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Srdan Kozlica, teacher at WKMT, comments about the importance of Music Theory (Read 2161 times)

Offline wkmt

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We would love to hear about your experiences on this matter. We work hard to provide our students with a full rounded musical education. We are always wondering about what happens in other places and around the world.


Kozlica performing Rach 3 last 26th of November. Concert organized by WKMT www.wkmt.co.uk


Srdan Kozlica's http://www.i-am-a-spammer.com/piano-teachers-london reflections about music Theory and piano teaching...
I am often asked about or in a situation to talk about why it is necessary to study music theory and study/practise scales, arpeggios and chords.
To the majority of students, whether children or adults, these theoretical and technical issues seem to be unnecessary and of not so strong importance to some of the learners and thus a path which could be avoided almost entirely or at least partially in favour of a "more direct"  way of learning. While this could be the case at the very beginning or in some special cases or situations, or perhaps with only some people at some specific stage of their development, it is also true that in a really successful piano and music learning these very knowledge and skills are essential. Why is this so?
It pretty much works in two ways, in the sense that the music theory and the piano technique are stemming from the music itself as well as the music pieces are created, constructed and based on various elements from the music theory and various piano playing techniques. In both cases, all of that works simultaneously, goes hand in hand with each other and thus forms an organic unity. However, that organic unity requires us to get to know better its constitutive elements and that is precisely the reason why we have to deal with the theory and the technique during the formative periods in our piano /music education.
In the lessons, I often encounter students struggling and many times it is due to a lack of the aforementioned knowledge and skills. Also, more often than not, they seem to be almost completely unaware of the real reason why some particular place in the piece of music they are learning is not working, despite of their multiple repetitions of the place in question. In a way, learning the pieces to play without the general technical and theoretical back up, is almost like learning the piano from scratch as if being a nearly total beginner, whereas when having the general theoretical and technical back up, we learn much faster and more successfully and therefore all the effort input in the general backing up pays off more than well :)
One last thought, even the scales and arpeggios will go much better if we understand them very well from the theoretical standpoint.
I hope to inspire all the learners with this article and help them in achieving their musical goals quicker and more successfully!

Offline keypeg

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Reading this and other posts, it might be good for the teachers to become PS members and start catching up to all the ideas and approaches that have been developed and discussed for years here.  There seems to be a kind of isolation of a few teachers in a small, maybe newish place, trying to make a go of it and hunting for ideas among themselves.  That is my impression.

What I have seen a couple of times are people who play very well, who are good pianists, and they teach.  Of course teaching and playing are different skills with different training.  Teaching an advanced student who already has skills, so that you can work on interpretation and how to play difficult passages again is different from giving first skills to beginners.

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In the lessons, I often encounter students struggling and many times it is due to a lack of the aforementioned knowledge and skills.
When I read this, there is an immediate question. When Mr. Kozlica is encountering this with his own students who gave those students their beginnings?  If he taught them from the beginner stage on, then if they are lacking knowledge and skills that they need, then he is the one who did not teach those things.  But if he is inheriting these students being trained by someone else before they come to him, then it is a different story.  Is this the case of transfer students?

How those skills are given to beginners is a vast topic that has been discussed a lot, with many excellent ideas from various angles.  Please do invite Mr. Kozlica to explore those ideas here and on the sister site. :)

Offline keypeg

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There is no response, and I sort of figured there wouldn't be one.
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I hope to inspire all the learners with this article and help them in achieving their musical goals quicker and more successfully.
No, in its present form that article will not help learners achieve their musical goals quicker.  It gives a vague impression that theory, scales etc. will help them with their music.  In reality students are often taught theory as a separate subject, and don't learn to apply one to the other.  That is a teacher's job.  Meanwhile, if you are encountering students who are struggling because they are missing knowledge, who failed to teach them what they needed to know?

Offline lostinidlewonder

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What a crap piano, totally out of tune, rach 3 sounds utterly hilarious.
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Offline keypeg

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What a crap piano, totally out of tune, rach 3 sounds utterly hilarious.
Tbh, I didn't click on the link since the article was about teaching, and I couldn't see how watching the writer's performance had anything to do with it.  Since you brought it up, an OT question:

How does this work when a pianist gives a performance somewhere.  Only Horowitz went to the lengths of taking his piano with him wherever he went.  Do pianists have any kind of say in the quality of the piano they will be performing on - do they have some control or routine that is common, of checking out the piano before a performance, making sure that a tuner has tuned it recently enough or so?  How does that work?

To what degree can a badly tuned and maybe purely regulated or just crappy piano affect a performance of a professional?  Though as soon as I write it, the question seems stupid somehow.

Offline eldergeek

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I can't say too much about this, but I do know that at the local concert hall (Manchester, UK) where I go to hear concerts, a piano soloist is given a choice of 3 grand pianos which are tuned the day before he/she is due to  to try them out. The one he/she chooses to use is then given yet another tuning before the concert. Something similar happens with piano stools (without the tuning, of course). Not sure if this is common practice for concert organisers in general, but seems like a pretty reasonable arrangement when concert-goers are paying upwards of 25 for a ticket.

It would be good to hear from a concert pianist who has a range of concert-hall arrangements to refer to :)

Offline timothy42b

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If wkmt "organized" this concert, as the text says, then they are responsible for the piano. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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I just listened.  Oh dear. How could they do this to the poor man, and how could he stand it?

Offline eldergeek

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Hmm ... Srdan Kozlica is a teacher at WKMT and WKMT organised the concert. This does not seem to bode well for the students of WKMT.
If that piano is the best they can come up with for a concert, what does that say about pianos the students have to use???

Offline timothy42b

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I know they won't mind if I quote from their website:

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Our well-kept master instrument is our new Yamaha C3 Grand. Our Grand is kept in pristine recording conditions. It is fundamental for a respectable piano practice to count with a well-regulated fine instrument. We truly appreciate all the effort our students put on preparing for their exams and concerts. We can always check our performance level in optimum conditions at our studio thanks to our fabulous Grand.

They also have three top-of-the-range digitals. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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It wasn't their piano, and it wasn't performed at their premises.  The original is found here.

It also brings us to the rehearsal on premises, with Mr. Kozlica playing the Kawai CA97 (This happens to be the digital that I bought recently so it's instant recognition).
It looks like the whole thing was put together in an unfortunate manner.  The new thread was plonked here, along with the video excerpt which has nothing to do with the topic, and so on.  I stand by what I wrote about the article itself.

Since I'm forever curious - How much of a say does a performer have about the condition of an instrument when visiting such a place?   If the school organized it, would it normally have a role, or even be able to have a role?

Offline wkmt

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Srdan inspected the instrument  a month before the performance approximately. We knew it was going to be a challenge but we were all very appreciative of the opportunity given.

It is true what keypeg says, that is not our piano/s. It is the local parish's. They are lovely in letting us use their premises for some of our events. We are very next playing the Kreutzer sonata in their Bechstein.

for more info you can visit www.wkmt.co.uk, we will be posting info very soon. Performers are going to be Sabrina Curpanen, accompanist of Srdan and a violinist colleague of hers.

Offline keypeg

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The main topic, however, are the teaching ideas and feedback / comments given.  :) 

Again, if a teacher finds that his students are missing knowledge which is holding them back, is this a matter of transfers students who were not given this knowledge?  Is it the responsibility of a student to know these things are needed, to seek them out, and learn how to apply them to their music and when?  Or the teachers'?  Anyway, it's in my previous posts.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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It is true what keypeg says, that is not our piano/s. It is the local parish's. They are lovely in letting us use their premises for some of our events. We are very next playing the Kreutzer sonata in their Bechstein....
I would have hoped that you would donate some money to the church and get a tuner to look after their piano, afterall they kindly let you use their premises. It is totally bewildering why you would perform on a piano that could have sounded so much better if you bothered to give it some attention. If you want to give good music to the public then you need to show them how it is done, tuning your instruments is like a basic necessity before performance.
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Offline keypeg

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