Listening

In addition to experiencing musical performances, an important part of training is to listen.

When I was studying piano, we still had to go and buy the record or cassette tape to listen to another artist’s interpretation of a work.  These days, YouTube is at our fingertips.

This work is another arrangement of a piece in the AMEB 4th Grade Piano for Leisure syllabus.  Not only can students hear the piano version, but they should research the actual J.S. Bach original, written for choir, trumpet, oboes, violins, viola and basso continuo.  The piece is so popular that it has also been scored for organ, guitar or piano duet.  Students should listen to learn to appreciate many different interpretations and possibilities.

YouTube is an incredible resource, and can encourage practice time away from the instrument.  It is always helpful to see another interpretation or version of one’s piece.  The idea is not to perfectly reproduce another’s interpretation, but to use it as inspiration.  This can also encourage critical thinking – what makes one version better or more effective than another?  What tics does this performer have that might detract from a performance?  How does this performer phrase or shape the music?  How different does this piece sound on another instrument?

It is important to see YouTube as a provider of more than amateur videos or cheeky cartoons.  For the music student, it is also an invaluable (and free) resource for comparative study and inspiration in interpretation.  I encourage all students to use this resource and learn to listen!

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