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Practice sessions of famous pianists? #1234500
07/20/09 07:53 PM
07/20/09 07:53 PM
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ChopinLives81 Offline OP
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I'm wondering if anyone has come across any videos of famous pianists while in the process of learning a new piece. there are several videos out there of rehearsals, but I would like to see a video of one of the pros learning and familiarizing themselves with a piece for the first time.

Anyone else here share this curiosity of mine?


"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81
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Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: ChopinLives81] #1235648
07/22/09 09:03 PM
07/22/09 09:03 PM
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Hi Chopin,

This is what I found and have enjoyed, not a video though:

http://www.piano-lessons-master-teachers.com/piano-mastery/1.php


Baldwin
Charles Walter
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: tranquillo] #1235695
07/22/09 10:37 PM
07/22/09 10:37 PM
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BruceD Offline
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While such a video may have interest to some piano students, I find it hard to imagine that many "famous pianists" would dedicate time to video-recording a work that they are in the process of learning. It's only the rank amateurs who have the nerve to put their unpolished - sometimes very unfinished - "works in progress" on video.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: BruceD] #1235700
07/22/09 11:04 PM
07/22/09 11:04 PM
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New York City
ChopinLives81 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BruceD
While such a video may have interest to some piano students, I find it hard to imagine that many "famous pianists" would dedicate time to video-recording a work that they are in the process of learning. It's only the rank amateurs who have the nerve to put their unpolished - sometimes very unfinished - "works in progress" on video.

Regards,



Isn't that exactly what I do???? Although I do it for the sake of getting suggestions and oversight from more experienced pianists... whistle

Last edited by ChopinLives81; 07/22/09 11:05 PM.

"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: ChopinLives81] #1235713
07/22/09 11:58 PM
07/22/09 11:58 PM
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Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by ChopinLives81
Originally Posted by BruceD
While such a video may have interest to some piano students, I find it hard to imagine that many "famous pianists" would dedicate time to video-recording a work that they are in the process of learning. It's only the rank amateurs who have the nerve to put their unpolished - sometimes very unfinished - "works in progress" on video.

Regards,



Isn't that exactly what I do???? Although I do it for the sake of getting suggestions and oversight from more experienced pianists... whistle


That may be. I don't know, but that is a totally different scenario.

What would the point be of a "famous pianist" video-recording a work in progress? If one wants help in learning a work, one turns to the pedagogues, the teachers, who teach learning techniques, who listen, and who make critiques and give advice.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: BruceD] #1235716
07/23/09 12:08 AM
07/23/09 12:08 AM
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New York City
ChopinLives81 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BruceD
[quote=ChopinLives81][quote=BruceD]

What would the point be of a "famous pianist" video-recording a work in progress? If one wants help in learning a work, one turns to the pedagogues, the teachers, who teach learning techniques, who listen, and who make critiques and give advice.

Regards,


Well my point originally wasn't an intentional video, rather just say a fluke recording or maybe the pianist was going over something and someone just happened to catch them on video. I know its an odd scenario, but that's precisely why I'm asking if anyone has come across anything like it.

Figure that famous studio practice session of Cziffra that's on youtube. Now take it back a few steps to what I'm referring to. Again, not something intentional, there just happened to be cameras rolling.


"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: ChopinLives81] #1235744
07/23/09 02:09 AM
07/23/09 02:09 AM
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wr Offline
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Since professionals usually learn music at home or in their studio, i.e., in a work environment they control, it is hard to imagine any circumstance where "there just happened to be cameras rolling". And of course, the cameras would need to be rolling day after day, while the pianist went through the process of learning the music. I suppose if the pianist had a family member who was a film or video enthusiast, it could happen as a project for them.

But on the other hand, I can imagine a professional intentionally taping the process, with the thought that students and others might benefit or find it interesting. However, I've never come across anything like that which is publicly available.

Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: wr] #1235748
07/23/09 02:26 AM
07/23/09 02:26 AM
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Posts: 1,192
Torquay, Devon, England
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Hi ChopinLives81

However unlikely that a video of the kind you describe exists at all, I must say that I share your curiosity. To be able to witness a renowned pianist going through the learning of an unfamiliar work - warts and all! - would imo be fascinating, informative and perhaps even a little encouraging for the rest of us. Practically all we lesser mortals get to hear and/or see is the - usally - impressively polished finished article.

...thanks for asking the question! smile


Michael
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: cruiser] #1235766
07/23/09 06:15 AM
07/23/09 06:15 AM
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I remember there was a dvd of Marc-Andre Hamelin preparing for a concert - it got good reviews in a magazine. Never watched it though, so I can't really comment on whether its what you're looking for.

Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: bravuraoctaves1] #1235778
07/23/09 07:14 AM
07/23/09 07:14 AM
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EJR Offline
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No video publically available (a far as I know). However, Gabriela Imreh, has been the subject of detailed studies of practice session analysis (from first play through until recording) of the Bach Italien concerto. There are a number of academic publications with Imreh and Roger Chaffin as key authors.

If you Google IMREH CHAFFIN PIANO PDF you'll find a number of publications that are quite interesting. The key one is

"Practicing perfection: How concert soloists prepare for performance"

- Enjoy!

Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: EJR] #1235793
07/23/09 08:11 AM
07/23/09 08:11 AM
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Los Angeles, CA
Akira Offline
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I don't think he'd be considered 'famous', but he offers some interesting tips in his blog. See most recent post.
http://www.andersonpiano.com/interact/ask.php

Last edited by Akira; 07/23/09 08:12 AM.
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: Akira] #1235991
07/23/09 01:29 PM
07/23/09 01:29 PM
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J Cortese Offline
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I can see how a performing pro might videotape themselves, for the same reason any performer might -- to play it back later to see/hear and thus critique. One of the most interesting musical bits I've ever found is an hour-long writing session by a very well-known contemporary composer. They often record themselves so they can doodle and try things out without having to remember everything later -- like auditory scratch paper.

So I can see the value of recording yourself even for someone who is very talented and well-known. It can be useful to critique yourself, and if you are working on some adaptation or composition, it can be a great way to scribble things down. I doubt they all do it, though. It probably just depends on the way the person works.


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Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: J Cortese] #1236062
07/23/09 03:15 PM
07/23/09 03:15 PM
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Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by J Cortese
[...]
So I can see the value of recording yourself even for someone who is very talented and well-known. It can be useful to critique yourself, and if you are working on some adaptation or composition, it can be a great way to scribble things down. I doubt they all do it, though. It probably just depends on the way the person works.


... and even if they do do it, I doubt that they will be rushing to post it on You Tube, nor, I think, would they want anyone else to do so.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: BruceD] #1236067
07/23/09 03:17 PM
07/23/09 03:17 PM
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Iowa City, IA
Kreisler Offline
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I think most people would be profoundly disappointed in what they saw if they were a fly on the wall during a famous pianist's practice session.

I think they'd be amazed to find that at least 90% of the difference is inside the brain.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: Kreisler] #1236090
07/23/09 03:53 PM
07/23/09 03:53 PM
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Interestingly (in response to Kreisler), the Greg Anderson link posted above had some interesting ideas about getting your hands to follow ears.

Also in the article "Practicing perfection: How concert soloists prepare for performance"
the researchers found interesting patterns in the way the performer chose which sections to practice.

I'm sure most people already do these things when practicing, but these may lead them to developing these ideas further.

Last edited by bravuraoctaves1; 07/23/09 03:53 PM.
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: bravuraoctaves1] #1236093
07/23/09 03:59 PM
07/23/09 03:59 PM
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This excerpt from the 3rd concerto played by Lugansky is the one such video I've seen. You'll notice he repeats phrases when he wasn't satisfied the first time. I greatly enjoy seeing people work on pieces.

Last edited by Naku; 07/23/09 04:06 PM.
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: BruceD] #1236114
07/23/09 04:30 PM
07/23/09 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by J Cortese
[...]
So I can see the value of recording yourself even for someone who is very talented and well-known. It can be useful to critique yourself, and if you are working on some adaptation or composition, it can be a great way to scribble things down. I doubt they all do it, though. It probably just depends on the way the person works.


... and even if they do do it, I doubt that they will be rushing to post it on You Tube, nor, I think, would they want anyone else to do so.


Likely not -- but these things can show up from time to time. It's worth keeping an eye out. People do seem to have found examples and posted links to them here.


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Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: J Cortese] #1236144
07/23/09 05:25 PM
07/23/09 05:25 PM
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Check out the documentary of Friedrich Gulda called "So What?!". In the special features section, there's an interview with Gulda, where he describes (and plays) exactly the way Alfred Cortot practiced before a Chopin Etude recital that Gulda eavesdropped on. It's an interesting watch.

Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: Kreisler] #1236158
07/23/09 05:46 PM
07/23/09 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
I think most people would be profoundly disappointed in what they saw if they were a fly on the wall during a famous pianist's practice session.

I think they'd be amazed to find that at least 90% of the difference is inside the brain.


That's interesting because that's what I believe too. Most of talent and skill are probably in our minds. They may show something physically and they may practice in similar or nearly identical ways as us, but what sets them apart is their mentality, that is the ability to learn.


"Nie Dam Sie!"
Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: Philip Lu] #1236188
07/23/09 06:42 PM
07/23/09 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Philip Lu
They may show something physically and they may practice in similar or nearly identical ways as us, but what sets them apart is their mentality, that is the ability to learn.


IAWTC -- and to keep at it. That writing session I mentioned was very illuminating for me. This particular composer is a good one, but the song didn't spring from his forehead like Athena from the brow of Zeus. He pounded at it, worked at it, screwed it up, backtracked, wandered, and just kept going. Brilliance is 90% bullheadedness.


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Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: Kreisler] #1236277
07/23/09 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
I think most people would be profoundly disappointed in what they saw if they were a fly on the wall during a famous pianist's practice session.

I think they'd be amazed to find that at least 90% of the difference is inside the brain.


I have had that "fly on the wall" experience with a perhaps not famous now, but still very high level, pianist (good enough to have studied with Samaroff and Rosina Lhevinne, and to have been soloist in performances under the likes of Barbirolli, Dorati, and Solti). And you are right, it was not terribly interesting on the surface, at least not with this particular artist. A great deal of it depended on having a totally comprehensive technique so that relatively little time had to be spent working out technical difficulties in a piece. The other thing I noticed was amazing concentration and retention of what happened when practicing, so that things didn't have to get repeated very much. There was basically never any "mindless" practice or drilling.



Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: bravuraoctaves1] #1236446
07/24/09 10:18 AM
07/24/09 10:18 AM
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Interestingly, I found in addition to the PDF that there is a full, large book available. Its on Google books, and the chapters available are quite interesting, however the book seems very expensive £62+ on Amazon! Might try interlibrary loan though.

Here's a link

Practicing Perfection - The Book

Re: Practice sessions of famous pianists? [Re: EJR] #1238387
07/27/09 05:29 PM
07/27/09 05:29 PM
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ChopinLives81 Offline OP
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Thanks for all the links and extra info guys. Certainly helps entertain my curiosity.


"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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