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#1759965 - 09/26/11 09:08 PM Is this possible?
txpianogirl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/10
Posts: 17
Hello All,

How realistic is it if you have a piece that is at the stage where you can play the notes ( at a slow speed in order to play them properly ) and you have a few bits and pieces memorized, to be able to perfect ( note - wise and musically ) and memorize to play for an event in 4 1/2 weeks?
This piece has been VERY difficult for me to learn even though I have been consistently practicing it 3 - 4 hours on the days I practice. I have been making some progress but I am not sure it is enough.

It is the only piece I am working on right now so I don't want to spend my time working on it when there is a good possibility it will not be done in time for the event. I would rather try to work on something that I will be able to finish instead of coming up to the event and not having anything to play or worse yet not having it ready ( my biggest piano nightmare! ;-) )

I know it is hard to give an opinion without posting a recording - but I didn't want to put you through that!! :-D )

I would appreciate your thoughts!

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#1759998 - 09/26/11 10:09 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
It's hard to say much without knowing more about what kind of piece you're talking about. But even without knowing more, I'd say that it sounds way too iffy. First of all it seems extremely uncertain that you'd be able to finish learning the piece within the time -- but even if you did, the available time wouldn't be enough for you to be secure about it.

I think it's a good general rule that in order for a piece to be ready for any kind of "event," you need to already 'have it' at least a month in advance, if not more. And if it's a piece that's been giving you the kind of trouble like what you said, it needs to be even more in advance.

I say do something else -- preferably something that you learned in the past, not starting on something new.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760002 - 09/26/11 10:17 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21826
Loc: Oakland
People's abilities vary from person to person.
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#1760005 - 09/26/11 10:19 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: BDB]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: BDB
People's abilities vary from person to person.

She gave us enough to go on to narrow it down better than that. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760007 - 09/26/11 10:25 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Happily, pianogirl, I disagree with MarkC! ha

4 1/2 weeks is a TON of time. Do not disregard the amount of work your brain can do when it is asleep. Every time you sleep, your brain re-wires. Practice. Sleep. Practice. Sleep. 4 1/2 weeks? That's more than 28 sleep/wake cycles. If you can play it slowly, then play it slowly every few days to drill the fingering. Don't play it fast on those days... Play it slowly! On the other days, play it up to speed, or close to speed(s). On the other, other days, play it any way you want!

Trust me. If you can keep nerves out of it, you're good.

Plus, you probably play better than you think you do.

I do agree with MarkC, though, that more details would be... fun. ha Share them if you want to. IMO, you're good to go! grin

BTW, You have to give up your idea of playing "perfectly." Ask Rubenstein and Horowitz and Borge. Play it WELL!!!

It is already "ready." (Faith is a curious thing...)

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760009 - 09/26/11 10:26 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
P.S.~~ I love it when I get to agree with BDB! grin
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760011 - 09/26/11 10:29 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
CB: I guess you're more OK than I am about taking big risks with things like this. Look: She's been working hard on it, and much of it still hasn't been coming. You don't think that means it would at least be very risky that she could have it securely in 4 1/2 more weeks?

I don't believe in spinning the dice so much for things like this.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760012 - 09/26/11 10:29 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6152
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
As others have said, it is very difficult to give you advice without even knowing which piece you are talking about, how long it is etc., but if you really fear you won't be able to finish it by the deadline (although your fears might be unjustified, we don't know...), maybe you should try (as you yourself suggest) something that you feel more comfortable with and that you think you will be able to perform 100% (or close to it...) for the event.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1760018 - 09/26/11 10:42 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4824
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I agree with what everyone has said. You might be able to do it and you might not but having a due date is a great motivator. Why not try? You might surprise yourself!
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Deborah

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#1760020 - 09/26/11 10:45 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
CB: I guess you're more OK than I am about taking big risks with things like this. Look: She's been working hard on it, and much of it still hasn't been coming. You don't think that means it would at least be very risky that she could have it securely in 4 1/2 more weeks?

I don't believe in spinning the dice so much for things like this.


MRKC: Let's talk about her in the third person! She thinks she can work up another piece "perfectly" in 4 1/2 weeks? Given the amount of info we have at the time, I would say, "Play to your strengths! You already say you have a few bits memorized note-wise AND musically, perfectly. That's wonderful! Keep going! How many bits? What's the piece?"

MRKC, in addition, who said anything about BIG RISKS? It's an EVENT. Is that a big risk? Especially since she plays better than she thinks she does? Oh, wait... We don't have information!

MRKC, "spinning the dice?" 4 1/2 weeks is a TON of time!

MRKC, plus, she's from Texas, right PG?

Pianogirl, BDB was the one who gave the advice as such: "Those who know your mistakes don't need to be reminded. Those who don't know, don't have to have it pointed out to them." Or some such phrasing. BDB?

Pianogirl, PHRASING.

Do good!

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760021 - 09/26/11 10:45 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: gooddog]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: gooddog
....Why not try?....

Because success is of great value, not to mention comfort with the performing experience. Failure and discomfort are worth avoiding to the extent we can. I'm very surprised that there's so much opinion on the other side. To each their own smile but I think it's very ill-advised.


CB: I disagree with just about everything you said.
Everything. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760026 - 09/26/11 10:56 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
KeysAngler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/10
Posts: 260
Loc: The Fabulous Florida Keys
If you don't play it well at this event what are the consequences?

A risk/reward analysis might help determine which direction to take.

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#1760027 - 09/26/11 10:57 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: gooddog
....Why not try?....

Because success is of great value, not to mention comfort with the performing experience. Failure and discomfort are worth avoiding to the extent we can. I'm very surprised that there's so much opinion on the other side. To each their own smile but I think it's very ill-advised.


CB: I disagree with just about everything you said.
Everything. smile


I do not believe in having everything "securely." We do disagree!!!

I believe in playing something I know as though I am playing it for the FIRST time, EVERY time. Just because I know it, does not mean that it is secure. It might be firm, though. ha (Slowly every few days, pianogirl, to solidify the fingering. Let your brain do the rest! (PUN: rest. grin)) And, because I know it, and, because I am playing it for the first time for the hundredth time, and, because I am listening as I play, it means there will undoubtedly be a surprise to me. That's what I love about making music and making meaning.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760029 - 09/26/11 10:58 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: KeysAngler]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: KeysAngler
If you don't play it well at this event what are the consequences?

A risk/reward analysis might help determine which direction to take.



Wow, KeysAngler--

You're good! grin
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760031 - 09/26/11 11:02 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: gooddog
....Why not try?....

Because success is of great value, not to mention comfort with the performing experience. Failure and discomfort are worth avoiding to the extent we can. I'm very surprised that there's so much opinion on the other side. To each their own smile but I think it's very ill-advised.


CB: I disagree with just about everything you said.
Everything. smile


MarkC, even about PHRASING? ha
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760033 - 09/26/11 11:03 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: KeysAngler]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: KeysAngler
If you don't play it well at this event what are the consequences?

FEELINGS.

--------------------

To CB and the others who think she should just go ahead:

I think you are downplaying (actually probably ignoring) this part of the 1st post:

"This piece has been VERY difficult for me to learn even though I have been consistently practicing it 3 - 4 hours on the days I practice. I have been making some progress but I am not sure it is enough."

Have y'all really considered that? Does that really sound to you like enough to advise the person to go ahead? If it does, so be it. But I think it's very poor advice.

So....Txpianogirl, there you are. You've got both sides here. Take your pick.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760034 - 09/26/11 11:08 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3178
When in that position in the past, it has never worked out for me. It was a hard lesson to learn that only those pieces that I have well under my fingers will come out ok, and by ok I mean playing well, as compared to avoiding to not crash and burn.

Mark is right...a less than satisfying to me performance (or a disaster, or anything in between) hurts inwardly in a way that damages one's ability to play well w/o fear the next time. At least that is how it has been for me, so I now have a rule---whenever possible, I only play to my strengths.


Edited by rocket88 (09/26/11 11:12 PM)
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1760036 - 09/26/11 11:10 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6226
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: txpianogirl
Hello All,

How realistic is it if you have a piece that is at the stage where you can play the notes ( at a slow speed in order to play them properly ) and you have a few bits and pieces memorized, to be able to perfect ( note - wise and musically ) and memorize to play for an event in 4 1/2 weeks?
This piece has been VERY difficult for me to learn even though I have been consistently practicing it 3 - 4 hours on the days I practice. I have been making some progress but I am not sure it is enough.


First of all, how long have you been working on it? What type of an event is it? You paint a very incomplete and kind of bleak picture. Without knowing more though, I can say that a deadline is a very strong motivator but you have to have the spare time to make use of it. It may be a good idea to have a backup piece.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1760039 - 09/26/11 11:18 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: rocket88]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: rocket88
....a less than satisfying to me performance (or a disaster, or anything in between) hurts inwardly in a way that damages one's ability to play well w/o fear the next time....

That's a huge part of where I'm coming from. I don't look at an event like this as just a single thing; it's part of a process, part of our journey of making music and performing. I put a very high value on doing our best to ensure "success experiences," even if it means we're restricting ourselves sometimes, because of exactly what you're saying. It enables us best to build on each experience for the next ones. The "hurt" of a single failure is bad in itself and worth avoiding, but the worst thing about it isn't the hurt or the failure itself but how it affects our "journey."

People might say (and I bet they will!) that it needn't affect the journey. But it does, at least some -- and the main thing is that SUCCESS not only feels good but is a positive thing that only helps you build for the next times. I put a great premium on that.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760042 - 09/26/11 11:21 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Mark_C]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3178
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: rocket88
....a less than satisfying to me performance (or a disaster, or anything in between) hurts inwardly in a way that damages one's ability to play well w/o fear the next time....

That's a huge part of where I'm coming from. I don't look at an event like this as just a single thing, even though the "hurt" of a single failure really is bad enough in itself. Even more so, it's part of a process, part of our "life journey" of making music and performing. I put a very high value on doing our best to ensure "success experiences," even if it means we're restricting ourselves sometimes, because of exactly what you're saying. It enables us best to build on each experience for the next ones.


Which ultimately makes one a better player, IMO.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1760043 - 09/26/11 11:23 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: rocket88]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Which ultimately makes one a better player, IMO.

Yes. It vaults us forward.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760062 - 09/26/11 11:41 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Mark_C]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3178
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Which ultimately makes one a better player, IMO.

Yes. It vaults us forward.


And the opposite vaults us backwards. Yikes!
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1760064 - 09/26/11 11:44 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
txpianogirl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/10
Posts: 17
Thanks for the replies - a lot of interesting thoughts! Sorry I left out the piece, it's Kabalevsky's Piano Sonata no.3 and I have been working on it exclusively for two months now.

My teacher seems to think it's possible but I am a little worried.
I have heard that it is best to secure a piece at least a month in advance -
and I have to admit it is very nice to already have a piece learned and memorized ahead
of time as it gives you a lot of time to work on it musically.

Here is some more information to go by:
Basically the way I have been working on the piece is I have started at the end and am working backwards. I am trying to tackle the most difficult parts of the piece ( which is probably a good 90% ) - I will take sections (sometimes I will practice by sections and sometimes I will practice it a measure at a time) and break them apart. For example, working hands separately, working on separate voices, blocking notes into chords, different rhythm patterns or simply going through a passage slowly.

It is just a little confusing as to why these sections are still difficult. I could be giving up a little soon but I would almost rather be on the cautious side then be without a piece...
Only time will tell - I'm just trying to be safe!
The deadline idea is good, I might try that.

Thank you all again for your help!

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#1760065 - 09/26/11 11:46 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: rocket88]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: rocket88
When in that position in the past, it has never worked out for me. It was a hard lesson to learn that only those pieces that I have well under my fingers will come out ok, and by ok I mean playing well, as compared to avoiding to not crash and burn.

Mark is right...a less than satisfying to me performance (or a disaster, or anything in between) hurts inwardly in a way that damages one's ability to play well w/o fear the next time. At least that is how it has been for me, so I now have a rule---whenever possible, I only play to my strengths.


Rocket88, I LOVE what you're saying, and agree with you and Mark that it vaults forward, BUT we don't have enough information from Texas Girl. 4 1/2 weeks is a TON of time, unless you are playing Mozart, in which case you would need a lifetime. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but not at Texas Girl's expense. (How's THAT for equivocation, Mark?)

txpianogirl, where are you with details?

Also, if we are vaulted backwards, it is only for a time, DEPENDING YOU WHO YOU ARE.

txpianogirl, where are you?

Mark, notice I said "we." grin


Edited by Cinnamonbear (09/26/11 11:54 PM)
Edit Reason: spllng
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760072 - 09/26/11 11:52 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: txpianogirl
Thanks for the replies - a lot of interesting thoughts! Sorry I left out the piece, it's Kabalevsky's Piano Sonata no.3 and I have been working on it exclusively for two months now.

My teacher seems to think it's possible but I am a little worried.
I have heard that it is best to secure a piece at least a month in advance -
and I have to admit it is very nice to already have a piece learned and memorized ahead
of time as it gives you a lot of time to work on it musically.

Here is some more information to go by:
Basically the way I have been working on the piece is I have started at the end and am working backwards. I am trying to tackle the most difficult parts of the piece ( which is probably a good 90% ) - I will take sections (sometimes I will practice by sections and sometimes I will practice it a measure at a time) and break them apart. For example, working hands separately, working on separate voices, blocking notes into chords, different rhythm patterns or simply going through a passage slowly.

It is just a little confusing as to why these sections are still difficult. I could be giving up a little soon but I would almost rather be on the cautious side then be without a piece...
Only time will tell - I'm just trying to be safe!
The deadline idea is good, I might try that.

Thank you all again for your help!




Hey, TPG! You posted while I was writing!

You see? I am right! You have plenty of time. You are already at 90%, and more than a month out. Jeeze Louise! And it's Kabalevsky to boot! Jeeze LOUISE! Keep doing what you're doing and you'll be FINE! BTW, you still did not tell us what EVENT this is.


Edited by Cinnamonbear (09/26/11 11:56 PM)
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760074 - 09/26/11 11:55 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19850
Loc: New York
CB: I still disagree 100% and can't believe what you're saying. smile

Originally Posted By: txpianogirl
....Sorry I left out the piece, it's Kabalevsky's Piano Sonata no.3....

Golly! I don't think any of us would have guessed it was such a long or complex piece. Not that it's the longest or most complex piece in the world smile but still.

I gotta believe that anyone who is working even half-seriously on such a piece must have lots of other possible pieces to play, things you've learned before and that you knew fairly securely. I say pick one of those.

Quote:
....Basically the way I have been working on the piece is I have started at the end and am working backwards. I am trying to tackle the most difficult parts of the piece....

Very often that's exactly how I work on pieces too.
Starting backwards, because otherwise, the end is the part that we work on least -- but we want the end to be very secure.
And the hardest parts, because it helps to have them "softened up" by the time we're playing through the whole piece. Plus, it feels good to know as soon as possible that we can really play them.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760076 - 09/26/11 11:59 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Plus, you have a teacher. JEEZE LOUISE!!!

What Mark said...

Drill the ending. A big finish counts for a lot. Leave them wanting more. That's the rule.

TPG: What's the event? Are you from Texas?
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760078 - 09/26/11 11:59 PM Re: Is this possible? [Re: txpianogirl]
Playagain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 239
HI, Txpianogirl,

You don't sound very positive about the possibility of learning and memorizing the piece for the event. You said, "...when there is a good possibility it will not be done in time for the event." A "good possibility" doesn't sound like you feel it will be ready.

You also mentioned basically that it would be your "biggest piano nightmare" to not be ready or to not have anything to play.

How long does it usually take you to learn and memorize a piece that is of like difficulty? Can you keep up with your practice schedule for the next 4 1/2 weeks? Do you work well with deadlines when you're having difficulty?

Is this particular piece something you really want to play for this particular event? Or is there something else you would like to play that you are sure you could memorize and play for the event?

I'm not as advanced as many pianists here, but I would say that if I had written what you wrote, I would consider playing something else that I was more confident of learning, memorizing, and having ready for the event.

Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best! Good luck! Kathy
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#1760081 - 09/27/11 12:02 AM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Mark_C]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
CB: I still disagree 100% and can't believe what you're saying. smile [...]


For real? Then we definitely see the world differently. We should get together some day and discuss the universe. grin

Do you not see that 4 1/2 weeks is a TON of time?
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1760087 - 09/27/11 12:10 AM Re: Is this possible? [Re: Playagain]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3980
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Playagain
[...] You don't sound very positive about the possibility of learning and memorizing the piece for the event. You said, "...when there is a good possibility it will not be done in time for the event." A "good possibility" doesn't sound like you feel it will be ready.

You also mentioned basically that it would be your "biggest piano nightmare" to not be ready or to not have anything to play. [...]


cf. all of AngelinaPogorelich's hyperbole. Txpianogirl plays better than she thinks she does, and the audience will think so, too.
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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by Paul678
Today at 08:22 PM
Steinway legs?
by Klavimaniac
Today at 06:58 PM
1875 legs and lyre where to get?
by Klavimaniac
Today at 06:02 PM
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