September 23, 2022 - September 25, 2022
6:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Playing by Ear
with Stephen Marquiss
In a new and improved version of this course, Stephen will share his approach to;
Learning to play what you hear
Learning to take notated music ‘off the page’
Playing more fluently and expressively
Performing more confidently
Memorising music assuredly
Boosting your Aural performance in exams
Developing your ‘inner hearing’
Cultivating your concentration, attention and memory
Playing by ear is the unsung hero of fluent technique. Great players play by ear, with direct, expressive coordination and without hesitation or excess tension, even if they learn from the score at the outset. It’s an elephant in the practice room that many of us don’t – or at least, we play more by sight, ‘muscle’ (procedural) memory or rote, causing all manner of technical difficulties and preventing us from enjoying the ultimate party piece!
Stephen, like many, learnt ‘symbol before sound’. He broke through this ceiling in the last decade and will share the tools he still enjoys every day for playing, practising, performing and memorising, joyfully and assuredly. He can now play simple songs without reference to sheet music, having heard them once or twice, and perform long classical works confidently from memory.
This course will not follow a masterclass format. There will be no one-to-one critique of musical interpretation, instead everyone will share in all activities and enjoy regular access to the piano on a quick rotation. There will be opportunities to try out tasks in short bursts in smaller groups, as well as whole-group activities. Suitable for All – for those less experienced, knowing the notes of a few scales would be an advantage, as would be some aural experience of intervals (although this will be covered). Please note that we shan’t be focussing on learning keyboard harmony by rote. There’s a subtle difference between playing by ear (hearing sounds in your mind’s ear and reproducing them) and playing by rote e. g. learnt melodies or chords.
You’ll be sent a questionnaire about your musical preferences, ensuring that they feature in the course content, along with your own current aims. You will be invited to bring scores of pieces, movements or excerpts that you’d like to play more confidently, which will be incorporated into the course activities.
A £50 deposit is required to secure your place on this course. The balance of fees, including accommodation, is due 3 weeks before the course start date.