Wendelin Bitzan

Wendelin Bitzan

Contemplating Jugend musiziert

On the occasion of my kids taking part in the German youth competition Jugend musiziert for the first time, here are some personal thoughts: The competition did not develop very much during the time since when I myself was a participant some twenty years ago. Some new instruments and categories were introduced, there are junior judges in some categories, and the application procedure has been digitised. Many other aspects remain unchanged: The repertoire lists are still insufficiently diverse, applicants are still required to state the keys and ›style epochs‹ of the performed pieces, advisory consultaltion with the jury still takes place prior to the announcement of the results, and questionable special prizes are still being awarded by weird people and organisations.

Provided that all procedures are carried out smoothly and participants are carefully guided and advised by parents, teachers, and adjudicators, the competition can turn out to be a rewarding and inspiring experience. Some noteworthy ideas are expressed in this podcast by my dear colleagues Laura, Saskia, and Daniel in a recent episode from the Pro Musik Magazine.

Future Talk in Leipzig: Building a Network

Very excited to chair a panel discussion at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig next week! As part of the Future Talks series of Netzwerk Musikhochschulen 4.0, we will discuss questions of studying music, starting a career as a freelance musician, networking, and vocational representation with people from music universities, professional associations, and politics. My dialogue partners will be Sebastian Haas, Lisa Mangold, Andrea Tober, Andreas Hammer, and Oliver Fritzsche. You can join the subsequent public discussion if interested (please register at mentoring@hmt-leipzig.de), or follow the event via the YouTube livestream. Many thanks to Carmen Maria Thiel and the Mentoring Arts programme for the invitation!

» Thursday, 23 March 2023, 2 pm, at HMT Leipzig, Probesaal, Grassistraße 8, 04107 Leipzig
» For more info see this website, and the livestream will be available here

How Musicians Become Offenders

I would like to draw your attention to a remarkable article, written by pianist and university professor Florian Hölscher of Frankfurt Music University, on hierarchies, abuse of power, and misconduct in classical music education. The author puts this sensitive issue into a historical perspective, relates recent developments to 19th-century Meisterlehre and aesthetics of artistic genius, elaborates on the example of the George circle as a prominent example of mental and sexual dependence, and introduces a typology of potential offenders in teaching relationships. This text was thankfully provided by courtesy of the author for the Pro Musik Magazine.

The Digital Music Theory Classroom

I tried to summarise all my recent experiences in technology-based teaching and developed some personal guidelines for the digitised music theory classroom. The comprehensive concept includes diverse forms of instruction, such as face-to-face, online and hybrid teaching, and also considers synchronous and asynchronous usage of collaborative cloud documents and whiteboards—a central element of my music theory classes during the last three years. Other components are learning management systems, open educational resources, and multimedial interaction by means of virtual music-making apps and MIDI devices. Please share your thoughts if this is somewhat inspiring to you, and let me know if you have additions or suggestions!

» View my teaching concept for the digital music theory classroom (in German language)

Types and Prototypes: Study Day in Hamburg

This month is already bursting with music conferences and symposia, but the following event could indeed be worthwile to experience: Together with Patrick Becker and Roberta Vidic I am co-organising a hybrid study day, titled Types and Prototypes: Towards a Theory of Compositional Models in East-European Music, which will focus on theories of Satzmodelle and schemata in the repertoire in question. It is hosted by Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg and will take place both on-site and remotely via Zoom next Saturday, 18 February, 3–8 pm.

We are glad to have a promising line-up of presenters, including musicologists and music theorists from four different countries: Bart de Graaf (Amsterdam), Inna Klause (Hannover), Olha Kushniruk (Cambridge), Rebecca Mitchell (Vermont), and Jeff Yunek (Georgia). The study day will be chaired by Christoph Flamm (Heidelberg). Everybody interested is cordially invited to participate—please see this website for information on how to register.