Friday, September 20, 2013

Let Me Hear As I Hear!

Cultivating precision is a good idea.  I would go so far as to say it is probably one of my primary goals as a musician and as a teacher.  But what is precision when it comes to the life of the ear?

Or of the eye, for that matter?  Or of the general sensibility?

Ear training often assumes a delimiting of the faculty of hearing, working with definitions a priori rather than with sensations.  Tone is incredibly complex.  Why not grant that children -- even infants -- are more caught up in its magic than many MuzApped adults will allow themselves to be.

I was always impatient in theory class because it seemed to me that I was being told how to hear, rather than encouraged to hear and make sense of whatever that encompassed.  As a result of that training my growth was incredibly stunted for a long time, particularly on the piano, the sound of which is so remarkably complex as to defy electronic synthesis.

Now that I am going back over the repertoire that I first learned, alas, in adolescence, I am stunned at its subtlety and at how difficult it is to respond to it without the interference of narrow-minded pre-digested habits.

Last summer it was Bach Inventions.  This fall it is Mozart Sonatas.  Both huge undertakings.