Adult Extension Program
The Art of Listening
The Art of Listening is a six week course designed for the individual who wishes to expand their musical understanding, and is suited to listeners of all levels of experience. There is no homework involved, just great music performed by great musicians!
Among the ideas explored in The Art of Listening:
Even the greatest works fall flat without performers up to the task of bringing them to life. Through comparing performances by various masters, we will hear what is remarkable about their interpretations, how they brought attention to the composers’ ideas, and we will hone in on what kinds of performances speak to each of us individually.
Understanding structures help us hear “the big picture” when we listen. Hearing how different composers fill these forms in their unique ways helps us understand
what makes these composers distinctive and innovative.
Often we speak of “Classical” music broadly, referring to art music written in the Western tradition. But this umbrella has many sub-categories. As we listen to live performances and recordings we will discuss where the works fall, historically, and will deepen our sense of the musical lineage that has brought us to where we are today.
Most great composers wrote for a variety of instruments and instrumental combinations. Knowing the character and capabilities of the different instruments sheds light on why composers would choose certain ensembles or solo instruments for different forms of expression.
This class will focus on applying the Alexander Technique to performance. Students will experiment with achieving greater ease and efficiency of movement while playing their instruments. Musicians and other performers around the world have found that with the Alexander Technique, less energy is wasted on excess tension in movement, and more energy and flexibility is available for achieving artistic expression. At the conclusion of this series of classes, students should be able to confidently apply the principles of the Technique for continuing improvements in their performance.
What is Alexander Technique?
Over a century ago, F.M. Alexander discovered a way of working with himself that completely changed how he approached doing any task he chose to accomplish, making his actions more efficient, effective, and with a greater sense of ease. He also found that he could teach others a similar way of working for themselves.
The changes that occur in Alexander lessons can be amazing to experience for oneself, and to see happening in others. The process is truly simple, involving delicate guidance of students in activities of their choosing. The student’s observation, thinking and experimentation are guided according to several basic principles of movement, through gentle touch, verbal suggestions and questions. The teacher’s purpose is not to impose a particular way of doing something, but to help students discover new efficient, effective, and even more fun ways of doing their daily, professional and recreational activities. As this process is learned, students become able to apply it in any activity of their choosing, from simply taking a step, to playing a violin, executing a complex dance, a martial arts movement, or singing a song.
This course is intended to supplement student's musicianship with the beginning fundamentals of reading music. We will be covering basic note reading skills to assist students in achieving sight-reading abilities that can catch up to their playing abilities. No previous sight-reading skills are necessary, and parents are encouraged to participate. Groups classes will be created and adapted for each student's age, development, and learning styles.