There’s sometimes a stigma associated with listening to recordings of pieces one is playing. The fear seems to be that a student will simply imitate the artist on the recording.
There is a well founded basis for this fear. If you compare the varieties of interpretation now to early recordings from the past, you’ll find that things have become more and more homogenized.
But beyond this fear lies the fact that by not listening to a piece you can seriously slow down your rate of progress. The reason is simple: the better the aural picture you hold of a work, the more information your ear has at its disposal to integrate all the elements of playing. In the end, it’s our knowledge of what a piece *sounds* like that holds everything together.
A secondary benefit of recordings is that, far from limiting an interpretation, they can open you up to unconsidered possibilities; especially if you make a habit of listening to many different interpretations from different time periods. The key is to judge for yourself.
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