Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Most Significant Development in Music Education

I was thinking about this the other day.
There is a new development in the field of music education. The more I think about it, the more I realize how profound it is.

That development: YouTube

OK, it's now time for my "you young whippersnappers" moment...
When I was in college and had to learn a new piece or be inspired by a new player, what did I do?
  • How many professional trombone recordings were available?
  • Who was performing within driving distance?
  • Could I afford the time and money needed to see them perform?
Imitation is enormously powerful. Young players need to see and hear top players in order to set the bar.

YouTube does that.

Yes, there can be laughably bad videos. That guy trying to explain triplets was a screamer.
But (I hope) everyone saw through that.

I type "mozart tuba mirum" into the search box and I get 519 results instantly.

I'm a trombone professor and yet, in one morning, any of my students can gather more information about performances of this excerpt than I could in all of my studies throughout the pre-YouTube era.

For instance, if one of my students said, "You know, Solti once had the trombone player stand for the Mozart Requiem solo." I would probably reply with, "No way. Where did you hear that nonsense?"

How about this search: "joseph alessi trombone"
291 results

"arthur pryor trombone"
103 results

"ravel bolero orchestra"
652 results

Of course, youtube also gives us...
"justin bieber"

Stop and reflect for a moment on just how profoundly this is changing the world of teaching and learning music


Justin said...

But the sound quality is so lacking when compared to live performance.

Plus the most important part of that video . . . . he plays those high Abs in 1st position!

Alex Manley said...

Is it possible he has some sort of freak of nature bell that actually has an in-tune 7th partial?

Brad Edwards said...

@Justin - with more bandwith, sound quality is destined to get a lot better (but never live, of course). We'll get there (about 17 years behind South Korea)

@Alex - Years ago, someone mentioned to me a German brand of trombone that had an in-tune 7th partial. Of course, this rendition sounds low to me...in a dominant 7th chord maybe not so bad.

Of course isn't just intonation about returning to nature? (as in returning to the natural....oh never mind)

Bodie said...

YouTube has indeed been a revolutionary force in the classical music world. Along the same lines but more specifically for trombonists, I think, www.tromboneexcerpts.org has been equally revolutionary.