The Ploger Method®
The Ploger Method® is a comprehensive musicianship training program that provides tools for musicians to become increasingly self-realized in the practice and expression of their musicianship through augmented understanding and awareness of perceptual, cognitive, and aesthetic principles.
While listening to our native language, our analytical minds move at the speed of hearing; by comparison, the attempt at an integrated comprehension of music is often much clumsier, primarily due to the absence or poor quality of training and low level of immersion we have experienced. The Ploger Method® offers principles and strategies that will help musicians continually improve ease and fluency of musical communication and deepen understanding of the musical art as it relates to themselves and their community.
Developed by Marianne Ploger over the course of decades of careful observation and teaching experience, The Ploger Method® is an alternative approach to the "Eartraining and Sightsinging" or "Aural Skills" courses that form part of the core curriculum for every music major in conservatories, universities, and colleges around the country. As the Director of the Musicianship Program at The Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, Marianne Ploger has created and employed a musicianship curriculum based on The Ploger Method®, which has been the foundation of The Blair School's musicianship program since 2008.
The Ploger Method® provides the means to learn the types of skills required in "eartraining and sightsinging" classes for music majors - the skills that allow us to hear what we see and to play or write what we hear, such as aural identification of intervals, chords, and rhythms. Yet, unlike contemporary approaches, The Ploger Method® asks students to understand music in what Marianne calls "real time." This means that our awareness and perception must keep up with the music we hear, which, in order to be effective, proceeds steadily in time and without any regard for whether we "got it" or have "missed anything." Marianne asks her students to name intervals, chords, etc. in real time - without hesitation and without the chance for additional hearings. As unbelievable as this may seem to anyone familiar with the typical "eartraining" class, Marianne provides the tools for her students to be overwhelmingly successful and engage with joy in new aural challenges.
Why and how has The Ploger Method® met unprecedented success over such a broad range of skills with such a diverse group of students?
The Method is unique as a comprehensive approach with a unifying philosophy and has evolved from Marianne Ploger's original discoveries and theories about the properties of sound and the ways in which we perceive music. Marianne's devotion to uncovering underlying principles of music and behavior has resulted in the creation of widely effective teaching and learning techniques that can not be found in any other system or curriculum of musicianship. She believes that with the correct information and the right attitudes, anyone can learn to process music in a fluent and integrated way - after all, as she constantly reminds her students, "There are only 12 pitches and 11 intervals, and any beat can be divided into two or three parts!"
In addition to the success of The Ploger Method® in higher education at The Blair School, Marianne has been using her Method in an impressive array of educational circumstances over several decades of teaching; The Ploger Method® is exceptional for its flexibility. Students begin their studies in The Ploger Method® from extremely diverse backgrounds and training - The Method has seen success with everyone from young children to university music majors to seasoned professional performers and teachers. Inherent in the philosophy of The Method is a strong interest in and respect for the diversity of learning styles of students. Marianne's teaching encourages deeply introspective evaluation of the ways in which we engage with the world, celebrates the diversity of our strengths, and animates us to learn from the ways the minds around us work. Furthermore, by teaching aural identification and comprehension skills while fostering creativity with the goal of productive music language development, The Method provides the tools relevant to a wide range of diverse musical styles and genres.
For more information about the four-day Musicianship Intensives, which Marianne teaches each summer, click here.
Under the resources tab, you can find a sampling of materials on introductory topics. If you'd like to stay informed of the release of new resources, please fill out the form on the top right of this page or click on the contact tab to leave a message for Marianne.
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