Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

A Stunning New Campus

After months of absence from my workplace, I was excited to explore the possibilities of the new university campus at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf, where my department has found its new home. Ambience and interior design go very well with the purpose of the recently completed building, which also provides large new spaces for the library and plenty of rehearsal rooms. It’s just a pity that face-to-face teaching is still not possible, and I look forward to meeting my students again in this environment. For now, I turned one of the seminar rooms into a digital workspace from where I delivered my online classes. Here is what it looked like—the technical equipment is quite satisfying, and I can well imagine to use a similar setup for hybrid classes, if needed in the near future.

EPTA Video Lecture

I recently participated in this year’s online seminar of EPTA Deutschland, which comprised a series of papers and presentations dedicated to aural skills and aspects of ear training in piano pedagogy. My video lecture Listening, Playing, Understanding (in German language) focuses on different methods of synchronous playing and singing that are applicable in online teaching and blended learning, making use of tools such as on-screen keyboards and web tutorials. I believe that the instruction of instrumental performance and music theory subjects can significantly benefit from these (and similar) methods. If you are also interested in this field and can spare some 15 minutes to watch the video, please feel free to share your thoughts!

Large Reach, Thin Ice

German YouTuber Rezo, an otherwise eloquent and well-informed commenter on political and social matters, has spectacularly failed at launching a general attack on music teaching, and on the academic subjects of music theory and musicology (which he also fails to distinguish). After that, his rant was debunked by my colleague Johannes Wolff in a most impressive manner, giving a compelling example of what contemporary music theory teaching is supposed to mean. His answer to Rezo is a must-watch!

NB: Rezo’s contribution was not an official video, but an improvised episode from a Twitch stream that was uploaded on YouTube by someone else, and taken down after Johannes’s reaction. However, the original material is still available here (starting at approx. 05:08:30).

Launch of Musiktheorie Digital

Glad to be participating in the development of a new website dedicated to the exchange of music theory resources and OER teaching materials. The project is named Musiktheorie Digital and was started by my colleague Krystoffer Dreps. In collaboration with fellow music theorists Magdalena Büttner and Dennis Mayer, we will strive to gather a comprehensive and cross-linked collection of worksheets, syllabi, musical examples, and literature that is searchable by subject, media type, and author. The goal is not to keep one’s digital content to oneself, but to make it widely available to lecturers and students in German-speaking academia, and to motivate others involved in teaching music theory and aural skills to contribute and share their resources. Everybody is welcome to participate, so don’t hesitate to get in touch and open an account!

Pro Musik About to Take Action

Freelance musicians in Germany were having a tough time for more than a year now, struggling to make their living with largely insufficient support from the governmental aid programmes, and doing without a powerful professional representation. The new association Verband Pro Musik is now going to change this situation, offering a well-connected network that advocates for better working conditions, reputation, and social security of their members. I am confident that this federation can advance to a strong political voice, uniting and consolidating the diverse interests of the independent music scene—both during and beyond the current situation. These are important goals that the existing organisations and unions were unable to achieve so far.

Since Pro Musik opened their doors, more than 300 people have applied for membership in just one week, and I encourage you to consider supporting and joining this association. The corporate video was released yesterday and can be viewed here. For statutes and membership application, please follow this link.