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#1976770 - 10/21/12 03:21 PM What do you do when you don't like a genre?
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
My brother waxes lyrical about Bartok and Satie and their works for beginning piano. I can't bear them. I don't think music is fun just because the composer adds some words about cabbage soup and a sick doll. I have been working through mikrocosmos looking for some redeeming features, halfway through vol 2, I haven't found a single one.

I try to keep an open mind, I just don't find anything there that speaks to me in a musical way.

What do you do when there's a whole genre or era you don't like? I don't especially want to put my students off it, or close their doors, I just find it quite inaccessible personally and I don't know where to start.
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#1976777 - 10/21/12 03:49 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
pianomouse Offline
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Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 93
Loc: Europe
If possible, I try to look for another composer of the same genre/era (for example instead of Bartók try Kabalevsky or another Russian composer / or instead of Satie try something like movie music from 'Amélie' - I know, it's not the same, but it requires similar sound). I think it's important that we like what we teach.

I also try not to force my students to learn a certain piece, if they don't like it at all. They have to practise it, and if they don't like it, you know what happens... help yawn sick

By the way, have you tried Bartók's 'Children's Pieces'? They're much more accessible and less abstract than 'Mikrokosmos'.
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#1976782 - 10/21/12 04:06 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Loc: Scotland
Of course, I adore Kabalevsky! smile

The Bartok Children's Pieces look much more enjoyable.
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#1977221 - 10/22/12 06:06 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5513
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
What do you do when there's a whole genre or era you don't like?

Then don't teach it! There are always other things to teach.
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#1977788 - 10/23/12 11:19 PM What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
LoPresti Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
My brother waxes lyrical about Bartok and Satie and their works for beginning piano. I can't bear them. . . . . I try to keep an open mind, I just don't find anything there that speaks to me in a musical way.

What do you do when there's a whole genre or era you don't like?

Aside from abandoning Bartók, there is another option, which you may already have tried: Expose your ears to MORE Bartók. Most of us have to "grow into him".

Frequently, it is the first "door" we open on a composer, that colors our opinion of all his/her works. I happen to love Bartók, but if I had been first introduced to his work through his Sixth String Quartet, for instance, I probably would have out-of-hand rejected anything else composed by him, ever.

Have a listen to a good recording of the “Miraculous Mandarin”, or “Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste”, or the blockbuster “Concerto for Orchestra”, and then venture into his “Third Piano Concerto”, played by someone who has the guts for it. One learns to listen BEYOND melody and harmony, and to get carried along by the sweep and current of the music, and stand in awe of the textures, and the massive density of the sound. There is profound joy, and unbelievable pathos. (It just is not found in a major chord, or a melody written in a minor key.)

Then, with new ears, and a new understanding of the language, return to Mikrokosmos.

Ed
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#1978125 - 10/24/12 05:11 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: AZNpiano]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
What do you do when there's a whole genre or era you don't like?

Then don't teach it! There are always other things to teach.


There is that. I just don't especially want to limit their tastes just because of mine!
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#1978126 - 10/24/12 05:13 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: LoPresti]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

Aside from abandoning Bartók, there is another option, which you may already have tried: Expose your ears to MORE Bartók. Most of us have to "grow into him".



Wonderful Ed, I will do just that! smile I did try playing through some of the 'For Children' album, and they are quite delightful. I think there's just something I haven't got yet.
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#1978136 - 10/24/12 05:25 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: AZNpiano]
kayvee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 135
Loc: Santa Barbara
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
What do you do when there's a whole genre or era you don't like?

Then don't teach it! There are always other things to teach.
But didn't you say that it was because of your teachers not teaching what they didn't like that your exposure to modern music was music from a hundred years ago?

I'd say look into modern composers - many of whom write in other genres that have 'classical and great master composers' that some of us may not enjoy (ie, Bartok for me as well, though there are quite a few in the Children's Album that I love!).

If you haven't come across it yet, there is one called either
"Love Song" or "The Girl in White" - definitely not what you expect from Bartok!
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Let's hope that changes. Taught piano for almost two years and currently working on:
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#1978164 - 10/24/12 06:32 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: kayvee]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: kayvee
But didn't you say that it was because of your teachers not teaching what they didn't like that your exposure to modern music was music from a hundred years ago?


No, I don't think so! smile I'm sure my teachers have influenced me but I don't remember anything they didn't like.

In any case, I want to avoid anyone saying such a thing about me down the line. Hence the thread.

Love Song is quite beautiful.
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#1978300 - 10/25/12 01:27 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: kayvee]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: kayvee
But didn't you say that it was because of your teachers not teaching what they didn't like that your exposure to modern music was music from a hundred years ago?

Yes. But there's also the issue of good music vs. bad music. Don't teach bad music.
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#1978317 - 10/25/12 02:29 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: AZNpiano]
LoPresti Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Don't teach bad music.

Bravo! Can we frame those four words? Can we engrave them on something? This is what forms musical taste!
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#1978319 - 10/25/12 02:42 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
kayvee Offline
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Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 135
Loc: Santa Barbara
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: kayvee
But didn't you say that it was because of your teachers not teaching what they didn't like that your exposure to modern music was music from a hundred years ago?


No, I don't think so! smile I'm sure my teachers have influenced me but I don't remember anything they didn't like.

In any case, I want to avoid anyone saying such a thing about me down the line. Hence the thread.

Love Song is quite beautiful.

Sorry, I should have clarified that I was asking AZNpiano that - he recently mentioned it about modern music, I had thought.

I completely agree with his sentiment of "don't teach bad music though" laugh Plenty of examples of that... I didn't teach for long, but one student wanted me to help her with a Lady Gaga song... easy to say, she didn't last long with me!
_________________________
A linguistics major who loves piano and knows too much theory/history without knowing how to play it as well as he wants to be able to.

Let's hope that changes. Taught piano for almost two years and currently working on:
"Going back to the basics..."

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#1978320 - 10/25/12 02:43 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Nikolas Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
Hem...

It's so 'not nice' to be putting down an entire genre or era because of two books (collections, or whatever)... I also don't enjoy mikrocosmos very much, and although I have all 6 books, I tend to teach other things (and compose other things as well for the same purpose).

There are tons of other stuff to that approximate level, or a bit more difficult that could work very well for you.

Just don't teach bad music! But make sure you understand what is bad music and what not. One mans garbage is another mans treasure they say... wink

Now, apart from the ones mentioned in this thread (Kabalevsky, etc) there's also this other collection of 21 sketches for solo piano... Perhaps you've heard them or watched a youtube video, or something! :P

(And, btw, Ben Crosland has a collection (in 3 different books) of 41 jazz tunes which are brilliant. Give them a go, if you fancy this type of music. You won't regret it and neither will Ben, I'm sure! grin)
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#1978325 - 10/25/12 03:16 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: Nikolas]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5513
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It's so 'not nice' to be putting down an entire genre or era because of two books (collections, or whatever)

I don't think my posts have demonstrated how I really feel about 20th/21st-century piano music.

The easy Satie and Bartok Mikrokosmos (at least the first three volumes) are not great music. There is music of redeeming value in the later Mikrokosmos, but I just haven't had the chance to teach those pieces yet. I also don't really enjoy Bartok's "For Children, vol 1 and vol 2" except for a select few pieces like the Rhapsodie from vol 2. "Easy" Bartok just doesn't sound fun to play.

In contrast, Kabalevsky wrote tons of great music for children. His Op. 39 and Op. 27 are grossly overplayed, but I still like to teach out of those books because the music is excellent. I also like his Op. 89, which isn't as popular as the other two sets, but I think sounds much better. I thoroughly enjoy teaching the Op. 51 variations, the Op. 60 rondos, and the Op. 13 sonatinas.

I do teach a lot of contemporary music. The great thing is that there is a ton of choices out there, and bad music should just be ignored.
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#1978326 - 10/25/12 03:21 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: AZNpiano]
kayvee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 135
Loc: Santa Barbara
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I do teach a lot of contemporary music. The great thing is that there is a ton of choices out there, and bad music should just be ignored.
Hi AZNpiano,

Are there any contemporaries you find yourself teaching a lot of these days?
_________________________
A linguistics major who loves piano and knows too much theory/history without knowing how to play it as well as he wants to be able to.

Let's hope that changes. Taught piano for almost two years and currently working on:
"Going back to the basics..."

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#1978329 - 10/25/12 03:45 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: kayvee]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5513
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: kayvee
Are there any contemporaries you find yourself teaching a lot of these days?

I try not to overlap repertoire (or composers) from student to student. I get bored teaching the same pieces, unless they are in method books. Within the past year, I've had more than one student work on Kabalevsky, Bartok, Liebermann, Starer, and Robert Vandall.
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#1978332 - 10/25/12 04:00 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
AZN: Just to be clear. I wasn't talking to you about not being fair, etc... I was talking to the OP (ten thumbs)... I know you teach contemporary music, very much so! wink
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#1978342 - 10/25/12 04:42 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: AZNpiano]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Don't teach bad music.


Don't teach bad music. Jings. Well, then, how do I know what is bad?

Lady Gaga has been mentioned and I have to say I don't have a problem with popular music - I don't see it as 'bad'. It may not be complex. It may be synthesised by an industry rather than specific creative artists who know what they're doing, but does that necessarily make it 'bad'?

I certainly wasn't trying to put down a whole genre or era just because of Mikrokosmos. There's a lot in the 20th/21st centuries I like (e.g a certain 21 sketches). Now, I discover, many thanks to this thread, that some of it was indeed written by Bartok. wink

Perhaps I should say that my brother had specifically and strongly recommended Microkosmos as 'good'. But I'm really struggling to find anything half-way musical. Perhaps it is just bad. Education, maybe. But not good music. I don't know.

Nikolas - I was rather hoping your 21 sketches might become available from some of the usual outlets, just so I don't need to pay special postage. Perhaps you could update us?

Ben Crosland writes great stuff. I had never put him in the same genre with Bartok, though. wink They tick rather different boxes.
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#1978359 - 10/25/12 05:28 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5306
Loc: Europe
I do not wish to turn this thread into something else, but anyhow, some information may be interesting...

Quote:
Nikolas - I was rather hoping your 21 sketches might become available from some of the usual outlets, just so I don't need to pay special postage. Perhaps you could update us?
I've contacted a few (4-5) from the usual online vendors: Sheetmusicplus, jwpeppers, musicroom (this is a UK one), etc... The only to have replied as of yet is SMP, who kindly denied access to their portal for the scores of Editions Musica Ferrum. They have a rule that a publisher needs to have at least 100 titles in their catalog and we currently have 35, so there's a little more to be found... And it's not exactly easy with the rather strict quality standards that EMF has.

Now, if I may extend a bit: Sheetmusicplus offers 'flat rate budget shipping' at 4$ (around 2.5 quid I assume?), so it's not free shipping. musicroom, which is based in the UK offers free shipping for orders more than 15 quid (which again wouldn't apply for a single copy, but then of course you can buy as many scores as you wish)...

In our website, right now, we have some discounts for multiple copies of 'Sketch Music'. So if you get 2 copies you save 10% (which is around the amount of shipping) and for 3 copies you save 20% and so on... Plus shipping for 2 copies remains the same as for 1 copy (since the post office changes rates at a bigger weight than 2 scores, at least for now).

That's all the analysis I can offer right now.

We do hope to have more offers in the future, and we certainly want our scores to be found in as many music stores, online and offline as possible! That's a given for us. It's just that access is not exactly easy (and the field is vast...).

When my assistant find some time we intend to start calling around the various online vendors and put some pressure on...

That's about it.

EDIT: Nope, that's not it completely...

We actually have arranged for ALL our scores (the new ones are on their way) to be available through our N. American warehouse (in Canada). This doesn't affect people living in the UK, but for those living in the States, Canada and general American grounds, it largely affects shipping time and fees...
_____________________

I know that Ben composes differently than Bartok, but my older student (aged 15) had such a positive reaction to Ben's score, that he's studying harder now! grin That makes it all worthwhile for me (though I'm not a huge fan of jazz...).


Edited by Nikolas (10/25/12 05:30 AM)
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#1978390 - 10/25/12 08:08 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Thanks Nikolas. My local shop is Musicroom.

Not that I know how to get in touch with these people, but a good thing to do would be to make sure the Associated Board are aware, because it is the kind of stuff they like to include in syllabuses, anthologies (e.g. Spectrum), etc.

I think I will go ahead and order, a copy for myself and one for my brother for Christmas. If he likes it, great, if he doesn't, then it will serve him right for bothering my brain with all this guff about Microkosmos! laugh
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#1978433 - 10/25/12 10:20 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
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Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
This post did make me think a bit ... firstly, as teachers, should we openly tell a student that we don't like a particular genre? In other fields - psychology/therapy and even medicine people are supposed to ideally be blank canvases, they are never supposed to reveal any personal details about themselves or anything about themselves, in practice this is different ... but in the world of pedagogy, particularly with teaching piano one on one, should students know about any details pertaining to our personal tastes that have to do with music?

The simple answer, on my end is - no. In my experience as a student - a student of the traditional one on one system, and then an undergrad majoring in music, and now reflecting on things as a novice teacher - I always remember that there were teachers who I have studied with who have very openly said that they don't like particular music. I remember one particular conservative teacher who really disliked 20th and 21st century music. He also also ironically bickered about how there aren't any new composers with new and good ideas... but he didn't like music that was atonal, experimentalist or expressionist. When I entered university and learned about what all those fancy words meant, a world of music opened up to me. I didn't feel resentful that the teacher didn't open me up to that world earlier, but I did feel like he was a narrow minded person who insisted on having 'sophisticated' taste in music, but ironically was closed to a lot of music.

Besides this I think that the spotlight is never on the teacher, it's on the student ... sure it helps to be in love with the music you teach, or maybe it doesn't (because students butcher your music) but either way, as the saying goes: you're the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage. I also remember reading in a book that the role of the teacher (and this was focusing on music teachers in particular) is to have the students paint themselves - rather than become clones of you.

I know that this is a bit different to the original post but I think in tangents quite frequently ... I call them tangents of enlightenment.


Edited by Nannerl Mozart (10/25/12 10:27 AM)
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#1978462 - 10/25/12 12:12 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Brinestone Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 357
I would teach Lady Gaga if a student wanted to, but I tend to consider it part of my job to get kids excited about music and motivated to learn the important parts of reading, theory, technique, etc., so they can ultimately play the music they want to be able to play. I tend to be pretty open-minded about music as well. There are a LOT of very boring, uncreative classical pieces out there too, and quite a lot of really interesting, musical songs being written on the more mainstream music scene today. Radiohead, for one, is fascinating rhythmically and harmonically.
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#1978483 - 10/25/12 01:15 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
LoPresti Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
. . . as teachers, should we openly tell a student that we don't like a particular genre? ... in the world of pedagogy, particularly with teaching piano one on one, should students know about any details pertaining to our personal tastes that have to do with music?

My standard disclaimer applies: I am not a teacher, and no one in their right-mind would have me as a student.

You raise a great philosophical question here, and perhaps I could start answering it with another question: If the teachers do not help the students form musical taste, then who will?

I understand the neutral, blank-slate theory, and equally, understand the danger of prejudicing a student against a certain composer or genre. But, I also see a real danger in a teacher NOT strongly expressing her/his leaned opinion. All too often, student tastes are governed by what they hear or see or experience COMMONLY, and without any evaluation or critique. Certainly part of the teaching process is to equip the student with good ears, and sensible methods to evaluate things for themselves. I cannot imagine a better, less preaching, way to do this than to say,
> “I love almost everything that Composer X writes! Just listen to how this harmony moves us along . . .”
> “Even though this melody is not really singable, it captures a mood for me. And look what Composer Y did with the dynamics here: how creative!”
> “A lot of people enjoy the music of Composer Z, but I find that after the first 3 or 4 measures, it all sounds the same. Here, listen . . . For me, I love it when a composer paints different pictures, and moves from place to place. The music has to take me somewhere!”
> “There is music that makes me feel alive, makes me think, and music that makes me feel dull. What does this piece do for you?”

A friend of mine, who recently passed away, was a fellow racer. In his fabrication shop he had a banner prominently displayed: Moderation shows a lack of commitment.

Maybe teachers need “less moderation”, or is that an oxymoron?
Ed


Edited by LoPresti (10/25/12 01:56 PM)
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#1978486 - 10/25/12 01:22 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: Brinestone]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Originally Posted By: Brinestone
Radiohead, for one, is fascinating rhythmically and harmonically.

thumb
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#1978500 - 10/25/12 02:02 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5513
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
as the saying goes: you're the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.

I've heard that saying before, but I've never quite agreed with it. I see a teacher as someone who can teach students all the necessary skills so that they (the students) can eventually guide themselves.
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#1978518 - 10/25/12 02:31 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
MaggieGirl Offline
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Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 488
If the teachers do not help the students form musical taste, then who will?

I have determined exposure helps. I hated beets. tasted like dirt. Kept trying every time I came across them and now, it's a meal highlight.

Dadaist poetry - wasn't fond of it. it's too unfamiliar. I am taking a course on it and was shocked when my daughter was covering dadaist art how much we could discuss. How less foreign the art was because I was exposed to the ideas behind it.

I wasn't crazy about classical music. I keep the classical station on in the car - for her sport and piano lessons. Now I can hear something and realize I've heard it before and knowing it makes me much more fond of it. Little courses like Classic's for Kids give me history and also more appreciation.

I wonder if one goal from an educator should be giving resources to students - hey parent, From the Top is a radio/tv show featuring young musicians, you might have your child check it out at 8pm on Sunday nights. Or here is a great piano magazine you might want to subscribe to, or classic for kids will give your kids a free appreciation class in 6 minutes a week.

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#1978574 - 10/25/12 04:23 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Ben Crosland Offline
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Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 420
Loc: Worcester, UK
Personally, I would advise seeking the guidance of someone who *does* love the genre. They will likely be able to point you towards the best starting point from where you can develop you appreciation further - the "gateway drug", if you like.

I remember watching a wonderful TV series by Simon Rattle called "Leaving Home" - it really helped me to appreciate contemporary and avant-garde "classical" music.

Nowadays, my belief is that it is generally foolish to write off any musical genre in its entirety.

Except for Trance, that is.
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#1978600 - 10/25/12 05:21 PM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
What thought-provoking contributions!

Nannerl wrote:
This post did make me think a bit ... firstly, as teachers, should we openly tell a student that we don't like a particular genre?

Ed wrote: If the teachers do not help the students form musical taste, then who will?

Ben wrote: Personally, I would advise seeking the guidance of someone who *does* love the genre.

Maggie reminded us we can learn to appreciate things we didn't initially like.

I think I can't entirely hide my passion and love for certain passages, and why should I? And the converse is that some pieces I won't like and a clever student will notice my lack of passion at some point, no matter how I try to hide it. Certain pieces, I am just unlikely to suggest. There's no getting round my own taste. Course I will always try to help a student no matter what they are playing...

I can be polite about certain music, I don't need to go off and rant about how useless it is, even if that's how I feel.

Certainly if a student wants to specialise in freeform atonal music, I'm not the right teacher. On the other hand, I like to think I can do more than just the one genre. Whatever our students start out liking, we want to broaden the taste, don't we?
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#1978720 - 10/26/12 12:34 AM Re: What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
I tend to think being neutral and doing that blank canvas thing is an ideal, not an absolute, in practice it never happens that way - even in fields where it is mandatory e.g. I know my doctor is married with a daughter who finished university and is studying medicine, I know that he doesn't like watching MasterChef and I know that he was a taxi driver in his undergraduate years.) There are certain things we can't help sharing. Sharing with a student how much we love certain repertoire, and subtly shying away from certain repertoire is fine... but what if a student presents to us something that they really love that we don't? I remember when I was younger, a friend of mine presented a Jazz piece to her teacher, her teacher was a retired professor of music at a very good conservatory, the letters next to his name spelled a very long and successful career but he hated Jazz - he openly admitted it - hated the whole entire genre, even the 'good' stuff. Had I been in that teacher's shoes, if a student really loved something and s/he is capable of playing it, then I'm going to teach s/he to the best of my ability. If s/he likes Jazz then GREAT, s/he doesn't need to hear about how much I don't like it.

As far as personal taste development goes, I understand that sharing ones personal taste would be one of the most effective and non-preachy ways to do it ... but I think that it can be somewhat detrimental in the early stages of learning. I never do want to produce a clone of me but I understand that people will be influenced by me, just as they are influenced by the billboard on the highway. People will know what I like, people do know what I like, but I wont very openly tell students that I really hate something. I will never reveal my disdain for certain genres in front of them and if they like something that I'll very gladly support them in learning the music.

Mind you, at a higher level, when a person's personal taste is more developed I don't see any harm in being a bit more open about personal taste. I know what my teachers like ... I know that my singing teacher doesn't like Purcell (but I LOVE Purcell) and that's ok... we're OK with our differences.
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#1978745 - 10/26/12 01:58 AM What do you do when you don't like a genre? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
I absolutely must defer to those who actually teach every day, especially the younger students. Your reasoning comes from experience on “the front lines”, while my opinions come from conjecture.

Still, we are a long way from the clinical medical sciences, or from detached psychiatry’s “What do YOU think it means?” We are discussing ART. I cannot help but believe that there is genuine value in a teacher stating what s/he really likes (or dislikes), and WHY.

Originally Posted By: Nannerl Mozart
. . . Sharing with a student how much we love certain repertoire, and subtly shying away from certain repertoire is fine... but what if a student presents to us something that they really love that we don't? I remember when I was younger, a friend of mine presented a Jazz piece to her teacher, her teacher was a retired professor of music at a very good conservatory, the letters next to his name spelled a very long and successful career but he hated Jazz - he openly admitted it - hated the whole entire genre, even the 'good' stuff. Had I been in that teacher's shoes, if a student really loved something and s/he is capable of playing it, then I'm going to teach s/he to the best of my ability. If s/he likes Jazz then GREAT, s/he doesn't need to hear about how much I don't like it.

Perhaps we are discussing DEGREES of expressing opinion, or how those opinions are presented. For instance, referring to the highly credentialed professor in your example, “Had I been in that teacher’s shoes . . . then I am going to “ say –
“I am really not the right person to help you with this Jazz Piece. In all my years at the Conservatory, I never grew an appreciation for jazz. Somehow, playing a few chords and improvising some melody is not anywhere as fulfilling to me as mastering the exquisite beauty of a nice sonata. Beethoven took months to put together a work that performs for four minutes. A jazz combo throws together a four-minute piece on the spot. How could they be equally satisfying? Now, what do you like about this jazz piece?”

Standing (temporarily) in the shoes of the music professor, I am expressing my opinion, and my passion for what I love. I am also giving musical, and perhaps historical, reasons WHY I feel that way. We are not at the keyboard, but I am still very actively teaching.

And it goes even further than that: By example, I am showing my student that I do have strong opinions about music. That I have a passion for certain kinds of music, and a disregard for others. That I have reasons behind my thinking and opinions. In sum, that I have developed musical taste. And perhaps most important of all, That I am not afraid to express my preferences.

Now the hope becomes that the student uses this example to forge her/his own, unique strong opinions, with reasons - her/his personal musical taste.

Moderation shows a lack of commitment. (- John Goss)

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In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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