Joshua Bishop

Joshua Bishop


“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us;
the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.”

– Edward Elgar, composer

Having great aural skills is probably the most important skill for a musician. Investing your time in setting up good listening habits and analysing the sound you hear is as important as learning which key to press on the piano. If you don’t listen to music then you can only reproduce it off a page like a robot – you won’t be truly aware of the sound you’re making, so how can you possibly infuse it with life or create something new?

The good news is that we can all listen already. My friends always tell me I am a good listener – the person they go to when they need someone to talk to or have something to say. If your friends say this to you, then you’re halfway there already. Having Aural skills is having the ability to understand and decipher the music that you hear. Listening to what the composer is really trying to tell you and that you are feeling what they want you to feel. We all learn how to do this naturally with the human voice – we can recognise a voice on the other end of the phone without seeing a face or hearing their name. We can tell just by the way they are speaking, the intonation and pitch of their voice and the pace with which they are talking not just who they are, but whether they are excited or sad, asking a question or about to get angry. Developing Aural skills is about learning to do this with music.

An aural skills session with me will involve listening, singing, humming, as you might expect. We will also be banging things to make rhythms and, most importantly, feeling the music we make.