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"We are very visually oriented as a society. If you study harmony, you read a book, you learn some notions, then you repeat these notions, and you feel like you are good. In ear training that's not necessarily the case, because you can listen to something and still not recognize it. It takes a much longer time. Sometimes students who are successful in notion-based classes like harmony are not able to successfully reproduce a melodic shape. I've always thought that when students are able to successfully engage their mind this way, that's when they actually become musicians. Before that they are not musicians—they are students."
"In the professional world, how well you react to music through your ears is one of the first things that people see. It's one of the things that validates you professionally. Being on a bandstand and not hearing what's going on in the music is a very dangerous kind of thing. It's almost the perfect recipe for disaster. I always approach the teaching from the professional aspect of it, because otherwise it becomes too theoretical. I try to make examples of how ear training actually saves your life when you're on stage. Disaster stories. They prove a point."
"Another thing that I try to emphasize to students is no matter what they do, they're gonna need ear training. If they're a composer, they're gonna need it; if they're performers, they're gonna need it. It's very difficult in music to find some kind of professional field in which, if you don't have good ears, you're actually going to survive. It's at the very core of what we call musicians."
"When I came to Berklee as a student, I remember this ideal that Berklee was made by professional musicians, musicians who actually play. From the beginning I found that fascinating, because not all music schools are like that. I always thought that was a strength of Berklee, to have this core of faculty who are actually doing. I'm a professor because I'm a musician, not the other way around."