• Sandra Howe

When Lessons Appear in Surprising Places


Here are some unexpected places you might find some musical insight!


1. The Midi Instrument

Midi instruments communicate information directly to a computer. They don’t communicate sound, instead they provide only the velocity (dynamics) and the duration of the notes you play. This information can be displayed graphically by digital audio software. It is amazing how much you can learn about your own playing by recording it using a midi instrument. The results displayed can be surprising!

2. The Rubik’s Cube

The process of learning algorithms to solve a Rubik’s Cube is much like the process of learning music. When learning music, we learn multiple algorithms which we remember kinaesthetically, aurally, visually and mentally. If you play an instrument and you’ve never tried to solve a Rubik’s cube before, try it – when you get to the part where you have learnt the algorithms by heart, you’re using the same skills as when you learn and play your instrument.

3. The Drum Kit

I have a couple of family members who are drummers and I have only picked up a little over the years but what I have learnt has been, surprisingly, very useful to my music practice. Much of our music study is mastering rhythm and coordination and when learning the drums, you need both. Listening to a drummer’s take on irregular time signatures such as 5/8 and 7/8 is eye-opening.

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