On Jul 3, 2014, at 9:30 PM, Anna Roys <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> What I find as an interesting phenomenon in working with students and rhythm is that even many pre-schoolers and early elementary students can hear and duplicate and play along with complicated rhythms if they have enough hands on exploration time with percussion instruments, such as in drum circles. Why is this possible without any "training?" Could it be because over time their audio processing abilities are refined?
In AI one of the philosopher?s stones has to do with the ability of the brain to recognize any pattern, even in noise, immediately. This is especially obvious with our sense of hearing. That is why sonar is still ultimately a human skill. To do this computationally (with a computer) takes enormous time because you have to compare every sample point to every other sample point and even then, there is no effective way to do this unless you know before hand what you are looking for. Yet the brain accomplishes this instantly without having to know what it is looking for. Neurons, neural nets and repeated firing are obviously in play, but the impressive factor is the lack of needing to know what to look for. Play two beats almost identical, but slightly different, and the difference is immediately detectable, especially if the beats are themselves in a pattern. This suggests that the neural net in the brain is so dense that every possible pattern (within some limit) is already ac! counted for, and recognition is just a matter of presenting the pattern to an already wired brain. This pre-wired ability goes deep and is behind our ability to acquire language so quickly and is so sensitive that when driving down a noisy road, we are fooled by any regularities in the noise and they sound like words.
I would say that the youngsters? ability to recognize rhythm is already there, and while some ear training is in play, the majority of the training taking place is muscle coordination and timing, In other words the training required for them to mechanically create the rhythms with the instruments.
As an analogy, our immune system is already programmed to recognize every possible contagion (within our existence on earth) but even though it can recognize the contagion, it might not react quickly the first time it is exposed, but through training, it can react more quickly the second time and subsequent times. The training isn?t so much for the recognition as it is for the reaction.