"I’m still amazed at the profound change that has occurred in my awareness of music. What is so remarkable about Marianne’s method is its solid grounding in human perception. There is nothing abstract about her teaching of aural skills; instead, she leads each of her students to hear aspects of musical sound that were always there, but never recognized. This is what allows Marianne to be such a caring, yet demanding teacher, because she knows through experience that we already have great ears – we just need to be taught to recognize what we’re hearing."

-Mark Edwards, harpsichordist and organist - Professor of Harpsichord at the Oberlin Conservatory

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Learning to Hear and Recognize Musical Elements in Real Time


photo: Vanderbilt University


 Marianne Ploger's philosophy of teaching is that there is no such thing as a "bad musical ear," only inadequate 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.

Students have described Marianne Ploger's workshops and master classes as the opportunity for Olympic-level training aimed at getting their minds to move at the speed of their hearing. The intensives offer an opportunity for total immersion in instant recognition and understanding of musical elements. Real-time musical fluency is the cornerstone of Marianne Ploger's method.

The Ploger Method® uses Marianne's revolutionary ideas and discoveries about the elements of music to help you become better at reading, performing, learning, teaching, and composing music. Marianne's theories and learning strategies are based on how the brain perceives sound, sound combinations (intervals), and sound patterns. The Ploger Method® offers unique strategies for developing musicianship; instruction is based on the hearing and identification of concrete sound properties of musical elements and the cultivation of a firm and consistent sense of orientation in pitch space. Skills and training are always relevant and practical for musicians of any genre.

Each Musicianship Intensive addresses 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.

Schedule and Registration Information for 2018

The following workshops for 2015 will be sponsored by Vanderbilt University and will be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. Each intensive workshop takes place on four consecutive days, with 6 contact hours per day for a total of 24 contact hours.

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

  • Level I focuses on fluency in recognizing, at the speed of music, intervals and chords, as well as the development of rhythmic skills. Foundations are set for literacy and fluency in fixed-doh syllables and the scale-degree number system.

  • Level II dives deeper into the recognition and understanding of musical elements and includes training in the real-time recognition of rhythms, compound intervals, intervals in atonal contexts, seventh chords, and functional harmonic progressions.

  • Level III workshops are application oriented. Aural recognition skills are comprehensive, including all intervals and all chords in all inversions in both tonal and atonal contexts, and Marianne introduces her method for the development of absolute identification of pitches. Level III offers instruction in pedagogical technique for teaching intervals, rhythms, and other Level I topics.

Level I is a pre-requisite for Levels II and III; Levels I and II are pre-requisites for Level III. It is advisable but not compulsory to attend multiple workshops in the same year.

Workshop Dates

  • Level One: May 13 - 16, 2019

  • Level Two: May 20 - May 23, 2019

  • Level Three: May 27 - May 30, 2019


  • To be announced by mid-December 2018

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.

Vanderbilt Course Numbers:

MUSC 341A - Level I

MUSC 341B - Level II

MUSC 342 - Level III


For registration information, visit the Blair School of Music Musicianship Intensives site at: http://blair.vanderbilt.edu/departments/musicianship.php

Click here for information about housing options during the Intensives.

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