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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000913.txt from 2000/07

From: <rkabear@-----.net>
Subj: [kl] Learning practices (was Mozart's wife and Carl Maria Weber)
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 15:28:09 -0400

This brings up an interesting topic about whether to learn music before o=
r
after listening to recordings.

Early on, my first piano teacher instructed me to learn music technicall=
y on
my own, decide on tempos and style as I would interpret them in context f=
rom
the printed music, and then do research for options, including listening =
to
recordings, if available, or hearing live performances. Some of the time,=
a
particular recording would reinforce my views of the style, sometimes all=
of
the recordings were similar in style to my style, and sometimes, none of =
them
would be remotely like my style. I could then decide if I had erred in my=

decision of style and tempo, or if I had made a choice that was acceptabl=
e,
even though most or none of the recordings supported my choices.

This allowed me to make my own decisions, since the final decision on a t=
empo
or style would be mine, the performer. =

This also kept me from falling into learning music by rote. Learning musi=
c by
playing along with them or listening to them over and over and copying th=
e
recorded performances makes for many run-of-the-mill performances, as the=

audience hasn't heard anything new, nor did it stretch our learning and
interpretation skills like it should have. Continuous rote learning also =
makes
it very difficult to learn new pieces which have no recordings. I would a=
ssume
that Stanley Drucker didn't go get a recording of the Corrigliano Concert=
o to
learn it for the debut, since there was none available for the new piece.=
I
wonder how much more difficult learning that piece would have been if he =
had
always learned music by rote listening and copying techniques.

I think listening to music before learning can SOMETIMES be harmful, if t=
he
performer lets the recording make decisions for them. I can empathize and=

sympathize with a performer or performers who want to relate how they wan=
t to
perform a piece, but can't replicate on all of the many instruments or vo=
ice
types involved to give an example. Excerpt book for orchestral instrument=
s are
as such, and I believe listening to recordings EVENTUALLY in the learning=

process is invaluable. I would still learn the piece first, insofar as I =
can,
without the recordings, and then do research on the performance practices=
and
styles with listening to available recordings.

I instruct my students to listen to recordings only after they have taken=
the
time to learn the piece from the music. Are there any other teachers out =
there
do the same?

*FLAME RETARDANT SHIELD ENGAGED*

Kelly Abraham
Woodwinds
New York, NY

>alevin@-----. Levin) wrote:
>I wonder, from time to time, what infuence the recording industry has ha=
d
>on tempi. For example: most pre-CD recordings of Mozart Symphony No. 4=
0
>take one side of an lp. This is done with tempo adjustments and removal=
>of
repeats. I once owned an off-brand recording of it that took an >entire =
lp. =

All repeats were taken and the tempi were deathly slow. >That was an ext=
reme
case and it didn't work; but it has affected my >thinking.
>
>More recently, there was a CD release of the Mendelssohn Overture for
>Winds. It is a very fine, well-paced performance. But I grew up with >=
the
much faster performance recorded by the Goldman band in the 50's. >The n=
ew
one is much better. Still, I can't make myself hear the new >tempo in my=

mind.
>
>How many performances become set in the mind's ear by virtue of the
>characteristics of the recording media. I think that most students hear=

>the standard repertoire before they play it. This has a profound impact=

>upon performance.
> =

> Allen

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1

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