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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000915.txt from 2000/07

From: Lacy Schroeder <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Learning practices (was Mozart's wife and Carl Maria We
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 16:02:34 -0400

"I think listening to music before learning can SOMETIMES be harmful, if the
performer lets the recording make decisions for them."

I agree with this...but, I have found it extremely helpful when learning a
piece for orchestra, it helps to listen to a recording first. I think the
reasons for this can go without saying.

However, in learning solo repertoire, I think it's a litte gray area for me.
For instance, I'm learning the Stravinsky Three Pieces. That work is really
hard to figure out all the "tricks" without at least listening to it. I
think I worked on it for a week before I thought to myself, "okay, I need a
recording of this." Of course I was teaching it to myself without the aid of
my teacher, who doesn't teach during the summer.

I still think it is a good idea to listen to recordings of works while
learning them. But, it would probably be best to listen to several so as not
to become tunnel-visioned in interpretation. Learning it on your own sans
recordings can also be beneficial from a developmental standpoint, but what
if you learn it wrong? You'd have to go back and re-learn it. Ahh..a paradox
(insert Albert Einstein here).

But, then again, what about learning an interpretation from your teacher? Is
it not true that the student reflects the playing of their teacher? I like
to think I play like my teacher (or at least would be thrilled to be able
to), and I think I reflect his interpretation to a certain degree, if not a

So, what's for lunch?

-----Original Message-----
Subject: [kl] Learning practices (was Mozart's wife and Carl Maria

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

Early on, my first piano teacher instructed me to learn music technically
my own, decide on tempos and style as I would interpret them in context from
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
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 acceptable,
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
or style would be mine, the performer.

This also kept me from falling into learning music by rote. Learning music
playing along with them or listening to them over and over and copying the
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
it very difficult to learn new pieces which have no recordings. I would
that Stanley Drucker didn't go get a recording of the Corrigliano Concerto
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 the
performer lets the recording make decisions for them. I can empathize and
sympathize with a performer or performers who want to relate how they want
perform a piece, but can't replicate on all of the many instruments or voice
types involved to give an example. Excerpt book for orchestral instruments
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
without the recordings, and then do research on the performance practices
styles with listening to available recordings.

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


Kelly Abraham
New York, NY

>alevin@-----. Levin) wrote:
>I wonder, from time to time, what infuence the recording industry has had
>on tempi. For example: most pre-CD recordings of Mozart Symphony No. 40
>take one side of an lp. This is done with tempo adjustments and removal
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
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 new
one is much better. Still, I can't make myself hear the new >tempo in my
>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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