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How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? #1360884
01/29/10 01:42 PM
01/29/10 01:42 PM
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UK
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Big_Al Offline OP
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Just wondering how long it usually takes people to learn a difficult piece, maybe a Rachmaninov prelude or a difficult Beethoven sonata movement?
No particular reason for asking, just curious as I'm stuck on a ridiculous study my teacher gave me and I'M BORED wink


Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor BWV 542, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata: 3. Presto Agitato Op. 27/2
Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat Minor Op. 32, Ballade #1 in G Minor Op. 23/2
Liszt: La Campanella S.140/3, Grand Galop Chromatique S.219
Rachmaninov: Preludes Op. 23
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Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Big_Al] #1360887
01/29/10 01:47 PM
01/29/10 01:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
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Seattle area, WA
gooddog Offline
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That depends on the length of the piece, how "hard" is hard and how learned is learned?

I thought I had learned and was done with Brahms 119 #2 after 3 weeks. My teacher has me slaving over it for 5 months because it isn't perfect. I can conquer a Bach fugue in a month but it's not done for much longer.

You've asked a very slippery question. Sorry you're bored.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: gooddog] #1360897
01/29/10 02:03 PM
01/29/10 02:03 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
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Bristol, UK
EJR Offline
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Good points by Deborah.

The last two pieces I completed took around 70 and 40 hours of practice to reach the point where I could record them for the ABF recitals.

Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: EJR] #1360908
01/29/10 02:11 PM
01/29/10 02:11 PM
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Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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The answer to this question will have to vary from person to person, based not only on the length and relative difficulty of the piece, but also on the past and present training and experience of the player. If one is working on a piece that has, for example, many passages in octaves, then one's individual skill in octaves will help determine the length of time it will take to master the piece. Similarly with any particular piece it will depend upon what challenges are involved and how equipped one is to meet those challenges.

Add to that: what is difficult for one player is not necessarily as difficult for another.

As Deborah points out, one may think that s/he has mastered a piece only to find another opinion that says you haven't and that you have to put more work into it.

There can be no straightforward answer to this question, I think.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: BruceD] #1360927
01/29/10 02:35 PM
01/29/10 02:35 PM
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RonaldSteinway Offline
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It is hard to give the answer, because I found that many member in PW put pieces in the signature section. However, they are actually cannot play those pieces at concert level. So it is impossible to give a fair assessment.

For example, there are people purported can play this or that Chopin etudes, and then they posted the recording. I have to say, they cannot even play up to the tempo. To me, I have to consider that these people cannot play those pieces. Yet, they gave an impression that they played those pieces.

Big Al, if you really can play those pieces in your signature section. It should not take too much time to master pieces that are in the same level of difficulties, or a little more difficult.


Last edited by RonaldSteinway; 01/29/10 02:36 PM.
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: RonaldSteinway] #1360941
01/29/10 02:52 PM
01/29/10 02:52 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
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UK
Nikolas Offline
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Bruce can play the Estonia 190 (in satin ebony) apparently! laugh LOL!

Ronald is right: Getting to play a piece is not the same as mastering it, or bring it up to concert level. I have no idea, anymore, how long it takes to master a piece (trying the 3rd Chopin Balad currently but not really hard or devoted, so I can't measure myself).

One thing that seems to make a difference is the knowldedge of the piece or not. An unknown piece might take a bit longer to master, only because it needs to mature inside you, while a piece you've know all your life, might sit better and easier...

Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Nikolas] #1360951
01/29/10 03:02 PM
01/29/10 03:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,651
Here, as opposed to there
stores Offline
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Here, as opposed to there
There isn't a definitive answer that anyone ELSE can give you. It's entirely dependent on the individual. The fact that you're bored, I think, says a great deal. I've never understood it, when "musicians" say they're bored, since there's SO much to be learned. To me, that's an incredible statement and implies "I've learned all there is to learn...ho hum".



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: gooddog] #1360955
01/29/10 03:04 PM
01/29/10 03:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,651
Here, as opposed to there
stores Offline
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Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted by gooddog
That depends on the length of the piece, how "hard" is hard and how learned is learned?

I thought I had learned and was done with Brahms 119 #2 after 3 weeks. My teacher has me slaving over it for 5 months because it isn't perfect. I can conquer a Bach fugue in a month but it's not done for much longer.

You've asked a very slippery question. Sorry you're bored.


When you say "conquer a Bach fugue", I assume you mean you've gotten to the point where all the notes are under your fingers, yes?



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Big_Al] #1360973
01/29/10 03:34 PM
01/29/10 03:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
Kreisler Offline
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Some things to consider:

On one hand, nobody cares how long it takes you to learn something, they just want it to sound good. Audiences don't care whether it took you 2 days or 9 months to get it. If it sounds good, they like it.

On the other hand, if it takes you a year to learn everything, then you're not going to be able to build a repertoire very well. This can sabotage a professional career, as it's VERY hard to find practice time once you get out of school; or if you're playing for pleasure, pieces can grow stale and can be more frustrating than fun if you work on them forever and still can't play them.

I have my students (ages 6-16) learn at least 5-6 pieces a year, and the younger ones who play shorter works play more like 10-12.


"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: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: stores] #1360976
01/29/10 03:39 PM
01/29/10 03:39 PM
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Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
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John Citron Offline
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Big Al,

Deborah, Bruce, and Ron have summarized this nicely. What maybe difficult for one may not be for another, and as Bruce points out, it depends upon your skills going into the works in the first place.

Being bored with a piece of music or study is something I can't fathom. There are time when mentally my brain has shut off from working on a piece, so that's when I've put it aside to let my creative juices flow again. The little break away from something gives the mind a chance to process the music on its own without constant input all the time.

Bringing a piece up from the very beginnings to a playable level versus a concert level are really two different, but related issues. Yes, you maybe able to play those pieces, but are they concert level, or are they still at the working stage. The concert level work is a whole new ballgame as I've found out. What was good enough for private piano parties, and pleasant listening, is only part of the work for the next level.

How long can this take? It depends, as Bruce pointed out, and I mentioned in summary here. If you have the skills needed to play accurate runs and arpeggios, then a piece that has a lot of those will come easier so that aspect of the piece is completed sooner. There are still the other aspects, such as the musicality. This can take a lifetime on some works, and at the minimum many months to go beyond "just the notes with minimal expression".

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Big_Al] #1360979
01/29/10 03:45 PM
01/29/10 03:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,291
chicago, il
Entheo Offline
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it takes me a year. and they're all hard to me.

Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Entheo] #1361151
01/29/10 07:36 PM
01/29/10 07:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 529
Bristol, UK
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timmyab Offline
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It's just taken me four months to learn what I would regard as a hard piece, namely Shostakovich op 87 no 4.This is the longest I've ever spent concentrating mainly on just one piece and I'm sure the average concert pianist could still sight read it better than I can play it:D. I'm tackling Beethoven op 110 soon which is an even more daunting prospect, but I've fiddled with it for years so hopefully it wont take too long.
Usually I prefer to learn pieces that are more within my comfort zone.These take anything from a couple of days to two months to learn.

Last edited by timmyab; 01/29/10 07:38 PM.
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: timmyab] #1361178
01/29/10 08:19 PM
01/29/10 08:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,453
Land of the never-ending music
ChopinAddict Offline
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It is hard to generalize. It also depends on how many pieces you are learning simultaneously; if you concentrate on one you will progress more rapidly of course.
Plus, as somebody already pointed out, it depends on the length of the piece.
In general terms, probably a couple of hours per (difficult) page to reach a satisfactory level?



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Music is my best friend.


Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Kreisler] #1361187
01/29/10 08:29 PM
01/29/10 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Some things to consider:

On one hand, nobody cares how long it takes you to learn something, they just want it to sound good. Audiences don't care whether it took you 2 days or 9 months to get it. If it sounds good, they like it.


Actually, if I find that someone learned a very difficult piece in a few days, rather than many months, and could play it very well, that would mean something to me.


Piano teacher.
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: rocket88] #1361480
01/30/10 08:52 AM
01/30/10 08:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 794
Toronto
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I guess it depends what you mean by 'learn'. I've been pounding away (no, you're not supposed to pound this one) at the first movement of the Waldstein for about 2 months now and have made tentative forays into the, unbelievably, more difficult third movement as well. I think it may be something that I would not be ashamed to play in front of other people in another 4 months.

But I think I could keep learning this piece and learning from this piece for the rest of my life. The first serious piece of music I played was the #4 D minor 2-part invention of Bach - learned it when I was 8 in 1972. I still play it at least once a week and experiment with tempo, voice, mood and thost messed up trills. In all seriousness, I've probably played that piece 5,000 times.


Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Big_Al] #1361494
01/30/10 09:48 AM
01/30/10 09:48 AM
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That is probably a question best answered by how long SHOULD it take to learn a hard piece? Then again you only have to look at the older figures in piano performance who are still polishing pieces learned in their youth in their eighties. However, most people here, amateurs included probably could learn the above hard pieces in a month if their application is not compromised by other demands such as work, study... yawn.


It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Arabesque] #1361622
01/30/10 02:28 PM
01/30/10 02:28 PM
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not somewhere over the rainbow
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Depends when I have to know it by.. I had to cram the first two movements of the Franck sonata in about 5 days (performance level, not just learning it slow), which was heck. I've learned that you can do anything as long as you have a deadline coming up =)



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1361658
01/30/10 03:21 PM
01/30/10 03:21 PM
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How long does it take a gymnast to learn to do an inverted cross on the rings?

The piano repertoire has been developed to a very high level which many cannot attain. After 30 years as an amateur there may be many pieces you still may not have the skill to play.

Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: TheSockPuppet] #1361672
01/30/10 03:40 PM
01/30/10 03:40 PM
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Re: How long does it take everyone to learn a 'hard' piece? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1361719
01/30/10 05:16 PM
01/30/10 05:16 PM
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Keith D Kerman Online content
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
I've learned that you can do anything as long as you have a deadline coming up =)


Only pros ( or those who might become pros ) understand this.


Keith D Kerman
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