TEDxSydney – Richard Gill – The Value of Music Education

Music educator Richard Gill argues the case for igniting the imagination through music and for making our own music. In this talk, he leads the TEDxSydney audience through some surprising illustrations of the relationship between music and our imagination.


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48 thoughts on “TEDxSydney – Richard Gill – The Value of Music Education

  1. Fabulous. It would be great to use examples of Australian musical phrases
    with kids who recognize them by classroom exposure.

  2. I could not agree more. Unfortunately I have to ask how many people in that
    audience would pay for lessons for their children and what luxuries would
    they forego to pay for them. Music teachers cannot live on thin air.
    Decades ago instrumental teachers and real musicians who were proficient
    enough to play live, were able to make a living. In recent decades there
    has been a serious decline in demand for one reason or another in the UK.
    In my experience after a long career with accompanying financially meagre
    rewards as a professional musician and instrumental teacher, at present
    very few adults or children want to learn properly. We are now at the point
    of losing a great tradition of western music due to the lack of employment
    of those who are really able to transmit music in its myriad forms. Music
    has not been taught well for about 3 decades now.
    Singing is good, however the use of digital sound as used commonly at
    present in some music education in schools does not have the same sort of
    sound wavelength as that produced by live acoustic instruments, therefore
    the resulting affect of the neural pathways in the brain of a young person
    is fundamentally different and in my opinion, inferior. Too many people
    have an airy fairy idea of what music is based on their immediate,
    emotional and easy responses to what they have heard on modern media and
    this is unfortunately
    projected on to their children. Music is a serious and disciplined subject
    and does indeed expand the mind, the body, the imagination and the emotions
    in an integrated way. It used to be part of classical education. Sadly, the
    discipline has been coarsened in latter years. There can be little
    creativity without the tools to craft the abstract design of music.

  3. Great Ted Talk with Music educator, Richard Gill, who leads the audience
    through some surprising illustrations of the relationship between music and
    our imagination.

  4. His comments about music meaning nothing but its self is straight from
    Bernstein’s book and young peoples concerts from the NY Philharmonic! Love

  5. Music education can begin in the womb while language education is getting
    its start. If only I had known this years ago when I was pregnant, I would
    have programmed my unborn with the best of Baroque! and the Bible!! Too
    soon olde and too late shmart.

  6. We are entering a new era in music education and it is leaders like Richard
    Gill and Ken Robinson who are the pioneers who stand up and make a
    difference. We as teachers and leaders in our communities around the
    country have the power to act and bring out the creative nature in people
    of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. 

  7. Thank you for your stand for music education and informing the public of
    the Great Importance Music has in human development–starting with the Very
    Young! Our Children need music in their lives and to Make Their Own Music
    is Ultimate! It is key to reading and brain development! Thank your for
    your message!

  8. We forget that the commodification of music is a very recent thing and a
    typically Western one.

  9. Music educator Richard Gill argues the case for igniting the imagination
    through music and for making our own music. In this talk, he leads the
    TEDxSydney audience through some surprising illustrations of the
    relationship between music and our imagination.

  10. I try to make school fun, entertaining, and as meaningful as possible for
    kids. It’s not just about learning the subjects, but them learning about
    themselves. I’ve made quite a few music videos on my page that try to get
    kids thinking about important things in their life in cool ways. Check it

  11. I once sang in a chamber choir with Richard as a guest conductor. We were
    learning one of Dunstable’s masses, and Richard described its isorhythmic,
    polyphonic structure as “hermetically sealed purity.” He then likened the
    appearance of tonal harmony as the onset of a “noble rot” in western music.
    Of course, this was just a playful way of looking at things, but it gave
    the whole concert programme a character and purpose that made an enormous
    difference to the performance. A true genius.

  12. MUSIC is spiritually human… that’s why ‘the government’ wants to stop
    funding for this extremely essential education for our children. Very sad!
    It is the empowerment that they will need if we want to have any kind of
    meaningful future.

  13. Let me also state flatly that this post isn’t a platform for hero worship.
    Civilized rational criticism that makes sense will remain posted . That
    said what these “Bernstein”posts illustrate is that the man was and
    continues to be a brilliant educator. Bernstein possessed a true genius for
    illuminating those invisible structural mechanisms embedded within music
    that are central to our emotional (affective)responses in such a way that a
    lay person might actually begin to understand them . This constitutes
    nothing less than an accurate glimpse into mind of the composer as
    architect . Given what very deep water this is I am astounded that this
    little 7min snippet has garnered nearly 100,000 views as of Dec. 2014 .
    Thats about 1/3 of my channels total views . Well, allow me to plug the
    rest of my channel: there is nothing posted on paxwallacejazz that doesn’t
    represent a lifetimes worth of work/inquiry/practice. Peace . 

  14. It needs to be pointed out that when a musician listens to music as opposed
    to a layman the parts of the brain that engage (EEG) are the spatial
    reasoning area and the area associated with language then emotion .

  15. Let me state flatly that I have,and always have had ZER0 interest in
    Bernstein’s personal life . What he offers humanity as a music educator is
    unparalleled in my experience . If you are going to close yourself off from
    these amazing insights about the hidden mechanisms that shape the sound and
    your very affective response to the (musics) you love because you’ve
    decided he was bad or destructive or insecure or whatever then thats your
    choice . But I gotta say REALLY?
    Great minds focus on Ideas….average minds events…weak minds gossip

  16. Since this video concerns education, I’d like to point out that “Harvard”
    is a proper noun and should be capitalized in the opening title card.
    Also, “min”, as an abbreviation for “minutes” should have a period at the
    end. Finally, there should be a comma after the word “Harvard”. As I
    stated, this is about education.

  17. I know zip about music theory, but found this stimulating to listen to,
    even though I came out the far side as ignorant as I came in. What fun.

  18. would have loved to live in a older year that had no internet computer
    things of that sort so I could have been more intone with music now there
    are so many thing’s out there that make the noise fix it there are so many
    daw’s and so many vst plugin vsti I mean you could learn something new
    every day till I was dead and still not no it butt then you had people like
    Bernstein to make it all great back then and who gave his all to teach
    people what a great man 

  19. Was there ever a musician who combined the talents of Composer, Conductor,
    Performer and Educator the way that Leonard Bernstein did in his day?

    If there was or is such a person, I am not aware of him or her … which
    makes me value Lenny all the more!

  20. An educator giving a lecture intended to be recorded for mass consumption
    needs to be aware of his audience. The immediate audience is obviously
    Harvard students, many of them probably music students. But those that
    choose to watch this recorded lecture could be from any level of musical
    education, but they are all curious and have a desire to learn. So this
    small clip of the lecture (as the uploader has said) is to get those people
    who aren’t as learned as others might be up to speed. That way everyone can
    be on mostly the same level later. Clear up a lot of things for everyone
    the best he can.

    I’d dare loosely quote Bach in saying that this video is “for the profit
    and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the
    pastime of those already skilled in this study”. 

  21. A hyperbolic youtube title that turned out to be true (at least for those
    who haven’t had much theory)

  22. Ok here is the basic Idea { All of humanities culturally rooted attempts at
    tonal organization be they the 12 tempered tones of western music or a
    hindu raga or bulgarian folk music or indonesian gamelon or even
    abaoriginal digerido they find their origins in this phenomenon of nature
    called the harmonic series } Now having said that; there’s a special
    altered or tempered nature of the notes of western music that allow for
    harmonic complexity like modulation from key to key and chromatically
    altered chords and all the other elements common to classical and film and
    jazz music. JUST WATCH THE WHOLE LECTURE and the fog will lift it’s posted
    numerous times on youtube 

  23. I know my theory but I never really put it all together like that before,
    great lecture. RIP bernstein

  24. Interesante demostración de Bernstein de cómo se fueron incorporando a la
    armonía los sonidos de la serie armónica.

    A partir del minuto 3 habla de cómo de la relación fundamental de la
    armonía tonal (la quinta tónica-dominante) emana, al poder considerar
    cualquier sonido como una nueva tónica (con su dominate, etc.), todo el
    universo de las 12 notas de la escala cromática, inventario total de los
    sonidos de la música occidental (con permiso de Alois Hába y compañía).

  25. Absurd. He uses a melody that is constructed from a harmonic language
    based on triadic (functional) harmony and uses it to demonstrate medieval
    music using fourths and fifths. And an extremely simplistic (wrong)
    explanation of the development of the modern scale, harmonies,
    chromaticism, etc. Music History for idiots. Lenny should have stuck to

  26. This is a great video and Leonard Berstein is one of the greatest advocates
    of instrumental music that ever lived. I believe the reason that music
    education is in the sad state that it is in is because instrumental music
    educators are not teaching appreciation for the music they teach to their
    students. When those students grow up, they do not appreciate instrumental
    music and do not support instrumental music education. The music education
    system is not producing adults who appreciate instrumental music or who
    support music education. Music educators are too busy chasing their
    trophies and plaques to “waste” rehearsal time teaching appreciation for
    instrumental music to their students. Teaching students how to play musical
    instruments without teaching those students the significance of
    instrumental music is selfish, lazy, and destructive. Most music educators
    do not care what their students learn, they only care how well they
    perform. Music educators are killing music education with their

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