No, not as a friend or romantically. What musicians do you like? Who do you enjoy listening to in your own instrument? Do you listen to other musicians?
It is important to study the artists that came before you.
There are two artists every student should be listening to frequently:
1. The definitive artist for the music you are learning.
If you search in your music player (Apple Music or Spotify) for your song this person will consistently come up. For any of Schubert’s Baritone music, this would be Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
2. The up and coming performer.
This person can be a bit harder to find so you might need to ask your teacher for some recommendations. To keep with the same example. Ryan Speedo-Greene would be a great suggestion a young shining star of the opera world.
There is nothing wrong with listening to more than two people (I highly recommend it) but you will probably keep coming back to at least two performers frequently. The reason we want those two specifically is we want to know what the performance practices are for the song and we will get two unique (well accepted) performances of the same work. And where the artistic decisions stay the same we should probably take notes.
You’ll Find New Music
Once you find an artist whose musical style you enjoy in one piece of music; you will likely find that you like their decisions in more music, and while listening to their catalog of recordings you may find more music that you want to learn. Let’s be real, that is probably one of the only places you will find new music other than your teacher giving you new music to learn.
When you are listening to an artist why do you like them?
What is it that makes them better than someone else?
It would be a great idea to have a pen nearby to jot down notes on things you like and want to incorporate into your own music.
Perform With It
Just like you sing along in the car with your favorite pop singer, practice with these master recordings. They will drive you to greater heights than you can imagine. But be careful, you still want to be you and not you being someone else.
I have a rule in my studio. Learn the notes, the words, and the rhythms then you can make decisions. First and foremost you need to perform what is on the page, once you can do that we can make it ours.
Artists I Listen To
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a baritone and as such, I listen frequently to the likes of Byrn Terfel & Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau when I am researching new music though I have plenty of other singers of many vocal types in my list.
Not sure who you should be listening to?
Ask your teacher or send us a message.
About the Author
Josh Manuel is the owner of Manuel Creative Arts Academy. He has been involed in music for his entire life, and everyday you will find him working to improve music education in Dayton, OH and everywhere. At Manuel Creative Arts Academy Josh teachers voice & piano lessons for students of all ages.