Here is some info about me: I'm George Hirsch, the founder of this site, I've been a working musician and performer [Vocals, Keys, Guitars, Banjo] for a good number of years, and have also been involved in coaching, training and generally researching ways to, well, "make music better", just like the title of my site states.
I began playing piano by experimenting on my mom's upright in the basement when I was about 6 years old. I didn't know what I was doing, but I DID know that I wanted to play. My mom was a good pianist and could play just about any chart you could throw in front of her, but she did NOT "play by ear", but I did, which impressed her.
My dad played violin and ukelele. The family would gather for musical evenings where we would all play and sing. From my family, I learned to appreciate the joy and power of music.
Eventually, I picked up the guitar, also continuing with the piano, picking up tricks and knowledge from watching others and from any books which "worked" for me. I began to realize that there WAS a great deal already known about these things, but that it wasn't necessarily easy for it to be "transferred" from the source to the recipient. So along the way, I kept my eyes open for texts, videos and methods that MADE SENSE and that YOU COULD UNDERSTAND and which DELIVERED THE RESULT.
And I DID discover some very useful tools and teaching methods.
These pages are my findings. - My interests and goal in creating this site can be summed up in this phrase: "I KNOW there's a better, more efficient way to accomplish this musical objective, and I'm going to find it. And if I can't find a better way from ANOTHER, I'll devise it MYSELF."
I've discovered, as you may have suspected, that a significant number of problems in learning music do NOT come FROM THE STUDENT but, they CAN and too often DO come from:
THE TEACHER, or
THE METHOD OF TEACHING, or
THE MATERIAL ITSELF AND IT'S METHOD OF ORGANIZATION, or
HOW IT DEFINES ITS OWN TERMS, OR FAILS TO DO SO, or
THE PRESENTATION OF SUCCESSIVE LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY, and so on.
So on this site you'll find the results of my search - methods, regimens, exercises, even ideas about creativity and the philosophy of music, from reliable sources.
Now I'm not saying that just because it's worked for me, it automatically works for everybody. But I will say this: There are a LOT of - to put it bluntly - bogus music education methods and useless data going around. And those just may well be the source of the problem, not yourself, or your so-called "lack of talent" :(
So before you give up and say: "I can't get it", why not TRY some of the things I recommend and see what result you get? From what I've seen, there's a very high chance of them working for you. And I truly think that you'll be quite pleased when you see how your progress accelerates, no matter your instrument or music specialty.
Good practicing, good teaching, good playing!
~ George Hirsch, NYC, May 2011
And the accolades continue: David Grisman [above] uses "The Original" Cowling System:
DOWNLOAD "THE ORIGINAL COWLING SYSTEM©" -- PDF "E-BOOK" - 70 pages [$22.50 via PAYPAL secure]
THE SOFTCOVER PHYSICAL BOOK IS BACK IN PRINT! - Available at Amazon.
And still more [actual and unsolicited] rave reviews for "The Original" Cowling System:
FROM A VIOLINIST:
"The Cowling System © is a set of 12 exercises designed to increase the flexibility and strength of the hand, wrist, and fingers.
"I bought the course in 1978 and have found them to be invaluable.
"I've kept them all these years and still use them to warm up with before playing."
~ Richard Barton posted on VIOLINIST.COM
FROM A BASS PLAYER:
?"My fingers actually DO what my brain tells them to do, WITHOUT getting confused."
~ Anthony Jerome Smith, 35-year veteran bass player.
FROM A PIANIST:
"In 1976, my teacher gave me his copy of all the exercises, whereupon I made xeroxed pages to put in a binder.
"My teacher was amazed at my progress that in a year I could play, for example, the prelude #17 of Chopin!
~ "RPN58" (from a pianists' discussion board in England, 2006)
FROM A GUITARIST:
"I was introduced to the Cowling System © in the 1980's by a violinist in his seventies, who had amazing dexterity on his instrument for HIS age.
"Through the use of the COWLING SYSTEM ©, I went from "amateur" to an "A" level in music in a very short number of years.
"I have been using the exercises continuously since my friend gave them to me and believe me - THEY WORK."
~ Don Wills Guitarist, Great Britain
FROM A VIOLINIST:
"I must say I am highly delighted with the way my fingering has improved since I commenced your hand strengthening exercises.
"Recently, I became very depressed about my playing and almost decided to give it up, but now I feel it's a pleasure, thanks to the Cowling System. ©"
~ "THE VIOLINIST" Magazine, December, 1924
I'd love to see YOUR testimonial on this list! If you really do "THE ORIGINAL" COWLING SYSTEM © of Hand Strengthening Exercises", you CAN master and truly enjoy your music!