Child Composers hard copy arrives

Just received my hard copy of Robert O. Gjerdingen’s “Child Composers”. I think parents would be fascinated to read about how children learned music in 18th century Naples. They had an amazing music education and this provides a great curriculum model to follow for our kids today.

The first classical conservatories were orphanages in Italy designed to teach these children a marketable trade: music.

  • They started at these conservatories age 7 and stayed for 10-11 years.

  • Sang Italian solfeggio for a least a solid 3 years (Very different from fixed or move-able do). They weren’t allowed to play instruments until this was good. They could read 7 clefs in all keys.

  • Then they had partimenti classes (improvising on sketches, usually basses for beginners), written counterpoint classes, keyboard classes and more stuff, in the book.

  • They had no ear training classes, didn’t use roman numerals and considered harmony a consequence of counterpoint.

  • It was creative music education from dawn to dusk.

  • Their graduates could write full operas in a matter of weeks, improvise fugues, sing, and generally do things that would intimidate professional musicians today.

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