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How Audiation Serves Reading Notation

September 4, 2009

From Mary Ellen Pinzino‘s Letters on Music Learning

Lev Vygotsky, the Russian psychologist (and the originator of scaffolding), suggests that learning takes place spontaneously and that when we become conscious of what we have learned, we have reached a higher level of learning—gained greater control over our knowing. As audiation matures, it reflects on itself. It uses signs to represent itself, indicating its own consciousness of audiation, a higher level of music learning, a deeper level of musical understanding.

Audiation develops consciousness of its own knowing most efficiently through the use of tonal and rhythm syllables—a mirror that reflects audiation, a tangible model that functions as audiation. These signs are in the realm of audiation, but speak to both audiation and language. The syllables provide a bridge from audiation to thinking, a common language for communication between the two ways of knowing. Audiation flirts with the intellectual mind through syllables, but demands that syllables grow out of its own unique way of knowing rather than be imposed by the intellectual way of knowing.

As audiation matures in self-consciousness, tonal and rhythm syllables become the mediator to the next plateau of music learning—music reading and writing. Syllables serve as the link between the intangible audiation and the concrete notation until such a mediator is no longer needed. The musical mind and the intellectual mind become more intimately entwined in music reading. The thinking mind becomes the more aggressive suitor, engaging in a set of strategies for scanning print, finding cues that arouse audiation, and comparing cues with each other. Yet audiation dominates the encounter. They give and take, engaging together in a complex process of problem solving, through which they construct meaning.

The multi-faceted phenomenon of audiation tacitly serves music reading, listening, and composing, but finds its own voice in performance. Audiation generates tuneful and rhythmic performance, in-tune singing and playing, steady tempo, stylistic interpretation, and musical expression. Audiation delivers the life and breath, and the breadth of music.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009 12:21 am


    How exciting to find a fellow traveler who wants to blog on MLT!! May I please link my MLT related blog to yours?



  2. November 2, 2009 12:41 am

    Hi Ron,
    Absolutely! Come back and let’s share our experiences. I will add your link here too!

  3. April 24, 2011 9:45 pm

    Hi Linda,
    am loving your site and would like to create a link too,
    Anna (Australia)

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