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Musicianship Intensives 2019

Marianne Ploger, Director, Musicianship Program

Telephone: 734-994-5253

Learning to Hear and Recognize Musical Elements in "Real Time"

PlogerIf you have ever lacked confidence in your aural abilities, or if you are interested in having a greater understanding of musical perception, these workshops are for you. Marianne Ploger's philosophy of teaching is that there is no such thing as a "bad musical ear," only poor training. All musicians can learn to know, recognize and understand what they are hearing in music, at the same speed that they know, recognize and understand what they hear and read in their native language. The key, she believes, is to have correct information and good attitudes. Correct information is an accurate description of the sound properties of rhythm, pitch and interval; a good attitude is a way of holding one's awareness so that one can perceive accurately in real time.

Marianne Ploger's workshops and master classes are usually described by her students as the opportunity to get "Olympic"-level training aimed at getting their minds to move at the speed of their hearing. They offer you an opportunity to get totally immersed in recognizing instantly what you are hearing and knowing what it means. Learning to become mentally fluent in music at the speed of music is the cornerstone of her method.

Marianne Ploger's revolutionary ideas about how the elements of music actually work help you become better at reading, performing, learning, teaching, and composing music. Unlike most theories about music, which are mere verbal descriptions of musical scores, her "theories" are based on how the brain perceives sound, sound combinations (intervals), and sound patterns. All concepts must be practically relevant to musicians of any type.

Each Musicianship Intensive includes how to more effectively convey the meaning of music through a deeper understanding of perceptual principles and the implementation of specific skills. Specific techniques are provided that enrich musical artistry and expression and help ensure that audiences feel touched, inspired, and energized by the music they hear.

Marianne Ploger
Director, Musicianship Program
Blair School of Music
Vanderbilt University
2400 Blakemore Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212

Musicianship Intensives Schedule for 2019

The following workshops for 2019 will be sponsored by Vanderbilt University and will be held in Nashville, Tenn., at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. Each intensive workshop takes place on four consecutive days, with six contact hours per day for a total of 24 contact hours. The number of participants per intensive workshop is limited to a maximum of 12.

These workshops are set up to instill the maximum degree of fluency at three different skill levels:

  • Level One establishes effective and novel techniques for hearing, singing, reading, improvising and writing tonal and atonal music in real time, based on the successfully employed methodologies developed over 30 years by Ploger.
  • Level Two is a continuation of techniques studied in Level One. Hearing in tonal and atonal
    music, including extended harmonic and melodic structures, complex rhythmic elements, and score reading.
  • Level Three further explores techniques studied in Level Two, with additional focus on the pedagogical approaches to teaching aural studies. Hearing in tonal and atonal music, including extended harmonic and melodic structures, complex rhythmic elements, and score reading.

If you want to attend a Level Two workshop, you must first attend a Level One workshop. To attend a Level Three workshop, you must have attended workshop Levels One and Two. It is advisable but not compulsory to attend the workshop Levels Two or Three in the same year that you attended the previous workshops, in order to not lose momentum. Level Three workshops will be organized based on the number of participants wishing to attend them.

Workshop Dates

  • Level One: May 13-16
  • Level Two: May 20-23
  • Level Three: May 27-30


Tuition is $800 per course for not-for-credit students, and $1,560 per course if you're taking it for graduate course credit.

Graduate Credit

For those wishing to obtain credit for attending and completing these intensives, Vanderbilt University grants one graduate credit hour for each Level One, Two and Three workshop.


Download and fill out completely the registration form.

For additional information, email Rachel Hobbs.

Hotels and other lodgings are within walking distance of the Blair School.

Airport Shuttle: inShuttle provides a shuttle service between the Vanderbilt campus and the Nashville International Airport for reasonable rates.