Music, like language, is an innate and natural part of human expression.
Without music - singing, dancing, playing, listening - we are not whole human beings.
There are a number of factors
that combine to squeeze out the pursuit of musicianship in our contemporary western culture, not the least of which is the
fact that the sense of local community so necessary for the encouragement and development of the performing arts is almost
nonexistent. We are living in a time of relative isolation in which the social support system is increasingly restricted to
the nuclear family.
Music, however, is a social endeavor. The Indians, the Balinese, the Japanese, the Africans, the
Australian Aborigines - every culture that has maintained a cohesive community structure (all of which are currently endangered,
of course) have historically included music as an integral part of their daily life and group activities. Formal music study
means that the student works with the teacher and in a group several times a week. It is always a communal experience, not
an isolated endeavor. Because everyone in the community is a musician on some level, and song and dance surround one every
day, there is tremendous motivation and continual positive reinforcement.
Teaching and learning music in our culture,
on the other hand, is a challenge of often daunting proportions, especially since the mass eradication of music from public
education over the last decades. In spite of all the recent publicity around studies showing that listening to and performing
music as a child enhances and stimulates brain development and function, music (and the arts in general) is still considered
an optional "extra" in most school curricula. So if music training happens at all, it means that the parents, private teachers,
and students have to be exceptionally focused.
As I observe the steady devaluation of artistic pursuit in our culture,
I am ever more grateful to be part of a community of parents, students and music educators that understands the true gift
of an early music education - the unique joy of being able to communicate in this rich and universal language.
guidebook is for them.