I’ve been looking through elementary school band method books. I’ve by no means looked through every method book out there, but I find something curious about the ones I have seen, and I’ve confirmed my suspicions with a few music teachers.
The books are filled with diagrams of instruments, some music history, definitions of musical terms, and pages of staff notation for memorizing the relationship of fingers on the instrument to dots on the page.
But nowhere have I found any mention of or exercises for the ear. None.
Now, I’m not referring to jazz, just general music education. I’ve often written about our obsession with technique and mechanics, and my observation about the seemingly exclusive focus on eye over ear within these elementary band books points to a possible cause.
I’ve been contemplating a book for beginning music students that suppliments the eye/mind obsession of early music education materials. I think that ear-based exercises would not only be helpful in developing the core music skill of hearing, but if done well, would also be more fun for both the teacher and student.
Why aren’t we training the ear from the very beginning similar to Suzuki?
Many of you are teachers, so I’m very interested in your thoughts on this.