Adrian Casas Lupercio - conducting expert

Should I listen to a recording?

Should a conductor learn from recordings?

In this video, Adrian talks about learning from recordings. Is it something beginning conductors should do?

Released on November 4, 2020

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello everyone. My name is Adrian Casas. I am a violinist and conductor from Regina, Canada and we are here today to talk about the recordings during your score studying. So during your career, as a conductor or as a conducting a student, you will come across with the question of whether or not you should listen to recordings to do your score setting. And my first answer is a resounding no, and there are a couple of reasons why you, I believe that you shouldn't listen to recordings during your score study.

Take a look at one of my videos where I talk about the skills that you need to become a conductor. So you want those skills to be top-notch as much as possible, right? You want your listening skills your reading skills and your analysis skills to be top-notch to be very sharp so that when you have a scoring in front of you, you are able to listen in your head and start developing your own musical ideas about the music that you have in front of you. So if you rely on recordings to do score studying you eventually, you might lose those skills or those skills might start to get a little bit lose, right? So you don't want to lose those skills. If you lose those skills and for example, you work with a composer and the piece of music that you have in front of you is new, it's very likely that you won't have a recording of that piece. So yeah, you want your music, you want your analysis skills and your conductor skills to be top-notch without relying on recordings.

Another effect that happens when you listen to recordings is that you copied the idea of the recording, and we want to listen to your ideas as a conductor. So we want to listen to your musical ideas. So the more you're doing, the more you do it, sorry, the more you do your scores studies, the easier it's going to get and the faster your ideas will come across the music. But if you listen to a recording, you, it's very likely that you're going to copy involuntarily those ideas.

Now, let's be honest, eventually, at some point in your life, at some point during your career, you will run out of time. It's something that happened to all of us. Sometimes I have too many concerts. I also play in orchestras and I have my own orchestras to conduct and I play in chamber music and I have too many things on my plate and eventually something is going to give.

And so if you last resource is to listen to a recording, then my advice is to listen to a recording from beginning to end with your score, and then when you're done that recording, find a different version of that same piece of music. Find two or three versions of that same piece of music, so that way you're not stuck with the first version. You're not stuck with the first ideas. And perhaps you might be able to copy or mix some ideas or perhaps agree or disagree with some of the ideas that you've been presented, right. And then start to develop your own ideas. So yeah, if you will have resources to listen to a recording, then listen to many recordings so that you have a variety of ideas in, within you.

Thank you very much for watching and stay safe.
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