I really enjoy Howard Gardner's books on his theory of multiple intelligences. In a nutshell, he delves into how there's really no one type of intelligence. Schools assume that an "A" student should get As across the board. But if you look at reality, no one is good at everything. A person that may be brilliant in astrophysics is not necessarily going to be brilliant in creating artistic masterpieces. The two fields require two entirely different sets of strengths and weaknesses.
You can see the same divisions even if you narrowed it down to just one field such as music. The skills required to make a beautiful instrument are very different from those required for virtuosic performance or those required to teach. Again, each subcategory has it's own type of intelligence.
The division can be broken down even further. Take violin performance as the example. Someone who excels at classical music may not necessarily play other genres such as jazz or bluegrass at an equal level. Each style requires its own skill set.
But I feel that at this level there can start to be some crossover. Music is a subject you can study all of your life and only begin to scratch the surface. Every new instrument that you try or every new genre that you explore helps you to refine your technique.
As an example, classical music will allow you to eventually develop fast, accurate shifting on the violin. Improvising with jazz helps to develop your intonation and familiarity with the fingerboard. Celtic fiddling will help you hone in on doublestops.
Just like how studying the histories of different countries gives you a deeper understanding of your own, so too will the study of different musical genres.
More entries: January 2012
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