Pop Practice (part 2)

Straight off the success of using Zedd’s Stay the Night as teaching material for a Thursday night sax student, I decided to also give it to a Saturday student. I try to avoid giving the same pieces to multiple students in one day to avoid the risk of driving my neighbouring teacher colleagues in the other studios crazy.

This time around it was a straight out sight read and the normal (mis)adventures that go with teaching something with lots of subdivision. What was interesting though was seeing if my student recognised the music after playing it.

No, she didn’t.

So what if I played it?

Mmmm, maybe. No, she wasn’t quite sure yet.

Right, out with the 5S and Youtube and left the music video playing as I went to photocopy the music (it was the end of the lesson).

“Yes, I know that song now.”

Near Infinite Resource

All the music studios where I teach have access to wifi, something that was totally unthinkable in 2000 when I started teaching. CDs were a nuisance to use because the cheap stereos struggled with some of the disks and preparing custom disks require a lot of prep work.

I remember it being a big deal when I got a PlayStation Portable. The screen looked amazing (past tense) and I could plug the headphone jack into the AUX input of stereos. With the 1GB ProDuo memory card I could copy heaps of music and videos to show/play to students.

Now we have fast internet, wifi, free shipping to cheap sheet music and a massive resource of streamed music at merely a quick search away. Sure, there might not be a decent version of some obscure clarinet piece on Youtube but there is a good chance of it being a digital download online. That sure beats having to way 4+ weeks for a $35 CD to show up.

Not that there is anything stopping a keen amateur (or professional for that matter) putting themselves out there and uploading their own performances to YouTube. This fantastic performance from Sharon Kam playing the Mozart on basset clarinet with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is example of how the pros do it but then there’s this guy playing some Gershiwn in a church in Italy.

Obsolete and good riddance

Strangely a cassette tape ended up in my studio room one day. Some of my students had no idea what it was. I’ve even quizzed students if they knew what encyclopedias are and some didn’t even know those either (the ‘pedia’ part of wikipedia comes from somewhere). Are there even encyclopedias in libraries anymore? They’d be so out of date they’d be better off in a museum.

Not that encyclopedias are totally useless though. While studying music at university, anything classical felt like the last thing to end up on the internet. That meant we had to scour the library for information, including the encyclopedias. The downside of all that being that the lecturers almost new everything there was about certain famous clarinet composers because for the last x number of years they’d read research papers from dozens of clarinet students sourcing from the same library resources!

Yet for all the digitising, I still have 3 boxes of sheet music which isn’t going to end up on an iPad any time soon.


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