|Regardless of how difficult a language may be, all normal children learn
their native tongue without aid of textbook. Children acquire the ability to speak by
imitating the sounds of language in their environments. Upon reproducing those sounds, the
behavior is positively reinforced. For example, a mother may repeat mommy to
her new baby over and over again. When the baby first is able to reproduce the word
mommy, the mother expresses extreme delight and has the baby say
mommy to anyone who will listen. Those who have studied a foreign language as
an adult are fully aware of the difficulties encountered when trying to assimilate the
inflections, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar all at the same time. For music as
well, the natural way is to understand aurally that which you will duplicate physically.
In addition to acquiring musical sensitivity, other benefits accrue from learning by rote
at the beginning. Students are freed to concentrate on good position and tone production,
thus building a firm foundation.
For the music student, parents play excellent recordings of the pieces that the child will be learning. By listening daily, the music student absorbs the piece including the nuances of its phrasing, dynamics, touch, etc. Thus, the student first learns how to play an instrument without reading notes just as a baby says mommy or daddy without being required to first read and write those words. Gradually, isolated words become many words, many words become phrases, phrases become sentences, and sentences become paragraphs. As speech develops, one does not have to teach proper verbal inflection. Similarly, as the music student goes from Twinkle to Cuckoo to Minuets from Anna Magdelenas Notebook to Sonatinas, to Sonatas, phrasing and musicianship are internalized. Thus aural memory acquired through much listening replicates students language acquisition experience.