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#1249314 - 08/14/09 05:58 PM How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299)
survivordan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 844
Loc: Ohio
I have never really had to practice (or play) an etude before. I am hoping to start working on Czerny's School of Velocity Op. 299. I was wondering if there was any difference between the way one should practice piece and the way one should practice etudes. Also, any other information on etudes in general, Czerny, or the School of Velocity would be greatly appreciated.
Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor

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#1249359 - 08/14/09 07:34 PM Re: How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299) [Re: survivordan]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I'm very skeptical about SOV and Czerny in general. The problem
with SOV, as I see it, is that it resembles actual music to a large extent,
and yet, no piece in particular. Thus, playing it is much like playing
real music, but since it resembles no piece in particular, you
get no actual preparation for any particular piece; so one might
conclude that it would be more worthwhile to simply play
real music and get your technical workout that way. For example,
suppose you aspire to play the first movt. of the Chopin Conc.
No. 1. SOV might seem to give a vague, general preparation for it,
but why not just tackle the concerto itself and get your
technical workout while you learn it?

Then there's the question of Czerny himself. He wrote literally thousands
of technical studies, all different (just the dilution effect alone might call
into question the worth of those studies), and they sold well--
given the well-publicized fact that he was taught by Beethoven
and then had taught Liszt briefly--and made him a rich
man. But they seem to have been cranked out by the ton
with profit in mind more than anything else, and so I think
their technical value is open to question.

#1249406 - 08/14/09 08:39 PM Re: How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299) [Re: Gyro]
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
As there are numerous exercises one must start somewhere and the Op. 299 is pretty standard material. You should devise a system of practice that works for your ability and temperament. One should work on developing the hand and general playing mechanism for strength, stamina, and perhaps most importantly, control. Exercises are just that--something designed to gain specific abilities. So how they are approached is of utmost importance. Liszt studied with Czerny for 18 months--brief to some--enough for others. I would suggest that you chose one that pretty much emphasizes the right hand and another that develops the left hand. Then the advice of Leimer and Giesieking to stay on it until you've gleaned everything advantageous from it might be appropriate as you can then apply that to subsequent studies.

At your stage (from the repertoire you've listed) you might want to acquire the Schmitt five-finger exercises and start a regimen of working through the major and minor scales and arpeggios--say two octaves to begin--and progressions. While one might advise starting the 3rd Concerto of Rachmaninoff, I would suggest a most practical and step by step development of your abilities.

#1249426 - 08/14/09 09:15 PM Re: How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299) [Re: Varcon]
heidiv Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/21/09
Posts: 580
Loc: piano bench, usually
While I somewhat agree with Gyro that Czerny is not the be all/end all, and that your time may be better spent learning pieces which incorporate the skill you are trying to master, I must strongly disagree with the suggestion to tackle a concerto as a method of learning. Telling a late beginner/early intermediate to learn technique by tackling a concerto is like telling a person who wants to lose 50 lbs. to go run a marathon.

I despised Czerny as a student, so my teacher used to give me lesson pieces (at my level) to focus on the desired skill. Much more fun.

I would advise you to be very careful with Schmitt exercises. The scales and arpeggios are always a good idea because they reenforce key signatures and will transfer into your piece, as your fingers will naturally fall into place. But I know many people who have been injured with those Schmitt holding exercises. They can cause much tension, especially when attempted without a teacher looking over your shoulder.

#1249441 - 08/14/09 09:33 PM Re: How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299) [Re: heidiv]
survivordan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 844
Loc: Ohio
Thanks for the replies!

a) Sorry, but I didn't even read Gyro's post, and with all due respect, don't expect me to.

b) I planned on starting work on scales and arpeggios anyway. I have two standard Scales, Arpeggio, Chords, Cadences type books which I can use to work from.

c) I wanted to use these etudes to improve my playing in certain areas like control (very important) and velocity.
Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor

#1249461 - 08/14/09 10:14 PM Re: How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299) [Re: survivordan]
Ode2Joy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/08
Posts: 94
Loc: southern cal
My teacher started me on these about 6 weeks ago. She has me playing Nos. 1 & 2 slowly with the metronome and only bumping it up gradually. One of the things she told me was not to make the scale passages sound like "machine gun" fire, but rather to have a pulse and flow to them as I pick up the tempo.

I'm slowly working on #7. I find the right hand has a lovely melody, but my left hand lacks the strength, stamina, and fluidity to make the piece sing. So for now, it has been hands separate, a phrase at a time. It's certainly an "exercise" that's for sure.

I really lack patience and these pieces remind me that there is a lot of work that I need to build the muscles and technique required for tackling more advanced repertoire. I'm happy to commiserate with you ;-)

#1249735 - 08/15/09 11:23 AM Re: How to Practice/Play Etudes (Czerny Op. 299) [Re: Ode2Joy]
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
The Schmitt exercises are like any other, begun slowly and used judiciously, they will improve strength and control. My teacher in Vienna gave me a most helpful holding exercise and I have yet to be injured playing the piano from other holding exercises or playing/using Hanon, scales, chords or other things--pieces either.

Obviously, anyone using these should use some prudence and when some strain is evident stop and do something else. That technique can be improved by compositions is quite true but portions will most likely have to be excised and practised as exercises.

In the end, if you have an instructor, then follow his/her advice.


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