Re: Aural Training

Subject: Re: Aural Training
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Sun Aug 21 2005 - 22:20:29 EDT

In my experience, and where we are (at Concordia), the students who
come are not largely looking for 'exploration' and 'opening' -- they
have chosen to enter Electroacoustic Studies because this is where
they will develop crafts and skills. There are at least three other
places at Concordia where students can 'do sound' in varying ways and
with varying degrees and aspects of disciplinary focus.

For the visual artist who wants to add a soupcon of sonic seasoning,
there are mediatic / digital arts programs offered in the visual
arts, and for text- and 'meaning-driven' students, there is
Communication Studies.

How to find out 'where' the programs orient themselves in a quick
way? Look at the first assignment. In the Concordia Major in EaSt the
first assignment is the recording of a paragraph of speech, its
transcription into the IPA, and the removal of the /s/'s. This is
done in both analog (open reel) and digital domains.

Already the importance of the cognate discipline of phonetics is
present, and shortly certain linguistic concepts are introduced to
discuss matters of micro- and macro-structural form and processes.
Students who do not wish this type or level of involvement with sound
will be happier in one of the other (types of) programs.

The question of the place of free improvisation is interesting, and
after having done about 15 years of live ea, I would like to be able
to offer a course that would deal solely with ea improvisation, as it
is a sub-discipline of its own. I was lucky to have worked with
gifted and dedicated people from the early-70s through the mid-80s,
and we practiced 2 - 3 times per week. It was a year and half before
we ventured out into public and that was to perform one six-minute
(pre-structured) piece and one 15 minute open improv.

Over a number of years, the group played many more concerts and
slowly fell into 'patterns' of performance, and most improvs fit into
one of the 'standard' forms, with every once in a while a real
'blow-out' piece that none of us could figure out where it came from.

But this for me is not directly about having 2 classes per week for
13 weeks to develop a base for aural skills that will be able to
built upon over the next three 13 week semesters.



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