Piano lessons

There was a time and place in history when the piano was seen as the enemy of music. Unlike other musical instruments, which require serious time and effort to learn to play, the piano lets you begin playing with little or no training.

Some argued that this was harmful. If just anyone could walk in off the street and start playing an instrument, that would promote laziness and sloth, and would devalue the efforts of real musicians working to master the violin or oboe.

But of course that is not what happened. The piano made instrumental music accessible to an entirely new population of students. As an added bonus, it turned out to be the ideal instrument to use when composing original work.

I think something analogous is going on right now. Rather than complaining that Stable Diffusion and Large Learning Models are making it easy for students to cheat, we should start teaching our students how to use these powerful instruments.

Of course that is easier said than done. Most teachers don’t know how to use these newfangled instruments, and good practices have not yet been developed for using them to teach history, math, literature and other subjects.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. In fact, we can’t afford not to try. Much is at stake.

Think of it this way. A lot of the music that you cherish was composed on a piano. Our world would be a much poorer place if those songs and compositions had never been written.

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