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Improving Your Ear/Critical Listening Skills (Read 2123 times)

Offline pianoisthebest23

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Improving Your Ear/Critical Listening Skills
« on: January 04, 2019, 03:59:22 PM »
Hi All,

I'm not sure how much this topic has already been explored in the past, but I'm looking for advice on ways to improve my listening skills - both at the piano and when I'm listening to other musicians. By listening skills, I mean the ability to notice balance issues between voices, over/under-pedaling, well-measured crescendos/diminuendos, and more problems such as these.
I have a tendency to either get distracted when practicing or just not exactly know what I'm looking for. When listening to others, I never know what to say if I'm asked to compliment or critique. It's frustrating and it's something that I haven't been working on enough.

Lately, I've been trying to listen to more music with the score on YouTube. I've also tried writing down some of the things I should be listening for. It's definitely helped but I just wanted to see if anyone here has had a similar experience and/or has some more suggestions.

Thank you so much!!
"Time is still the best critic, and patience the best teacher." - Frederic Chopin

Online dogperson

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Re: Improving Your Ear/Critical Listening Skills
«Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 09:06:27 PM »
My critical listening skills, not only my own playing but that of others, have improved dramatically over the last few years...from having a great teacher.  Of course, this needs more refinement. :) If it is pointed out to me ‘listen for the decay’ or ‘those arpeggios need to be more legato’, I incorporate these bits into my listening, even on unfamiliar music.

I would think if you want to work on this through listening to YouTube, listen to the mediocre or substandard performances or masterclasses where comments are given to others.   

I avoid distractions while practicing by internally talking to myself, ie don’t bump the next note; make sure you voice the next chord, etc  my ‘talking’ is really about the things I should be hearing. 

Hope this helps. I hope there are more suggestions

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Improving Your Ear/Critical Listening Skills
«Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 09:39:38 PM »
I don't know your current experience- what you play, how long etc.. but a good primer is Aaron Copland's "What to listen for in Music" book.  Can be purchased on Amazon for $7.

Offline ted

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Re: Improving Your Ear/Critical Listening Skills
«Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 08:51:41 PM »
It seems to me that the art of listening, like creating and playing music, requires a good helping of individual imagination and spontaneity. I usually just throw my mind open like a blank canvas and allow it to impose whatever associations and images it likes. I have tried, at various stages, to listen analytically, as many people have told me I ought to, but I am not very good at it. I do not actively look for things that are right or wrong in any universal or traditional sense, because I have never been trained in doing so. I like each listening experience, even of the same music, to be different each time. I couldn't bear to either listen or create according to a set of rules; I listen for enjoyment and to be transported. Musical experience, after all, comprises both transmission and reception, and the two are deeply tangled. I obviously lack sufficient background to proffer much advice. However, over the years, I have found the criticism of naive, untrained people, much more insightful than that of trained or professional musicians, at least in regard to my own music and playing. There has to be some implication to that but I am not quite sure what it is.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller