New here. La Campanella study group?

Posted by: pianofairy

New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 01:51 AM

Hi all, I'm new here. I am 23 this year and I have been taking lessons for a few months after I made up my mind to learn Fur Elise and some pop music arrangements. After almost 7 months of study, I can play a simplified version of Fur Elise and some songs by SENS.

I think it's wonderful to have so many adult beginners here encouraging each other here. I want to propose that we start a study group on La Campanella. I saw a video of Li Yundi performing it in his Japan concert and totally fell in love with it. It is such a lovely song and I can't stop listening to it. It sounds rather difficult but I believe with determination and hard work anything can be done.
Posted by: stephenc

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 02:15 AM

Pianofairy,

Welcome. Good luck, I admire your ambition!

I've often thought that if Yundi can play that song, surely I could also. I've just havn't gotten around to it yet ;\) .

Anyway, I'm busy working on simple pieces by Brickman and Lanz, so for that reason, and that reason only, I'll pass on joining this group for now
Posted by: Ishmael

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 02:59 AM

I'm not sure which video you watched, but in the video below you can see his hands while he's playing La Campanella.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9jJEFfyayU&search=yundi%20li

Watch this, if you still think you can do it, well, good luck:).
Posted by: Ishmael

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 03:01 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianofairy:
Hi all, I'm new here. I am 23 this year and I have been taking lessons for a few months after I made up my mind to learn Fur Elise and some pop music arrangements. After almost 7 months of study, I can play a simplified version of Fur Elise and some songs by SENS.

I think it's wonderful to have so many adult beginners here encouraging each other here. I want to propose that we start a study group on La Campanella. I saw a video of Li Yundi performing it in his Japan concert and totally fell in love with it. It is such a lovely song and I can't stop listening to it. It sounds rather difficult but I believe with determination and hard work anything can be done. [/b]
BTW, I love that etude, too. I listen to it almost every night.
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 03:15 AM

hi. last year marks my 15th year studying music, and my 13th year playing the pianoforte. last year i performed this piece for my concert. it's a delightful piece to learn, to practise and of course, finally, to bring to an expectant audience.

my philosophy is that regardless of technical ability, anyone should be allowed to try any piece. this piece is technically difficult and is rated LRSM standard.

at my standard, it took me exactly 1 month from the first time i looked at the score till the time i performed it. i'm definitely not encouraging anyone to learn the piece within 1 month. firstly, you will feel totally pressured to practise hard and your end product may not be completely polished.

however, i really admire all of you and i do agree its a very interesting piece. it is inevitable that you may find the piece technically very challenging. that need not be discouraging though- you know that practice CAN overcome them. (:

i await good news following your practise! have fun with the exciting la campanella~!!
Posted by: Euan Morrison

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 03:51 AM

Yikes - I think that although I wish to play the piece, my abilities are waaay short, and it would be a pointless exercise.

The first few bars contains lots of 2 octave jumps which I found impossible to hit, let alone turn into a nice melody. And the trills? Try trilling your 4th and 5th fingers and play other notes with your remaining three fingers at the same time.

As I say, would be cool to play - but surely it would take years of practice (in general) before such a piece could be played?

The sheet music is in the public domain, so you can get it at

http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/dlpage_new.cfm?composition_id=774

All the best!
Euan.
Posted by: Margareth

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 04:27 AM

I'm sorry to tell this but La Campanella is definately way too hard for a beginner. Of course you can try and play around with it but its impossible to get it up to speed right now. It's even hard to get all the notes down. I think its smarter to learn easier pieces first.
Sorry for not being encouraging \:\(

But there are many very good pieces for your level or a little higher that are achievable. =)
Posted by: pianofairy

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 04:33 AM

Thank you all for your feedback, the reason I suggested a study group here is because my teacher refused to teach me this song. She is a student in a local conservatory and she said she herself is not able to play this song yet, hence it would definitely be impossible for me. I don't believe in the impossible, and I sort of question my teacher's ability after she declaring that she herself can't play the song. Should I fire my teacher and find another teacher who would be more encouraging and capable?
Posted by: pianofairy

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 04:35 AM

Yes, I saw the video that was posted on the Youtube. I'm aware that it looks very impressive. I already printed the score and tried to play the first page. It looks quite impossible, how the heck do you hit so far a jump with your right hand? Any tips on that?
Posted by: stephenc

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 04:45 AM

I don't think it would be fair to fire your teacher because she can't play that piece (I'll bet the majority of teachers out there cannot). Yundi is surely one of the better players in the world today.

Also I highly doubt you would find a teacher at your level who would genuinely try and teach you that piece either. I would take Margareths advice and learn some pieces at or just over your level and I'm sure you will get a lot more enjoyment from playing the piano.
Posted by: dvdiva

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 06:59 AM

Maybe you could try this version of La Campanella instead:

http://sheetmusicplus.com/store/smp_detail.html?item=4620079

Liszt Made Easy
By Franz Liszt. Arranged by John Brimhall. Piano.

"This is a great book for early intermediate piano players that want to play Liszt music, but are not piano virtuosos."

"These skillful arrangements capture the essence of the original composition in easy-to-play versions that stay faithful to the original musical intent."

Contains: Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major (Adagio Theme); Consolations, Nos. 1, 3 & 5; En RIve (Dreaming) - Nocturne; Hungarian Fantasy (Theme); Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Theme); La Campanella [/b](6 Grand Etudes of Paganini, No. 3) (Excerpt); La Romanesca; Liebestraum No. 3 (Dream of Love) (Theme) and more.
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 07:32 AM

Dvdiva, you beat me to the punch. I was also going to suggest finding any easier version.

Pianofairy, are you in Japan? There are all kinds of "classical Piano Solos made easy" type books, and also lots of "for adult beginner" type books as well. Thanks to Fujiko Hemming and Yundi Li, in Japan this piece is almost as popular as a pop song, so it should be easy to find an arrangement that's more accessible for you.

I also wouldn't say "don't try this" because it's up to you. But I personally don't choose pieces that are so dramatically above my current level for two reasons. 1) I want to experience the satisfaction of finishing something and getting it up to playabilty so I can share it with others. 2) I'm going to be playing the piano for a long time, so there's no reason to suffer for an unreasonable amount of time on a difficult piece when I can work on other satisfying music and then get to that difficult piece when I'm more ready for it.

However, I have read about people who just focused on one piece, and worked only on that, and they were eventaully able to play it. You have to decide what your priorities are, to put all of your energy for the next 1 or even 2 years into one piece, or work on a variety of music as you work up towards the dream piece.

Just my opinion. \:\)
Posted by: dannylux

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 09:03 AM

Hi pianofairy, and welcome.

Are you the pianofairy who's into healing music?

*smiles*

Here's a welcome picture for you:





Mel
Posted by: Opus45

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 09:16 AM

Wow Pianofairy!

I hate to limit myself, but I don't see La Campanella in my repertoire at any time in the forseeable future. And if I'm going to be realistic and honest with myself, then I will have to admit, unfortunately, I will likely never see this in my piano repertoire.

Thank God there are many other challenging choices for me to enjoy.

Don't let my own self assessment discourage you, by all means...go for it!
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 09:20 AM

Pianofairy, I just watched the video, and I can see why that piece has gotten under your skin. It is beautiful. But at your current playing abilities (= simplified version of Fur Elise), attempting to play the original version would be an exercise in frustration and heartbreak.

I think dvdiva's and ShiroKuro's suggestion to try a simplified arrangement is an excellent one. I suspect the simplified version would preserve the beautiful melody and get rid of a lot of the extremely hard trills and runs.

Please do not be too hard on your teacher. She has your best interests at heart. Why not ask her about one of the simplified versions and see if she is more encouraging?
Posted by: sophial

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 09:35 AM

Hi Pianofairy,
La Campanella is one of those touchstones of the piano literature, difficult even for advanced players. It's a real virtuoso piece. Your teacher is actually making the correct call in this case.
I also like the idea of having the goal of working on a simplified version. It is likely to be much more satisfying for you while still letting you capture the essence of the piece.
Good luck!

Sophia
Posted by: Mr. Widmore

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 09:48 AM

Pianofairy... I don't want to make you feel bad, but I think it's a very big jump. IMHO you should study pieces you can play at your level, when you finish them... try harder pieces, and so on...

Enjoy your playing.
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:07 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianofairy:
Yes, I saw the video that was posted on the Youtube. I'm aware that it looks very impressive. I already printed the score and tried to play the first page. It looks quite impossible, how the heck do you hit so far a jump with your right hand? Any tips on that?

[/b]
 Quote:
Originally posted by stephenc:
I don't think it would be fair to fire your teacher because she can't play that piece (I'll bet the majority of teachers out there cannot). Yundi is surely one of the better players in the world today.

Also I highly doubt you would find a teacher at your level who would genuinely try and teach you that piece either. I would take Margareths advice and learn some pieces at or just over your level and I'm sure you will get a lot more enjoyment from playing the piano. [/b]
not all teachers can play la campanella. but generally, in my opinion, teachers should not try to teach pieces that are way beyond their own abilities. chances are neither the student nor the teacher has the physical resources to overcome technical problems presented in this case.

yet, it is not fallacious to cast a doubt on your teacher- because usually, conservatory students should be able to play la campanella. I myself played it with 14 years of study of piano. (actually I'm an intruder in this forum and I apologise for that- firstly because im not really an adult (im still a student) and ive been learning the piano for quite long already), but I should expect most piano teachers to be able to handle this if they really focus on it.

but if anyone here is keen on the original version, i myself can offer some advice on overcoming the technical difficulties.

-several say that the jumps are difficult. actually, this more-than-1-octave leaps are not dangerous. not to discourage anyone, but they should be played as if they were "the easiest thing to play on earth". you shouldn't be looking at the high D# by performance. these jumps are made by controlled horizontal movements of the hand and the fingers. several pianists use the 5th finger on the D#- which requires practise, but reduces the distance of movement in the hand. I prefer to use my 4th finger because I find that it is more accurate than the 5th, although that may be because I have large hands. just keep practising. your hands must keep moving left and right. feel the notes with your fingers and just look at the lower note because that is what changes. the D# stays there all the time! (:

-the trills on the 4th and 5th finger should be practised slowly and until they become natural. where chords are involved at some places, do lots of slow practise.

-if you get to the running notes, make sure your hands are warmed up! (: and practise slowly, with the correct fingering. the fingering is very systematic for the most part, thankfully.

-if you make it to the repeated octaves section, keep your wrist relaxed and refrain from practising much should your hands be fatigued.

-the last part has some rather nasty looking octave passages. don't think too much about it and just play it (:

if anyone manages to complete it, please feel absolutely accomplished- it IS as sophial said- a touchstone of piano literature. but having already played it, I might be biased, but my opinion is that la campanella is not as difficult as many make it out to be. there are much more difficult things in piano literature- like reminiscences du don juan de mozart- an outrageous 16-minute fantasy that makes incredulous technical and spiritual demands upon the pianist.

have fun with la campanella! (:
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:10 AM

but if you wish to try a simplified version, it is of course okay (:

i would encourage you try the simpler version to see the themes and compare them to the original score to see how liszt made "variations" out of them. and then maybe you can try looking around for the paganini score- which is a really cute score - in a minor i think.

the high D#s (or rather, high E's) are made by playing natural harmonics on the E-string on the violin. it's really a very colourful piece. hope you all will continue to enjoy it!
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:26 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by islamey:
[QUOTE]
[qb](actually I'm an intruder in this forum and I apologise for that- firstly because im not really an adult (im still a student) and ive been learning the piano for quite long already), (: [/b]
islamey, you're not intruding and there is no need to apologise. Everybody's welcome in the AB forum, and the more advanced players help us novices out a great deal. \:\)

p.s. I liked your comment about the "nasty looking octave passages" ("don't think about it too much and just play it"). That's good advice for the Cristofori's Dream piece that several of us are playing.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:48 AM

I've always wanted to know that if a beginner just starts with Liszt's La Campanella and dedicate all his lesson and piano time to this piece and this piece alone -- how long would it take before the student gets the piece down? More interestingly, would it take just as long or longer than had the student took the more traditional route of learning easier pieces first as stepping stones towards La Campanella.

So if a beginner wants to embark on La Campanella right out of the gate, I think it'll be an interesting case study to watch (but will likely be "bad" for the student, going by conventional wisdom).

Good luck. \:\)
Posted by: playliszt

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 12:11 PM

Pianofairy,

Picture a one-legged man in an A~s kicking contest.
His technical ability will not allow him to master the event.
And he never will.

Your piano mastery right now is a little better than his kicking ability is. The GOOD NEWS is You can improve your abilities to eventually Kick A~s with this music.

When I first started piano at 13yr old it was beacause I heard & fell in love w/ Chopin's Bb-minor Scherzo.
My older cousin (who was my teacher) told me it would be years before I could even attempt this kind of music.

Did I listen? Of course not. I bought the music and struggled to figure out what the those notes were in the first treble chords.

The music stayed on my piano for years and I would "play at it". Eventually I got good enough so that second piano teacher years later let me study it with her.

So keep at it, but realize it will take a lot of development for you to eventually study this piece and maybe master it.

Don't give up.
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 01:40 PM

of course it would be good to learn some things as stepping stones- to improve basic technique and control over the instrument. but that need not be cause for stopping people learning stuff that's way too advanced for their own abilities.

If you HAVE the conviction to learn something, you WILL have the willpower to carry it through.

admittedly i didnt have a piano teacher when i was 11, that was for about 6 months. my discipline suffered, but yet I tried a lot of 'interesting' repertoire behind my teacher's back- and when I was ready to showcase a half-polished product to my teacher, she would be happy to keep me going until i finished learning the entire song. I also didn't have a teacher when I was 14 all the way till I was 17. It was a 2 and a half year period. I stayed on the piano and I tried learning concerti by myself- The Yellow River Concerto, Tchaikovsky's 1st- getting most of the notes but still needing much polishing.

the point is that, if someone restricts himself/herself to what they CAN already play, they are unlikely to improve much further or faster. of course, if someone restricts themselves to what they CANNOT play, they may be discouraged (or encouraged) to improve. i guess you have to strike a balance. besides la campanella, do try some more forgiving pieces like some haydn sonatas or something.

for me, I bought the score to Islamey and Gaspard de la Nuit when I was 11. at 17, I swore to myself I would learn islamey before I reached 18. Indeed, that year I was 17, I played islamey for a recital and a competition in december. I also played "Ondine" from Gaspard de la Nuit. I bought the score to rachmaninov's 3rd concerto and to beethoven's 3rd volume of sonatas. the shopowner said- these were way beyond my ability and I shouldn't be buying such scores.

imagine, if i had listened to him, I doubt I would be where I am now. now i return to the shop and i buy equally difficult scores because I can play them. now I play beethoven's waldstein (but it's unpolished), fur therese (no.24 in F#, and its slightly unpolished too) appassionata and les adieux. I'm trying out hammerklavier and op.111- beautiful works in the repertoire as well.

just keep your interest there, and don't be afraid to try out new songs- for in each song, you may just pick up a new technique! it was through asking my piano teacher how to glissando properly that I learnt a good glissando. then, as I progressed, I looked at liszt's mephisto waltz and balakirev's islamey, and slowly, from a single note glissando, I learnt how to do octave glissandos in 1 hand- that kind of thing. it's progressive. even if it comes slowly, you know it's coming along.

don't hurry too much. it will take time to learn difficult pieces and you should not overly pressurize yourself. enjoy the music; if you don't enjoy what you're playing, my opinion is that you won't play it as well. yup.

i just hope that regardless of what you play, everyone will just continue to enjoy music and spread the love for music and the piano. and of course, i'll wish that at least a couple of us here will be able to perform the uber exciting la campanella someday!!! (: (: (:
Posted by: signa

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 02:57 PM

la campanella is a very advanced piece, and i don't even think i could ever try it myself after over 5 year piano learning. you can try it, but if you cannot even get all the notes down (not to mention even play through) within 3 months, then you might be better off to give it up. there's no point of trying when you don't have techniques for it yet. some techniques such as playing this one would take years to develop really.
Posted by: Margareth

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 04:20 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Axtremus:
I've always wanted to know that if a beginner just starts with Liszt's La Campanella and dedicate all his lesson and piano time to this piece and this piece alone -- how long would it take before the student gets the piece down? More interestingly, would it take just as long or longer than had the student took the more traditional route of learning easier pieces first as stepping stones towards La Campanella.

So if a beginner wants to embark on La Campanella right out of the gate, I think it'll be an interesting case study to watch (but will likely be "bad" for the student, going by conventional wisdom).

Good luck. \:\) [/b]
I think that it would take at least the same amount of time as if one takes the traditional road. In the end (in 15 years maybe)he/she would know only one piece - La Campanella. The other one would know many pieces + La Campanella. Just my opinion.
Posted by: geek in the pink

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 05:37 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianofairy:
Thank you all for your feedback, the reason I suggested a study group here is because my teacher refused to teach me this song. She is a student in a local conservatory and she said she herself is not able to play this song yet, hence it would definitely be impossible for me. I don't believe in the impossible, and I sort of question my teacher's ability after she declaring that she herself can't play the song. Should I fire my teacher and find another teacher who would be more encouraging and capable? [/b]
It's usually a good thing to be so determined to conquer things that others deem "impossible," but sometimes it really is just that simple that something may be out of your reach--this is one of those latter times. But by all means go ahead and fire your teacher and drive yourself crazy trying to learn this piece, if nothing else you'll learn on your own that this piece is really THAT difficult.
Posted by: pianofairy

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 07:38 PM

Wow, is this La Campanella really that notoriously difficult? Anyway, after hours just getting the first few bars right, I think some of you maybe right, that this piece is too difficult. But I'm not sure if I want to give up learning this piece. I am a career woman in IT industry and I have never given up on a project before, no matter how much difficult and impossible the project is (some clients can be absolute pain!). I have been taught in my life to be extremely competitive and believe in the impossible because of the incredibly cuttroat competition in my field (I work in Singapore). When I started learning programming, I catched up pretty fast, and within one year of learning, I topped the C++ module in my course last time. Most people in university picked up their skills within a short span of 4 years and they become very good at them. So, by logic, I feel that learning piano can be approached the same way. My teacher told me that it's impossible to be a competent pianist at 4 years, she herself has learned piano over 10 years to get where she is. I showed her the Arthur Cimarro's website and she proclaimed that the guy was exaggerating. I don't like people who are pessimistic, because I feel that's what limit them. Preconceived notions set by society often prevent people from achieving the greatness that they are.

I'm actually thinking of a career switch to become a pianist. I've been attending classical concerts for almost 2 years now and I really feel that music is what I truly want to do. I've read about this post that has the link to the website of Arthur Cimarro and I feel that if he can do it in such a short time, I should be able to do it too. I'm thinking, how long would it take before I can get into a conservatory and play the real pieces?
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 07:43 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Margareth:I think that it would take at least the same amount of time as if one takes the traditional road. In the end (in 15 years maybe)he/she would know only one piece - La Campanella. The other one would know many pieces + La Campanella. Just my opinion. [/QB]
Margareth, you put into words what I was thinking. It' about priorities. What's the priority? To play this piece, and who care's about any others? Well, if that's the priority, then of course the student should work on this piece. If the priority is to play piano, and also play this piece, then I would say this piece should be put off, for at least several years if not more.

Also, Axtremus, you wondered how long it would take, starting as a beginner, to get this piece down. I tend to think it would take longer than someone learning through traditional methods (traditional methods meaning working up through the literature while doing scales and exercises etc.)

By working through a lot of literature, you learn a variety of skills, many of which may seem specific to only one particular piece, but what you're doing is giving yourself a well-rounded piano education. When you take that and approach some masterpiece of piano literature, all that you have done up to that point is in your "toolbox," so to speak, to use at your disposal. If you haven't learned through traditional methods, you have a mostly empty toolbox and can only fill it with very specific things that you get from the one piece. This means you may be able to do the task at hand (play La Campenella) but you won't be able to do it as well[/b] as someone whose toolbox is full of extras.

And this, IMO, is the real point. Yes, you could probably learn just about anything if you worked only on that and stuck with it for as long as it took. To use your words, Ax, you could "get it down." But how would it sound? Are you going to sound anywhere close to Yundi Li, or even an "average" advanced pianist who had acheived the level needed to play this piece? Most certainly no. Because working through all that other piano literature gives something, an intangible something, that you simply cannot get any other way. Expression, emotion, music, these are more than just the sum of notes played in the proper intervals. There are certainly practice methods that are more effective than others, but IMO there are no true short cuts if you want to "do it right."

Now, back to PianoFairy, hopefully you're still reading! Don't take the above comments too seriously. Is playing the piano a "hobby" for you? Unless you're planning on trying to make a career of piano, or thinking about something like going to a music college, then you should do what you want. And post as many questions here are you need. But be very thick-skinned, because every step of the way someone is going to say the things mentioned here. If you can ignore all that and keep working on it, you might just prove us all wrong. If that happens, I'm sure I'm not the only one who'll be delighted. \:\)
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:03 PM

Oops, Pianofairy, I think I was typing while you were posting! Sorry.

Hmm, you want to consider making a career switch and entering a conservatory? Well, you might just need a new teacher, because one who says you can't do it probably isn't going to get you very far.

However, if you want to make a career of piano, then you surely need a very well-rounded musical education. You certainly won't get very far if all you can play is La Campanella. One thing you might do is see what the requirements for getting into a conservatory are. Likely, there will be a test/audition. What will you need to play? Probably more than one piece, for starters. Will there be a sight-reading test? If yes, then you have a lot of work ahead of you. That's not to say you can't do it, but you need to make sure you're working on the right skills. Most people enter a music conservatory after at least 10 years of playing, often more. So you want to do it more quickly? That means you have to be extremely efficient in the choices you make. The pieces you study will have to give you a well-rounded array of skills, and you'll have to be sure you can use all of those skills and apply them to whatever you play. If you really want to enter a conservatory, it sounds to me like you need a plan. Not just "be able to play La Campanella," but something much more specific. And you probably need the kind of advice most of us in this forum can't give you. I recomment that you brace yourself for a lot of pessimism, and then go over to the Pianists Corner and post a question asking people to make a list of skills and pieces that you would need in order to enter a music conservatory or university. Good luck!
Posted by: signa

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:05 PM

pianofairy, the problem with learning to play piano is quite different from learning to program (btw, i'm in IT and programming too), one is more physically related and the other is more mental. like all kinds of physical skills, it largely depends on individual's physical talent/ability which is not created equal as you know. some poeple can easily run faster than most of us and even if we try and practice and still can never run that fast, and some can easily learn to dance and yet most others cannot even do it well with a lot of practice, and the same could be said about playing piano. maybe you could easily be the one with natural talent in piano who can learn to play piano much faster than the rest of us. who knows? what i am trying to say is that like any type of physical skills, it takes time to build and to be proficient, and it could be months or years for a particular set of skills to be mastered. so far i haven't heard anyone who has only started playing piano for less than one year and without prior experience suceeded in tackling a difficult piece like La Campenalla. it doesn't mean you couldn't and if only you could prove us wrong. but is this worth it? you could spend a year or two learning this and only this without getting anywhere.

it's just what i think. i learn to play myself a few years back and tried some hard pieces too then (although not like this hard) and many times i had to give up because i just couldn't play through some parts for lack of skills and techniques. even now, my teacher often tells me that i tend to choose difficult pieces to learn myself. but now i know i can handle those pieces technically.
Posted by: geek in the pink

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:17 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianofairy:
Wow, is this La Campanella really that notoriously difficult? Anyway, after hours just getting the first few bars right, I think some of you maybe right, that this piece is too difficult. But I'm not sure if I want to give up learning this piece. I am a career woman in IT industry and I have never given up on a project before, no matter how much difficult and impossible the project is (some clients can be absolute pain!). I have been taught in my life to be extremely competitive and believe in the impossible because of the incredibly cuttroat competition in my field (I work in Singapore). When I started learning programming, I catched up pretty fast, and within one year of learning, I topped the C++ module in my course last time. Most people in university picked up their skills within a short span of 4 years and they become very good at them. So, by logic, I feel that learning piano can be approached the same way. My teacher told me that it's impossible to be a competent pianist at 4 years, she herself has learned piano over 10 years to get where she is. I showed her the Arthur Cimarro's website and she proclaimed that the guy was exaggerating. I don't like people who are pessimistic, because I feel that's what limit them. Preconceived notions set by society often prevent people from achieving the greatness that they are.

I'm actually thinking of a career switch to become a pianist. I've been attending classical concerts for almost 2 years now and I really feel that music is what I truly want to do. I've read about this post that has the link to the website of Arthur Cimarro and I feel that if he can do it in such a short time, I should be able to do it too. I'm thinking, how long would it take before I can get into a conservatory and play the real pieces? [/b]
Well, yes it's really that difficult. In order to play it well, like Yundi did in that video, your techinical abilities need to be at a near virtuoso level.

It also seems like your piano situation parallels mine in some respects. We're both 23 and more or less just beginners (I've been playing for about a year now), and we want to make some sort of career out of music, except your goal is more classical based and mine is comtemporary blues/gospel to play in Church. What's more, we both have an attitude that allows us to want to tackle ANY piece just because... well, I don't have a teacher so I don't have anybody telling me what pieces are too hard and what pieces are not; and over the past year, I've attempted many difficult pieces to little or no avail--pieces like Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu, or Mozart's Ronda Alla Turca. I can tell you, it's not like learning C++ or being pressured to meet client demands. In order to learn difficult pieces, techniques must be mastered and sorry to say that there is no short cut, and vis-a-vis La Campanella, doing trills with the 4th and 5th fingers is incredibly hard excute evenly. It might take years just to develop that skill alone. What happens with piano playing is as you progress, the pieces you'll play will start to introduce harder and harder techniques, and you'll gradually accumulate the skills necessary to tackle difficult repertoire. What you're trying to do is play a piece that requires YEARS of training without having trained for years... that's like asking to travel from the USA to Singapore in three hours--it takes time, there's no two ways about it.
Posted by: dvdiva

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:25 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianofairy:
I am a career woman in IT industry and I have never given up on a project before, no matter how much difficult and impossible the project is (some clients can be absolute pain!). I have been taught in my life to be extremely competitive and believe in the impossible because of the incredibly cuttroat competition in my field (I work in Singapore). When I started learning programming, I catched up pretty fast, and within one year of learning, I topped the C++ module in my course last time. Most people in university picked up their skills within a short span of 4 years and they become very good at them. So, by logic, I feel that learning piano can be approached the same way. My teacher told me that it's impossible to be a competent pianist at 4 years, she herself has learned piano over 10 years to get where she is. I showed her the Arthur Cimarro's website and she proclaimed that the guy was exaggerating. I don't like people who are pessimistic, because I feel that's what limit them. Preconceived notions set by society often prevent people from achieving the greatness that they are.[/b]
Wow! I really admire your drive and determination! With that kind of spirit, I do believe that anything is possible! Seems to me you'd be the type who would benefit by reading Chuan Chang's book. In his preface are testimonials of adult piano beginners who have progressed in a relatively short time. Maybe his method would work for you! You can download his book here:

http://members.aol.com/chang8825/completebook.pdf

Of course, I'm not saying you'll be able to play like a virtuoso in 6 months, but who knows? You might secretly be Wonder Woman and have powers we don't know about! \:D
Posted by: gabytu

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:28 PM

La Campanella is considered one of the most difficult pieces to play well. I say try it, and see how it goes.
Regarding big leaps all over the keyboard. I found that learning the Brahms Hungarian dances were a great help in finding my way around the keyboard. He is all over the place, and these are wonderful compositions, as well as exercises in big leaps. At first I found them impossible to execute, but bit by bit they became much easier and I was delighted to find myself landing on the correct keys. Gaby Tu
Posted by: LisztAddict

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:31 PM

You are talking of that Paganini/Liszt La Campanella, right? It's a difficult piece even for advanced pianists. There are jumps, octaves, and 4-5 finger trills that are beyond beginner and intermediate level.

If you really want to play Liszt, there are a few easier ones that I know Yundi Li also plays often. Liszt Liebestraum No 3 and Liszt transcription of Schumann Widmung. These 2 pieces are intermediate-advanced level.
Posted by: BDB

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:33 PM

I saw the heading of this topic, and thought, "We should get together, on lots of pianos, and each of us can play one beat of it."

I have dibs on the 214th beat!
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:48 PM

pianofairy,

I admire your ambition, and I encourage you always to follow your dreams and ambitions.

However...

For a beginner who has been playing for a few months and can play a simplified version of Fur Elise to work on La Campanella would be very similar to a 6-year-old who knows only the basics of addition and subtraction to be working on advanced calculus. (In my humble opinion.)


Especially if you want to be a professional pianist, realize that it takes a very long time with a lot of very hard work to get to the level where you can not only play these pieces, but play them well. Don't give up on this dream of playing La Campanella - just postpone it for a while. You probably won't find a good teacher who will work on La Campanella with you at this point, and for good reason - because it is simply a very, very difficult piece of music, even for advanced pianists, and your time would be better spent working on the original version of Fur Elise, 1st movement of Moonlight Sonata, some Bach minuets, and maybe Clementi sonatinas. Then you can move on to maybe some of the easier Mozart Sonatas and some of the easier Chopin Preludes. Your teacher(s) will help you with that, but I strongly encourage you to be patient and realize that there is an order to things, and just as one has to learn first arithmetic and then algebra and then geometry and then trigonometry and THEN finally calculus, so too must a pianist go through steps in order to best prepare himself/herself for the higher levels.
Posted by: geek in the pink

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 08:52 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
pianofairy,

I admire your ambition, and I encourage you always to follow your dreams and ambitions.

However...

For a beginner who has been playing for a few months and can play a simplified version of Fur Elise to work on La Campanella would be very similar to a 6-year-old who knows only the basics of addition and subtraction to be working on advanced calculus. (In my humble opinion.)


[/b]
That's a very accurate analogy, I think.
Posted by: Opus45

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:16 PM

 Quote:
from ShiroKuro
I recomment that you brace yourself for a lot of pessimism, and then go over to the Pianists Corner and post a question asking people to make a list of skills and pieces that you would need in order to enter a music conservatory or university.
This is a very good idea Pianofairy. Most of the folks who post on that forum have "been there, done that, or are doing it" and you're likely to get a very realistic appraisal, and more informed advice from there. Most of us in this forum are adult beginners with more modest aspirations.

I am very impressed with your determination!
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:21 PM

To get into a music school as a performance major, most schools require for an audition:

-- a baroque piece (Bach, Handel, Scarlatti...)
-- a complete classical sonata (some schools require a Beethoven sonata)
-- a romantic piece (Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy...)
-- a 20th century piece (Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bartok, Schoenberg...)

Some schools require a virtuosic etude. If the etude is romantic, you still have to play another romantic piece + the etude.

(all played from memory)


Additionally, some schools ask you to sight-read at the audition. Oberlin will ask you to improvise on the happy birthday theme, and most schools give a written theory test as well.
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:35 PM

to signa: in piano, talent is not really the only determining factor. yes, talent may play a part in the start, but it is ultimately your drive that gets you where you are. pure talent coupled with laziness and lack of ambition will get you nowhere. yet, a chinese idiom goes "qin neng bu zhuo"- which means that hard work can make up for a lack of proficiency. no one was born to play octave jumps and running chromatic thirds. when i started playing piano, i hated it and i hardly progressed. yet, when i started to love playing the piano, I explored the furthest corners of literature and i now surpass some of my peers who once overshadowed me for a long time- it's a great feeling (: so don't be overly restricted by the notion of talent too.

but also, at the same time, i find that some of u, while acknowledging that there are some really technically difficult parts, you dismiss them as impossible to play or overly difficult, without even trying. some passages are easier than they look while others are more difficult than they seem. la campanella, thankfully, is mostly a case of the former.

the big leaps are not difficult to get- a little bit of practise each day gets it done in about 2 weeks. don't hurry to get something settled by cramming practise into a 3-hour timeslot on a single session. you will accomplish less. I prefer to play the whole piece over and slowly figure things out and let the whole piece improve as an overall thing. this is also for another reason- that la campanella, while looking something like a seamlessly written "theme and variations" kind of thing, you need to present the thing as a whole song, rather than a piece that is composed of a theme and variations. the feeling is much different.

i know a friend who has been playing piano for 9 years only and he has already played la campanella. it's not really as difficult as people make it out to be- rather, they are afraid of the LOOKS of the technical demands, which are not overly ridiculous. practise! it would take most people a few months to learn it, so don't give up and just keep working.

the determination to get there will drive you there in the end.
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 10:53 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by islamey:
i know a friend who has been playing piano for 9 years only and he has already played la campanella. [/b]
9 years is a bit longer than 7 months.

It may be that in relatively few years, a student might learn a tremendous amount - from working tremoundsly. But one needs to get to that level. It would be unreasonable to have a little kid who can hardly read "Curious George" to read Shakespeare's "Hamlet". Hamlet is hard even for advanced readers, not just to pronounce the words, but to understand the words and to understand the context and to understand the play as a whole. But, absolutely, if that student were to work very hard, he might, even in 3 or 4 years, be able to read Hamlet. But just reading it is only a small part of the task.


Piano Fairy commented that others acquire their skills in 4 years at a university, so why can't a pianist do the same?

Music is different from mathematics.

In mathematics, what matters it that you get the right answer. It doesn't matter how you get the answer. It doesn't matter how long it took you, or how beautiful the process was. It doesn't even matter what process you used to get the answer. All that matters is the answer.

In chemistry, what matters is that you set up a lab experiment to discover what happens when two chemicals mix. It doesn't matter how beautiful or ugly the design is. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to set up the lab. What matters is that you ultimately figure out what happens when these two chemicals mix, regardless of how many times you tried the experiment, or even what the experiment actually was and how it worked. All that matters is the answer.


In music, it is not enough just to play the notes. What matters is not the 'answer'. What matters is the presentation of the 'answer', and that presentation can often be very difficult. The pianist not only has to understand the notes, and not only has to understand how they fit together, and how to artfully play them - she has to actually have the physical ability to play in a manner that artfully brings out all of the details while at the same time tying the piece together as a whole, and she has to actually *play* that way, and not just understand how to play that way.


Sure, if you really really really want to do it, and you work very hard, you might be able to play it. I don't doubt that. But *how* is what is most important, and what is most difficult, and what requires the most experience.


Remember also that it is not the only beautiful piece of music. There is *a lot* of very beautiful music to be played, and you don't have to play it all at the same time.
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 11:08 PM

Sam, thanks for posting that list of requirements, it was something along the lines of what I was imagining, but it looks even harder actually written out!! Aren't you a student at IU? So you did something along the lines of what you posted here? Wow, bravo!

Islamey, I don't think anyone is dismissing any techniques as impossible. We're saying they should be attempted after other steps are completed. To repeat Sam's comment, we're talking about 7 months of playing here, not a few years. Yes, a positive attitude is important, indispensible even. But piano is a complex skill and should be approached systematically, with planning and forethought guiding the work at hand, not just a desire to play.

I have never tried to play La Campenella (I never even bought the score, a quick look-over in the music store was enough to tell me that I'm not ready.) But I have attemped to play other things that I thought were way beyond my level. Some of those I gave up and put away (and some, I have since learned how to play, after working on other things in between.) Others I struggled through with more or less success depending on the piece. But all of my playing decision are made with a mixture of desire (I want to play this!) and calculation (am I likely to make progress in 1 month? 3 months? 6 months?)

I think people are reacting because it seems like Pianofairy needs a little more realistic planning and calculation in her pianistic pursuits.

Just my two yen...
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/24/06 11:23 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by ShiroKuro:
Sam, thanks for posting that list of requirements, it was something along the lines of what I was imagining, but it looks even harder actually written out!! Aren't you a student at IU? So you did something along the lines of what you posted here? Wow, bravo!
[/b]
Nope. Michigan. \:\)
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 12:25 AM

Oops, sorry! \:\) But you are in a music program, right? What's the specific field? (i.e. music performance, music ed etc)
Posted by: signa

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 12:30 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by islamey:
to signa: in piano, talent is not really the only determining factor. yes, talent may play a part in the start, but it is ultimately your drive that gets you where you are. pure talent coupled with laziness and lack of ambition will get you nowhere. yet, a chinese idiom goes "qin neng bu zhuo"- which means that hard work can make up for a lack of proficiency. no one was born to play octave jumps and running chromatic thirds. when i started playing piano, i hated it and i hardly progressed. yet, when i started to love playing the piano, I explored the furthest corners of literature and i now surpass some of my peers who once overshadowed me for a long time- it's a great feeling (: so don't be overly restricted by the notion of talent too.

but also, at the same time, i find that some of u, while acknowledging that there are some really technically difficult parts, you dismiss them as impossible to play or overly difficult, without even trying. some passages are easier than they look while others are more difficult than they seem. la campanella, thankfully, is mostly a case of the former.
[/b]
talent is part of it which would make things easier to begin with, but it only takes one so far without working hard. my teacher said that there're certain things you born with, such as ability to play really fast (like him), and he said that he can play as fast as he was a teenager then, but what difference between now and then for him is the quality of sound he plays. so, what i am trying to say is that talent plays some role in piano or any kind of activity, and that's why there's only so few of great pianists, artists or athlets in history, comparing with the entire population. but without such talent, one still could achieve some higher goals through some determination and hard working. you may not be able to play as fast as Richter, but you still can play well. that's my point and i agree with your saying about Chinese proverb. but everyone has some limitations, in any field or playing piano. sometimes, no matter how much you try, you just cannot go beyond certain point. such limitations might be improved through a lot of practice or just time to let skills develop naturally. but everyone would agree that after a person only learned to play a simplified Fur Elise, he/she is simply not ready for a Chopin etude or la Campenalla. i never said one shouldn't try (go ahead try it!), but my point is such trying may prove to be useless or worthless. i tried a lot of things myself, and i know what i am saying. btw, i taught myself to play piano, and nobody told me then what i can or cannot do, and i only speak from my own experience.
Posted by: LisztAddict

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 01:11 AM

And I thought Schubert Gb major Impromptu is already at the limit for beginner-intermediate group. I know there is a Croatian Rhapsody study group. I am thinking of starting a Spanish Rhapsody study group \:D
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 02:56 AM

slowly, i guess. its difficult to shoot the moon.

it will take lots of time.. so, i guess patience is also key ;\) hehehe.

la campanella will remain exactly as difficult as it is, and it will not get any harder. what will change, however, is your technical command. i wouldn't say that no matter how hard someone tries, they cannot get something. it has been years before people play la campanella, but they have finally overcome the technical difficulties- their own abilities have superseded the challenges presented by the music.

i guess its abit overboard if i say you can play it now, but you can start learning the easier bits of it, and slowly, as your technique improves, you may be able to play more of it, and finally, the whole of it.

but you should really enjoy the music and let yourself develop technically and musically- and scale the demands of la campanella finally. you can prepare yourself better by perhaps playing simpler pieces, challenging ones though- that perhaps involves lots of octaves or trills or running notes or jumps. or by playing simplified versions, and by listening to more recordings- not just the original, but also the paganini violin version. when you are prepared for la campanella, it will come to you eventually. just keep going yea. (:

guess i won't be posting much over e next few days. got exams ): sigh. ohwell. anyway, keep practising and have fun with paganini's and liszt's "little bell"! (:
Posted by: Arabesque

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 03:23 AM

I'm finding this discussion very inspiring and love that piece so much too so I had to add to the argument.

From what I know based on myself and other pianists the beginning pianist can tackle many signature works and a surprising number of pianists are able to play the opening bars of La Campanella. Now whilst it's necessary to select music carefully for the level, there is an argument for letting a beginner play some of a very difficult piece like La Campanella if they want to. This is because the player will be able to gain a confidence that other players who are prescribed graded pieces will not.

Furthermore, if any pianist working through a passage of very difficult music discovers that a certain passage is after all not so difficult and changes his or her belief system that pianist will learn La Campanella regardless of whatever anyone says. We do this every day anyway. There are pieces of music I thought I couldn't get right sweating it out in front of my teacher. She told me I was out of tempo, I was hitting wrong notes. She never told me I couldn't do it. I took the piece home I worked on it patiently at home, I took it to bed with me - it was solved. Because I knew if I got one section right the others would follow anyway. It's just like stringing beans when you come down to it except some beans are bigger than others.

All I can say, Fairy is I wish I had a fraction of the confidence you have in tackling La Campanella, and only that if you want to play it badly enough you ought to. But you will not do it if you can't master the techniques. And to do those you'll have to practice and play other repertoire than this. And then when you are ready and it will probably take years you will play La Campanella. Therefore learn the A, B, C's and then the vocabulary you need from other music, and exercises. You will do this very well because it is going to help you with La Campanella. Also being an accomplished programmer means you're able to work through a project logically. Set your goals then and say that you will play it by a certain time in the future and it doesn't matter what anyone says you'll get there.

I'm backing you all the way and you'll succeed!
Posted by: ranakor

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 07:31 AM

not meaning to be too harsh but i think this needs to be said : piano is a passion field & if you want to become a concertist you're gonna compete against an elite because people want to see the best (& not just someone who's decent) this is why the analogy with programming doesn't work in your studies there you were competing against regular people & so would you in a conservatory but once you go out & look for a job those poeple do find a job in programming & pianists find concertist jobs, however keep in mind that the pianists you see on tv are pretty much ONLY this that weren't of the "it took them 4 years while it took me 1" type hell they prolly are of the "oh **** it took me 1 year but only takes them 3 day!" lots of pianists you see on tv have been playing up to 8hours/day since their youth & while having the mentality you have will get you further faster it definately won't make you an international concert pianist in no time
Posted by: bluemarine

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 12:49 PM

sorry to tell it, but this is a sick ambition

you can not become a top bodibuilder in short time just because you work out a lot
you have to work out a lot in long period of time

so is with piano playing
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/25/06 12:58 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by ShiroKuro:
Oops, sorry! \:\) But you are in a music program, right? What's the specific field? (i.e. music performance, music ed etc) [/b]
Music History. So the requirements were a little less:

-- baroque piece (Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, WTC I)
-- one movement of a Beethoven sonata (Op. 10 No. 2, 1st movement)
-- romantic or 20th century piece (Grieg Nocturne, Op. 54 No. 4)


I did audition first for performance, and prepared the longer program, but wasn't accepted. I might possibly audition again for performance this year or the next, to do a double-major in music history and performance.
Posted by: Ishmael

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 03:51 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by islamey:
i know a friend who has been playing piano for 9 years only and he has already played la campanella. [/b]
9 years is a bit longer than 7 months.

It may be that in relatively few years, a student might learn a tremendous amount - from working tremoundsly. But one needs to get to that level. It would be unreasonable to have a little kid who can hardly read "Curious George" to read Shakespeare's "Hamlet". Hamlet is hard even for advanced readers, not just to pronounce the words, but to understand the words and to understand the context and to understand the play as a whole. But, absolutely, if that student were to work very hard, he might, even in 3 or 4 years, be able to read Hamlet. But just reading it is only a small part of the task.


Piano Fairy commented that others acquire their skills in 4 years at a university, so why can't a pianist do the same?

Music is different from mathematics.

In mathematics, what matters it that you get the right answer. It doesn't matter how you get the answer. It doesn't matter how long it took you, or how beautiful the process was. It doesn't even matter what process you used to get the answer. All that matters is the answer.

In chemistry, what matters is that you set up a lab experiment to discover what happens when two chemicals mix. It doesn't matter how beautiful or ugly the design is. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to set up the lab. What matters is that you ultimately figure out what happens when these two chemicals mix, regardless of how many times you tried the experiment, or even what the experiment actually was and how it worked. All that matters is the answer.


In music, it is not enough just to play the notes. What matters is not the 'answer'. What matters is the presentation of the 'answer', and that presentation can often be very difficult. The pianist not only has to understand the notes, and not only has to understand how they fit together, and how to artfully play them - she has to actually have the physical ability to play in a manner that artfully brings out all of the details while at the same time tying the piece together as a whole, and she has to actually *play* that way, and not just understand how to play that way.


Sure, if you really really really want to do it, and you work very hard, you might be able to play it. I don't doubt that. But *how* is what is most important, and what is most difficult, and what requires the most experience.


Remember also that it is not the only beautiful piece of music. There is *a lot* of very beautiful music to be played, and you don't have to play it all at the same time. [/b]
Kinda off topic, but math and piano are not that different IMHO.

By playing the "right notes" at the "right time", you can pass a math exam, even finish your undergrad and get a master's degree in math. But to become a "concert mathematician", you must first finish your Ph.D. and learn what's it all about. You can't just read a book and understand the process of proving something that's not done before. Absorbing this requires at least a couple of years usually no matter how ambitious you are. Even after you got your Ph.D., it's still a long way until you're a "concert mathematician" and not everybody can become one.

Well, there are some people who got their degrees in no time and proved some really nice theorems. But, it is hard to say that everybody who believe in themselves can do it. Unfortunately, we, human beings, have some limits. We can't even move things without touching them ;\) .

So, in brief; not everybody can become a Yundi Li or an Andrew Wiles. Yes, they worked hard, but working hard doesn't guarantee being one of them. (BTW, Andrew Wiles is a mathematician who proved Fermat's last theorem and became very famous).
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 04:01 AM

why does everyone feel they have to become a yundi li or something like him just to achieve la campanella? maybe i'm wrong but thats the feeling i'm getting from people. yea.

la campanella is challenging, but not impossibly difficult. you don't have to be a concert pianist or even a conservatory student or teacher for that matter to play la campanella. my stand remains that most people overrate the technical requirements of this piece. i know a few friends who play this piece- they are mainly small time music students. not big names. i myself play la campanella- and i'm no yundi li.

you don't need like 10000 years of practise. a few years is all it takes to handle anything you want- that's as difficult as la campanella. just keep working, and may whoever your God is guide you to your goals. (: (disclaimer: although my nickname says islamey, i am not a follower of islam. "islamey" is the oriental fantasy written by balakirev (1869)."
Posted by: Ishmael

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 04:07 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by islamey:
why does everyone feel they have to become a yundi li or something like him just to achieve la campanella? maybe i'm wrong but thats the feeling i'm getting from people. yea.

la campanella is challenging, but not impossibly difficult. you don't have to be a concert pianist or even a conservatory student or teacher for that matter to play la campanella. my stand remains that most people overrate the technical requirements of this piece. i know a few friends who play this piece- they are mainly small time music students. not big names. i myself play la campanella- and i'm no yundi li.

you don't need like 10000 years of practise. a few years is all it takes to handle anything you want- that's as difficult as la campanella. just keep working, and may whoever your God is guide you to your goals. (: (disclaimer: although my nickname says islamey, i am not a follower of islam. "islamey" is the oriental fantasy written by balakirev (1869)." [/b]
I think, Fairy implied that s/he wants to be a (concert?) pianist. So, it's not just about La Campanella.
Posted by: pianarchist

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 05:26 AM

hey islamey, you mentioned earlier in the topic that you learnt 'la campanella' to performance standard in a about 1 month from when you first looked at the score. I was wondering how much time you spent on the piece each day, to get it learnt so quickly? Was it the only piece you were working on?
Posted by: ranakor

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 06:15 AM

i still disagree that it's the same as math , yes your math concertist may or may not need as much time as another to learn math but most often even the greatest mathematicians have not been doing math 8 hours a day since their youth, the pianists there are to compete with have so the thing is it's not a you'll need a lot of time unless you're talented but it's you won't make it at all but if you're talented you may make it but it will STILL take lots of time
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 01:08 PM

it was the primary piece i was working on. i guess i would be working on it for about 30-45 minutes each day on average..? the irritating thing is some parts are terribly difficult to POLISH. like the trills on the 3rd/5th finger with a descending melody on the thumb. and the repeated notes part (RH fingering 215 215 215...)

it's not terribly fast though. i know this guy. he's more of an acquaintance, but from what i know, he learnt liszt's dante sonata to a reasonable standard in 1 day (5 hours crash course)- which is a feat far more remarkable than my la campanella in 1 month. and another of my friend- he polished the 2nd and 3rd movement of saint saens 2nd piano concerto in 4 days.

sorry for my terrible ego, but just to trumpet another of my more recent achievements- schulz-evler's concert arabasques on themes from 'on the beautiful blue danube' by strauss- from starting on the score to playing in the concert in 5 weeks.

to pianofairy: if you want to be a concert pianist, why not? it's a career path less taken, why not try it out? you just have to brace yourself first for the hours you spend slogging in front of your keyboard, refining your scales, thirds, octaves, arpeggios, trills, tone and technique.. (: but if you think it's worthwhile then go ahead..!
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 01:14 PM

islamey,

How long had you been playing piano before you took on La Campanella?

What sort of training had you had?

Had you played other pieces of comparable difficulty (or greater difficulty) before this one?


At a certain level, music that was once very hard actually isn't so hard anymore. "Difficulty" depends on one's abilities - if you're well prepared for it, and if you can play it, then of course it is "easy" or "not so hard." On the other hand, if you aren't "good enough" to tackle a certain piece, it is very difficult and even 'impossible', so it seems. So even for the same piece of music, it really depends who is playing it, and what experience/abilities/knowledge/understanding they have.
Posted by: rocky

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/26/06 01:17 PM

I can bang out a "mean" Mary Had a Little Lamb!!

::::oops...pardon the interruption....now back to your regular postings:::::

\:D
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/27/06 05:24 AM

uh. about 11 years keke. well.. i TRIED playing alot of difficult pieces... slowly... don't rush into things. start practising the easier parts first! in a couple of years you'll be able to get nearer to there..!! and finally.. (.....) ..!! (: (:
Posted by: pianarchist

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/27/06 08:01 AM

Im impressed. I look forward to reaching that level.
Posted by: vanfanel

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/27/06 02:38 PM

I agree with islamey, if you really like this piece I say go for it!

I have a very similar experience. I've been playing for about 16 months now. La Campanella is also one of my goal pieces although I haven't actually started it yet. Although 7 months after I first started playing last year I discovered Liszt's 'Un Sospiro' and decided that I wanted to learn that. It's not as technically challenging as La Campanella but it's quite difficult nonetheless. I knew it would take a long time but the simple matter was that I loved the piece and I wanted to learn it.

It's now been about 8 months since I first started learning it and even though it's nowhere near performance level I'm getting that much closer to it. It's listenable to some extent :p What I've found along the way is that things that looked daunting and impossible at first just took practice. So I say go for it. If you really love the piece I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how well you'll actually do.
Posted by: islamey

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/30/06 01:29 PM

i look forward to the day where i can hear myself play the don juan fantasy. i'm just about as far from don juan fantasy as some are from la campanella. i guess everyone could just push forward. without goals and impetus there will be little improvement. (: cheers.
Posted by: LisztAddict

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 06/30/06 10:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by islamey:
i look forward to the day where i can hear myself play the don juan fantasy. i'm just about as far from don juan fantasy as some are from la campanella. [/b]
me too \:D
Posted by: pedron

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 10/11/06 04:19 PM

Wow! This is some discussion. I came here from doing a Google search on "La Campanella fingering". In many ways i am very much like pianofairy: I am a beginner, I am in IT, I am obsessed with La Campanella, my teacher told me that it was too hard for me to attempt, and I want to play it.

So this is my plan of action. I have been playing for about 1 year now and can comfortably play pieces like Chopin "La grande valse brilliante", "The bumblebee" among others simpler ones. Deep inside I know that La Campanella is hard but I am approaching it systematically. First I am not stopping playing pieces that are for my level (or a little higher). I have downloaded the midi file of La Campenella and plays it using a software called “Midinotate Musician”. This application allows you to scrutinize the score sheet note by note and play a bar over and over again while you’re trying it on the piano yourself. You can slow things right down to what you can technically play but then increase the speed as you get better. My other strategy is to stop at any technique that I haven’t acquired yet and go off a tangent and learn that technique separately (like the 4-5 trill and the big jumps) using Hannon or other technical books. Or even ask my teacher about it. And then come back to the piece. In this way I hope to at least get the notes down within a year or a bit more. Then it’s a matter of playing it over and over again to increase confidence and ease.

So pianofairy be assured that you’re not alone in the pursuit of “the impossible”. I have no illusion that it’s going to be very very hard and frustrating along the way but playing the little bit that you know gives you the confidence to press on. There has been lots of comparison in this topic: playing La Campanella have been compared to math, computing, chemistry and so on. Allow me to make another: I look at attempting to play La Campanella like caring for a baby; it can get very hard and frustrating but then (just when you think all is lost) that baby smiles at you only once and only for a short time and that gives you that determination to press on.

Pianofairy, let us know if you decide to keep working on this piece and maybe we can compare notes.

\:\) Pedro
Posted by: Arabesque

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 10/16/06 07:59 AM

Is this still going? LOL I've been off line for three months and wanted to see what's new. Excuse me but, all I find are zombies (ie reanimated corpses).

But, it's one thing to play La Campanella and it is quite another thing to play it well and musically not just like an "amaze your friends at parties" stunt. And the point is, even if you do practice it for a year you will still agonise over it. Yundi Li did not exactly walk it either.
It's extremely technically challenging in the middle and then you will sweat. I would not like to come up against a wall which might be detrimental to one's confidence.

I also have that Midinotate Musician stuff but it is a midi and sounds horrible. I know this practice feature and it's good for ragtime but Liszt, you'd be better listening to recordings. Just sit down and practice the left hand and right hand separately and mark up your score, really study the elements of the score. I believe one of the many technical problems, in addition to the leaps in the right hand, the maintenance of rythym, will be the control of dynamics in the changes of voice from left to right hand. Another problem may well be fatigue both physical and mental. You will have to be careful not to strain your fingers and wrists too much. You would be advised to do a lot of appreggio and scales work at the least to supplement your
work on the score.

But although a La Campanella Study Group sounds like the ultimate challenge(And a good way to get rid of a teacher!) maybe you should solicit opinions and relocate to the Pianist Forum because at the moment there don't seem to be any takers from Adult Beginners. However, they have some extremely talented and dedicated people here who think are worth any music grad.
Posted by: pedron

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 10/16/06 12:57 PM

LOL alright!!! I only realized it was a 3-month old post after i had already clicked on "Add Reply"... Anyhoo thanks for the advise. Yes you're (of course) right; This piece is not for anybody who has the word "beginner" in their description of their piano skills. I hope to play it some day though... (dream dream!!!)

I have another question and will my sure to start another post for it.

Cheers,

\:\) Pedro
Posted by: pocoloco

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 11/16/09 09:30 PM

Hi.
Just found this 3 year old thread, probably most people have already left the forum... It would have been very interesting to find out how the original poster is progressing.

Posted by: Stanza

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 11/17/09 10:58 AM

Probably not well...
Posted by: pocoloco

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 11/17/09 06:13 PM

I am sure I read in some forum that there were adult beginners who were able to pass grade 8 exams in 3 years... I know this piece is way above grade 8 but maybe there was some progress, maybe at least couple of pages of it is possible to master if the person is so passionate about it..
Posted by: currawong

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 11/17/09 06:48 PM

The original poster hasn't been seen since 2006, after making 4 posts. I think Stanza has the likely scenario. I thought this disconnect in the original post said it all:
Originally Posted By: pianofairy
After almost 7 months of study, I can play a simplified version of Fur Elise ... I want to propose that we start a study group on La Campanella...It sounds rather difficult but I believe with determination and hard work anything can be done.
As for Adult Beginner to Grade 8 in three years - I've never seen it in real life, and I've been around for a while. Someone might be able to teach themselves to parrot a grade 8 piece ("brute-force repetition" is the phrase one poster uses smile ) but that does not put them at grade 8 level, and it certainly doesn't mean they'd pass a grade 8 exam.

I know patience is sometimes hard, but it's the best way. And there are masterpieces to play at every level, so enjoy the journey.
Posted by: Frozenicicles

Re: New here. La Campanella study group? - 11/17/09 10:17 PM

La Campanella has always been one of my dream pieces. I was just debating whether to ask to learn this at my next lesson when I saw this thread. Maybe it's time that I took the plunge! I'm scared to try and fail, but at this rate I'll never even attempt it. (I've been playing piano for 13 years, although I've not been a very consistent practicer...)