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#388562 - 06/25/05 12:22 PM Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
I wasnít really sure wither or not to ask this but I think I need some feedback of sorts. I understand that no one here has herd me play or knows me, but I would like any help I can get.

First of all Iím 18 and have been playing for about just over five years, I started grad ten a little over a year ago but Iím starting to think that I should quit piano. The problems I have are that my site reading is rather bad and my technical accuracy isnít all that great, and Iím getting to a point that I donít think I can stand to listen to my self play Iím not really a perfectionist but all I hear when I play are my fingers slapping the keys or my left hand is getting too loud, I for the past two years never made it through a piece without some sort of painful blunder and itís starting to drive me crazy. I know that site reading just takes practice but the other stuff is really lowering my confidence level. The fact is that Iíve only played between 12 and 14 pieces during my time as a student and I guess it takes a lot of experience to play technically more of less flawlessly but as ever one who has herd me play as well as my teacher think Iím very talented, I donít share their view. My teacher is from the Russian school and has done performances on Vatican Radio in Rome, Italy, including a live performance for Pope John Paul II and made first place in Lviv School of Music Piano Competition in 1977 at age 12. No one thinks I should quit and I woundn't be allowed to.


Anyway, if anyone has an opinion on this I would appreciate it.


ďSevĒ.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


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#388563 - 06/25/05 12:35 PM Re: Need some advice
WCSMinorCircuit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: California
Ask yourself some things, like "how much do I like the piano?", "Am I practicing the right way?", "what can I do to get better?" and stuff along those lines.

Your case isn't different from other people's. Alot of people go through what you are. How you handle it makes all the difference.

Another reccomendation on my part would to be write down a list of goals you want to have in a certain amount of time and then make a date when you want to achieve it. Trust me, the journey alone to get to the goal is worth it. You learn so much doing that.

And remember, ask any question you want here on these forums. There are people here who have been around the block a few times and can offer some very very good advice.

good luck, hope that helped some.
_________________________
curiouser curiouser
Shameless self-promotion
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#388564 - 06/25/05 12:44 PM Re: Need some advice
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Here's a problem that a lot of students have when they study the piano:

At first, they love it. It's something new, plus the music isn't really so hard. They learn a lot in the beginning, and they get through a bit of easy beginner pieces.

Then they start to get into some of the great masters: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin... the music starts to get a lot more challenging, very quickly, and they notice that they don't seem to be as good as they used to be (of course, they are much better - but the music is much harder).

Then they want to quit, because they don't like it anymore, and they feel they aren't making much progress, and they don't feel like they are playing the music well at all.

The best advice I can give you is to stick with it. Perhaps your teacher has some really high expectations of you, being a very successful pianist herself/himself, and perhaps you should try some pieces that are a little easier than what you have been working on.

Find a piece of music that you really like, and buy the CD. Listen to it "hundreds of times" and practice it "hundreds of times", as one of my teacher's former students always advises. It's hard to really work hard when you don't like the music that you are playing. If you find something you like, though, you will improve greatly, as well as have a good time playing it.

Try C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto. The notes aren't so hard to get, but it's marked "prestissimo", and it is a very showy piece. If you can master it, then I'm sure it will boost your confidence a lot, and you certainly will love playing it. It's quite fun. :p
_________________________
Sam

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#388565 - 06/25/05 01:03 PM Re: Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Here's a problem that a lot of students have when they study the piano:

At first, they love it. It's something new, plus the music isn't really so hard. They learn a lot in the beginning, and they get through a bit of easy beginner pieces.[/b]
Itís funny you should mention that, I never wanted to play the piano, I wanted to play guitar. Itís always seemed ironic that I should be good in any way with the piano.

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Then they start to get into some of the great masters: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin... the music starts to get a lot more challenging, very quickly, and they notice that they don't seem to be as good as they used to be (of course, they are much better - but the music is much harder).

Then they want to quit, because they don't like it anymore, and they feel they aren't making much progress, and they don't feel like they are playing the music well at all.

The best advice I can give you is to stick with it. Perhaps your teacher has some really high expectations of you, being a very successful pianist herself/himself, and perhaps you should try some pieces that are a little easier than what you have been working on.

Find a piece of music that you really like, and buy the CD. Listen to it "hundreds of times" and practice it "hundreds of times", as one of my teacher's former students always advises. It's hard to really work hard when you don't like the music that you are playing. If you find something you like, though, you will improve greatly, as well as have a good time playing it.

Try C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto. The notes aren't so hard to get, but it's marked "prestissimo", and it is a very showy piece. If you can master it, then I'm sure it will boost your confidence a lot, and you certainly will love playing it. It's quite fun. :p
After going through two to three grads a year challenging is a word I find hard to use in a proper context, yes I have difficulty but more along the lines of just learning the all notes in the piece. Another ironic thing is that I like the hard stuff. (Yeah I'm nuts)

I'm not sure if I've herd C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto, but I might look it up.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


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#388566 - 06/25/05 01:25 PM Re: Need some advice
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
This thing about sight-reading should not concern
you at all because this not important in the field
of classical repertoire. In classical piano
you work up pieces exactly as they are written
and then commit them to memory. So being
able to play the pieces at sight is not
as important as being able to work them up note
by note with the right technique. Several
prominent concert pianists, in fact, have publicly
admitted that they cannot sight-read at all,
for example, Emmanuel Ax. (Actually, this
is common among concert pianists.)

One thing you should be wary of is
people who are good sight-readers (and
who cannot play as well as you and never
will) deriding your sight-reading skills
(this is often done subtlely rather than
directly). This can have a devastating effect on
your self-esteem and can even lead to
you giving up piano. (I suspect that your
post has its origins in some incident
with a good sight-reader.) But as explained
above, sight-reading is not a requirement
for classical repertoire
so this should not concern you at all.

Top
#388567 - 06/25/05 02:18 PM Re: Need some advice
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
I NEVER give advice, even when asked...however, I would observe that music is a lifetime undertaking. You have your whole ever-lovin' life to get it right. Stay with it. It all shakes out in the end...

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#388568 - 06/25/05 02:40 PM Re: Need some advice
Theodore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 347
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
Sev,

Remember that most humans around age 18, drop out of a lot of stuff in order to make room for other things. Don't generalize your situation, look painfully at the details of what you don't like about piano, practicing, and putting it together. Once you find what displeases you, practice that for some time to smooth over what you don't like, (usually we don't practice what we don't like). Pay attention to the concerns of your youth, but do not quit. Maybe quit the way you are practicing and practice differently.

Try dropping out musically for a month or so and practice nothing except scales, Hanon, Phillipe, arpegios and other exercises. Use no music if possible, spend time on the instrument and enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, find a way to make it happen anyway. STICK WITH IT, QUITTING IS EASY.

theodore
_________________________
Theodore
Alamo Music Center
San Antonio,Texas

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#388569 - 06/25/05 02:53 PM Re: Need some advice
chiaying Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 8
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sev:
Itís funny you should mention that, I never wanted to play the piano, I wanted to play guitar. Itís always seemed ironic that I should be good in any way with the piano.
What makes me curious is how you ended up learning the piano instead of the guitar, and how you ended up sticking with it for a full 5 years. There must be some deeper reason why you lasted this long, and thinking about it might help you discover a longer lasting attachment to the piano.

On a note of consolation, all pianists (as well as musicians) have to face the fact that no one performance is going to be perfect. Truth is, everyone even the best pianists screw up sometimes. The important thing is to be able to take those mess-ups in stride, and learn to adjust to them while playing the piece.

Also, playing the piano is not all about not missing notes. Apart from the likes of Ashkenazy and Pollini, no pianist is note-perfect, so the important thing is to not lose focus of the overarching musical goal of each piece. A case in point: the renowned French pianist Alfred Cortot is notorious for missing notes, but his performances of Chopin and Schumann are so rich with astounding moving musicality that the missed notes are totally forgiven.

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#388570 - 06/25/05 10:44 PM Re: Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
 Quote:
Originally posted by chiaying:
What makes me curious is how you ended up learning the piano instead of the guitar, and how you ended up sticking with it for a full 5 years. There must be some deeper reason why you lasted this long, and thinking about it might help you discover a longer lasting attachment to the piano.

On a note of consolation, all pianists (as well as musicians) have to face the fact that no one performance is going to be perfect. Truth is, everyone even the best pianists screw up sometimes. The important thing is to be able to take those mess-ups in stride, and learn to adjust to them while playing the piece.

Also, playing the piano is not all about not missing notes. Apart from the likes of Ashkenazy and Pollini, no pianist is note-perfect, so the important thing is to not lose focus of the overarching musical goal of each piece. A case in point: the renowned French pianist Alfred Cortot is notorious for missing notes, but his performances of Chopin and Schumann are so rich with astounding moving musicality that the missed notes are totally forgiven. [/b]
Well to begin with I didnít like piano much but I did grad 1 and then 3 one year, and I guess I was just busy working at moving up as fast as I could because of my late start, I wanted to since I had to keep going at it I went through grades faster and technically I was quite solid till about grade 8-10 itís really kind of odd for me to get any kind of good idea where Iím at.


The other stuff, interesting...

Well I love the piano, I just donít think I play it that well.

I just played a recital this evening and it didnít go all that bad, it went quite well come to think of it.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


Top
#388571 - 06/25/05 10:58 PM Re: Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
This thing about sight-reading should not concern
you at all because this not important in the field
of classical repertoire. In classical piano
you work up pieces exactly as they are written
and then commit them to memory. So being
able to play the pieces at sight is not
as important as being able to work them up note
by note with the right technique. Several
prominent concert pianists, in fact, have publicly
admitted that they cannot sight-read at all,
for example, Emmanuel Ax. (Actually, this
is common among concert pianists.)

One thing you should be wary of is
people who are good sight-readers (and
who cannot play as well as you and never
will) deriding your sight-reading skills
(this is often done subtlely rather than
directly). This can have a devastating effect on
your self-esteem and can even lead to
you giving up piano. (I suspect that your
post has its origins in some incident
with a good sight-reader.) But as explained
above, sight-reading is not a requirement
for classical repertoire
so this should not concern you at all. [/b]
Thanks for that. \:\)

I just wonder, they can't site read well but I'm sure they can still learn a piece pretty fast (Or am I wrong?) my problem is more that it takes me a long time to work through the text of a page, not to site read it but to get it to a point where I can work it though fairly smoothly. For example Iím working on Beethovenís Tempest Sonata I started with the 3rd movement I learned the first page moderately fast, then it took me twice as long to work thorugh the second page.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


Top
#388572 - 06/25/05 11:00 PM Re: Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
Man, I hope I'm not sounding like Iím acting some kind of weird drama to every one.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


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#388573 - 06/25/05 11:38 PM Re: Need some advice
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
For example Iím working on Beethovenís Tempest Sonata I started with the 3rd movement I learned the first page moderately fast, then it took me twice as long to work thorugh the second page.
it's not uncommon. the 2nd page is more difficult and took me maybe 3 or 4 times longer than 1st page, so there!

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#388574 - 06/26/05 12:11 AM Re: Need some advice
pianoanne Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 649
Loc: Pacific NW
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
 Quote:
For example Iím working on Beethovenís Tempest Sonata I started with the 3rd movement I learned the first page moderately fast, then it took me twice as long to work thorugh the second page.
it's not uncommon. the 2nd page is more difficult and took me maybe 3 or 4 times longer than 1st page, so there! [/b]
The first page is the easy part. Wait until you get to page 3 and on, it's hard to coordinate the hands together.

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#388575 - 06/26/05 09:59 AM Re: Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
 Quote:
Originally posted by apianonne:
it's not uncommon. the 2nd page is more difficult and took me maybe 3 or 4 times longer than 1st page, so there!
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
 Quote:
For example Iím working on Beethovenís Tempest Sonata I started with the 3rd movement I learned the first page moderately fast, then it took me twice as long to work thorugh the second page.
it's not uncommon. the 2nd page is more difficult and took me maybe 3 or 4 times longer than 1st page, so there! [/b]
The first page is the easy part. Wait until you get to page 3 and on, it's hard to coordinate the hands together. [/b][/QUOTE]


Points taken, but Iím saying that itís that way with all my pieces, even ones that are only two pages long.

Maybe itís just an attention issue.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


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#388576 - 06/26/05 11:38 AM Re: Need some advice
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I've been working on of the other Beethoven Sonatas for over a year, and I still can't play it as well as I'd like.

I've been working on an etude by Chopin for 1.5 years, and I still can't play it as well as I'd like.

It takes a while to learn the music, but it is very much worth the effort.
_________________________
Sam

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#388577 - 06/26/05 01:20 PM Re: Need some advice
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#388578 - 06/28/05 08:01 PM Re: Need some advice
Sev Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Chunkistan
All right, thank you all for your input, I've read each post and I aprecate it a lot. \:\)

Thanks.

One last thing, how exactly do you mean by:

 Quote:
Originally posted by ipgrunt:
As an 18 y/o pianist, you are already way ahead of the crowd. [/b]
I don't quite get you.

Sorry to bother about it.
_________________________
Beware the advice of sucessful people, they do not seek company.


Top

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