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WHOA! (Was: Understanding our Craft)

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  • Toban Dvoretzky
    ... Whoa! There s a distinction. As a couple of other posters have replied, there is NOTHING wrong with ear-singing. Perhaps the Handsomest One more
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 29, 2003
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      The awe-inspiringly Handsome Dave Philo wrote, in part:

      >>>It is beyond my belief how a man or woman can spend the thousands of
      >>>blissful hours singing barbershop in our respective male or female
      >>>organizations and for twenty, thirty or forty years be proud that they
      >>>are ear singers and don't read music. <<<

      ---
      Whoa! There's a distinction. As a couple of other posters have
      replied, there is NOTHING wrong with ear-singing. Perhaps the Handsomest
      One more accurately meant "rote-singers" -- those who learn only by rote or
      drill off voice-part recordings.

      One subset of rote-singers includes folks who, due to one excuse or
      another, haven't yet gotten music-reading training through Barbershop
      schools (do it!). Another subset comprises those who haven't done so and
      who don't plan to, and who don't even attend a chapter "craft" session, as
      they seem to take a certain perverse pride in their ignorance. (Hmmmph.)

      The largest group is likely those who would LIKE to learn, but who are
      hesitant or even scared -- not only to undertake the actual learning but
      even to admit their hesitancy.

      For those who are intimidated by learning to read music for Barbershop
      purposes, here are four points:

      [1] Learning to read English is far more challenging, because there
      are many, many, more exceptions and irregularities in English than there
      are in Barbershop music... and you've already learned how to read English!

      [2] The thing to remember when learning to read music is that when the
      little black dots move up, we sing higher; when they go down, we sing
      lower. Everything else (the "how much" and "when" part) is a matter of
      degree -- simple, consistent degree.

      [3] You've learned the names of your fellow chapter members, haven't
      you? The notes and lines/spaces and little squiggly symbol-thingies have
      names, too. Once you learn most of them (as you learned the names of your
      chapter pals when you joined your group), you'll have fewer new ones to
      learn than when your chapter has run a successful membership drive and you
      have to remember all the new people who've been signed up.

      [4] Consider that the "impossible challenge" of learning to read music
      is an elephant that you can eat, bite by bite. "OK; I've learned Z, and it
      was actually fairly easy; I understand it pretty well. Now, I'm learning
      Y. It too is not as tough as I thought, and I see how it fits with Z.
      Next, I'll learn X. Whenever I have any questions, I'll ask my ______
      (director, section leader, buddy) to clarify." Before you know it, you
      will have eaten most of the elephant, and you'll be getting by just fine.

      ---
      Regarding not rote-singing, but ear-singing: As the great
      double-gold-medalist and phenomenally proficient all-parts woodshedder Mo
      Rector will state (firmly and likely loudly): "Your EYE never tuned a
      chord. Your EAR does!"

      Toban Dvoretzky
      B.A. in Music (blah blah yak)
      Pres., Ancient Harmonious Society of Woodshedders (yee-HAAAAAAA!)
    • Dina Scharnhorst
      But there is yet another group, Toban: those who cannot read/learn to read music because of a learning disability; not necessarily dyslexia, but perhaps more a
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 2003
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        But there is yet another group, Toban: those who cannot read/learn to read
        music because of a learning disability; not necessarily dyslexia, but
        perhaps more a problem with abstract v. concrete methods of learning.

        What it all boils down to is how exactly does each individual learn best: by
        reading/seeing the music [concrete] or by listening to it [abstract].

        Some lucky few are able to do both well.

        Dina Scharnhorst, Baritone
        Seven Hills Chorus, Region 4
        Cincinnati, OH
        Rescue the weak and the needy; save them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm
        82:4

        >It is beyond my belief how a man or woman can spend the thousands of
        blissful hours singing barbershop in our respective male or female
        organizations and for twenty, thirty or forty years be proud that they are
        ear singers and don't read music.

        > Whoa! There's a distinction. As a couple of other posters have replied,
        there is NOTHING wrong with ear-singing. Perhaps the Handsomest One more
        accurately meant "rote-singers" -- those who learn only by rote or drill off
        voice-part recordings.

        > One subset of rote-singers includes folks who, due to one excuse or
        another, haven't yet gotten music-reading training through Barbershop
        schools...Another subset comprises those who haven't done so and who don't
        plan to.....The largest group is likely those who would LIKE to learn, but
        who are hesitant or even scared -- not only to undertake the actual learning
        but even to admit their hesitancy.
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