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#2010216 - 01/06/13 08:55 PM Challenging pieces for beginners.  
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Uharc Offline
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Ok, first just quick relevant background information: 16 years old, no teacher, self teaching for 3-4 months, started with a keyboard, obtained digital piano few days ago, can play fur elise entirely including middle section, but not well as in evenly and expressively, just up to speed, still adjusting to weighted keys and playing evenly, most of the 3 months were spent on pop, ear playing and improvisation, been learning to read music for 3 weeks (because I want to get into classical), still working on better note identification and comprehending rhythm.

Now what I want, I am now halfway through the 11th grade and I have a target of being able to play a challenging and impressive piece before I graduate from high school, maybe at a school event if I could do it.

I was first thinking of something like fantasie impromptu but then I realized that I was thinking waaaaay over my head, 1 and a half years is all I have, and I really want to make something out of my self.

I am working on scales and arpeggios and expanding my knowledge on technique and theory in every practice session.

I am willing to skip a lot of easy pieces and sacrifice a good foundation to learn a lot of pieces for the ability to play one fast difficult piece.

I want someone to give me a short list of pieces starting from the difficulty of fur elise and increasing in difficulty to harder and harder pieces. I want pieces that will challenge my fingers and quickly help me improve in terms of physical ability. I learned to play fur elise, just the notes and rhythm and pace, in only about a week, of course I can't perform it passably (uneven playing, robotic, if I performed it on a keyboard it would sound right, but a piano no), but I think I can get the notes and rhythm or skeleton of a piece faster than the average beginner. By skeleton I mean just getting the notes and rhythm right with maybe some basic articulation and dynamics, but not really making something musical out of the piece, just the core of the mechanical aspect.

Can someone propose to me a list of pieces that I can learn in the next 1.5 years that will challenge my fingers and eventually lead me up to the last piece which should be something that would appeal to school students, not something really emotional like a nocturne, something mysterious, mystical, magical such as fantasie impromptu, but it would have to be something that I could be ready to play passably by that time and should appeal to a young audience not that I'm sure that I will be able to perform at a school event, my school is filled with students that have been playing for many years, but I am very motivated to do this.

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#2010323 - 01/07/13 12:38 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Whizbang Offline
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Solfegietto, CPE Bach


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
#2010340 - 01/07/13 01:29 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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I suggest a Mozart sonata. So many great sonatas to choose from. My personal favorites are K330 and K331. The K331 is especially crowd pleasing, as you get a GREAT first movement and a very well known third movement.

#2010348 - 01/07/13 01:58 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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bluebilly Offline
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If any of your future audience are not totally piano aficionados a repertoire chosen from Shumann's "Kinderscenen" usually goes down well, all the pieces are do-able if not really easy.

KINDERSCENEN

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#2010353 - 01/07/13 02:15 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: bluebilly]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Or, take a look at Mendelssohn's 'Songs without Words'.

Some of those are easy, some hard -- but all beautiful.

If you can get a copy of the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) piano curriculum, it will have a nicely-graded sequence of "test pieces". That would be a good source for "what to study, in what order".

A suggestion for public performance of classical music:

. . . Play something a little easier than you can handle.

This is one time where being _really good_ is more important than being adventurous.

I continue to admire your spirit --

. Charles

PS -- how is the digi-piano ?


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2010361 - 01/07/13 02:41 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Originally Posted by Mohannad

I am willing to skip a lot of easy pieces and sacrifice a good foundation to learn a lot of pieces for the ability to play one fast difficult piece.



Please, just stop. This is the equivalent of building a house, with no foundations. It doesn't work.

I'm not trying to be mean, but I, and I'm sure some people reading this are just seriously face-palming right now. Pianists who play for 10years + still have challenges with pieces like Fantasie Impromptu, and even when you eventually get to a level to learning such an intricate piece like that - even Fur Elise (Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor) it will take you a very long time to get it to a level where you shouldn't be embarrassed to play in public, let alone perfect it.

You saying that you want to skip easy pieces to learn difficult ones. Those 'easy' pieces as you call them, are actually set in place to build your skills so that you have the foundation to eventually play the pieces you desire.

If you're serious about piano, then don't try and cut corners. It will only bite you in the ass.


Essex EUP-123S

#2010385 - 01/07/13 04:12 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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sinophilia Offline

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I am a total beginner so I probably shouldn't say anything, but I completely agree with ju5t1n-h. What is it with playing fast, difficult stuff? All music can be beautiful and meaningful, even the easiest tunes. It's great to challenge oneself but one also needs to enjoy the ride, the very process of learning an instrument is an achievement in itself.

I suspect this has something to do with the accelerated life we live now, picking here and there without ever going deep, seeking quick, short-lived enjoyment and never stopping to actually digest anything and make it ours. Mmm, how it shows I'm not 16 anymore!


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)
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#2010394 - 01/07/13 04:41 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: sinophilia]  
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
I am a total beginner so I probably shouldn't say anything, but I completely agree with ju5t1n-h. What is it with playing fast, difficult stuff? All music can be beautiful and meaningful, even the easiest tunes. It's great to challenge oneself but one also needs to enjoy the ride, the very process of learning an instrument is an achievement in itself.

I suspect this has something to do with the accelerated life we live now, picking here and there without ever going deep, seeking quick, short-lived enjoyment and never stopping to actually digest anything and make it ours. Mmm, how it shows I'm not 16 anymore!

Sinophilia, what you say is so true. To play an easy piece beautifully, with as much nuance and expression as a seasoned pro might play a difficult piece, is actually quite hard to do. Just a quick listen to performances of simple pieces on youtube will show you that extremely few of them are performed with virtuoso beauty despite how "easy" they are.

btw, do you know of Mariangelo Vacatello? She has come from your country to play in our little town several times and she is a marvelous pianist. If you get a chance, you might wish to hear her.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GAeKw2rfXc

And to the OP, I second Whizbang's suggestion of CPE Solfeggietto. Its an impressive showman piece that's fun to play yet not terribly difficult and can provide a excellent challenge in learning to play it with good musical expression.

#2010410 - 01/07/13 06:25 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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I would go with Traümerei before Solfeggietto. The latter is likely to be taken with speed as an objective. That's no way to learn a musical instrument.

Thinking further, scales and arpeggios won't help as much as pieces in the first year.

We don't learn easy pieces because they're easy. We use them to learn particular techniques in an easy setting. It's having a broad range of techniques from a wide range of pieces that makes our fingers well schooled. And that's what makes us sound good. Not time on one particular piece. With a broad technical foundation we sound good on every piece.

Listen to the last, or any, ABF recital. The first few notes, however easy or difficult the piece is, and you'll have a good idea of how competent the player is.

Learning a fast or showy piece with less than three to five years experience and you'll just sound like a plonker.



Richard
#2010444 - 01/07/13 08:08 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Charles Cohen]  
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Thanks for the tips. The DP is the CDP-120, the only one I could possibly afford and it was on sale for $300 on boxing day.

#2010446 - 01/07/13 08:12 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: ju5t1n-h]  
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I think you misunderstood, I don't want to learn fantasie impromptu or something of that difficulty, and I don't want to just learn difficult pieces, what I want is a steeper learning curve, something more challenging and progressive than the path the average person might take. I will still have a foundation, that is why I asked for a list of increasingly difficult pieces, I just want, as I said, a 'steeper' learning path.

#2010448 - 01/07/13 08:16 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Uharc Offline
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I sort of take back what I said about skipping difficult pieces, basically I want a steeper learning curve, a definite objective of learning my way through a series of pieces to learn a piece like Solfeggietto.

#2010479 - 01/07/13 09:52 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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I'd reverse your plan and spend more time on pieces at "each level". We started doing that (we = me & my teacher) about a year ago and it's really paying off.

(Though I'm trying to convince my teacher that it's time, it's really time, for Chopin's Nocturne in Eb ...) wink


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2010514 - 01/07/13 11:07 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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There's no need to go any further than something like Fur Elise.Most people in a normal school would be impressed by it and those that do know about the piano or classical music in general will still be impressed if you can play it well.

An expert pianist playing something like Fur Elise will be immediately obvious to anybody who knows about music.That's not because the pianist has spent years practicing the piece, it's because of the immensely solid foundations that their pianism is built on.You can't really fake it.
The worst thing you could do in my opinion is to play something difficult badly.

With only 18 months to go this would still be a tough challenge for most people and then there's the business of performing in front of an audience which is a challenge in itself.

#2010553 - 01/07/13 12:55 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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packa Offline
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Originally Posted by Mohannad
I want a steeper learning curve . . .

I think this is a mistaken view as well. If you have some talent, dedication, a good teacher, and practice a lot, you might very well climb the learning curve faster than some others. But if you want to be the most accomplished player you can be, then there aren't any shortcuts that produce a "steeper" curve by just leaving out some of the steps.


Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718
#2010570 - 01/07/13 01:31 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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I suggest Beethoven's Eleven Bagatelles, Op. 119. These will be individually challenging and then may be performed together as two entire impressive pieces. Beethoven's bagatelles are focused technique builders for the beginning player.

Keep polishing Für Elise for the same reason. The purpose of the piece isn't in memorizing the notes, it's in learning technique for beautiful music.

Or, if you can play Für Elise well in another 6 months then his Moonlight Sonata #1 may also be possible within 18 months.


[Linked Image]

Piano is hard work from beginning to forever. Accept this as truth or risk a quick exit with tail between legs.


#2010793 - 01/07/13 07:45 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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UK Paul UK Offline
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If you can play fur elise at pace with control, clarity and emotion then you will wow your classmates.... but i doubt very much you will.... i recon that by the time your 18 months are up you will be much more appreciative of what it takes to create BEAUTIFUL music.... doesnt have to be fast or intricate... ive been learning fur elise 8 years. Its work in progress....

But if you do want some reasonable works that sound more difficult than they are...

Burgmuller op 100

25 progressive etudes and numbers 12, 21 and 24 are all really rather showy....

If you work through from the start youll get through all 25 in 18months and build on your skills....

#2010879 - 01/07/13 11:05 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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From what most of you are saying, there are no shortcuts, but as for the pieces I could be looking at, these are some wonderful suggestions, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Burgmuller, soo much to choose from.


For now, I'll just finish off Fur Elise and upload my performance of it, in about 3 weeks to this thread, because I have exams, and will post it to see what are the precise things that need working on.

I do very much understand how easy pieces can be difficult to play well, I watched so many virtuoso performances of the piece and I can really tell the difference.

When a piece has a bunch of notes a lot of them just sort of blend and not much attention is given to the way you play each individual note, but with simple pieces, it just becomes fascinating how much more there is to do than what is dictated on the score.

#2010881 - 01/07/13 11:10 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: packa]  
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Well, I understand that now, so many experienced people have told me similar things, so I guess I should be patient.


#2010923 - 01/08/13 12:35 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Bach prelude no. 1


music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain
#2010945 - 01/08/13 02:18 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: findingnemo2010]  
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I agree with UK PAUL UK, if Shumanns "Kinderscenen" seems slightly out of reach then Burgmullers Op 100 could be what you are looking for.

BURGMULLER OP 100

or try some of Streabbog's "easier" pieces, i.e.

LA VIOLETTE

LA VIOLETTE - YOU TUBE


#2010980 - 01/08/13 05:04 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Why don't you aim to prepare a recording of Fur Elise for the ABF e-cital in Feb since you are looking to record anyway?


Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36
#2010993 - 01/08/13 06:12 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Removed at request of poster.

Last edited by Piano World; 06/22/13 04:15 PM. Reason: requested by poster.

"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2011021 - 01/08/13 07:52 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Bobpickle]  
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I already said that I got it, quit it with the insulting poem.

The point of this thread wasn't to say that I wanted a PhD before a Bachelor's, it was to ask what kind of pieces I could aim for in the given time period, and I also said that the time I would spend learning a bunch of easy pieces, I could spend on one difficult piece which is perfectly logical, and I showed that I was aware that it isn't the best idea and everyone said that it was a very bad idea so I changed my mind and decided to aim lower. I'm not retarded.

Look at the progress this guy like many other self taught people made in one year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W7tez0l_sQ

All the pianists on youtube say challenge your self with pieces, but every here tells me slow down, stop, you don't know what you are doing and I still get the insulting poem on every thread.

Last edited by Mohannad; 01/08/13 08:15 AM.
#2011033 - 01/08/13 08:38 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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sinophilia Offline

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Mohannad, I think you're a smart guy - most people your age wouldn't even be able to write on a forum in intelligible English. You seem to have a critical mind and I'm sure you will make good use of the advice and suggestions you received here. I look forward to listening to your recordings! You will certainly progress much faster than I could ever do.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia
[Linked Image]
#2011044 - 01/08/13 08:57 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Funny how piano snobs also seem to fall into that first category...


Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36
#2011111 - 01/08/13 11:37 AM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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If you really are after a steep learning curve then try Scriabin's Vers La Flamme. If you can master it from the relatively easy beginning to the end you'll have about as steep a learning curve as you could wish and with the benefit of an all-in-one piece.

#2011154 - 01/08/13 01:02 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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UK Paul UK Offline
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I learned" heart asks pleasure first" within 2 years.... not amazingly well.... but if your intent on wowing a crowd then you could do a lot worse.... women litterally paid for my drinks after hearing it....

Id stick with burgmuller though, youll get a good grounnding and have some flashy stuff to grease the social wheels with.... :-)

#2011249 - 01/08/13 04:22 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: Uharc]  
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Originally Posted by Mohannad
I already said that I got it, quit it with the insulting poem.

The point of this thread wasn't to say that I wanted a PhD before a Bachelor's, it was to ask what kind of pieces I could aim for in the given time period, and I also said that the time I would spend learning a bunch of easy pieces, I could spend on one difficult piece which is perfectly logical, and I showed that I was aware that it isn't the best idea and everyone said that it was a very bad idea so I changed my mind and decided to aim lower. I'm not retarded.


You certainly are not retarted, but wasn't maybe not quite aware of how challenging it really is to learn to play classical piano to the commonly required standard. You can spend a year learning a challenging piece (I have and it's still getting better every month, while I am learning easier stuff as well). But if you only do that you will after a year most probably just play it rather badly because you do not have the ingrained physical and mental ability to do better. If you used that year on pieces that are easy enough to build you the foundation, you can maybe learn the piece in 6 months to a level that it actually sounds good. My point here is that learning pieces that are too difficult do not teach you anything, you will be "faking" in a sense. It would be like learning advanced mathematics without knowing how to count or understanding basic stuff. One might be able to memorize some formulas, but it would all fall to pieces when one should explain what they mean and where they come from.

I think many of us have tried that and found it a useless approach. It took me only a couple of weeks to realize there's no way I could learn the chromatic etude of chopin I really love, because my hand just could not execute what was printed on the sheet and trying would cause damage to my hands. And I did play a few years as a kid. I am determined to play it one day, but most likely it will be after at least 10 years of study with a teacher.

Originally Posted by Mohannad

Look at the progress this guy like many other self taught people made in one year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W7tez0l_sQ

All the pianists on youtube say challenge your self with pieces, but every here tells me slow down, stop, you don't know what you are doing and I still get the insulting poem on every thread.


That is mainly for two reasons:
There are always some extra talented people who can just pick up something fast without much work, but most of us can't. Those who can't but try either turn out rather bad or stop when it becomes too hard.

I hear really nice performances in youtube by these extra fast learners, but usually not classical. Mostly the way they play demanding classical pieces leaves a lot to desire (just like in the link you posted). Poor playing of classical music just is not entertaining for anyone who has been exposed to great performances of the same pieces. You might be able to wow people who do not know better, but will it be enough after working hard?

You should challenge yourself, I agree here. But challenge in a way that is in the reasonable limits. Many of the suggestions in this thread pose a lot of challenge without being unreasonably difficult.

I hope you do not find my post insulting, I really want to help, since I have been where you are now and wish to share what I have learned in the process.

#2011298 - 01/08/13 05:31 PM Re: Challenging pieces for beginners. [Re: outo]  
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Fur Elise is not that simple,the middle part is hard to play well if skills level is too low.
It is grade 7 RCM from their 11 grades, it is not for real beginners but rather intermediate piece.
Above it Moonlight Sonata 1st movement which is grade 8.

To play beautiful pieces, you do not need advanced proficiency, if you pick the simple versions of classical music - they still sound very nice if played with good expression. There are also a lot of popular music for different levels, so a lot of opportunity to play to your friends without spending 10+ years on piano studies smile





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Kawai key not quite right
by Creeksider. 05/28/17 03:53 PM
Problem with keys on brand new piano (Kawai CS11)
by PianomanDK. 05/28/17 02:47 PM
Problem with keys on brand new piano (Kawai CS11)
by PianomanDK. 05/28/17 02:08 PM
Recourses to learn Scales
by blau90. 05/28/17 01:58 PM
Flat hand position is sometimes better
by Isabelle1949. 05/28/17 01:45 PM
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