On Not Reading Sheet Music

Below I’ve linked a great article that supports notation-free musicianship and education on a variety of levels. Learning to develop your own voice and vision is primary to your musical evolution. Sight-reading is not as paramount as an intrinsic ability to think and hear musically. Sight-reading gets rusty if you don’t do it often but a solid basic understanding of music never diminishes. In fact, when you understand what you are really listening for, it’s virtually impossible not to hear it anymore. As the chord matrix illuminates, it’s finality, stability and well-worn paths become more and more self-evident. As you become more and more familiar with the layout, you’ll see how little there really is at the foundation of all music. There is no better time to start your journey than right now!


Studies are finally starting to confirm that <music> may compliment the way the brain naturally encodes and internalizes music far better than traditional methods.

But it isn’t just about learning new music — it’s about creativity, too. Research out of Johns Hopkins on jazz musicians and musical creativity only confirmed the importance of aural learning. Scientists discovered that the more fluid and spontaneous the process of conceiving and executing a musical idea, the more creative and unique that idea can be. When jazz musicians improvise on their instruments in MRI machines, they show far more activity in the medial prefrontal cortex — an area of the brain linked with self-expression and activities that convey individuality — and far less activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is an inhibitory area involved in self-censoring and judgement. So musicians who work from the ear and keep their composition style more spontaneous are actually giving themselves more space to come up with unique personal expressions than artists who rely on pen, paper and hard theory.

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