The Historical Background of Coaching

  • Kurt Adler


Coaching is very recent in the history of music. Its beginnings can be traced back only to the introduction of vocal monody and the appearance of the first operas, roughly around 1600. Then, for the first time in history, large casts and choral masses, orchestras, dancers, and all kinds of complicated if very naive technical effects had to be coordinated and rehearsed. The maestro al cembalo had his hands full and needed assistance. How did he recruit his assistants? Where did he find them? Well, in the beginning of opera a musician had to be everything at once: composer, arranger, voice teacher, music teacher, conductor, coach. He was most often in the service of one of the Italian dukes or the wealthy rulers of an Italian state or city government. The Medici assembled the best musical talent at their courts and other rulers followed suit. These rulers took pleasure in sponsoring talented singers — usually young girls, sending them to their court musicians for tuition.


Operatic Composer Ballet Dancer Music Teacher Opera House Artistic Achievement 
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© University of Minnesota 1965

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  • Kurt Adler

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