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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
ChopinAddict #1336733 12/30/09 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I have just taken out the Pathetique again.... It is really not hard......

Sorry but you just gave me a stroke. ha

But seriously folks..... smile .....it depends what we mean by hard, and depends what we're trying to do. I guess if you mean being able to work on it and do an OK job with it, yeah, it's not hard in the sense that someone can do it after a few years on the piano. But IMO that doesn't make it 'not hard.'

It's hard. smile

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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Teodor #1336739 12/30/09 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Teodor
Hey, sorry to flood the forum with so many questions but I have no friends who are into music and I have no on to talk to about this stuff except my teacher who is on vacation...

Do you think that it may be possible for me to ever play pieces of higher level? Such as

Chopin - Winter Wind Etude
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto 2
Beethoven - Pathetique

I'm 21, I started a month ago and I've been working on it every day, I take piano lessons 2 times a week. I'd like an honest opinion. What should I expect from my piano progress? How well should I be able to play after 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? What was your progress like when you started?


Working hard has something to do with getting good. Working SMART has the most to do with getting good.

There are SO many things a pianist has to learn. Getting them down in a short period is THE key to getting good.

You are still young so your brain can still develop the skills needed for higher levels. After say... age 55 or so, it can be difficult to advance into the professional level pieces.

The shortcuts your teacher gives you or you may discover on your own are THE reason you will get better quicker and be able to access those pieces you mentioned. You will also need 6-9 months of INTENSE practice at some time to really burn in skills in addition to the time you spend now.

A good teacher who is versed in smart practice routines can speed your progress tremendously.

Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Mark_C #1336893 12/30/09 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I have just taken out the Pathetique again.... It is really not hard......

Sorry but you just gave me a stroke. ha

But seriously folks..... smile .....it depends what we mean by hard, and depends what we're trying to do. I guess if you mean being able to work on it and do an OK job with it, yeah, it's not hard in the sense that someone can do it after a few years on the piano. But IMO that doesn't make it 'not hard.'

It's hard. smile


You guys are talking the 2nd Movement, right? The 1st movement is crazy-hard. I'd like to be able to play the 1st movement in 5 years. smile

I agree with Mark that "hard" is a relative term. The 2nd Movement, while not technically difficult is extremely difficult in terms of phrasing and dynamics. Here is a really great example of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2nG1bt7IBM

Anybody can "put their fingers in the right place" at the right time, but making the piano sing and sound nice, I'd say, is the single hardest aspect about piano.



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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
CebuKid #1336924 12/30/09 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by cebukid70


You guys are talking the 2nd Movement, right? The 1st movement is crazy-hard. I'd like to be able to play the 1st movement in 5 years. smile

I agree with Mark that "hard" is a relative term. The 2nd Movement, while not technically difficult is extremely difficult in terms of phrasing and dynamics. Here is a really great example of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2nG1bt7IBM

Anybody can "put their fingers in the right place" at the right time, but making the piano sing and sound nice, I'd say, is the single hardest aspect about piano.



I've listened to this a hudred times already. I don't find dynamics hard, there are marked on the sheet music and if they are not you can listen to this performance and mark them yourself, it seems quite easy to me and I believe I can do it too one day because I can see myself doing it. I can't imagine myself flying and really feel like I can do it but so far with piano, anything I've set my mind to has worked. When I began I couldn't say the notes backwards, now I'm able to read simple sheet music and play everything up to speed, even when it's allegro or presto. (with 2 hands) When I listen to something I can separate the sound that each hand makes, while before I begun learning it was all the same to me, 2 hands playing together, couldn't make sense of it. I also seem to really feel everything I play, I get into a piece pretty easy and it provokes emotions I've rarely experienced before. I let those emotions guide me and usually I do fine with dynamics as long as I keep my eyes on the sheet. I recently leanrned a 6 page sonatina and I'm working on perfecting it now. It took me almost no time to go through those 6 pages and every note is played accurately and it's up to speed. Allegro then Adante Cantabile then Presto (3 different movements)

If I can do this in the short amount of time I've spend (an hour a day for the past month and a bit over), then I think harder things won't be a problem once I get more advanced.

Last edited by Teodor; 12/30/09 10:16 AM.

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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Teodor #1336941 12/30/09 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Teodor
I had pathetique in mind. I saw lots of videos of little children playing that. Can't be that hard if they can do it with 3-4 years of lessons...


I don't think its a good idea to gauge the playability a piece by "a lot children" were playing it..

If you have this competitive/comparative mind set rather than pure love for playing the piano, you will realize your practice time is a chore and may setup some potential downfalls in your piano progress. Do what you can, learn everything you can about the piano, be optimistic, keep your passion and you will reach a level where you are satisfied with yourself. Everyone really is different in regards to learning ability, so if you are in the upper 5% and have an innate ability for the piano, then great, but don't be upset if you are around the norm.

I started out the piano less then 9 months ago, and my goal was to be able to play Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 when I approached a year. I didn't care if it was a hard or easy piece i just knew I loved the piece. now, 3 months away from hitting a year, I think i've gotten through a good deal of material that I enjoy playing and am also currently ahead of my own set plan, about half way through the chopin nocturne. Not sure where the future leads but I know there a lot more pieces that I adore and would take the rest of my life to learn them =).

Last edited by Rui725; 12/30/09 10:50 AM.
Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Teodor #1336956 12/30/09 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Teodor


[/quote]

I've listened to this a hudred times already. I don't find dynamics hard, there are marked on the sheet music and if they are not you can listen to this performance and mark them yourself, it seems quite easy to me and I believe I can do it too one day because I can see myself doing it. [/quote]

That's what I thought at first when I tackled the slower, easier movement of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, but let me tell you, polishing up the dynamics was not as easy as I thought. After learning the fingering, I do believe listening to the piece and comparing the interpretations of professional class pianists does help, as you are doing already, but never expect an easy fight with any piece, or else you may just end up:
1. practicing too fast, always practice slow when learning a piece
2. practicing a phrase wrong (ie, playing it in an easier way that sounds similar to how its supposed to be played, but ultimately still wrong)

Enjoy the music, if you can imagine yourself doing it, then most likely you can in the future. But not everyone who practices everyday can reach a very high level, and sometimes I think its because they get down on themselves and wonder "why am I not as good as I am supposd to be after 5 years, 10 years, 20 years". This kind of thought is very dangerous and is also why a lot of people stop seriously playing the piano after they plateau at a certain level.

Last edited by Rui725; 12/30/09 11:05 AM.
Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Rui725 #1336962 12/30/09 11:08 AM
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"Working hard has something to do with getting good. Working SMART has the most to do with getting good."

You have very worthy goals, Teodor. Certainly, no one will reach them without putting in the work. I also like the way you describe listening to the pieces, that is one indication that your brain may have the ability to guide your fingers. Not everyone can really "hear" music that way; it is a good sign for you.

Realistically, they are goals that will take a number of years of steady work--- but that is no reason to give up your goals; they may be lofty, but they are far from hopeless. Not at all! These master composers started out as beginners, too, and one reason they went to the work to make these compositions up and write them down, was so they could come to you. Their love of music, and their friendliness to musicians, have come through time and space to arrive in front of your eyes, on your music desk. And that is just a small part of the whole story, when you think of all the things that had to happen or be invented or discovered or made. There is a lot of momentum, a lot of genius, a lot of love, that is working on your side.

"Will I be good if I work hard?"

The work you do to learn and develop the skill, will reveal the goodness that is inside you already. (That is, more or less, the meaning of the root words that make up the word "education"--- some give it as "to lead out," but it makes more sense to me as "to take it out on the road.") No one is in a position to answer the question you have asked, or make you any guarantees. My personal opinion: it sounds to me like you may have a good chance--- and I'd like to find out.

Last edited by Jeff Clef; 12/30/09 11:16 AM.

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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Jeff Clef #1337072 12/30/09 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Rui725
If you have this competitive/comparative mind set rather than pure love for playing the piano, you will realize your practice time is a chore and may setup some potential downfalls in your piano progress. Do what you can, learn everything you can about the piano, be optimistic, keep your passion and you will reach a level where you are satisfied with yourself.
Great point.

Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Realistically, they are goals that will take a number of years of steady work…
… No one is in a position to answer the question you have asked, or make you any guarantees. My personal opinion: it sounds to me like you may have a good chance
And this too.

I’d like to give my honest opinion, but it’s too straightforward. We tend to like it sugar coated. I’ll pass smile


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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
CebuKid #1337115 12/30/09 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cebukid70
You guys are talking the 2nd Movement, right? [i.e. Pathetique] The 1st movement is crazy-hard. I'd like to be able to play the 1st movement in 5 years. smile
......The 2nd Movement, while not technically difficult is extremely difficult in terms of phrasing and dynamics.....

I was actually talking mainly about the 1st and 3rd movements when I said "it's hard," but I agree with that too.

Quote
.....Anybody can "put their fingers in the right place" at the right time, but making the piano sing and sound nice, I'd say, is the single hardest aspect about piano.

Yes, not to mention other aspects, like giving the music a "sweep" when called for.

You 'put your finger' on a lot of what makes me die when I see stuff like "the Pathetique is easy" or "I'm a beginner but I'm playing the Winter Wind etude." But who's to say......if someone doesn't care about the things we're mentioning and enjoys just the idea of playing the notes, who are we to argue with that.

But they shouldn't think it means the piece isn't hard. ha

Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Teodor #1337120 12/30/09 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Teodor
.....I've listened to this a hudred times already. I don't find dynamics hard, there are marked on the sheet music and if they are not you can listen to this performance and mark them yourself, it seems quite easy to me and I believe I can do it too one day because I can see myself doing it.....

Great -- but please understand, there is something to what we're saying which you're not appreciating -- a different level of seeing it.

Quote
.....If I can do this in the short amount of time I've spend (an hour a day for the past month and a bit over), then I think harder things won't be a problem once I get more advanced.

In the sense of how you mean it, you're probably right.

Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Teodor #1337148 12/30/09 02:54 PM
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These are concert pianist/conservatory-
level pieces. There is no guarantee
that anyone will be able
to progress to the point where he
can work these up like a conservatory
player can, that is, in less than
a yr. There is a talented adult
amateur of these forums who
plays at a quite advanced level,
who hired a high-priced teacher
specifically to teach him one
of the big Romantic Era concertos,
a concert pianist-level piece.
But it didn't work. He wrenched
his hand and had to give up on it.

There is an experienced teacher
on these forums, who has a masters
degree in music and plays at
a quite advanced level, who tried to
learn a Chopin Ballade--this is
concert pianist-level stuff
--under the guidance
of a high-priced teacher. But
she couldn't work it up in
a reasonable amount of time and
had to give up on it.

So you could take lessons for 10
yrs. or more, and you still might
not be able to handle advanced
pieces like this. This is why
I've suggested repeatedly on
these forums that people who
want to play concert pianist-level
stuff not wait until they have
the "foundation" for it--chances
are they will never have it--but
rather just start on what they
want to play most of all, even
if they are novices and the piece
is concert pianist-level. They'll
have to start very slowly, just
one bar a day initially, or they'll
burn themselves out on the
difficult material, and use
repetition and time to work it up.

So even if you've been playing
for only one month, pick the one out
of those three pieces that you want to
play most of all, and start on it right
now, one bar a day. For example,
if you pick the first movement of
the Rach. 2nd, at the rate of one bar
a day you get through it in about
one yr.--you will then have "played"
the first mvt. of the Rach. 2nd,
something that few people can do.
After you've gotten through it a
first time, go right back to the
beginning and continue in the same
way. The second time around, you
might find that you've gained enough
strength and experience to play
two bars a day instead of one, which
will cut the time to cycle through
it again in half, a 100% improvement in
just one yr. on a very difficult piece,
nothing to scoff at in anyone's
book. And so forth.

What you're aiming for is to
be able to play the whole mvt.
in one sitting, slowly and with mistakes,
because when you can do that, you've
essentially got it licked, because
it's then just like any other
piece, and you can just play it over
and over until it's perfected.



Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Gyro #1337177 12/30/09 03:32 PM
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Teodor, Gyro is an eternal pessimist. Don't let him discourage or misguide you.

You do indeed need foundation work to develop technique, physical strength and musical understanding so you can play progressively more challenging pieces and play them well. Fortunately, there is a plethora of gorgeous music to choose from along the way. Don't jump into music that is over your head or you will become discouraged. This may sound corny, but being a musician is more about the journey than about the end goals. Enjoy everything you play.

Your rate of progress depends on your dedication, the amount of time you have to devote to your piano studies and frankly, talent. Talent is very individual and difficult to measure without hearing you play. It's wonderful that you are working with a teacher and I would suggest you ask your question when your teacher returns.

As a adult beginner, it will be more difficult for you to develop dexterity and speed compared to how it would have been had you started as a youngster, but don't let that discourage you. Your obvious excitement is a great motivator. If you are willing to work hard, your progress will be remarkable and satisfying. Your long term goal pieces are very difficult and it may take many years to achieve that level of performance. (The Rach 2 may not be a realistic goal but never give up on the desire to learn it. Maybe some day....)Be patient as you work your way up to more difficult repertoire. It's great that you aspire to play difficult pieces, but don't miss out on all the fabulous literature that you can learn along the way. It's quite possible you'll be playing the Pathetique in a few years.

I can't compare my progress to yours because everyone is different and I started when I was 10. It's extremely important to avoid the trap of comparing your playing and your progress to others. Get comfortable with who you are and where you are. You'll be happier that way. I realize you want a clear answer such as: you will play (insert name of piece) in 2 years if you practice (insert number of hours a day). There is no way to predict your progress or your musical pinnacle. It's one of those things that you'll find out when you get there. Enjoy the journey!


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
gooddog #1337206 12/30/09 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by gooddog
…You do indeed need foundation work to develop technique, physical strength and musical understanding so you can play progressively more challenging pieces and play them well. Fortunately, there is a plethora of gorgeous music to choose from along the way. Don't jump into music that is over your head or you will become discouraged…
… It's great that you aspire to play difficult pieces, but don't miss out on all the fabulous literature that you can learn along the way. It's quite possible you'll be playing the Pathetique in a few years…
… It's extremely important to avoid the trap of comparing your playing and your progress to others. Get comfortable with who you are and where you are. You'll be happier that way …
… There is no way to predict your progress or your musical pinnacle. It's one of those things that you'll find out when you get there. Enjoy the journey!...
Some great points again. So many brilliant minds here. I have been following this with a lot of interests. Thanks all.


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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Mark_C #1337220 12/30/09 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
Originally Posted by Teodor
.....I've listened to this a hudred times already. I don't find dynamics hard, there are marked on the sheet music and if they are not you can listen to this performance and mark them yourself, it seems quite easy to me and I believe I can do it too one day because I can see myself doing it.....

Great -- but please understand, there is something to what we're saying which you're not appreciating -- a different level of seeing it.

Quote
.....If I can do this in the short amount of time I've spend (an hour a day for the past month and a bit over), then I think harder things won't be a problem once I get more advanced.

In the sense of how you mean it, you're probably right.


How do you know he doesn't see it at a higher level?



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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
ChopinAddict #1337221 12/30/09 04:38 PM
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I have been without a teacher for about 2 years, but still practice.

How do I get back in the zone?


Practice takes patience, but patience takes practice.

-Me
Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
ChopinAddict #1337223 12/30/09 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
.....How do you know he doesn't see it at a higher level?

It's obvious (truly literally obvious) from his posts, and explained to a large extent in some of the posts on the previous page.

Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Mark_C #1337234 12/30/09 04:45 PM
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He has some "high" expectations which he might fulfill or not. Time will tell. He has just started, it is too early too know what will be... Let him work hard and see what happens. We shouldn't kill his enthusiasm... Maybe yes, he doesn't see it at a higher level right now, but he might in a couple of years....



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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
gooddog #1337459 12/30/09 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by gooddog
<snip>

Don't jump into music that is over your head or you will become discouraged. This may sound corny, but being a musician is more about the journey than about the end goals. Enjoy everything you play.

Your rate of progress depends on your dedication, the amount of time you have to devote to your piano studies and frankly, talent. Talent is very individual and difficult to measure without hearing you play. It's wonderful that you are working with a teacher and I would suggest you ask your question when your teacher returns.

As a adult beginner, it will be more difficult for you to develop dexterity and speed compared to how it would have been had you started as a youngster, but don't let that discourage you.


Well stated! I agree 100% with the adult beginner factor, and many of us here aren't "true" adult beginners.

If I hadn't had 3 years of childhood lessons, coupled with being a childhood drummer, there's no way I'd be jumping into stuff way over my head - I'd be playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and working off Alfred Books, and there's nothing wrong with that either!

Rhythm and finger dexterity were "wired in" 30 years ago when I learned as a kid. This is just my opinion, though, but scientific studies this up as well. Here's an interesting article:

http://www.pianostreet.com/blog/articles/piano-playing-a-public-health-concept-764/



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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Mark_C #1337603 12/31/09 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
.....How do you know he doesn't see it at a higher level?

It's obvious (truly literally obvious) from his posts, and explained to a large extent in some of the posts on the previous page.


I do see it at a higher level, I just refuse to workship the work of a man. Neither Beethoven, nor Rachmaninoff were more than human. Just think about the amount of time Beethoven put into it all his life, I don't belive he was able to play crazy good when he first sat at the piano. I might never become a great composer like they were but that doesn't mean I can't one day play some difficult pieces and make them sound perfectly fine. And as some suggested, I was talking about hitting the right notes at the right time for those pieces as a first goal. Obviously if in 5 years if I could play concert-level pieces that would be quite extraordinary and it's highly unlikely for me.

What's wrong with having high hopes and aspirations? Should I start dreaming about ending being able to play The Entertainer as the hardest thing I can play? That's a too low goal and I wouldn't set it as something I aspire to.

I do enjoy all the music I play along the way. Even the easiest stuff. I appreciate it all and I'm glad I started studying piano. I hope to on day showe everyone that I have talent when it comes to music.

Last edited by Teodor; 12/31/09 01:51 AM.

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Re: Will I be good if I work hard?
Teodor #1337604 12/31/09 01:51 AM
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Nothing wrong with the aspiration -- that's great.
It was how you talked about some things being easy (or however you put it, don't remember exactly).
They're not that simple, unless you're looking at it more simply than you may someday.

But don't worry about it. smile

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