ERIC Number: EJ987231
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Playing by Ear: Foundation or Frill?
Woody, Robert H.
Music Educators Journal, v99 n2 p82-88 Dec 2012
Many people divide musicians into two types: those who can read music and those who play by ear. Formal music education tends to place great emphasis on producing musically literate performers but devotes much less attention to teaching students to make music without notation. Some would suggest that playing by ear is a specialized skill that is useful only to jazz and popular musicians. There are, however, many reasons to reconsider this position. Around the world, aural transmission of music and ear-based performance are the norm. Music pedagogues have described ear playing as a necessary developmental precursor to becoming a truly fluent music reader. Research supports the idea that playing by ear is a foundational skill that contributes to other aspects of musicianship, including improvising, sight-reading, and performing from memory. Ear playing has even been shown to be a contributor to skilled performance of rehearsed music, the traditional mainstay of school music. Ear-driven activities can involve student musicians in composing and arranging, musical collaboration with peers, and lifelong individual artistic expression. (Contains 18 notes.)
Descriptors: Music Education, Human Body, Music, Musicians, Music Reading, Creative Activities, Performance, Music Activities, Teaching Methods, Cognitive Processes, Learning Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A