More About Bernstein…


As a teacher, and as someone who believes that good learning habits and practice techniques are established at a very young age, I truly love this video of Bernstein discussing Mahler, rehearsal techniques, the reason that Mahler wrote such extensive notes in his scores, and how meaningful they are to both the conductor and the performer. Mahler wrote more lengthy and descriptive notes in his scores than almost any other conductor. Bernstein not only discusses them, but he imparts how meaningful it is to have a “reminder” at every junction. Mahler is quite unique in this respect, and he combines both traditional themes with music that can only be described as high or meditative musical contemplation. Bernstein discusses this, also discusses how much energy he puts into preparation and conducting, and how each instrumentalist, and each section, have very important roles. When I teach young children, I envision who they might become and what skills they will need to achieve their goals. Very structured note taking, and the ability to accurately mark parts is critical, and honestly not something that I see children learning in school. At first, when I ask this from them, and we make a very structured outline of the lesson and what needs to be done in home practice, it challenges them. Once they realize how much it helps them, I start to get comments, such as “wait just a minute I want to write this down really well, could you say it again?”, or “is there anything else that I should be doing that we didn’t cover in this lesson?”, or “what are we going to start with the next time?”. It is worth taking the time to help them write and process what they are learning, because they take ownership of their own practice, their own performance, and their own learning. This lengthy video provides an amazing example of a conductor, composer, and musician who challenged himself to continually learn and improve and asked the same from performers in the orchestras which he conducted. Some great concepts here for any profession and a lot of great music to enjoy!

Karine Stone