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#603749 - 07/13/02 10:52 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
aznxk3vi17 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/02
Posts: 701
Loc: Johns Hopkins University
Yes Brendan, I believe in that notion too... however, you can't blame them for wanting to play many pieces... the summer opens up schedules (unless you work) like no other time. Perhaps they want to get the most out of it.

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#603750 - 07/13/02 10:58 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Brendan:

For me, not sure if it's a quality v quality thing, unless we're talking about concentration and brainpower. I can really only *work* (as opposed to hack around) on maybe 3 pieces at a time. More than that and I lose focus, much less time, and never really get the piece under my belt.

I also have never been the type to put in 5-6 hours playing a day, which I assume some of these folks are doing. (I find that just keeping my Sims happy takes up a significant amount of my free time... :p )

Nina

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#603751 - 07/13/02 10:59 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Aaron:

That's neat! I would love to be able to sing.

Were you in Tucson or up in Phoenix?

One of my nephews is an assistant something-or-other for woman's volleyball at Purdue, and frequently sings the national anthem before their games. If I had to do something like that, I think I would pass out.

My nephew does it because he thinks it makes him a "chick magnet."

Nina

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#603752 - 07/13/02 11:13 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Aaron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Oklahoma City
Nina- I really don't know where it was we sang. (There were ten of us, and a djembe player. \:\) someone else was driving.) The stadium wasn't very big, and it was at whatever site the Diamondbacks and the Brewers (is it Brewers?) do their spring training, so I assume it was Tucson. The rest of the week we were in Pheonix.
We sang it in four instead of three. It was kind of weird, but received very well. \:\) A few people made it a point to come find us and tell us that they enjoyed it. That was nice. \:\) I don't think I would EVER sing the National Anthem by myself. My voice sounds terrible solo!! (but it works for choir. My voice is mellow, and blends well.)

But back to piano! \:\)
_________________________
Aaron (PianistforJesus@aol.com)

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#603753 - 07/13/02 12:29 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
PianoMuse Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 902
Loc: Philly, PA
Brendan:
Some pianists are different than others. For me, i get about 5 hours of practice time a day, so i have the time to work on more than 2 pieces.
Also, don't forget, that some, like me, are music majors, and i have major recitals coming in the fall for which i need quite a few pieces. I don't have the luxury to just work on one or two pieces for a couple of months.
_________________________
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." ~Rachmaninoff

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#603754 - 07/13/02 12:44 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5229
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by PianoMuse:
Brendan:
Some pianists are different than others. For me, i get about 5 hours of practice time a day, so i have the time to work on more than 2 pieces.
Also, don't forget, that some, like me, are music majors, and i have major recitals coming in the fall for which i need quite a few pieces. I don't have the luxury to just work on one or two pieces for a couple of months.[/b]
You make it sound like Brahms #2 is an easy piece that I can just tinker around with every now and then. I have to have the whole concerto ready by October for competitions beginning in November and going through April. Chock that on top of my regular barrage of 8-12 chamber music and solo recitals...

My point was that I find it difficult to really focus on something and yield the best quality product if I'm tryinig to fit in that many works in a regular practice session. Ideally, one should get to the point where you don't need to practice so much on technique and learning the notes but instead be able to quickly draw out repertoire and solve technical problems in a sitting - all because of focus.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#603755 - 07/13/02 02:17 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Roxane Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 932
I took up piano lessons 6 months ago after a hiatus of 15 years, so I am (was) playing a lot of exercises to rebuild my technique.

What I am working on:
Nothing. I hurt my right wrist 3 weeks ago \:\( , but there has been no hint of recovery, despite my immobolizing it. Th earliest appointment I can get with a rheumatologist is end July.

What I was working on before hurting my wrist:
1. Schmitt: Preparatory exercises, Op.16
2. Hanon (I am having slight problems with left-hand rotation and speed)
3. Czerny: Art of finger dexterity, Op.740
4. Czerny: Studies for left hand, Op.399
5. Bach: Prelude & Fugue in F minor, WTC1
6. Beethoven: Sonata Op.2, No.3
7. Debussy: Suite Bergamasque

What I hope to work on soon:
The quick and full recovery of my wrist so I can play again!

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#603756 - 07/13/02 02:31 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas

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#603757 - 07/13/02 04:33 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5229
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by jeffylube:
No Brendan, NO ONE believes in quality playing. Trust me, I took a poll, and they all said that they would rather play more pieces in a crappy way, than a few in a high quality way.
[/b]

What an astute observation! Thanks also for putting sarcasm in my question when there was none even there in the first place - you win!

 Quote:
You're right, you probably do find it difficult to focus on something and yield the best quality product if you're trying to fit in that many works in a regular practice session.[/b]
You know what, if you're going to take such elaborate measures to flame me, why don't you quit wasting your time and actually read my posts. I had said that I felt that concentrating on fewer pieces would give me more time to perfect what I am working on instead of spreading myself too thin. You may find it necessary to hack away at seven things at once, but I avoid it whenever possible. But hey, like you so articulately said:

 Quote:
...that's your personal opinion. Not everyone is like you.
[/b]

Thank you very much for the important life lesson.



:rolleyes:
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#603758 - 07/13/02 05:07 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas

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#603759 - 07/13/02 05:21 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Der Spion Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2
Loc: Everywhere YOU want to be
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
Does anyone else here believe in quality, not quantity? Just noticed that some people are listing 5-8 works in their current practice routine.[/b]
Maybe you should simply embrace the fact that others are better than you, Brendon. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but it's certainly no reason to lash out at others. I understand that it can be embarassing when you arent able to handle as much as your peers, but remember - this isn't a contest. This is just a place for all of us to share our thoughts and experiences.

I'm sure if you keep practicing you'll be able to handle 5-8 pieces in no time. Keep up the good work, son.

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#603760 - 07/13/02 06:44 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Actually, I thought Brendan had a good point. I thought the same thing. I for one don't have as much success when I spread myself too thin. I have much more success when I focus on a couple of pieces at a time. For me, having more time and no deadline doesn't help when I take on too much. I tried to learn 10 pieces at the same time once, and I kept bouncing around between them and never made any progress. When I changed tactics and really focused on one or two pieces at a time, the learning process went much, much faster.

I did not learn the pieces that I listed above at the same time. I learned the Bach first, then half of the Brahms, then the Beethoven, then the Chopin Op. 31, then the rest of the Brahms, and finally Chopin's Op. 20. I had learned the Beethoven several years ago, but was never happy with it. This time I am much more satisfied with it. I guess the key for me is to focus on a few pieces at a time until I learn them.

But, maybe when I am as good as Der Spion I will be able to tackle more pieces at the same time. /sarcasm

RE the Chopin Op. 20 Scherzo - I did not find this more difficult than Op. 31. Well, it is more difficult technically. But, Op. 20 has a lot of repetition so that you really only have to learn about 5 pages of music. The technical difficulties in Op. 20 are solvable if you use the proper hand motions and a lot of repetition. When you get it learned, however, it almost plays itself.

Ryan

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#603761 - 07/13/02 06:49 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
One more thought on quality vs. quantity - if quality is not a goal then why bother? Sometimes it seems as if our microwave culture can't stick with anything long enough or focused enough to produce quality. Even if one's goals do not include public performance, I believe that the idea of quality over quantity is worth some consideration...

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#603762 - 07/13/02 06:57 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas

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#603763 - 07/13/02 07:28 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
RE: Quality vs. quantity. I too find it helpful to focus on no more than a few things at a time --but this doesn't mean, if you need some variety, that can't keep busy reading over new things and shaking the dust off older ones (or things that, for one reason or another, needed to be set aside for awhile).

This summer I'm playing, or better noodling, over some Chopin after a long break from his music. Mainly though, I'm grooming older stuff for use this fall: Crumb's "A little suite for Christmas", Schumman's "Davidsbundler ". New stuff: working on Rzewski's "Mayn Yingele" - You can find the score online here [wish more composers were supportive of the copyleft movement].

Cheers, N
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#603764 - 07/13/02 07:50 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
CherryCoke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 531
I think PianoMuse[/b] summed it up by saying it differs from pianist to pianist. Even with much practice time (for the last few weeks, about 6 hrs+ daily was required of me), sometimes quality can suffer with some pianists, others not. I think the question of "how much is too much" can only be answered by each individual experimenting for themselves. I am one who can only take on so much repitoire at once, I tackled about 8 pieces at once when I was at Indiana University, and even with 6 hrs of practice daily, it was too much for me to keep up with.

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#603765 - 07/13/02 09:04 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
Ryan said it best. Yes, I listed many pieces that I am currently working on, but for example, the Mozart concerto I've played about 2 pages worth whereas the Debussy Toccata I spend an hour a day on. As that gets perfected, it goes into my "forever in my repetoire" list and out of regular practice rotation. Then, I will spend more time on the Mozart.

I feel that if I work on two pieces at a time, I may be able to learn them quicker, but I'd feel I'm not progressing very much as a pianist. I have to look at new music every day and have to challenge myself for the level that I am. I've followed Brendan's posts and from what I've read, I think he's a great pianist and maybe when I reach that level, I wouldn't have this sort of regimen (sp?). In any case, we are all different and I don't think Brendan meant any harm in his statement.

Mike

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#603766 - 07/13/02 11:46 PM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5229
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Der Spion:
Maybe you should simply embrace the fact that others are better than you, Brendon. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but it's certainly no reason to lash out at others. I understand that it can be embarassing when you arent able to handle as much as your peers, but remember - this isn't a contest. This is just a place for all of us to share our thoughts and experiences.

I'm sure if you keep practicing you'll be able to handle 5-8 pieces in no time. Keep up the good work, son.[/b]
Congratulations to the troll who was brave enough to register a monaker for the sole purpose of making that post. Bravo on your poor use of the German language also!

 Quote:
originally posted by jiffylube
My point was that Brendan was making it sound like just because people don't work on pieces like he does than they can't produce quality music.[/b]
That's very interesting that you would draw that conclusion considering the fact that I never mentioned anything in this thread about the "quality" of the pieces that any who listed their repertoire. Try listening instead of waiting to talk.

 Quote:
He's not being open to the fact that everyone is different and have different cirumstances. But the majority most likely play for fun, and are not anal about making the music sound "professional".
[/b]

Maybe because it puts food on my table I should worry about playing my best, no? But wait - because I'm a "professional" I shouldn't even enjoy the music, right? Exactly. That's why I've stuck with it for so long and invested so much time into it.

 Quote:
I agree that Brendan probably can't work on more than a couple of pieces at one time. That's because of the level music he's studying, PLUS he has a deadline.[/b]
That's right. I can't work on more than two pieces at a time, even though I was working on the first half of Vingt Regards and the Liszt Sonata last month. Even though I can't do it, I somehow managed to recital 7 of the Messiaen pieces plus the Liszt.

 Quote:
But for those that don't have a deadline, like the most of the users that are probably on this forum, they can probably take their time with a fairly large group of music (most of it less demanding than the Brahms 2nd) and end up with quality work at a little bit later date than if they were only working on a couple of pieces.
[/b]

Let's take a look at some of the music that was offered:

Rachmaninov #2 and First Sonata
Brahms op. 116
Chopin F# minor Polonaise and various Scherzi
Various Liszt etudes

Of the repertoire listed, most of it was stated by people who are either music students or who have extensive performing experience. I would wager a guess that they are also working under a deadline of sorts. Why don't you ask them? I personally don't practice in limbo, but try to work towards goals. That was my point all along - doing your best to play your best, but somehow you managed to imbue my posts with something that simply wasn't there.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#603767 - 07/14/02 12:34 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Aaron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 53
Loc: Oklahoma City
Re: deadlines.

I will be starting college in the fall. (I'm oh so excited about being a freshman again!) So while the music I'm playing right now (Chopin Ballade 1, Haydn Sonata, Prokofiev op.4 no.2) has no real "deadline" that I have to meet, I've set a deadline for myself. I want to have them near performance quality before I enter college (August 24th). I know that my new teacher will assign totally new pieces, most of them Baroque and early Classical, so I want to get my current pieces out of the way. I only have one more lesson with my current teacher, which means I have a couple weeks to be able to roughly play every bit of the pieces (which I can) so she can give me the suggestions/directions/movements I need to finish them.

So anyway, to be short about it: I'm not a professional, and I don't have a strict deadline for performance, but I do have a deadline of sorts.

Lastly, this is such a stupid thing to argue about. I seriously doubt that Brendan meant anything spiteful. He just told his own experiences and what works best for him, not saying that his way is the only way. Grow up.
_________________________
Aaron (PianistforJesus@aol.com)

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#603768 - 07/14/02 01:14 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Aaron:
Lastly, this is such a stupid thing to argue about. I seriously doubt that Brendan meant anything spiteful. He just told his own experiences and what works best for him, not saying that his way is the only way. Grow up.[/b]
I agree. Don't let this turn into that other forum ;\) .

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#603769 - 07/14/02 01:57 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
MD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/02
Posts: 36
Mike,
I too am surprised at how pour le piano never seems to come up on topics on debussy...but it really is a masterpiece, are you playing the full suite? i'm just finishing up the prelude, i went in reverse order: toccata, sarabande, then prelude. makes sense because as you said, the toccata is very difficult. the time it took to develop the speed on the toccata took as long as anything else i've ever played. keep up the good work, it's worth it in the end when you get to perform this wonderful piece.

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#603770 - 07/14/02 02:34 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by MD:
Mike,
I too am surprised at how pour le piano never seems to come up on topics on debussy...but it really is a masterpiece, are you playing the full suite? i'm just finishing up the prelude, i went in reverse order: toccata, sarabande, then prelude. makes sense because as you said, the toccata is very difficult. the time it took to develop the speed on the toccata took as long as anything else i've ever played. keep up the good work, it's worth it in the end when you get to perform this wonderful piece.[/b]
Hey thanks! Yeah, I am learning the whole suite. The Prelude and Sarabande are pretty much perfected IMO, but that Toccata is a real killer.

Mike

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#603771 - 07/14/02 02:40 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas

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#603772 - 07/14/02 02:49 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
StanSteel2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/02
Posts: 65
Loc: Los Angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:


RE the Chopin Op. 20 Scherzo - I did not find this more difficult than Op. 31. Op. 20 has so much repetition that you really only have to learn about 5 pages of music. As for the technical difficulty of Op. 20, it really isn't that bad when you use the proper hand motions. In fact, it almost plays itself.

Ryan[/b]
Cool! Thanks. I will probably start working on it soon. I especially like the A part starting with those two weird chords, then going into that kind of rumbling and growling. Then the middle part, I love the way a baby song is included. This piece is like waking a piano in the middle of its sleep and then trying to put him back to sleep again, .. and failing because the growling comes back of course \:D !!
_________________________
"Music, even when picturing something that is ugly, must itself remain beautiful."
-- Ludwig van Beethoven

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#603773 - 07/14/02 03:15 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
Aura Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 92
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Ok - now that I've read the entire Brendan vs. jeffylube & Der Spion quarral, allow me to say this:

Brendan: Thank you for your posts, and congratulations on your choice of repertoire. I absolutely love the Messiaen Quartet for the end of Time. The Brahms 2nd piano concerto is certainly a big work - you mentioned that you're preparing it for some competitions if I remember correctly. May I ask which? If the size of my hand wasn't so much of a problem, I think I'd be interested in learning the Brahms 2 also.

Jeffylube: Relax. Please.

Der Spion: Please leave this forum if you are going to continue to post ridiculous comments like that. please

And now to address the actual topic of this post...

I have just finished a broadcast recording and am now beginning to start work on several new pieces.

1. Bach: Partita No. 6
2. Beethoven Sonata Opus 109
3. Prokofiev Sonata No 3

(Rautavaara Piano Concerto - I've already learnt this one, but I'm performing it in the finals of a compeittion in about a month's time)

After these are learnt and memorised, I'd like to study:

1. Mozart: Sonata 310
2. Schubert: Impromptus Opus 90 (I'd like to complete the set... ie. learn 3 and 4)
3. Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
4. Some Messiaen... which, I've yet to decide.

Ok, folks. Take care... I think we'll all get a lot much piano practice done if we put an end to these ludicrous quarrels. Don't you think?
_________________________
cheers

Aura

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#603774 - 07/14/02 06:47 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
B. Alden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 69

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#603775 - 07/14/02 10:02 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
StanSteel2,

The way I approached Op. 20 was to tackle the technical problems first, and then put everything together. I spent days working on each phrase in the opening pages, trying to get the notes and the proper motions down. I also memorized it early, before I could play it well so that I could watch my hands insteacd of the music. I then (and am still) alternated slow and fast practice. I may have been a bit misleading in my previous post (I since edited it). This really is a difficult piece to play well. That is why I tackled the technical problems first, well before trying to learn the piece as a whole.

One bit of advice, consider using the fingering 1231234 for the chromatic scale at the end. I found 12131 to be too slow.

Good luck,

Ryan

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#603776 - 07/14/02 10:09 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
Hi Aura,

About the Brahms 2! Have a look at the score. It's really not that bad. I find it falls rather nicely into the hands (make no mistake - it's no stroll through the park, and requires stamina). I have relatively small hands, and I found it quite manageable and great fun. As for competitions, it's a relief from the endless number of Rach 2 and 3 that get played on the competition circuit.

Jefflube: I think your point is made, and I certainly don't think anyone here would dispute
that every pianist is different and capable of handling different amounts of work. Apart from that, there's no need to let the thread degenerate into a "who-said-meant-what" squabble --even if Brendan's quip struck you as silly or ill-considered it's not worth a full-blown flame war.
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#603777 - 07/14/02 10:13 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
An observation - I have watched people who are always "working on" lots of music, and they are always working on lots of music. In other words, they never finish anything. Of course this isn't true in all cases, especially present company, but it is something that I have observed in pianists I have been around. In fact, I have even been caught in this trap before. I caught myself saying thing slike " I am working on all kinds of things, but I have nothing to play."

It probably depends on the definition of "working on". I go through periods were I like to read through lots of music. But I don't consider this to be working on something - I am just reading it for enjoyment. Often when I am trying to decide what to learn next I will pick up a bunch of works and "work on" them for a while until I make a decision about them. But I don't really consider this to be "working on" either - it is really more trying them on for size.

My definition of "working on" a piece is to sit down and solve it's technical problems, memorize it, and then polish it up. When polishing I continue to form ideas about interpretation, I work on spots, and later I perform it for people I know.

Sorry for rambling. Brendan's comments got me thinking about this, and I thought posting my approach might be useful.

Ryan

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#603778 - 07/14/02 10:41 AM Re: What are you working on, what do you hope to work on soon?
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
Ryan,

Good post! I think that's very close to my approach. It's certainly close to what I mean by "reading" through things. I do "read" through lots of stuff (new or old), before settling on something to actually "work" on. I draw a distinction between "playing" and "working". The latter is a much more concentrated effort (and is restricted to just a few things), this is, for me, a process of working carefully and attentively to the details (musical/technical) involved in the work.(Though I sometime think my working pace seems, initially slow and glacial, I find it much more productive). Playing, however, is for me a more open (or, if you like, relaxed) activity that include "reading" new things, playing around with older stuff, or just improvising.
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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