Stages of listening during preparation and execution of a piano performance

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

J. B. Floyd - Committee Chair


Many musicians agree that listening is the foundational interaction with music. As a pianist, the author has been investigating the listening activity that occurs during the preparation and execution of a performance, from getting acquainted with the music to be performed to the moment of the performance itself. Supported by the ideas of music psychologists and musicologists, three stages of listening were defined: the first stage involves basically inner hearing or "listening from the score," the second stage involves consciously monitoring practice that combines inner hearing and physical hearing, and the final stage, the performance itself, gives evidence of what the performer was able to hear from the score. The purpose of the study was to explore pianists' listening experiences related to these three stages. Interviews were conducted with selected pianists of international renown who are currently active as performers. The author (a) summarized the ideas and information from these interviews, (b) compared them with the literature reviewed in the second chapter of the essay, and (c) offers suggestions or guidelines for listening during the three stages of preparation and execution in piano performance.



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