As busy as we all are with our many weekly activities, often we do not carve out the essential time for music listening. We should strive to make listening part of the routine. Even more than our daily practice, listening to historic recordings, live competitions, and hearing current renowned artists during professional classical concerts represents the most important activity for a young developing musician.
As teachers, we spend between 30 minutes to an hour once per week with each student individually. That averages to half a percent of each student’s total weekly time. Parents naturally want us to inspire our students to the best of our capability, but limited by time we can only do so much.
All of us spent many hours weekly as students (and continue to this day) listening carefully to the masterworks we play and love. How else can we glimpse what is possible and grow in understanding? It is no different than asking someone who has never seen a high-rise to build one, even if they have some basic instruction on how to do it. Through carefully listening, sometimes with the musical score in front of us, or just watching a performer, we absorb far more than can be imparted during a weekly lesson, and be inspired to kindle passion we did not know was there.
Live performances are the best, but today we have more access to great recordings (for free!) than at any time in our history. These days, we can do it almost anywhere and at any time. We have YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and countless other platforms. We only need to look. Ask your primary instructor for some ideas on who to seek out to seek out.
Make a New Year’s Resolution to make listening to classical music something you do each day.