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Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: RonaldSteinway] #1727978
08/06/11 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by wr

It is extremely rare that I've discovered an outright error in how I play a piece by hearing someone else play it correctly. So rare that I can't even remember a specific example of it happening, although I have some dim recollection that it did once or twice, years ago.

It will surprise you, I am guessing, that it also is not really all that frequent that I will hear a performance where I think the interpretation is superior to mine. It may be different, yes, but not necessarily better. What is almost always better is their technique - they play the piano far better than I do - but I don't confuse that with interpretation.


You may have different standard than most people here then. If, for example, you can play a Chopin etude only at 120, yet the standard is 150. Most people will not satisfy till they get close to the normal speed of 150. In your case, however, you will accept that 120 is your interpretation for the piece and you like it for whatever reason. If it is your standard, I do totally agree that you will have hard time to find any of your interpretation is not acceptable or bother you. I think it is good to have an accepting attitude like yours. There is no need to compare to any other performance.


I think you may be projecting something onto what I wrote that isn't really what I am talking about. Although finding an appropriate tempo is very important, getting a piece up to some speed that's in the range of most professional performances is not usually a big part of what I think of as "interpretation". That is more of a technical issue (I know, this may sound contradictory, but it really isn't).

But, on the other hand, if I think a fast piece must be up to a certain speed in order to sound right, I will get it up into that range before I think I can really play it properly. There was a little discussion about this here a few months back, in regard to Weber's Perpetual Motion, which is one of those pieces I think really must go pretty fast or else is just not right (Mark C. thought sheer speed was less important than I did).

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Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr] #1727996
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Originally Posted by wr
For example, from around the same time as that Clementi memory, I can remember bits and pieces from some of Bernstein's Young People's Concerts on television
Oh, me too! smile


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: RonaldSteinway] #1728072
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
.....I saw you listening to other contestants in the competitions.

Dear pal Ronald,
If you think that has even the tiniest relevance to the subject at hand, you misunderstand it.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: shirlkirsten] #1728074
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Originally Posted by music32
I wrote about this, and still feel the same at this point.

http://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/0...ieces-they-are-first-beginning-to-learn/

Yup -- that's exactly what we mean too. thumb

I didn't think it was that subtle, but I guess it is. We're seeing stuff like, "Wouldn't you be able to weigh it and decide," and "How can you say that you can't learn from other people's performances," and "But I saw you listening to people play" -- none of which have much to do with what we're talking about, and some of which have nothing to do with it.

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Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Andromaque] #1728191
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Teacher does not like it, out of principle.. But he does not hesitate to tell me how he thinks it should sound, one way or another.. smile
By mentioning this with the smiley I guess you see the obvious contradiction.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/07/11 11:57 AM.
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus] #1728221
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Andromaque
Teacher does not like it, out of principle.. But he does not hesitate to tell me how he thinks it should sound, one way or another.. smile
By mentioning this with the smiley I guess you see the obvious contradiction.



Exactly.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus] #1728272
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wr
It is extremely rare that I've discovered an outright error in how I play a piece by hearing someone else play it correctly. So rare that I can't even remember a specific example of it happening, although I have some dim recollection that it did once or twice, years ago.
I'm not just talking about a misread note, although I think it would be incredibly rare for someone not to misread a note, a rest, or anything else marked in the score over many years.

I'm talking about a musical error as in a wrong musical decision. I've seen around 150 master classes at Mannes over a long period. The students are usually from top conservatories yet much of what the teachers point out to them are what I would call musical errors. By this I mean musical decisions they've made (consciously or not) that are basically wrong(the teachers almost always give compelling reasons for what they tell the student).

So unless you are a professional pianist at a level far beyond these students I think you're fooling yourself if you think you haven't made these kinds of errors...the very type of thing one might learn from listening to a great pianist's performance.


Can you give me one specific example? What musical errors? What happens in masterclasses, more often than not, teachers will present suggestions (and suggestions only) related to the work. Most times it's related to how THEY view and play the piece and has nothing to do with it being "right" or "wrong"...... With stuff like that, there a thousand ways to do something. The question is finding what works for you, and of course staying true to the score (depending on the work). Students need to learn how to think for themselves, to be able to make musical desicions (even if they're blatantly "wrong") and have reasons for them, rather than being spoonfed by recordings. It's much more difficult but it builds you as a musician. Interpreting something isn't a piece of cake, it can be mentally exhausting, but yeah, why not turn that recording and copy what they do....



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: wr] #1728273
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Originally Posted by wr
But, since you brought the clone thing up - I have heard more than one pianist in competitions (or in post-competition concerts) who obviously have no ideas of their own about the music they play (or are afraid to share them). They just present their impressions of how "great" pianists have played the same music, i.e., they are attempting to clone other performances. It's not only sad, it can be downright weird that people with incredible technique seem to lack any personal view of the music they are playing. I remember in particular one pianist in a competition who "cloned" from more than one recording of a piece, and you could actually hear them shift from one to another during the course of a single piece.


My god, I know exactly what you're talking about... I have a similar story, and whenever I tell it no one believes me (until those with good ears hear it)



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1728275
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by wr
But, since you brought the clone thing up - I have heard more than one pianist in competitions (or in post-competition concerts) who obviously have no ideas of their own about the music they play (or are afraid to share them). They just present their impressions of how "great" pianists have played the same music, i.e., they are attempting to clone other performances. It's not only sad, it can be downright weird that people with incredible technique seem to lack any personal view of the music they are playing. I remember in particular one pianist in a competition who "cloned" from more than one recording of a piece, and you could actually hear them shift from one to another during the course of a single piece.


My god, I know exactly what you're talking about... I have a similar story, and whenever I tell it no one believes me (until those with good ears hear it)


Since you and WR have such great ears (and memories to know whom they were copying), you should probably never listen to another recording....ever! And don't learn anything you've already heard.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Damon] #1728277
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by wr
But, since you brought the clone thing up - I have heard more than one pianist in competitions (or in post-competition concerts) who obviously have no ideas of their own about the music they play (or are afraid to share them). They just present their impressions of how "great" pianists have played the same music, i.e., they are attempting to clone other performances. It's not only sad, it can be downright weird that people with incredible technique seem to lack any personal view of the music they are playing. I remember in particular one pianist in a competition who "cloned" from more than one recording of a piece, and you could actually hear them shift from one to another during the course of a single piece.


My god, I know exactly what you're talking about... I have a similar story, and whenever I tell it no one believes me (until those with good ears hear it)


Since you and WR have such great ears (and memories to know whom they were copying), you should probably never listen to another recording....ever! And don't learn anything you've already heard.



HHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

you're missing the point.. sorry



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof] #1728278
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You don't seem to get that if you do something without really understanding why, and without it coming from your own artistic voice, it becomes kind of obvious....

Anyway, I have to go play a concert now, otherwise I'd totally indulge in this thread.. see ya



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1728290
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich
Can you give me one specific example? What musical errors? What happens in masterclasses, more often than not, teachers will present suggestions (and suggestions only) related to the work. Most times it's related to how THEY view and play the piece and has nothing to do with it being "right" or "wrong"...... With stuff like that, there a thousand ways to do something. The question is finding what works for you, and of course staying true to the score (depending on the work). Students need to learn how to think for themselves, to be able to make musical desicions (even if they're blatantly "wrong") and have reasons for them, rather than being spoonfed by recordings. It's much more difficult but it builds you as a musician. Interpreting something isn't a piece of cake, it can be mentally exhausting, but yeah, why not turn that recording and copy what they do....
Very few posters on this thread have said to turn on a recording and copy it. The fact that a few posters have heard pianists that do this does not mean that this is the only way to use a recording.

I'm sure your teachers have pointed out musical errors to you. Otherwise, everything they've told you since you began playing would fall into the categories of technical advice and musical options/suggestions(as opposed to errors). It's the same thing in virtutally every master class I've heard.

The absolute most basic type of error would be not following something that's specifically marked in the score(or doing something that's not indicated by the score without realizing it or where it's clearly inappropriate). An example would be a student at the recent IKIF who played the first movement of the Walstein consistently at a dynamic far greater than the pp often marked. Of course, making decisions about what's not marked in the score is more complicated but sometimes I think there is a right and wrong way.

I've heard master class teachers comment on clearly inappropriate pedalling where it became obvious to the student and everyone else that they had been blurring a passage inappropriately after the teacher explained it. Or why some voice should clearly be emphasized more/less than the student did(not a case where it was up to taste), or why a certain note in a phrase should or should not be emphasized, etc., ad infinitum.

I'd say that far more than half of what I've heard in master classes falls into the category of musical errors(something that's not open to opinion by someone who's highly knowledgable and experienced). It's usually easy to tell by how they tell the student something if the teacher's comment is just an opinion about how something should be played(their personal interpretive idea) vs. what they consider an obvious musical error.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/07/11 04:10 PM.
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof] #1728328
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Yes and you can do all of that by looking at the score. What do you need a recording for if that's what you're after? At my last lesson my teacher said "I shouldn't have to point these things out to you, you need to go back to the score". He also refuses to teach you if you haven't gone through the work and figured out what you want to do with it. And as a result, if two of us play the same piece, we sound different. But doesn't mean one is better than the other..



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1728338
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Yes and you can do all of that by looking at the score. What do you need a recording for if that's what you're after? At my last lesson my teacher said "I shouldn't have to point these things out to you, you need to go back to the score". He also refuses to teach you if you haven't gone through the work and figured out what you want to do with it. And as a result, if two of us play the same piece, we sound different. But doesn't mean one is better than the other..


So you are in graduate school for piano performance and your teacher still points out something's in the score that apparently was not followed. And this happens all the time in the master classes that I've seen(for those at least at beginning conservatory level). I'm sure it's true to an much greater extent for the 99.99% of pianists not at your level.

If one listens to recordings one may find out these type of errors by comparing one's own playing to the recording. I didn't say this was the only way to discover these most basic type of errors.

I mentioned in my last post about all the musical decisions that are not based on markings in the score. Some/many of these are not just a matter of choice.


Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof] #1728339
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Maybe a good time to clarify what some of us mean about not listening to recordings of pieces we're working on. Anyway it's what I mean.

We have our best chance to come up with our own interpretations and views of the piece if we don't listen to other performances meanwhile, plus it's a better kind of creative exercise. If you do listen, even if you're not purposely 'copying' anything from other performances there's a real possibility -- some of us are saying inevitability -- that you'll be influenced, and you can't necessarily avoid it.

It's not like it's horrible if you do listen to other performances, nor that you'll necessarily do great if you don't, nor that you can't check out other performances at a later stage to see what you might learn from them, or even take from them. And yes, for many people the advantages of listening to other performances while learning a piece may outweigh the drawback that we're talking about. But if you want your best chance to see what you yourself can make of a piece, from your head and your heart and your soul, your best chance is to avoid hearing performances while you're learning it.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C] #1728343
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Maybe a good time to clarify what some of us mean about not listening to recordings of pieces we're working on. Anyway it's what I mean.

We have our best chance to come up with our own interpretations and views of the piece if we don't listen to other performances meanwhile, plus it's a better kind of creative exercise. If you do listen, even if you're not purposely 'copying' anything from other performances there's a real possibility -- some of us are saying inevitability -- that you'll be influenced, and you can't necessarily avoid it.

It's not like it's horrible if you do listen to other performances, nor that you'll necessarily do great if you don't, nor that you can't check out other performances at a later stage to see what you might learn from them, or even take from them. And yes, for many people the advantages of listening to other performances while learning a piece may outweigh the drawback that we're talking about. But if you want your best chance to see what you yourself can make of a piece, from your head and your heart and your soul, your best chance is to avoid hearing performances while you're learning it.
And the "we" on the other side would disagree with almost everything in your post.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: pianoloverus] #1728346
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
And the "we" on the other side would disagree with almost everything in your post.

....which I think reflects a denial either of what people are capable of from within themselves, or of influence from what we see and hear.

Anyway I'm glad you said "almost." grin

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof] #1728353
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You can still do that by looking at the score and listening to yourself! People are capable of much more after a swift kick in the ass, I find (myself included).



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1728359
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by wr
But, since you brought the clone thing up - I have heard more than one pianist in competitions (or in post-competition concerts) who obviously have no ideas of their own about the music they play (or are afraid to share them). They just present their impressions of how "great" pianists have played the same music, i.e., they are attempting to clone other performances. It's not only sad, it can be downright weird that people with incredible technique seem to lack any personal view of the music they are playing. I remember in particular one pianist in a competition who "cloned" from more than one recording of a piece, and you could actually hear them shift from one to another during the course of a single piece.


My god, I know exactly what you're talking about... I have a similar story, and whenever I tell it no one believes me (until those with good ears hear it)


Since you and WR have such great ears (and memories to know whom they were copying), you should probably never listen to another recording....ever! And don't learn anything you've already heard.



HHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

you're missing the point.. sorry


No, I'm disregarding your point and facetiously questioning your use of hyperbole.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C] #1728375
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Maybe a good time to clarify what some of us mean about not listening to recordings of pieces we're working on. Anyway it's what I mean.

We have our best chance to come up with our own interpretations and views of the piece if we don't listen to other performances meanwhile, plus it's a better kind of creative exercise. If you do listen, even if you're not purposely 'copying' anything from other performances there's a real possibility -- some of us are saying inevitability -- that you'll be influenced, and you can't necessarily avoid it.


To clarify the view on my side (and I don't know who's on it), your chance to bring a purely personal interpretation vanished the moment you ever heard a recording of that piece; particularly one that you enjoyed immensely. If you are listening repeatedly just to capture some essence of that performance, then I agree that it is detrimental to the end result and I think only one or two people advocated doing that. But recordings can be a useful teacher as in the example I gave earlier in the thread, and I don't see any reason to not use them this way.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Damon] #1728378
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Originally Posted by Damon
...your chance to bring a purely personal interpretation vanished....

You're making it all or none. We're talking about degrees.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C] #1728396
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
...your chance to bring a purely personal interpretation vanished....

You're making it all or none. We're talking about degrees.


That's because I believe the strongest bias is on the first hearing and therefore the most relevant in this debate. You are free to disagree, of course.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Damon] #1728430
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
...your chance to bring a purely personal interpretation vanished....

You're making it all or none. We're talking about degrees.


That's because I believe the strongest bias is on the first hearing and therefore the most relevant in this debate. You are free to disagree, of course.


For the fun of the debate, let us follow through this argument. I would suppose then that you would not go to a performance or listen to music if you thought you might play the piece some day??? Are there any mainstream repertoire pieces, e.g. Bach to Shostakovitch to be conservative, that you have purposefully ignored on the chance that you might decide to learn or perform them some day? I would be shocked (disappointed) if conservatory level students were discouraged from listening to music, based on that argument!

I think the reality is more of a spectrum of timing and degree. Extremes of no listening or copying are rare, I think. (IMHO).

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Andromaque] #1728444
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
[For the fun of the debate, let us follow through this argument. I would suppose then that you would not go to a performance or listen to music if you thought you might play the piece some day???....

As I said to Damon also, I think you're not recognizing degrees of difference, plus you're ignoring the "during" part of it.

What I'm talking about is, while you're learning the piece.

Anyway, let me propose this as a modest interim bottom line. smile

Those of us who say it makes a difference for us to try to avoid hearing performances of a piece we're working on -- probably it does, and those of you who think it doesn't make a difference don't have any idea whether it doesn't for us.

And if you've never tried it, you have no idea, even for yourself. You're just guessing. Those of us who have tried it (and even more so, those who are teachers and have observed this with students), and who feel we do know, aren't just guessing.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: jazzyprof] #1728451
08/07/11 07:43 PM
08/07/11 07:43 PM
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Threads like this always remind me of the language deprivation experiment carried out by one of the Roman Emperors who, in an attempt to discover the "true" language of God (that is, what language they would speak without human/worldly influence), took children and had them "raised" free of human interaction.

As one might expect, the children did not learn to speak at all.


"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: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Kreisler] #1728453
08/07/11 07:45 PM
08/07/11 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Threads like this always remind me of the language deprivation experiment carried out by one of the Roman Emperors who, in an attempt to discover the "true" language of God (that is, what language they would speak without human/worldly influence), took children and had them "raised" free of human interaction.

As one might expect, the children did not learn to speak at all.

I think you've done better posts. ha

It would work if doing what we're advocating resulted in lousy playing.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Andromaque] #1728464
08/07/11 08:05 PM
08/07/11 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
...your chance to bring a purely personal interpretation vanished....

You're making it all or none. We're talking about degrees.


That's because I believe the strongest bias is on the first hearing and therefore the most relevant in this debate. You are free to disagree, of course.


For the fun of the debate, let us follow through this argument. I would suppose then that you would not go to a performance or listen to music if you thought you might play the piece some day???


I'm not the one who fears being influenced. I would go to the concert, finances willing. But my hearing the piece would be a strong influence on how I think it should sound. How could it not? That doesn't mean I would play it that way myself, but I don't believe repeated hearings would increase the likelihood of it unless I purposefully set out to copy it.

Originally Posted by Andromaque

I think the reality is more of a spectrum of timing and degree. Extremes of no listening or copying are rare, I think. (IMHO).


I agree.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C] #1728466
08/07/11 08:11 PM
08/07/11 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Those of us who say it makes a difference for us to try to avoid hearing performances of a piece we're working on -- probably it does, and those of you who think it doesn't make a difference don't have any idea whether it doesn't for us.
It makes a difference. The question is whether the difference is better or worse.

Originally Posted by Mark=C
And if you've never tried it, you have no idea, even for yourself. You're just guessing. Those of us who have tried it (and even more so, those who are teachers and have observed this with students), and who feel we do know, aren't just guessing.
I've certainly learned pieces without listening to other performances. Before the advent of Youtube, it wasn't so easy to listen to other performances of a given piece unless one could afford many recordings. Now it's totally different. I'd also guess that many of the posters who are in favor of using recordings have learned pieces without doing so.

Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C] #1728468
08/07/11 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
But if you want your best chance to see what you yourself can make of a piece, from your head and your heart and your soul, your best chance is to avoid hearing performances while you're learning it.

A hypothetical question: Suppose you were learning a piece, say Liebestraum no. 3 (as I am now relearning) and it was discovered that somehow, magically, Liszt had left a recording of the piece and it is up on YouTube. Would you listen to Liszt's own performance while learning the piece?


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: Listening to records of pieces you're learning: good or bad? [Re: Mark_C] #1728470
08/07/11 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

Anyway, let me propose this as a modest interim bottom line. smile

Those of us who say it makes a difference for us to try to avoid hearing performances of a piece we're working on -- probably it does, and those of you who think it doesn't make a difference don't have any idea whether it doesn't for us.

And if you've never tried it, you have no idea, even for yourself. You're just guessing. Those of us who have tried it (and even more so, those who are teachers and have observed this with students), and who feel we do know, aren't just guessing.


I have tried it so I do have an idea, despite your pompous proposal. I have no doubt that you need to avoid recordings.

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