Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why Assign Mozart Sonatas?

Giving piano students Mozart Sonatas to learn as if they were Himalayas begging to be climbed is a sure sign that the teacher is a victim of stunted growth.  Sorry for the oversimplification, but I was mystified when, as an adult, professional level student, I was assigned an incomprehensibly difficult Mozart Sonata (D major, K. 576).  What was I to do with this enormously complex music?

The assumption behind such assignments is that if one can only play the notes the music will follow.  This strikes me as backwards.

I have seen students who, drawn to Mozart solely by their ear, dig and dig into the notes defying technical levels or categories of preparedness.

The prevailing assumption seems to be that the ear does not, in fact, convey or grasp meaning.