John Man, classical musician and hyphen enthusiast, recently had a spectacular epiphany about learning music. As a singer, he has often struggled to comprehend exactly what ‘learning music’ entails, but with the help of a popular new book of slushy helpful-sounding things, he has now realised how to do it the right way.
“It just came upon me like a ton of very useful bricks,” he said. “If you need breath in order to sing a phrase, you need to breathe in before you sing that phrase. After that, you will have the breath to sing the phrase.”
Man found this brilliant advice in Herbert Scragadoodle’s popular new book on practice, called Do The Thing. Herbert’s philosophy calls for a simple, effective approach which, as he points out in the introduction, is much better than a complicated, ineffective approach. “The most important thing for any musician is to do the thing,” he said, “whatever that thing happens to be. I have many humorous anecdotes to illustrate this. In fact, the book is mostly just anecdotes.”
Sally McNally, classical pianist and social heckler, also liked the book, finding in it a universal law that has revolutionised her approach to music. “It just slapped me in the face like a wet, pedagogical fish,” she said. “I realised that in order for my finger to play a note it needs to be above that note before I need to play that note. Then I can play that note.”
The book has had quite an impact and has become very popular. Herbert is now working on a sequel which crystallises his message even more profitably. “In the first book I focused on doing the thing,” he said, “but now I want to channel the Scragadoodle philosophy by focussing on doing JUST the thing. This will eliminate all the things people do accidentally when they do the thing, which will help them do the thing even better.”
Man looks forward to reading this book as well. “I hope I have more amazing epiphanies,” he said. “It’s those moments when you are practising and you get pinioned against a wall by an out of control idea-truck or attacked by a ravenous insight-wolf, just out of the blue; those moments are great.”