Monday, December 21, 2009

Yesterday, after a fine performance by a wonderful community orchestra in Brooklyn, I used the word "notch" in congratulating the conductor on the group's steady improvement over the years. Knowing that I am a professional he understood me to have used the word to indicate my awareness of flaws in the performance.

I have noticed that one of the most difficult things for musicians to hear is praise. There is no such thing as a perfect performance: we all know that. Because we are so aware of how short we fall of our ideal we assume that everyone in the audience hears the glitches.

What would happen if music study included a broader exploration of auditory response than simply pin-pointing right and wrong notes?