The Well-Tempered Ear

‘YouTube’ helps me learn classical music. What about you?

September 19, 2009
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

These days, among the piano pieces I am in the final stages of learning are the “Musical Moments” No. 1 in C major and No. 3 in F Minor, the “Russian Air,” by Franz Schubert (below right).Schubert

Both are often used as encores (Sviatoslav Richter often played No.1 and Vladimir Horowitz liked no. 3). They are wonderful, songful miniatures.

The first is much like impromptu with a songful middle section.

The third is a small ditty that combines lyricism with military march rhythms, as much of Schubert does, and it usually takes between 1-1/2 minute and 2-1/2 minutes to perform.

Both ares often treated as an easy, intermediate-level pieces. But I’ve found that especially the third is trickier than many think, both in the right hand double-thirds and the left hand and the subtle changes that Schubert writes into the score. (Increasingly, I think there is no easy music to play, not even the simplest Two-Part Invention or Chopin Prelude.)

You can hear a lot of recordings of these works, and they can help give you ideas not so much to copy as to spark ideas for your own interpretation.

And they also give you pleasure.

Plus, you can also hear examples for free.

Lately, I’ve been using YouTube as a teaching tool or learning tool for classical music.

You might even say I have been taking piano lessons on YouTube, although I also have a wonderful real-life teacher in Madison.

So I have heard such famed pianist as Artur Schnabel, Vladimir Horowitz and Emil Gilels, as well as many amateurs, play these same pieces I am working on.

Here’s a link to Horowitz’Horowitz Hands (his hands are at left) performance of the third:

And to the legendary Schnabel’s (below right) performance of the first: Schnabel

So I ask other music teachers  and music students:

Do you use YouTube?

For what other works, or instruments? Composers or performers?

How helpful is it?

Do you have a favorite classical performance you like to watch on YouTube?

Are there other classical web sites you recommend?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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