How can I become a better musician while I’m stuck at home?

Besides practicing, of course!

Sadly, Birdfoot’s Young Artist Program had to be cancelled last week—this was especially disappointing after the wonderful workshop on March 1st.

A super huge thank you to all of the programs devoted and inspiring coaches who had been working with their ensembles since January on chamber music by Barrière, Beethoven, Bréval, Tchaikovsky, and Ravel, and more: Jeanne Jaubert, Paul Macres, Amelia Irene, Lou Bush, and Kurt Münstedt.

Young Artist Program participants asked us how they can continue to learn and grow during this period. There is so much you can do!

Here is the list of ideas Birdfoot’s Artistic Director, Jenna Sherry, sent them:

• Listen to recordings and watch videos of chamber music on YouTube or Spotify.

What can you learn from watching and listening to each player? How do they communicate with each other? How do they communicate what is happening in the music?

• Find the score for the piece your ensemble is working on (or just a piece of chamber music that you like—there are many scores available on IMSLP!).

Listen to it several times, following each different instrument’s line one at a time with your eyes. How does each instrument contribute to the whole? What do you notice that you didn’t hear before?

• Listen to three different recordings of the same piece of chamber music.

How are they different? What do you like in each one? What do you hear differently?

• Listen to ALL of the Beethoven quartets over a few weeks…or ALL the Debussy Preludes for piano…or ALL the Bach cello suites….or?

What are some similarities you can find in the composer’s pieces? What are some differences? Is there a style you prefer?

• Listen to music written for an instrument other than your own.

Imitate the sounds you love.

Make a multi-track video of a duet.

Try using apps like Acapella to recreate or compose a duet. Collaborate with your friends to compile a video together!