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Separating the Art from the Craft


As a teacher of talented tuba students, I encounter diverse aspirations ranging from accomplished performance to leadership in music education. Amidst differing pedagogical philosophies, a dichotomy emerges between prioritizing the craft of the instrument and the pursuit of musical art. I believe that a harmonious coexistence of both aspects is essential, advocating for the separation of the craft and art to address each facet individually.

Craftsmanship, akin to technical mastery, is likened to a replicating craftsman, while artistry, associated with emotional expression, is compared to the creative inspiration of an artisan. The metaphor of a window and landscape illustrates the importance of a detailed musical concept and the need to address both the figurative view and the condition of the window (technical proficiency) independently. The separation of art and craft allows musicians to refine skills while elevating their musical minds.

Mastery in tuba performance extends beyond technical proficiency, with artistry emerging when musical ideas seamlessly translate from the mind to the wind. Objective components of the craft include time, rhythm, intonation, and tone quality. Progressing into subjective realms, elements such as style, phrasing, and dynamics contribute to individualized interpretation, adding a personal touch. Separating these elements allows focused attention, leading to a more profound musical expression.

In tuba pedagogy, the debate often revolves around prioritizing either the craft or the art of playing. A balanced perspective, however, recognizes the symbiotic relationship between technical proficiency and artistic expression. Advocating for the separation of craft and art allows tubists to hone specific skills independently, fostering a comprehensive musical journey. Achieving excellence in tuba performance requires harmonizing craft and artistry, refining technical skills, and nurturing musical imagination to create a harmonious and impactful musical experience.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music