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Hear With Your Brain

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1/1/10 Blog Entry:

Have you ever heard anyone say that they are tone deaf? Our ear is just the vehicle with which we process sound. It's the brain that does that interpreting.

I have had students that have had pitch processing problems. I realized how powerful the brain is when I had them use visualizations to correct their pitch. It's a deeper level of focus and concentration.

I had a student come to me who couldn't sing on pitch to save his soul. He would sing a song, correctly going higher when the lyrics were supposed to go higer, and go lower when the lyrics were supposed to get lower. The problem was he never matched the notes.

So in addition to doing pitch comparison exercises, we focused on brain function relative to processing pitch. One of the things he did that worked was using the bricks on my fireplace while singing a scale. The distance between each brick was the same. Looking at the bricks this way helped his brain process the note progression in equal steps. By the time we were done, he was able to sing a whole do-re-mi...etc. on pitch. I was absolutely ecstatic, and he was happy and surprised at the same time.

When I work with pitch with my students, it's from the standpoint of manually engaging the brain to do what we want it to do. The brain can usually correct issues with pitch. Until it's engaged in this new way, it doesn't realize it can do this. It is truly an amazing process.

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