Multiple Intelligence Monday 3: Verbal-Linguistic


There is where I  kick booty.  I remember vocabulary, I can spell, I’m really good at grammar, and I can pronounce the hell out of anything.  I’ve gotten compliments on my diction in four languages, though I really don’t speak any foreign languages beyond “I’d like a beer” (which I can say in seven languages!  It used to be eight, but I can’t remember Turkish anymore.  Too foreign.).  It’s why I blog: writing comes easily to me and I enjoy it.  

This is important to me as a conductor for two reasons.  First, I have to talk to the ensemble, and the ability to use words to be understood is highly valuable, though not imperative (since obviously gesture is supposed to be doing most of this work).  Mostly it’s good for me because, as I’m preparing, I choose words to describe sounds.  Once I have a word to describe a sound, I understand the sound better.  Because words have a lot of meaning to me.  Because I have high verbal intelligence.  It’s a self-fulfilling sort of situation.

The other reason verbal intelligence is important is particularly because I’m a choral musician.  Words are important, and I love them!  Certain composers–Bach, Brahms, and Barber are my favorites in this regard–are even better than poets at using the sound of a word to illuminate its meaning.  I appreciate that about them, and I’m good at using it, and I’m even good at teaching that kind of thing to choirs, making them use it.  So, the point is it’s important and I’m glad to have that one.

But that brings me to this point: intelligence is not fixed, and even if it were, that would be okay. 

My husband (sorry, dear) can’t tell an IPA symbol from a hole in the ground, and cannot spell worth a damn.  Is he then fated never to succeed as a conductor? Of course not.  He can, if he chooses, invest time in preparation of text so that he might bring it out more, use it with greater efficiency.  As long as he knows it’s an option, he can use it.  He may have to spend more time than I would in order to accomplish it, but it will eventually happen.

And at the same time, if he just never was interested in the text like I am, that would be okay, too.  He will always hear music differently than I do, because the sounds of the words will have greater significance to me than they ever will to him.  That doesn’t mean he’s bad at it, it just means his performances will be different from mine.  And that individuality is good.  Specific, personal perspective is exactly what a performance should have (in my opinion).  His choices are the ones I want to hear.  I’d love to argue with him over how the whole piece would be much better if only the choir uses a long aspiration on the final “th” of the word death, and he won’t give a rat’s patoot, but that’s why art is so fabulous!  We don’t have to agree!  

And I’ll get into that a bit more tomorrow.
This entry was posted in i'm no scientist but--, what the job is. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s