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#2213387 - 01/12/14 01:18 PM Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute?
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1424
Loc: New York City
Seems ever since I started playing the piano I've always looked towards learning the next harder or more intricate piece. I learn one, then find a harder one etc... Recently I've been asking myself "why haven't I stopped and learned the countless other pieces that should be easy by now?"

I'm learning etudes, ballades and large works by Liszt and Chopin, but I wonder why I haven't stopped to learn a majority of say Chopin's preludes or waltzes or Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias etc... Many of the pieces in these sets and similar sets should be well within my grasp, yet I don't bother to tackle them unless I get motivate to learn one randomly.

Anyone else have this thought or curious question? I would think by now there should be no reason why I shouldn't have more of these pieces under my belt.
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
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#2213393 - 01/12/14 01:27 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4804
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
Anyone else have this thought or curious question? I would think by now there should be no reason why I shouldn't have more of these pieces under my belt.
Keep in mind that so-called "easy" music can be difficult to play if you want to play it well. OTOH I recently learned two easy pieces to play with my piano group because my Beethoven and Chopin are far from ready to perform. I learned Schumann's "Chopin" from Carnaval and Alkan's Barcarolle. Both are quite lovely and well "below the bar". I often sight read music that is easy just for the pleasure of hearing something new.
_________________________
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Deborah

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#2213397 - 01/12/14 01:29 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3812
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I never stop "raising the bar" in the sense of trying to get better every year. That means getting better at things like phrasing, expression, and timing, not just hitting the notes of intricate pieces.

Recently my teacher suggested Chopin's 2nd Ballade; she told me she thought I was finally ready for... the opening section (!).

-J
_________________________
Schubert: Bb Impromptu D.935/3; Mozart: D minor concerto; Chopin: first Ballade

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#2213399 - 01/12/14 01:45 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
pianoloverus Online   content
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I never choose pieces with the goal of challenging myself with harder music. There is so much great music within my present level(nowhere near that needed to get into a conservatory)that I just choose pieces I love. As others have pointed out, this doesn't mean I don't continually try to improve.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/12/14 02:30 PM)

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#2213400 - 01/12/14 01:47 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19460
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
Seems ever since I started playing the piano I've always looked towards learning the next harder or more intricate piece. I learn one, then find a harder one etc... Recently I've been asking myself "why haven't I stopped and learned the countless other pieces that should be easy by now?"

Anyone else have this thought or curious question? I would think by now there should be no reason why I shouldn't have more of these pieces under my belt.
Actually, I think based on your first paragraph, one would assume that you wouldn't have more of those easier pieces learned.

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#2213401 - 01/12/14 01:50 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: gooddog]
ChopinLives81 Offline
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Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1424
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
Anyone else have this thought or curious question? I would think by now there should be no reason why I shouldn't have more of these pieces under my belt.
Keep in mind that so-called "easy" music can be difficult to play if you want to play it well.


Well yes I haven't forgotten that, but when I say easy I mean a piece where no one would say "no, stay away from that piece that's beyond your level". There are plenty of pieces that are far below your current skill level that really don't need to be given a 2nd thought as to whether or not it's possible for you to play.
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2213407 - 01/12/14 01:58 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: beet31425
...Recently my teacher suggested Chopin's 2nd Ballade; she told me she thought I was finally ready for... the opening section (!).

You mean the easy part?? That makes no sense at all!!

(Just kidding.) grin

BTW, in competitions, when people play that piece, I'd guess most of them cook their goose before they're out of that opening section.


I never stop raising the bar either, and it's as Beet314 said: It's not that I go for more and more difficult pieces (not necessarily), but trying to do better and better than I've done before.

Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
....when I say easy I mean a piece where no one would say "no, stay away from that piece that's beyond your level". There are plenty of pieces that are far below your current skill level that really don't need to be given a 2nd thought as to whether or not it's possible for you to play.

It was clear what you meant. We're just looking at it how we look at it.

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#2213419 - 01/12/14 02:19 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1148
It's hard for me to stop raising the bar because of my attitude towards my playing. I view my playing as "not good enough yet", and if I get assigned an "easy" piece, I wonder if it's because my teacher thinks I can't handle something harder.

Even when I'm accompanying and have the option of simplifying something, I still struggle to play it as written because I think I will learn from it and it will make me a better pianist.

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#2213434 - 01/12/14 02:49 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
bennevis Online   content
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5273
Maybe it's because I enjoy challenges, whether of the physical (climbing, running, open-water swimming etc) or mental kind, but I rarely set out to learn easier pieces than what I'm currently playing. They're almost always at least the same level of difficulty (usually harder), and usually has something that's challenging to my current level of technique. Though the difficulty needn't be wholly technical - sometimes, it's just a piece that I find awkward but which others might not necessarily do. But whatever I set out to learn, it must appeal to me at some level - usually on both the musical (nice tunes and/or interesting harmonies) and technical (enjoyable to play as well as difficult): I never learn something simply for the sake of its technical difficulty. The same reason I've never played studies/études of no musical merit.

It follows that my memorized repertoire tends to be somewhat skewed towards fast music. I tend to just sight-read easier pieces for relaxation, but rarely go on to learn them properly. Such is the prerogative of an amateur who hasn't got a teacher and therefore learns and plays exactly what he wants....... grin
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2213439 - 01/12/14 02:56 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: pianoloverus]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3925
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I never choose pieces with the goal of challenging myself with harder music. There is so much great music within my present level(nowhere near that needed to get into a conservatory)that I just choose pieces I love. As others have pointed out, this doesn't mean I don't continually try to improve.


+1. I am actually a little overwhelmed with all of the music that I love that I *can* play, and other stuff that I either want to learn, have read through, and/or am working on, that I feel I can leave the virtuoso repertoire to the virtuosos. That said, I sometimes hear a piece that I am compelled to learn, and never consider that it might be beyond my level. As said in another thread, there are some things that you just want to hear come from your own hands. So, I dive into it and take the long view, put it aside when I hit a wall or a plateau, work on something else for a while, get it back out later, and find I've made progress to allow me to proceed with the piece that was giving me a hassle.

It's the love for the piece and being compelled to play it that determines what I work on. Whether it is "easy" or "hard" has nothing to do with it.

--Andy


Edited by Cinnamonbear (01/12/14 02:58 PM)
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2213440 - 01/12/14 02:56 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13799
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I'll usually play one piece that "raises the bar" each year, but the vast majority of what I play lies well within my capabilities. Lots of repeat repertoire and easier fare makes up the bulk of what I do.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2213448 - 01/12/14 03:10 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Cinnamonbear]
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1424
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
As said in another thread, there are some things that you just want to hear come from your own hands.


The funny thing is that it was me that said that on the thread "pinpointing what got us hooked"...lol
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2213454 - 01/12/14 03:21 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3925
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
As said in another thread, there are some things that you just want to hear come from your own hands.


The funny thing is that it was me that said that on the thread "pinpointing what got us hooked"...lol


LOL! I *thought* so!!!... Good one, CL! grin


Edited by Cinnamonbear (01/12/14 03:43 PM)
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2213460 - 01/12/14 03:33 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 558
Yes I have. There's a lot to learn from setting the bar high, but there's also a lot to learn from playing pieces can be learn in a relatively short period of time. I spend the second half of last year working on easier pieces, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2213477 - 01/12/14 03:50 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
frenchflip Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/13
Posts: 107
Loc: New York, NY
I usually have a blend of two or three each-- stretch pieces, pieces at my level, and easier pieces. E.g., a Henle 8/9 sonata or ballade, 6/7 nocturne or waltz, and an easier prelude, maybe even a mazurka. It's just nice to be able to play something through for gratification.

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#2213634 - 01/12/14 08:49 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1096
Loc: western MA, USA
I regularly learn pieces that are easy for me, either because it's my job (most choral and ballet music) or because I find something I like and want to learn it.

Eventually we all get to the point where it's not about just reaching the next level of difficulty anymore -- difficulty becomes more a measure of time (how long will it take me to learn this) rather than a measure of our status/level of advancement.

I happen to think it's good for everyone to learn short-term and long-term pieces, short-term being more about one's ability to absorb material quickly, an important skill even though the material may be easier.

BTW have you ever actually played through Chopin Op. 28? You might be surprised. There are a couple easy ones but most aren't.


Edited by hreichgott (01/12/14 08:53 PM)
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
Loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
Always a fan of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2213658 - 01/12/14 09:23 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: beet31425]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: beet31425
I never stop "raising the bar" in the sense of trying to get better every year. That means getting better at things like phrasing, expression, and timing, not just hitting the notes of intricate pieces.

Recently my teacher suggested Chopin's 2nd Ballade; she told me she thought I was finally ready for... the opening section (!).

If you're ready for the third movement of Beethoven's 109, you're ready for the Chopin.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2213659 - 01/12/14 09:24 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: hreichgott]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
BTW have you ever actually played through Chopin Op. 28? You might be surprised. There are a couple easy ones but most aren't.

There are no easy ones. whome Chopin says more in 45 seconds than some composers do in an entire 30-minute piece. wink
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2213702 - 01/12/14 10:40 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: hreichgott]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
....BTW have you ever actually played through Chopin Op. 28? You might be surprised. There are a couple easy ones but most aren't.

Yes. I missed the 'in passing' thing he said about the Preludes. (BTW he only said "most" of them are probably within his grasp, and they probably are. But still.) smile
It's easy to assume (because of the title) that these are relatively easy Chopin pieces. But several of them are among Chopin's very most difficult works.

And what a great set. A while back, I think there was something like a "desert island" thread -- i.e. what piece would you take if you could only take one. Chopin's Opus 28 is mine.

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#2213704 - 01/12/14 10:43 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4828
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
....BTW have you ever actually played through Chopin Op. 28? You might be surprised. There are a couple easy ones but most aren't.

Yes. I missed the 'in passing' thing he said about the Preludes. (BTW he only said "most" of them are probably within his grasp, and they probably are. But still.) smile
You may have even understated their difficulty. As a group, they're among Chopin's very most difficult works.

A while back, I think there was something like a "desert island" thread -- i.e. what piece would you take if you could only take one. Chopin's Opus 28 is mine.

Mark, I think that's sort of cheating. grin

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#2213707 - 01/12/14 10:46 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I think that's sort of cheating. grin

You were allowed to take sets. grin

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#2213710 - 01/12/14 10:52 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
It's easy to assume (because of the title) that these are relatively easy Chopin pieces. But several of them are among Chopin's very most difficult works.

Tell me about it. G# minor, B flat minor, E flat major, D minor...frightening difficulties.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2213711 - 01/12/14 10:52 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I think that's sort of cheating. grin

You were allowed to take sets. grin

If you were only allowed the music of one composer, would it be Chopin?
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2213714 - 01/12/14 10:56 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Polyphonist]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
It's easy to assume (because of the title) that these are relatively easy Chopin pieces. But several of them are among Chopin's very most difficult works.

Tell me about it. G# minor, B flat minor, E flat major, D minor...frightening difficulties.

....G major!....

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
If you were only allowed the music of one composer, would it be Chopin?

No contest whatsoever. smile

BTW, for the "1 piece" or "1 set" question, I could just as happily take the Well Tempered Clavier. Which I'm sure would seem like a saner choice to most people. ha

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#2213719 - 01/12/14 11:01 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6112
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Well, as Horowitz said (and we all know that quote) "Perfection itself is imperfection".
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2213721 - 01/12/14 11:03 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
It's easy to assume (because of the title) that these are relatively easy Chopin pieces. But several of them are among Chopin's very most difficult works.

Tell me about it. G# minor, B flat minor, E flat major, D minor...frightening difficulties.

....G major!....

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
If you were only allowed the music of one composer, would it be Chopin?

No contest whatsoever. smile

BTW, for the "1 piece" or "1 set" question, I could just as happily take the Well Tempered Clavier. Which I'm sure would seem like a saner choice to most people. ha

But you would take Chopin's oeuvre over Bach or Beethoven? wink
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2213727 - 01/12/14 11:10 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
A Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/13
Posts: 267
Loc: St Louis
Would the set of 32 sonatas of beethoven count? XD
_________________________
Pieces:
Soler sonata r.48
Soler sonata r.78
Haydn Hob XVI 50 movement 1
Chopin Ballade 3
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York Bowen toccata

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#2213728 - 01/12/14 11:15 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
pianorigami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 290
Loc: United States
I could be happy with a set of Chopin Etudes...
Or Preludes.
Or Ballades.
_________________________
Currently working on:
1) Chopin Etudes Op. 10; Scherzo Op. 54
2) Beethoven Sonata Op. 53
3) Prokofiev Sonata Op. 83
4) Bach Prelude and Fugue in f# minor, WTC II
5) Grieg Concerto, Op. 16
6) Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 no. 3
7) Debussy Images, Book I

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#2213730 - 01/12/14 11:17 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
I think I'd have to take the Ballades over the Preludes, but the 32 Beethoven sonatas would be my #1 choice. laugh
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2213741 - 01/12/14 11:33 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
pianorigami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 290
Loc: United States
Yes, I suppose. Op. 52 alone satisfies almost every single emotion.
_________________________
Currently working on:
1) Chopin Etudes Op. 10; Scherzo Op. 54
2) Beethoven Sonata Op. 53
3) Prokofiev Sonata Op. 83
4) Bach Prelude and Fugue in f# minor, WTC II
5) Grieg Concerto, Op. 16
6) Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 no. 3
7) Debussy Images, Book I

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