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#1993192 - 12/01/12 12:43 PM Mozart k545(1st movt.) question
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Hi All,

So I started working on this piece about 3 weeks ago. As of right now, I can play the first section(to the repeat) fairly well at about 80 BPM. It took me 3 weeks, with 2-3 hrs. a day of practice, to get here. I've had 2 lessons but had to suspend them until the New Year(an expensive incident occurred, so I couldn't afford them for now. I'm going back as soon as I'm able). smile

Two questions:

1. Is this piece a good "exercise" for building technique?

2. Based on how long it took me to learn the first section, do you think I should continue with this piece or drop it until later? I reallllllllly love the piece, and always wanted to play it, but I know the lack of dexterity in my left hand is going to be frustrating going forward.

As always, thanks for any input. This beginner really appreciates it!

-Jeff

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#1993198 - 12/01/12 12:58 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
I don't know what preparation you bring to this piece, but Magrath's Guide rates K545 as Level 7-8 (on a scale of 1 to 10). In her ratings, this places the work with the Bach Two-Part Inventions. It is definitely not a beginner piece. For staging purposes, I would say that if you have worked through (and are comfortable playing) the Anna Magdalena Notebook and some of the Clementi, Kuhlau, or Diabelli Sonatinas, then you are probably ready for this.

I, for one, am not a big fan of using difficult aspirational pieces for learning basic technique, but others will certainly differ on this point.


Edited by packa (12/01/12 05:29 PM)
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1993201 - 12/01/12 01:09 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: packa]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Thanks Paul. I do have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I'm torn because I do feel that my technique, especially the trills, short scale runs, and the alberti bass line, have improved dramatically just from working through what I have done with it so far. And it's extremely gratifying to hear myself play just a chunk of one of my favorite sonatas. I should add that I do not "plunk" my way through what I do have down, I am very mindful of the dynamics and smoothness and try to never rush through while making all kinds of mistakes. I fear that I am probably not using my time most efficiently by continuing to slowly plod away at this piece.


Edited by justjeff (12/01/12 01:12 PM)

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#1993252 - 12/01/12 03:20 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1038
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Maybe I'm slow, but three weeks does not seem like such a long time to me for learning the first part of this piece. On the other hand, I'm never working on just one thing at a time.

It's true that the second section is more demanding of the left hand. But if it's giving you pleasure...
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#1993260 - 12/01/12 03:58 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: justjeff
Thanks Paul. I do have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I'm torn because I do feel that my technique, especially the trills, short scale runs, and the alberti bass line, have improved dramatically just from working through what I have done with it so far. And it's extremely gratifying to hear myself play just a chunk of one of my favorite sonatas. I should add that I do not "plunk" my way through what I do have down, I am very mindful of the dynamics and smoothness and try to never rush through while making all kinds of mistakes. I fear that I am probably not using my time most efficiently by continuing to slowly plod away at this piece.

If you're enjoying it and aware of your own goals, then it's hard to find fault. Despite mine or anybody's opinions, one of the nicest things about being an adult student is that you can please yourself in these matters.
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1993273 - 12/01/12 04:37 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: packa]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Originally Posted By: packa
If you're enjoying it and aware of your own goals, then it's hard to find fault. Despite mine or anybody's opinions, one of the nicest things about being an adult student is that you can please yourself in these matters.


This is true, but I am also concerned about increasing my skill at an acceptable rate. Even though I am an adult(39 yrs. old) learner, I do have semi-high aspirations. I think I'll just try to get up to speed on the first section and come back to the rest later(perhaps MUCH later. heh). Thanks for the commentary! grin

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#1993286 - 12/01/12 05:19 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2423
Loc: Virginia, USA
This was the piece I started on when I first took lessons. I was self-taught for years before that so I wasn't a beginner. But I had no business trying this piece. I struggled with it - got all three movements semi-OK but I really wasn't ready.

My one regret with lessons (except that I started taking them too late) was that I started with a piece this advanced. Build up to it with some easier sonatinas like the wonderful Clementi opus 36 ones.
_________________________
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#1993297 - 12/01/12 05:25 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: Andy Platt]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
This was the piece I started on when I first took lessons. I was self-taught for years before that so I wasn't a beginner. But I had no business trying this piece. I struggled with it - got all three movements semi-OK but I really wasn't ready.

My one regret with lessons (except that I started taking them too late) was that I started with a piece this advanced. Build up to it with some easier sonatinas like the wonderful Clementi opus 36 ones.


This is, of course, great advice. I think I need to give the Clementi sonatinas a listen and pick one. Liking the piece is pretty much a prerequisite for me to invest the neccessary energy and level of detail to learn it properly.

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#1993314 - 12/01/12 05:53 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
Originally Posted By: justjeff
Originally Posted By: packa
If you're enjoying it and aware of your own goals, then it's hard to find fault. Despite mine or anybody's opinions, one of the nicest things about being an adult student is that you can please yourself in these matters.


This is true, but I am also concerned about increasing my skill at an acceptable rate. Even though I am an adult(39 yrs. old) learner, I do have semi-high aspirations. I think I'll just try to get up to speed on the first section and come back to the rest later(perhaps MUCH later. heh). Thanks for the commentary! grin

I think you may be my long lost twin. smile

We are the same age and have taken the exact same approach to learning, and now face the exact same quandary!
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1993319 - 12/01/12 06:03 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: aTallGuyNH]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
TallGuy - Sorry to hear that! laugh

But yeah, I'm really bummed about having to suspend lessons for a bit. My teacher is great, and he "sees a lot of promise" in me(which, come to think of it, is probably WHY I think he's so great, lol. I kid, I kid).

So, did you decide to try some easier stuff?

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#1993378 - 12/01/12 07:51 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
Originally Posted By: justjeff
TallGuy - Sorry to hear that! laugh

But yeah, I'm really bummed about having to suspend lessons for a bit. My teacher is great, and he "sees a lot of promise" in me(which, come to think of it, is probably WHY I think he's so great, lol. I kid, I kid).

So, did you decide to try some easier stuff?
I will, but I haven't figured exactly how to go about it since I don't want to give up on the stuff I'm working on so far, and their isn't enough time to do everything I want to do.

I was planning to post details of my quandary today (just like you!), but I'm a little more verbose than you, so I haven't finished my magnum opus explanation just yet. Perhaps we're just fraternal twins then... smile
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1993555 - 12/02/12 08:29 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: aTallGuyNH]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I don't think 2-3 hours a day for three weeks is long for this piece but I don't know how well you play it, whether or how well you've memorised it, how much experience you have and what other pieces you play.

To answer your questions directly, yes, it's a good piece for building technique as it features scale passages, broken chords, trills and requires a variety of legato and staccato touches, clean playing and controlled expression.

I would advise caution with continuing the piece without tackling the second half. It would be better to drop the first half while or until you tackle the second half if you want to keep this piece in your life. If you continue with it I would advise you not to take up the tempo until you've matched it with the second half.

The second half is trickier and unless you master its details as well as the first half you're just not going to play it as often and that will show.

If you continue with this first half consider increasing not the tempo but the clarity of articulation and the delicacy of expression. I discussed this piece in this forum (with Mark C?) and reached the conclusion that 80 bpm is a good practice tempo and that 100 bpm is not unacceptably slow for performance. It is a speed increase which I would venture is difficult to avoid in time.

I would advise you spend 20-30 mins a day on the second half in shorter and carefully controlled sections and use the extra time to round out your baroque (Bach and Scarlatti to balance your hands), Romantic (Chopin, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Liszt to broaden your rhythmic ability) and later eras (Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky et al up to twentieth century to expand your colour palette).

I would also seek further input from others. My opinion is not for all seasons.

Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
...isn't enough time to do everything I want to do...

<sigh> Yeah!
_________________________
Richard

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#1993577 - 12/02/12 09:50 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: zrtf90]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Thanks for the detailed response Richard smile

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I don't think 2-3 hours a day for three weeks is long for this piece but I don't know how well you play it, whether or how well you've memorised it, how much experience you have and what other pieces you play.

I have the first 28 bars(to the 1st repeat) memorized. At 80 bpm my articulation is fair, and i can make it through this part 2 out of 3 times without a mistake. I've only been playing piano seriously since August, and had 2 lessons in October. Before I started this piece I had been working on Mozart's "rondo alla turca" and the 2nd movement of concerto #23. To me, the latter was fairly easy to learn and the former was much more difficult -- I have since dropped it.(obviously I'm a pretty big fan of Wolfgang)

My main concern is trying to use my practice time efficiently, while still learning/playing music that I find enjoyable. I do practice scales(only majors at the moment), but I spend the vast majority of time working on these pieces.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I would advise you spend 20-30 mins a day on the second half in shorter and carefully controlled sections and use the extra time to round out your baroque (Bach and Scarlatti to balance your hands), Romantic (Chopin, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Liszt to broaden your rhythmic ability) and later eras (Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky et al up to twentieth century to expand your colour palette).

If everything goes right, this is roughly the path I hoped my playing would take! Are you a mind-reader or something? laugh

But seriously, thanks for all the input. I'm still leaning towards working on some easier stuff, while still plodding away slowly at k545 as I go.

-Jeff


Edited by justjeff (12/02/12 09:57 AM)

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#1993596 - 12/02/12 10:20 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: justjeff
...I've only been playing piano seriously since August...

Yeah, I was only messing for the first few years, too! laugh

You might need to amplify that, Jeff, or some of us here are going to be feeling a bit sick!
_________________________
Richard

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#1994221 - 12/03/12 04:36 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3635
3 weeks, I would say you're doing fine. Just proceed with 2nd part and start working on speed after that. What's your target speed? If say 120, then you're at a good place if you can play it good at 80
_________________________

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#1994359 - 12/03/12 10:00 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5379
Loc: Philadelphia
I think you've gotten a fair mix of responses here, so I'll do my best not to discuss what's been previously discussed.

I guess the most pertinent question for me is this: what are you goals? You mention high aspirations. What exactly does that mean? Are you looking just to be able to play something like a Liszt Paganini etude, or are you looking to play professionally as a debut artist in Carnegie Hall? Your aspirations, and the timeline in which you wish to obtain them, will say a lot about whether to continue with this particular Mozart sonata. wink

In my personal view (which often incorporates an extremely aggressive timetable, so don't be disheartened): if you can play scales, you should be able to pick up the 2nd half of the piece in one or two days at 2-3 hours per day (depending on how you use your time). I'm not necessarily saying mastery. I'm saying memorized and comfortable at a slow, but not dragging, tempo. If you can't play scales, and would like to learn the 2nd half of the piece faster, I would recommend learning at least the scales used in the movement before approaching the piece. That way, your fingers already know what to do, and you only have to put it together.

How do you practice? Do you play the section over and over until it sinks in? Or do you break it down? If you break it down, how do you break it down? Please don't get me wrong.. as a beginner, 2-3 weeks is perfectly acceptable for where you are at. I'm just wondering if we can't up the ante. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1994402 - 12/04/12 12:24 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
pianoslacker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/12
Posts: 50
Like probably millions of others, I also had a crack at this so-called easy sonata as a beginner. It starts out exciting but soon becomes discouraging because the challenge is just too great. It might be different for you, but it just became so obvious to me that I wasn't going to build any kind of foundation that way.

Why not get a book of the standard repertoire for students at your level? Not even Clementi Sonatas, but the really easy stuff - like level 1 to 2. What could you lose?

Anyhow that's pretty much what I'm doing. For me it's so much more rewarding. And I'm pretty sure that a lot of the teachers on here will tell you that only wanting to play pieces by the greats is one of the commonest and biggest beginner traps.

Cheers.

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#1994522 - 12/04/12 08:27 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: pianoslacker]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Originally Posted By: pianoslacker
Like probably millions of others, I also had a crack at this so-called easy sonata as a beginner. It starts out exciting but soon becomes discouraging because the challenge is just too great. It might be different for you, but it just became so obvious to me that I wasn't going to build any kind of foundation that way.


This is the reality, isn't it? You know, if I wouldn't have had to stop lessons I wouldn't even be doing this because I wouldn't have the time with all the work my teacher was giving me... I too was told this one was "easy". Maybe the first 28 bars, but after that, yikes!

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#1994531 - 12/04/12 08:48 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: Derulux]
justjeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 27
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I think you've gotten a fair mix of responses here, so I'll do my best not to discuss what's been previously discussed.

I guess the most pertinent question for me is this: what are you goals? You mention high aspirations. What exactly does that mean? Are you looking just to be able to play something like a Liszt Paganini etude, or are you looking to play professionally as a debut artist in Carnegie Hall? Your aspirations, and the timeline in which you wish to obtain them, will say a lot about whether to continue with this particular Mozart sonata. wink

In my personal view (which often incorporates an extremely aggressive timetable, so don't be disheartened): if you can play scales, you should be able to pick up the 2nd half of the piece in one or two days at 2-3 hours per day (depending on how you use your time). I'm not necessarily saying mastery. I'm saying memorized and comfortable at a slow, but not dragging, tempo. If you can't play scales, and would like to learn the 2nd half of the piece faster, I would recommend learning at least the scales used in the movement before approaching the piece. That way, your fingers already know what to do, and you only have to put it together.

How do you practice? Do you play the section over and over until it sinks in? Or do you break it down? If you break it down, how do you break it down? Please don't get me wrong.. as a beginner, 2-3 weeks is perfectly acceptable for where you are at. I'm just wondering if we can't up the ante. smile


I'd like to become a well rounded classical pianist. I have no delusions about concert-level skills, just to be comfortable with picking up most any piece by the greats and feeling "I have a shot at this". Of course I'd love to wake up tomorrow and be great, but I know the timeline is going to be a bit longer than that smile

I need to work more on scales. I do some work on them now, but not nearly enough. It's funny, when I was a drummer as a kid, as soon as I started working on rudiments my playing took off like a rocket. I need to remember that.

I practice by breaking things down if necessary. I also memorize as I learn. For instance, after the big run in the first section, when it switches to the 4-note ascending 16th notes on the left hand, I couldn't smoothly transition to it. So, I would just practice 2 measures, the one preceding it and that one(measures 10&11) until it "clicked". I have also broken things down into even smaller bits before, like measures 14&15. I had to break down the trills to individual notes, because I couldn't play them on top of the left hand part. It works beautifully. A very very good way to get over hurdles. However, I am guilty from time to time of "practicing" parts I already know, just to hear myself play... not very efficient smile

As far as how long it took me to learn what I have with this piece, I am pretty happy, considering my total lack of skill. But, I'm starting to agree with pianoslacker... It's a TRAP!

-Jeff

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#1997591 - 12/10/12 09:01 PM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
Nizar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/10/12
Posts: 2
Hi Jeff,

I am just starting to learn Mozart's K545 too. It is wonderful isn't it.

It's one of the gems among the treasure trove of musical jewels left behind by Mozart for mere mortals such as us to savour. Since I began playing this piece about three weeks ago, I find the piano song be a cheerful one. It is a fun, playful and a joy to play.

The first three bars were actually easy to play considering that this is a piece by Mozart. They start off in a sweet gentle tune and end with a rapid dash of a C and D. I described ‘rapid’ because the C and D are semiquavers, the rest of the phrase consists of crotchets.

The short bursts of those two notes played rapidly is actually a preview to what would come in the next phrase, it mirrors the previous one in rhythm but in it lies a gargantuan obstacle – a trill played with the notes G and F. I have accomplished trills successfully before when I learnt to play ‘Venetian Boat Song’, however I have not practised them for a while.

I am still in the beginning stages of learning this song and looking forward to experiencing more joy as I proceed to learn it.

Nizar
nizarh@hotmail.com

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#1997698 - 12/11/12 02:05 AM Re: Mozart k545(1st movt.) question [Re: justjeff]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5379
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: justjeff
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I think you've gotten a fair mix of responses here, so I'll do my best not to discuss what's been previously discussed.

I guess the most pertinent question for me is this: what are you goals? You mention high aspirations. What exactly does that mean? Are you looking just to be able to play something like a Liszt Paganini etude, or are you looking to play professionally as a debut artist in Carnegie Hall? Your aspirations, and the timeline in which you wish to obtain them, will say a lot about whether to continue with this particular Mozart sonata. wink

In my personal view (which often incorporates an extremely aggressive timetable, so don't be disheartened): if you can play scales, you should be able to pick up the 2nd half of the piece in one or two days at 2-3 hours per day (depending on how you use your time). I'm not necessarily saying mastery. I'm saying memorized and comfortable at a slow, but not dragging, tempo. If you can't play scales, and would like to learn the 2nd half of the piece faster, I would recommend learning at least the scales used in the movement before approaching the piece. That way, your fingers already know what to do, and you only have to put it together.

How do you practice? Do you play the section over and over until it sinks in? Or do you break it down? If you break it down, how do you break it down? Please don't get me wrong.. as a beginner, 2-3 weeks is perfectly acceptable for where you are at. I'm just wondering if we can't up the ante. smile


I'd like to become a well rounded classical pianist. I have no delusions about concert-level skills, just to be comfortable with picking up most any piece by the greats and feeling "I have a shot at this". Of course I'd love to wake up tomorrow and be great, but I know the timeline is going to be a bit longer than that smile

I need to work more on scales. I do some work on them now, but not nearly enough. It's funny, when I was a drummer as a kid, as soon as I started working on rudiments my playing took off like a rocket. I need to remember that.

I practice by breaking things down if necessary. I also memorize as I learn. For instance, after the big run in the first section, when it switches to the 4-note ascending 16th notes on the left hand, I couldn't smoothly transition to it. So, I would just practice 2 measures, the one preceding it and that one(measures 10&11) until it "clicked". I have also broken things down into even smaller bits before, like measures 14&15. I had to break down the trills to individual notes, because I couldn't play them on top of the left hand part. It works beautifully. A very very good way to get over hurdles. However, I am guilty from time to time of "practicing" parts I already know, just to hear myself play... not very efficient smile

As far as how long it took me to learn what I have with this piece, I am pretty happy, considering my total lack of skill. But, I'm starting to agree with pianoslacker... It's a TRAP!

-Jeff

I think you've certainly got the basics down.. I'd certainly like to help with technique, since practice does not seem to be an issue. But I will say this: every once in a while, don't be afraid to treat yourself. You practiced your arse off.. enjoy playing it every once in a while. It will motivate you to keep going. smile
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