Reading from scores during the concert?

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Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Aor8282 » Mon May 08, 2017 8:20 am

Hi all!

I'm a classical guitar teacher in a conservatory.
Nowadays, I prepare my new students for their first concert.
I thought it could be a mild beggining for them to let them read from scores while they play their piece in the concert. They play pretty easy pieces of course.
Lesson no.19 by Aguado for example.
But what do you think about it? Is it essential to instruct them to learn the pieces by heart for the concert?

Thanks :D

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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by CathyCate » Mon May 08, 2017 10:47 am

Currently, memorization is the gold standard in recital. It allows for better flow from student to student, without the need for fussing with sheet music, music stand height, placement etc. etc. Depending on the number of selections and students, the concert could go on forever...or seem to. Ultimately, you want students to connect with the audience. Anything that blocks the view may interfere with this intimate communication.

Historically, there is support for playing with and without the music. This could turn into a pretty hot thread as the debate continues. I suggest working with each student to make a choice consistent with their ability, personality and other relevant considerations, then sticking to it. That will ensure that each performer practices and prepares accordingly. Again, the audience should not be punished for attending your concert. Some students might use the score as a crutch for inadequate rehearsal. If that happens, it may be embarrassing for all concerned!

Perhaps your first time performers could opt for guitar duos, trios or other ensemble combinations? There may be security in numbers and it provides a perfect justification for using the score.

Let us know how it goes.

Alan Green
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Alan Green » Mon May 08, 2017 2:29 pm

For first concerts, let them read from the scores. It costs nothing.

I play 20-odd solo bookings a year - many of them weddings where I have only a short amount of time to polish up music; playing from the score is always fine

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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Aor8282 » Tue May 09, 2017 3:19 pm

Thanks for the great advices!!
Regretfully I'll not be able to participate the conservatorie concert where my students will play :cry:

Kevin Cowen
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Kevin Cowen » Tue May 09, 2017 8:33 pm

Hi Aor8282😃
It's a good question and not one I can't give a satisfactory answer to.
Do you mind mentioning the name of the conservatory you teach at?

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Tue May 09, 2017 9:10 pm

I go to most classical guitar student concerts at my local conservatory and all students play from memory. However, the last time one (master's) student played with sheet music, a piece from György Ligeti, incredibly difficult. In my opinion, conservatory students should be able to memorize their solo pieces.
Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

Gary Macleod
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Gary Macleod » Tue May 09, 2017 9:32 pm

Play by memory especially if it's easy repertoire.

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Reading from scores during the concert?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Tue May 09, 2017 11:18 pm

When I was a student (at all 3 music schools I attended) we were all expected to perform our SOLO repertoire from memory on recitals and semester juried exams. For ENSEMBLE music (including duets) reading from the score was allowed. It wasnt just the guitar studio...same with the piano department.

This translated to memorizing about 15 minutes worth of music per semester. It wasnt too bad, but caused me a lot of stress, as often I'd be worrying so much about memory that I neglected other parts of the performance. (I was quite a nervous performer back then, anyway)

Its probably a good thing for students to do this. I'm not bothered when I see performers use the score, though.

Now, I'm allowing my students to use music for Jury exams, but I still want them to memorize for recitals. I'm not teaching at a prominent music school, though. Honestly, I'm not sure what I prefer.

The last full-length recital i performed was from memory; I don't perform very often now though, and most of it is accompanying, so I don't have the pressures of memorizing lots of music in a short time.
2015 John H. Dick
1994 Larry Breslin ("Deerhead")
1952 Vincente Tatay

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