58. Skills: A Few Minutes from the Days of Their Lives
Perception: Agh, I’m sick of this cramming of rules! How about playing a little something?
Coordination: What, you haven’t had enough of Hannon yet?
Perception: A total bore! That’s what your Hannon is! I’m sick of it! I want music!
Vision: And have you thought about me? I’ll have to read in that case! I think I need glasses! Besides, nobody’s taught me..
Perception: Hooray! They gave me a song to learn! Of course it isn’t Moonlight Sonata, but it’ll do. Something about a star. Nice and simple!
Coordination: Simple!? What are you, joking? I’ve got to play with both hands in this one!
Perception: So what? You played with both of them for Hannon, didn’t you?
Coordination: Like there’s a comparison! With that one, it’s just the same thing over and over in a circle; anyone can figure it out. But here we’ve got a schmorgesborg of some sort! I never agreed to this!
Perception: And what’s the vision for? It needs to help out!
Coordination: Go ahead, keep waiting! Look, there it is – it’s still latched onto the first note and is pondering about how to find the other two.
Hearing: Hey, intelligentsia, will you be a while? Are we burying someone or what? I’m about to fall asleep! How long are you going to chew over one? Have pity!
Coordination: Don’t yell at us, you philistine! You’re over there twiddling your thumbs, but I’ve got a devil’s pick here of keys. I’m picking at straws here! The hands are blundering around in fear, look for yourself – agh, they’ve gotten somewhere else again! Listen, Vision, you could at least help a little!
Vision: But if I tear myself away from this note now, I won’t be able to find it again! Give me some sort of hint or I’ll-
Hearing: A-Ai! What the heck are you guys doing there? What a sour note! That hurts!
Coordination: Pardon moi, there’s only one of me, and there are lots of keys! What’s done is done.
Vision: Well, now, it’s happened! Where am I? Help, help! Someone! Anyone!
Coordination: I can’t help you with anything. I’m barely moving on my own here…
Hearing: Well, that’s it! Enough! Figure it out on your own! Who am I, Sherlock Holmes? Solving the mystery of the three false notes at the tempo of a dying turtle!?
Perception: Folks, what’s the problem here? Where are the proper fingers? Why aren’t you following the rhythm? Did you fall asleep or what? The teacher’s just said in plain English to play in tempo and expressively!
Coordination, Vision, and Hearing: That’s it! Do it all yourself! And express it all on your own!
Perception: Mutiny on board, eh? And what about me? What am I supposed to do? And what will become of me if I can’t figure out this little song after a month?
Vision, Hearing, and Coordination: You’re untalented, that’s what you are! And so are we! This business is dead, folks. Burn it down! We need to get out of here. Not everyone can be Mozart, afterall!
There’s a pretty picture! The only salvation in this state of affairs is to drag it out. In order for the work to somehow seem more like music, the student needs hours, from day to day, to patiently pull it all apart and then put it back together, like the pieces of a picture puzzle. Not to mention that the tactical memory takes the entire unbearable burden onto itself. The hearing and logic also do all they can to spare the perception from the tedious work. The final sum is still an inability to read notes. The song is memorized, and becomes another impressive, complicated, though useless skill. Memorize a concrete, one-time-use collection of sounds that will quickly be forgotten - is there much use in that?
This type of education can only be tolerated as a necessary harm. It leaves so many tiresome memories that the joy at the result fades into nothing. You won’t have much luck in getting the majority of “musically educated” people to figure out new material. More often, they don’t approach an instrument for years! And if they do approach it, all that is in their repertoire is a few crammed pieces that are hard to remember, and nearly impossible to play from sheet music. Because they never learned to read from sheet music.