Musical levels

Some words about skills and musical abilities for instrumentalists (singers, please see below):

We really want you to have the best possible learning experience. Your workshop should be neither stressful nor boring, but just right for you. Learning Yiddish music can requite technical, aural and music reading skills as well as experience with the style. To help you choose the right workshop  (beginning/intermediate/advanced) we’ve created the following guidelines:

Aural skills means: learning and playing by ear. Even if you’re a professional musician, you might be a beginner when it comes to aural skills.
Beginning: you’ve never learned or played music by ear or you’re not confident when doing so.
Intermediate: you can learn and play by ear slowly and you might have to write down the melodies before you can really play them.
Advanced: you can learn and play quickly by ear and you don’t need written music at all to remember the tunes.

Technical skills means: technical command of your instrument, not whether you can read music (!)  
Intermediate: you’re a good player, but you’re not completely fluent, e.g., you wouldn’t be comfortable in a conservatory setting.
Advanced: you’re fluent on your instrument.

Music reading skills means: the ability to play at sight from written music.
Beginning: you’ve never tried to play at sight from written music or you do so very slowly.
Intermediate: you can play while reading a score, but you would need some time to play the piece fluently.
Advanced: you can play fluently the first time you read the score.

Knowledge of the style: Yiddish music consist of a certain repertoire, certain modes, special phrasing and ornaments.
Beginning: you have no or almost no knowledge of traditional Yiddish music or klezmer music, independently of your technical music reading or aural skills.  
Intermediate: you have some knowledge of traditional klezmer music from sources like Belf, Dave Tarras, Naftule Brandwein, Abe Schwartz or other ethnographic or commercial recording from the first half of the 20th century. You can play along in a dance set, but probably can’t lead a dance band for a prolonged time.
Advanced: you have a very good command of of traditional klezmer music from sources like Belf, Dave Tarras, Naftule Brandwein, Abe Schwartz or other ethnographic or commercial recording from the first half of the 20th century and you could lead a dance band for at least an hour with all the traditional Yiddish dance genres.

The Introduction to Klezmer and Yiddish Song is right for you if:

  • you have beginning aural skills (or higher)
  • you have intermediate or advanced technical skills
  • you have any (or no) knowledge have any knowledge of the style
  • you have any level of music reading


The workshop Yiddish Instrumental Music (Klezmer) Intermediate is right for you if:

  • you have intermediate or advanced aural skills
  • you have have intermediate or advanced technical skills
  • you have intermediate knowledge of the style
  • you have any level of music reading


The Advanced Instrumental Workshop is right for you if:

  • you have have advanced aural skills
  • you have have advanced technical skills
  • you have advanced knowledge of the style
  • you have any level of music reading ability


The Yiddish Dance Orchestra is right for you if:

  • you have beginning, intermediate or advanced aural skills
  • you have intermediate or advanced technical skills
  • you have any level knowledge of the style
  • you have at least beginning to intermediate music reading skills


The Hasidic Music Workshop is right you if:

  • you have intermediate or advanced aural skills
  • you have intermediate or advanced technical skills
  • you have any knowledge of the style
  • you have any level of music reading skills


The Near Eastern Music Ensemble is right for you if:

  • you have intermediate or advanced aural skills
  • you have intermediate or advanced technical skills
  • you have any knowledge of the style
  • you have any level of music reading skills


The Yiddish Song Workshop (accompanying and arranging) is right for you if:

  • you have intermediate or advanced aural skills
  • you have intermediate or advanced technical skills
  • you have intermediate or advanced knowledge of the style
  • you have any level of music reading skills

Some words about skills and musical abilities for singers:

The most important criterion for the song workshops is that you enjoy singing Yiddish songs, whether they are children’s songs, songs for choirs, hasidic nigunim, traditional or newly composed.

There is less of a distinction here between aural skills and vocal technique, or sight reading abilities and it is also your choice whether you want to be coached as a solo singer or sing with the group.

All the workshop descriptions have info about the required levels. In case of doubt please write an email to workshop program coordinator Andreas Schmitges: