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Music books make me feel stupid

I’m not sure that I started the right way. I don’t know if there is a right way.

Starting with books isn’t a bad idea. But a lot of books assume a level of knowledge that most people don’t have. And by people, I mean non-musicians. No wonder people don’t think they’re talented enough. Most books tell them implicitly that they’re supposed to know stuff they couldn’t possibly know. Which makes them feel vaguely stupid.

An example:

“Melody, rhythm and harmony are so intertwined in songwriting that it is difficult to discuss one without the other.”

An understandable response from someone who has never had a music lesson might be: “What?! I have to learn all of that together? What’s harmony?” You’re already overwhelmed and you haven’t even got to the end of the paragraph. And the rest of the paragraph just piles on more of the same. You won’t get to the end of the chapter because, as relevant as the material might be, you won’t use it. You won’t know how.

Let me be clear. There’s nothing wrong with this book. There are many good things about this book. But someone who know zero about music will go somewhere else. Worse, they’ll quit without ever trying. And chances are the next book (if they do try) will be much the same. And then you just might think that you have no talent because you don’t understand this stuff. As if anyone else in your position does.

That’s when you’ll say, “I could never do that. I’m not musically talented.” And I’ll get angry.

 I don’t want to get angry anymore. So I decided to write this blog. I want people to have an alternative to books that don’t consider the non-musician. I want people to feel like they can do this.


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