Monday, October 24, 2011

Gardner's 'Musical' Intelligence - and my lack thereof

Andy Pickles
ETEC424 Fall 2011
Dr Aliefendic
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

One of the intelligences listed in Gardner’s theory is Musical Intelligence, assessed as being the ability to produce/appreciate rhythm, pitch and timbre. 
This is something I can relate to, with mixed responses. 

It is very true and I fully recognize (envy?) those that have natural gifting in this area; there are certainly those that can listen to a piece of music and then play it themselves, perhaps – for some people - on several different instruments, not to mention possibly sing it too and maybe even within accompaniment.  I am not one of those people.  I am intrigued at times to know whether I could pick up/develop these skills if I ever devoted appropriate time to them.  I have spent brief periods of time learning some instruments, and in cases where extra time was involved I learnt quite well.  In other cases, I spent little time and made suitably less progress. 

What I do know is that I enjoy music greatly and do not like too long to pass without spending some time listening, and my tastes are fairly wide.  I also know that I have some sense of rhythm and beat, but not in a way that helps me play anything (eg drums) or dance, because the rhythms and beats I hear in my head are overcomplicated and elicit response from ‘all of my limbs’ – hence dancing is tricky because I respond by trying to do too much at once, and playing a beat-based instrument like the drums is awkward because it is not necessarily my foot responding to the bass drumbeat but my hand, and conflicting with that I might find the reaction to the snare beat or a cymbal going through the ‘wrong limb’!  So while I have the beat, and am not ‘out of time’, it gets all mixed up in the expression. 

I am aware others have much tighter control and order over the beats they are hearing and feeling and dance with better control, and show either far more instinctive skill with instruments or have put in far more time and reap the benefits accordingly. 

Does this confirm or support Multiple Intelligence Theory in the musical field?  I don’t know.  I am not yet convinced enough to discern between developing skills by exposure and practice, or having certain aspects of intelligence that need unearthing and nurturing.