Colin Harvey Posted September 28, 2009 Share Posted September 28, 2009 I thought Bazuin made a very apposite point in a recent topic, which I thought was worthy of further exploration: (they) purchased an organ to teach properly a single area of the repertoire... to replace the organ with a new Central-European 'eclectic' factory organ upon which none of the repertoire can be taught in a contextual way (in a sense duplicating their teaching instrument at St Marylebone) is, in my opinion, pretty backward If you go to, say, the Amsterdam, Hamburg or Innsbruck Academy, there is a great emphasis on teaching using period instruments (or faithful reconstructions) to guide students in their understanding and learning of period repertoire. So students will get the opportunity to practice and be taught Franck, Widor and Vierne on a Cavaille-Coll, Bach on an early 18th Century organ, Frescobaldi on an Antegniati, etc. In a nutshell, the guiding thought is that letting students listen to and play period repertoire on period instruments lets them experience what the composers knew themselves and allows them to make their own discoveries and conclusions about playing their music. Quite often, this will go hand-in-hand with studies on other period keyboard instruments at the Academy - so Harpsichord and Clavichord for early music, piano and harmonium for romantic music. The cross-over between the techniques of playing these different keyboard instruments with corresponding technique on the organ is emphasized - such as the use of clavichord techniques playing Bach. Other academies and conservatoires have a different focus and do a greater proportion of their teaching on modern, "eclectic" instruments - with standardised console dimensions and modern console accessories, etc. Their rationale is to equip their students for the flight decks of modern concert hall organs and cathedral organs - so one can tell the difference between a sequencer and a stepper and knows how to control scope, I suppose. Plus develop a modern technique - Germani pedal technique, etc. Based on the recent evidence of the latest organ being built for the RAM, it could be inferred the RAM overall fall into the latter camp, although I know they also organise annual trips to the continent for their students to experience organs of different periods and schools and have lectures from William McVicker on organ history so this may not be entirely fair. What do people see as the relative merits and advantages of each approach? Of course, I don't think any single conservatoire offers a single, wholly polarised approach (such that they ONLY play historic organs built before 1850 or ONLY play modern eclectic organs built since 1970) but what are people's thoughts on the merits of different teaching styles? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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