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Sophia Matthew
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How to Recognize Musical Hearing

Published on 9/13/2017
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Friends, who are parents of toddlers, ask me many times if their child is musical. The answer is, in fact, not as simple and unequivocal as many people presume. Many parameters figure into the musicality of a person. Yet, after observing and testing hundreds of kids, I can honestly say I have never come across a child who is completely lacking any musical Wholetones Review  inclination. Music is an integral part of our existence, from the moment we are created. By the 14th week as embryos, our hearing is developed to the point of sensing sounds, much earlier than our sight, which only develops after four months out of the womb. The embryo senses his/her own heartbeats and the mother's as well, along with other sounds which penetrate the shelter of the womb.

Moreover, both Oliver sachs in his book Musicophilia and Shinitzi Suzuki, the renowned violin and musical teacher, conclude that every person is musical and can play an instrument. Music has a special meaning for each of us, but many of us don't get any training which can develop our musical potential. Sachs describes in his book several of the rare people who don't feel anything when listening to music, but perhaps the most famous unmusical person is Zigmund Freud, who was appreciative of many art forms, such as literature and sculpture, but could not observe the value and significance of music. The generations which followed him corrected this error in judgment. Shinitzi Suzuki, one of the best violin teachers of the 20th century, claimed and proved that every child can learn to play the violin, depending mostly on the will of the child and his/her family.

He showed the world that hundreds of children could play this instrument, which is considered difficult to master. Many teachers today carry on his legacy, whether by fully embracing his methods or by integrating some of his ideas into their own teaching. This thinking conflicts with the general opinion, which claims that the violin, and all of its stringed relatives, require exceptional musical hearing for mastering them. So is musical hearing really not necessary for playing an instrument? And if so, what is needed? My experience of teaching has shown me that students can learn to play well even without exceptional hearing. The hearing ability can be acquired and depends on the efforts of the student and his/her exposure to the materials. A child who listens to music regularly, receives training and experiences playing on any instrument, is likely to develop a better musical hearing than a child who has not received these tools.

Adolf Rickenbacker invented the electric guitar in the later 1920s and in doing so he changed music forever. This was the first time that people began to use electricity to amplify their instruments. Furthermore with the invention of the electric guitar came the birth of Jazz music. Before the electric guitar came onto the scene it was nearly impossible to incorporate a guitar into band music because it was not loud enough, but the electric guitar solved the volume issue. African Americans strongly connect rhythm with their music. This can be seen in the tribal music of Africa which consists of drumming and singing. African Americans took hold of the electric guitar and used it to throw poppy grooves over the brass instruments and Jazz was born. 

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