Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Education: Let's talk about International Music Day

Oh! What a special day! Today, October 1 is International Music Day!

As you already know me well as my usual readers, it would be impossible to me not to write about Music Day.

"No truly cultural pursuit, involving the intellect and the emotions, is complete unless it can be regarded as both an end and a means. It is an end in itself so far as it moves the aesthetic sense, gives immediate pleasure and becomes a part of our being. It is a means in the sense that it should raise us to a higher level, make us capable of going further to accomplish other, more difficult, more pregnant acts of cognition-in short, of developing our own powers and helping to develop those of the community."

Georges Duhamel, Académie Française


"Music has the potential to achieve social and psychological transformation of children and young people. Their sensibility will be accurate. We must never waste such an opportunity as teachers! Captivating the major interests of our students about Music."


Music, as you can read on several posts on my blog, is fundamental in Education of children and young people.

I think music should be taught in all schools, from primary to secondary education as a serious curriculum.

The aim is not to form not only professional musicians, but to develop the appreciation, taste and critical judgment of the listener from his earliest youth, so as to train him and enable him to appreciate the beauty and wealth of musical masterpieces. 

Watch the video below and listen Einar Soulbu, Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, talking about Music and Education and the importance of preparing the next generation for being the masters of their own lives and supporters of the lives of the others. 

What is needed to ensure a vibrant, diverse future for the many different forms of music and music activity on the planet.

And what about special needs students? Yesterday, I read a fantastic article on FastCompany website: How to write Music in color! Absolutely! Agree!

The article is about the sound-artist|designer Yuri Suzuki ! As a dyslexic kid he learned music not through sheet music but through “Color Chaser".

Since debuting it in 2010, the Color Chaser has proven popular with children in Suzuki’s workshops

Yuri Suzuki

And what is Color Chaser? Color Chaser (2010) is a small, wheeled robotic box that is programmed to follow a black line drawn on a piece of paper. 

Perpendicular scribbles across this line in turn relate to different musical notes, depending on the color. 

Yuri explains that this project was "all about inventing new ways of visually understanding melodies, or “the physical representation of the music;” 

When he was a young boy, his dyslexia made reading traditional sheet music almost impossible (something that proved problematic during his early years in a ska band).

“My band members were trying to be professional at that time and they wanted me to read the score. They told me: if you can’t read the score we have to fire you.” 

Yuri Suzuki

The Color Chaser project was about finding a way around that. Color Chaser has two Arduino boards:
  • one to read and follow the black ink track 
  • other to chirp different sounds for each color. 
“Looks Like Music” has five varieties of cutely shaped Color Chasers, each chirping different tunes for the appropriate colors. Watch the video below:

Credits: Yuri Suzuki

Unsurprisingly, the Color Chaser has proven popular with the children in the educational workshops Yuri is involved in. 

“It’s quite helpful” he says, “because even though they don’t have any real knowledge about music, they can still understand the principle.” 

“Modern technology is like magic. People rarely understand what’s actually happening inside."
Yuri Suzuki

It’s this combination of innovative educational ideas and a sense of playfulness that encourages and also rewards interaction with a Suzuki design. 

I was completely fan about Yuri Suzuki's idea, thinking about Music curriculum for special needs students in School.

Some thoughts:

"Music, like all the arts, has the happy property of making the good lovable through beauty. It can open hearts and awaken an interest in certain subjects to which children would otherwise be indifferent. 

It can lend attraction to ideas which the minds of children are not yet capable of grasping in the form of abstract truths."

L. Gelber, Directress, Musical Education Secretariat, Malines, Belgium 

If music is thus integrated into general education, it becomes a useful auxiliary to the other subjects of School Education. 

It will have a great impact in students' adult life. I can say it ! I have a Music degree among other degrees. I feel thankful to my parents who knew the importance of Music in my entire life.

"The man that hath no music in himself, 
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, 
Is fit for treason, stratagems and spoils. 
The motions of his spirit are dull as night 
And his affections as Erebus. 
Let no such men be trusted." (...)

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, excerpt

Have a wonderful Music Day!


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