The Internet has changed the way artists work. Just a few years ago a classical pianist working on the Liszt Sonata, for example, had two options if he wanted to hear it. He could go out and buy a CD or go to a concert. Now one can listen to 20 performances through a quick search on YouTube. Surely, this must change the way creative people absorb and reproduce culture?
I find this can be both good and bad. The good thing — and I’ve been hearing this from students when I give classes — is that it’s now possible to get a much broader idea of historical performance practices from different periods. Of particular interest to me is the style of pianists who played in the first decades of the 20th century, which can now be heard right there on YouTube without having to search all over in old record stores. That is a tremendous resource for research. I can certainly attest to the fact that I’m hearing more of this influence recently in students than before these recordings were so readily available.
But I suppose the bad side is that it can limit your own imagination, your own creativity, and — in a way — your own struggle to learn ...