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Tobias, E. S. (2014).

From musical detectives to DJs: Expanding aural skills and


analysis
through engaging popular music and culture. General Music Today,
OnlineFirst, 1-5.
doi: 10.1177/1048371314558293
Tobias point in this article is how focusing on aural skills and analysis solely
on classical music can limit a students learning of music; pop music can help
with aural skills and analysis. He uses an example of comparing two pop
songs: Katy Perrys Roar and Sarah Barelilless song Brave. There is a debate
whether or not Perry copied Barelille and people rely on a different kind of
aural analysis to determine the similarities and differences to these songs. He
uses the term forensic musicologists. However, I would argue that
comparing two songs to see if one copied another does not bring up aural
skills; of course asking questions such as how does the cover compare to the
original? involves the ear to compare similarities and differences, but I
wouldnt say it develops an important skill. The aural skills and analysis being
taught at school with classical music is essential. Learning intervals, being
able to write down a melodies and harmonies are practices that make the ear
and brain work heavily.
Another example that Tobias points out is the fact that a lot of people learn
music by ear. He uses the example of young people today learn music by
video tutorials. I agree that this helps a person with aural skills as long as its
not their only way of learning. I believe a combination of both formal and
informal learning can really expand a persons knowledge and develop both
aural and analytical skills. I can relate to this personally: my friend Chris and I
are on opposite spectrums of music. I am classically trained; a university
student, taking GIM courses to improve my musical skills; I can read music
and my training is mostly formal. Chris, on the other hand, never had formal
training. He only learned by ear and taught himself, through video tutorials,
drums, piano, bass and guitar. He can improvise on instruments very well and
he writes electronic music. Both Chris and I have a passion for music but
weve been taught differently. We both developed aural and analytical skills in
music and we often exchange advice and help in music even with our
differences of musical background.
Although I disagree to some of Tobias points, I can relate to other points in
this article. Again, comparing two popular songs doesnt seem very useful
when developing aural skills. However, popular music can still be part of
music schools for formal training. Both formal and informal training can help
a lot in developing both aural and analytical skills.