“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours” Hunter S. Thompson (1939 – 2005)
It sometimes troubles me that, in the interest of helping pupils get onto the first rung of comprehension, half-truths can be more useful than whole ones.
Black notes = 1 beat, white notes = 2 beats. This statement will not be true forever, but it does allow pupils to read and play accurately within the first few minutes of the first lesson.
Major = happy, minor = sad. This notion is true only for isolated chords, but allows most pupils to identify these chords correctly with very little reflection required.
These temporary truths do not allow anyone comprehensively to understand the universe of music, but they do allow them to start living in it from where it is easier to build a clear picture than it would be from outside.
I am rarely involved in comprehensive explanations of our solar system – I just live in it. For most of the day, the Earth feels flat to me and the Sun seems to orbit the Earth. If I really thought I were going round the Sun once per day, this would have to be reflected in my travel expenses. Obviously I’d round it up to the nearest million – it is public money, after all.