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#2264088 - 04/19/14 01:17 PM This day, last year...
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
...Was my first piano lesson!

So forgive me if I lapse into a little bit of reflection mode.

I was so excited to start. It was my 40th birthday present to myself to get a piano, and my first two months of lessons were my mother's gift to me. Bit of a tongue in cheek thing as of course she had been the source of my ORIGINAL lessons, quit all those years ago, but she was utterly thrilled to do it again considering how clear it was I was serious.

Two friends had recently gotten pianos and had gone back to playing after long absences, and so I'd known for the past 8 or so years that the plan was "turn 40, get piano". I wasn't sure if I wanted lessons or not, but as time went on, it became clear that I did.

My two older children were taking piano lessons, and I had hired a teacher the prior year for them. I was not that thrilled with her, but didn't think much of it. But then I randomly discovered that my primary ballet teacher was, actually, primarily a pianist and piano teacher. She is a fantastic ballet teacher, and she is incredibly technically rigorous, even with adults. She'd rather drive off a student than lower her standards, and this meant two things: a) she'd be perfect for me, and b) she probably has room in her schedule, heh.

So I hired her for myself, and then switched my kids over to her in the Fall.

She asked me, I recall, whether or not I had prior piano experience. I played it incredibly safe, telling her that yes I had lessons as a kid, didn't really progress, but really wanted to try again and learn things properly. I wasn't interested in just quickly getting some skills to play some easy favorites, but really getting the technique right. She was thrilled and excited to start.

I guess I really underplayed my prior experience because she showed up with some books on how to read a music staff. I came clean and confessed to a higher prior skill level than that, but before I forked over the Beethoven Sonatas and the Mendelssohn, I warned her that obviously things have eroded GREATLY over the years and a lot wasn't very well learned in the first place, even if it had been taught.

So we took it step by step. She wanted me to play what I could play. I could still play through a middle movement on an old Beethoven. I could read music like I can read English. But I couldn't do scales. Seriously. I could not put two hands together on a two octave scale without getting out of sync or running out of fingers. That was depressing.

So I think I ended up as the only person on the planet with the following assignment: a Chopin nocturne and C major, hands together, two octaves.

Looking back, a lot has changed. A lot. I'm proud of how much I accomplished this year, and thrilled to see what happens next year. I'm fairly certain I'm already a lot more solid of a pianist than when I originally quit, even if I was playing more difficult repertoire at the time. Here's my list of completed (or almost-completed) repertoire for the year:

1) C major, two octaves, hands together!
2) Chopin Nocturne Op. Post. C Minor
3) Chopin Nocturne Op. Post. C# Minor
4) Bergmüller, Op. 100 (Nos. 1-15)
5) Clementi Sonatina in C Major
6) Mozart Sonata K310 (partly learned, then abandoned)
7) Haydn Sonata Hob.XVI:32 B minor
8) Rachmaninoff Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 (90% there)
9) Schumann Album for the Young, Op. 68 (Nos. 1-15)
10) Shostakovich Trio No. 2 (second movement 70% done, last movement 50% done)
11) Grieg Norwegian Dances (halfway done)

I'm also happy to report that I've progressed from C major, two octaves to completing a round trip around the circle of fifths, and the current daily scale routine is: four octaves, hands together, parallel and contrary in octaves; in thirds and sixths. Major, Natural Minor, Harmonic, Melodic. Arpeggios, parallel and contrary; chromatics parallel and contrary. Broken arpeggios, chords, and cadences.

So that's where I am.

Just thrilled to be here, and excited to see what comes next for me.

Anybody want to make any suggestions for what you'd make sure someone like me should consider essential learning in the short and longer term? I know my teacher has already identified the gaping Bach hole, and I think both of us are disappointed the Mozart was set aside, though the Haydn I specifically picked to replace it was, at least, a moderately comparable piece in terms of stylistic parity.

I don't know that I'm quite ready to re-tackle the K310 Mozart yet. Well, I think I actually could, but it would take me the better part of the year to get good enough to finish it with any arguable competence. If I were sliiightly closer to the skill level one would normally take it on at, it wouldn't take me so long, so maybe not this one. On the other hand, I make my best progress when I'm REALLY struggling with something.

Nothing's pushed me harder than the Shostakovich, for example. A month after starting it and having to totally deconstruct all sorts of things simply to be able to play certain aspects of it at all, I found I suddenly am flying through all sorts of things that I would not have just a few months ago.

So I guess there's one argument for always having something that's a big reach for you on your plate.

Anyway, hit me. What would next year look like if you were me?
_________________________
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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#2264095 - 04/19/14 01:46 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
I should point out that I am not proud. I will play anything if it serves a musical purpose. I don't have singular goals like "play La Campanella" or any other common warhorse pieces. I also don't need to have something super advanced in my repertoire list to flatter me into feeling like a Real Pianist.

I mean, I would not turn down the opportunity to learn all of the famous big pieces, but I want to be ready for them when they come, not use them to get to them, if that makes sense. That way, I'm guaranteed to have a broad and varied foundation when (and if) it comes time for me to tackle a "famous" piece.

I know other people fall in love with these pieces and use that tenacity to get them to the top of Ballade Mountain, or whatever piece it is that hooked them. But I love good music all over the darn place. I'm just as likely to fall in love with an etude nobody's ever heard of than the standard "blow off the socks" stuff everybody knows. I feel like if I were to focus on one extremely hard piece, even if I were to achieve it, I'd have spent so much time doing it, I'd have very little in the way of overall learned repertoire. Whereas if I get to it when I'm ready, I'll end up finishing it at the same time as I otherwise would, but I'd get there along with possibly a hundred other pieces as well. And that's preferable to me.

Does that make any sense?

I have a current thing with printing off obscure children's etude notebooks from the internet from lesser known composer. I give them to my teacher with the explanation that maybe she's got a student who might like one or two in there, but I wouldn't mind playing any of them. Some are delicious little gems and a great way to learn a few things.

But, that being said, there probably is a some obvious repertoire I should think about working through in terms of foundational works and etudes. Things that people would consider you to have a gap in your background if you hadn't spent some time working through.

So, I'm open to it all. What would YOU consider essential learning?
_________________________
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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#2264097 - 04/19/14 01:48 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5257
Loc: Italy
You're already way ahead of me, so I don't have suggestions for you - but I do want to say happy pianoversary and thanks for sharing your story! Congrats on all your progress!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2264103 - 04/19/14 01:57 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Heh, "Pianoversary". Love it. smile
_________________________
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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#2264105 - 04/19/14 02:03 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
noobpianist90 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 410
Loc: India
I tend to get pretty obsessive about the music I listen to. If something captures my imagination, I *have* to play it. It's a compulsive thing for me. What I consider essential is to always enjoy whatever it is that I'm playing. If I don't find the music enjoyable, I tend to lose motivation to play.

To specifically answer your question, if I were you, I'd look into blues, jazz and other styles of piano. I have begun to enjoy improvisation after I starting to learn the blues. The freedom it offers is truly great.

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#2264109 - 04/19/14 02:18 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
I guess I should clarify a little bit: while I can and do enjoy listening to music from a variety of genres, I enjoy learning, for better or for worse, what's considered the standard classical repertoire. Of course, I don't find that to be terribly limiting because there's an awful lot in there from Pachabel to Prokofiev. Or maybe call it Buxtehude to Berg? Corelli to Cage? Purcell to Pärt?

I think you probably get my drift. I'll stop now. laugh
_________________________
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

Top
#2264110 - 04/19/14 02:19 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: noobpianist90]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18229
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: noobpianist90
I tend to get pretty obsessive about the music I listen to. If something captures my imagination, I *have* to play it. It's a compulsive thing for me. What I consider essential is to always enjoy whatever it is that I'm playing. If I don't find the music enjoyable, I tend to lose motivation to play.

To specifically answer your question, if I were you, I'd look into blues, jazz and other styles of piano. I have begun to enjoy improvisation after I starting to learn the blues. The freedom it offers is truly great.


On the basis of what you've written in your first paragraph - about having to play something if you've been captivated by it - should you not be a little more careful about recommending a totally different style or a genre, when you don't know whether the person likes that kind of music. It's not clear that "If I were you..." really applies in this context.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2264134 - 04/19/14 03:40 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
DameMyra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1983
Loc: South Jersey
Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. My one suggestion: Bach.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA

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#2264144 - 04/19/14 04:04 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1814
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Two Snowflakes, happy pianoversary! You're progressing wonderfully, and I'd be more than a bit envious of your progress if it did any good. smile

I'm glad you're enjoying it so much, and also glad that you grace us with such thoughtful posts here.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2264148 - 04/19/14 04:09 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5424
I agree that blues, jazz etc isn't for you if that's not the kind of music you like. It isn't for me either, because, frankly, I find much of it boring and surplus to requirements - I think composers like Ravel, Debussy, Shostakovich, Copland et al got it right by incorporating elements of them into their music (apart from the obvious parodies like the Jazz Suite) when it's appropriate, rather than making a fetish of turning every harmony into 'added-note' ones and syncopating everything. And you can play by ear and improvise quite well without ever using them....

What I'd recommend is music that extends your current range but which is not too far above the standard of what you've already played:

Schumann's Arabeske requires nifty passing of accompanimental notes between hands while playing a melody on the RH 4th and 5th fingers, and careful voicing; his Kreisleriana (or movements from it) extends the voicing requirements further, and develops good independence of fingers and fingerwork; Brahms's Op.118/2 Intermezzo is a lovely piece that develops voicing, control of inner lines, playing 2 against 3 while keeping two melodies going simultaneously, and maybe you can even go on to the No.3 Ballade for chord technique, and in fact on to the rest of the set.

And Rachmaninov's Prelude Op.23/4 requires projection and control of a melody in the midst of an accompaniment that crosses over both hands.

Finally, Scarlatti sonatas have much to commend them for developing finger work - and there are so many to choose from that you'll find many that you'll enjoy.
_________________________
"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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#2264167 - 04/19/14 04:43 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Uh, if you didn't live so far away, Bennevis, I might think you had been peeking at my "pile of things I buy because I want to play them."

Here are, and I kid you not, the first four things in that pile:



Wow.
_________________________
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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#2264171 - 04/19/14 04:47 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5424
I always thought I was clairvoyant, but you've confirmed it for me wink .

But hang on, where's Kreisleriana?
_________________________
"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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#2264178 - 04/19/14 04:54 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Here:

_________________________
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

Top
#2264184 - 04/19/14 04:56 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5424
Wow!! thumb
_________________________
"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."

Top
#2264187 - 04/19/14 04:58 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
(Admittedly, that volume was purchased because it has Op 15, not 16 in it. What a difference in difficulty level one opus number makes, hmm?)
_________________________
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

Top
#2264189 - 04/19/14 05:00 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264192 - 04/19/14 05:04 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
That could be, but until I finish Op. 68 with any degree of competency, there will be no 15, 16, or 18. So they are all, for the moment, lumped in the category of "harder than Op. 68." Heh.
_________________________
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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#2264195 - 04/19/14 05:08 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: Polyphonist]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2264212 - 04/19/14 05:42 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: carey]
DameMyra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1983
Loc: South Jersey
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin


Agreeing with Carey, they would be absolutely, unequivocally dead wrong. smile


Edited by DameMyra (04/19/14 05:43 PM)
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA

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#2264215 - 04/19/14 05:49 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: DameMyra]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin

Agreeing with Carey, they would be absolutely, unequivocally dead wrong. smile

I was referring to the fact that the extreme simplicity of many of Opus 15's numbers makes them very difficult to play well.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264254 - 04/19/14 07:12 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: Polyphonist]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin

Agreeing with Carey, they would be absolutely, unequivocally dead wrong. smile

I was referring to the fact that the extreme simplicity of many of Opus 15's numbers makes them very difficult to play well.

Yes - I figured that's what you were referring to. I've heard that argument for many many years. smile The Opus 15 can indeed be challenging from an interpretive standpoint, but the Opus 9, 13, 16, and 21 are far more difficult overall.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2264296 - 04/19/14 08:33 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: carey]
ScriabinAddict Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 335
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin

Agreeing with Carey, they would be absolutely, unequivocally dead wrong. smile

I was referring to the fact that the extreme simplicity of many of Opus 15's numbers makes them very difficult to play well.

Yes - I figured that's what you were referring to. I've heard that argument for many many years. smile The Opus 15 can indeed be challenging from an interpretive standpoint, but the Opus 9, 13, 16, and 21 are far more difficult overall.


Agreed, and to add to your list I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to present Op. 6, 14, 16, 20, or even 17 convincingly.

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#2264344 - 04/19/14 10:27 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2461
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Congratulations on your one-year anniversary TS! You have accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

I certainly can't offer you advice since I haven't even gotten started with Rachmaninoff. I'm still working on a Bach Invention. Anyways, just keep enjoying your piano journey!

Best regards,
_________________________
Carl


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#2264349 - 04/19/14 10:41 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: carey]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin

Agreeing with Carey, they would be absolutely, unequivocally dead wrong. smile

I was referring to the fact that the extreme simplicity of many of Opus 15's numbers makes them very difficult to play well.

Yes - I figured that's what you were referring to. I've heard that argument for many many years. smile The Opus 15 can indeed be challenging from an interpretive standpoint, but the Opus 9, 13, 16, and 21 are far more difficult overall.

Yes; I never claimed to endorse the view I put forward.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264356 - 04/19/14 10:56 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: ScriabinAddict]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: ScriabinAddict
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Some would tell you that Opus 15 is harder.
And they would be wrong. grin

Agreeing with Carey, they would be absolutely, unequivocally dead wrong. smile

I was referring to the fact that the extreme simplicity of many of Opus 15's numbers makes them very difficult to play well.

Yes - I figured that's what you were referring to. I've heard that argument for many many years. smile The Opus 15 can indeed be challenging from an interpretive standpoint, but the Opus 9, 13, 16, and 21 are far more difficult overall.


Agreed, and to add to your list I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to present Op. 6, 14, 16, 20, or even 17 convincingly.

I saw how hard op.17 (the Fantasie) can be after hearing so many terrible renditions at the Cliburn competition last year!

@ TwoSnowflakes - glad to hear that you're back to piano after your hiatus, hope you'll have many more music-filled years!


Edited by Kuanpiano (04/19/14 11:00 PM)
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#2264372 - 04/19/14 11:20 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Let's swing the complete other direction from Schumann and talk Bach for a mo'.

One thing I am DEAD certain I never learned to play properly was Bach. I understand some of how it works just from having studied it a bit later, but here is my sum total of Bach:

1) Various little common pieces in the early years because they're great at a basic level for kids and beginners. These were not learned as baroque but just as early pieces.

2) Later, I got thrown almost all of the inventions. I hated them, was not given (or mightily resisted) any real systematic understanding of them or baroque music in general. I don't recall being taught about how to approach it, the way it differs from classical music, any precise understanding of the ornamentation, etc. I struggled with the coordination and I'm dead certain none of them ever sounded solid.

3) There is no 3. I never did any more Bach.

I know my teacher would like to start with a Suite, but if I protest, I'm going to get Inventions, and I don't even feel ready for those, yet. I am wondering if it might not be a terrible idea to pick a suite, but because it's going to take me a long time just to get the notes in my fingers, work in parallel on some basics. Not the way these pieces are usually presented to children, but paying attention to all the detail: everything from basic touch to ornamentation, from voicing to elementary counterpoint. Just to ease me into the whole endeavor of playing Bach. Perhaps learn two lines a week of a Suite Prelude, so I don't put off getting the notes down, but be playing those basic minuets with ornamentation and everything they're supposed to be.

I found some books by Rosalyn Tureck that seem to do exactly what I would want to do. They start with some really basic stuff but aren't geared to children. They take good examples from all over the place, moving everything forward and introducing all the broad concepts you find in Bach. First book sticks mostly with Anna Magdalena's notebook, going through eight smaller pieces, but spends half the time discussing oramentation, phrasing, legato and staccato. Introduces counterpoint. Second book only has three pieces; starts with an Invention, and wraps up with a Fugue, expanding on phrasing, stylistic choices, etc. Third book works through two suites.

Is anybody familiar with them? Are they reliable? Or are there other options for me people seem to like?

http://www.tureckbach.com/publication-documentation/page/an-introduction-to-the-performance-of-bach

http://www.scribd.com/doc/47751632/Tureck-An-Introduction-to-the-Performance-of-Bach-Book-1
_________________________
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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#2264373 - 04/19/14 11:25 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Have you ever studied counterpoint, TwoSnowflakes?
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Polyphonist

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#2264394 - 04/19/14 11:57 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Not at the piano, no. By the time I was in college and wanted to know more in general about things like this, I had long since quit piano.

So, I have a birds' eye perspective from a couple of college level electives in music history and theory, but nothing AT the piano.

Which means, nothing terribly granular, but it's not a totally novel concept. I certainly recognize when a piece falls into a general counterpoint structure and can usually recognize the different lines. I can recognize the obvious sorts of common changes/movements. Yet, as for what it is specifically doing at any given time, I can't claim any kind of working knowledge.
_________________________
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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#2264397 - 04/19/14 11:59 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
That knowledge is crucial to playing Bach, and the more complex the piece is, the more of that knowledge you should have. So I suggest that if you plan to work on Bach, you should begin building it as soon as possible.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264400 - 04/20/14 12:01 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Hit me with some resources. I'm happy to dig in. I'll have the room to add Bach in June, and I'm happy to hit the ground running from a structural standpoint when that happens.
_________________________
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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#2264402 - 04/20/14 12:04 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Counterpoint in Composition, by Salzer and Schachter, is an excellent book. It begins by teaching species counterpoint, and then applies the concepts to actual works.
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264408 - 04/20/14 12:27 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: Polyphonist]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Counterpoint in Composition, by Salzer and Schachter, is an excellent book. It begins by teaching species counterpoint, and then applies the concepts to actual works.


Nice, thanks. I found an old handout on the super basics of voice leading. I will see what, if anything, I retained and then it seems like it would be rewarding to delve into this book, assuming it really does start at the basics. I don't mind if it gets complicated, as long it starts somewhere accessible.
_________________________
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

Top
#2264409 - 04/20/14 12:28 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
Also, I can help you build a foundation, if you want.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264411 - 04/20/14 12:41 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
joonsang Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/13
Posts: 67
Try out Le Petit Negre by Debussy, short, fun, interesting piece (:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEM0t3vlGjQ

http://www.allpianoscores.com/free_scores.php?id=348

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#2264418 - 04/20/14 01:04 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: Polyphonist]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Also, I can help you build a foundation, if you want.


That's awfully generous of you. Thanks.

You'll never see me turn down an opportunity to build a good foundation, especially if it comes with a reason to assimilate generous amounts of arcane information. It's my happy place.

You have my standing permission to reach out with any ideas/approaches you think might get me on my way.
_________________________
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

Top
#2264424 - 04/20/14 01:09 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7707
Loc: New York City
I will send you a PM momentarily.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2264441 - 04/20/14 01:24 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7979
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Let's swing the complete other direction from Schumann and talk Bach for a mo'.


Since Bach didn't write any piano music, his music is superfluous for pianists to learn, IMO.

Of course, if you really like the music, that's a good reason to work on it. That's why I play it, myself. But for many years I didn't, and that was okay, too.

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#2264466 - 04/20/14 05:44 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
bennevis Online   content
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5424
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes


One thing I am DEAD certain I never learned to play properly was Bach. I understand some of how it works just from having studied it a bit later, but here is my sum total of Bach:

1) Various little common pieces in the early years because they're great at a basic level for kids and beginners. These were not learned as baroque but just as early pieces.

2) Later, I got thrown almost all of the inventions. I hated them, was not given (or mightily resisted) any real systematic understanding of them or baroque music in general. I don't recall being taught about how to approach it, the way it differs from classical music, any precise understanding of the ornamentation, etc. I struggled with the coordination and I'm dead certain none of them ever sounded solid.

3) There is no 3. I never did any more Bach.

I know my teacher would like to start with a Suite, but if I protest, I'm going to get Inventions, and I don't even feel ready for those, yet.

I'd say that one of the best Bach pieces to start on, in terms of (relative) lack of contrapuntal complexity and with emphasis more on melody and harmony - in fact, IMO, one of the most 'pianistic' of his keyboard music - is the Partita No.1 in B flat, BWV 825. It's the first keyboard piece of his that I actually enjoyed playing on the piano, and that made me want to learn it for myself, rather than because my teacher wanted me to learn it.

Prior to it, I'd already played his French Suite No.6 (because it was a set work for my Music 'O' Level exam when I was 15, and to know it well, I felt I should learn to play it) and several Inventions, the French Suite No.5 and a few of the WTC Preludes & Fugues (because my teacher taught me them, and I also had to play a couple for my piano exams), and frankly, didn't think much of them as piano music. That despite the fact I loved Bach's choral music, having sung his beautiful and moving motet Jesu, meine Freude soon after joining my new school's Chapel Choir, as well as several chorales in Sunday services, and thought that his St Matthew Passion is one of the greatest music known to man or beast....(and I'm listening to it right now as I type grin).

But I never played Bach on the piano again for decades, until I decided to try out BWV 825 after hearing the Venezuelan prodigy Sergio Tiempo play it in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, at age 13 (where he brought such youthful freshness and uninhibited brio to it, unfettered by 'convention'). And it led me on to learn the Goldberg....
_________________________
"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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#2264488 - 04/20/14 07:47 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
noobpianist90 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 410
Loc: India
I found a few books on counterpoint at the local library, I'm finding them very informative:

Counterpoint for beginners by C.H. Kitson
Fundamental counterpoint by Hugo Norden
Preliminary exercises in counterpoint by Arnold Schoenberg

I'm taking my time with them as these are not easy for me to read.

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#2264533 - 04/20/14 11:35 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
LXXXVIIIdentes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 26
Hi Two Snowflakes
I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts over the last year.

I am into my mid-seventies, have returned to playing, steady practice, over the last three years. I have enjoyed finding the forum, and reading about how playing and teaching have changed over decades. I have always loved Bach - and just about everything else classical as well as some jazz and show tunes.

When I was young and studying with several very good teachers, they advanced me from studying a few inventions directly to the preludes and fugues. I have treasured them ever since. Many are not very hard technically, but always so satisfying to play.

The interweaving of voice parts, combined with their inevitable - and sometimes surprising - harmonic progressions work for me, esp interspersed with the variety available, the delightful preludes, and the varying moods of all. Some of the adventurous chromatic stuff still amazes me when I consider the date of composition, although I wouldn't start with studying one of those.

If you could pick one or two, I think you might prefer them to the Suites, which are lovely, but not so soul-catching to my way of thinking.

Then there are also chorale arrangements - some horrendously difficult, but others not bad. They are very beautiful

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#2264537 - 04/20/14 12:01 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Terrific ideas, all. I will bring it all up with my teacher. I know she's partial to the English Suites, mostly because I think she herself studied them extensively and I recall her saying that the second one was a staple for her to play.

As for a prelude/fugue idea, I do have a very nice edition of WTC Vol 1.

No partitas. But that can be rectified in one small trip to the music store. I rarely need too much encouragement to do that. smile
_________________________
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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#2264541 - 04/20/14 12:12 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: bennevis]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Originally Posted By: bennevis

That despite the fact I loved Bach's choral music, having sung his beautiful and moving motet Jesu, meine Freude soon after joining my new school's Chapel Choir, as well as several chorales in Sunday services, and thought that his St Matthew Passion is one of the greatest music known to man or beast....(and I'm listening to it right now as I type grin).


It was one of the Bach choral works that prompted me to ask my high school chorus/music teacher what that thing I was hearing often at the end of the minor ones that I just found so lovely and interesting.

Tierce de Picardie, he said. Loved the name; still love the device.
_________________________
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

Top
#2264590 - 04/20/14 02:22 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1216
Loc: western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Not the way these pieces are usually presented to children, but paying attention to all the detail: everything from basic touch to ornamentation, from voicing to elementary counterpoint.

There's no reason not to teach children Bach this way laugh

I don't think you need college-level counterpoint instruction to be able to produce a convincing rendition of Bach pieces. It would give you more insight (and it's awesome Polyphonist that you are willing to contribute that!) but don't feel you need to wait until that study is accomplished.

The English Suites and Well-Tempered Klavier are harder than the Inventions imho. The Preludes are the hardest part of the English Suites. French Suites are easier especially if you select only a couple movements. Partitas vary. Suzuki students get the Minuets and Gigue from Partita no. 1 before they get their first two-part Inventions.

It also wouldn't be a bad idea to go back to one of the Anna Magdalena pieces but do it in great detail: choose dynamics and articulation for every single note, make phrasing decisions, add ornaments on the repeats, etc. If you didn't do that the first time around with Anna Magdalena.

The best way to get familiar with Baroque style is to listen to a lot of it. Try to get a mix of historical performers (Tureck, Landowska) and people who are really good at playing Bach on the modern piano (Perahia, Schiff, Hewitt; Gould is fine as long as you know that his interpretations are often eccentric.) Baroque vocal and string music is terrific also for understanding phrasing esp. if you can find historically informed performances. Bach's choral music has helped me a lot.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Working on: Schumann/Kinderszenen
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2264864 - 04/21/14 08:15 AM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1017
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
What about some of the Little Preludes, if you want to get away from the inventions but not take on something huge right away?
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2265135 - 04/21/14 11:23 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3832
Loc: Bay Area, CA
TwoSnowflakes, one thing you haven't mentioned is how much you actually like Bach's music. I remember that when I was getting into the piano, I thought Bach simply wrote the deepest, most beautiful and profound music out there. (I still do.) You can learn a tremendous amount about structure, form, economy, voicing, harmonic progression and beauty (above all else) just by immersing yourself in his work.

My thought (and we all have different advice here) is that the Suites and Partitas are not great Bach starters for you. If you want to get away from the inventions, here's a suggestion: the E major prelude from Book I of the WTC. It's hard to imagine anything more simple or profound. Working through it can do wonders for your pianistic ears.

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

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#2265924 - 04/23/14 04:28 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 803
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes


Anybody want to make any suggestions for what you'd make sure someone like me should consider essential learning in the short and longer term? I know my teacher has already identified the gaping Bach hole, and I think both of us are disappointed the Mozart was set aside, though the Haydn I specifically picked to replace it was, at least, a moderately comparable piece in terms of stylistic parity.



You've really done well so far, but how on earth did you manage to avoid learning any Baroque music? smile

I know you will get a lot of suggestions for Bach. Since he is really not my guy, here are some others:

The collection of Scarlatti sonatas is a real treasure chest, both for technique and musical enjoyment. You can pick anything from fast and flashy to slow cantabile style. Rameau I would also recommend, most are not very difficult, but still great music and great practice for ornaments. And why not check out Telemann's fantasies as well. These three composers alone could keep me busy for the next 25 years...

I do like romantic music a lot, but I always have to have at least one Baroque piece that I can work on, otherwise I get withdrawal symptoms smile

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#2266180 - 04/23/14 11:49 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
T.M.E. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/03/14
Posts: 5
Fantastic!
Playing any Rachmaninoff piece is impressive and it's great that you're enjoying yourself and achieving such great things! The way I see it, the piano is a gift straight from God.

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#2266898 - 04/25/14 12:38 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2024
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
TS, it was great that you remembered the day you came bak to piano. After reading this I was trying to nail down mine but could not. It's somewhere between 2009 and 2010. The forum birthday is not my re-start date. It must have been neat to remember and reflect on the progress made every year. Good for you. Congratulations!
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum and Grillen and Mozart K 475 Fantasy C minor
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell


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#2266904 - 04/25/14 12:49 PM Re: This day, last year... [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
Someone asked if I liked Bach.

Yes, greatly. For reasons quite different than the reasons I like Schumann or Chopin or Beethoven, but often just as profoundly.

When I'm needing Bach, nothing else will do. When it does what it does best, it gives me goosebumps.

I just don't trust myself to play it. smile

That, of course, ought to be fixed.
_________________________
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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