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What musical subjects are easier to learn in the classroom than in private lessons?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by thrash_jazz, Aug 28, 2002.


  1. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hi everybody,

    Now that the fall term for them school people is starting, I may have the chance to take some night courses in music. I was just wondering what you all thought would be the most effective type of course to take.

    I've taken a few music courses before, and while they were helpful, they mostly rehashed material I already knew.

    So, my specific question is: Which topics do you think are better and/or more efficiently covered in an actual university classroom, rather than in a private lesson?

    My thoughts are that courses on music teaching, the physics of music, and some theory classes might be better covered in a class.
     
  2. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    One of my favorite college music courses was "Introduction To Listening".

    ...seriously. ;)

    Basically, the course exposed me to a bunch of stuff I would not likely have checked out...you hear about of so & so, you read about him, you delve deeper into what made them tick, you check out similar composers, yadda.

    IMO, that final exam was more difficult than any of the Theory, Harmony, Compositions courses I took. ;)
     
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That depends on what you already know. Having said that, I found that during my 9 years spent in music schools as a music major, the most useful classes were those which focused on you actually doing something productive with the information you were studying: (Legit) Theory I-IV, 16th and 18th century Counterpoint, and Orchestration were those classes for me. I think the classroom atmosphere for those classes was beneficial because of the structure...when you have to show up and PRODUCE something two or three times a week for 15 weeks, the cumulative effect is considerable, and I can attest to the fact that almost 15 years after the fact, this is the material that I have retained the most of outside of my private instrumental instruction.

    If you haven't been through Theory I-IV (similar at most universities), you won't really be able to approach the other topics in any depth since the theory classes are usually a prerequisite. Both counterpoint and orchestration will leave some serious bruises on your backside if the teacher is any good, but I can promise you you'll never look at (or listen to) music the same way again after having taken them.
     
  4. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Thanks Chris. Counterpoint and orchestration are exactly the types of thing I'd like to learn a little more about. As far as what I already know, the only formal university-level class I took was Introduction to Music Theory, but quite honestly I was already very familiar with most of the concepts they covered, and I found the class to be fairly easy.

    I would love to go to a full-time music school, but I can't do that. From what you folks here have said, it is indeed possible to be able to accomplish what you want to do without going to music school. However, to elaborate further on my question: Do you feel that there are any vital concepts covered in your average music-school curriculum that generally would be impractical to cover in a private lesson?
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Well, Counterpoint and Orchestration would be difficult because of the structure aspects I mentioned above (especially orchestration, since getting your work performed is a vital aspect of learning what works and what doesn't). Also, it would be difficult to find someone who teaches privately who is also well versed in both of these subjects, since they're pretty esoteric.
     
  6. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Do you know of any books on the subject that might be worth reading? I know you can't necessarily learn from a book, but it'd give me an idea of what I'd be getting myself into.
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Well, for orchestration, you can't beat Samuel Adler's "The Study of Orchestration", which comes with 5 CD's of musical examples. Very dry reading, but one of the best orchestration resources I've seen.

    For counterpoint, before you get any books, listen to Palestrina masses, Bach's WTC, and Bartok's string quartets for starters, and see what (if any of that) lights your fuse. From there, you'll have a basic direction in mind.

    Also, you can't go wrong with the last movement of Mozart's "Jupiter" symphony, which has some of the most mind-blowing counterpoint you'll ever hear in the recap. Likewise with Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 133, which is so thick with deep contrapuntal lines that it'll hurt your head to try to follow them all.
     
  8. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    There are no night courses in music being offered this year at either university. Oh well...

    Thanks Chris :) and everyone else...