Compiled by Gregory Acker…

Compiled by Gregory Acker

Perhaps the first thing to remember is that air is elastic. Imagine what happens when you bang two things together, a ruler on a table, for instance…Now a table is elastic–more elastic than, say, a block of concrete–and the force of the ruler hitting it moves the table-top; it moves only very slightly, but it does move…and the air around the table receives a jolt…a fraction of a second later, the air jostles our ear drums and we hear the sound. All you need then to make sound is something that vibrates. You can’t shake your hands fast enough, but a hummingbird’s wings…–Geoffrey Russell-Smith

The foundations of any subject may be taught to anybody at any age in some form. –Jerome Bruner

Children learn to talk by experimenting and listening; they can learn to make music by experimenting and listening–unless we stop them! Place children in surroundings that are full of “invitations to learn,” provide them with encouraging and sympathetic attitudes from adults, as well as knowledge, and amazing things can happen–especially to the sensory perceptions that are central to the arts…do we have the courage to embark with them on what are frequently unknown seas? –Emma D. Sheehy

…we may be able to prove conclusively that all men are born with potentially brilliant intellects…and that the source of cultural creativity is the consciousness that springs from social cooperation and loving interaction…the majority of us live far below our potential, because of the oppressive nature of most societies. –John Blacking

A course of study may be conceived of as a stimulus for the teacher to discover and learn more for herself; too often it is accepted as a framework beyond which she is afraid to explore.–Emma D. Sheehy

From the beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery. –Alfred North Whitehead

We must ask why apparently general musical abilities should be restricted to a chosen few in societies supposed to be culturally more advanced. Does cultural development represent a real advance in human sensitivity, or is it chiefly a diversion for elites and a weapon of class exploitation? –John Blacking

I don’t know anything about music. In my line you
don’t have to. –Elvis Presley

…I have great hopes for the possibility of a dynamic universalism that respects all our people. –Anthony Braxton

The public doesn’t want new music; the main thing it demands of a composer is that he be dead. –Arthur Honegger

I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws. –Charles Baudelaire

Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. –Mark Twain

Rejection of the new has always existed….One of the most famous examples of disdain for new music was the violent reaction to Wagner’s compositions by the leading classicists of his day. There is certainly no implication here that we must like everything we hear….All this is very closely related to living and working with children, for their explorations in the discovery of the world of sound can irritate or please according as we “hear” the possibilities for extending their interest by the opportunities they present to us. –Emma D. Sheehy

Thus, if a composer wants to produce music that is relevant to his contemporaries, his chief problem is not really musical, though it may seem to him to be so; it is a problem of attitude to contemporary society and culture in relation to the basic human problem of learning to be human.–John Blacking

We cannot doubt that animals both love and practice music. That is evident. But it seems their musical system differs from ours.
It is another school….We are not familiar with their didactic works. Perhaps they don’t have any. –Erik Satie

All the sounds on the earth are like music. –Oscar Hammerstein

Sweet is every sound, Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet; Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro’ the lawn, The moans of doves in immemorial elms, And murmuring of innumerable bees. –Alfred Tennyson

Sugar is not so sweet to the palate as sound to the healthy ear. –Ralph Waldo Emerson


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