on it that is not English or any language, just gobbledygook. But when you say the gobbledygook out loud, you are supposed to hear something familiar about it--it's an English phrase or name or other noun and you have to say it correctly in English. It's hilarious because everyone can usually hear the English words after the card is read out loud--except for the person saying it. They are still pondering the appearance of the gobbledygook. Since they don't recognize anything about the mixture of letters on the card, they keep pronouncing the "words" in labored and odd sounding ways. Those who rock at Mad Gab are people who can quickly detach from the writing on the card and key in on the sounds their mouth is making. The written word in this game is a poor clue, the answer lies in what you hear. Obviously, you can't win Mad Gab if you have never learned the language it's in, right? If winning Mad Gab is about hearing English, you need to have heard a lot of English in order to recognize the words.
Now, have you ever heard the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star? I'm going to say you have. If I put a bunch of black dots in front of you and you started to play them and they started sounding like Twinkle, would you notice? It might take a few notes but I'll say you would notice and that you would change how you were playing as soon as you noticed. At first your playing would be very labored, you would be counting every beat, eyeing the intervals, but then, you would recognize the music and start playing Twinkle. Do you see how the black dots on the page are not the music and how important it is to have heard the music in order to interpret the dots effectively?
You won't have always heard every piece of music that you play but you will probably have played or heard many of the combinations of notes and rhythms on the page. You can make music from the little black dots by listening to what comes out of the piano and making it sound like other music you've heard before. Just like in Mad Gab, the trick is to rely on the black dots only long enough to get the sound in your ear--then listen to see if you sound like you're playing music or just laboring through an uninspiring string of notes. This is where having heard a lot of good music and musicians will help you. You'll know what music should sound like--and what it shouldn't.
Just like in the game of Mad Gab, if you keep looking at the gobbledygook on the page and trying to make music out of it, you're never going to. Music happens in the realm of sound, so use the symbols on the page only to provide yourself sounds to work with, then reference the symbols only lightly as you listen to and shape the sounds you hear. Dots on the page are not music, they are just the clumsy gobbledygook we have agreed upon to communicate the sounds the composer was first inspired by. He or she is depending on you to intuit the things he or she could not specify on the written page. Become a worthy interpreter by continually filling your ear with inspiring music and musicians. There is so much left unsaid--and it's up to you to say it.