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#1046426 - 01/02/08 07:53 PM First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 36
Lavace Offline
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Lavace  Offline
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Birmingham
Hey everyone,
I'm meeting around 4 new teachers in Feburary to find a teacher that suits me best.
However, they'd all like a song from me to show what level I'm currently at (I've been playing for 3 months, self-teaching).
I'd like to be able to impress them with my skills, as I feel all that practice (Nearly 2 hours a day, some days were around 3-4) has really helped my dexterity with the Piano a helluva lot. I have more or less completed Alfred's Basic Piano Course #1!

So, can someone please suggest a song that would be able to impress the teachers, as well as has a beautiful melody to it.
The best I can play is: http://ffmusic.ffshrine.org/ff10-2sheet/1000%20words.zip (Sorry about the ZIP, right click -> Save Target As).
And that took me weeks to learn! But was worth it. I'd like 2 songs in my armory =].

Also, will I lose points for over-use of the pedal? I have a habit of using it too much during songs cause my hands can't move around fast enough.

Another thing is, the music that got me inspired to play and learn and start the grades, was mainly game music from Final Fantasy, and Japaneese Anime I watch. I feel a bit immature saying Game Music, is there anything else I can say?

Thanks a bunch!

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#1046427 - 01/02/08 08:04 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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mr_super-hunky Offline
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Jim Brickman has a lot of really nice stuff available in "easy piano" versions.

The songs are watered down versions of the originals but still sound very nice and impressive.

Possibly Cristoforis Dream by /david Lanz. That would be REALLY impressive if you could pull that off. It may be possible.

#1046428 - 01/02/08 08:25 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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NancyM333 Offline
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Roswell, Georgia
There is a great piece called "Winter Wind" by David Carr Glover that one of my children did at the end of their first year of piano. It's mostly arpeggios, so there's a pattern that makes it easy to follow. A series of chords follows each set of arpeggios, but once you get the feel of them, they really flow easily. It should be played very fast, and that's usually impressive.

On the other hand, I would advise you to show them exactly where you are honestly. They will be able to help you much better if they have accurate placement information.

Nancy



Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3
#1046429 - 01/02/08 08:35 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 106
FLMikeATT Offline
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Port St. Lucie
I'm going to start searching for teachers here soon, and when I go for an interview and play a few pieces so he/she can gauge my skill, I'll probably play some FF/anime music along with some classical pieces I learned.

I can play Main Theme and The Prelude from FFIV Piano Collections pretty well and I think I'll also play Waltz of the Flowers, Elegie, Fur Elise, and Moonlight Sonata first movement. I might take mr. s-h's advise and try to play Cristofori's Dream, but it is such a long piece and there's too many places where I still mess up on frequently.

I wouldn't worry too much about over pedaling as I imagine most piano players without teachers use it too much. I think I've heard it mentioned before that pedaling is one of the most difficult piano skills to learn/master.

Also, I wouldn't worry or be embarrassed about playing game and anime music as a lot of people on this forum do (myself included). There are some really great and beautiful songs that come from video games and anime.

I just worry about my shyness. I cannot play when someone else is in hearing range. The few times I've tried to play for my family, I messed up songs really bad that I know perfectly and can usually play without any mistakes. When I'm nervous (as I imagine I will be at an interview) my focus and skills seem to just fly out the window.

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#1046430 - 01/02/08 08:43 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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Akira Offline
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Sounds like you're going to an audition.

In my view, you do not need to impress them. Its they that need to impress you (not sure if there's a grammatical error in that sentence smile ).

If anything, I would intentionally not play my most impressive piece. The purpose of playing for them is to give them a rough idea of where you're starting at. Playing something well-polished and beyond your capabilities, for example, may give them a false impression that you are better than you actually are, which I think defeats the purpose of the exercise.

I took the same approach as you when I was looking for my piano teacher about five months ago. I interviewed five teachers in the area and asked them questions on their approach, had them play for me and I played for them. I was looking for a logical action plan and one the I had chemistry with. I think, when you find the right one, it will just 'feel' right. smile

#1046431 - 01/02/08 08:49 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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FLMikeATT Offline
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Port St. Lucie
Quote
Originally posted by NancyM333:
There is a great piece called "Winter Wind" by David Carr Glover that one of my children did at the end of their first year of piano. It's mostly arpeggios, so there's a pattern that makes it easy to follow. A series of chords follows each set of arpeggios, but once you get the feel of them, they really flow easily. It should be played very fast, and that's usually impressive.

On the other hand, I would advise you to show them exactly where you are honestly. They will be able to help you much better if they have accurate placement information.

Nancy
When I hear "winter wind" I automatically think of the Chopin etude smile . What level is the song you are talking about, and where can I hear a recording?

#1046432 - 01/02/08 09:28 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: May 2007
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MarkL Offline
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I'd play lousy just to see how they react, it will tell you more than if you play well. You're hiring someone to do a job for you, and you're interviewing them for the position. Make them earn their money. I'd ask them to play something, ask what kind of students they enjoy working with, what are their credentials, their philosophy, how flexible are they. Make sure they will teach you the type of music you want to learn. The only reason to play for them is to see who has the best suggestions to improve your skills.


Yamaha P90
#1046433 - 01/02/08 10:15 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: Nov 2006
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NancyM333 Offline
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NancyM333  Offline
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Roswell, Georgia
Here is a link to the music:

David Carr Glover\'s Winter Wind

It's funny what FLMikeATT said about the Chopin Winter Wind Etude--when I searched for this link originally, I had to exclude Chopin from the search terms in order to get something even close to this level.

I don't know of a recording for it at this point, and it wasn't on YouTube. If I can get one of my boys to work it up, I'll post it on this thread in the next few days.

Nancy



Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3
#1046434 - 01/02/08 10:22 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,182
Monica K. Offline

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Lexington, Kentucky
Some of David Nevue's pieces are good candidates for being easy yet possessing beautiful melodies, e.g., Solitude, Wonderland, A Moment Lost.

I'm too lazy to do so, but if you search the archives for threads with "David Nevue" as the subject of the thread, you'll hit one that I started that has links to my recordings of all three of those pieces.


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
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#1046435 - 01/03/08 09:15 AM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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DragonPianoPlayer Offline
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I, personally, don't agree with MarkL about playing lousy on purpose.

Teachers are trying to understand where you are at and what you are thinking and feeling about the music you are playing. I've heard them phrase it as trying to get inside our head. They will be trying to formulate an idea of where you need to develop, what you need to relearn, and where to go. And I guarantee that there will be plenty of things that they will need to help you relearn or unlearn. Everyone makes decisions as to what is more or less important and transfer students or self starters will almost always come to a new teacher with skills that the teacher feels are lacking.

I like to think of my relationship with my teacher as more of a mentor or coach than an employee.

As far as the pedal goes, teachers understand that the pedal gets overused. Just make sure you are listening to the sound and pedaling accordingly and you should be fine.

Rich


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#1046436 - 01/03/08 10:48 AM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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Akira Offline
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Quote
I, personally, don't agree with MarkL about playing lousy on purpose.
Another way to look at would be from an assessment point of view. The potential student may be interested to see if the would-be teacher has the ear to identify all the mistakes the student has made and how they go about communicating what needs to be corrected. If one played flawlessly, there would be nothing to critique and the only thing left for the teacher to say would be "That sounded great." (which tells the student nothing).

Just a different perspective, I suppose. smile

#1046437 - 01/03/08 01:53 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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This is the possible collaboration of a piano teacher and a piano student. You both need to be real in what you have to offer each other in music.

The piano student needs to be himself - no illusions - worthy of the teachers time and effort - and realistic.

You are going to have to tame your "ego issues" and present your best and most humble self. You are there for a "get acquainted" time and to make a decision.

I think you would be most likely to choose the teacher who "bills and coos" over you, than the one who is most likely to have a positive and lifetime effect on you. In your mind, you play to illusion and fantasy - do you read, hear, or see what I am talking about?

I am trying to awaken you to the possibilities that the teacher would love to meet and work with the real you.

Best wishes!

Betty

#1046438 - 01/03/08 03:44 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,182
Monica K. Offline

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Monica K.  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2005
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Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
You are going to have to tame your "ego issues" and present your best and most humble self.... I think you would be most likely to choose the teacher who "bills and coos" over you, than the one who is most likely to have a positive and lifetime effect on you. In your mind, you play to illusion and fantasy
All Lavace says is that he/she wants to impress the potential teachers, and from this you diagnose 'ego issues' that need 'taming' and make all sorts of unwarranted assumptions about what teacher Lavace might choose and what he/she is doing in his mind????? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Lavace, I think it is normal and reasonable to want to impress the teachers you are interviewing, and by all means you should pick a pretty piece to play that you're proud of. I also think it is fine to play video game music; after all, you want a teacher who will work with you and accommodate your musical interests.

If you don't like the phrase "video game music," you can always say something like "I really like some of the contemporary music that is coming out of Japan these days, for example, work by Nobuo Uematsu." laugh


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
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#1046439 - 01/03/08 04:42 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,385
jotur Offline
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Lavace - I think you'd be most impressive with a piece a little below your "best" skill level that you like a lot and can get "lost" in - that way you'll play it really well because you just love playing it!

From what I've heard on ABF the fantasy/video game music is a good choice - and the David Nevue that Monica recommended is excellent, too, if you want a piece that's new to you.

The idea of interviewing several teachers is a good one - hope one of them turns out to be the perfect fit for you - let us know how it goes -

Cathy


Cathy
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#1046440 - 01/03/08 04:43 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Monica and LaVace,

Here I'm in the soup again, for stating my viewpoint gained from my experiences in teaching.

The sooner the student and teacher can get down to working on the music part of lessons, the better for each.

Everyone has obstacles in thinking that need modification - as you would like me to modify my viewpoint to fit yours and for me to be more accomadating to your viewpoint. When someone is so busy disagreeing with me, it makes me concerned about their ability to self-teach or to receive instruction from a piano teacher at all.

Coming together in a new beginning does not get helped by taking on postures or identities that we do not really possess. It would be so much better to come together and learn what we need to learn as comfortably as possible. The illusion of having skills or abilities we do not have muddies up the water somewhat. In this situation it could fracture the partnership you are so much desiring by not being willing to be as you are, and who you are musically.

Does any of this make sense.

If LaVace wants to know how to make the biggest difference in his first meetings with his teacher, he will be his humble self. That is more than enough to present to a teacher.

I have e-mails for upcoming interviews coming in today, and the questions are 1) Do I have to play in Recitals? 2)Do I have to memorize? I'm bringing this up because I need to understand the person coming for lessons - if I have not been able to provide insights and information to make changes as needed for the better. I am always interested in attitudes and previous experiences because it is actually as large of the piece of instruction as the music, techniques, theories, and repertoire is.

LaVace gave me some clues in his posting as to what to expect from him - what here is called "unwarranted assumptions". I think I am trying to say "be yourself", "come as you are".

If any of this is offensive, I am sorry to present it in a way that it seemed offensive, to me it is a first step to get to the "meeting of the minds between student and teacher."

This "vision" is ridiculous, but I just imagined being seen as a teacher who puts her "tiara" on before opening the door for the student, and then promptly lifts her nose in the air to look at the ceiling. So, not me!

I have the best of intentions when I post. As do you.

Betty

#1046441 - 01/03/08 05:13 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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It took a couple of us a few years to realize we were coming to lessons with a particular image and perspective: We were performing for our teachers. Our teachers assess how well we perform, how good our music is. That's not what it is about at all! We started to be able to relax in lessons and got more accomplished as soon as that perception changed.

You are not there to perform for your teacher. You are not there to play well or impressively. If you could do that, you would not need a teacher. Being able to play well comes from having knowledge and skills. Your teacher will be building you. Think of your teacher as a sports coach and tutor for an upcoming exam. A good teacher will be assessing your strengths and weaknesses from which to plan how she can help you. Imagine a veterinarian asking the farmer to walk his horse around so he can see whether the horse is limping, off balance - he needs to see the horse in action in order to diagnose, but he is not judging whether the horse is magnificent or a graceful walker. Your prospective teachers need to see you in action, and that is why they have asked you to play.

As you play, your teacher might see that you have a posture issue that is giving you difficulty. Maybe you use your hands and fingers in an awkward way. Your rhythm might indicate that there is some theory knowledge missing. The manner in which you have prepared the piece may tell the teacher approaches that you need to learn in order to help you. The beauty and perfection of your piece is not important. I would encourage you to play your best, but not for the purpose of impressing.

If you make mistakes and this teacher does not mention them, it does not mean they were not noticed. When going to the interview, do you have questions and expectations of these teachers? Do you know what you hope to achieve by taking lessons? What are this teacher's goals for her students?

#1046442 - 01/03/08 06:07 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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crusadar Offline
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Hi Lavace, Congratulations, I'm amazed and humbled, you didn't get your piano until 23rd October 2007 and your already playing music at the level of "1000 Words" from Final Fantasy X-2, I really must get in some serious practicing to catch you up...if I can ever catch up.

#1046443 - 01/03/08 07:31 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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LaValse Offline
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Betty,

I've read Lavace's post many times and I have to say, all I 'see' is excitement...

#1046444 - 01/03/08 08:43 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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MarkL Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by DragonPianoPlayer:
I, personally, don't agree with MarkL about playing lousy on purpose.
Rich
Yes, I wish I had said "I'd be tempted to play lousy...". I went to far trying to discourage treating this like an audition instead of an even exchange on both sides.

I also think of a teacher as a coach or mentor, but for me that takes a while to determine. I think it's hard to know what a teacher will be like in the beginning, and so in some crude sense it boils down to a business deal: if I give you money what's your plan to help me play better. If it develops into a good coaching and mentoring relationship that's great, if not you might have to look for a better fit.


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#1046445 - 01/03/08 09:03 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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Akira Offline
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Along with having a chemistry, I think the communication of their vision is key. Does their action plan make sense to you? Does their vision align with yours? Asks as many questions as you can think of. See how they respond. Who gave you the best and most thorough answers?

I think playing is a minor part of the first meeting, so I wouldn't place too much emphasis on it.

Although I had taken a years worth of lessons 20 years ago, when I recently restarted, I told the teacher to assume I knew nothing. That way, he would not make certain assumptions about what I did or did not know. I told him, if I know it and we breeze through the idea or concepts, then great.

Of course, you want to make the most informed decision as possible, but in the end, you may find things are not working as you expected. In that case, just move onto the next teacher, but find the one that's right for you.

#1046446 - 01/03/08 10:31 PM Re: First Song Suggestions!  
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Hey Lavace - this is exactly the same thing I did. Before I went to meet my first piano teacher, I spend days practicing two pieces madly, one was a piece of anime music and the other was Mozart's "Rondo alla turca". When I got there I pretended to be perfectly comfortable, not nervous, like I could play these pieces with my eyes closed. I played them okay, and my teacher assessed me to be around grade 7 or 8 level. Of course, the next day when I stepped in for lessons, she presented me with a grade 8 book and asked me to choose a piece I liked and try to start playing through it. I chose one, then stared blankly at it. I could barely sight-read anything! And I couldn't hope to play the piece even badly without practicing it.

Thankfully she agreed (after I begged) to let me stay in that grade, and recently I passed the grade 8 exam with honours. Now I don't know if your teacher would be as flexible, but I just thought I'd throw out my story, as it's beginning is very similar to yours!


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