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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000754.txt from 2004/10

From: Adam Michlin <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Appealing to the superficial
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 14:19:23 -0400

At 07:41 PM 10/25/2004 +0200, Joseph Wakeling wrote:
>We must be meeting different composers and performers. I can't think of a
>significant modern composer (or performer, for that matter) who matches
>that description.

Perhaps. Or perhaps they've learned not to say such elitist things
publicly. I really don't know.

>Sure. But you did say that you would, in extreme cases, be prepared to
>put a beat under Mozart in order to try to gain the interest of
>students. I'd say if you've got that desperate, you're not just kicking,
>you're kickboxing!

You are arguing method, I am arguing results. If I felt it would work (that
is, it would open the door), I would do it. You assume I feel it would
work. I'm not entirely sure, to be honest.

>Not necessarily. You can engage in music through a recording in ways you
>can't in a concert, for example by singing or whistling along with the
>music. You'd get kicked out if you tried doing that in Carnegie Hall, but
>with a CD in the private of your own home you can make some interesting
>musical explorations this way.

I really am sorry, but I just can't resist.

So, to be clear, it is OK to sing with or whistle with Mozart but not to
put a beat to it?

I just want to be sure I understand the rules. =)

>I think they're for certain the most important factor, because it's only
>by engaging with those choices and desires properly that you can guide the
>students to areas they may not know about, and that they may benefit from.
>I never said it was wrong to guide students, but it's only by creating
>this overlap with their desires that one can hope to do so successfully.

So which comes first, their desire to hear Mozart or actually hearing
Mozart? It doesn't seem like a chicken and egg problem question to me.

>Sure. On the other hand in my case when I was doing A-level music (UK
>exams taken at age 18), my teachers presented only Mozart, Bach and
>Beethoven (and their near contemporaries). I don't think that
>particularly disadvantaged me---if anything I'm glad that I was able to
>come to a lot of repertoire by myself---but I do think that in general
>that was a pretty shocking neglect of musical range.

I totally agree and in no way do I advocate a narrow musical range. Quite
the opposite, in fact.

>In any situation there are things which the student is going to have to do
>if s/he wants to reach certain goals. But the range of material available
>ought to be wide enough to accomodate a wide range of students. For
>example, on the music syllabus which I went through, my rock musician
>friends were completely disadvantaged because the whole system was
>strongly biased towards "traditional" notated music. Of course I would
>have expected them to learn how to read music, but the syllabus should
>have been wide enough to appreciate that some students might focus on
>different means of performance, analysis and so on.

I agree on this point, also. I could go into a long diatribe about how
music theory is often taught in such a way that it excludes both jazz and
popular musicians (even though first year theory is exactly the same stuff
by a different name). I won't since this isn't the Musik Theory list. =)

>I don't mind "prescribed", really, so long as it's done in a creative way
>that engages with the student's individual aims and needs and not in the
>"one size fits all" way that I experienced. "Proscribed", though, I have
>some serious problems with.

Well, tells me:

1 : to publish the name of as condemned to death with the property of the
condemned forfeited to the state
2 : to condemn or forbid as harmful or unlawful

I think we can agree that any of the above would be just a tad extreme.

However, prescription followed by some method for evaluation (a test,
perhaps) would work for me. If they choose to flunk, so be it. But I did
try and I do care.


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