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#942759 - 12/20/08 02:18 AM What to do next?
William A.P.M. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 554
Loc: Ecuador
Hi everyone.

For the 1st time in my teaching life, the following has happened...

I had started teaching one of my students Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Sonata before I had left on a small trip. We had covered before that about 4 pages worth of the sonata and it was fine up till then. Midway of my trip he was done with the 1st movement.

Coming back, I have had 1 lesson with him where he has all of a sudden found impossible to continue with the piece. He says the 2nd movement is impossible for him because the fingering requirements are too uncomfortable for him.

Do I continue the piece? Do i drop it? Or do I make an attempt at easing the difficulty?

I am specifically referring to the 2nd movement, although it is slow, he does not like the chords on both hands and finds it impossible to play them accurately.

I did try in fact to help him, and offered all possible fingerings, but he would not get it. This is coming from a kid who has played several Rachmaninov etudes, preludes, and so forth, along with Scriabin etudes as well. I do not understand why!

I would love to continue with the 3rd movement and then return to the 2nd movement later, but his aggravation has left me doubtful.

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#942760 - 12/20/08 08:19 AM Re: What to do next?
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11783
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
When frustration has set in, sometimes it is best to leave it alone for a while. Sometimes overcoming the mental blocks is the hardest part of playing an instrument. Let him know that while you are confident he is capable of finding a way to play the piece with ease, you will set it aside to revisit at a later time. Then give him something that you know he would enjoy, but not too challenging. He probably needs a little boost right now. You can always go back to the piece in 6 months or so, and chances are he'll no have the problems he did this time around.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#942761 - 12/20/08 04:18 PM Re: What to do next?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
In my opinion, this seems to be the all too
common situation of a highly-trained
classical pianist eventually reaching a
point where the years of playing with
so-called correct fingering has finally
taken its toll.

This "correct" fingering is typically
what is printed on the old editions,
that is, fingering that was devised in
the early 1900's by some hack editor
based on "the latest principles of
modern pianoforte playing." This
generic, one-size-fits-all fingering is
what's been foisted on students
for the last hundred years as the
only authoritative fingering acceptable
for a clasical pianist. The elite
among classical players--those with
otherworldly memorizing ability--take
to this easily, as their mnemonic
ability enables them to get away with
any manner of playing. But for lesser
players this unnatural fingering, crammed
down their throats, is eventually going
to catch up with them. It's based
on some hack editor's hand and psychology
and cannot suit them individually. Thus,
when they play with it, they're forcing
their body to do something that is
inherently unnatural for it, and at some
point their body is going to rebel
and will go no further with it. This
is why so many classical pianists injure
themselves or burn out of quit or
end up "just playing the notes." The
years of playing with unnatural fingering
finally takes its toll, and their body
won't do anymore of it.

You statement that you tried to show him
other fingerings shows a lack of understanding
of this. This will do no good, because
in my view no teacher is qualified to
devise even a single fingering for
any student, because he cannot know
a student's physical and psychological
requirements, which are unique to him alone.
If you devise a competely new set of
fingerings, all that does is subsitute
some hack editor's fingering for
a new set based on your hand and your
psychology, which is not going to fit
a student any better than the one-size-
fits-all fingering on the score.

This is why I contend that students should
not look at printed fingering or that
written in by an instructor, and
instead simply plop both hands
(students should not practice hands
separate in my view) down on the keyboard
in the vicinity of where the music
is to be played, and then play from
the score without looking at their
hands as much as possible. Besides improving
reading, this will enable the hands to
find the best fingering and technique
on their own with no special effort
on the student's part. This fingering
and technique will be the one best
suited to each student individually,
since it was devised by the student's
own hands, which are a part of him and
know what is best for him.

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#942762 - 12/20/08 04:22 PM Re: What to do next?
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
:rolleyes:





_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#942763 - 12/20/08 04:25 PM Re: What to do next?
Fraggle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 384
Loc: Nottingham, U.K.
How can you be so sure, what the hell do you know about it anyway? You`re not even a piano teacher!
_________________________
Will

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#942764 - 12/20/08 04:28 PM Re: What to do next?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Gyro, is amnesia one of your afflictions, or do you imagine that everyone else suffers from it? Is it OCD that compels you to repeat yourself ad nauseam?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#942765 - 12/20/08 04:30 PM Re: What to do next?
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horowitzian:





[/b]
Where did you pick that one up?
_________________________
Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.

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#942766 - 12/20/08 04:50 PM Re: What to do next?
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

Top
#942767 - 12/20/08 05:29 PM Re: What to do next?
William A.P.M. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 554
Loc: Ecuador
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
When frustration has set in, sometimes it is best to leave it alone for a while. Sometimes overcoming the mental blocks is the hardest part of playing an instrument. Let him know that while you are confident he is capable of finding a way to play the piece with ease, you will set it aside to revisit at a later time. Then give him something that you know he would enjoy, but not too challenging. He probably needs a little boost right now. You can always go back to the piece in 6 months or so, and chances are he'll no have the problems he did this time around. [/b]
Thanks Morodiene for the advice. I guess that's what I was to expect to hear from someone. I think deep inside the issue is with me for some reason, as if I have failed him. We have never left a piece unfinished before, so I was perhaps heart-broken by this. I think that the 3 missed lessons in between was a great factor in this. I'll get over it.

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#942768 - 12/21/08 08:51 PM Re: What to do next?
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11783
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horowitzian:
:rolleyes:





[/b]
This is the best response I've seen in a while.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#942769 - 12/21/08 10:55 PM Re: What to do next?
William A.P.M. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 554
Loc: Ecuador
^ LOL, yeah, where does Horowitzian find all these icons?

hilarious ...

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#942770 - 12/21/08 11:14 PM Re: What to do next?
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
http://www.runemasterstudios.com/graemlins/

http://www.mysmiley.net/

Most of the ones I use are on these sites. ;\) \:D

Thanks, Morodienne! I thought I'd do something a little different...not worth typing anything. :rolleyes:
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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