Paul Scheepers / David Kuijken
Title of Research
Towards an integrated method for practicing: internalizing the composer’s language
In which ways can we use the outcome of an analysis to develop a practice method focused on learning the general musical language of a score, instead of just memorizing the right notes?
Summary of Results
Musicians who could very well play, improvise and compose wrote down the majority of repertoire, which we encounter as Western classical musicians. In conservatories and music schools often an attitude towards classical music is developed from a narrower point of view: learning and performing a score. There are extra classes in solfeggio, harmony, improvisation, analysis and counterpoint. However, the reality is that, for most students these subjects are not connected to their practice as instrumentalists. As a pianist, I don’t use all the resources I have as a theorist, and there seems to be a separation between these two practices. Might there be a different way to start practicing a classical work? For the purposes of my research I have chosen one piece as a case study: the first movement of Beethoven's piano sonata n. 31 (op. 110, in A flat major). First I analysed the movement and then I looked at what I can do with the data generated from the analysis. I developed some exercises in order to prepare one for studying the actual work. These exercises could bring theoretical knowledge and improvisation skills into the instrumental lessons and give the player a deeper insight into Beethoven’s harmonic language and use of formal structures. Further research is necessary in order to work out these exercises for more repertoire of all levels, styles and even instruments. It is my intention with this research and future work to bring music theory and activities in the practice rooms of musicians closer together.
Pim Witvrouw began his professional music studies at the Young Talent Department of the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven (Belgium) where he studied piano with Stefan Celen. He continued to study in the Netherlands at the Utrecht Conservatory, where he studied with Paolo Giacometti. In addition to this he studied musicology at the University of Utrecht. Pim is currently engaged giving piano lessons and music theory classes at the CKV-Almere. Since September 2018 he also teaches music theory at the Conservatory of Zwolle. In recent years he performed a solo program devoted to works of J.S. Bach.