Date of Award
Master of Music (MMus)
If music is indeed that "eternal essence" man claims it is, it is through the voice and sinew of the living that it receives its' immortality. Through the living student, performer, listener, or critic, it is transformed from the silent sheets of past symbols, channelled through the present feeling and being of one's intellect and knowledge, interpolated into meaningful messages, and once perceived, given again to the timeless sounding halls of tomorrow's memory.
It is through the choosing, the sifting, the chewing, and the internalizing of one's unique vehicle of capability that material is chosen, studied, and rendered. This paper is an answer to why the choice, through whose gates it has passed, what it meant to them, and what it means to me.
The culmination of a task is the closing of one door as another is opened. It is a journey endless to the energetic and fulfilling to the appreciative. Neither does it begin or end with the individual, but he stands temporarily as a participant or observer in the small hallway between yesterday and tomorrow.
In this report on my Master's Recital, I shall use names, dates, places, techniques, and opinions. I shall also write of feelings and thoughts, my own and others, which I feel are more important to why I chose particular pieces, and how I felt about the preparation and production involved in such choices.
My approach to this paper is much the same as the teacher who endeavors to reach the highest level of teaching for himself and his individual students. In doing so, the four levels of understanding and appreciation as it relates to a musical composition must be understood.
In the beginning stages, notes and rhythm must be mastered, achieving the first level of learning. Secondly, the shading and tonal contrasts that the composer intended are sought. It is at this point that many feel they are finished, that the full meaning has been achieved, that is, to perform technically that which is written. But this is only the beginning. The third level involves the performer on an aesthetic level, that of relating emotionally to the piece. What does it mean to him? What is the composer saying? How does the learner feel about it? It is the reaching down through time and space to catch and analyze the purpose and emotion of the composer, to grasp it, apply it to the present, to one's innermost thoughts, and carry it into that which can become a reality. It is the taking of notes, symbols, and word content from the printed page where it is essentially dead, bringing it to life through total involvement of mid and energy and passing it on to the listener. The "technical" performance of music is only the means to a higher degree of feeling and experiencing. The fourth level involves an understanding of how the composer used the millions of possible symbols, wove them into a unit, and transmitted a musical idea. When the student understands all four levels of a composition, he is then ready to participate in the restoration of such a work. he is then more qualified to express his own feelings through the work, and indeed has a right to become part of a greater plan than he previously understood. Ten performers achieving level one and two may make sounds that are much the same, but if level three and four are involved, each experience will be different for each performer.
Things are not as important as the reasons and purposes behind them. People are more important than possessions. Ideas are more important than the means. While level one and two are not to be minimized, I will recognize levels three and four in this paper. To fail to accomplish this would be an infringement on the music itself. It would also minimize the worth of those who penned the notes and words. And it would make my work take on robot-like qualities, and would make the recital, and many years of effort, meaningless and shallow.
Vanderford, Deanne Gardner Johnsen, "Masters Recital" (1977). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 680.
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