Posted by: thebylog | June 17, 2005

For All You Choir Types Out There

Don’t practice CDs seem like cheating to you?

My head realizes that they really aren’t if the object is to learn the song, but somewhere in my heart, it seems just a little less than musically pure.

Oh, and way back in my memory somewhere it seems I had a very influential choir director that held the “practice CDs are musically impure” view.



  1. Well, I’m not a choir type, so maybe I shouldn’t say anything, but I will anyway. 8)

    I don’t see anything musically impure about using a practice CD and can’t imagine what the reason would be for someone else to think that. Could you elighten this little person that is part of the clueless masses?

  2. A choir purist might not like them because to learn a song by hearing someone else sing it, you likely consciously or unconsciously absorb their interpretation, their way of singing the song. So now in your mind the “right” way to sing it (if you liked the particular interp) is the way you “hear” it. That’s fine if you want to sing it exactly like them, but not so good if you want to take it from the ground up and interpret it yourself.

    Music is subjective, and can speak on different levels and in different ways to different people (doesn’t that sound like relativism!). Practice CDs have the potential to limit that.

    ITF will say this is hogwash.

  3. Well, you kindly saved him the breath (or typing actually) of doing so. *grin*

  4. Oh please… I was about to post my comment and I lost it. Here goes again…

    Hans, what software are you using as your newsreader? I thought I was going to be the first to post – ha!

    I’m the choir type! I think that as long as the cd won’t cause the choir problems (like bad intonation) or make it difficult for the director to get the sound he wants out of them, it’s a good way to compensate for a short rehearsal time-frame.

    Hans, the objection would probably be this: in “learning” from another recording you lose your personal touch, style, and/or interpretation. Then when you sing you tend to sing what you heard rather that what the director wants. Or, you simply fail to engage your own musical skill or ingenuity and lose perhaps the most inspiring part of it all. I’ve seen this happen to people who weren’t really passionate about music; just wanted to get it over with. But us passionate ones =) try to put everything into the music we can, practice cd or not.

    And now I see two more posts, and hardly need to say what I did… *sigh*


  5. When I pick up a piano piece I usually have several recordings of it that I listen to to get a feel of the piece. But rarely do I come up with a carbon copy of the recording.

  6. Hmmm… I think I agree with the concept of practice cds being “musically impure”. If you think about it, they really are the lazy way out. Instead of going to the effort of learning the music yourself, you take someone else’s work and use it. So,in essence, it’s cheating and/or stealing. It reminds me of my dad ,who has never had piano lessons, writing letters on his piano keys to help him remember what they are. Practice cds, like my dad’s contrivance, are a crutch and later a hindrance to producing good music.

    Albeit I, who am not a proficient reader of music, must confess that I very much appreciate them when I am attempting to learn a new song.

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