Learn to play music without learning music theory, but can’t learn to write without learning grammar?
The answer is OF COURSE YOU CAN! Every great writer or musician began loving their art before someone taught them 'the right way' to do it.
You can learn to write and you can help your kids learn to write...without studying grammar. How can that be? It's simple: Like music, grammar is a hardwiring -gift in the brain. You've been duped, tricked, and mislead by the most sincere group of people on the planet 😉
Think about music and the story of great musicians:
- They start out (often young) having a natural bent to like songs and beats
- Somewhere along the way they pick up an old instrument and start making it sound new
- A kind soul encourages them by providing lessons...or...they connect with friends and start teaching each other
- They log their 10,000 hours and then, BAM!--- they are really really good
Maybe you've heard it a different way, but it's still the same. They have an aptitude and they start developing it before they are formally trained. But that's not the important part. The important part is that they some how, some way, musicians FALL IN LOVE with music.
WRITING IS IDENTICAL TO MUSIC
Writing is identical because language is also 'hardwired' into our brains. Stephen Pinker does a great job explaining this view in his book, The Language Instinct:
“Humans are so innately hardwired for language that they can no more suppress their ability to learn and use language than they can suppress the instinct to pull a hand back from a hot surface.”― Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language
We are natural language and music learners. Almost everyone can instantly tell the difference between a melody and noise. And too, we can tell the difference between a sentence that makes sense and gibberish. In fact, we all learn to talk just fine way before taking a communication class.
1. Get your child listening to, and playing, music--- before getting them a curriculum that teaches all the 'rules and theory' of how music really SHOULD be played.
2. Get your child listening to, and writing, books--- before getting them a curriculum that teaches all the 'rules and theory' of how writing really SHOULD sound.
It's both simple and profound. The more your kids play music and sing, the better they'll get at it. The more your kids read and write, they better they'll get at it.
Grammar and music theory are both useful at some point, but they are not necessary to create great writers or musicians. You want your kids to first fall in love with writing so they can tolerate (and learn from) studying grammar later on!
Here are a couple of resources to help and clarify:
- The Writing Course - A genuine like-no-other training for the whole family based on the insight that language is an instinct
At the very least, watch how a little writing every day can transform your budding learner. Have them read their writing out loud to you and tell them one thing you liked. Writing + Feedback will win the day because the grammar book is already in their head. They just need a little help learning to read it.
Off to learn,
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand