Music/Language Analogies: The Poor Ones First

Learning to read is a naturally developed process in music and in language.

The Ways Children Learn Music

Why am I taking your time to show you analogies that don’t work?  To get your minds into the swing of thinking about music in the same way you think about language.

—Leonard Bernstein, The Unanswered Question, pp. 60-61.

So far, I’ve written two posts about music/language analogies.  They were mostly general and introductory.  Now that I’ve set the stage, I’m ready—almost—to examine a few analogies in detail.  Keep in mind that there are two kinds of music/language analogies:  1) those that go nowhere; and 2) those that hold together just long enough to spur our thinking about music pedagogy.  Is it worth our time to delve into poor analogies?  Yes, because, as Bernstein reminds us, even poor analogies can get our minds going.

In this post, I’ll discuss two of those poor music/language analogies—notes and letters, patterns and words—just to gently put them to bed; and in the next…

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