Reading from scores during the concert?

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Aor8282
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Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Aor8282 » Mon May 08, 2017 8:20 am

Hi all!

I'm a classical guitar teacher in a conservatory.
Nowadays, I prepare my new students for their first concert.
I thought it could be a mild beggining for them to let them read from scores while they play their piece in the concert. They play pretty easy pieces of course.
Lesson no.19 by Aguado for example.
But what do you think about it? Is it essential to instruct them to learn the pieces by heart for the concert?

Thanks :D

CathyCate
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by CathyCate » Mon May 08, 2017 10:47 am

Currently, memorization is the gold standard in recital. It allows for better flow from student to student, without the need for fussing with sheet music, music stand height, placement etc. etc. Depending on the number of selections and students, the concert could go on forever...or seem to. Ultimately, you want students to connect with the audience. Anything that blocks the view may interfere with this intimate communication.

Historically, there is support for playing with and without the music. This could turn into a pretty hot thread as the debate continues. I suggest working with each student to make a choice consistent with their ability, personality and other relevant considerations, then sticking to it. That will ensure that each performer practices and prepares accordingly. Again, the audience should not be punished for attending your concert. Some students might use the score as a crutch for inadequate rehearsal. If that happens, it may be embarrassing for all concerned!

Perhaps your first time performers could opt for guitar duos, trios or other ensemble combinations? There may be security in numbers and it provides a perfect justification for using the score.

Let us know how it goes.

Alan Green
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Alan Green » Mon May 08, 2017 2:29 pm

For first concerts, let them read from the scores. It costs nothing.

I play 20-odd solo bookings a year - many of them weddings where I have only a short amount of time to polish up music; playing from the score is always fine

Aor8282
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Aor8282 » Tue May 09, 2017 3:19 pm

Thanks for the great advices!!
Regretfully I'll not be able to participate the conservatorie concert where my students will play :cry:

Kevin Cowen
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Kevin Cowen » Tue May 09, 2017 8:33 pm

Hi Aor8282😃
It's a good question and not one I can't give a satisfactory answer to.
Do you mind mentioning the name of the conservatory you teach at?
Cheers

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Tue May 09, 2017 9:10 pm

I go to most classical guitar student concerts at my local conservatory and all students play from memory. However, the last time one (master's) student played with sheet music, a piece from György Ligeti, incredibly difficult. In my opinion, conservatory students should be able to memorize their solo pieces.
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Gary Macleod
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Gary Macleod » Tue May 09, 2017 9:32 pm

Play by memory especially if it's easy repertoire.

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Tue May 09, 2017 11:18 pm

When I was a student (at all 3 music schools I attended) we were all expected to perform our SOLO repertoire from memory on recitals and semester juried exams. For ENSEMBLE music (including duets) reading from the score was allowed. It wasnt just the guitar studio...same with the piano department.

This translated to memorizing about 15 minutes worth of music per semester. It wasnt too bad, but caused me a lot of stress, as often I'd be worrying so much about memory that I neglected other parts of the performance. (I was quite a nervous performer back then, anyway)

Its probably a good thing for students to do this. I'm not bothered when I see performers use the score, though.

Now, I'm allowing my students to use music for Jury exams, but I still want them to memorize for recitals. I'm not teaching at a prominent music school, though. Honestly, I'm not sure what I prefer.

The last full-length recital i performed was from memory; I don't perform very often now though, and most of it is accompanying, so I don't have the pressures of memorizing lots of music in a short time.
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Angela Carter
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Angela Carter » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:40 pm

I’m only learning guitar but I play other instruments. What I’m finding is that although I learned how to read music at a young age, I wasn’t taught how to be emotive and engage with the music until much later and it was hard to break away from that robot style playing. You can really only do that if you have the music memorized first.

I wish someone had taught me that far earlier. I enjoy music far more playing simpler pieces with emotion than harder pieces with preciseness. I’m still working on it.

My personal vote would be to have them memorize it and at least start talking about expressing the emotion of a piece.
Last edited by Angela Carter on Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:44 pm

David Starobin always plays with the sheet music in front of him. It makes him feel more secure and confident.

If it's acceptable for David Starobin, it is acceptable for anybody.
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wchymeus
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by wchymeus » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:20 am

Yeah, I don't mind attending a concert/recital where musicians have scores. In fact I rarely saw concerts without scores on stage.
When it comes to guitar recital, I believe that there is a push for memorization which is good in many ways.
But context is the key:
- When I play at restaurants or weddings, I have my books as I am able to remember 10 repertoire pieces at a time (and sometimes even less)
- if I have to play 2 or 3 solo pieces (when I play with other instruments or lately like I did with a choir), I play from memory
- If I don't have enough time to memorize the piece... I play it with the score (I did that for a party that my aunt organized, she wanted to listen to one piece that I found tricky to memorize... Bach).

When we see a pianist on stage, do we even pay attention if she has a score or not? Darn it, we picked the wrong instrument :-)
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:24 am

I remember that the great English clarinet player Emma Johnson performed in Young Musician of the Year while using a score for her concerto final - and she won. It really didn't get in the way of the music making at all. So long as we can see the player's hands fairly well and there are no awkward page turns, I cannot see an issue.

For those who choose to perform this way, they normally know the music anyway, so they only have to glance at the page. I choose to play this way as well - for me, memorisation is an extra pressure, so if I can take that aspect away, I can devote more of my performance to being musical. It is a personal choice, but in my experience it never detracts from a concert. Some people have a mix of pieces they play from memory and some from the score in the same concert.
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malc laney
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by malc laney » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:49 pm

One side of this is that CG players were [ ?] notorious for poor sight reading skills , which is ok if you take over from Julian Bream as a soloist , but as a so-so cornet player in a wind orchestra , i would have had a heart attack trying to play even the single line music always a tempo !
Playing in this situation has had a great impact on my sight reading , it becomes second nature , and no memory lapse worries.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:14 pm

I would take a cue from the practise of colleagues teaching piano.
What age group and years experience are they? If fairly early stages I would encourage whatever gives the individual the best chance of positive early experiences.
Its true that the industry standard is solo from memory; Starobin and occasional others have earned the right to do as they wish.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:19 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:14 pm
I would take a cue from the practise of colleagues teaching piano.
What age group and years experience are they? If fairly early stages I would encourage whatever gives the individual the best chance of positive early experiences.
Its true that the industry standard is solo from memory; Starobin and occasional others have earned the right to do as they wish.
Industry standard is perhaps a curious choice of words to apply to the arts. ie. it's not really an industry and standardisation is not necessarily a positive trait. If an individual thrives by having the music on the stand, then surely that individuality should be encouraged. There is too much robotic conformity in many aspects of classical guitar training right now.
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