Music and Language I

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Music is often regarded as the universal language. Indeed, learning music is very similar to learning any language: you have to learn first of all the alphabet, then the basic words. With the understanding of the grammar and the syntax, you put the words together to make simple sentences, which form a paragraph, and eventually an essay. It goes the same with music: you learn the individual notes by their names (the letter names) and their positions. After that you understand how the notes are placed together with regard to their relations with one another; there they form a melody, a chord, and a phrase, gradually a section and a complete piece.

One might say music is a universal language, but judging from what I just said above, it is obviously not. In order to understand a language, you have to learn the technical parts of it. You have to understand the grammar and the meanings of the words in order to know what the conversation is about. Therefore, if one wants to understand music and figure out what it means and represents, one has to learn its grammar.

I understand the general term “music” as the broad category of all languages, which means that under such terminology there go many different kinds of music, e.g. classical, jazz, blues, folk, country, rock, pop, etc. And under each kind of music there are sub-categories such as orchestral music, piano music, chamber music, pure string ensemble, brass music etc etc. Now we can see how difficult it is to speak the language of music.

Many people might think, “hey we just want to listen to the music and that’s it, it is just sound after all, what is there to understand? and how hard can it be to learn it?”

Just like learning a language, learning music can be done in various ways. For a language, you can be able to understand it aurally, speak it perfectly, write it in sentences, or read from a book. For music, you can understand it by listening to it with the basic knowledge of theory, history and form, playing an instrument, composing a new piece of your own, or simply read it on the score and “listen” to the imagined sound in your head.

(To be continued…)

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Music Reference Books 音樂參考書

 

I have used countless different sources, readings and references for my articles here. It is simply impossible to list them all. I also do not want to bore you with the dry and awkward academic readings. Therefore, to start with, here is a short Selected Book List for your reading interest and pleasure:

我在這裡的文章用了無數不同的閱讀和參考來源,是不可能全部列舉出來的。我也不想介紹你閱讀一些彆扭沈悶的學術讀物。以下是一個簡短的閱讀清單給你作參考之用:

FOR SERIOUS PIANISTS AND PIANO TEACHERS

PIANO HISTORY –
Title: The New Grove: The Piano
Publishing Information: W.W. Norton and Company, New York, London.

PIANO TECHNIQUE –

Title: On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound, and Expression
Author: György Sándor
Publishing Information: New York: Schirmer Books, 1981.
書名 : 《论钢琴弹奏:动作,声音与表现》
作者 : 桑朵尔
翻譯版本的連結:http://www.pianoweb.cn/eng/apianoworks.htm

Title: With Your Own Two Hands
Author: Seymour Bernstein

Title: Piano
Author: Louis Kentner
Publishing Information: Kahn & Averill Publishers, 2001

Title: Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments
(Original Title in German: “Ein Versuch über die wahre Art das Klavier zu Spielen”)
Author: C.P.E. Bach
Publishing Date: 1753

Title: A History of Theories of Teaching Piano Technic
Author: Roger Crager Boardman
Publishing Information: PhD Dissertation, New York University, 1954.

Title: Great Pianists on Piano Playing: Godowsky, Hofmann, Lhevinne, Paderewski, and 24 Other Legendary Performers
Compiled by: James Francis Cooke
Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc., New York

PIANO PEDAGOGY –

Title: The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher
Authors: Marieene Uszler, Stewart Gordon, Scott McBride Smith
Publisher: Schirmer Books, New York

PIANO PERFORMANCE AND PRACTICE –

Title: The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music From The Heart
Author: Madeline Bruser
Publisher: Bell Tower, New York

Title: The Pianist’s Talent: A New Approach To Piano Playing Based On The Principles Of F Matthias Alexander and Raymond Thiberge
Author: Harold Taylor
Publisher Information: Kahn & Averill, London

Title: The Inner Game of Music
Author: Barry Green, W. Timothy Gallwey
Publisher Information: Pan Books, 1986.

Title: The Complete Pianist: Body, Mind, Synthesis
Author: Ruth C. Friedberg
Publisher Information: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Metuchen, N.J., & London, 1993.

SIGHT-READING –

Article Title: “Sight Reading- A Trying Time for Teacher and Pupil”
Author: Paul Richardson
Website Link: http://www.musicteachers.co.uk/resources/sightr.pdf

TEACHING –

Title: The Art of Successful Teaching: A Blend of Content and Context
Author: Tim Lautzenheiser

PHILOSOPHY

Title: Music: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Nicholas Cook
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Title: Source Readings In Music History, Volume I: Greek Views Of Music
Editor: Thomas J. Mathiesen
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York
(Greek philosophers -Plato, Aristotle, Cleonides etc.- on music; NOT an easy reading)

Title: Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Edward Craig
Publisher: Oxford University Press

LANGUAGE –
Title: German For Musicians
Author: Josephine Barber
Publisher: Faber Music, London

Title: Graded French Reader: Première étape
Author: Camille Bauer
Publisher: D.C. Heath and Company

Title: Better Reading French
Author: Annie Heminway
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

DICTION / SINGING-
Title: The Singer’s Manual of English Diction
Author: Madeleine Marshall
Publisher: Schirmer Books

Title: On Studying Singing
Author: Sergius Kagen
Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc., New York

MUSIC EDUCATION-
Title: Music, Gender and Education
Author: Lucy Green
Publisher: Cambridge University Press,

FOR SERIOUS PARENTS

GENERAL CHILD EDUCATION 兒童教育-

書名: 管教啊,管教
作者: 汪琣珽
(註:本人大力推薦, 將會詳細討論此書)

MUSIC EDUCATION 音樂教育-

Title: Your Musical Child: Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps
Author: Jessica Baron Turner
(Highly recommended)

(About This Book:
Read My Article: “Musical Child I”
閱讀中文版: 你的音樂兒童《一》)

Title: Music, Gender, Education
Author: Lucy Green
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

FOR GENERAL READING

MUSIC –
Title: Music: Healing The Rift
Author: Ivan Hewitt
Publisher: Continuum, New York, London

PIANO MUSIC APPRECIATION 鋼琴音樂欣賞 –
書名: 黑白溢彩 – 荷洛維茲的藝術
作者: 邵頌雄
出版: Oxford University Press

POSTIVITY 正面思想-

Title: Positive Thinking
Author: Vera Peiffer
Publisher Information: Element, Harper Collins Publishes Limited

Title: You Can Heal Your Life
Author: Louise L. Hay
Publisher Information: Hay HOuse, Inc., 2004.

Title: Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Live of Your Dreams
Author: Jack Canfield and D.D. Watkins
Publishing Information: Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida.
Website: www.hcibooks.com
Free Book Sampler: http://www.hcibooks.com/SamplerPDF/9780757306587.pdf

Title: How To Have A Beautiful Mind
Author: Edward de Bono
Publisher: Random House, London.

PSYCHOLOGY 心理學-

書名: 瞬間看穿人心的心理學
作者: 原田玲仁
翻譯: 許慧貞
出版: Pawpaw Productions

 

Courses

PIANO TECHNIQUE TRANSFORMATION COURSE

This course is designed to drastically change the way students play the piano forever for the better.

In this ten-week course, we will explore the association between human body anatomy and piano performance, followed by body weight/weight transfer and various piano techniques, learning technique and technical foundation (scales, arpeggios, tone and dynamic). Students also learn to use pedaling and practice skills effectively.

This course uses the exercises in Miss Teresa Wong's "Technique Transformation Piano Exercise Book".

SUCCESSFUL MUSIC TEACHING COURSE

This course provides a blueprint for you as a new teacher of any musical instruments/genres, to start your own teaching career/studio. Throughout the whole 10-week course, you will learn from scratch on everything you need to know to get started, from building your own music blog and social media channels, to how to set your studio policy and fee, and of course, how to recruit new students and retain current ones!

grade8auraltrainingcourse

This is a 10-week comprehensive course designed to help students who are preparing for ABRSM Grade 8 music exam (ALL INSTRUMENTS), or someone who just wants to learn how to properly and effectively recognize musical elements.

In this course, students will receive clear guidance and examples so they can learn to effectively listen, recognize and answer each part of the grade 8 listening test.

Towards the end of the course, students can measure their progress through two mock tests.

piano pedagogy course

This course is specially designed for piano teachers. Whether you are new to piano teaching, or you are a seasoned piano teacher, this course will equip you with knowledge and information necessary for any piano teacher to start thinking differently and teaching more effectively, creatively and systematically.

We start this course from the basics of piano teaching: the objective, philosophy and methodology. We discuss about choices of piano beginner coursebooks, course planning, your first lessons with beginners, adult student teaching, issues with transfer and teenage students, intermediate repertoire, music history and analysis, and piano technique.

This course provides a blueprint for you as a new teacher of any musical instruments/genres, to start your own teaching career/studio. Throughout the whole 10-week course, you will learn from scratch on everything you need to know to get started, from building your own music blog and social media channels, to how to set your studio policy and fee, and of course, how to recruit new students and retain current ones!

Courses

PIANO TECHNIQUE TRANSFORMATION COURSE

This course is designed to drastically change the way students play the piano forever for the better.

In this ten-week course, we will explore the association between human body anatomy and piano performance, followed by body weight/weight transfer and various piano techniques, learning technique and technical foundation (scales, arpeggios, tone and dynamic). Students also learn to use pedaling and practice skills effectively.

This course uses the exercises in Miss Teresa Wong's "Technique Transformation Piano Exercise Book".

SUCCESSFUL MUSIC TEACHING COURSE

This course provides you with a blueprint for you to start teaching and building your own music studio as a new instrument teacher.

Throughout the 10-week course, you will start learning from scratch, from building your own music blog and social media channels, to how to promote your teaching, setting up studio policies and fees, and of course, how to recruit new students and retain current students!

grade8auraltrainingcourse

This is a 10-week comprehensive course designed to help students who are preparing for ABRSM Grade 8 music exam (ALL INSTRUMENTS), or someone who just wants to learn how to properly and effectively recognize musical elements.

In this course, students will receive clear guidance and examples so they can learn to effectively listen, recognize and answer each part of the grade 8 listening test.

Towards the end of the course, students can measure their progress through two mock tests.

piano pedagogy course

This course is specially designed for piano teachers. Whether you are new to piano teaching, or you are a seasoned piano teacher, this course will equip you with knowledge and information necessary for any piano teacher to start thinking differently and teaching more effectively, creatively and systematically.

We start this course from the basics of piano teaching: the objective, philosophy and methodology. We discuss about choices of piano beginner coursebooks, course planning, your first lessons with beginners, adult student teaching, issues with transfer and teenage students, intermediate repertoire, music history and analysis, and piano technique.

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