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#1239984 - 07/29/09 07:50 PM Mozart Minuet in F K2
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
How many of you have pieces that you teach that either consistently sound horrible, when students play them UNTIL these pieces become so simple for them that they are WAY below the level they are currently on?

This is one of a number of "gems" that I'm about to put on my "never gonna teach THIS again" list.

*I* enjoy playing it for my young students, and they seem to enjoy it when I play it for them. But when they play it themselves, the struggle with the passing dissonances (major 7ths). I always think, "OK, I'm going to come back to this later, when they are playing much more advanced music." But when they do become more advanced, I never seem to GET back to such pieces.

<grrrr>
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#1239999 - 07/29/09 08:04 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I change things up {for my own sanity!} too often to let that happen lol.
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#1240054 - 07/29/09 10:18 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Gary, what I especially love about that Mozart is telling them that he wrote it when he was 5. The expressions on their faces are priceless.
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#1240105 - 07/29/09 11:41 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
John, I tell kids the same thing, but unfortunately it does not make it sound any better in THEIR hands! wink
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#1240231 - 07/30/09 08:42 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
John, I tell kids the same thing, but unfortunately it does not make it sound any better in THEIR hands! wink


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#1240481 - 07/30/09 05:36 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I tell my students that I only teach Fur Elise every 7 or 8 years, and then it has to be one very special, committed student. Some of them really work hard to be the student that gets to play it!
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#1240490 - 07/30/09 05:59 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Minniemay]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
I let anyone play the main theme of Für Elise who is good enough to play it. Even if at times hearing it one more time makes me feel like jumping head first off the nearest tall building. smile
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#1240494 - 07/30/09 06:10 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
EDWARDIAN Offline
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Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
I'm with you, Gary. Many Advanced Beginners are thrilled to play a "real" Beethoven piece, even if it's only the main theme. Very often it prompts them to work harder to play more difficult pieces.

And besides being such a recognizable classical piece that their family and friends are very impressed when they play, Fur Elise can be a great example of patterns, fingering, etc.

Love that Fur Elise!

Joan
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#1240573 - 07/30/09 08:41 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: EDWARDIAN]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
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Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Listening to and teaching pieces like Fur Elise (and all the others Moonlight Sonata/The Entertainer, etc...)comes with the territory of teaching. There are some kids who start playing piano just because they want to reach those sort of "milestone" pieces. Denying them that is almost cruel just because you're tired of hearing it.

I think what our job entails is to show students not only the recognizable tunes that they are familiar with but all of the OTHER great stuff that they don't know. Often students fall in love with pieces they've never heard of and realize that Fur Elise isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread.

~Jennifer Eklund


Edited by Jennifer Eklund (07/30/09 08:42 PM)
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#1240602 - 07/30/09 09:35 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I didn't say I never teach it, or that I don't let students play the easier arrangements of it.

But truth be told, I've heard so many poor renditions of the true version of this piece that I will only allow students who can learn the entire piece work on the real McCoy.

It's a dangling carrot approach, it's not cruelty, and I'm rather offended that you would suggest such.

Students know that when I give them the green light for such a piece (and it's not the only one in my carrot bag), they are really accomplishing something wonderful. I make a pretty big deal out of it when I assign it and it is incredibly motivating.
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#1240604 - 07/30/09 09:40 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Minniemay]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Fur Elise is a beautiful piece of music, when played properly, when students have the technique mastered, when they have the emotional maturity to put something into it.

When my younger ladies approach me about learning it, I tell them, of course, but it's quite difficult, actually, and you need to learn a bit more piano before tackling it.

"But my friends all play it."

"No they don't. Here, listen."

"Whoa, I didn't know it sounded like that!"

"Don't worry, you're doing great as a student, and you'll be able to play it like that before you know it. And then your friends will be quite jealous as well."

That usually solves the problem, and sure enough, in a couple of years, they are ready and do learn it.
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#1240607 - 07/30/09 09:51 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Minniemay]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
It's fine you can be offended, but you are the one who said you only teach it once every 7-8 years and that's what I reacted to. Once every 7-8 years means there's not many of your students learning that piece.

~Jennifer

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I didn't say I never teach it, or that I don't let students play the easier arrangements of it.

But truth be told, I've heard so many poor renditions of the true version of this piece that I will only allow students who can learn the entire piece work on the real McCoy.

It's a dangling carrot approach, it's not cruelty, and I'm rather offended that you would suggest such.

Students know that when I give them the green light for such a piece (and it's not the only one in my carrot bag), they are really accomplishing something wonderful. I make a pretty big deal out of it when I assign it and it is incredibly motivating.
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#1240631 - 07/30/09 10:17 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I said that's why I tell my students, not necessarily what I actually do!

A little white lie, perhaps, but it gets them to realize what a serious undertaking that piece is.
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#1240718 - 07/31/09 01:16 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Minniemay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I said that's why I tell my students, not necessarily what I actually do!

A little white lie, perhaps, but it gets them to realize what a serious undertaking that piece is.

Ah, a little "white lying" is part of it. wink

There is no reason to get offended. I also assumed you barely ever teach it to anyone (Für Elise), and if you made that decision, I could certainly understand it.

Perhaps what Jennifer is saying, and if so I agree, is that allowing students to play things that are VERY famous and well-known, although cliches to us, is often a way of opening them up to more sophisticated, less frequently heard, even more challenging music. smile
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#1240729 - 07/31/09 01:38 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
I also don't teach Fur Elise. Everybody who plays it at competitions makes it SO ROMANTIC. Good heavens! It's Beethoven. Get over it. That's why I like Brendel's dry interpretation of Fur Elise. It's a "piano piece." Don't make anything out of it. Don't ooze it out, please.

Another piece I don't teach is Mozart K. 545, first movement. That piece has death traps all over the scale passages. If the kid's fingering is messed up, don't bother.
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#1240751 - 07/31/09 02:58 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
"Piano piece" does not mean boring. I think Brendel's reading is boring. There has to be something between over-romanticized and dull. wink

I teach the Mozart. Kids like it. But I would NEVER have a student use it for competition of an audition. I love "death trap". smile

Playing something like that for judges is like asking to be hanged by the neck, with an audience!!!


Edited by Gary D. (07/31/09 02:58 AM)
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#1240867 - 07/31/09 10:42 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: AZNpiano]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I also don't teach Fur Elise. Everybody who plays it at competitions makes it SO ROMANTIC. Good heavens! It's Beethoven. Get over it. That's why I like Brendel's dry interpretation of Fur Elise. It's a "piano piece." Don't make anything out of it. Don't ooze it out, please.

Another piece I don't teach is Mozart K. 545, first movement. That piece has death traps all over the scale passages. If the kid's fingering is messed up, don't bother.


What do you mean by making it "so romantic?" Adding rubato? That's uncalled for and doesn't really work. Voicing? Absolutely, but how many teachers voice this appropriately? How many have even thought about it?
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#1240887 - 07/31/09 11:22 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: John v.d.Brook]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Let's take a moment to remember why 'Fur Elise' was written originally, ( although opinions may vary).

Played well, this is a beautiful, ( if often overdone, and badly performed) piece of music.

I have yet to meet a nine year old girl, who doesn't want to learn this piece, or a parent, who does not beam at their offspring's rendition, however it is played.
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#1240914 - 07/31/09 12:03 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: R0B]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I was offended because Jennifer suggested that I was cruel(her word) for not teaching it. That is hardly the case.

However, I will not teach it to a student who is not ready for the demands of the piece. When I've judged this piece in competitions, the most common afflictions are overpedaling, lack of unified phrase, inconsistent tempo between sections, lack of balance between melody and accompaniment and insufficient technique to handle the arpeggios. Let's not even talk about how many students lose track of the E-D# figure! smile
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#1240929 - 07/31/09 12:30 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Minniemay]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Again this is just a knee-jerk reaction on your part -- I didn't say *you* were cruel -- I said *it* is almost cruel to not allow students to explore this piece. For some students it is a familiar piece like this that sparks motivation and a sense of pride about their piano studies. If they're not ready for the original let them tackle an easier arrangement instead that features just the first section.

Maybe the word "cruel" was harsh, but saying you only teach this piece once every 7-8 yrs--even if it's a lie--was pretty drastic.

Tired of the hostility here and people reading into every word that is typed.

~Jennifer Eklund

PS: to the person who sent me the nasty e-mail off-board about posting under my real name: I don't feel the need to hide under an alias and stand behind everything I post here.
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#1241117 - 07/31/09 04:51 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: R0B]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: R0B

I have yet to meet a nine year old girl, who doesn't want to learn this piece, or a parent, who does not beam at their offspring's rendition, however it is played.

It might surprise you to know that most of my nine year-old boys want to play it too. wink
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#1241129 - 07/31/09 05:15 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2308
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Jennifer Eklund

PS: to the person who sent me the nasty e-mail off-board about posting under my real name: I don't feel the need to hide under an alias and stand behind everything I post here.


Pardon the thread drift, but you got bashed for posting under your real name? That seems rather odd.
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#1241140 - 07/31/09 05:30 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
What do you mean by making it "so romantic?" Adding rubato? That's uncalled for and doesn't really work. Voicing? Absolutely, but how many teachers voice this appropriately? How many have even thought about it?


Too much pedal, too much rubato, lugubrious atmosphere, the upper-body movements, the painful facial expressions, the flailing arms. I can understand it if the kid is playing a Chopin Nocturne, but Beethoven? Please. Alfred Brendel got this piece right. He played it with clarity and straightforwardness.
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#1241151 - 07/31/09 05:47 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I teach the Mozart. Kids like it. But I would NEVER have a student use it for competition of an audition. I love "death trap". smile

Playing something like that for judges is like asking to be hanged by the neck, with an audience!!!


I think the first movement of K. 545 is actually quite difficult--much more so than the other two movements. I didn't mention those long trills before the cadences. They just hang the kid out to dry. But the hardest section of the piece involves those L.H. scales. The fingering is nasty.

You love death traps? Good for you. I was going to use the minefield analogy, but death trap feels better. I'm sure Mozart meant to write all those death traps to expose incompetent performers. Ha.
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#1241164 - 07/31/09 06:28 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

I think the first movement of K. 545 is actually quite difficult--much more so than the other two movements. I didn't mention those long trills before the cadences. They just hang the kid out to dry.

Absolutely. I love the Epstein solution, two notes in the trill to each left hand 16th. <groan>

If you play it that way, slow motion, in midi, then accelerate it to the tempo usually favored by fine players, the trill sounds like a buzz saw. 24 notes in the RH means 3 against 2, which works fine in slo-mo, although horribly robotic, but doesn't work at all at tempo. The mind does not process that way. By the time a player can execute those trills well, that same player is probably ready to play any of the Mozart sonatas and a huge amount of the traditional literature.

But the hardest section of the piece involves those L.H. scales. The fingering is nasty.

In general I find almost all the Mozart sonatas uneven in the sense that there will be one or two excellent movements, but one or two not so good.

The LH "trap" is in the scale patterns that ascend as 8 notes but descend as 9. The first one, starting on F, ascending to F then descending to E, uses a totally non-standard fingering that usually leaves the last note played by a finger other than 5 and so makes it impossible to set up a sequential fingering. If I teach the piece, it's about the second mini-section I teach.

There is absolutely nothing elementary or intermediate about this movement, not when viewed as a whole.
Quote:

You love death traps? Good for you. I was going to use the minefield analogy, but death trap feels better. I'm sure Mozart meant to write all those death traps to expose incompetent performers. Ha.

smile

It is more likely that he, like all the "Great Talents", simply had no idea what kinds of patterns and problems confound more ordinary minds!


Edited by Gary D. (07/31/09 06:28 PM)
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#1241168 - 07/31/09 06:39 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

Too much pedal, too much rubato, lugubrious atmosphere, the upper-body movements, the painful facial expressions, the flailing arms. I can understand it if the kid is playing a Chopin Nocturne, but Beethoven? Please. Alfred Brendel got this piece right. He played it with clarity and straightforwardness.

Let's separate sound from facial and body quirks. I don't see a good reason for the latter in the playing of ANY music. I can't even imagine "flailing arms" in something so simple. As for pedal, following Beethoven's pedal marks, literally, results in something horrendously disjointed, as is equally true when following Chopin's.

The biggest problem is section B, starting in F major. If this is performed at EXACTLY the same tempo as the main theme, it becomes a speed race. And all because there is nothing like "un poco meno mosso" there.

For all it's fame, it is very difficult to find performances of it by famous players. It is very likely that those of us who play it well for our students, in lessons, are probably giving them the best "demo" that they are likely to hear.
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#1241229 - 07/31/09 08:27 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
C.Y. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 391
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
For all it's fame, it is very difficult to find performances of it by famous players.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAsDLGjMhFI
Played by Valentina Lisitsa.

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#1241235 - 07/31/09 08:39 PM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Gary D.]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
The biggest problem is section B, starting in F major. If this is performed at EXACTLY the same tempo as the main theme, it becomes a speed race. And all because there is nothing like "un poco meno mosso" there.


There are contemporary accounts of Beethoven's playing where he would take great liberties with tempo, even when not indicated in the score. I can certainly imagine him taking a slower tempo in this section of this piece. It just doesn't seem right when it's too fast.
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#1241337 - 08/01/09 12:38 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: AZNpiano]
C.Y. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 391
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Another piece I don't teach is Mozart K. 545, first movement. That piece has death traps all over the scale passages. If the kid's fingering is messed up, don't bother.


Do you mean death traps like what happened in this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziWSI6RRaIQ
I have to warn you that don't move your hand away from your mouse so you can click on the stop button right away when you need to.

This lady is a music teacher in a elementary school. I believe the person uploaded this video did it on purpose to embarrass this teacher. People has doubts on why she could beat other qualified teachers to get this piano teaching position.

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#1241341 - 08/01/09 12:57 AM Re: Mozart Minuet in F K2 [Re: Kreisler]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4802
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Kreisler

There are contemporary accounts of Beethoven's playing where he would take great liberties with tempo, even when not indicated in the score. I can certainly imagine him taking a slower tempo in this section of this piece. It just doesn't seem right when it's too fast.

I agree. I tell my students that when approaching this section, it is like being on the highway, going at 65. You come to a section where you have to slow down, to perhaps 40. Construction. Then you allowed to speed up again, but this time only to say 55. Another place comes to reduce speed a lot, then you resume at 65.

When tempo changes are handled that way, an audience will never know that a section is played more slowly. It will simply sound good.

I illustrate this point by playing from the beginning, with a metronome, plowing right through the first second ending, then playing section B at exactly the same tempo. The result is completely idiotic. smile
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