Introduction: Strategies For Listening

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO:Musicians learn to do what they do by actively listening. Active listening means learning to hear specific things, developing the ability to notice and compare. You can listen to music passively, just as you can listen to someone speak without really hearing what they're saying. … [Read more...]

Elaine Martone: A Recording Producer Listens

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: I'm a professional listener. I listen first for whether the music is communicating. If it doesn't move me, even if it's note-perfect, it doesn't work. Are the performers following the composer's instructions in the score? The dynamics are key. It's our job to make sure the … [Read more...]

Two Rhapsodies in Blue

This is a simple comparison - the famous opening clarinet glissando from George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. You'll see from the score below that the music notation is a run up the scale, but the clarinetist makes the decision on the style of how he gets to the top note. At a certain point you don't … [Read more...]

Anne Midgette: The Professional Listener

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Performance is ephemeral and exists in the moment. But when you compare you observe differences. Don't go in to listen with a checklist. You have to be open to the experience. But certainly on the technical side, you have to speak with the proper grammar - it's easy to tell … [Read more...]

Three Shostakoviches (Fifth Symphony)

Here's a more difficult comparison. Three versions of the dark, ominous Fifth Symphony by Shostakovich. The first is the most recent, with Valery Gergiev conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The second is a 1959 recording by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic and the third is a 1991 … [Read more...]

Tom Morris: Learning to Listen

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Be open to hearing more than one concert of the same thing. Listen over a period of time. You want to understand what makes something unique, what makes it stand out. It comes down to comparing. Take small passages and identify the differences between performances. The basic … [Read more...]

David Alan Miller: The Art of Comparing

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Learning to be a critical listener is a hard thing. The more you do it, the better you get at it. It's like developing a taste for food - coffee, for example. I realize there's a huge difference between a good cup and a bad cup. So I experiment and as I do, I find out more and … [Read more...]

Four Ways of Performing Bach

This is an easy (and somewhat startling) comparison. Big symphony orchestras have largely abandoned music of the Baroque as the Early Music movement of the late 20th Century pared down the forces used to perform it in an attempt to more accurately reflect the way the music would have been heard when … [Read more...]

Storm Large: Epiphanies and Developing Taste

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: The desire to develop taste will lead you to seek things out and experiment with what you like. Developing taste is developing the desire for more. You have an epiphany hearing something and you might not know why it moves you but you have to find out more. ABOUT STORM … [Read more...]

Three “Seven Deadly Sins”

Here are three very different excerpts from the prologue to Kurt Weill's "Seven Deadly Sins." (You can hear it performed live in Carnegie Hall at Spring For Music by Storm Large and the Detroit Symphony, Thursday May 9, 2013) Three very different approaches here. Obvious a disagreement over … [Read more...]