Improv Quote of the Day: Begin By Learning to Play

Unfortunately, a too-early emphasis on reading has kept many music students from developing this vital skill. But there’s another good reason to begin independently of notation. This approach enables you to concentrate on the physical aspects of playing. Good technique requires a relaxed body, and it’s a lot easier to be relaxed when focusing on one thing at a time. If you’re not familiar with the symbols of music, learning to play through notation is like rehearsing a new dance step while trying to read a description of it—in a language you don’t know. Reading is a valuable skill. It’s simply out of place in the earliest stages of learning. … Begin by making music from the heart, and by building the connection between ear and hand. Begin by learning to play.

– Bruce Siegel, “Learning to Play is Learning to Speak”