Music Is a Game
A game is a structured form of play
Music is a game. There are rules. It can be played by oneself or with others. What are the rules of the game?
To me, music is like a big puzzle. Whenever I hear a new piece of music, I start trying to put it together.
Is it similar to something I have heard before? How is it novel?
When I get stuck, is there something I don't understand about music that prevents me from putting it together?
Play is the work of childhood.
— Jean Piaget
My son loves to play the piano by ear. I try to make a fun game out of it. When we hear a new song or a cool movie theme, I ask if he can play the melody by ear. If that is easy, I then try to see how far I can push him.
Can you play it in another key?
Can you add chords to it?
What about these chords instead? I might throw in some spicy jazz chords. He either responds, 'No, Dad, that is too weird' or 'Cool, how did you do that?'
At some point, I reach a limit to what he is willing to put up with. The game either gets too hard, or he gets tired of it. Each time we play the game, he gets a little better.