Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#930554 - 07/21/07 03:47 PM Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers, You were so kind to me recently and I loved your answers to my question, "Should I play a classical piece exactly as the composer intended?" Now I have a question that I do not know the answer and want your academic input please. I enjoy taking a basic classical piece... only sometimes for fun... doing my own thing, improv. The way I hear the piece. I taught piano ,40 years ago, as an understudy to my teacher, she had her Master's in Music Ed. She taught me to respect the classical piano masters. I do very much. In your academic thinking can there be two worlds here? One that we do our best to play a classical piece as written ...as we do... or... do you accept the other world of a pianist making a statement such as," This is my own improv of this classical piece?" Teachers do you find this offensive the second, compromising to me and other pianist who also enjoy improv of the classics? I am so excited to hear your thinking. Thank you in advance for your input. Sandy B
_________________________
Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#930555 - 07/21/07 08:53 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
It would'nt be acceptable to me or my teacher...
_________________________
Currently working on:J.S Bach Prelude&Fugue in C major from bk 1,Chopin Etude op.10 no.12,Impromptus nos.1&4 and Mendelssohn Song without words op.67

Top
#930556 - 07/21/07 11:24 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sandra, you asked: In your academic thinking can there be two worlds here? Of course. A lot of great classical music has been derived as paradies, improvs, theme & variations, etc., on previous music.

As a teacher, I am not prone to allowing students to mis-play music in the guise of "improv" but an accomplished student who wants to venture forth, by all means.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#930557 - 07/22/07 09:16 AM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
I think that if the student knows the original piece as it is meant to be played then they should be allowed to improvise on it. In the end, as long as the sound is pleasing to hear, then what is the problem. Although I'm sure many of the composers would disagree...

Top
#930558 - 07/22/07 12:13 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Markeyz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Seattle
I think if the improvisation is done intelligently (i.e. using original themes, harmony, and form as a basis for variations, reharmonization, etc.) it could be highly beneficial in solidifying knowledge of the original composition. In fact just this morning I was playing around with jazz chord voicings underneath Chopin's Fantasy Impromptu melody.

If, however, the "improvisation" is simply a way to skip, gloss over, or avoid altogether difficulties in the original, then it is of little value other than perhaps as an enjoyable diversion at home. It is important to enjoy playing, after all.
_________________________
Jazz pianist and teacher.

http://www.marchager.com

Top
#930559 - 07/22/07 12:25 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think we need to realize that there is no such thing as Piano Police. You can do anything you want without fear of incarceration.

No matter what you do, some people will like it and some people will hate it. In the case of classical improvisation, most people will dislike it, but there's no real reason why it's bad.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#930560 - 07/22/07 02:13 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
At Kreisler,

I'm glad to see a piano professor (I believe...?) being so liberal and flexible with piano music. It is truly great.

Top
#930561 - 07/22/07 03:10 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think you'll find there are many professors and academics who are rather liberal and flexible. Jerome Lowenthal at Juilliard is a pretty thoughtful guy, as are Todd Welbourne and Christopher Taylor at Wisconsin. (I only know these people by reputation, but from what I've heard, they're all fascinating.) William Westney at Texas Tech University has his students engage in free improvisation quite often. Steve Rush at Michigan is known for doing all kinds of completely bizarre things (when I was there, he created a "piece" where the movement of Geese in the pond outside the building generated MIDI information that was performed in real-time on the University's Carillon.)

When people aren't flexible, I think you'll find the good ones are quick to admit it. I remember being told by Ann Schein (at the Peabody conservatory at the time) that she was only able to work with a certain kind of student. She said that a student needs to come to her with an interest in traditional classical piano music and their technique pretty much set. I asked "what about people who would rather specialize in 20th century music?" She said that was commendable and that there are certainly a lot of people who will go on to have great careers in that, but that she's just not the person to help them get there.

I wish more teachers were that honest. At smaller schools, faculty are usually so desperate to recruit that they'll take anybody, regardless of whether or not it's a good fit.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#930562 - 07/22/07 08:09 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers...Thank you so very much for your input. I printed your academic information and I will value this for my lifetime. I am putting together a classical medley of well known classical themes as I hear them. I have the CD's to use to hear them played by the best concert pianists. I will be very careful and respectful of the composers. The other residents where I live, assisted living, love classical piano and I want this concept to entertain them. Their attention span is rather short, average age of 85 years old... I am 68. I have a very good classical fake book with many, many chord changes to use as a guide too. Thank you again...Sandy B
_________________________
Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

Top
#930563 - 07/22/07 09:07 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
"I think we need to realize that there is no such thing as Piano Police. You can do anything you want without fear of incarceration."[/b]

Whew ! That's a tremendous relief. I was worried all night about people in the street reporting a rhythm I used yesterday. There's no law against making a musical prison for oneself though, and thousands seem desperate to do so.

"I think you'll find there are many professors and academics who are rather liberal and flexible."[/b]

Do us a favour and send a few of them over this way will you.
_________________________
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

Top
#930564 - 07/22/07 11:21 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Zom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 73
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Sandra, you asked: In your academic thinking can there be two worlds here? Of course. A lot of great classical music has been derived as paradies, improvs, theme & variations, etc., on previous music.

As a teacher, I am not prone to allowing students to mis-play music in the guise of "improv" but an accomplished student who wants to venture forth, by all means. [/b]
This isn't meant to be contradictory by any means: but I think that the best time to start learning improv is when a student is not accomplished. If they get too far into a comfort zone of never improvising, they will find it increasingly difficult to just let go. I've been improvising and "mis playing" since the beginning, whilst simultaneously learning the correct way to play classical pieces. I'm finding "AND" is just about the most useful word while learning music and learning different ways to learn music.

Top
#930565 - 07/23/07 01:54 AM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
By the way...just listened to Andras Schiff's recording of the first Beethoven cello sonata tonight. On the repeat, he improvises in several spots, adding ornaments, or filling out passages with extra sixteenth notes, etc...

Cool stuff!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#930566 - 07/23/07 06:33 AM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thank goodness for Victor Borge and Liberace ... to give us a laugh and take the starch out of grim
adherence to pedantic cast-in-stone doctrines.

Top
#930567 - 07/23/07 10:08 AM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Zorn, there's a big difference between a student who is purposefully varying from what is written and a student who cannot play what is written, and using the "improv" theme as a crutch.

That said, you are correct, and that is why many of us teach students to transpose and improvse early on. It gets the student to listen to what's being played, not just pushing down the "right key at the right time" as a certain famous musician once said.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#930568 - 07/23/07 01:19 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
Beethoven is my favorite musician/composer of all time. (As if my name didn't already hint towards that) But what I find really interesting is how he taught and always performed and encouraged sticking to the music exactly as written. I believe he even yelled at Czerny during some concert that he went expecting to hear his music and not some slight variation. Another thing I've read somewhere is that Beethoven was able to improve any music he came into contact with. Also in the movie Amadeus, although the movie itself was not entirely factually accurate, i remember a scene where mozart improved on Salieri's piano piece on the spot improving it quite a bit. One point is that it is slightly hypocritical of Beethoven to teach and promote something he didn't always do himself. This is me assuming he didn't ask permission before he made that additions. The other point is that many of the great composers were able to improvise on themes and pieces already written and we'd only be limiting ourselves if we didn't use the same creative drive they did.

Top
#930569 - 07/27/07 04:04 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
KatieB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 51
Loc: North Carolina
This guy by the name of Liszt did a lot of that kind of playing but the Piano Police finally caught him in the end and made him become a priest.

Which, for a guy like Liszt, was not all bad.

But hey, if music is supposed to bring joy and adding something here and there brings you joy, lock your doors and go to town.

Just don't play it in front of the ... well, you know who.

Top
#930570 - 07/27/07 05:37 PM Re: Teachers... Improv of classical piano acceptable to you?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
\:D
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
Our latest Issue is available now...
Piano News - Interesting & Fun Piano Related Newsletter! (free)
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
144 registered (ajames, accordeur, 36251, 41 invisible), 1766 Guests and 13 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75579 Members
42 Forums
156267 Topics
2294931 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
M-Audio Oxygen 88 vs. StudioLogic Numa Compact
by snapdragon
07/29/14 07:02 PM
Sheet Music Retainers
by MargaretUK
07/29/14 05:20 PM
piano contest
by wkurashima
07/29/14 04:47 PM
piano contest Clavinova
by wkurashima
07/29/14 04:39 PM
Proper chunking method
by Edtek
07/29/14 03:10 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission