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#2060515 - 04/06/13 08:37 PM A 1st
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I've been playing a little over a year interrupted by health issues and an operation but getting back on the piano bench and carrying on just like everyone else. I learn new pieces and review the old ones constantly.

I read posters who say they don't like some of their pieces and I don't understand that because I like all my pieces and enjoy playing them over and over in review. The John Thompson method book had a page that said at the top of a page: Here is your first real recital piece. See if you can learn it for the next program. Well, I am self-learning so there won't be any program where I perform but I asked in the teacher forum about memorizing as it said in my book and someone said don't memorize anything except those pieces that you want to memorize. So that was a huge load of my chest/brain because of the 50 to 70 little pieces I play in review, I haven't remotely memorized any of them but I can play them easily without mistakes and enjoying doing so while reading the music.

So I reach a next page in the book, JT Book 1, page 25 -- and for the first time -- I absolutely love playing this piece and could play it for the rest of my life - so I guess I will try and memorize it. It is called Stepping Stones, 16 measures.

I haven't read any posts where anyone says they enjoy learning a certain piece or enjoy playing a certain piece.

Edited by Michael_99 (04/06/13 08:39 PM)

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#2060558 - 04/06/13 10:50 PM Re: A 1st [Re: Michael_99]
mr_super-hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4289
Michael congrats on your one year milestone and continued success.

As far as playing and enjoying all my old pieces, I sort of play a 'representation' of them all frequently. What that means is I'll try and keep a collection of different types of music that I can play. The type does not mean 'genre', but rather ability. Like very fast pieces, or slow and dramatic stuff. Then their are pieces with lots of thick and heavy chords throughout or the ones that need to be played very delicately. I try and keep a sample of all of them.

The small sampling method actually works for me because the type of energy and emotion that goes in to these pieces will be the same.

Unless something special is added.

In terms of memorization, I'd bet you are much Much better at it than you think. Many people simply use the written score as just a guide or a cheat sheet. Even a crutch, just knowing it's there. But after playing something a million times over, even in your sleep, you will reach a point where most, if not all of the score will be ingrained into your mind and muscle memory.

I've taken a very fast and technical section of a score that I had memorized before and while playing it, purposely looked out the window and focused on whatever was happening outside. My mind was not thinking at all about the piece I was playing because I was distracted by something outside.

Not much time had gone by but after a short while I had realized that I had just played a fairly large sample of a difficult piece and I have no idea who was playing it. I mean I know who was playing it, [me], but I had given 100% attention to the outside distraction and zero percent attention to the musical score.

So who played the score? Not physically, but mentally?

See my point? Even if you haven't completely memorized a score, your super familiar ones will take you very little effort to do so. If you really want to memorize a familiar piece, your mind will find the space for it.

Just pick one familiar piece at a time and play it slowly with a lot of thought. Once you can play it in its entirety by memory it is now on your menu of memorized pieces. Pick your favorites and keep your menu current. Current means daily if possible. The bigger your menu, the longer it will take you to get thru it. Every other day could possibly work if your menu gets to large you need to alternate days.

If your menu gets bigger than that you may have a new career ahead!

#2060571 - 04/06/13 11:36 PM Re: A 1st [Re: Michael_99]
Weiyan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Hong Kong
STepping Sones? Very nice piece. Some diatonic notes there. Worth remember this as your reserve piece.
Working on:\

J.S.Bach Prelude in C Min: No. 2 from Six Preludes fur Anfanger auf dem
Am Abend No. 2 from Stimmungsbilder, Op. 88
60s Swing No. 1 from Swinging Rhythms

#2060579 - 04/06/13 11:52 PM Re: A 1st [Re: mr_super-hunky]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Thanks, Mr. Super-Hunk,

I appreciate your helpful feedback on memory and repertoire, etc.

#2060585 - 04/07/13 12:10 AM Re: A 1st [Re: Michael_99]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I haven't read any posts where anyone says they enjoy learning a certain piece or enjoy playing a certain piece.

- then you haven't been reading - smile

There is so much material out there at all levels, something is bound to catch your ear. My son's recent piece "Battle of Jericho" comes to mind. It's in his "kids" book, but man, especially since it's familiar, it really rocks. (I demanded that he play it at his upcoming recital)

From my experience here at the ABF, most of us adults love what they're learning. It's hard to learn something unless one really loves it.

From my personal experience on piano, I could probably say I've absolutely loved roughly 75% of what I've learned - the stuff I didn't love I learned anyway because I thought it could help technique-wise.

But as we learn and grow, the never ending expanse of music available draws us toward new material. And, at least for me, as I pursue the newer material, the older stuff falls by the wayside.

So, you might forget a piece, but the things you learned from it will stick with you for those pieces you haven't realized you love yet. smile
Learning to play since June 2009.
My piano diary on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/afpaSTU1096
<- 10+ ABF recitals

#2060629 - 04/07/13 04:22 AM Re: A 1st [Re: Michael_99]
casinitaly Online   blank

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 6473
Loc: Italy
Michael, that's great you feel so enthusiastic about your newest piece!

I would say that I go through phases where I have intentionally worked on memorizing pieces, and other times where it happens by chance simply because I play the piece a lot, and other times where I don't work at any memorization. There are some pieces I want to hang on to, and I play them regularly, and there are others that were nice, but not worth the effort of keeping them up when there is so much more new music waiting to be learned and played.

I've only disliked a few pieces that were assigned to me by my teacher. Most of which I politely declined to learn. Mostly I disliked them because they had some dissonance, which really grates on my nerves!

There was only 1 piece I really intensely disliked, but that was because it was hard for me to do, and frustrating. I stuck with it because I was trying to learn a technique. Once I had it, I stopped playing the piece and never went back to it.

I have to agree with Ben Piano though - if you haven't seen posts about how much folks love pieces their working on -you've missed a lot of posts!


#2060636 - 04/07/13 05:06 AM Re: A 1st [Re: Michael_99]
LarryShone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 1250
Loc: England
I believe in playing what you enjoy. If you dont enjoy it then you shouldnt be doing it!
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

My Piano Group

#2060644 - 04/07/13 06:01 AM Re: A 1st [Re: mr_super-hunky]
Kristina1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/13
Posts: 130
Loc: UK

Congratulations, Michael on your milestone.
I do admire that you have carried on
learning and studying the piano despite health issues
and your operation etc.

From my own experiences I know how difficult that can be at times
when you are battling with health issues and at the same time
you try very hard to keep the goals and aims in your life going.

I am so happy for you that your constant and regular piano studies
have achieved this milestone and I send you my kind regards
and all the best for the future,

from Kristina.

#2060647 - 04/07/13 06:34 AM Re: A 1st [Re: Kristina1]
SwissMS Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 1844
Loc: Costa del Sol
Congratulations on reaching your 1 year anniversary and a significant milestone in you program!

I think memorization is a choice, and I kind of follow the advice you received from the teacher's forum. I only memorize things that I want to be able to play anytime, anywhere, or for a recital. It is nice to be able to sit down and play without the sheets at times.

As far as liking or not liking the pieces that I play, it is an interesting mix. I choose the majority of pieces that I play (with my teacher's approval). When I come across something that I am not enjoying playing, it is usually because something isn't working or I cannot make it musical to my ear. Bach Invention #4 took a long time to "grow" on me for this reason, but it taught me a lot in the process. I think it is common to "dislike" things that seem more difficult than they should be.

Perhaps the comments you have seen about people not liking pieces that they are playing are from people playing through method books. The books may have pieces that are not to their tastes, or that were written solely to introduce a particular concept.

My YouTube Channel

#2060672 - 04/07/13 08:01 AM Re: A 1st [Re: SwissMS]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Thanks everyone for your nice comments. Regarding the good comments by people liking certain pieces, I go and read the classical, non-classical, the adult forum and the teachers forum and and I don't know how I missed those comments because I would go and buy the piece and learn it even if it was kid's music. I am going to go and buy the piece mentioned above. I always cut and paste comments about any music mentioned - but I guess I will have to try much harder not to most those comments.


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