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#1464667 - 06/28/10 10:26 PM Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE  
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Excuse the seemingly arrogant title..

I can't really claim that I am a 'Musical Genius' (whatever that means) confused .. All I can say is others have labeled me like that. This is my article that tries to explain the path to 'people labeling you a musical genius.'

I'll start by attempting to define my label of "musical genius" and why it's there.

I guess it's because I'm able to learn musical instruments much much faster than other people. Eg. Normally, I can pickup and learn a new instrument in a couple of weeks and play it to a similar standard of someone who has been learning for years. This has given me the power to take up every instrument I can get my hands on. I can also create songs that express emotions that people relate with and therefor fall in love with .. I'm able to imitate most melodies and chord patterns usually instantaneously, but otherwise after a few seconds of listening. I was never taught anything, I think is another big contributing factor.

I'll try to explain how I got to this point and why people call me different.


Early on in my life, I posed a few questions..

QUESTION 1
'what is the difference between speaking and playing an instrument?'
Answer: "NOT MUCH!!"
On a basic level, they are both just expression of feeling..
- Speaking is expression via the mouth
- Music is expression via an instrument...

QUESTION 2
'Why is learning how to speak so much easier than learning an instrument? Why does and instrument take so much longer for some and come naturally to others?'
Answer: I narrowed it down to 2 reasons, it's TAUGHT COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY and It's LEARNED WITH DIFFERENT MIND SETS

Let's see ..

Speaking is learned instinctively because of a need to express emotion.. It's almost entirely learned by imitation. The child's learning environment is one that is surrounded by people speaking. Usually the parents will be encouraging and supportive of first words.. There is also joy in communicating with the child forevermore. Speaking is a big part of life.
The child quickly figures out that speaking is a very useful tool for communicating with others.
The drive to learn is HUGE because the child understands the value of being able to speak is HUGE!
The result: all children become competent speakers.

The way I learned music was unmistakeably similar to the this! I could even substitute all the words 'SPEAK' with 'PLAY' and have a very accurate description of my music learning environment.

The Mindset to begin with was 'People enjoy what I'm doing, give people enjoyment'.

There are certain areas of learning that become subconscious to everyone. We learn more about our language by simply hearing it spoken. We hear phrases, we hear which words go with other words, we hear how others construct effective sentences. We then use the tools to create our own words and sentences. There isn't any kind of conscious focus on the learning, It happens underneath the brains thoughts.

This is very very similar to the way I learn music. I hear melodies, I hear rhythms, I hear how words and melodies are connected, I notice how other musicians construct effective songs and why they are effective. This happens underneath thought. I can however, bring myself to think about any of these points and get a truly focused idea on certain areas and develop conscious tools to use, but it's not essential. I then either 'feel it' or I can use the conscious tools to craft my own songs.

I soon discovered that I didn't need to be at the instrument to learn how to play it... and the most improvement was made when I was AWAY from the instrument! (others are often shocked by this).
The theory (briefly): focusing on the instrument creates too much unnecessary thinking. The focus should be on the music in your head and you should eventually not need to think about the instrument at all. Creating a fast flow from your brain through your hands and out through the instrument is the key, or in other words, connecting your brain to the instrument with a time gap of zero.

So learning any instrument for me happens in my head.. not at the instrument. When there is silence in my head, I can imagine a song, have it play in my head, imagine the instrument, learn how to play it visually, then sit down and play it through, first time.

Conclusion:
Music is like speaking. We're all naturally gifted, genius speakers.. because of the way we learned it the environment we learned it in, and the mindsets we had towards learning it.

The primary goal with learning any instrument (in my opinion) should be to first understand that the instrument is not a chore.. but rather some kind of magical external voice box that is FUUUUN and USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL!creates HAPPINESS in the player and the listener.

When music is put into the 'school' box, it is treated like a chore.. and although you can get good, you may not love learning it or enjoy playing it as much.


==========================================

My theory on how to get labeled a 'musical genius:

Step 1 - Put down the instrument. Understand what music is. Learn to LOVE music first! Listen to birds and other animals communicating with each other. Know that this is music.. Know that instruments they are gateways to the feelings and emotions of other living, breathing people like yourself. Know that they also act as a gateway for your own feelings and emotions, letting them escape out of your mind and into ears of others. Know the power of music. Know the gateway is instruments.

Step 2 - Let music run wild in your mind. Be conscious of your own emotions, and start to transform them into sounds, melodies, rhythms and so on.. hear them in your mind.. keep practicing this until every emotion you feel, is instantaneously transformed into a noise that is then let loose to fly around in your mind. (Singing, humming and tapping is a great place to start.)

Step 3 - Once you understand what music really is.. and have it brewing madly in your mind.. then you can work at treating your instrument of choice like an external human organ (like the heart or voice box.) Focus deeply on the sounds that the instrument can make.. Relate the sound in your brain to the sound of your instrument/external organ. Try to make the connection between the brain and the instrument as strong as possible.. (singing what you play, as you play it then try to reduce the mind to instrument time gap to zero.)

Mindset
You and the instrument are going to become one completed machine that expels your emotions. You understand that the instrument is more aesthetically pleasing than speaking or crying.. You understand that this completed machine means no longer having to leave emotions to be UN-felt.. It becomes an easy form of expression (something rare for most men) You will understand the joy of this when you have experienced it. You will learn to love and relate to your noise... others will then also learn to love and relate to your noise.. When you get there, you will understand that the following sentence is now extremely shallow and mean little in comparison to what you have already achieved .. but people will say it anyway:
"wow ... you're a musical genius..."

whatever that means... smile

- Ruben



... such a vital organ
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#1464722 - 06/28/10 11:47 PM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Originally Posted by hippymusicman

Step 1 - Put down the instrument. Understand what music is. Learn to LOVE music first!


Wait, is this a quote from The Music Man?

#1464723 - 06/28/10 11:48 PM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Hey there hippyman, this is more like an essay of your world view than a discussion starter.

But I'll participate!

I reckon being called a genius simply comes down to being able to do something easily that others cannot do. If everyone could play instruments the way you do no one would call you a genius. The term is as much about what other people cannot do as it is about what you can. Change your context and you might find even more people call you a genius, or none at all.

And there are many ways to impress people! I think it's fabulous that you've taken the time to outline your preferred route, but some people get called 'musical genius' because they can read music at sight, or because they can play something they've heard only once by ear, and so forth.


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
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#1464751 - 06/29/10 12:43 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: IramChZ]  
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Originally Posted by IramChZ
Originally Posted by hippymusicman

Step 1 - Put down the instrument. Understand what music is. Learn to LOVE music first!


Wait, is this a quote from The Music Man?


It's nothing but a bunch of words that fell out of my brain.


... such a vital organ
#1464771 - 06/29/10 01:25 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Yea sorry about the title, I'm not really interested in the term 'musical genius' at all... it's just a man made label that means very little.

I'm interested in hearing opinions about the final 3 steps and mind sets towards learning an instrument.



... such a vital organ
#1464774 - 06/29/10 01:36 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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It would be helpful to hear examples of your playing, and see examples of the music you have written.

#1464778 - 06/29/10 01:52 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: keystring]  
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hey hippymusicman, you play any jazz or improvisation? Let's hear some of your music man!

Genius isn't a term I'd use. More like master. Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Oscar, Miles, Wayne. Those guys had it.


You might just be very good at learning new instruments. Doesn't make you a genius, just a fast learner.

Another thought, virtuosos aren't necessarily masters. They might have the technique, but the emotion and expression is another thing.


#1464779 - 06/29/10 01:54 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Wizard of Oz]  
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Hal Galper, a jazz teacher says the piano isn't the instrument, YOU are. It's just wood and wool and felt.

#1464839 - 06/29/10 05:15 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Perhaps I'm getting too cynical,
but when are you going to post the link to the product you are trying to sell us ?
If not selling a product, then why repeatedly making duplicate posts ?

I thought I was in the adult beginners forum when I read this, I really don't think teachers will be unaware of how to develop musicality and musical appreciation.


Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

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#1464883 - 06/29/10 07:15 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Ejay]  
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I recently got a job teaching year 11&12 Music performance.. and since then have had my eyes opened to what goes on behind the scenes at the teaching system.. the reality is the teachers are there for one reason, to make money, they fulfill tasks designed by the superior. They lose the ability to care about each child's education and focus more on the children getting good grades. And don't get me started on GRADES... In my opinion they usually teach the kids exactly how to pass exams. and no more.

I'm not suggesting the teachers here don't know what's going on... if anything I have found REAL teachers here! hoping to discuss some brilliant new innovative theories for teaching.

I know you're out there.


... such a vital organ
#1464894 - 06/29/10 07:58 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Okies, it is just that cross posting is usually considered bad etiquette online, and is a tool used by spammers.Sorry if I was cynical, but without tone of voice, internet communication can be difficult. Your posts came across as rather full of self importance to me, when you were perhaps just being enthusiastic.

Re school teaching. Sadly most teachers begin with the same enthusiasm, ideals and ideas as yourself. I know , here in the UK, the pressure to meet government curriculum standards, OFSTED inspections and regulations, league tables and the pressure to meet exam standards, leaves teachers with very little time to extract the real talent and individual creative abilities of their students. It is understandable when they become exhausted and weary of the curriculum and bureaucratic red tape.


Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

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#1464895 - 06/29/10 07:59 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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You chaps should hear me play the violin ...
OK ... so you really want to hear ...
But ... where have all the people gone? (works every time!!)

Playing the violin is good for unnerving crass neighbours ... the cruel sound of scraped cat-gut has them no-good critters heading for the hills ... BTW I’m also good at making bacon and eggs ... just thought you chaps ought to know.

#1464900 - 06/29/10 08:16 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Originally Posted by hippymusicman
I recently got a job teaching year 11&12 Music performance.. and since then have had my eyes opened to what goes on behind the scenes at the teaching system.. the reality is the teachers are there for one reason, to make money, they fulfill tasks designed by the superior. They lose the ability to care about each child's education and focus more on the children getting good grades. And don't get me started on GRADES... In my opinion they usually teach the kids exactly how to pass exams. and no more.

I'm not suggesting the teachers here don't know what's going on... if anything I have found REAL teachers here! hoping to discuss some brilliant new innovative theories for teaching.

I know you're out there.
Hippymusicman, you are getting a behind the scenes look at your school (and a few others I would expect) in the Victorian education system (which has significant differences in curriculum to the music program in NSW and in QLD, for instance). Further, school music is a different situation to instrumental tuition (private) for a range of reasons. [If you are working at a private school the teachers will be under all kinds of pressure to get specific results with the students, irrespective of their talents or interests, and while I can understand this being momentarily shocking, you need to appreciate that most parents who send their children to these schools choose them because they want particular outcomes (as offered by the school).]

And finally, I've never met a serious piano teacher who couldn't have made a better living another way - to say that they do it for the money is about the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while.


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1464915 - 06/29/10 09:06 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Whilst there may well be some worthwhile sentiment to your 3 'steps', they are pretty meaningless by themselves, and only really of potential value to certain subsets of musician.

The two most important steps to 'musical genius', both completely missing from your program, are:

Step 1) Be born with the prerequisite abilities to make mastering a musical instrument of any kind easy enough for to you bother with step 2.

Step 2) Spend an inordinate amount of time practising.


Last edited by Ben Crosland; 06/29/10 09:07 AM.
#1464921 - 06/29/10 09:18 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Originally Posted by hippymusicman

Step 1 - Put down the instrument.



This is the bit that really cracks me up - you post this in a teacher's forum?? I can only begin to imagine how many music teachers would read that and think "yeah, right - be nice if they'd actually picked up their instrument once in a while!" grin

Last edited by Ben Crosland; 06/29/10 09:19 AM.
#1464925 - 06/29/10 09:24 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Ben Crosland]  
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Originally Posted by Ben Crosland
Originally Posted by hippymusicman

Step 1 - Put down the instrument.



This is the bit that really cracks me up - you post this in a teacher's forum?? I can only begin to imagine how many music teachers would read that and think "yeah, right - be nice if they'd actually picked up their instrument once in a while!" grin
Actually I agree with him here. Trouble is I don't think he understands why.


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#1464927 - 06/29/10 09:27 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Originally Posted by hippymusicman
I recently got a job teaching year 11&12 Music performance.. and since then have had my eyes opened to what goes on behind the scenes at the teaching system..
No. You have to really be there to see the 'reality'. Get yourself a PGCE (assuming you have a degree), teach for a few years, then tell us about the realities. You're not behind the scenes, you just happen to have a ring side seat.


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#1464929 - 06/29/10 09:45 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Ben Crosland
Originally Posted by hippymusicman

Step 1 - Put down the instrument.



This is the bit that really cracks me up - you post this in a teacher's forum?? I can only begin to imagine how many music teachers would read that and think "yeah, right - be nice if they'd actually picked up their instrument once in a while!" grin
Actually I agree with him here. Trouble is I don't think he understands why.


+1


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1464932 - 06/29/10 09:49 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Originally Posted by hippymusicman
I recently got a job teaching year 11&12 Music performance.. and since then have had my eyes opened to what goes on behind the scenes at the teaching system.. the reality is the teachers are there for one reason, to make money, they fulfill tasks designed by the superior. They lose the ability to care about each child's education and focus more on the children getting good grades. And don't get me started on GRADES... In my opinion they usually teach the kids exactly how to pass exams. and no more.

I'm not suggesting the teachers here don't know what's going on... if anything I have found REAL teachers here! hoping to discuss some brilliant new innovative theories for teaching.

I know you're out there.


I agree with your assessment for the most part, within the university setting. I have witnessed first-hand the squabbling and political mumbo-jumbo that goes on, and that's why I'm a self-employed teacher. Not all teachers are like this, even in universities, so I'd be careful about how much generalizing you do.

Also about your list of 3 things, this is actually what is done in Kindermusik and the like. Kodaly, Orff, Dalcroze and Suzuki all had this thought and many programs are modeled after their ideas, many combining them into one program. The younger the child is exposed to music in this exploratory way (process oriented vs. product oriented), the more natural it seems to them as they get older and go into serious study of music.


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#1464952 - 06/29/10 10:28 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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Originally Posted by hippymusicman
the reality is the teachers are there for one reason, to make money, they fulfill tasks designed by the superior. They lose the ability to care about each child's education and focus more on the children getting good grades. And don't get me started on GRADES... In my opinion they usually teach the kids exactly how to pass exams. and no more.
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There are so many things wrong with your post, I don't know where to begin. You do not grasp the complexity of the issues in education. Your statement on "GRADES" is baseless and completely misguided. While I cannot promise that ALL teachers care about their students ALL the time, I can never defend someone who claims that teachers only care about making money--that statement alone is wrong on so many levels!!


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1464958 - 06/29/10 10:34 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Sort of like the doctor only cares about making money, the engineer only cares about making money, the .....

As though the human ego can be reduced to that. No one cares about the quality of their work, or about how others perceive it (and us)?

#1464974 - 06/29/10 10:55 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by hippymusicman
the reality is the teachers are there for one reason, to make money, they fulfill tasks designed by the superior. They lose the ability to care about each child's education and focus more on the children getting good grades. And don't get me started on GRADES... In my opinion they usually teach the kids exactly how to pass exams. and no more.
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There are so many things wrong with your post, I don't know where to begin. You do not grasp the complexity of the issues in education. Your statement on "GRADES" is baseless and completely misguided. While I cannot promise that ALL teachers care about their students ALL the time, I can never defend someone who claims that teachers only care about making money--that statement alone is wrong on so many levels!!


AZN, I'm not saying what you said is wrong, but I believe hippymusicman was talking about the teachers he has encountered in the school system he is teaching in now. And that may be different from what you have experienced. He even said that the teachers here didn't seem to fit that bill.


Professional pianist and piano teacher.
#1464979 - 06/29/10 11:00 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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i found your post interesting.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1465254 - 06/29/10 08:04 PM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Ben Crosland]  
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Originally Posted by Ben Crosland
Originally Posted by hippymusicman

Step 1 - Put down the instrument.



This is the bit that really cracks me up - you post this in a teacher's forum?? I can only begin to imagine how many music teachers would read that and think "yeah, right - be nice if they'd actually picked up their instrument once in a while!" grin


It's a twisted situation I know! but the question teachers should ask themselves is "why .. do the students not WANT to pick up the instrument?" Has it become a chore?

The idea for me is .. introduce it as FUN.. then show the student THE VALUE OF LEARNING AN INSTRUMENT.. Then you wont need to tell them to pick up the instrument. They'll just grab it. well my students seem to anyway.


... such a vital organ
#1465275 - 06/29/10 08:24 PM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
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No one has mentioned the elephant in this particular room: a bit hard to put down a piano!!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1465384 - 06/29/10 11:41 PM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
No one has mentioned the elephant in this particular room: a bit hard to put down a piano!!!
Piece of cake compared to picking it up...


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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#1465417 - 06/30/10 12:35 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]  
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Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted by Little_Blue_Engine
Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
No one has mentioned the elephant in this particular room: a bit hard to put down a piano!!!
Piece of cake compared to picking it up...
HAHAHA!!!!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1465425 - 06/30/10 01:04 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keyboardklutz  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted by Little_Blue_Engine
Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
No one has mentioned the elephant in this particular room: a bit hard to put down a piano!!!
Piece of cake compared to picking it up...
In fact! Putting it down is an eccentric muscle contraction - they handle far heavier loads.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1465497 - 06/30/10 06:11 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: hippymusicman]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 216
Ejay Offline
Full Member
Ejay  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 216
U.K.
Originally Posted by hippymusicman
introduce it as FUN..



Wow!!!
They are right ... you really are a genius after all !!!!
grin


Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

[Linked Image]
#1465505 - 06/30/10 06:47 AM Re: Musical Genius - HOW TO BE ONE [Re: Ejay]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 446
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member
Ben Crosland  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 446
Worcester, UK
Originally Posted by Ejay
Originally Posted by hippymusicman
introduce it as FUN..



Wow!!!
They are right ... you really are a genius after all !!!!
grin


I know! If only someone had suggested this to me in capital letters 23 years ago, it might have saved my poor students from all that torture I forced them to endure! Maybe more people would be labelling me a genius by now!!11!

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