2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
32 members (almo82, danyrc, Burkey, clothearednincompo, Deltajockey, dhull100, 9 invisible), 424 guests, and 462 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4
Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
#1482008 07/26/10 06:39 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 11
M
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
M
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 11
Hi all,

I'm having this sort of dilemma. I feel sort of 'unfulfilled' inside after having accomplished a renown and arguably difficult piece by Beethoven, because to learn it I relied heavily on watching YouTube videos of other performers playing it. Without doing this, it may have taken me six months (or longer) to sit down each day and sight read, and doing a 100% personal interpretation/rendition of a piece. Instead what I did was implement snippets of different pianists' interpretations, and then slightly modified them in my performance of it.

What are your thoughts?

And do all well-known pianists (including Kissin, Lang Lang, Yundi Li, Valentina) commonly employ this method, or do they mostly start from scratch, having never heard any records?

Last edited by Mozartian_Dreams; 07/26/10 06:39 PM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Mozartian_Dreams #1482013 07/26/10 06:52 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 833
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 833
Hello!

There are a lot of different perspectives I think on whether you should learn a piece without listening to other people's interpretations or not. My current teacher encourages me to listen to as many different interpretations as possible, especially when I'm learning something like Bach, so I can get ideas. However, if you want to get better at sight reading and learning pieces faster, you should really work on learning pieces without heavily relying on recordings.

Concerning famous concert pianists, I really don't think its possible that they learn pieces without ever having heard them, unless they are rare. From what I know, pianists love to listen to music as well as play it. But the really great ones don't try to copy other people's interpretations, but play with their own personal touch.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
WinsomeAllegretto #1482021 07/26/10 07:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 128
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 128
Watching someone play a piece is very helpful, on several levels. If the piece is difficult, there is sometimes a psychological barrier of sorts. Watching someone cross that barrier helps to alleviate the fear. You can also see approaches to hand and arm position, fingering position, etc during passages that are tough for you, which suggests solutions.

As for interpretation, it perhaps depends on how you get your ideas in general... but listening to the wide range of interpretive ideas is more than likely going to expand your "horizon" and suggest other possibilities than you might have come up with. Go for it!

Also, IMHO try to develop an inner "singer" who sings what you are playing and what you will play next, to lead your own interpretation according to what "feels right." Also, listen carefully to each chord or note you play, so the next one follows with a feeling that it "works". A lot of pianists play a note here or their differently than they were trying to... so the rest of the usual plan may not work from that spot. So you have to listen to what you did instead of what you planned, and blend into that.

Kind Regards

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
I think that if one is not a professional level pianist then listening to performances by great pianists can only be helpful. It's like getting a free lesson from them or like having an edition by them in front of you.

And as has been pointed out by others, unless a piece is very rare, many/most have heard it many times before so that it's impossible to learn it 100% " from scratch".

I think listening to a great pianist playing is no different from taking a lesson from your teacher and learning something about a work.

Once someone reaches a very high level of playing, then all the above may not apply as much or even at all. I really don't know the answer for those people. I guess it would depend on the person.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/26/10 08:41 PM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing
pianoloverus #1482050 07/26/10 07:55 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 130
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think that if one is not a professional level pianist then listening to performances by great pianists can only be helpful. It's like getting a free lesson from them or like having an edition by them in from of you.

And as has been pointed out by others, unless a piece is very rare, many/most have heard it many times before so that it's impossible to learn it 100% " from scratch".

I think listening to a great pianist playing is no different from taking a lesson from your teacher and learning something about a work.

Once someone reaches a very high level of playing, then all the above may not apply as much or even at all. I really don't know the answer for those people. I guess it would depend on the person.



Wow nicely said! I never thought of it that way grin !

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing
chopinizmyhomeboy #1482090 07/26/10 09:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,453
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,453
I don't think there is anything bad in listening to great performances.
After all, teachers often play a piece too to show students how it should be, and they are not as great as the great performers... smile
Of course this doesn't mean you have to copy (don't!), but you do get a better feel for a piece if you hear a good performance and then you can make it your own interpretation.



[Linked Image]

Music is my best friend.


Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Mozartian_Dreams #1482094 07/26/10 09:04 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
M
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
Though I believe I'm in the minority I almost never listen to a piece while I study it. Nor do I listen to a piece if I even think I'm going that way. For me I loose any individuality because the musician in me can't hear. Though if you've never heard any other musician period then I'd advise you to give a listen. Yet sooner or later it's probably best you find your own voice.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
MikeN #1482095 07/26/10 09:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,944
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,944
Originally Posted by MikeN
Though I believe I'm in the minority I almost never listen to a piece while I study it. Nor do I listen to a piece if I even think I'm going that way. For me I loose any individuality because the musician in me can't hear. Though if you've never heard any other musician period then I'd advise you to give a listen. Yet sooner or later it's probably best you find your own voice.


I have trouble listening to music that I'm learning, but I don't know why... I don't disagree with listening to other people's performances/recordings and even being inspired by what they do. Just don't compromise the score.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Orange Soda King #1482098 07/26/10 09:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
M
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
See if I listen to another performance I'll possibly take an idea. For me it just wouldn't be authentic. Yet I must say see what's out there. Just find you though.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
MikeN #1482105 07/26/10 09:18 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Originally Posted by MikeN
See if I listen to another performance I'll possibly take an idea. For me it just wouldn't be authentic. Yet I must say see what's out there. Just find you though.
Doesn't your teacher give you ideas?

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
pianoloverus #1482110 07/26/10 09:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 216
F
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
F
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 216
I never listen to a piece I'm actually working on.

My teacher doesn't give me many ideas as far as the interpretation itself goes. I go to him with technical problems, he helps me solve those. I ask him what best fingerings to use, he helps me with that. I ask him how to best emphasize the lines I want to. Never have I actually asked him what something "should" sound like.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
pianoloverus #1482114 07/26/10 09:23 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
M
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by MikeN
See if I listen to another performance I'll possibly take an idea. For me it just wouldn't be authentic. Yet I must say see what's out there. Just find you though.
Doesn't your teacher give you ideas?


Actually at the very moment I have no teacher. Though I didn't like my former teacher. I remembered more of the repertoire than he did and I didn't particularly like his playing.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Fredil #1482129 07/26/10 09:37 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Originally Posted by Fredil
I never listen to a piece I'm actually working on.

My teacher doesn't give me many ideas as far as the interpretation itself goes. I go to him with technical problems, he helps me solve those. I ask him what best fingerings to use, he helps me with that. I ask him how to best emphasize the lines I want to. Never have I actually asked him what something "should" sound like.
Interpretation has to be based on musical understanding. It's not just what one feels like doing. Just like technique this needs to be learned and for virtually everyone that means learned from a teacher. This doesn't mean there is just one way something "should" be played.

Master classes, which usually involve very advanced students, are almost always more than 90% about musical ideas and not about technical issues.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
pianoloverus #1482139 07/26/10 09:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,275
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,275
Much of my motivation in learning any music is wanting to play something I already know I like. I want to take the music I already love to listen to and let it come from me instead of the CD.


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
WinsomeAllegretto #1482205 07/26/10 11:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 4,728
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 4,728
Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto


Concerning famous concert pianists, I really don't think its possible that they learn pieces without ever having heard them, unless they are rare


What do you think Rubinstein did, as well as Rachmaninoff or Richter?

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.

Now, for individuals who are amateurs or play for pleasure, I say do whatever makes you feel/play better..



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Pogorelich. #1482252 07/27/10 03:18 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,651
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,651
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto


Concerning famous concert pianists, I really don't think its possible that they learn pieces without ever having heard them, unless they are rare


What do you think Rubinstein did, as well as Rachmaninoff or Richter?

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.

Now, for individuals who are amateurs or play for pleasure, I say do whatever makes you feel/play better..


+1



"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: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
stores #1482288 07/27/10 05:47 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,317
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,317
There's many pieces I play without ever having heard them - not all classical music is easily available on a recording.
This is a blessing at times, and a curse at times. You should always play your own interpretation of a piece, in my opinion. At the same time, a recording may reveal certain musical facets you might have overlooked or missed, or not even considered. There's no crime in hearing another pianist perform a passage a certain way, and allowing it to influence the decisions you make on a particular passage.

It's hard to say what is plagiarizing, and what is not - if you feel another pianist has caught the essence of a passage - why not use that as inspiration? Now, assuming the playing mannerisms of a pianist, without reflection, is mere idol worship and apery.

Again - I don't think there's a clear-cut answer as to how to react to another pianist's recording. After all, we are playing another person's composition to begin with, so even if we claim we are being original in our interpretation - we are still being mimics, in a way. Any attempt at originality, besides simple interpretation, usually is met with boos and hisses, judging from some threads on this forum, and many books out there pushing for an authentic performance, faithful to the master's intentions - whatever they might be. There have been many times I have wanted to give up playing classical piano, because of that aspect - I think that's why many people move into composition, and leave piano-performance behind them, unless it's their own works.

Last edited by Mattardo; 07/27/10 05:48 AM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
stores #1482289 07/27/10 05:50 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 621
J
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 621
Just few points.

You should be able to assimilate the notes, the rhythm, dynamics, etc, etc from the score. It is a really very bad idea to rely on recordings for things like that.

As far as interpretative aspects are concerned, most of us don't come with tremendous interpretative insights and skills built in from birth. They have to be developed just like any other aspect of playing a musical instrument. This is especially true for people without a background in classical music listening (if they are learning to play classical music).

Having said that, I can't believe that any of the top pianists listen to recordings or performances to gain ideas. Indeed I have heard some international concert pianists say that they avoid listening to other peoples recordings whilst they are working on a piece as doing so inevitably colours their own view of the work. Of course, they will almost certainly have previously heard performances and recordings of any piece they work on, but that is something very different.



Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Pogorelich. #1482302 07/27/10 06:43 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,471
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto


Concerning famous concert pianists, I really don't think its possible that they learn pieces without ever having heard them, unless they are rare


What do you think Rubinstein did, as well as Rachmaninoff or Richter?

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.

Now, for individuals who are amateurs or play for pleasure, I say do whatever makes you feel/play better..
Don't you think Rubinstien or Rachmaninov had heard many of the pieces they played before they ever learned them? And didn't they all study extensively with teachers before they became full time performing pianists?

What about everything the teachers told them? I'd guess more was about musical understanding and interpretation than technique.

Isn't there a very fine line between listening to copy interpretation and listening to a recording or a teacher during a lesson or using a specific pianist's edition...any of these to learn both general musicality and specific ideas about a piece?

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it?
Mozartian_Dreams #1482305 07/27/10 06:50 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 9,077
W
wr Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
9000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 9,077
Originally Posted by Mozartian_Dreams
Hi all,

I'm having this sort of dilemma. I feel sort of 'unfulfilled' inside after having accomplished a renown and arguably difficult piece by Beethoven, because to learn it I relied heavily on watching YouTube videos of other performers playing it. Without doing this, it may have taken me six months (or longer) to sit down each day and sight read, and doing a 100% personal interpretation/rendition of a piece. Instead what I did was implement snippets of different pianists' interpretations, and then slightly modified them in my performance of it.

What are your thoughts?



My thought is this: why would it take longer to learn from the score rather than from other people's performances? I don't get it.

Quote


And do all well-known pianists (including Kissin, Lang Lang, Yundi Li, Valentina) commonly employ this method, or do they mostly start from scratch, having never heard any records?


It's not either/or. Of course, musicians will have heard a lot of music (one hopes), and often in a lot of different interpretations. That doesn't mean they will copy anything specific that they've heard before, when working on a piece. Having a working knowledge of a lot different performers' styles and interpretations should really just be an element in the imagination of a performer, I think. It gives an idea of what is possible, rather than providing specific templates of how to play.

Besides, what about all the music for which no good recordings even exist? For just one example, competitors at some of the major competitions are expected to be able to come up with a reasonable interpretation of a newly composed work. There are no recordings for them to hear - the whole idea is to see how well they can interpret an unfamiliar score from scratch. And of course, they won't necessarily even be familiar with the composer's style, which can make it quite a bit more difficult than working from a score by a composer in a style already known.


Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
(ad) SWEETWATER Cyber Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
by xlider - 12/01/20 03:36 AM
Keyboard when traveling
by xlider - 12/01/20 03:33 AM
Ravenscroft Help
by Grandman - 11/30/20 10:36 PM
loudness/projection vs. bright/mellow
by Piano Math - 11/30/20 08:19 PM
Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
by Deltajockey - 11/30/20 07:35 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics203,176
Posts3,029,136
Members99,438
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4