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#2213754 - 01/13/14 12:09 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6166
Loc: St. Louis area
Yes, but just for a minute.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2213755 - 01/13/14 12:15 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Damon]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4823
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Damon
Yes, but just for a minute.

That's all you need.

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#2213756 - 01/13/14 12:19 AM 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
I would take the Beethoven first, then ballades, then études, then preludes... Though to be honest, I'm not very familiar with the preludes.
_________________________
Pieces:
Soler sonata r.48
Soler sonata r.78
Haydn Hob XVI 50 movement 1
Chopin Ballade 3
Liszt Hungarian rhapsody 8
York Bowen toccata

www.youtube.com/channel/UCKqmkVdn_41vKvDG-ELy0bg

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#2213765 - 01/13/14 12:38 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4823
Loc: USA
I think the last ballade wins for me.

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#2213795 - 01/13/14 03:03 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
toyboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 345
Loc: Vermont
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.


no i haven't had this question and yes it is a curious one.
_________________________
"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
Gertrude Stein

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#2213796 - 01/13/14 03:04 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
FSO Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
A sign of a truly great pianist is one who can perform the easiest, most overplayed piece and make it worth hearing again...um...I never try to raise the bar wink But then, I don't need to... frown ? laugh
Xxx
_________________________
Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2213837 - 01/13/14 07:34 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1291
I often do this. But not for enjoyment--it's still a means to improve.

In a much harder piece, just getting the notes under the fingers is a long process, and there are lots of big leaps or unusual situations to resolve.

In an easier piece, I can instantly concentrate on relaxed playing, expression and tempo.

In this exact vein, my teacher and I started Schumann's Album fur die Jugend--playing the early pieces with exactly the kinds of approach/technique I've been (re)learning this year has been a great way to reinforce those changes she's made. I'm actually quite enjoying it. And I can see the progress. What's interesting is that my ability to simply identify the notes and play them has not really improved. Learning music as a child ensured that I read music fairly fluently, but my technique when jumping into something novel that is easy to play and read at speed has gotten better. It just sounds more mature. It's hard to see that when you are plonking your way through a harder, new piece. And even after you're putting finishing touches on something, it often feels so labored and over-contemplated, especially when you still have to think about so many things, like I do. It's nice to discover that my baseline playing has improved as well. Many things I had to specifically train into my hands are now second-nature.

It's like I was stuck in a time capsule in which I was rushing through things like a young teen often does, and while I had long since stopped being a immature kid, my playing had largely stagnated there. Which explains why it bothered me so much. My ear went ahead and grew up. My playing didn't. But now it's on its way, and playing easier pieces really helps reinforce those changes.

My teacher, for her part, is fond of the concept that nothing is easy, of course. The notes may be easy, but the technique to play well is difficult to acquire. And while there are plenty of pieces with notes easy enough to let a child murder, playing them well takes a lot of work. Maybe not on the piece itself, but on the skill to play well. Which is why it's patently obvious whether that Fur Elise is being played by a well-trained pianist or some 10 year old with a few years of lessons.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2213848 - 01/13/14 08:07 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 995
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
The desert island folks are planning to take a piano, too, I guess? smile
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2214014 - 01/13/14 02:49 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: jdw]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19797
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jdw
The desert island folks are planning to take a piano, too, I guess? smile

grin

On the other thread I think we were talking about what we'd choose for listening. (So we still would have had to take..... something.)

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#2214082 - 01/13/14 05:05 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Mark_C]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5262
BBC Radio 4 has a very long-running series - now in its 72nd year - called Desert Island Discs, in which renowned figures are invited to choose what eight discs (previously LPs, now CDs/downloads) they'd take with them on their desert island. They are also allowed the complete Shakespeare and the Bible, and a luxury item that has no survival potential. Quite a number chose to have a piano.......(obviously wink ).

And one particular well-known diva chose eight records.....of herself singing. Guess who? grin
www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs
_________________________
"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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#2214123 - 01/13/14 06:00 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
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?"

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.

I don't ever stop trying to raise the bar, but I think I might define the bar differently. When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to play the fastest, hardest pieces ever composed. Why? Because. So, I tried (and failed more often than not).

As I got older, I redefined what the bar meant. I've played some of the hardest stuff in the repertoire, so my bar changed. Now, I want to play it easier, more fluidly. I don't want to fight the piano to create the sound, but rather have the piano enhance what it is I already hear in my head. This means a lot better technique. I spent years working out the kinks (with the help of an outstanding teacher), and I still struggle with one or two things that just won't iron themselves out no matter how hot I make the iron, but that is now my bar. Consequently, it has also helped me learn pieces in days or weeks that used to take months or years. And that is much more enjoyable for me. 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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#2214125 - 01/13/14 06:08 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: bennevis]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6166
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: bennevis


And one particular well-known diva chose eight records.....of herself singing. Guess who? grin


That's probably true of every singer that has eight records.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2214152 - 01/13/14 07:01 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
ChopinLives81 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1415
Loc: New York City
I think a lot of people are failing to pay mind to how I worded the title "stop....for a minute". I don't mean stop and never continue, I mean stop and backtrack a little to increase your repertoire before continuing forward.
_________________________
"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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#2214173 - 01/13/14 08:15 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3600
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
I think a lot of people are failing to pay mind to how I worded the title "stop....for a minute". I don't mean stop and never continue, I mean stop and backtrack a little to increase your repertoire before continuing forward.


I think people do know what you meant. It's not a unique or incomprehensible question - we all face this question! And we all deal with it in different ways - hence the panoply of different responses given.

To answer directly: I always have at least one technical challenge piece on the go at any given time, but I might just work a small section of it for a while. Alongside this, I spend time sight-reading "easy" music because sight-reading has never been my strong suit. I have also recently started playing, as you describe, pieces which are well within my technical grasp for the sake of improving expression, reducing error rate, building a repertoire of nice music. But I also do a lot of improvising. Each skill you work on will improve. You don't have to stop one thing to do another. It becomes a discipline and time-management thing. The main thing is to know what you are really doing.

So I would say it's not an all or nothing proposition. The wording of your question assumes too much - it suggests there is a need to stop raising the bar in order to accomplish the things you mentioned, when in fact, you can do a lot of things concurrently.

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#2214206 - 01/13/14 09:49 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
I think a lot of people are failing to pay mind to how I worded the title "stop....for a minute". I don't mean stop and never continue, I mean stop and backtrack a little to increase your repertoire before continuing forward.

I think I spoke directly to this when I mentioned redefining the bar to mean something other than "the hardest piece ever written in the history of the world." Check it out. wink
_________________________
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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#2217974 - 01/21/14 02:58 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1491
Loc: California
I always try to include some easier songs in my practice list, so I don't get too single-minded.

Focusing only on the hardest song is kind of like focusing on only technique exercises all day, it kind of distorts your view. Going back to easier pieces gives you a clearer mind and perspective.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2218049 - 01/21/14 07:55 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: Kreisler]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2358
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
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.


I think this is a healthy attitude. Even my senior recital contained easier pieces like Chopin's A minor Valse and Debussy's La Plus Que Lente, before finishing with the Brahms F minor Sonata which really pushed me to the limit. Some years later I paired the Schumann Fantasie with the F-sharp major Romanze. It's typical of the way I plan my recitals.

It's a healthy thing to balance things out for yourself so that everything isn't monumental for you.

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#2218117 - 01/21/14 10:57 AM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1993
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
I'm challenged a lot this year. My level is early advanced at best. I've stayed in that range for a long time. My teacher told me that's because I never practiced to play it well. I stop at half ass. That really pi**ed me off. So I started using metronome to get each of those triplet right in Racmaninoff Elergie this time because I always rush them. I have one metronome setting for other parts. It's painful to surgically fix each runs. I'm determined to play it well. Anyway it's nice to have easier ones in the mix. I cannot do this sort of focused practice for all the pieces yet. I go crazy.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2218161 - 01/21/14 12:11 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: jeffreyjones]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
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.


I think this is a healthy attitude. Even my senior recital contained easier pieces like Chopin's A minor Valse and Debussy's La Plus Que Lente, before finishing with the Brahms F minor Sonata which really pushed me to the limit. Some years later I paired the Schumann Fantasie with the F-sharp major Romanze. It's typical of the way I plan my recitals.

It's a healthy thing to balance things out for yourself so that everything isn't monumental for you.

Definitely. It also helps you build a repertoire. If every piece you learn is so ungodly hard (for you, whatever that means) that it takes you a year or more to learn it, after twenty years of playing, you'd only know twenty pieces. I couldn't imagine doing that.

I've made far greater progress in every area of playing (sight reading, technique, musicality, touch, etc) by playing stuff I can learn in anywhere from a day to a month max, than I ever did trying to plow through something I couldn't yet play for a year or more.
_________________________
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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#2218305 - 01/21/14 04:08 PM Re: Anyone here ever stop raising the bar for a minute? [Re: ChopinLives81]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3552
Usually I work on hard (read: 5 months just to memorize) and easier pieces (memorized in 2 weeks) alongside. I just finished a very hard piece and I'm now stepping back to a few simpler pieces for some time. For me memorization is really the hardest part.
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