E. Cubitt, Music Is Easy

📜 Cubitt, Edward, 2022. Music is Easy: A Flow-state Music Learning Method. Self-published, Edward Cubitt.

Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B9QTKFFW

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. In a book of 39 pages, the most frequent sight is a neat slide-like design, often illustrated. 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 are one by one focused 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.

According to additional information provided by the author (e.g. through the Twitter account), the biggest inspiration for the book is the research on (cognitive) flow. The activities were extensively 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 planned 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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