What pieces have you balked at playing?

Posted by: Cindysphinx

What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/07/04 11:55 AM

Just wondering what pieces your teacher has recommended that you play that you *really* didn't like or maybe flat out refused to undertake.

For me, I remember putting my foot down at "Play Song," by Bartock, a little ditty that would make a nice sound track in a nursery school. No. Sorry. Uh-uh. Not me.

More recently, I declined the Goldberg variations. They just didn't *send* me, you know? Since then, dh bought me a CD, and I think I am starting to like them enough to try.

Last week, I tried to squirm out of a Chopin prelude we had started (called the "Funeral March" I think) because . . . oh, I don't know. It's just not something you might find yourself humming, I guess. No such luck. My teacher's not backing down because she wants me to confront my considerable fear of chords, so it looks like I'm stuck.

Cindy -- who balks at many suggested pieces because it takes her so long to work up a piece that she needs to absolutely love it or she won't practice
Posted by: pianojuggler

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/07/04 12:16 PM

A couple months ago, someone described Scarlatti as "like Clementi, but with talent".

Having grown up on Scarlatti, I thought Clementi was like cheap, watered-down Scarlatti.

I suffered through page one of some Clementi Sonatina. By the time I sorta got through page two, I didn't want to go back to page one and put the whole thing together. It just wasn't doing anything for me.


There have been several things that my teacher has suggested, but when she plays a few bars, I just say, "nah..." and we move on. I don't care for contemporary "classical" music (like Copeland). There have been some froo-froo English composers as well that I've turned up my nose at.

But the only things we started that I ditched were the Clementi and a piece by Kabalevsky. It was a yawner.
Posted by: ragtimebg

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/07/04 07:59 PM

When I was a kid I refused to practice anything my teacher told me to practice. Or anything else. Does that count? Now I won't play anything I don't either know first or like upon first hearing. Of course, I have no teacher either, and I am my own least critical critic...I remember years ago I heard a musician say he was his own worst critic. "Not while I'm alive" I thought......
Posted by: Mom of 3

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/07/04 10:03 PM

For me it has been pretty much anything Bach, not because I didn't like it, but it is too much work. However, after a week at camp I am rethinking my direction in learning, and am going to buckle down and master some.
Posted by: bachophile

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 12:24 AM

 Quote:
For me it has been pretty much anything Bach, not because I didn't like it, but it is too much work.
if u would like to play bach, and have passed the magdelena notebook minuet stage, then try some 2 part inventions, there is wonderful satisfaction getting 2 hands to work independently.

8 and 14 are classic starter inventions.

the first prelude of WTC is also easy yet beautiful in its simplicity. and the pattern playing is found in other easy preludes.

as for your question cindy,

i, (like i guess most of us,) will only play what i like, and i simply cannot stand romantic era stuff-schumann mendelssohn liszt, just too schmaltzy if u know what i mean (chopin is abit different in this respect)

on the other hand, i like the impressionist weirdos, like debussy and satie.

so i guess my no touch period in music is early-mid 19th century.

and my teacher never pushes anything i dont want, i am master of choosing my repertoire, (at least that, because im not master at much else...) i guess he figures that by this point, an adult student doesnt need the overall exposure maybe a child should have.

and he knows that if its written by jsb, ill never say no....
Posted by: mound

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 06:12 AM

Last year my teacher came to a lesson with a bunch of Christmas music books. I said to him matter of factly, "um, no, I can't stand christmas music."

and that was that. other than that, I've enjoyed playing everything he's presented to me.

except.. acutally, there was a Chopin Mazurka that I just remembered.. that kinda fizzled out, I think it bored both of us.. somehow we both seem to have forgotten about it before it was ever finished.


-Paul
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 07:54 AM

I vetoed the Christmas books too... there are Christmas pieces that are nice, but I can already play them sight reading. No big deal.

I play ALL SORTS of stuff, but need to get more disciplined about taking it to whatever level of mastery I can achieve at this point.
Posted by: Cindysphinx

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 08:00 AM

Christmas music is tricky. I love it, but I hardly play any of it.

The problem is that I don't want to plink out simple arrangements, yet I don't want to invest time in something seasonal that will sound riciculous to trot out in July. It's OK for sightreading practice, though.

Ironically, learning to play Christmas music was one of my main motivations for learning to play piano. I wanted that family warmth of having impromptu sing-alongs. Then again, I didn't know I liked classical music until I started playing piano!
Posted by: BeeLady

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 09:33 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Mom of 3:
For me it has been pretty much anything Bach, not because I didn't like it, but it is too much work. However, after a week at camp I am rethinking my direction in learning, and am going to buckle down and master some. [/b]
I'd be interested to hear what might have changed your mind. I have felt the same about Bach and practicing it soumds too repetitious for me. I think it is more the era of music really, so structured...

The opposite of bachophile, I love the romantics especially Schumann (am working on one now..)

I am becoming more open minded as time goes by. I realize that learning some Bach will be good for me! Besides, Kenny visited last spring and filled my home with some lovely Bach that had me rethinking...
Posted by: mound

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 01:12 PM

Bach is the kind of music you have to try to wrap your mind around, it's like puzzles inside of puzzles. especially the inventions. Not so much meant for performance as deep analysis. I enjoy some of it.
Posted by: plays88skeys

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 01:58 PM

I'm not wild about any of that atonal crap -- if it isn't melodious, I don't wanna play it!
Posted by: jdsher

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 02:12 PM

My teacher loves Bach. She gave me two or three inventions to start with and I just ignored them until she finally gave up on them.
Jon
Posted by: ChickGrand

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 02:19 PM

I've always said Bach and Mozart bore me to tears. Bach still does, mostly, except for a few works for small chamber string ensembles or on harpsichord. Just hate his stuff for piano.

Yesterday, I went out for a drive amid that gloaming time of late afternoon before sunset. The sky was incredibly blue with purple and gold bands of clouds with a spectacular double rainbow in the east opposite the setting sun. I had the sunroof open and the windows down and was totally enjoying crisp October air. I turned on a public radio station a little after 7 as I drove. Early on amid a very interesting piece, I concluded it could only be Beethoven's genius, but which piece? Then the second movement, so very different from the first began. Yes, only the genius of Beethoven, I thought. On I drove, really only to continue listening to that wonderful music, well until the sun set and the stars emerged overhead.

"Mozart, D minor concerto," the host soberly noted, "Rudolf Serkin..."



All I have to say is, I now have a more open mind about Mozart. I suppose there is room for more than one genius.

But never room for Bach. :p
Posted by: WynnBear

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 02:19 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
Christmas music is tricky. I love it, but I hardly play any of it.

The problem is that I don't want to plink out simple arrangements, yet I don't want to invest time in something seasonal that will sound riciculous to trot out in July. It's OK for sightreading practice, though. [/b]
Trying to play from arrangements set up for SATB chorus is much harder than it looks. You can see that from several prior threads about playing hymns. The notes were chosen for voices, without regard for pianist's fingers.

Cindy, look for the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook. Nice sounding arrangements, but not very tough. It also contains just about every Christmas song you've ever heard.

I've shot down some modern dissonant stuff. Can't really see the attraction of most Bartok, for example. I guess it's all a matter of taste.
Posted by: David Kirkham

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 06:21 PM

Cindy,

I just can't get into the modern stuff or hymns. I just have to say no.

Now, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin...I just have to say yes.

David \:\) \:\) \:\)

(I am almost, ever so close, to being through the 1st page of Chopin's Nocturn in E flat.) Hands seperate--for now.
Posted by: divadeb

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 06:43 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by plays88skeys:
I'm not wild about any of that atonal crap -- if it isn't melodious, I don't wanna play it! [/b]
I wish I'd said that \:D
Posted by: Mom of 3

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 09:14 PM

BeeLady - I like the romantic, lyrical pieces too. I just picked up Schumann's Scenes from Childhood, and am working through a couple of the pieces.

I was around a few really good pianists and decided if I wanted to progress as much as I think I do in the next year I need to work on certain things:

Bach pieces to work on hand independence.

Theory understanding (where's the next lesson from Matt?)

Listen to more classical music.

Sight reading skills.

and the list goes on....

Basically, I have had 2 years of lessons. I have been allowed to dictate what I did and didn't want to play, I just didn't practice certain excercises or pieces I was "assigned" and as an adult I was allowed that leeway. Now it is time to go back and fill in some of the holes. It's all about how serious I want my "musical education" to be.
Posted by: NoTV Mike

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/08/04 10:21 PM

Motzart... won't play it. Way too chipper for me and too jumpy.. but my piano teacher agrees, so did Beethoven.

Beethoven, Bach, Handel, etc I can do

I cleaned out my closet and book pile, I never realized how many songs I have played in the last couple of years. Loads of one and two pagers.... man the time flies.
Posted by: LudwigVanBee

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/09/04 01:10 AM

 Quote:
Bach is the kind of music you have to try to wrap your mind around, it's like puzzles inside of puzzles. especially the inventions. Not so much meant for performance as deep analysis. I enjoy some of it.
That's a nice way to put it. The Inventions have been described as more intellectual and mathematical than emotional. Mathematical because of their precision. I don't think it is just coincidence that my favorite subject in school was math and I love the sound of the Inventions. I though equations were things of mathematical beauty and Bach's Inventions and some of his other KB music expresses this for me. Esp when played by Gould because of his wonderful articulation. I think it is also why I can spend hours practicing the pieces and not at all get bored, only mind fatigued.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/09/04 01:28 AM

In my (no doubt extremely unpopular) opinion, music actually evolved since Bach. I believe that Mozart and Beethoven actually did write better music than Bach; yes, better. Had Bach been born in the Clasical period or later, who knows what he would have written, he undoubtedly was a genius, I just feel that music moved on. I don't believe that heavily contrapuntal music is the most effective form of music, it may be the most "theoretical" and complicated (theory isn't music) but I don't believe it is the most effective on the ear: the way the mind perceives sound. For sure the mind structures sensory input according to unchaning rules, that is what allows music - structured sound - to exist; but contrapuntal music usually too messy and ineffective, imho.

No doubt people will hate this view, but if so, just ignore it.
Posted by: bachophile

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/09/04 02:29 AM

apropos bach being structured...

i think the genius is not in the structure, also a computer can make strucured music. the true genius lies in that dificult to define quality which lives within the structure, of a truly divine essence clothed in structure. like the pythagorean greeks who saw math as simply a reflection of the nature of the universe.

also the goldbergs are "structured" with their patterns and rules, yet they remain one of the monumental works of human creation.

the inventions were clearly study pieces for his young sons, which explains they being relatively easy, but they also retain that ethereal quality of goodness.

i think mozart is abit naive, the 18 century equivalent of cocktail lounge music, lacking the depth and purity of bach.

i know all i say is maybe simplistic, but thats what i hear in the music.
Posted by: ChickGrand

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/09/04 04:03 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by spam:
...No doubt people will hate this view, but if so, just ignore it. [/b]
I subscribe to the same opinion wholly. We could form the Bach BleeAuCH :p Brotherhood. However elegantly logical Bach's music may be--and it is that--it seems entirely absent of anything like soul. His musical sensibility to me is about as fascinating as the mind of one of those idiot savants with mathematical ability, logical and elegant in its accuracy, but totally devoid of living, breathing, sentient contextual meaning.
Posted by: bachophile

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/09/04 04:33 AM

funny how people hear the same notes but emote differently.

for me, bach is soul. a simple equation.

everything else is just commentary.
Posted by: LudwigVanBee

Re: What pieces have you balked at playing? - 10/09/04 05:47 AM

 Quote:
I believe that Mozart and Beethoven actually did write better music than Bach
I don't mean to denigrate what you say but this is like saying Picasso painted better pictures than Leonardo. They both have their high place in their own time. Bach stands alone, the first giant of a composer. Beethoven and Mozart came along and did their own thing, completely different. I'm grateful I dearly love the music of all three without having the need to compare them.