Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes

Posted by: Wise Idiot

Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 07:25 PM

She says they are too technically demanding and at this point I'm not ready to undertake the Black Key Etude and that I will develop unnecessary stress in my hands.
This is clearly not true. The Chopin etudes are designed to be developmental exercises in their own right. Thus if I take them at a near-comfortable pace, my dexterity will improve such that I'll be able to handle them at higher tempos.
Posted by: daviel

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 07:31 PM

You going to change teachers?
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 07:43 PM

You first posted about your interest in this piece several months back.

Does your teacher know you've been working on it on your own?

Was her opinion based on hearing you play some of it, or on her experience teaching you other pieces, or on some other factors?

Steven
Posted by: Wise Idiot

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 07:53 PM

I haven't gone past the first line as far as working on it on my own. I don't know what her opinion is based on. She really hasn't explained the factors. I had a different teacher a few months ago (off-campus) and she said I the Etudes were within my ability. I suppose she meant that if I practiced them I could eventually get them up to speed.
Posted by: jazzyprof

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 08:02 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wise Idiot:
I had a different teacher a few months ago (off-campus) and she said I the Etudes were within my ability. [/b]
The etudes are not all at the same level of difficulty. They range from advanced to impossible. Perhaps this teacher was referring to the more accessible ones like op.10 #3, op.10 #12, and op.25 #1. The Black Key is certainly one of the more challenging.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 08:05 PM

I thought Op. 10 No. 5 was one of the more "medium" difficulty etudes?

Matt
Posted by: BJones

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 08:08 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wise Idiot:
I haven't gone past the first line as far as working on it on my own. I don't know what her opinion is based on. She really hasn't explained the factors. I had a different teacher a few months ago (off-campus) and she said I the Etudes were within my ability. I suppose she meant that if I practiced them I could eventually get them up to speed. [/b]
Has she seen you exhibit any signs of pain, tension, or stress while playing passages that place your hands in the same similar physical plane and motions as that etude?
Perhaps it's due to a technical issue that hasn't been adequately addressed as of yet by your teacher.
The Chopin etudes can only be played masterfully in a state of complete relaxation, the enitre body of the pianist executing ballet-like, synchronous movements, each etude requiring a different ballet of body synchronisitym and the correct amalgam of minimum motion for their effortless play.
Perhaps she feels soemthing must be addressed before beginning on these with you.
Posted by: Wise Idiot

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 08:13 PM

The Black Key Etude is my dream piece!
Posted by: jazzyprof

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 08:25 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wise Idiot:
The Black Key Etude is my dream piece. [/b]
"What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run? "

Only you can tell, but I would not advice you to challenge your teacher on this. Ask her what she thinks you need to do to prepare to tackle this piece. Having a dream piece in the not too distant future should keep you motivated.
Posted by: cjp_piano

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 08:41 PM

I don't tell my students they can't play something or they're not ready. When I was taking lessons, that would have made me want to learn it even more just to prove my teacher wrong!!

In fact, my sister played Gershwin's 3rd prelude in high school, and I loved it so much, I wanted to learn it, but I was only 11 years old and hadn't even taken lessons but a few years. I actually did a pretty good job of figuring out most of it. I couldn't really nail it, though. But my love of the piece and determination later paid off when I played it in high school and it helped me win scholarship money!!

I'm not saying you're teacher is incorrect, I'm just saying I don't tell students they can't play something, even if I may THINK it. If they really aren't able to pull it off, they'll realize it and I'll just think "I told you so!" ha ha . . .
Posted by: William Clark

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 09:49 PM

It is true that the Chopin études are tools to aid in technical development; however, they are tools best utilized by an advanced student. In my experience, the "Black Key" étude is one of the more challenging of the set.

That said, approaching the études as a mere technician is doing them a great injustice. I don't have a clue as to your technical or musical abilities, but I am inclined to agree with your teacher. Your teacher has your best interests at heart. Upon looking back at my own instruction, if I had a dime for every time I yearned to play something beyond my abilities at the time I'd be retired.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/23/09 10:25 PM

WI,

I had the mistaken impression that you had worked up a little more of the piece on your own than you now say. Even though we don't know the basis for your teacher's opinion, why—based on your limited experience with it to date—do you believe she is wrong? Have you practiced the first line in a relaxed manner and without discomfort? If you feel you've been successful with it and benefited, is there any reason that you haven't attempt to go beyond that short sample?

I agree with you that the Chopin etudes are tools for building technique, but I also agree with other posters who have acknowledged that they should be approached with both a certain degree of technical preparedness and the ability to engage the entire upper body with no unnecessary tension.

BTW, FWIW, I don't agree with a blanket generalization that "they" are too technically demanding, given that the difficulties vary greatly in type and degree. I wouldn't place the "Black Key" in the hardest group, but it might not be the best place for you to start, either. Perhaps one of a handful of other choices among the 27—even though not your dream piece—might be more suitable?

Steven
Posted by: carey

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 01:03 AM

WI -

In my humble opinion - and without knowing anything about your true abilities........if you can't read through the entire etude slowly from beginning to end - then you probably aren't ready to tackle it - dream piece or not.

What other repertoire are you working on? What pieces do you currently play well?
Posted by: wr

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 02:09 AM

You may be interested to know that Chopin himself did not teach his etudes except to a few of his most advanced students. He had students master various etudes by Clementi, Moscheles, etc. first (and some of those are quite difficult) before he would work with his pupils on his own etudes. If they got to his at all; most didn't.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 03:25 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wise Idiot:
She says they are too technically demanding and at this point I'm not ready to undertake the Black Key Etude and that I will develop unnecessary stress in my hands.
This is clearly not true. The Chopin etudes are designed to be developmental exercises in their own right. Thus if I take them at a near-comfortable pace, my dexterity will improve such that I'll be able to handle them at higher tempos. [/b]
You have to trust your teacher. If you don't, then why are you taking lessons from her.

A better approach - instead of ignoring what she says, and working on the piece - would be to ask her what pieces would be good stepping stones the that etude - or any of the others.
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 03:33 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by carey:
WI -

In my humble opinion - and without knowing anything about your true abilities........if you can't read through the entire etude slowly from beginning to end - then you probably aren't ready to tackle it - dream piece or not.

What other repertoire are you working on? What pieces do you currently play well? [/b]
Just have to chime in and say... I agree!
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 05:27 AM

Just as a matter of curiosity - are you sure your teacher is capable of tackling that piece herself? I had three piano teachers growing up. Two of them could never have approached a Chopin etude. The third one, maybe.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 06:29 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by carey:
WI -

In my humble opinion - and without knowing anything about your true abilities........if you can't read through the entire etude slowly from beginning to end - then you probably aren't ready to tackle it - dream piece or not.
[/b]
I agree.

Daniel
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 10:22 AM

I've read a number of opinions that if one cannot read through an entire piece slowly, it's a sign that it's too hard to learn. I'm not sure precisely what that means (e.g., How slowly? HS or HT? "Correct" fingering or anything goes?), but I disagree in principle.

In my experience, any number of technical elements can impede or prevent a casual read-through even if learning and playing them is within one's grasp. They're not exclusively in the realm of truly advanced repertoire, either. I wonder how many students are able slowly to read through, say, Rachmaninoff's Prelude 3/2 with its dense chords laden with accidentals and multi-staff notation, or Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 with its two cadenzas, before studying them in earnest.

Chopin's 10/3 comes to mind, too; it's frequently suggested as a "starter" etude, but could the experience of attempting to read through any of the middle section with its chromaticism and double-notes be found meaningful? The same observation applies to 25/7 with its extended and elaborate roulades in the left hand. Even with more advanced works—like 10/4 or 25/6, for example—it's often the case that they are at least as daunting to read prima vista as ultimately to play.
 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
Just as a matter of curiosity - are you sure your teacher is capable of tackling that piece herself? I had three piano teachers growing up. Two of them could never have approached a Chopin etude. The third one, maybe. [/b]
I'm very glad you mentioned this, Frycek. It was one of my first thoughts, too.

Steven
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 10:49 AM

This is a very worthy topic and what has been said here really contributes to anyone being better able to resolve an obstacle like this!

There are many considerations mentioned here, any of which may be part of the solution....copious explanations and things to consider.

This is the first topic I've read this morning and it thrilled me to see such intelligence and helpfulness at work.

I want to continue reading the development of this as time goes on.

One has to ask oneself: "Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?"

Even a small change in thinking and attitude can help, but keeping the same perspectice is going to keep the impotency alive.

There are many things to consider to date in this topic - a real learning opportunity exists here in learning about yourself.

I liked the "maturity" of the posts!

Betty
Posted by: btb

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 02:33 PM

WiseIdiot is in fact just fanning the breeze ... indulging in petty bravado to attract attention ... only a clown would talk about
tackling Chopin’s Black Key Etude Opus 10-5 with such casual ease ... underlying an abysmal lack of understanding ... even upstaging a teacher who, to say the very least, has made it clear that the chappie is NOT READY (and never will be).

NO ONE on this Forum can play this Etude at the requisite tempo ... requiring the RH to play a sequence of 480 notes at 12 notes per second
(m1-40 in 40 seconds) ... a super-human requirement ... one even tends to wonder whether Chopin needed to call up his friend, the legendary Liszt to present the Etude at it’s full potential ... how then can a pretentious beginner presume to want to stand up to the plate?

We all like the Black Key Etude ... but please!! ...
Posted by: etcetra

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 02:58 PM

If you haven't It would definitely help to let us know what you've been working on recently. Maybe others know more about you, but without any other information i can't tell if the problem is due to your teacher or your unrealistic expectations.
Posted by: daviel

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 03:20 PM

If you had this all figured out, why do you need a teacher? If you are not going to take your teacher's direction, then fire the teacher, and learn pro-se, or find another teacher that agrees with you. I am a legal aid lawyer, and an old timer, and I am used to clients with unrealistic expectations saying, "so and so says I can do this'" or the "internet site says etc." My response is to go hire "so and so" who says what you want to hear. Go find you a teacher that thinks you can learn that piece and go practice!
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 06:57 PM

What do "unrealistic expectations have to do with anything?"

Everything!

Unrealistic expectations need taming not glorifying.

Nothing speaks more importantly to our integrity than facing the reality of a situation.

If you find yourself being defensive, "yes, but...", "no, but...", "however..." or explaining, explaining, explaining...means to me that reality is not yet in your corner.

Someone who is already there does not need to make explanations or excuses or complaints about not being understood by their teacher.

Self actualized, or not self actualized? That is the question. "Unrealistic expections" are a "delusional diversion" that inhibit progress from taking place.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 08:27 PM

Those are good points, Betty, but we don't, after all, know whether the OP's expectations are unrealistic.

Nor do I think btb has any basis for saying that he is not ready "and never will be." That "requisite" tempo may be requisite to an impressive professional performance, but it has no relevance at all to the amateur who gains so much from playing it at any speed.

I consider maximum speed to be a by-product of the value derived from study of a Chopin etude. Some of us work on them, revisit them and learn new things from them continuously over the course of a lifetime! If maximum speed were a short-term goal, and its achievement were a criterion for learning the etudes, no amateur would even make the attempt.

Steven
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 09:08 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by cjp_piano:
I don't tell my students they can't play something or they're not ready. When I was taking lessons, that would have made me want to learn it even more just to prove my teacher wrong!!

In fact, my sister played Gershwin's 3rd prelude in high school, and I loved it so much, I wanted to learn it, but I was only 11 years old and hadn't even taken lessons but a few years. I actually did a pretty good job of figuring out most of it. I couldn't really nail it, though. But my love of the piece and determination later paid off when I played it in high school and it helped me win scholarship money!!

I'm not saying you're teacher is incorrect, I'm just saying I don't tell students they can't play something, even if I may THINK it. If they really aren't able to pull it off, they'll realize it and I'll just think "I told you so!" ha ha . . . [/b]
That's it exactly! Sometimes a kid will surprise me when they come with something that is clearly a challenge for them. Every once in a while it it totally out of the question, but we devise a plan to get them to the point where they can play it eventually. I dangle it as a carrot to do the things I know they will need in order to play it.

I recently had a student who was at the Intermediate level, playing Chopin Preludes No.4, 20, etc., Clementi & Kuhlau Sonatinas and Bach Little Preludes. He wanted to learn the first movement of the Moonlight sonata. Mind you, this is one person who looks at a key signature that has more than 2 accidentals and freaks, so I pointed out to him that the Moonlight was 4 sharps. Didn't bat an eye. And so he did it, and while it was a fairly good first time playing something at this level, I didn't let him play this for WMTA auditions, because I knew there were things that he simply wasn't ready to tackle with it. But he loves it, and why woudl I withhold that? No damage was done, and he learned some things about voicing chords. And now he has no right to complain when I give him a piece with 4 accidentals :p ;\)
Posted by: davidyko

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 09:08 PM

I agree with Steven's points about the printed requisite tempo not having much to do with the OP's case. In addition, sometimes the speed Chopin gives on the score is faster than what is needed for an effective performance.

I'm not particularly familiar with 10-5, so I don't know, but certainly 10-1 doesn't need to be at 176 to be impressive, and the first movement of Chopin's F minor concerto is hardly, if ever, performed to the tempo marking of 138.

As for the OP, it seems he has a pretty good idea of where he is, ability-wise. If he takes it at a "near-comfortable" pace, and take care not to generate unneeded tension, certainly there will be improvement in dexterity. As using this etude as a developmental exercise seems to be his main goal, and not, say, performing it up to speed in two months, I don't really see a problem with it.
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/24/09 11:03 PM

sotto voce,

Yes, you are right to call me on that, we don't know what the circumstances like the principles involved do and I am supposing this as part of the scenario to caution about misconceptions and dysfunctional reasoning. There is so much of that going around and it is so easy to disappear from the scene rather than to work it out through negotiation to mutual satisfaction. If that can be done at all.

I was trying to cover the base of being "off base" in our expectations which can make for confusion and difficulty when the teacher and student differ greatly.

Communication about difficult things really gets "off base" when one or both of the communicants is being unrealistic or the situation has turned into a "power play" instead of a communication process to arrive at a decision.
Posted by: carey

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 01:29 AM

Per Steven - "I've read a number of opinions that if one cannot read through an entire piece slowly, it's a sign that it's too hard to learn. I'm not sure precisely what that means (e.g., How slowly? HS or HT? "Correct" fingering or anything goes?), but I disagree in principle."

Hi Steven -

I'm not surprised that someone questioned my statement that the student should at least be able to read through the etude slowly before beginning to study it in earnest. The student who started this thread apparently had been looking at the score of the etude for a few months - but could still (by his own admission) barely play through the first line. This tells me that 1) the etude may be too difficult for him at this stage of his development, 2) his music reading skills are weak, or 3) both. With persistence and weeks of hard work he may be able to learn and play the piece slowly by memory. More power to him. But perhaps he would be better off learning other less challenging pieces by Chopin and continuing to develop his reading skills. Thus when he ultimately tackles the etude it will hopefully be easier for him to learn.

In general - I would tend to agree with you - that being able to read through a piece should not necessarily be a prerequisite for learning it. I've found, however, that reading through a new piece a few times helps me gain an overview of the composition and the sections that are going to require the most work. And yes, I sometimes stop dead in my tracks during the initial read-through and simply skip ahead to the next section. Reading through the composition also helps me decide whether I really want to invest the time and energy required to learn it.
Posted by: BJones

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 04:46 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
WiseIdiot is in fact just fanning the breeze ... indulging in petty bravado to attract attention ... only a clown would talk about
tackling Chopin’s Black Key Etude Opus 10-5 with such casual ease ... underlying an abysmal lack of understanding ... even upstaging a teacher who, to say the very least, has made it clear that the chappie is NOT READY (and never will be).

NO ONE on this Forum can play this Etude at the requisite tempo ... requiring the RH to play a sequence of 480 notes at 12 notes per second
(m1-40 in 40 seconds) ... a super-human requirement ... one even tends to wonder whether Chopin needed to call up his friend, the legendary Liszt to present the Etude at it’s full potential ... how then can a pretentious beginner presume to want to stand up to the plate?

We all like the Black Key Etude ... but please!! ... [/b]
Are you stating that nobody on this forum has the technical capability of playing 12 notes per second for 40 seconds? Or a particular sequence of 480 notes in 40 seconds?
Posted by: Wise Idiot

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 10:37 AM

BTB, I don't know what you mean by pretentious beginner. There is no pretense in my desire to learn the etude, even if I can't play it a tempo. I have been playing piano for 10 years, but developing my finger dexterity has only been a priority for the past 1 year. Accordingly, I have continuously been doing Hanon and recently started doing it in other keys.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 10:52 AM

Wise Idiot, if this study is so important to you, what about asking your teacher what skills you need to have before tackling it in accordance to her standards for you, and then what you have to do in order to reach those skills? If she creates a kind of 'program' for you which has the goals of being able to eventually tackling that study, would you be willing to go for it? Just a wild thought.
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 12:54 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by carey:
Per Steven - "I've read a number of opinions that if one cannot read through an entire piece slowly, it's a sign that it's too hard to learn. I'm not sure precisely what that means (e.g., How slowly? HS or HT? "Correct" fingering or anything goes?), but I disagree in principle."

Hi Steven -

I'm not surprised that someone questioned my statement that the student should at least be able to read through the etude slowly before beginning to study it in earnest. The student who started this thread apparently had been looking at the score of the etude for a few months - but could still (by his own admission) barely play through the first line. This tells me that 1) the etude may be too difficult for him at this stage of his development, 2) his music reading skills are weak, or 3) both. With persistence and weeks of hard work he may be able to learn and play the piece slowly by memory. More power to him. But perhaps he would be better off learning other less challenging pieces by Chopin and continuing to develop his reading skills. Thus when he ultimately tackles the etude it will hopefully be easier for him to learn.

In general - I would tend to agree with you - that being able to read through a piece should not necessarily be a prerequisite for learning it. I've found, however, that reading through a new piece a few times helps me gain an overview of the composition and the sections that are going to require the most work. And yes, I sometimes stop dead in my tracks during the initial read-through and simply skip ahead to the next section. Reading through the composition also helps me decide whether I really want to invest the time and energy required to learn it. [/b]
It also depends on the piece. I have to agree we Steven that some parts of masterworks are (at least for me) unreadable, where one needs to dissect a measure, for example, and practice it to have it flow and make sense. This particular etude, which is the one we are talking about, can be read with not great difficulty, for me at least, at a very slow tempo, all the way through, HS. WI should, imo, be able to do this with this particular etude, without too much stumbling, to see if it is a feasable task for him to take on this piece.

This is not to say that a piece where you cannot read all the way through is unlearnable. Like what Carey says, reading a piece through will help to determine what is within ones means or not, even if it means skippng some sections or stumbling through some measures. But not with the "Black Key" Etude neccessarily. It is a more straightforward, linear piece, again JMHO.
Posted by: btb

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 01:42 PM

Forgive the bold pronouncements ... but, by your own admission you have cheapened yourself with the modest name of Wise Idiot ... but I would respectfully question the Wise in view of your unrealistic flights of fancy over the Chopin Black Key Etude 10-5 ... largely, it would appear, because of an inability after 10 years, to get up to speed (thus the Hanon exercises ... which are taboo in my school).

You’ve put a picture of your "Everest" on the wall (Etude 10-5) ... no harm in providing a focus ... but it is pretentious to give the
impression that you’ve already bought your mountain boots ... and to underline your serious intentions, are already up to Camp I.

Questioning your piano teacher for wanting to steer you off the Black Key Etude should not be allowed to fester into mud-slinging ... please don’t see a seeming harsh call as a lack of
confidence in your potential ... teachers necessarily have to maintain the motivation of their students by finding progressive "carrot" music within their scope ... making sure that unrealistic expectations don’t "break the camel’s back".

IMHO this is why your piano teacher balked at the Black Key Etude. But let everybody check their skills by tackling the
FIRST 2 MEASURES including both hand roles ...
can anybody toss off the 24 RH notes and 6 LH chords in

2 seconds (Richter) ?
4 seconds ... anyone?
8 seconds ... someone, surely!! ?

first 2 measures of Black Key Etude
Posted by: etcetra

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 01:53 PM

One of the biggest problem with learning a piece too early is that you will not be able to master the piece no matter how much you work on it... it may be years until you have the proper technique to actually play the piece right, and you just have to put up with your imperfection until then.

I learned the 3rd movement of moonlight sonata in my 3rd year. i insisted on the piece against the teacher's advice.. I did play it okay, just not great, but I was frustrated about how I couldn't play it well consistenly.

Also about those dream pieces.. I am starting to play those pieces i used to dream of playing.. its funny back then those pieces seems like a big goal, a monument, but now that I am close to it, it feels more like an another passing point.. its best not to get obsessed over those pieces..because like so many things in like, its not going to be anything like what you expect it to be.

I don't know how much of this applies to you.. again it really helps to know what kind of repritore you've been working on.

Also instead of complaining about it, there's probably a more constructive way to deal with this.. like talking to your teacher about it and what you're lacking, as others has mentioned. Has the teacher been helpful up to this point? if he/she was, then why would you want to destroy your relationship with your teacher over one piece??, if not why are you still studying with that teacher?
Posted by: PoStTeNeBrAsLuX

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/25/09 06:06 PM

Just to know what is possible, here's Marc-André Hamelin playing all three Chopin Etudes in A minor at the same time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhgOh8mmefQ

n.b. It is an amateur video, and he starts playing at around 1:30, after a bit of barely audible banter with the audience... but it's definitely worth the wait \:\)

Michael B.
Posted by: carey

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/26/09 01:24 AM

Dear Wise Idiot -

If you are really motivated, why don't you just learn the etude on your own? Why do you need "permission" from your teacher?? And why did you feel the need to ask other forum members their opinion about this issue?? Playing the Black Key Etude will NOT put undue stress on your fingers - but it may tax you in other ways. The sooner you give it a shot, the sooner you'll know if you are capable of learning it. If you can't hack it, you can still develop your finger dexterity through intermediate level Czerny studies (which are easy to learn and fun to play). Just get to it.
Posted by: computerpro3

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/26/09 01:52 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
But let everybody check their skills by tackling the
FIRST 2 MEASURES including both hand roles ...
can anybody toss off the 24 RH notes and 6 LH chords in

2 seconds (Richter) ?
4 seconds ... anyone?
8 seconds ... someone, surely!! ?
[/b]
There are multiple pianists on this forum that could do so. Off the top of my head, Brendan, Thracozaag, Kriesler definitely can. I would also go so far as to say that nearly all conservatory students can, including me.

In fact, the Czerny etude from Op.740 that I'm playing right now is considerably faster in terms of notes per second.

Here's just one of many examples of the first two measures in under 2 seconds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0V1rr-t48w
Posted by: btb

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/26/09 06:01 AM

The big question Pro is ... do you have the skills to dash off the first 2 measures in 2 seconds? Forgive me if some of us are not so gullible as to credit the reported skills of the likes on Brendan and Kreisler (with due respect).
Posted by: computerpro3

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/26/09 07:42 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
The big question Pro is ... do you have the skills to dash off the first 2 measures in 2 seconds? Forgive me if some of us are not so gullible as to credit the reported skills of the likes on Brendan and Kreisler (with due respect). [/b]
Yes, I do. And I'm nothing special - there are plenty of better pianists than me on this forum who could do so. Honestly, if you're talking about just the first two measures (which I think is silly, btw), it might take an hour of practice at the most for any piano major. Note that I'm not saying I could play the entire thing as well as Pollini (I can't). But the first two measures in under 2 seconds? No problem.

As for Brendan and Kreisler, they are both faculty at universities (and extremely good pianists), and Koji is an active concert pianist. All three of them have played far more difficult repertoire than that etude.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/26/09 08:10 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by carey:
Dear Wise Idiot -

If you are really motivated, why don't you just learn the etude on your own? Why do you need "permission" from your teacher?? And why did you feel the need to ask other forum members their opinion about this issue?? Playing the Black Key Etude will NOT put undue stress on your fingers - but it may tax you in other ways. The sooner you give it a shot, the sooner you'll know if you are capable of learning it. If you can't hack it, you can still develop your finger dexterity through intermediate level Czerny studies (which are easy to learn and fun to play). Just get to it. [/b]
+1

This is exactly what I meant when I questioned earlier why, if you feel you can do it based on your experience with the first line, you stopped there?

Steven
Posted by: rrb

Re: Disagreement with my teacher about the Chopin etudes - 02/27/09 07:41 PM

@ OP
The issue of 'when one is ready' for a piece depends a lot on what one's intentions are. If you have ambitions to develop the technique of a professional pianist, then there is sound advice in this thread. Summarized, find a teacher you respect and trust him/her.

If you just want to play for fun, on the other hand, then go for whatever grabs you. In another thread, someone commented that when he first worked on the opening movement of the moonlight, the performance was imperfect, but he cried. By the time he'd got it up to concert standard, the piece left him unmoved. He took some stick for this, but I know exactly what he meant.

I learned the black study as a teen, and well before my technique was 'adequate'. I had a blast. However, once I'd more or less got the hang of it -- perhaps a bit less than more -- it came to seem shallow, at least out of the context of the set. The experience may not have advanced my technique, but I surely learned much musically.

I had a piano teacher, very briefly, and a violin teacher, equally briefly. Brief, because each kept landing pieces on me that I had not the slightest motivation to play. No doubt their intentions were laudable, but my 'teachers' obviously did not think it was part of their job to 'motivate' me.

Before Steven loads all over me for encouraging young pianists to play stuff they can't, my own experience is a warning. When you try to play pieces that are too hard for you, you very quickly acquire bad habits. For example, adroit use of the pedal as 'cover'. If this goes on for long, it's extremely hard to discipline oneself, and get back on track. There is a story I once heard about Rubinstein, according to which the child prodigy recognized one day that he had acquired bad habits, and went back and corrected them. (I'm sure I'll get called out if this story is apocryphal.)

So in some sense, the decision you make now could have a far-reaching influence on your pianistic career.