What does it mean to be Musically Fluent?

Musically Fluent is a practical keyboard musicianship training system. It is built on a clear, simple and complete model of how music works. This model explains how rhythmic and tonal structures work in music in a concise, radical and powerful way. It is available for free download.

Practising this model enables you to express yourself with increasing fluency as you play the piano or keyboard. Music, like language, is a coherent system of communication. Fluent understanding unlocks your musical creativity and powers of expression.

I am Phil Best – creator of Musically Fluent. If you want to discover more about me, please visit my website and blog at philbestmusic.com

I offer the model for free download (after you have answered a few questions to see if you qualify) because I want to spread the word about my model and empower people musically. Flimsy free materials are often offered as marketing tricks but this download is a substantial and comprehensive yet concise textbook explaining the Musically Fluent model in its entirety.

The Musically Fluent model is the foundation of my own musicianship and my approach as a teacher. It sets out the underlying principles of rhythm and tonality – the rhythmic matrix and the keyboard map – and the fundamental elements of musical ‘language’ that plug into those underlying structures – rhythm cells, tonal blocks and shape.

With practice, you will be able to understand and communicate music instantly in terms of a model which reveals the deep logic of rhythm and tonality. But first, you must be ready to give up the two common false models of how music works. You must NOT perceive music as: –

  • lists of notes carrying time and pitch values or linear structures like scales, intervals and chords (decoding), or
  • familiar melodies or pieces which are reproduced passively in two ways: either blindly and instinctively; or using aural/muscle memory after decoding the dots or working out by trial and error and repetitive rehearsal (karaoke)

Though normal and prevalent in our culture, these two common approaches to learning music are extremely limited. Even after years of dedicated study, they do not develop the core musicianship skills of a fluent musician.

Someone who is musically fluent on the piano has the ability to play by ear, improvise and sight-read.

  • Playing by ear is the ability to reproduce any music that you can remember.
  • Improvising fluently is the ability to play any music straight out of your head, without planning
  • Sight-reading fluently is the ability to look at a musical score and instantly hear it mentally without needing to decode the notes onto an instrument first.

If you can play by ear and sight-read fluently, you can learn new music incredibly quickly, you can also jot music down as you hear it (music dictation); and if you can improvise and sight-read fluently, you can also compose should you have the creative urge to do so. Just imagine how useful fluent musical skills are!