Re: Playing your own music ... and teaching ...

Subject: Re: Playing your own music ... and teaching ...
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Wed Sep 07 2005 - 10:35:27 EDT

Another comment I heard (off list) was like this ...

>people differ
>listening is kind of tough to do 'in public' and tougher to articulate.
>Is this the gender difference? ... A teacher needs to be able to

My second and third year ea classes get tired of my preaching to them
that they can do whatever they want, but it is essential that they
are able to articulate what they want to do, how and why. In an
average year the student will write between 3,000 and 7,000 words in
the courses.

With a class of 35 students doing ea analysis, the class can only be
slightly interactive for much of the course, and the students don't
being high levels of sophistication in being able to transduce
experience into expression. For this they need vocabulary (which they
learn in the class and from the lists), and to develop highly
critical listening skills -- not in the sense of criticizing pieces,
but in the ASA sense of exceptional auditory refinement.

Complementary to this is how to work on the development of 'golden
ears'. Oddly, in both traditional music and 'ea', this is an area of
pedagogy which is sadly lacking. The reason for this lack of interest
in many music programs is that a large majority of students (and
teachers) just 'want to play', and the required sight-singing /
dictation courses are stocked with "texts" that 'train'. There is a
gradation of difficulty in the exercises, but little articulation as
to which skill sets are more important, and their relative importance
to each other, and to music.

Below is the general course description of a "first generation"
'Aural Perception in Electroacoustic Studies' course.

EAMT 398D Aural Perception in EAST

Based directly on the concepts and precepts associated with Auditory
Scene Analysis (ASA), this course is built around the development of
dictation / transcription, MIDI-stration skills, and creative
assignments in their application.

Areas covered include spectral / timbral studies, studies in rhythm
and meter, integration and segregation (harmonic and inharmonic),
texture and gesture, voice, analysis, and to assist in the continued
development of traditional (western) music dictation skills, the
Concordia Dictation CDs, Series II and III.

It states the precepts for its inception, perception as articulated
by the model of ASA, and creativity in assignments. The description
continues so as to include many of the skills required of ea students
taking an aural perception (ear training) course.

It is a technical skills course. It does not directly deal with
aesthetics or issues of culture and composition -- these are handled
in the studio based courses.

The ability to be articulate is not necessarily the sign of a great
or inspired teacher, but few teachers can be "inspiring" for 78 hours
over a period of 7 months in front of a class of 35 students. It is
also in my experience a matter of teaching experience, and this is
accomplished by standing in front of the class week after week, month
upon month for several years, and becoming acclimatized to taking
foot out mouth on a regular basis.



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