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#2039013 - 02/25/13 01:03 PM Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done...  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,078
Ganddalf Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ganddalf  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,078
Norway
Piano playing is my greatest hobby and has given me lots of pleasure (and some frustration) for more than 40 years. I always had lots of plans and projects, and ambitions were not always in accordance with my capabilities. Therefore I have used lots of time on incompleted projects. In most cases I just got to a point where I found it more interesting to start with something new and putting the current project on hold.

Earlier I was also much less self-critical than now. Already at an age of 20 I worked a lot on pieces like Chopin's 2nd Scherzo and 4th Ballade. I have also put a lot of effort into learning Beethoven Sonatas and lots of other great piano works. In most cases I had to realise that I lacked the technique to play these pieces well.

A few years ago I changed my way of working with the music, and at the same time I decided to choose simpler repertoire. Although this didn't solve all problems my playing definitely improved. Lately I have been considering starting anew with some of my unfinished projects. But I have to face reality. I don't have the time to learn more than a small fraction of what I really would like to do. And it is awfully hard to choose.

I would really like to play a Beethoven sonata. Actually I would like to play 7 or 8 of them. Op.22? Or perhaps Op.31/2. Or Waldstein, Op.53???

Then we have all the beautiful works of Chopin. Etudes, Scherzi or Ballades.... I also love Faure and Debussy. And I have a very clear idea of how I would like Ravel's Sonatina to be played.

It is difficult to be completely realistic about one's own skills. I can, of course, spend as much time as I like on whatever I want as long as I don't do it for a living. But much of the satisfaction is the feeling of accomplishment when realising that all the practice paid off. Therefore I have to be very careful when choosing new projects.

Just some thoughts, and maybe something to keep in mind for those of you who still have years to go before you start feeling the burden of age.

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#2039103 - 02/25/13 03:20 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,368
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Rickster  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,368
Georgia, USA
Interesting thread...

I too have the burden of old age creeping up on me. Yet, when I'm pounding out an oldies boogie-woogie or rock-n-roll tune on the piano it puts a smile on my face and gleam in my eye!

That is better than any medicine or home remedies for oldness that I know of... smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2039194 - 02/25/13 05:53 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,412
Sam S Offline
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Sam S  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,412
Georgia, USA
I'm a big believer in choosing pieces that are within reach technically. It saves a lot of frustration and time in the long run.

I do believe that it's about the journey, not the destination. I try to take pleasure in making music on a daily basis, or I will lose interest in playing the piano. Been there, done that. But I also need goals, and learning new pieces is something I take a lot of pleasure in. But not if it takes too long. So it's necessary to balance the desire to tackle new, harder pieces with the need to have fun playing every day.

I also think we need to recognize our technical strengths and weaknesses. For some reason I have a fair amount of finger independence, so difficult pieces that require that skill are easier for me. On the other hand, anything with fast runs or arpeggios is beyond the ability of my old hands, at least right now.

Sam

#2039202 - 02/25/13 06:17 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Michael_99  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Canada Alberta
"""...
Piano playing is my greatest hobby and has given me lots of pleasure (and some frustration) for more than 40 years. I always had lots of plans and projects, and ambitions were not always in accordance with my capabilities. Therefore I have used lots of time on incompleted projects. In most cases I just got to a point where I found it more interesting to start with something new and putting the current project on hold.

Earlier I was also much less self-critical than now. Already at an age of 20 I worked a lot on pieces like Chopin's 2nd Scherzo and 4th Ballade. I have also put a lot of effort into learning Beethoven Sonatas and lots of other great piano works. In most cases I had to realise that I lacked the technique to play these pieces well.

A few years ago I changed my way of working with the music, and at the same time I decided to choose simpler repertoire. Although this didn't solve all problems my playing definitely improved. Lately I have been considering starting anew with some of my unfinished projects. But I have to face reality. I don't have the time to learn more than a small fraction of what I really would like to do. And it is awfully hard to choose.

I would really like to play a Beethoven sonata. Actually I would like to play 7 or 8 of them. Op.22? Or perhaps Op.31/2. Or Waldstein, Op.53???

Then we have all the beautiful works of Chopin. Etudes, Scherzi or Ballades.... I also love Faure and Debussy. And I have a very clear idea of how I would like Ravel's Sonatina to be played.

It is difficult to be completely realistic about one's own skills. I can, of course, spend as much time as I like on whatever I want as long as I don't do it for a living. But much of the satisfaction is the feeling of accomplishment when realising that all the practice paid off. Therefore I have to be very careful when choosing new projects.

Just some thoughts, and maybe something to keep in mind for those of you who still have years to go before you start feeling the burden of age.
..."""

Starting with your last comment, feeling the burden of age, I am 63 and just a beginner. I have not learned enough to play any classics yet - that will happen when I get to my first classic on page 43 AIR from Mozart.

There will always be pieces we lack the technique to play no matter who we are. Life is all about appreciating, you have piano, you can play it, you have your hearing so you can hear your piano. I have a stoke and I am disylexic but fortunately I can still learn to how to play the piano. I just love playing the little tunes playing them best that I can. Being able to sit at a piano and play and listen to the piano is a priceless gift. You know when you go down the street and you see a person with a leg or arm dangling free, they have probably had a stoke and all that that means. It is never the destination, it is the journey. I have an express: "If you can't appreciate a coffee at home, you will appreciate a coffee in Paris." Love and appeciate the moment. Cheers and enjoy life.

Last edited by Michael_99; 02/25/13 06:20 PM.
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#2039207 - 02/25/13 06:27 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Michael_99  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Canada Alberta
"""...
Piano playing is my greatest hobby and has given me lots of pleasure (and some frustration) for more than 40 years. I always had lots of plans and projects, and ambitions were not always in accordance with my capabilities.

Therefore I have used lots of time on incompleted projects. In most cases I just got to a point where I found it more interesting to start with something new and putting the current project on hold.

Earlier I was also much less self-critical than now. Already at an age of 20 I worked a lot on pieces like

Chopin's 2nd Scherzo and 4th Ballade. I have also put a lot of effort into learning Beethoven Sonatas and lots of other great piano works. In most cases I had to realise that I lacked the technique to play these pieces well.

A few years ago I changed my way of working with the music, and at the same time I decided to choose simpler repertoire. Although this didn't solve all problems my playing definitely improved. Lately I have been considering starting anew with some of my unfinished projects. But I have to face reality. I don't have the time to learn more than a small fraction of what I really would like to do. And it is awfully hard to choose.

I would really like to play a Beethoven sonata. Actually I would like to play 7 or 8 of them. Op.22? Or perhaps

Op.31/2. Or Waldstein, Op.53???

Then we have all the beautiful works of Chopin. Etudes, Scherzi or Ballades.... I also love Faure and Debussy.

And I have a very clear idea of how I would like Ravel's Sonatina to be played.

It is difficult to be completely realistic about one's own skills. I can, of course, spend as much time as I like on
whatever I want as long as I don't do it for a living. But much of the satisfaction is the feeling of accomplishment when realising that all the practice paid off. Therefore I have to be very careful when choosing new projects.

Just some thoughts, and maybe something to keep in mind for those of you who still have years to go before you start feeling the burden of age.
..."""

Starting with your last comment, feeling the burden of age, I am 63 and just a beginner. I have not learned enough to play any classics yet - that will happen when I get to my first classic on page 43 AIR from Mozart. There will always be pieces we lack the technique to play no matter who we are. Life is all about appreciating, you have piano, you can play it, you have your hearing so you can hear your piano. I have a stoke and I am disylexic but fortunately I can still learn to how to play the piano. I just love playing the little tunes playing them best that I can. Being able to sit at a piano and play and listen to the piano is a priceless gift. You know when you go down the street and you see a person with a leg or arm dangling free, they have probably had a stoke and all that that means. It is never the destination, it is the journey. I have an express: "If you can't appreciate a coffee at home, you will appreciate a coffee in Paris." Love and appeciate the moment. Cheers and enjoy life.

#2039247 - 02/25/13 07:34 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,390
jotur Offline
Gold Level
jotur  Offline
Gold Level

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,390
Santa Fe, NM
Re: the thread title - You ain't just whistlin' Dixie smile

Re: Sam S, enjoy the journey - it's that joy for me.

Cathy


Cathy
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Practice what you suck at - anonymous
#2039300 - 02/25/13 09:24 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,401
malkin Offline
4000 Post Club Member
malkin  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,401
*sigh* Salt Lake City
Hey Ganddalf!

Enjoy the moment! Really, right now is the only time any of us has ever got.

You know, Carpe Diem, even if it is a crappy one.

(I spent a year in Norway on study abroad, but that was practically another lifetime ago!)


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2039415 - 02/26/13 02:54 AM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 6,758
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014
casinitaly  Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 6,758
Italy
Gandalf, you're right that there is an element of self-criticism that sneaks in and gets stronger as we get older. I think I'm a bit younger than you chronologically but musically speaking I'm in kindergarten!
Your words of advice are excellent - as adults we are not always realistic about what it is possible for us to learn - or to be more precise....I think we can learn anything, but the issue is, as you said: "how long will it take?"

I know how tough it is for us to accept the reality of our limitations, even when the limitations may be only a temporary phase.

It can be frustrating, and yet, I too feel the rewards you talk about. Even with the simpler pieces I play, there is a tremendous satisfaction when I realize that I've mastered something that previously seemed an impossibility.

I believe in working to recognize the excitement of the baby steps rather than looking at the miles and miles to go! One is thrilling, the other daunting!


[Linked Image]
Currently working on: Chopin Waltz in Amin (post), Chopin Nocturne in Cmin (post), McDowell To a Wild Rose
#2039428 - 02/26/13 04:39 AM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: casinitaly]  
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,101
SwissMS Offline
2000 Post Club Member
SwissMS  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,101
Costa del Sol
Originally Posted by casinitaly
I believe in working to recognize the excitement of the baby steps rather than looking at the miles and miles to go! One is thrilling, the other daunting!


This is what keeps it exciting for me. Recognizing the baby steps and the small successes. Everyday at the piano is a learning experience. It keeps our brains young and challenged. I am a sheet music junky. I have a whole bookshelf full of music, and I probably will not get to all of it in my lifetime. Still, each piece that I play teaches me something and I grow as a musician. That bookshelf is like a wonderland to me.

#2039527 - 02/26/13 10:21 AM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,286
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013
FarmGirl  Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,286
Scottsdale, AZ
Ganddalf - sharing your meeting with others may bring you incredible joy and sense of accomplishment. I recently had a piano party with eight amateur and hobby pianists in our city. It was the best party ever. 4 out of 8 is retired people. Retired or not, I think we were very hungry for human contact with music. It's not always so much fun to just track my own progress or absence of it. Piano could be a very solitary endeavor. When we are young, we are always driven by the goals, there's always next big piece we need to play, be it Ballard #1 or Scriabin. I suppose it will get you going for a while but I think at some point, it loses it's luster. That's where I find value in sharing with others. You can do it through the forum if there aren't many pianists you can get together in your community. Use ABF recitals(glad you are alteadt doing), PM is a good tool to share thoughts, start a thread (you have done this too), etc. It will expand your musical enjoyment. Let's have fun.



1) Bach c minor fantasy
2) Beethoven sonata g major 14 No. 2 (re do)
3) Chopin a flat major Ballade (schubert Impromptu A flat D935 No2)
4) Scriabin op11 prelude #2 and #14 (Re do #2, new #14)
5) Bartok. 4 old tunes and Scherzo)
#2039985 - 02/27/13 05:24 AM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,033
dire tonic Offline
3000 Post Club Member
dire tonic  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,033
uk south
- I hear you! It's a matter of setting priorities and maybe moving them around from time to time. I won't do scales or work on general technique any more preferring to give extra focus on difficult passages as and when I meet them. There's so much music I never got round to playing so I'm going for bulk rather than refinement and lots more sight reading practice when I'm better organised.

I think there's a danger of feeling that we've missed the boat or wasted an opportunity but I can easily reassure myself that I was never going to be a great pianist. Playing the piano after a fashion is something we can do and perhaps something with which we identify as part of ourselves and therefore important to keep hold of for as long as possible.


#2039999 - 02/27/13 07:10 AM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,078
Ganddalf Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ganddalf  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,078
Norway
Thanks everyone. Many good thoughts here. Participating on this forum is very useful for me. Paticularly the recitals have been an inspiration. The desire of making good recordings helps focusing, but also makes me more self-critical. This may be good or bad, but in my case it is probably good, since I have been too little foocused and self-critical.

But I still want to play a Beethoven sonata.......

#2040251 - 02/27/13 03:35 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: Ganddalf]  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,880
wouter79 Offline
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wouter79  Offline
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Posts: 4,880
Given your history of incompleted projects and the difficulty of Beethoven pieces, a Beethoven sonata seems not be the right place to start.

Maybe your teacher can indicate a few simpler pieces to get you prepared for Beethoven. Those simpler pieces might also be from your list of must-haves, and you should like them as much as the Beethoven. It's important for the progress and for satisfaction to complete a piece, including the polishing.


[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#2040261 - 02/27/13 03:57 PM Re: Senior's dilemma: So much yet to be done... [Re: wouter79]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,078
Ganddalf Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ganddalf  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,078
Norway
Originally Posted by wouter79
Given your history of incompleted projects and the difficulty of Beethoven pieces, a Beethoven sonata seems not be the right place to start.

Maybe your teacher can indicate a few simpler pieces to get you prepared for Beethoven. Those simpler pieces might also be from your list of must-haves, and you should like them as much as the Beethoven. It's important for the progress and for satisfaction to complete a piece, including the polishing.


Maybe you are right. But I have spent a period of two years now with lots of Bach, Haydn and Mendelssohn. I'm presently polishing the third Bach Partita, and this is comparable to some of the Beethoven sonatas in technical difficulty. I believe that if I select one and stick to it I can do it.


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