Music education-comparing different instrumentalis - Different musciains?

All topics musical, not specifically piano-related

Postby Tranquillo » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:31 pm

As a voice and piano student, I have noticed that there is a lot of weight put onto certain areas of music depending on the instrument. As a piano student, I have noticed that teachers like to form a musician, the nature of the instrument involves a the person to provide their own harmonies, in other words accompanying themselves. On the other hand in the vocal world there is more collaborating that goes on. I will write more but if anyone has any contributions that would be worth discussing please leave your thoughts. I will respond with my own experiences, though I am limited in experience I must say.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:50 am

Welcome back!

As a longtime choral musician and pianist with limited ability, I would have to say that playing the piano is a lot harder - for precisely the reasons you have indicated, if I understand your post correctly. Teachers of piano must get across to the student that the pianist must learn to balance lines in each hand so as to make it appear that more than one instrument is present (e.g. in many Bach works) or that the one instrument is providing a rich musical environment. It's not enough just to get the notes and timing right in one part, as it is in choral performance. The pianist has to think on several levels and worry about the constantly changing interplay of the hands. Piano teachers have a tough job! :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Tranquillo » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:03 pm

Thanks John!

I don't think piano and voice should be comparative to their level of difficulty. Piano and voice, to me have their difficulties and also their conveniences. I was a choral musician for about 5 years before moving onto private voice lessons. The voice as an instrument is demanding, not only physically but intellectually. Voice is taught in a way that requires an understanding for the internal physical anatomy --- unlike any other instruments which can be seen externally. I'm not saying its the hardest instrument, I'm just saying it ain't as easy as it looks!

I was more alluding to the fact that pianist often provide yes, their own parts, so you do get the see the 'whole musician'. Singers however, have great aural skills in my opinion, areas like pitch are what drive singers mad, well if they are good singers. Also, singers have a great understanding for phrasing, an area that pianists can lack due to the nature of the instrument.

I have noticed though, in the world of singing, the level of autonomy is lessened to a great extent. More singers are reliant on a recording or repertuir to play their parts for them. I have learned a lot in my dealings with musicians in chamber groups as well as being on both ends of the music stand. I have noticed that string players have a great sensitivity to the swells and they often tie their phrasing in expressively with vibrato. Of course pianists can not physically achieve this, but the piano is not an instrument with natural legato. I have noticed that singers also work towards sustaining long notes, thinking real far ahead to how much breath and how to phrase as well as dynamics. There is a lot that can be learned from both.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:30 pm

Becibu wrote:There is a lot that can be learned from both.

Because piano and vocal music are different in so many ways, experience in both areas tends to be complementary. Vocalists learn to think ahead; pianists must learn to think about and shift emphasis in both hands per the needs of the music.
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Postby Tranquillo » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:29 am

Pianists I notice, seem to have a higher level of automony than singers. Pianists also, share repertoire ... sometimes hand size comes into the equation though in the world of singing repertoire is diversited to different voice types. The singing teacher may not have sung the same aria because of their Fach. This sometimes presents a barrier but it also serves as a great pedagogical tool, the singer is ulimately trying to mimic the technique rather than the sound.

Singing pedaogy, in my opinuon is the most diversified in its approach. Piano as an instrument, has developed in Europe and ideas of technique and genre lean towards classical due to its location. Singing on the other hand, has developed over many countries and continents. European art singing for example demands the larynx (voice box) to be in a low position, whereas Asian cultures promote high larynx singing.

Its true what you say John, there is a lot that can be learned regarding the constrasts of different instruments. Pianists are often told to legato as a singer.
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