Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Surefire Fixes for All Musical Ailments

I’ve heard that many people take a beta-blocker or other drugs to fix stagefright (see the blog article about stagefright for some more musically based ideas), and I know there are gadgets out there to keep a bow on track, play the next note of a tune every time you tap on a drum, show a piano student which keys to press remotely from an online connection, practically play a guitar for you, and so on.

I think it’s time for some more advanced products to help people learn to play musical instruments:

Magnetic Tune Teacher–electromagnets on the playing surface of the instrument are activated based on a programmed piece of music, and magnets in the student’s fingers are drawn to the right place at the right time for the right amount of time, thus teaching their fingers to play the music. Slight drawback is the minor surgery required to insert the finger magnets.

Tune Pills–building on advanced memory research pinpointing the sites and structures in the brain which retain musical patterns, these pills make it a snap for the victim, I mean the student, to learn musical patterns overnight. Just take the proper pill (e.g. “broken thirds going up for three steps, then proceeding down 6 major scale notes”, or “minor scale up 4 steps, dropping a sixth and then back to original note”) and the student will find it simple to learn that particular passage the next morning. Alternatives to these pills are also available but are much more expensive, including hypnosis, and practicing.

Musical Tuneup Juice–no, this isn’t about tuning the instrument, it’s about tuning up the student’s musical “engine” so he or she can relax, listen, try, and retain instruction better from a lesson, or at least go away feeling better about the lesson. It comes in three options: Guinness, Bud, and Miller.

Grace-Note Restraint Systems–a simple gadget wrapping a small but comfortable patented rubber-band-like strap around the little finger in preparation for the moment that a grace note is needed, at which time a patented release mechanism releases the finger for a sharp tap at a precisely timed moment for the perfect grace note without need to worry the student about those pesky, tiny, hardly readable notes. An optional attachment allows the teacher to release the restraint for the student, and a new version includes a wireless mechanism which the teacher can activate nonchalantly while sitting in the audience during a recital.

***If you have come across other hi-tech gadgets or drugs that might be as helpful as these (is it possible?), please clue us all in by adding a comment below. It might be just the break we need to get our students on track.***

In the mean time, thanks to Simon for his comments on Collecting the “Benjamins” –about collecting (or not) payments from his student; and run dogg on Rhythm War Stories.

About the Author

Ed Pearlman
Ed Pearlman has focused on performing, teaching, and judging fiddle music for over 30 years, offering performances and workshops throughout the USA and in Canada and Scotland. His original training was with members of the Chicago and Boston Symphonies, and he played with orchestras and chamber groups at Yale and in Boston. He currently teaches privately in Maine and at workshops around the countr... [Read more]

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