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Scoring a winner in music learning
A musician has invented a more user-friendly way to write music.
Peter George, from Brighton, was inspired to create his own way of presenting music after taking up the piano as an adult.
He found traditional notation frustrating to master because it relied so much on his memory, which he conceded had never been good.
Over the coming weeks, as he struggled to cope with the demands of the task in hand, he started having dreams of triangles, squares, rectangles and parallelograms.
These repeated visions were a mystery at first but during one particularly frustrating piano lesson, he had a epiphany and understood they depicted the “accidentals” – notes in a different pitch to the others.
Peter, 81, who studied music theory at Los Angeles City College and acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, said: “I realised we should incorporate the flats and sharps in the shape of the note head, so we automatically know which notes are flats and sharps without the need for accidentals.”
Explaining the benefits of his system by cutting out unnecessary symbols, Peter said: “Simplified Music Notation is very direct. You play what you see.
“I hope it will be used by adult learners in general as well as well as by students with leaning disabilities, who were discouraged from learning to play an instrument by the complexities of traditional notation.
“I also hope that it will be taken up by the music profession, by teachers as a learning tool, by composers for writing new music and by publishers to offer as an alternative to their customers.”
On Wednesday, Peter saw his dream become a reality when Simplified Music Notation was officially launched at The Royal College of Music in London.
One woman who has successfuly used the new form is Ginevra House, from Hove.
She started to learn piano aged three, playing by ear but struggled to learn to read music thereafter.
Ginevra took a job with Peter and his wife Annelie helping to transcribe the music and immediately picked up the new way of reading it.
She said: “The reason I like it so much is that it has such an immediate connection from eye to hand.
“Simplified Music Notation is very close to the old system.
It’s more of an adaptation, an evolution than a revolution.
“It can be picked up in a few minutes by someone who is familiar with traditional notation and it is easy, I think, for players to become fluent in both.”
Together, Peter and Annelie have set up the Creative Arts Research Trust for the publication of his music books.
Profits will go to the Creative Arts Research Foundation, a registered charity setting out to help disadvantaged music students.