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Updated by hlee27 on May 24, 2017
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A quick survey of South African classical composers

Having finally just managed to get my internet connection working properly, I thought I should make my first post back in the old country a themed post on some of the more important South African com.


On the history of music education (continued)

So what is so bad about letting music education be based around the Romantic ideals of spectacle and performance? Surely the fee-paying public have a right to be satisfied?
The problem is that it easy to define what a spectacular performance is. The same problem applies to the modern ideal of novelty in music. It is really easy to judge a piece of music and say: This piece of music breaks new ground, therefore it is good. Read More


On the history of music education

Despite the ubiquity of the ABRSM exam system of music education in the Commonwealth countries (with its parallels of UNISA, Trinity, RCM, AMEB exams) it is worthwhile to bear in mind that the system is a fairly recent phenomenon in music education and far from a universal one. Read More


How to be above average

According to Ronald Coase, if you torture the data long enough you can get it to confess anything you like, and one of the most common torture devices is the average. So one would do well to proceed with caution when confronted with the statistic that most people believe they are above average drivers, usually cited in the context of deriding the common man’s capacity for self-delusion. Read More


Music and Motivation

There is a wonderful study, conducted at St Andrews University, which highlights the sometimes counterintuitive nature of human motivation. Read More


On Time

Music has been defined as “sounds organised in time”, but the concept of “time” has always a problematic concept in physics and philosophy. Understanding what is meant by the word time in music can be an immensely helpful tool to get a sense of the different ways in which one can make music, both across various cultures and styles within individual cultures. Read More


Sight Reading

Sight reading is one of the most difficult sections in the exam both to practice and to teach, yet it ultimately forms the basis of the whole of classical music. Learning classical music isn’t about learning to play a couple of songs; it is about learning to read music. Read More


Music exams (p.3)

Aural tests are often afforded the least attention in the preparation for exams. There are two reasons for this, which I will call the good news and the bad news. Read More