Sad news when seeking permission to quote Don Campbell

Don Campbell´s work has been a huge help to me, both personally and professionally, when I was working as a music therapist. Just recently, I got hold of a copy of his “100 Ways to Improve Teaching Using your Voice and Music” and found it so marvelous – rich with suggestions – and so practical – one a page – that I wanted to beg for it to be reprinted, or made available as an e-book: it would help every teacher on the planet.
Recently I sought permission to quote from “The Mozart Effect” an “Interlude”, where you are invited to listen to Mozart´s Theme and Variations on what we know as “Twinkle twinkle little Star” and imagine different ways of approaching a routine task.   It was only with the favourable response I received that I heard the news that he had died two years ago.  I was very sad.  We are very lucky that he left such a comprehensive body of work behind.

Taking baby steps

There´s no harm in acknowledging that trying to do something new can make us feel babyish again.  It was my own inability to pick out a nursery rhyme by ear, in my 20s, capable of playing dots “like flyshit on the wall”, that set me on this path of finding a different way of learning to play.  Slow down and enjoy the experience.  If you think of the months it took learning to crawl, then learning to walk, it´ll help you be patient before you start running.  Mozart used “Twinkle twinkle little star”, known to him as “Ah, vous dirai – je, Maman”  for a set of variations, which just goes to show that there is nothing too modest, or too well-known, to be worth playing.

Taster from the first chapter – Step 5: a scale to get you moving round the keyboard

I´ve chosen this step as an example of what you get in this audiobook: a brief idea of what´s involved,  and the gist of how to do it: then step by step instructions, first for the right hand and then for the left: why and what it´s useful for and formal naming of parts – the “chromatic” scale, in this case.  This is followed by “try this”, an invitation to improve and improvise using what´s just been learnt.  As this has been designed as an audiobook, it´s accompanied by static diagrams.

In designing this as an audiobook, with a small accompanying manual, I´ve very much got in mind people who want a break from stewing over a hot laptop.