E. Cubitt, Music Is Easy

Edward Cubitt, Music Is Easy, Core Book 1

Our wiki's review section is filled with heavy academic books presenting a thesis and argumenting for it. Music Is Easy is quite different, the only running text are a few paragraphs of introduction before the table of contents. Instead, each of the 39 pages is a neatly composed and often illustrated "board". Together they show, step by step, the introduction process for four activities suitable for a music classroom. This usage context is clearly visible when (presumable) teachers are occasionally directly instructed by the text to write something on the whiteboard, etc.

The first activity — a mnemonic for piano keyboard — is somewhat of an outlier. Further chapters give participants much more agency over the activity's sound result, putting them right within the scope of our wiki's interest. From the point of view of music game design, these focus consecutively on three basic mechanics:

  • playing letters from words as pitch classes,
  • putting sounds on the rhythmical grid,
  • mapping pitch (dimension) to a line drawing.

Each game/chapter is a quite direct take on the action, but it simulates how a facilitator should introduce the activity with a proper learning curve and for participants of different abilities. Another huge appeal are the pretty decorations which give the book a lot of character.

There is some additional information provided by the author (e.g. through the Twitter account). The biggest inspiration for the book is the research on flow (and we should add this term to the glossary asap). The activities were thoroughly tested in practice with the main purpose of inducing the flow state. Also, the currently available book is the first part of more than 10 further tomes that build upon the notions introduced here, so something for "advanced music gamers" is also on the horizon.

Worthy of note is that on author's social media you may find offers of free digital copy for teachers, have a look. Such a file was also generously provided for the purpose of preparing the first version of this review (thanks!).

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