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As a Musician, What Can I learn From Mozart?

This is going to be the final article in this series, with this one leaning more for composers than performers and I hope you have enjoyed them all. Very interesting to see some common threads throughout, despite the different styles covered.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era, left behind a rich musical legacy that continues to inspire musicians today. Mozart was not only a composer but also a skilled pianist. He was a child prodigy, displaying exceptional musical talent from a very young age.

The world is incredibly different now compared when Mozart was alive, but can following some older principals lead a musician to success today? Let's find out!

Learn from Mozart

Here are some lessons and insights that musicians can learn from Mozart.

Melodic Mastery

Mozart was a master of melody. His compositions are known for their beautiful and memorable melodies. Musicians can learn from his ability to create melodies that are expressive, emotionally engaging, and have a lasting impact on listeners.

It is true that Mozart's music was the equivalent in it's day of what pop music is for people now. Composers of any style, pop or classical should focus on melody to make their music catchy. We all know that annoying song that doesn't go away, yes, I am referring to Dance Monkey by Tones and I. I really dislike that song, but surely it must have some level of melodic genius!

Form and Structure

Mozart's works often adhere to well-defined musical forms, such as sonata-allegro, rondo, and minuet. Musicians can study his compositions to understand how he structured musical ideas within these forms, providing a solid foundation for their own compositions.

Form and structure can also be looked at from a variety of different angles. How you structure your practice routine or how you structure a recital concert. Finding ways to have contrast and balance in a recital programme is important. Here is a full recital concert I gave in Jakarta in 2016, and I think it shows a good balance.

Orchestration and Instrumentation

Mozart was skilled in orchestration and instrumentation, knowing how to use each instrument to its full potential. Musicians can learn from his ability to create balanced and effective orchestral textures, as well as his skill in highlighting different instruments and their unique qualities. In GCSE or A-Level music, students have to compose and one big area which students fall down on, is 'exploiting the potential of every instrument'. As a composer, if you write for 5 instruments, make sure that every instruments potential is fulfilled.

Harmonic Innovation

While Mozart adhered to the harmonic conventions of his time, he also introduced innovative harmonic ideas and progressions. Musicians can study his harmonic choices to understand how he created tension and resolution, adding depth and interest to his compositions. It is important as a listener as well, to appreciate music that challenges harmonic conventions. You are not going to go very far if you think contemporary music is not good, even if it can sound very random. It often does feature ideas that Mozart himself created.

Here is a great example of this. Not unlike Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, when Judith Bingham's brilliant composition called 'Prague' was used as a brass band test piece, most bands struggled to appreciate it's brilliance.

Expressive Nuances

Mozart's music is known for its expressive nuances and sensitivity to dynamics and phrasing. Musicians can learn to bring out the subtleties in their performances by paying attention to articulation, dynamics, and other expressive elements.

Mozart excelled in various musical genres, including opera, symphony, chamber music, and piano works. Musicians can learn from his versatility and willingness to explore different styles and forms, allowing them to broaden their own musical horizons.

Work Ethic

As we have found with every article in this blog series, hard work is required for success. Mozart was incredibly prolific, composing a vast amount of music in his relatively short life. Musicians can be inspired by his work ethic, discipline, and dedication to his craft, emphasizing the importance of consistent practice and creative output.

Innovation Within Tradition

While Mozart respected classical forms and traditions, he also brought innovation and originality to his compositions. Musicians can learn the importance of respecting musical conventions while finding ways to express their unique voices within those frameworks.

As a euphonium player, I love playing music by Mozart. Just because music wasn't written directly for your instrument, it shouldn't stop you attempting it. I am also a guitarist and massive heavy metal fan. Mozart's music lends itself so nicely to heavy metal guitar and is incredibly good to practice. As can be seen in this video.🤘

Studying Mozart's music provides valuable insights into the principles of melody, form, orchestration, and emotional expression, offering a solid foundation for musicians to enhance their own musical skills and creativity.

Good Luck! ❤

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Mark Glover


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1 Comment

Jan 20

Thanks for this series about the musicians Eminem, Swift, Gaga, Elvis, and Mozart. All of those folks had something in common: hard work. Sure, they had talent. However, that's not enough for success. The secret to success in any field is effort.

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