26 Oct

Learning by Ear – Learning Music Isn’t as Easy

Music is one of the world’s simplest languages to learn. It looks very technical and obscure to many people but provides years of enrichment once learned. Many people even learn the very basic rudiments of music in general music classes in elementary school and then pick up the finer points later in life as a hobby or second career.

In many ways, music is one of few subjects that can be taught and learned in school or by yourself. Often, children learn to read the notes on the staff by studying an instrument or joining a chorus in school. However, childhood is not the only time to learn music. Some people try out several instruments on their way through school, while others may take a music appreciation class and find that they enjoy listening to the masterworks. This enjoyment sometimes leads the formerly passive listener to jump from attending concerts to finding a local teacher from whom to learn to play a favorite instrument. In this case, a good teacher can show a student who may know how to read a small amount of music and teach him or her by way of relating new notes to the old ones how to read even more, a great way for an older student to learn piano.

Any instrument will take time to masterMany resources exist for those who wish to learn music. Some can learn it by ear, taking what they have heard on the radio or a recording and then playing it on a guitar or piano almost right away. Many of these people memorize their music and perhaps come back to learning to read it later.. The guitarists who do this often begin by learning which chords relate to what chord symbols on the sheet music, then some choose to learn the actual notes while others learn a guitar-specific form of music called TAB where each line of a musical staff corresponds to a certain string on the guitar.

Visual learners often choose to learn many things, including musical notation, by starting with a book or computer program. Printed guides can be found in the bookstore for those with any level of musical expertise, from absolute beginners and those with passing curiosity to someone who needs to fill in gaps in a prior education. Such guides often teach by way of showing the relationships between various notes and chords, so an instrument on which to try the theories presented is helpful, but not required. Some books and websites begin by presenting the material from a mathematical perspective, while others start right off with the music itself, so anyone with interest can find a way to start.

One can always choose to learn enough basics to sing in a local choir or continue into composing and arranging his or her music. Computers can help in this regard when certain instruments may not be available since the programs used in music can duplicate the sounds of many instruments. As with other languages of the world, some people choose to follow all of the rules in creating and playing music, while others only learn the rules to break them and have truly original ways of sharing how they feel with others. Once the language of music is learned, the person had a beautiful, artistic means for communicating with the world.

“Alan Baylock has achieved a goal that many artists aspire to, but often fail to reach: he has developed his own distinct sound as a composer. His writing is fresh, and is imbued with a great sense of spirit and fun.”
– Gordon Goodwin (Grammy & Emmy award winning composer/bandleader)

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“Baylock goes beyond the pale and creates moods and textures which challenge a big band to be on their best behavior. I have the highest regard for his writing.” – David Liebman