Emulating musical models

Online tutorials these days have a simple format. Just follow and of course you will need to slow it down, freeze frame it and work it up bit by bit in emulation of the model.

This is what students do in coming to GCSE study in one Cambridgeshire secondary school and no doubt more widely.

Enjoy the Chopin.


Their teacher writes to me about how it works for her students. I had asked about where students start.

‘I think the students do start with easier tutorials, but they assess whether they’ll be able to manage by watching it or trying to play a bit. The videos are made by all kinds of different people and there’s no way of the students knowing how difficult the piece is compared with other pieces other than by just trying it. Many of them really challenge themselves without necessarily realising how difficult the piece is – I was particularly impressed by the student who chose that Chopin!’

In GCSE performance there is the idea of difficulty. There are more difficult and less difficult pieces that can be performed and marking is calibrated accordingly.

This Chopin performance would get full marks presumably.

But why if students capabilities are seemingly fluid do we labour the idea of easy-difficult? What’s this gradus ad parnasum all about?

I think this needs looking into. It’s not an idea prevalent in many musical cultures.

And I’ve never been convinced about the idea of graded-ladder-climbing rock musical progress.




One thought on “Emulating musical models

  1. Pingback: Emulating musical models - Level11Media

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s