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#2306104 - 07/23/14 06:39 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5319
Loc: McAllen, TX
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I opened this topic some time ago and it got side-tracked so I'm trying again.

What does one have to do to make our music stand out and sound polished and beautiful? What skills does a professional pianist have that a gifted amateur does not? How do we attain that last 10% that makes the music so wonderful. What steps do we need to take to achieve this level of playing?

I am looking for helpful answers beyond the obvious: "practice".


Long story short: the last 10% happens onstage. Prepare to the max (record yourself, do lots of slow prax, plan out your interpretation, etc.), but also be prepared to let it all go, because what you're after will never happen in a practice room or at home.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#2306110 - 07/23/14 06:50 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: Brendan]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I opened this topic some time ago and it got side-tracked so I'm trying again.

What does one have to do to make our music stand out and sound polished and beautiful? What skills does a professional pianist have that a gifted amateur does not? How do we attain that last 10% that makes the music so wonderful. What steps do we need to take to achieve this level of playing?

I am looking for helpful answers beyond the obvious: "practice".


Long story short: the last 10% happens onstage. Prepare to the max (record yourself, do lots of slow prax, plan out your interpretation, etc.), but also be prepared to let it all go, because what you're after will never happen in a practice room or at home.
Can you please elaborate more? What is it that happens on stage?
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2306112 - 07/23/14 06:52 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2683
If you haven't done so yet, you might enter amateur competitions.
I am sure, by the end of your third competiton that last bit will drop to 5%.
_________________________
Put in one of IMO, I think, to me, for me... or similar to all sentences I post

http://www.youtube.com/user/hakkithepianist

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#2306116 - 07/23/14 07:02 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: Hakki]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Hakki
If you haven't done so yet, you might enter amateur competitions.
I am sure, by the end of your third competition that last bit will drop to 5%.
Ha Ha! That's both scary and encouraging. It's something I've been considering.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2306127 - 07/23/14 07:15 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2683
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: Hakki
If you haven't done so yet, you might enter amateur competitions.
I am sure, by the end of your third competition that last bit will drop to 5%.
Ha Ha! That's both scary and encouraging. It's something I've been considering.


Why not start with the Cliburn Video Contest?
_________________________
Put in one of IMO, I think, to me, for me... or similar to all sentences I post

http://www.youtube.com/user/hakkithepianist

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#2306158 - 07/23/14 08:18 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1176
Loc: Stockholms län, Sverige
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I opened this topic some time ago and it got side-tracked so I'm trying again.

What does one have to do to make our music stand out and sound polished and beautiful? What skills does a professional pianist have that a gifted amateur does not? How do we attain that last 10% that makes the music so wonderful. What steps do we need to take to achieve this level of playing?

I am looking for helpful answers beyond the obvious: "practice".


Long story short: the last 10% happens onstage. Prepare to the max (record yourself, do lots of slow prax, plan out your interpretation, etc.), but also be prepared to let it all go, because what you're after will never happen in a practice room or at home.
Can you please elaborate more? What is it that happens on stage?

Performers tend to show the widest range of colours and effects in front of a live audience. I don't know what Brendan's experience of it is, but in my experience the tremendous stress, risk and pressure make every moment extremely intense resulting in more strength and contrast of expression in the desire to transport the audience, and also in unrelenting stamina of concentration.

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#2306163 - 07/23/14 08:30 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19477
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Unfortunately, you are right. Besides all the technical things we need to do to make a performance special, we always have to consider available time, something many of us do not have. I find myself thinking, "Gee, if I could play this 500 times more, it would be perfect." That's tough to do with a full time job and only 1 to 2 hours of practice time a day.
It might be perfect in terms of what you want to do with the piece, but that doesn't mean it would necessarily even approach(it could be a lot more than 10% away from) a good professional performance.

The pro's musical understanding is in general eons beyond the amateur's understanding. See my earlier post showing how the best pianists giving master classes often show conservatory graduates (who themselves are light years beyond most amateurs)major musical misunderstandings in their playing.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/23/14 08:52 PM)

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#2306169 - 07/23/14 08:48 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: pianoloverus]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Unfortunately, you are right. Besides all the technical things we need to do to make a performance special, we always have to consider available time, something many of us do not have. I find myself thinking, "Gee, if I could play this 500 times more, it would be perfect." That's tough to do with a full time job and only 1 to 2 hours of practice time a day.
It might be perfect in terms of what you want to do with the piece, but that doesn't mean it would necessarily even approach(it could be a lot more than 10% away from) a good professional performance.

The pro's musical understanding is in general eons beyond the amateur's understanding. See my earlier post showing how the best pianists giving master classes often show conservatory graduates (who themselves are light years beyond most amateurs)major musical misunderstandings in their playing.
Oh sure, I agree. The purpose of this thread is an attempt to find the tools to bridge that gap.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2306173 - 07/23/14 09:00 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19477
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Unfortunately, you are right. Besides all the technical things we need to do to make a performance special, we always have to consider available time, something many of us do not have. I find myself thinking, "Gee, if I could play this 500 times more, it would be perfect." That's tough to do with a full time job and only 1 to 2 hours of practice time a day.
It might be perfect in terms of what you want to do with the piece, but that doesn't mean it would necessarily even approach(it could be a lot more than 10% away from) a good professional performance.

The pro's musical understanding is in general eons beyond the amateur's understanding. See my earlier post showing how the best pianists giving master classes often show conservatory graduates (who themselves are light years beyond most amateurs)major musical misunderstandings in their playing.
Oh sure, I agree. The purpose of this thread is an attempt to find the tools to bridge that gap.
It's not one or ten tools. It's many years of studying with the best teachers and]then practicing the correct things for many hours. It's also natural talent for learning/understanding/figuring out musical and technical ideas quickly. It's being able to apply what a good teacher tells you about one piece to another piece.

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#2306182 - 07/23/14 09:23 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5302
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I opened this topic some time ago and it got side-tracked so I'm trying again.

What does one have to do to make our music stand out and sound polished and beautiful? What skills does a professional pianist have that a gifted amateur does not? How do we attain that last 10% that makes the music so wonderful. What steps do we need to take to achieve this level of playing?

I am looking for helpful answers beyond the obvious: "practice".


Long story short: the last 10% happens onstage. Prepare to the max (record yourself, do lots of slow prax, plan out your interpretation, etc.), but also be prepared to let it all go, because what you're after will never happen in a practice room or at home.
Can you please elaborate more? What is it that happens on stage?

For professionals and those preparing for the world stage, the live performance is where it's at - there're all the thrills (and spills grin) that are impossible to replicate on a home recording, or when playing for friends and family. (Not so sure about competitions, where you have judges to impress, which might just stifle your creative juices if you're wary of doing anything too wayward).

All that is assuming, of course, that you don't suffer from performance anxiety. Personally, I found my own route, by playing for non-musical audiences, when my nerves don't threaten to overwhelm me (which they would, if I knew there was someone - anyone - in the audience who knows the music well). There's definitely an extra edge, a frisson, to my playing then, and a spontaneity and even abandon, that's impossible to recreate at any other time: I want to show the audience what it is I love about the music, and why I love to play the piano, and to that end, risk-taking and 'rediscovery' comes to the fore.

BTW, to see (hear) what I mean, listen to Richter's Pictures via the link I put on the other thread, and compare that live performance - full of risk-taking, some of which barely come off - to his studio performance (which sounds earthbound in comparison) from around the same time, which you can also find on YouTube.
_________________________
"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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#2306491 - 07/24/14 02:23 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1493
see below….a more concise version.

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#2306513 - 07/24/14 02:54 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3819
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Over the last several years, I've gotten most of my music only to that 90% level, but I've gotten two pieces (Chopin first Scherzo, Bach first Partita) a little bit further... let's say to 95% (whatever that means). The difference? Those were the pieces I kept working on a long time, far beyond the point where they started to feel good. And those were the pieces I performed several times for different groups of people.

So it takes time-- not just the number of hours spent practicing, but many months spent living with the piece after it's been "learned". And, as others have mentioned, it takes performing. That's what really cements the relationship.

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

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#2306525 - 07/24/14 03:10 PM Re: That last 10% [Re: gooddog]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1493
The phases of successful performances:

1. Conquer the piece (really understand the piece inside out, and practice till everything feels easy)
2. Conquer the piano (get very comfortable with the piano that we are going to use on the stage)
3. Conquer the audience (able to express well in front of audiences obtained through years of experiences playing in front of live audiences)

Say, we (amateur pianists) have achieved 90% preparation on the piece.
90% comfort level with the piano on the stage, and 90% on the ability to perform well in front of audience. The result will be 90%x90%x90% = 72%.

Yet, professionals know the piece really well (maybe even 100%), they have the opportunity to practice on the piano that is on the stage before they perform (97%), and they had done public performance since they were little kids add a little nervous factor (95%). Therefore, their result is 100%x97%x95%=92%.

No wonder, we, real amateurs, cannot perform like them.


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