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#1727542 - 08/05/11 11:09 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C]
jazzyprof Offline
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Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2598
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: carey
It probably just depends on the individual. Everyone is different.

That's certainly how I feel about it. I don't quite understand the fuss.

The fuss is because of the people that are different! ha

The fuss is because of the people that are different telling everyone else that they'll be permanently ruined if they listen to recordings of the piece they are learning. ha
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#1727543 - 08/05/11 11:12 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
The fuss is because of the people that are different telling everyone else that they'll be permanently ruined if they listen to recordings of the piece they are learning. ha

As they indeed will!!! grin
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#1727558 - 08/05/11 11:48 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C]
jazzyprof Offline
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Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2598
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
The fuss is because of the people that are different telling everyone else that they'll be permanently ruined if they listen to recordings of the piece they are learning. ha

As they indeed will!!! grin

Seriously now, what is the evidence for that?
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#1727560 - 08/05/11 11:51 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
Seriously now, what is the evidence for that?

None whatsoever. grin

It's just logical supposition. smile

Although, as has been said, it depends on one's level and goals. For a lot of people it doesn't matter, and maybe it can only help. But if anyone thinks they can listen to other performances while working on a piece and not have their view of the piece be influenced at all, they're probably mistaken.
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#1727565 - 08/06/11 12:14 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
Damon Offline
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Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
The fuss is because of the people that are different telling everyone else that they'll be permanently ruined if they listen to recordings of the piece they are learning. ha

As they indeed will!!! grin

Seriously now, what is the evidence for that?


There is none. Complete flummery postulated by a man who won't put his glasses on the piano because it will affect the tone.
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#1727566 - 08/06/11 12:21 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Damon]
Mark_C Offline
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^^ not a bad description ^^
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#1727567 - 08/06/11 12:22 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C]
jazzyprof Offline
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Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2598
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
But if anyone thinks they can listen to other performances while working on a piece and not have their view of the piece be influenced at all, they're probably mistaken.

I don't think anyone has asserted that their view of the piece they are working on will not be influenced at all by listening to recordings of it.

Unless we’ve been living under a rock, we are subject to all kinds of influences…our teachers, coaches, recordings, performances heard at recitals, books, some editor’s markings in a score, our knowledge of the composer’s style. Those influences help shape our interpretation of a composition. Why is the influence of great recordings a bad thing? The argument that we will be tainted by listening to recordings while learning a piece assumes that the learner lacks the intelligence to compare, extract, refine, reject, combine, and distill ideas he finds in those recordings. We are not talking about slavish imitation of one particular recording in toto, but the critical listening with a discerning ear to a number of excellent recordings. Such listening helps us develop taste and judgement and will ultimately help us develop our own interpretation as we master the piece.
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#1727604 - 08/06/11 03:16 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I'll be shocked if he thinks flat-out that we can't learn from hearing other people's performances. smile


No wonder, since I already have said exactly the opposite - that we can and should learn from other people's performances.

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#1727605 - 08/06/11 03:22 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
So it's not worthwhile to learn what someone else thinks about a piece?

I think the main difference between the 'sides' on this is, at what stage we think it's good or not good to do that.

I don't think very many people would doubt what you're saying. But a lot of us feel it's not good to do that while you're in the early- or mid- learning stage with a piece.
Some posters have expressed a "stage" in their opinions and others have not. I don't think wr said anything about a certain stage being acceptable as far as listening to a recording.


You are right, I didn't talk about a "stage" per se, but I did say that I wasn't dogmatic about the issue, and didn't think that one should never, ever listen to a recording of a piece they are working on.

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#1727607 - 08/06/11 03:34 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
When I work on a piece, my interpretation of all those marks on the page have less than nothing to do with trying to be "original". It has to do with trying to be as true as possible to my own understanding of what the music is.
But don't you think your understanding of "what the music is" might be improved by listening to a great pianist's performance?



It might indeed improve my understanding of a piece, and that's happened innumerable times. But while I am working on the music, I am in a process of trying to get to my understanding about it, not somebody else's.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: wr
In response to your last question: I've never had the experience of coming up with a musical idea that was totally ugly.
I'm sure you never thought it was ugly because no one would intentionally play that way. But maybe you were wrong sometimes and after listening to a recording might come to that conclusion?


That has never happened to me.

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#1727612 - 08/06/11 03:42 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus]
wr Offline
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Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: madlovba3
Going back to the main question, I think that if listening to others' performances helps one to understand a piece than I don't see why not to do it.


The reason not to do it, IMO, is that what you learn is their understanding of the piece, which is not your understanding of the piece.
So it's not worthwhile to learn what someone else thinks about a piece?


It's not worthwhile during the time that I am figuring out what I think about it, and getting what I think about it into my fingers. It just gets in the way.

Other than during that time of musical gestation, it's wonderful and useful to learn how others think about a piece (provided they have something worthwhile to offer - that's not always the case).

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#1727614 - 08/06/11 03:45 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
The fuss is because of the people that are different telling everyone else that they'll be permanently ruined if they listen to recordings of the piece they are learning. ha

As they indeed will!!! grin

Seriously now, what is the evidence for that?


For me, the evidence is my own experience (not that I go such hyperbolic extremes as saying "permanently ruined").

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#1727615 - 08/06/11 03:55 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
music32 Offline
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Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Berkeley, California
I wrote about this, and still feel the same at this point.

http://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/...nning-to-learn/
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#1727616 - 08/06/11 04:00 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: madlovba3
Going back to the main question, I think that if listening to others' performances helps one to understand a piece than I don't see why not to do it.


The reason not to do it, IMO, is that what you learn is their understanding of the piece, which is not your understanding of the piece.
So it's not worthwhile to learn what someone else thinks about a piece?


It's not worthwhile during the time that I am figuring out what I think about it, and getting what I think about it into my fingers. It just gets in the way.

Other than during that time of musical gestation, it's wonderful and useful to learn how others think about a piece (provided they have something worthwhile to offer - that's not always the case).
So if after listening to a performance you find you've played something incorrectly(notes, rhythm, other markings in the score) or decide that their interpretation of a passage is superior, what do you do? Assuming you are not a world class professional pianist, doesn't the second part of this last statement apply quite frequently?

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#1727617 - 08/06/11 04:00 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: J Cortese]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: J Cortese


I think fears of becoming a clone of any other player are severely overstated.


I think that statement is a severe overstatement of the issues, at least from my point of view.

To me, the issue is not so much about cloning recordings as it is about having self-sufficient musicianship that reflects one's own musicality.

But, since you brought the clone thing up - I have heard more than one pianist in competitions (or in post-competition concerts) who obviously have no ideas of their own about the music they play (or are afraid to share them). They just present their impressions of how "great" pianists have played the same music, i.e., they are attempting to clone other performances. It's not only sad, it can be downright weird that people with incredible technique seem to lack any personal view of the music they are playing. I remember in particular one pianist in a competition who "cloned" from more than one recording of a piece, and you could actually hear them shift from one to another during the course of a single piece.

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#1727711 - 08/06/11 11:48 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
The fuss is because of the people that are different telling everyone else that they'll be permanently ruined if they listen to recordings of the piece they are learning. ha

As they indeed will!!! grin


-1.

If it is the case, do not buy CD, never listen to any concert, never go to Youtube. Wear ear plug when you see people play piano. Be isolated as much as possible to preserve the originality of your performance. ha

I saw you listening to other contestants in the competitions.

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#1727712 - 08/06/11 11:59 AM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: JerryS88]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: JerryS88

This is exactly what I was talking about in my post above. I have no interest in putting my "own spin" on a piece of music - no interest in self-expression. To me it's all about the composer - not me. My goal is to have the listener go away thinking, what a genius composer, not what a great performer. Just my personal approach.


How do you know how to play certain pieces just purely by looking at the score?
Let's use Mozart Sonata and Beethoven's. They look the same on paper, but due to our knowledge about the two so that we play them differently even though they look the same on paper. How will you know this thing without listening to some samples first?

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#1727877 - 08/06/11 05:41 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: madlovba3
Going back to the main question, I think that if listening to others' performances helps one to understand a piece than I don't see why not to do it.


The reason not to do it, IMO, is that what you learn is their understanding of the piece, which is not your understanding of the piece.
So it's not worthwhile to learn what someone else thinks about a piece?


It's not worthwhile during the time that I am figuring out what I think about it, and getting what I think about it into my fingers. It just gets in the way.

Other than during that time of musical gestation, it's wonderful and useful to learn how others think about a piece (provided they have something worthwhile to offer - that's not always the case).
So if after listening to a performance you find you've played something incorrectly(notes, rhythm, other markings in the score) or decide that their interpretation of a passage is superior, what do you do? Assuming you are not a world class professional pianist, doesn't the second part of this last statement apply quite frequently?


It is extremely rare that I've discovered an outright error in how I play a piece by hearing someone else play it correctly. So rare that I can't even remember a specific example of it happening, although I have some dim recollection that it did once or twice, years ago.

It will surprise you, I am guessing, that it also is not really all that frequent that I will hear a performance where I think the interpretation is superior to mine. It may be different, yes, but not necessarily better. What is almost always better is their technique - they play the piano far better than I do - but I don't confuse that with interpretation.

When I do hear an interpretation that I think is better than mine, I don't necessarily do anything about it, other than admire it. Since I don't listen to music I am working on, there's usually nothing to be done, actually.

If I take the piece up again at some later time, it may be that I will find that the superior interpretation has somehow influenced how I play the piece, or it may not. It all depends on the particulars of the instance.

Since most of the time I'm playing for my own pleasure and edification, rather than aiming for a performance, I usually am in something like a discovery mode anyway, and am not putting together an interpretation, so these ponderous issues don't really come into the picture for me all that often. And too, I often play music which I've never heard anyone else play, so it doesn't come up. Right now, I am working on some Moscheles, some Koechlin, and a Clementi sonata. Of those, the Clementi is the only thing I've ever heard anyone else play, and that was just one time, well over 40 years ago. And, interestingly, while I don't remember a lot of detail about that performance of the Clementi, what I do remember has been something of an annoyance while I've been working on the piece - I have had to consciously make the effort to avoid trying to play those bits as I remember them, even though the memory is of someone else's interpretation.

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#1727899 - 08/06/11 06:14 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
carey Offline
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Registered: 05/13/05
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Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: wr
Of those, the Clementi is the only thing I've ever heard anyone else play, and that was just one time, well over 40 years ago. And, interestingly, while I don't remember a lot of detail about that performance of the Clementi, what I do remember has been something of an annoyance while I've been working on the piece - I have had to consciously make the effort to avoid trying to play those bits as I remember them, even though the memory is of someone else's interpretation.



WR - You have a truly exceptional long term memory !!! I'm impressed !! smile
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#1727907 - 08/06/11 06:31 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
thalbergmad Offline
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Registered: 07/02/05
Posts: 181
Loc: England
For me, in the past it has been good to listen to recordings of pieces I am learning due to my poor sight reading abilities.

Nowadays, hardly anything I play has been recorded, but if it was, I would almost certainly listen to it.

Thal
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#1727908 - 08/06/11 06:33 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: wr

It is extremely rare that I've discovered an outright error in how I play a piece by hearing someone else play it correctly. So rare that I can't even remember a specific example of it happening, although I have some dim recollection that it did once or twice, years ago.

It will surprise you, I am guessing, that it also is not really all that frequent that I will hear a performance where I think the interpretation is superior to mine. It may be different, yes, but not necessarily better. What is almost always better is their technique - they play the piano far better than I do - but I don't confuse that with interpretation.


You may have different standard than most people here then. If, for example, you can play a Chopin etude only at 120, yet the standard is 150. Most people will not satisfy till they get close to the normal speed of 150. In your case, however, you will accept that 120 is your interpretation for the piece and you like it for whatever reason. If it is your standard, I do totally agree that you will have hard time to find any of your interpretation is not acceptable or bother you. I think it is good to have an accepting attitude like yours. There is no need to compare to any other performance.

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#1727911 - 08/06/11 06:35 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: carey]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: wr
Of those, the Clementi is the only thing I've ever heard anyone else play, and that was just one time, well over 40 years ago. And, interestingly, while I don't remember a lot of detail about that performance of the Clementi, what I do remember has been something of an annoyance while I've been working on the piece - I have had to consciously make the effort to avoid trying to play those bits as I remember them, even though the memory is of someone else's interpretation.



WR - You have a truly exceptional long term memory !!! I'm impressed !! smile


Don't be too impressed - you'd probably be more amazed at the vast amounts of stuff I can't remember that most people seem to. smile But I do have a few scattered but fairly vivid musical memories from early years - most musicians have that experience, don't they? For example, from around the same time as that Clementi memory, I can remember bits and pieces from some of Bernstein's Young People's Concerts on television (these days, it is hard to imagine that those programs even existed, much less on prime time network television).

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#1727921 - 08/06/11 06:55 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: wr
It is extremely rare that I've discovered an outright error in how I play a piece by hearing someone else play it correctly. So rare that I can't even remember a specific example of it happening, although I have some dim recollection that it did once or twice, years ago.
I'm not just talking about a misread note, although I think it would be incredibly rare for someone not to misread a note, a rest, or anything else marked in the score over many years.

I'm talking about a musical error as in a wrong musical decision. I've seen around 150 master classes at Mannes over a long period. The students are usually from top conservatories yet much of what the teachers point out to them are what I would call musical errors. By this I mean musical decisions they've made (consciously or not) that are basically wrong(the teachers almost always give compelling reasons for what they tell the student).

So unless you are a professional pianist at a level far beyond these students I think you're fooling yourself if you think you haven't made these kinds of errors...the very type of thing one might learn from listening to a great pianist's performance.


Edited by pianoloverus (08/06/11 07:03 PM)

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#1727924 - 08/06/11 07:02 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: wr
It will surprise you, I am guessing, that it also is not really all that frequent that I will hear a performance where I think the interpretation is superior to mine. It may be different, yes, but not necessarily better. What is almost always better is their technique - they play the piano far better than I do - but I don't confuse that with interpretation.
The great pianists were virtually all great in terms of technique and musical understanding. Are you saying your musicianship is on a par with those pianists and it's only your technique that makes your playing of a lesser quality compared to them? Your musical understanding is so high you have nothing to learn from them?



Edited by pianoloverus (08/06/11 07:10 PM)

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#1727929 - 08/06/11 07:08 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
carey Offline
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Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: wr
Of those, the Clementi is the only thing I've ever heard anyone else play, and that was just one time, well over 40 years ago. And, interestingly, while I don't remember a lot of detail about that performance of the Clementi, what I do remember has been something of an annoyance while I've been working on the piece - I have had to consciously make the effort to avoid trying to play those bits as I remember them, even though the memory is of someone else's interpretation.



WR - You have a truly exceptional long term memory !!! I'm impressed !! smile


Don't be too impressed - you'd probably be more amazed at the vast amounts of stuff I can't remember that most people seem to. smile But I do have a few scattered but fairly vivid musical memories from early years - most musicians have that experience, don't they? For example, from around the same time as that Clementi memory, I can remember bits and pieces from some of Bernstein's Young People's Concerts on television (these days, it is hard to imagine that those programs even existed, much less on prime time network television).



...and in black and white !!!!!


Edited by carey (08/06/11 07:10 PM)
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#1727948 - 08/06/11 08:03 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
It is extremely rare that I've discovered an outright error in how I play a piece by hearing someone else play it correctly. So rare that I can't even remember a specific example of it happening, although I have some dim recollection that it did once or twice, years ago.
I'm not just talking about a misread note, although I think it would be incredibly rare for someone not to misread a note, a rest, or anything else marked in the score over many years.

I'm talking about a musical error as in a wrong musical decision. I've seen around 150 master classes at Mannes over a long period. The students are usually from top conservatories yet much of what the teachers point out to them are what I would call musical errors. By this I mean musical decisions they've made (consciously or not) that are basically wrong(the teachers almost always give compelling reasons for what they tell the student).

So unless you are a professional pianist at a level far beyond these students I think you're fooling yourself if you think you haven't made these kinds of errors...the very type of thing one might learn from listening to a great pianist's performance.


Yup, I knew you were heading towards this axe you are always grinding. I'm not interested in it.

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#1727951 - 08/06/11 08:10 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
[...]
How do you know how to play certain pieces just purely by looking at the score?
Let's use Mozart Sonata and Beethoven's. They look the same on paper, but due to our knowledge about the two so that we play them differently even though they look the same on paper. How will you know this thing without listening to some samples first?


Any pianist advanced enough to play Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas should be able, at a glance, to tell the very distinct differences between the two "on paper." Anyone who thinks they look the same doesn't know much about either style, it would seem to me.

Regards,
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#1727954 - 08/06/11 08:14 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
It will surprise you, I am guessing, that it also is not really all that frequent that I will hear a performance where I think the interpretation is superior to mine. It may be different, yes, but not necessarily better. What is almost always better is their technique - they play the piano far better than I do - but I don't confuse that with interpretation.
The great pianists were virtually all great in terms of technique and musical understanding. Are you saying your musicianship is on a par with those pianists and it's only your technique that makes your playing of a lesser quality compared to them? Your musical understanding is so high you have nothing to learn from them?



Scandalous, isn't it, that a wretched amateur with feeble technique could imagine having decent musicianship...

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#1727956 - 08/06/11 08:23 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
It will surprise you, I am guessing, that it also is not really all that frequent that I will hear a performance where I think the interpretation is superior to mine. It may be different, yes, but not necessarily better. What is almost always better is their technique - they play the piano far better than I do - but I don't confuse that with interpretation.
The great pianists were virtually all great in terms of technique and musical understanding. Are you saying your musicianship is on a par with those pianists and it's only your technique that makes your playing of a lesser quality compared to them? Your musical understanding is so high you have nothing to learn from them?



Scandalous, isn't it, that a wretched amateur with feeble technique could imagine having decent musicianship...
"Decent" is not how I would describe the musicianship of the great pianists or even first year conservatory students.

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#1727959 - 08/06/11 08:25 PM Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
I listen..especially if it is a challenging composition. Not from the beginning, but after I have worked on a piece to some extent.. I listen to how, say, Richter voices his chords, builds the overall architecture of the piece, where he breathes.. I learn tons. It is humbling and I (think) I may be a better musician, or at least a better listener for it. I don't do this regularly. I also do not make a conscious effort to mimick (not that I could sound like Richter if I wanted to). I agree that subconsciously I may be copying something I heard. But with some self-discipline, the listening ends up heightening my awareness of the intricacies of the piece.
I also listen if I am working on a challenging duet, often because I am too lazy or do not have enough time to learn the other part..
Teacher does not like it, out of principle.. But he does not hesitate to tell me how he thinks it should sound, one way or another.. smile

BTW, van CLiburn recently discussed how he listens to several versions of a concerto he is working on during an interview at the recent Tchaikovsky competition.. It may even be online still.
We are so immersed in music thanks to digital media that it is hard to imagine that a musicophile has not listened (repeatedly) to mainstream repertoire.. I think the point is a bit moot.. unless one is listening to see "how the notes go" because of a deficient technique/fundamentals.. Then they would have no business working on a piece that is good enough to have been recorded by someone..

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