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#2026566 - 02/03/13 10:57 PM feedback/help to improve two pieces
zjohnson18 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/13
Posts: 5
Im applying to college with a music technology major and their is a performance audition that I have to do on piano. I am self taught, and haven't learned any classical songs untill now so I really need some feedback. I have been working on invention 13 by bach and nocturne op 9 no 2 by chopin for a little longer than a week now on my new privia px150(which is amazing). Here is my progress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZfG0y7EyPk&feature=youtu.be


obviously near the end of where i was playing op 9 no 2 I hadn't learned it well enough yet, but other than that.

Am I in the right direction?

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#2026571 - 02/03/13 11:06 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19641
Loc: New York
I think you're very well in the right direction on the Bach, but not on the Chopin. BTW what I'm saying about the Chopin has nothing to do with your not having finished learning it -- I didn't listen that far. I think it's just not a good piece for you to play, but I think the Bach is quite impressive for what you're going for.

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#2026572 - 02/03/13 11:08 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5210
Loc: Europe
Some quick thoughts:

1. Check with the college you're applying to see what level of piano proficiency they require. It could be that your choice of pieces are too easy, or two hard.

2. When you post a classical piece, or any piece actually post the whole piece. It makes an awful impression to be playing 30 secs of Bach and 90 secs of Chopin.

3. Now, on your performances. They are... mechanical, to say the least. There's a lack of dynamics already in Bach, which doesn't require too much variation anyhow, but should be there, but the Chopin is terrible steady, still and lacking any dynamic change.

You need to think of the music, rather than just the notes. Bach should be easier in that account (but take it slower, please), but Chopin also needs plenty of Rubato.

The one thing you could do would be to check on youtube these pieces and see what other people are doing with them. It should be worthwhile I think!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2026575 - 02/03/13 11:09 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
zjohnson18 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/13
Posts: 5
Thanks.

I had a feeling I wasn't playing the nocturne very well.

I really like the sound of it though and I have till may 7th so I think I want to stick with it anyway. Is it the dynamics that is off?


Also, these two pieces should be around the right level

"2 memorized pieces in contrasting styles (examples include, but are not limited to, a Bach Two or Three-part Invention or Prelude and Fugue, a first movement of a Classical period Sonata, a Chopin Nocturne or equivalent Romantic or 20th Century work)."

It mentions both the inventions and nocturnes. Im hoping they take it a little easy on my also since im not auditioning for piano performance, just music technology.


Edited by zjohnson18 (02/03/13 11:12 PM)

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#2026576 - 02/03/13 11:10 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: Nikolas]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19641
Loc: New York
I assume he knows about only submitting a whole piece -- he's just asking us if he's on the right track. BTW while I agree with the details you mentioned, I like his Bach a lot better than you do. Who's right? I don't know. smile

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#2026578 - 02/03/13 11:10 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4750
Loc: USA
Obviously music technology major has nothing to do with having great pianistic chops, but I guess you have to know some. Though I am not familiar with that Bach piece, it did sound good to me. The Chopin, however, was pretty bad. I would advise getting a teacher and studying romantic music quite a bit more before auditioning with it.

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#2026585 - 02/03/13 11:24 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: Mark_C]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6092
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I think you're very well in the right direction on the Bach, but not on the Chopin.


I agree. The Chopin should be much more musical, with all the phrasing flowing smoothly.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2026587 - 02/03/13 11:26 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6092
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
PS: Usually I think it is better to learn a piece without listening to YouTube renditions, but because you say yourself that you don't have much experience with classical music, maybe you should listen to some good YouTube performances.

Edit: I just noticed that Nikolas gave the same advice before me! blush
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2026588 - 02/03/13 11:29 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6092
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
For example Rubinstein (you can even follow the score smile ):
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2026589 - 02/03/13 11:31 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5210
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: zjohnson18
Thanks.

I had a feeling I wasn't playing the nocturne very well.

I really like the sound of it though and I have till may 7th so I think I want to stick with it anyway. Is it the dynamics that is off?


Also, these two pieces should be around the right level

"2 memorized pieces in contrasting styles (examples include, but are not limited to, a Bach Two or Three-part Invention or Prelude and Fugue, a first movement of a Classical period Sonata, a Chopin Nocturne or equivalent Romantic or 20th Century work)."

It mentions both the inventions and nocturnes. Im hoping they take it a little easy on my also since im not auditioning for piano performance, just music technology.
Ok,

so you've got covered the pieces you will be learning are on the right spot. So that's ok.

Marc, I was a bit harsh on the Bach, it's not that bad, if my post appeared to imply so. It could use some more work and attention, but not much else.

For the Chopin there's the dynamics that need much more variation, but also the rhythm. You need to "forget" the steady rhythm for a little while and see if you could stand on a note, or bend the time a little by using what we call 'rubato'. It's the lack of musicality in a more general sense, but is difficult to actually pin point it.

As I said earlier, check a youtube video. Normally I also don't recommend doing that, but this is a very specific situation that's ending on the 7th and the lack of a teacher is a problem.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2026595 - 02/03/13 11:48 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
zjohnson18 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/13
Posts: 5
I can definitely tell a big difference listening to the rubenstein version.

I understand what you mean on the rhythm being too steady any not musical and I think I need to play softer for most parts.

Ill continue working on it.

I'm really starting to like classical piano music though, I wish I could have gotten into lessons when I was younger but right now money is a problem but hopefully in the future.

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#2026603 - 02/03/13 11:56 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5210
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: zjohnson18
I'm really starting to like classical piano music though, I wish I could have gotten into lessons when I was younger but right now money is a problem but hopefully in the future.
Apart from some hand positioning issues and the musical things we talked about you're doing extremely well on your own, so I don't see why you could carry on little by little on your own, with our help here, etc...

Of course getting a teacher would be much better, but if money is an issue and you CAN do it on your own... Go ahead! smile
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2026604 - 02/03/13 11:58 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19641
Loc: New York
ZJ: Just one person's opinion here smile but I think the Chopin just isn't a good idea for you, even with 3 months to go. I think it would be a much better bet to pick a different piece to go along with the Bach, something in a very different style than Chopin. You have a real feel, a good feel, for the Bach; you just don't for the Chopin. You'd get a lot better mileage working up something that you have more of a feel for, and since you're obviously able to work things up pretty quickly, you've got time for that. You might think the head start that you have on the Chopin is a big advantage, but it isn't, not compared to playing something you have more of a feel for.

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#2026623 - 02/04/13 01:00 AM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: zjohnson18
Thanks.

I had a feeling I wasn't playing the nocturne very well.

I really like the sound of it though and I have till may 7th so I think I want to stick with it anyway. Is it the dynamics that is off?


Also, these two pieces should be around the right level

"2 memorized pieces in contrasting styles (examples include, but are not limited to, a Bach Two or Three-part Invention or Prelude and Fugue, a first movement of a Classical period Sonata, a Chopin Nocturne or equivalent Romantic or 20th Century work)."

It mentions both the inventions and nocturnes. Im hoping they take it a little easy on my also since im not auditioning for piano performance, just music technology.


It's better to be safe than sorry... play what you're most confident in.

Great work so far.

You've got the Baroque style, but you haven't got the Romantic style (in Chopin) yet.

The Chopin doesn't come naturally to you (as the Bach), but it is possible.

For the Chopin, I get the feeling that you're just hammering out the notes; you're not really feeling every note, especially in the melody.

For one, it's too steady. It feels like a march. I don't want to mislead you with that phrase-- don't just randomly mess with the tempo (i.e. don't start marking 'slow down here' 'speed up here' randomly on the page). Do play around with rubato though.

Another major thing: the left hand is too loud; it overpowers the melody.

Good job on your notes so far; although I agree with what most people are saying here. You've got the feel for the Bach, but the Chopin will take you a bit more work.

Yes, you can play the notes, but you haven't got the style yet, and for auditioning purposes, you only have half the piece, as far as they're concerned.

To play it safe, I'd probably pick another piece. You might have the feel for some of the Modern/Post-modern music. Do check that out.

I'm giving you honest advice, and you can take it or leave it, but it'd be in your best interest to listen to some of what we tell you here, because most of us have been there, done that. smile

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#2026656 - 02/04/13 02:43 AM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4806
Try singing the RH melody and play just the LH accompaniment: that's the bel canto style you need for a Chopin Nocturne. The melody really needs to sound like a singer singing it, and floating the phrases; and the accompaniment is entirely subsidiary, in the background.

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#2026864 - 02/04/13 12:06 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: Nikolas]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17825
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
[...]Marc, I was a bit harsh on the Bach, it's not that bad, if my post appeared to imply so. It could use some more work and attention, but not much else.

[...]


The Bach, in my estimation, could indeed use more work. I don't agree with all those who think that it is fine, except that I do agree that the notes are there and that the tempo is adequate.

What I feel is not appropriate is the fact that it sounds much too legato. There should be some distinction between the more legato sixteenth-notes and the more detached eighth-notes. I am not hearing this, and I think that that is a basic performance practice of Baroque keyboard music. However it is addressed, I think the playing of this Invention needs a much less legato touch.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2026902 - 02/04/13 12:59 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19641
Loc: New York
Bruce -- regarding the Bach sounding fine or not, remember what's the purpose of this. Admittedly I'm guessing because I don't really know, but from what I can imagine, indeed the way he plays the Bach would be fine for such a thing (assuming he can get it to where he can play through it reliably). And also, even beyond that, I think there's much of what he brings to it that is indeed very good. The things you're mentioning are (I would say) fine points which could take him to higher levels, rather than things that keep it from being all right for this kind of thing. I think he has very good instincts for Bach. Not everyone does; maybe most don't. When someone does, it's noteworthy, it's the main thing that struck me upon hearing it, and it's extra noteworthy because of how briefly he's been studying it.

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#2026957 - 02/04/13 02:41 PM Re: feedback/help to improve two pieces [Re: zjohnson18]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The Bach Invention no. 13 is a zippy little “chune” ...
and better suited the self-taught style of the OP
(with that typically Bach unending ripple of single-note outlines) ...
than the Chopin 9/2 which sounds like the organ-grinder who used to stop his pony outside our house ...
(many moons ago ... when we used to give him a penny).

I’m with Mark on his assessment ...
Chopin can’t be played with a metronomic tempo ...
without Fred’s rubato (as presently put over) even my dog would howl ... the OP would be wise to drop the Chopin or alternatively get a TEACHER to elucidate the magical weave of a Chopin Nocturne .

PS The OP only plays 8 measures of the Bach Invention no. 13 before clattering flat-fingered into the Chopin Nocturne 9/2 ... but presumably can play the full 25 measures of the Bach.

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