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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2916900 11/27/19 08:01 AM
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Many/most pianists have already heard performances of the piece they are working on before they start learning it. If it's a staple of the repertoire they may have heard a large number of performances of it before they learn it. I think most amateurs, who are not studying with a teacher who selects their pieces, choose a piece because they heard it and like it.

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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: pianoloverus] #2917707 11/29/19 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Many/most pianists have already heard performances of the piece they are working on before they start learning it. If it's a staple of the repertoire they may have heard a large number of performances of it before they learn it. I think most amateurs, who are not studying with a teacher who selects their pieces, choose a piece because they heard it and like it.



+1 Agree with these thoughts.



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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2917793 11/29/19 04:29 PM
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I think there's a big difference between listening to recordings, which is a great learning experience, and learning the piece with recordings. The latter is a current-day disease that is dangerous for both the beginner and the advanced pianist, I think. Even in world-class conservatories, you see students learning a piece by reading (more accurately, following) the score as a youtube recording is playing through their earphones. Some pianists do it, as well as many (if not most) singers. It makes one lose the ability to read and interpret a score without aids, to see, let alone understand, all the directions in it, and to think for oneself. You are in a rehearsal and are not sure what the composer meant by a certain sign, what the tempo marking actually means, is this here really a sharp, and the first impulse is to get out the phone and "hear it". Let's hear "the answer". Youtube, of course, has a million contradicting "answers". You can find a recording to justify any tempo you want to take. One great performer does a massive rallentando here, plays or sings adagio molto instead of andante, does a long fermata in place of the "breath" comma, and since him or her, everyone does it, and it's just how it's done.

When one learns this way, one also can't hear nuances. I feel like one can only appreciate nuances when one has learned the piece inside out from the score. Then, one starts really noticing what pianists do- where and how much they take time, what they emphasize, what kind of rubato they use, and listening becomes infinitely interesting and useful. Unfortunately, when one plays a famous piece, one often inevitably starts with the sound one knows and then the notation. It is a really difficult task to try to ignore that memory for a while and to read a score with fresh eyes, because I feel like we are often obsessed with "doing something" with a piece, with injecting our own personality and our own "interpretation", when there is still much in familiar scores that has not yet been said- simply by understanding what is written and why it was written that way.




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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: Rania] #2917843 11/29/19 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Rania
I think there's a big difference between listening to recordings, which is a great learning experience, and learning the piece with recordings. The latter is a current-day disease that is dangerous for both the beginner and the advanced pianist, I think.
For the beginner and intermediate I think listening to a recording is generally a major plus. That's the whole idea behind the University of Iowa Pedagogy Product which has thousands of recordings online of elementary pieces played by professional pianists. I think trying to learn completely from a score is probably too difficult for all but advanced pianists, and I have no doubt that the faculty responsible for this gigantic project know what they're doing pedagogically.

Re: Time spent listening? [Re: pianoloverus] #2917869 11/29/19 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think trying to learn completely from a score is probably too difficult for all but advanced pianists, and I have no doubt that the faculty responsible for this gigantic project know what they're doing pedagogically.

I disagree. Any student who is able to read music sufficiently well should be able to learn any piece completely from the score, with no reference to a recording. How did students learn to play pieces before the advent of recording? Or have today's students become so completely dumbed down as to require a decent recording to learn new pieces from?

I had to learn completely from the scores without ever having heard anyone play the pieces before, when I was a student, from the time when I could read music well enough to be able to do so (that is, from about six months into lessons). I had no access to recordings; in fact, no access to any classical music at all, for the first few years, other than what my first teacher played for me (and she never played me the pieces I was learning, until I'd learnt them by myself).

The way the lessons would go was: my teacher would put the score in front of me, and ask me to sight-read it. However slowly, however haltingly, I would. Any obvious misreadings or misunderstandings would be corrected on the spot, then I'd learn it by myself at home, to play it for her at the next lesson. This was the same with all my four teachers. I learnt to read music very well, and also learnt to learn stuff by myself, for myself, without any help from my teachers.

And that's the way it should be: all students need to learn how to learn new pieces all by themselves, just as soon as they can read music. (That's why sight-reading tests are part of every reputable exam board - right from Grade 1. And what students will have to sight-read are 'pieces' they have never seen or heard before.) I was reading my way through volumes of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc even before I had the technique to play a lot of the music properly, just for the joy of discovering 'new' music: nice tunes, interesting harmonies and rhythm etc.

That doesn't mean of course that students are expected to get everything right every time. (After all, even professional concert pianists misread music - including very well-known pieces). But the ultimate aim of every good classical teacher is to get all their students to be able to teach themselves new pieces, purely from the score. Not by listening to someone else play it. What they should do while learning a particular piece is to listen to a lot of other music by the same composer, to understand his style, the way his mind works.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Time spent listening? [Re: bennevis] #2917876 11/29/19 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think trying to learn completely from a score is probably too difficult for all but advanced pianists, and I have no doubt that the faculty responsible for this gigantic project know what they're doing pedagogically.

I disagree. Any student who is able to read music sufficiently well should be able to learn any piece completely from the score, with no reference to a recording. How did students learn to play pieces before the advent of recording? Or have today's students become so completely dumbed down as to require a decent recording to learn new pieces from?

I had to learn completely from the scores without ever having heard anyone play the pieces before, when I was a student, from the time when I could read music well enough to be able to do so (that is, from about six months into lessons). I had no access to recordings; in fact, no access to any classical music at all, for the first few years, other than what my first teacher played for me (and she never played me the pieces I was learning, until I'd learnt them by myself).

The way the lessons would go was: my teacher would put the score in front of me, and ask me to sight-read it. However slowly, however haltingly, I would. Any obvious misreadings or misunderstandings would be corrected on the spot, then I'd learn it by myself at home, to play it for her at the next lesson. This was the same with all my four teachers. I learnt to read music very well, and also learnt to learn stuff by myself, for myself, without any help from my teachers.

And that's the way it should be: all students need to learn how to learn new pieces all by themselves, just as soon as they can read music. (That's why sight-reading tests are part of every reputable exam board - right from Grade 1. And what students will have to sight-read are 'pieces' they have never seen or heard before.) I was reading my way through volumes of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc even before I had the technique to play a lot of the music properly, just for the joy of discovering 'new' music: nice tunes, interesting harmonies and rhythm etc.

That doesn't mean of course that students are expected to get everything right every time. (After all, even professional concert pianists misread music - including very well-known pieces). But the ultimate aim of every good classical teacher is to get all their students to be able to teach themselves new pieces, purely from the score. Not by listening to someone else play it. What they should do while learning a particular piece is to listen to a lot of other music by the same composer, to understand his style, the way his mind works.
I, of course, had to learn the same way you did. But I might have learned better or faster if I had recordings available.

Why do you think the pedagogy project I mentioned has recorded so many thousands of pieces if they don't think it's valuable for students? I don't think they've done it too dumb down learning piano. These are a group of distinguished pedagogues.

Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2917892 11/29/19 09:24 PM
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Last edited by rach3master; 11/29/19 09:31 PM. Reason: Duplicate post

Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2917893 11/29/19 09:27 PM
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I personally try not to listen to other recordings during the immediate learning process. Usually just by working through the score I can develop my own perspective on the piece, even if I've heard it many times before for pleasure. Once I'm pretty entrenched in my own interpretation I'll listen to some other recordings just out of curiosity for what other people are doing.

Sometimes though if I'm not sure what the composer is going for l might preview some recordings just to get a "general sense" of the effect.


Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: pianoloverus] #2917927 11/30/19 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
[quote=bennevis]
Why do you think the pedagogy project I mentioned has recorded so many thousands of pieces if they don't think it's valuable for students? I don't think they've done it too dumb down learning piano. These are a group of distinguished pedagogues.


Probably the same reason why published sheet music sometimes has a cd added: To make it easier to learn to play the pieces. Because there is a demand. And yes, it may be faster to learn if you can listen. And it makes life easier for lazy teachers wink

There are pros and cons though. If one only learns this way, one may not ever develope the kind of problem solving skills that are needed when studying independently from the score. Also it is possible to advance without ever learning to understand rhythm, because one is always partly learning by ear. Learning faster and easier isn't a problem by itself, unlike bennevis I do not believe in "no pain no gain". There are people who could not learn at all without such extra help. But those who could may not reach their full potential if they get everything too easy and someone else has made all the decisions on how to interpret the score. And they miss much of the fun of musical exploration which can be a motivation to keep at the piano even if one is not good enough to perform or go pro.

Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2917950 11/30/19 03:46 AM
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I’m glad the question has raised much discussion. It’s interesting to hear (very) different opinions and certainly helps me think about how listening may affect the learning process.

Re: Time spent listening? [Re: bennevis] #2917959 11/30/19 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

Any student who is able to read music sufficiently well should be able to learn any piece completely from the score, with no reference to a recording. How did students learn to play pieces before the advent of recording? Or have today's students become so completely dumbed down as to require a decent recording to learn new pieces from?

(...) (That's why sight-reading tests are part of every reputable exam board - right from Grade 1. And what students will have to sight-read are 'pieces' they have never seen or heard before.)


I completely agree with you. But I suffered through this as a teacher; I insisted on a method that made sure students could learn to read by themselves, and it meant that there is an incredible amount of work to be done before students could sit for grade 1, if they wished (although I personally preferred a path without those exams, some of the reasons for which will follow). Those first years, the amount of time spent on the very first book, and the way one approaches the very first pieces are crucial, and once one allows for shortcuts during that critical time, it all goes downhill. Those who persisted could eventually learn at least two new pieces a week, but many parents and students were impatient. How come the sister has already started grade 2 and he hasn't yet sat for anything? Yes, ABRSM has sight reading as part of the exam, but a major flaw is that you don't need to pass sight-reading to pass the overall test. Lots of students chew on three pieces for a year (at least where I was), with everything fed by the spoon, and may get high marks in all of them and miserably fail the sight-reading test, and yet they advance from grade to grade, usually unable to count, unable to sight-read, unable to start any piece midway or to separate out its lines, to learn new music without youtube and without CDs. And so you get many grade 7 holders who can't even turn pages at a concert or accompany their sibling's grade 1 violin exam. Yes, more people who play, more certificates, more money paid at music centers and more books bought, but more is not always better.

I am reading Clara Schumann's biography, and it is totally fascinating to see how much music she learned and how "new" it all was, often freshly composed or published- by Robert, by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt (for a while), Brahms. She studied, performed, edited, criticized pieces all from the score alone. During her married years in Leipzig she had access to the piano only two hours a day, when Robert was out for beer, and yet she was able to concertize and learn a staggering amount of music. In her older years, she complained to Brahms that she found it more and more difficult to read through his full scores, because he insisted on using old clefs.

I agree with outo that there are many who could not learn at all without such extra help, but those with potential are done an incredible injustice by being handed these shortcuts.


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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2917971 11/30/19 05:50 AM
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I guess my simplified solution for a teacher would be to try the traditional note based approach first, but if it turns out impossible either because the student finds it too difficult or lacks motivation, then let them learn the other way. And if this hurts too much because of clashing with your principles, ask the student to try another teacher.

Re: Time spent listening? [Re: Rania] #2917972 11/30/19 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Rania
Originally Posted by bennevis

Any student who is able to read music sufficiently well should be able to learn any piece completely from the score, with no reference to a recording. How did students learn to play pieces before the advent of recording? Or have today's students become so completely dumbed down as to require a decent recording to learn new pieces from?

(...) (That's why sight-reading tests are part of every reputable exam board - right from Grade 1. And what students will have to sight-read are 'pieces' they have never seen or heard before.)


I completely agree with you. But I suffered through this as a teacher; I insisted on a method that made sure students could learn to read by themselves, and it meant that there is an incredible amount of work to be done before students could sit for grade 1, if they wished (although I personally preferred a path without those exams, some of the reasons for which will follow). Those first years, the amount of time spent on the very first book, and the way one approaches the very first pieces are crucial, and once one allows for shortcuts during that critical time, it all goes downhill.

Without grade exams, the problem becomes even greater, if you are talking about exams v no exams with regards to reading skills. Because then it would be just a case of: you're just as good as what you can play (which in fact is how many adult learners base their judgment of their 'level'). Never mind if you can't tell the difference between a major second or perfect fourth, or what triple time is, or how many quavers (eighth notes) there are in a crotchet (quarter note).

Of course, any assessment system can be circumvented (up to a point) but if parents choose to ignore the examiners' marks and reports, they cannot claim ignorance. Neither can the teacher.....

That's why there are so many threads like the one current in Piano Teachers Forum:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...nt-who-cannot-read-much.html#Post2917961

......where, it seems, nobody picked up on the fact that after ten years of lessons, the student still couldn't read a single note.

At least, if she had done the exams, everyone - including her parents - would know she had a problem, and there would be scathing comments by the examiners in their reports.


Quote
Those who persisted could eventually learn at least two new pieces a week, but many parents and students were impatient. How come the sister has already started grade 2 and he hasn't yet sat for anything? Yes, ABRSM has sight reading as part of the exam, but a major flaw is that you don't need to pass sight-reading to pass the overall test. Lots of students chew on three pieces for a year (at least where I was), with everything fed by the spoon, and may get high marks in all of them and miserably fail the sight-reading test, and yet they advance from grade to grade, usually unable to count, unable to sight-read, unable to start any piece midway or to separate out its lines, to learn new music without youtube and without CDs. And so you get many grade 7 holders who can't even turn pages at a concert or accompany their sibling's grade 1 violin exam.

That's something I never experienced as a student doing ABRSM exams. We could all sight-read - and sight-sing - very well, and most were singing in the choir and/or playing in the school orchestra (if they played an orchestral instrument), as well as playing with other students in duets etc.

Pushy parents will be a problem whether or not there are exams. Why would a teacher bother to teach stuff like aural skills, or technical stuff like scales & arpeggios, let alone sight-reading, for instance, if the only "assessment" is what the child can play in the student recitals (which is what teachers who don't use exams do) and show off to other parents? After all, nobody in the audience wants to listen to kids play scales or sight-read. All they care is the single piece (and it's usually just one piece) each kid plays.




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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2917978 11/30/19 06:24 AM
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Why would a teacher bother to teach aural skills and theory without exams? My childhood teacher did exactly that. No exams but lots of theory, aural and ear training


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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: pianoloverus] #2918057 11/30/19 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Rania
I think there's a big difference between listening to recordings, which is a great learning experience, and learning the piece with recordings. The latter is a current-day disease that is dangerous for both the beginner and the advanced pianist, I think.
For the beginner and intermediate I think listening to a recording is generally a major plus. That's the whole idea behind the University of Iowa Pedagogy Product which has thousands of recordings online of elementary pieces played by professional pianists. I think trying to learn completely from a score is probably too difficult for all but advanced pianists, and I have no doubt that the faculty responsible for this gigantic project know what they're doing pedagogically.


Thanks for this information, I wasn't aware of this project!


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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: dogperson] #2918058 11/30/19 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Why would a teacher bother to teach aural skills and theory without exams? My childhood teacher did exactly that. No exams but lots of theory, aural and ear training


Why shouldn't non-exam students learn these skills?


Lisa

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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: ebonykawai] #2918067 11/30/19 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by dogperson
Why would a teacher bother to teach aural skills and theory without exams? My childhood teacher did exactly that. No exams but lots of theory, aural and ear training


Why shouldn't non-exam students learn these skills?


My teacher obviously thought students should learn these skills... but Bennevis believes they are not taught in the absence of exams. I don’t believe I can be the only exception to the generalization


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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2918070 11/30/19 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by dogperson
Why would a teacher bother to teach aural skills and theory without exams? My childhood teacher did exactly that. No exams but lots of theory, aural and ear training
Why shouldn't non-exam students learn these skills?
My teacher obviously thought students should learn these skills... but Bennevis believes they are not taught in the absence of exams. I don’t believe I can be the only exception to the generalization

I just posted a question on this very topic on ABF, as a result of a brief discussion about ear training with a friend a few days ago.


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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: leemeadowcroft] #2918075 11/30/19 10:03 AM
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Learning his repertoire entirely by ear didn't stop Nobuyuki Tsujii from taking the gold medal at the Cliburn.

As a rank piano amateur I feel I should avail myself of all resources, including recordings, when learning a piece. The worst that might happen is someone would say "Gee, you sound exactly like Horowitz". I wish!


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Re: Time spent listening? [Re: jazzyprof] #2918143 11/30/19 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Learning his repertoire entirely by ear didn't stop Nobuyuki Tsujii from taking the gold medal at the Cliburn.



Thank you for sharing this. It is incredibly moving.


"Love has to be the starting point- love of music. It is one of my firmest convictions that love always produces some knowledge, while knowledge only rarely produces something similar to love."
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