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#452033 - 12/09/05 09:43 PM Wow - read
Skriabin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 551
Loc: li, new york
Today, my fathers friend, had his piano tuned. He asked me to come over, because this guy was amazing and everything etc.. The guy talks to me for a while before he plays. He tells me all sorts of things of how he met and played for Rubinstein. This is a list of the advice he gave me(I couldn't understand some of the things he said because he talked so fast, and unclear his English wasn't so great).

1) If a teacher ever tells you a song is too hard for you their wrong. That's Bull. Or they don't want you to learn it probably because if you play a wrong note they won't be able to correct it.
2) If a teacher gives you a specific fingering NEVER use anyone else's or a book's fingering EVER. Always use your own fingering for everything. It should be comfortable for you to play.
3) If you learn one song. And you really perfect it and you spend a year and get it to 100%. Than every other song you learn with be around 90%.

I also told him about my situation. My piano situation is a 1946 Wurlitzer spinet. He told me after I played I'm wasting my talent on a upright. Nobody should be playing an upright. He said I only have two options. 1) Get a concert grand 6 inches or more (Steinway). 2) Get a Roland digital piano 1,000. He said he loves the digitals because they can replicate a grands feel and sound.

Also something I didn't know Horowitz apparently was not friends with Rachmaninoff. Yet Horowitz TRIED to be friends with Rachmaninoff. Rachmaninoff was not impressed with Horowitz's playing. He was more interested in his own, and Joesph Hoffman's.

This man was amazing. He was a prodigy in Korea and they sent him to the United States. He played me the Third movement of the Rach 3. A Chopin Scherzo in B minor. Some of the Rhapsody in blue. A Chopin Waltz. And a Kachaturian (Spelling is probably way off I wrote it by how it sounds) Toccata? It was probably the greatest thing I ever heard in my life.

Wow what an experience. Could you guys say that you agree with his advice?

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#452034 - 12/09/05 09:50 PM Re: Wow - read
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Well...


His first point is nave. Sure, there are bad teachers. But I bet most teachers really do care about their students, and if they say a song is too hard, then it is probably too hard. The teacher has a lot more experience than the student, and generally will know what the student can handle and PLAY WELL and what the student couldn't play well at that point, even if the student were to practice it for 3 years.

If a 2nd grader asks his math teacher to teach him calculus, and the teacher says that calculus is too hard, that the student has to first learn arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and really work hard for 10 years before he can really handle calculus.... is the teacher just jealous and wanting to hurt the student? No, the teacher knows what is appropriate and doable and what is not.


His second point is stubborn. If you find a better fingering that better suits your hands, by all means use it! Even if you don't come up with it yourself - if someone else offers a suggestion, and it really works, why not use it?


About the piano - Steinway grands are very expensive. Uprights can sometimes be bad, but they can also be quite good. Grands are a lot bigger and a lot louder and a lot more expensive, so sometimes an upright is "better."


About Horowitz and Rachmaninov - Rachmaninov was so much impressed by Horowitz's playing, that he decided he wouldn't record the 3rd concerto again after Horowitz did (IIRC). In fact, he also often asked Horowitz for advice in editing his compositions. They were friends, as far as I know, and Rachmaninov was very much impressed with Horowitz's playing.


\:D
_________________________
Sam

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#452035 - 12/09/05 09:54 PM Re: Wow - read
markjpcs Offline


Registered: 08/31/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Wisconsin
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#452036 - 12/09/05 10:11 PM Re: Wow - read
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
I tend to agree with Sam on this one. I'm not knocking his abilities or talent - he sounds like a very talented man. However, just because he played for Rubinstein doesn't mean he's the be all and end all of pianistic advice. I think it is very dangerous to be giving advice that includes the words NEVER. There are most definitely guidelines to be followed, but for every guideline there is an exception. In addition, there's no one-size-fits-all set of rules that work for every pianist. Every pianist is different and must find their own path.

As for his points, I have to disagree with the first one. There are definitely situations where it is not appropriate for a student to take on a particular work. I remember at my first lesson my teacher asked me what I wanted to work on. I told him (ignorantly) the Rach 3. (Incidentally, I didn't realize how incredibly difficult it was at the time - I had just heard it on the radio a few days before and thought it sounded neat). I was 12 at the time. At least he didn't outright laugh at me for suggesting it. But he simply told me that perhaps one day I'd be ready for it, but not today. 17 years later I totally respect his advice. It would have been a bad idea for me to take that piece on then. At the least I would have gotten seriously frustrated and probably wouldn't have enjoyed lessons at all. At the worst, it would have been damaging to my technique. There are times when the right answer is no (or at least, not right now).

As for the second point. I totally agree that once you have a fingering that works for you, you should adhere to is. However why on earth is it unacceptable to take a fingering from a book?

As for the third point, I'm having trouble understanding exactly what you're getting at there.

Regarding uprights, I'm somewhat ambivalent about practicing on them, so I would have to disagree with his opinion that they're a waste of time. In my experience, I actually played for the first 18 years of my life on an upright that left a lot to be desired. However, it really taught me how to coax a beautiful sound out of a less than perfect instrument, so I would contend that it helped my technique. Of course we'd all rather play on great instruments, but let's face facts, not everyone can afford a great instrument, so there's no shame in learning on an upright.

And I believe Sam is right regarding Rachmaninov's relationship with Horowitz. I don't think they were ever fast buddies, but there was respect between them, and yes, I believe that after Horowitz recorded the 3rd concerto, Rachmaninoff felt he could never play it up to that standard.
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#452037 - 12/09/05 10:51 PM Re: Wow - read
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
By the way,

 Quote:
Originally posted by Skriabin:
Kachaturian (Spelling is probably way off I wrote it by how it sounds) [/b]
Actually, you've got it almost perfect (well, the English transliteration, that is): Khachaturian is how his name is generally spelled.
_________________________
Sam

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#452038 - 12/09/05 10:56 PM Re: Wow - read
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5319
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Skriabin:
1) If a teacher ever tells you a song is too hard for you their wrong. That's Bull. Or they don't want you to learn it probably because if you play a wrong note they won't be able to correct it
[/b]

Let me get this straight - someone is paying a trained professional to guide and instruct them, and they should refuse that person's judgement? Sorry, but that sounds like a student trying to find a reason to play DA RACH 3.

 Quote:
2) If a teacher gives you a specific fingering NEVER use anyone else's or a book's fingering EVER. Always use your own fingering for everything. It should be comfortable for you to play.
[/b]

That's true to an extent (Debussy had some interesting things to say on the topic), but good fingerings are good fingerings plain and simple. Liszt's fingerings in his music are ingenious and fit almost every hand.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#452039 - 12/09/05 10:56 PM Re: Wow - read
iamcanadian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1893
Loc: Canada
Worst. Advice. Ever.
_________________________
♪♫♪♫

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#452040 - 12/09/05 11:12 PM Re: Wow - read
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
I would say in general that this tuner doesn't know what he's talking about--and he proves that old chestnut: Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym (or become piano tuners).
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#452041 - 12/09/05 11:36 PM Re: Wow - read
Skriabin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 551
Loc: li, new york
Wow. This guy sounded convincing. He had Cd's and everything with Hungarians Rhapsodies Rach concerto's, Scriabin Sonatas. He would of been a performer but he wanted a family and it would take too much time away from his family. Looks like he doesn't know what he was talking about.

What makes you guys right though?

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#452042 - 12/09/05 11:37 PM Re: Wow - read
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Skriabin:
What makes you guys right though? [/b]
common sense


His first point is really naive. First of all, as Brendan said, you're paying the teacher to guide you and advise you. Why ignore his advice? Secondly, remember my analogy: if a 6-year-old wanted to learn calculus, and he hadn't yet learned how to multiply or divide, do you think the teacher should teach him calculus, just because the kid wants to learn it? The teacher isn't always out to get the student, and usually the teacher knows A LOT more and has a bit more experience with the piano than the student. Just because the student wants to play a piece of music, and thinks that he is ready for it, does not mean that he is ready for it, and it is the teacher's responsibility in such a situation to say, "No."


His second point is also misguided. Yes, you should find a fingering that fits your hand. But that doesn't mean that you can't get advice from others - how are you supposed to learn how to find the best fingerings for your hand? Maybe you aren't experienced enough, or maybe you are and you find a great fingering, but your teacher or someone else shows you a better fingering that fits your hand even better. So why be so stubborn and not accept help from others when clearly you can benefit from others' help?


His third point isn't very clear.


His comments about upright pianos are arrogant. Upright pianos are not all bad pianos, and in fact you can make beautiful music on an upright. A spinet is kind of tiny and not good to play, but you can play it. A Yamaha upright would be a huge improvement from a spinet, and would be far less expensive and would take up far less space than a grand piano. Uprights really aren't bad pianos.


His comments about Rachmaninov and Horowitz are incorrect. The two were friends, and they collaborated in their work, and Rachmaninov was extremely impressed by Horowitz's playing, particular Horowitz's playing of the 3rd Concerto. I think I recall reading that Rachmaninov was so impressed, he declared that nobody - even himself - would be able to play this concerto better than Horowitz.
_________________________
Sam

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#452043 - 12/09/05 11:48 PM Re: Wow - read
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
Bogus post. Seems like the whole thing is made up to me.
_________________________
JOHN

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#452044 - 12/10/05 12:05 AM Re: Wow - read
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3915
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
My understanding is that Rachmaninoff wasn't friends with anybody. Abram Chasins comments, that when he visited Rachmaninoff in California, he was asked how his teacher Hofmann was doing. Chasins thought this was strange, as Rachmaninoff was then living only a few minutes' driving time from Hofmann. Schnabel also commented that he once sent a note backstage to Rachmaninoff after a very enjoyable recital the latter gave, expecting to get a response, but none came.

Supposedly, the only unprogrammed appearance of Rachmaninoff on stage was after a Horowitz performance of Rach 3, when the composer came onstage and embraced the astonished young pianist.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#452045 - 12/10/05 12:09 AM Re: Wow - read
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
 Quote:
Originally posted by Palindrome:
My understanding is that Rachmaninoff wasn't friends with anybody. Abram Chasins comments, that when he visited Rachmaninoff in California, he was asked how his teacher Hofmann was doing. Chasins thought this was strange, as Rachmaninoff was then living only a few minutes' driving time from Hofmann. Schnabel also commented that he once sent a note backstage to Rachmaninoff after a very enjoyable recital the latter gave, expecting to get a response, but none came.

Supposedly, the only unprogrammed appearance of Rachmaninoff on stage was after a Horowitz performance of Rach 3, when the composer came onstage and embraced the astonished young pianist. [/b]
Stravinsky referred to Rachmaninoff as "a six-foot scowl" \:\)

And supposedly another person, at Rachmaninoff's funeral, saw him in the casket and said he seems "a lot more cheerful than he ever did in life"...
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#452046 - 12/10/05 12:15 AM Re: Wow - read
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5319
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Skriabin:
Wow. This guy sounded convincing. He had Cd's and everything with Hungarians Rhapsodies Rach concerto's, Scriabin Sonatas.
[/b]
None of that matters. There are thousands of young pianists who can play that repertoire in their sleep, but that doesn't mean they can teach it.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#452047 - 12/10/05 12:27 AM Re: Wow - read
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
I played the liszt sonata today while I was takin' a nap.

\:D Seriously though, I agree with everybody else. If the original post is true, the guy seems completely out of his element. I've never heard such rubish.
_________________________
JOHN

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#452048 - 12/10/05 02:53 AM Re: Wow - read
thatpianoguy76 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 20
Loc: California
the only thing i can say about the first thing he said is that it could be true to an extent.

my teacher told me a story of when she was younger and was getting lessons herself, that she and her teacher went over all of the scales and all the relitive minors and arpaggios (excuse spelling :-P). she practiced and learned them exactly to how she was instructed. when she was in her twenties she applyed at the SF conservitory of music and they deneyed her. she was not deneyed because of her how well she played but because of the fact that all the scales an everything were fingerd compleatly wrong.

i quess this goes to show us that our teachers can be wrong. but should you go agianst what they say? never. i guess not unless you have overwelming proof towrds what you have to argue

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#452049 - 12/10/05 10:19 AM Re: Wow - read
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
 Quote:
Originally posted by Skriabin:
1) Get a concert grand 6 inches or more (Steinway). [/b]
:D \:D \:D

OK, OK, I know it was a typo but a pretty funny one. I am envisioning Schroeder as I type this.


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#452050 - 12/10/05 12:39 PM Re: Wow - read
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by thatpianoguy76:
the only thing i can say about the first thing he said is that it could be true to an extent.

my teacher told me a story of when she was younger and was getting lessons herself, that she and her teacher went over all of the scales and all the relitive minors and arpaggios (excuse spelling :-P). she practiced and learned them exactly to how she was instructed. when she was in her twenties she applyed at the SF conservitory of music and they deneyed her. she was not deneyed because of her how well she played but because of the fact that all the scales an everything were fingerd compleatly wrong.

i quess this goes to show us that our teachers can be wrong. but should you go agianst what they say? never. i guess not unless you have overwelming proof towrds what you have to argue [/b]
That seems a little strange to me.

There isn't a "wrong" fingering - if a particular fingering works for you, then it is right for you. I find it hard to believe that a conservatory would reject a student who plays very well, just because the fingering is unconventional.

Besides - fingering is relatively easy to fix. I doubt it would rank highly on the list of criteria for getting into a music conservatory, particularly if you play very well.
_________________________
Sam

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#452051 - 12/10/05 12:57 PM Re: Wow - read
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
 Quote:
Originally posted by markjpcs:
[/b]
lol lol lol ..

sorry but after seeing the pic after the post ..

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#452052 - 12/10/05 01:11 PM Re: Wow - read
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
The guy's advice certainly isn't universal but it might pertain well under certain circumstances, those involving players who are already somewhat experienced and in the process of outgrowing a teacher. My second piano teacher actually knew less than me when she took me on. (My parents are totally nonmuscial and I was only twelve - so what did I know?) While I "studied" with her, I found myself teaching myself pieces on the sly that she'd never have dreamed of giving me. They got me through an audition with a very good (my third and last) teacher. The tuner's take on fingering, same deal. Sometimes you have to work out your own. I have an odd little hand with proportionally long middle fingers and fourth fingers and unusually short fifth fingers, so I have to do this all the time. I keep a pencil with me constantly. Sometimes my fingering ends up is the same as in the book, often not. Usually, it ends up a variation of it. It sounds to me like the guy had been through some circumstances and is somewhat bitter, and his advice should be considered (not necessarily taken) with that in mind. I work very closely with a Russian with quite limited English. If I might generalize from my experience with my Russian, in the piano tuner's defence, I've found speakers with limited language proficiency tend to simply their concepts because they aren't able to handle a lot of gradations of meaning, nuances and qualifiers. They tend to overstate their points of view and speak vehemently in absolutes, probably as a result of simple frustration at being so often misunderstood.
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#452053 - 12/10/05 01:31 PM Re: Wow - read
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I agree with Sam and the others on this.

About playing stuff out of element.

I would go with what the teacher says because after all they usually do have more experience. Besides you can hurt yourself physically as well as musically of you work on something that is too hard at that point in time.

Granted there's nothing wrong with setting music-goals to strive for, but to jump right into something too hard will do no good.

About fingering.

This is totally wrong or more likely arrogant. You need to work out fingerings that will work for you. There are some in the printed score that are better than others, and sometimes, or usually many times, your teacher will work out something that works.

I use a combination of what my teachers showed me plus what's in the book. Sometimes the composer's fingering is the thing that works the best.

About the upright pianos. This iss wrong. There are really bad upright pianos, and there are really good ones as well. Let me put it this way. I had nothing more than a 1946 Wurlitzer spinet for many years. This old piano served me well until I was able to afford something better. Granted it wasn't the Steinway Model D's I was practicing on at Phillips Academy, but it worked for me 90% of the time. Practing on a really bad piano doesn't make a bad pianist. What it usually does is to make the pianist work harder to produce better music.

Sam is right on about Rach and Horowitz.

John
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