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What "Classical Training" Really Means

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#1 dirac


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Posted 12 July 2005 - 04:12 PM

An interesting piece by Tony Green in Slate regarding the term “classically trained" -- in music, that is-- and how to evaluate such claims. It seems to me that much of what he says could also apply to such standbys as “has trained in ballet” “has ballet training,” etc.


Here's the problem: Few people outside of music students know what that really means. To wit: extended study and mastery of a complete system of techniques, pedagogy, musical knowledge, and repertoire. In the piano field, according to O'Riley, it commonly includes beginning, intermediate, and advanced material by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, Shostakovich, and other composers. It also implies a mastery of specialized techniques, performed from the easy to the most challenging tempos, as well as a thorough schooling in music theory, harmony, and composition.

#2 Helene



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Posted 12 July 2005 - 05:00 PM

I've always wondered how to interpret "actor/model XYZ was heading toward a ballet career when she suffered a career-ending injury." What is the bar, or the ballet equivalent of "any second year conservatory student could do that?" Is it having been accepted to one of the great training academies like POB, Kirov, or Bolshoi schools? Having been accepted into the pre-professional track at one of the major schools? Having graduated from a pre-professional track? Having apprenticed with a company, with or without big institutional training? Having earned a dance degree at Julliard or SUNY Purchase or NYU?

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 12 July 2005 - 07:06 PM

I think your "actor/model X" example could mean anything from someone tearing every muscle in her body during her last year at the Royal Ballet School to someone with no talent whatsoever who desperately to be a ballerina and is studying at the notorious Dolly Dinkle School of Ballet, Tap and Barbecue until someone sees a photo and tells her she had the bones to be a model. :innocent: Or a kind teacher says, "Dear, have you ever considered getting an MBA? You have no turnout!"

The idea of what is classical training is interesting, though. One thing I've been reading the past few years in interviews with artistic directors is that they're seeing so many students with a natural talent but inadequate training. Once, classical traning meant having attended one of the great academies -- and there weren't many. (Paris, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Copenhagen, Milan) But now there are some very good teachers in schools attached to a company -- Washington School of Ballet and Maryland Youth Ballet, in the D.C. area, have both provided ABT and NYCB with well-trained stars -- or even small studios. (I just learned that Ossipenko and Terkhova are teaching this summer in a small studio in Florida.)

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