California
Another point I make is about muscle memory…that a song can transmit from your brain to your fingers. I talk about snow skiing and how I had to “talk myself down the hill” until my legs had the muscle memory to work properly. I also use a “FedEx” analogy. During the lesson I load the packages in the truck (the brain), and between lessons the package travels to the hands. When the student can play the song easily without thinking very much, the package has been delivered, making more space in the truck for new packages. One of my young students pointed to her wrist and said “I think the song is about here”.
Cheri S., Utah
It might be helpful to ask more about what her thoughts are on this. If you better understood where she was coming from, you might know how to direct your comments. She could be concerned that memorizing is hard, or that SM is merely memorization (i.e. not real music learning), just to name a couple of possibilities. For the first, you could talk about maps/directions/FedEx. For the second, you could talk about how all music is made out of patterns, so in a natural and fun way our students gain a deep musical understanding.
No matter what her concerns, the three “Talking to People” conversations outlined in the initial training are vital. On the teacher website, you can find those under Module 5, scroll to Business Support. I engage those three conversations before (and sometimes again during) any FIS/SIS.