The Pedagogy of Music by Kyle Coughlin


Principle Number 1: Expand Your Awareness of Music

To learn a skill well requires great awareness. Whether you are learning music, participating in a sport, or practicing any physical activity, the more aware you are, the better you will perform. If you are unaware of what you are doing and what is going on around you, your results will not be good, and you probably won’t enjoy the process. For example, if you are playing basketball and you are not aware of where your teammates are on the court, you are likely to turn the ball over to the other team. In a more extreme example, if you are driving a car and talking on your phone at the same time and are unaware of a stop sign, there are potentially disastrous results. It is important to be aware of any task in which you are involved.

If your goal is to become a better musician, it is essential to expand and deepen your musical awareness. Keep the following processes in mind and improve them to increase your musical awareness:
Listen to music more clearly. Give it your undivided attention.
Learn your instrument the best that you can.
Understand the fundamental elements of music.
Listen more carefully to the music you are producing, as well as the music that is coming from other players in your ensemble. A good way to improve these skills is through ear training and echo exercises.
When playing with other musicians, be aware of how your part fits within the rest of the ensemble. For example, who has the melody and who has the harmony?
Understand the difference between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. That understanding will help you internalize music more quickly and increase your awareness.


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