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#940317 - 06/19/07 10:25 PM Can your students play any music?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Suppose you were to ask each of your students at their next lesson to play 5 pieces for you. Assuming, of course, that by this time they have learned to play at least 5 pieces.

Could they do it?

I never could. Whenever I'd learn a piece of music, as soon as I went on to the next piece, I'd forget the last one. So the only music I could ever play was the music that I was working on, which was usually far from "perfect." And usually, I could only play a part of it, and not the whole thing (let alone from memory).

So I'd go to a friend's house, mention that I play piano, and my friend would say, "OK play something!" and I wouldn't be able to play a single piece, despite years of lessons.

For some reason, now things are starting to click. I just finished my 2nd year at music school; now, there are probably a handful of pieces that I can play from memory at my whim, and some old pieces that I haven't played in a long time are coming back rather easily. But it still doesn't make sense.... I've been playing piano since I was 11; I'm already half-way through music school; I should be able to play dozens of pieces! Well, certainly I have learned to play dozens of pieces... and apparantly, I've also completely forgotten dozens of pieces.


How do you get your students to maintain their repertoire? Not for the sake of having a "repertoire", but for the sake of being able to sit and play music for an hour, just for the fun of it. Not for the sake of preparing for a particular concert, but for the sake of being able to sit and play for your friends after dinner, any time.

It seems kind of silly to take lessons for so many years, to then not be able to play a list of music.
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#940318 - 06/19/07 10:47 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10742
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
That's kind of weird, but I know what you're going through. I've often had times when people want me to play something, only to not have anythign memorized for the moment. As a child, I memorized pretty much everything, because I *hated* reading. I can still remember songs that I learned as a child as a result! But now, I don't take the time to memorize, and granted the music is a lot more complex now, too. I hear stories of these 90 year old women who can play 100 songs from memory and just think how can somoen possilby keep that all in their head? I remember how a song sounds, but how to play it is completely different.
I think perhaps the best way to avoid that situation again is to make a list of your favorites (and also ones that are good crowd pleasers \:\) ), and work those into memory. Once they are memorized, you'd probably have to go through them once a week or so just to keep them up. Since I have the same problem, I guess I'm not much help LOL! \:D
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#940319 - 06/19/07 10:54 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I always memorized all my music -- my teacher always remarked that I had an amazing memory.

And yet, I would forget them all as soon as I started something new!
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Sam

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#940320 - 06/19/07 11:03 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
jwjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 278
Loc: New York
Well, personally, my experience as a piano student was that when I learned a new piece, I stopped working on the old ones. But I could always play the one I had completed at performance level. And the older pieces were not forgotten quickly. After getting interested in jazz, I stopped playing classical altogether for a few years, and then I really forgot some of the pieces I used to play. Since then I've learned new classical pieces and I work on them until they are at performance level, and then I do something else. My goal now is not to have a repertoire of classical pieces so I don't try to maintain them.
If your desire is to be able to play an hour of music, for whatever reason, then you need to find the motivation in yourself. If you are asking how teachers can get students to do this, then the answer is really the same, the student needs to want to do this themselves.

I think the question is why did you forget the old pieces. You said that you could not play the pieces you were currently working on from memory. If you never memorized your pieces, then you could never have forgotten them.
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#940321 - 06/19/07 11:11 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by jwjazz:
You said that you could not play the pieces you were currently working on from memory. If you never memorized your pieces, then you could never have forgotten them. [/b]
I memorized them all -- but what I was trying to imply was that memorization didn't do me much good when a friend asked "Play something!" if I was still working on the piece (i.e. couldn't play the whole thing yet).

Why did I forget them all so quickly? That's a good question.
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#940322 - 06/20/07 12:23 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
pianojerome - I am happy to report that many students can sit down and play 5 or more pieces. But it is primarily up to the teacher to insure this happens, as most students, even with the best of intentions, will let repertoire get away from them.

Betty & I use a program called AAA, which is shorthand for "I can play 10 pieces Anytime, for Anyone, Anywhere." This is a device Martha Baker-Jordan came up with to capitalize on the California exams and Piano Guild exams.

Of course, those of us teaching Guild programs try and keep students up to date on their repertoire, by including 10 - 12 minutes at the end of the lesson for playing repertoire. I will usually hae the students play through 3 or 4 pieces, and select one to focus on for a few minutes.

A similar program has been developed by N. Jane Tan, who heads up the "Well Prepared Pianist Institute" which fosters more artistic playing from day one. She uses the term "Simmering Pot" for repertoire which is improving.

But the bottom line is that it is the teacher who must demand it, and check constantly, to insure the student is practicing and maintaining repertoire. The very nice result is that many, if not most, of my students can play repertoire from two and three years ago.
_________________________
"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

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#940323 - 06/20/07 01:07 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
jwjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 278
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:

I never could. Whenever I'd learn a piece of music, as soon as I went on to the next piece, I'd forget the last one. So the only music I could ever play was the music that I was working on, which was usually far from "perfect." And usually, I could only play a part of it, and not the whole thing (let alone from memory).
[/b]
Sorry, when you said "let alone from memory" I thought you meant that you could play part of the piece with music, but from memory you couldn't play anything. I also didn't see your post that posted just before mine.

I still don't understand why you couldn't play an entire piece if you had memorized it.
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#940324 - 06/20/07 02:31 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
pianojerome,

Do you start your piece when it is new with analsyis of key, form (ABA - etc), fingering plan for consistency, dynamics, vocabularly, every little clue in the piece including the composer, era, title, tempo.

Do you work repeatedly in small sections and not play all the way through for pages and pages? Maybe you might tell us how you start a piece and practice it while it's under construction. There may be a very small missing link that keeps it from melding in your mind and motor coordination. Do you go blank or does confusion mess you up?

I once played the final section of Clair de Lune over and over and could not find the final chord - I hastily played something at was really noticibly wrong and I was hugely embarrased. I was 12 in 7th grade in a school concert playing a solo in a dark auditorium with a spotlight (not) in my eyes. As I put my right foot on the damper, the entire leg shook rapidly throughout the piece. I knew I was in trouble. And, this was a piece I knew so well.

I do have students who have lots of memorized pieces from music education composers - Vandall, Ogilvy, Alexander, Mier, Rollin, etc. The kids really enjoy feeling like "entertainers" and they keep adding to their list. I've taught them to analyze and they really hang on to that information because it is the "glue" which makes it all manageable.

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#940325 - 06/20/07 06:49 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
On the one hand we have a 3rd year musicology student admitting to his aural memory being limited to the work in hand (perhaps the delight of a 6 page movement from a Beethoven Sonata) ... while piano teacher John blandly boasts students who can play 5 pieces of music off-the-cuff.

What John doesn’t say is that his brood of young hopefuls are from a lower league ... struggling through the sight-reading of primitive
single-note outlines from method books.

Chalk and cheese!!

It will be easy enough for PJ to rekindle past advanced studies and polish up if desired ... hang in there ... you’re on the right track ... congratulations on passing the 2nd year examinations.

John has yet to motivate his gang past ChrisH’s "pyramid" hump.

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#940326 - 06/20/07 08:43 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, lets see, yes, btb, you're right. I guess Debussy's Arabesque, Golliwogg's Cakewalk, the complete Bach 5th French Suite, Mozart K 280, and the Kabalevsky 2nd Sonatina is from a lower league. Oh, darn, what did I expect from an 8th grade student. He's such a slackard.

Betty's excellent suggestion concerning analzysis will really help both performance anxiety and long term memory. There is nothing more embarrassing than remembering where your Beethoven Sonata in G starts!
_________________________
"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

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#940327 - 06/20/07 09:12 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Music isn't the only area where this is a problem for me.

I did very well in grade school -- memorized everything, passed all my exams, learned well. I remember all the skills... given the formulas, I can solve math equations, but I don't remember the formulas (despite having memorized them for high school Calculus). Given a book, I can write a great analytical essay, but I don't remember in-depth details for any of the books that I read (despite having written numerous high-quality essays in high school English classes). I can research the history of Germany and write a 10-page paper; but having done that already in high school, I don't remember most of the details anymore... I'd have to do the research again.

So that's what happens with music. I've learned some skills -- I can take a new piece of music, and do wonderful things with it. I memorize it, and I play it to my and my teacher's satisfaction, and sometimes I even perform it under high pressure, to good success. And then I forget it.

It must be related to my forgetting of the fine details that I learned in school. Sure, I can hear how the piece goes in my head; I remember the structure; I remember the larger details, but I can't play it. I also remember when the American Civil War took place, and I remember a few larger aspects of it, but I couldn't tell you about the famous generals (whose names and stories I memorized in high school), or the famous battles (which I learned about in high school), or any statistics (which I memorized years ago).

Why do students forget not just music, but their academic studies as well?

The skills are different -- the skills I have, and most students learn the skills. It's the details of the individual projects that are forgotten.
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#940328 - 06/20/07 09:15 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
pianojerome,

I totally understand what you mean in your original post as I have felt the very same way! - playing for years but not being able to play a thing when someone asked. One thing I've blamed this on when taking lessons as a kid and on into college is that much of the music I was assigned especially in the area of classical was stuff I really didn't care for in the first place. There were very few pieces I've been assigned that I really loved. So why keep up pieces that I didn't like in the first place?

Now that I "don't answer to anyone", I can pick and choose what I really like and learn those and I'm more interested in keeping them up. Now, although I'm not as consistent as I should be but ideally I keep a list of pieces I want to keep up, and play through those as a part of regular practice each day, maybe going over a different small section anywhere from a couple to all depending on how much time I have. So on repertoire, I am rotating each day a different small section to review and cover in more detail.

I haven't done much memorizing anymore just because I don't take the time, but now my repertoire list are those pieces I can play well from the music. I used to be really good at memorization but I just would memorize good enough to get by including for tests in classes and then just forget it the next day. I think it's because I was only using short-term memory and had not gotten things into my long-term memory. I read an article once on memorizing/practicing the piano, I think the professors name was Brent Hugh if my memory serves me right, that it takes 7 times of playing a small segment of music to get it from short-term memory to long-term and if when trying to memorize a piece, you try to play a small part from memory 7 times and still can't do it, you have tried to take too big of chunk at once and need to take a smaller bit. I've not really tested that tip out much but found the difference in considering short-term and long-term memory interesting.

Hopefully, you don't forget the information you learned in classes. That's what I did, learn it good enough to ace the test and let it go out of my memory the next day, subsequently I can't remember as much long-term of what I learned. I always felt in college it very ironic - a person's just trying to keep one's head above water to keep up with the work to really learn anything! \:D I've always done better with independent study where I can read and study at my own pace without trying to keep up with deadlines.

As far as my students, because I have felt like you do myself, when students memorize a piece or even have it learned completely from the music, I ask if it's one they would want to keep up long-term based on if it's a favorite or just "so-so". We add it to a "repertoire" list and I write it as part of their assignment each week to play through some or all of their "repertoire". It's great because for recitals, I don't have to worry about, "oh, I hope they can get a piece learned in time!" as they usually do learn a new one for recital but have several others in their arsenal they can play if they choose.


For myself, I don't have time to play through several "repertoire" pieces in one day, but try to have a rotating system, a couple one day, review another couple different one's the next, and so forth also as I mentioned picking different small sections to work out and review more thoroughly each day. Sometimes what works for me when I'm short on time, I don't even play the entire piece, just work on reviewing and fine tuning a couple lines on one to however many pieces I have time for.

p.s. to sit and play for friends or for my own enjoyment, I'd personally tend to want to memorize some pieces that were easy for me, maybe some classical but some arrangements of whatever other styles my friends or I liked and maybe only a couple to a few difficult - "show off" pieces.

Also, I don't do it much, but I've always felt if I could do well on improv., I'd be able to crank out something nice for a crowd impromptu. Do you play by improv. at all?

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#940329 - 06/20/07 09:35 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
pianojerome - can you recite the pledge of alligence? Sing happy birthday? Your mother's birthday? You can? Well, guess what, your memory is fine. As sarabande implies, we remember what we want to remember. And there is also truth in the "use it or lose it" mantra.

I cannot speak for other teachers, but for myself, I remember best those pieces I memorized, and kept memorized, while I was in Junior & Senior High (college was right behind). During those years, our brains are sponges, and soak up information which is held for a very long time.

In old age, dementia patients have lost memories of a life time, except for childhood, the early teen age years. Apparently there is something about the way our brains are wired that makes this so.

Understanding this, it is why, I believe, that teachers should strive to get piano students into early advance literature by 6th or 7th grade, so the music they learn while in high school will be with them for a lifetime.
_________________________
"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

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#940330 - 06/20/07 09:36 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Stop flim-flamming John,
You boasted "many students" can play 5 pieces off the cuff ... again ... to impress ... you defend your wild assertions by only mentioning the 8th grade chappie who is desperately trying to enhance his performance by attempting to memorize the Debussy's Arabesque, Golliwogg's Cakewalk, the complete Bach 5th French Suite, Mozart K 280, and the Kabalevsky 2nd Sonatina ... I guarantee that he likes to have the score in front of him when he is playing... please come clean.

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#940331 - 06/20/07 09:50 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
pianojerome,
I've found the best way to remember information even if it's not musical related is to teach it because one has to put the information to use everyday and keep it up in order to teach someone else. I'm sure I would forget a lot more musical concepts and subjects if I weren't teaching them.

I didn't read your last post before I posted but in talking about information at school, ironically again I always have found it so amazing that my husband who barely scraped by in high school and in college with a 2.0 can remember all those math equations from high school! (and he's in his mid 40's now) - and rattle off all kinds of scientific information and historic information off the cuff that he learned eons ago and he doesn't necessarily use all that information on a regular basis. Then take me who like I said memorized good enough to ace the test, graduated from h.s. with a near 4.0 and from college with a 4.0 and can hardly remember a thing! Go figure! :rolleyes: I really think there is something to the long-term memory vs. short-term memory thing - surely there's some articles or information around on memorizing and how to get something to long-term memory if a person is interested.

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#940332 - 06/20/07 10:17 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
One of the biggest problems is depth. People tend to go for quantity instead of quality. They learn pieces at the edge of their technical ability rather than refine something that's only a little bit challenging. They study only the technique of a piece instead of the history, theory, etc... They perform it once and think they're done, instead of playing it several times in front of an audience (and far too many teachers, unfortunately, only give their students one or two performance opportunities a year!)

Anyway...lots of reasons...
_________________________
"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)

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#940333 - 06/20/07 11:16 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
PianoJerome began this thread by asking:
 Quote:
Suppose you were to ask each of your students at their next lesson to play 5 pieces for you. Assuming, of course, that by this time they have learned to play at least 5 pieces.

Could they do it?
Several of us do have students who can and who do this routinely, so we've attempted to dissect the hows and whys.

Disregarding the naysayers, who either having not experienced it with their teachers or their children's teachers, do not believe it's possible, I would suggest one other aspect to consider: level of difficulty. It is easier to learn, master, and memorize a piece which is well within one's grasp, than one which is far above one's ability. Many teachers, too many IMHO, push students along by moving them into repertoire which is way too difficult for them.

My rule of thumb is: can a student read through a new piece and play it cohesively with two or three repetitions, at a lesson? If not, it's too challenging. IMHO. By taking this approach, I believe that the student has immediate gratification, is more likely to practice it at home, and in the long run, will actually progress faster.

Rereading the remainder of Jerome's original post, I see what may be another part of the problem: superficial learning vs understanding. Betty and others have already addressed this in part. Now in music school, you're beginning to focus on your music with a laser like precision, and you're learning details you've never noticed before. Music is becoming more interesting to you, and guess what, as a result, it's moving into your right brain, where it will remain for some time to come.
_________________________
"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

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#940334 - 06/20/07 11:58 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
pj is trying to reconcile the memorising effort that he puts in to his musical studies to attain quality performance ... which appears to evaporate as soon as he applies his mind to the next venture.

Might I suggest that hearing is one of man’s less critical survival senses ... by comparison with that of vision by which we take in a massive 70% of our learning ... it would appear that our aural memory is sadly subject to a quick fade unless constantly refreshed ... this is merely a human reality ... by comparison our beloved dogs
live in a world of sensitive hearing and smells .

So pj need not feel a spasm of misconstrued inferiority when others make spurious claims about playing 5 memorized advanced pieces of music off the cuff (with no music) ... we all have a limited memory which battles to give full attention to the memorizing of more than one
piece of music at any one time ... it’s not the end of the world ... we make do through practice with a combination of scanned sight-reading, coupled with aural and muscle memory.

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#940335 - 06/20/07 12:46 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I am enjoying these posting so much! We are a lively bunch and responsive, too.

btb: I'm wanting to know about "chalk and cheese" much like "apples and oranges", but can you explain as I don't see the similarity - and I haven't eaten any chalk lately, nor written on the board with cheese. This use is perplexing to me and I need unperplexing greatly. And, thanks for the weather report, too.

John: It's great to have you back this morning.

pianojerome: See what you started - it was a very good question and I empathize with your "problem" greatly. You very much want for the "magic" to happen since you've been putting in the time and doing the work. Whatever our musical goal is reached, it is because the brain was ready to give it as a gift for all the preparation that went before. I think it's that simple. It happens when it happens.

One thing I am speculating on is that you are a very busy young adult, maybe even burning the midnight oil, and full of activities that are challenging, fully using your calories and carbs up daily. Try sleeping, having quiet time, eating well balanced (fruits and vegetables), lots of water. Could you profit from taking good care of your brain and body from a wholistic point of view? It has marvelous benefits. And, yes, I'm somebody's mother. Sorry, about that, it comes into the conversation sometimes.

I'm rooting for you!


Betty

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#940336 - 06/20/07 04:34 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Betty, 'Chalk and cheese' is just an expression for about as different as you can get.

I think this is very common and quite natural. It takes a great deal of time and effort to maintain a decent repertoire. Now that I teach far too much and perform much less I would struggle to play many advanced pieces from memory right at this moment. I do have a few chestnuts that I try to keep in my repertoire for those occasions when someone says 'Play something then'! What I have noticed though is that there are a great number of works which I have played in the past that I could refresh given a week or so. I think this is more important. I like to get students to revisit old pieces from time to time. They are always pleased with the fact that they can get them up to scratch much quicker than before.

We are often made to feel inadequate by those concert pianists who give a two hour recital from memory. How do they do it? Well, they perform that same recital several times every month. They would have lots of music in their repertoire which they have played many times and know well. However, they will only have the current recital at a performance level they are happy with. You also have to remember that these guys play for hours and hours, day in and day out. Most of us humans do not have the time for this.

With every piece you learn you gain valuable experience. You may forget the notes but you don't lose the skills (unless of course you don't practice enough!). It can feel like you have played for years and yet cannot really play anything. This is not quite true. You forget just what you have played in the past as well as how difficult it seemed at the time. For a confidence boos go and pick up a piece you played a while ago and see how quickly you can relearn it. I gaurantee you will notice things you didn't see before and the end result will be far superior this time around.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#940337 - 06/20/07 05:27 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Chris, I totally empathize. When someone "commands" a performance (not a close friend obviously), I ask for their credit card number. When they look at me perplexed, I respond, "Well, if you have $1,000 cash on you, that's perfectly acceptable too." Why should we be treated any different than other professionals? Anyway, no takers so far.
_________________________
"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

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#940338 - 06/20/07 05:44 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Chris,

It totally annoys me when a student thinks his old music isn't as good to play as the latest one for the next opportunity to play for an audience. So, I emphasize that all music adds to our repertoires, and these are pieces to have available to play throughout our musical lives for our own pleasure, too. What a thought, recycling! This is where the "AAA" is so great - the kids don't mind playing the same ones in sets. When they started thinking of themselves as entertainers and young musicians instead of piano students they really gained ambition and committment.

You certainly reminded me that so often when going back to old music, you see something that makes sense to you in a different way, and sometimes, something that you hadn't noted at all.

You have challened me to put my money where my mouth is gentlemen. I had given up playing much because of painful thumbs, and a right neck, shoulder and arm injury (2 years ago). However, I'm in physical therapy again, and it's already (with just 2 visits) greatly improving. I am optimistic and excited about the possibilities.

Betty

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#940339 - 06/20/07 06:31 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1492
:rolleyes:

It's simple - maintaining a repertoire requires frequently revisiting pieces so they don't slip away.
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#940340 - 06/20/07 09:18 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
John v.d. Brook,

I have to agree with you that several children have the capacity to memorize 5-10 pieces and keep them in their repetoire (and real music too). In my family I have one who memorizes easily and another who relies on sheet music-go figure.

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#940341 - 06/20/07 10:01 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Chris:

Thanks for explaining the metaphor to me. I liked the rest of your comment too.

Down with feeling inadequate! Up with empowerment! We can use all the confidence boosts we can get! Hold on to those thoughts!

For some reason, something else is popping into my head: "Crisis and Opportunity" are (supposedly)the same symbol in Chinese.
Depends on you which one you think it to be. I'd prefer opportunity any time over crisis, chaos or confusion.

You know, I think it's all about choosing your thoughts carefully!

I am working on my attitude in public by posting my thoughts here. Cheaper than a psychoanalyst, isnt it!

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#940342 - 06/20/07 10:05 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by rintincop:
:rolleyes:

It's simple - maintaining a repertoire requires frequently revisiting pieces so they don't slip away. [/b]
Not necessarily.

Last weekend, I began teaching cello lessons with a new 10-year-old student... and, incidently, it was the first time I had gotten out my cello in 2 years. Tonight, I played from memory bits of several pieces that I learned 3-5 years ago, which I hadn't played in 3-5 years. For some reason, they just stuck in my long-term memory.

On the other hand, I can't even play 1 measure from memory of some piano pieces that I just learned and memorized a few months ago, which I practiced every day to prepare for my final exams in April.

So why are these cello pieces, which I haven't played in years, on my secondary instrument, coming back immediately, but I've completely forgotten my exam pieces from 2 months ago?
_________________________
Sam

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#940343 - 06/20/07 10:34 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
When you say that you have completely forgotten these exam pieces, exactly what do you mean. You can't start the piece? You make slips and get off track when trying to work from memory, but if prompted you get back on track for a few more lines ...and then go off track again?

Are you OK with the music or does the music look strange and new after you've memorized a piece? Can you easily get the piece back with the music in front of you given a few days effort?

I think most of us don't keep things perfectly in memory unless we pay some attention to keeping the complexities in order. My son, who has a really good memory, can play the magical five piece from memory easily. With a little work, that would expand to 10-15. He too forgets little bits if he doesn't work to keep the piece fresh. That's why we allocate some time daily for "memory work" so those good pieces don't completely disappear. But even the ones that move out of current memory come back to him quickly with a week's work ....which is why I asked the detailed questions. His problem, like mine and many others I'm sure, is his tendency to finger memorize without any detailed analysis on which to hang the structure.
_________________________
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#940344 - 06/20/07 11:12 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
When you say that you have completely forgotten these exam pieces, exactly what do you mean. You can't start the piece? You make slips and get off track when trying to work from memory, but if prompted you get back on track for a few more lines ...and then go off track again?

Are you OK with the music or does the music look strange and new after you've memorized a piece? Can you easily get the piece back with the music in front of you given a few days effort?
[/b]
Well, from memory, I've completely forgotten 2 of them... just can't start them. I suppose with the music in front of me, though, I could probably still get through them.

1 of the other pieces I just played at a concert last weekend... but I had to relearn the ending of it, because even with the music in front of me, it had already started to go (Mozart 333 1st movement).

and the other 1 I still can play with no trouble. (Shostakovich Op. 34 No. 9) Actually, I play the end of it a lot better now, after having not played it for a few months, than I did at my exam!


But today I took out the music for Chopin's Waltz Op. 34 No. 2, which I played maybe 6 years ago, and I actually sight-read one of the other waltzes better than this one! I know the piece; I can hear it in my mind, and the structure is clear, but I'm going to have to work it up as if it were a new piece of music for me.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised to bring back the Raindrop Prelude after a few run-throughs with the music in front of me.

I have a feeling the Mozart Sonatas will take a bit more work for me to bring back -- kind of like the Chopin waltz. Slow, a little stuttering...

So some come back more easily than others. My reading has gotten a lot better this year, and I play better, too, so I definately attribute being able to bring back some of these pieces to my improvements.
_________________________
Sam

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#940345 - 06/21/07 09:40 PM Re: Can your students play any music?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
edit

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#940346 - 06/22/07 05:39 AM Re: Can your students play any music?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I sympathise with you Sam.

There are certain pieces on piano that I can always bring to mind. Others, even though I believed I had learnt them, can elude me at crucial moments.

There is a particular Chopin nocturne that I especially have this trouble with. I can hear the piece in my mind and then when I come to play it (without the music) I have a complete mental block about which key it is in. Other days I can recall it perfectly well.

This is inexplicable to me.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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