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#2115844 - 07/10/13 08:43 PM when is enough enough  
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adultpianist Offline
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How far are you prepared to take your studies, and to what level?

I will carry on learning until I have reached a reasonable standard and can sight read with ease. But even at an expert level, I have seen concert pianists talking through the music with the conductor and they discuss things and make little changes to suit one another. I don't think you ever stop learning.

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#2115846 - 07/10/13 08:48 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Keep it up as long as you enjoy what you are doing! And if the joy goes away one day, make minor changes to your routines to re-ignite your interest. Alas, it is a never ending pursuit. smile

Last edited by Amaruk; 07/10/13 08:48 PM.

My piano channel on YouTube: Link
#2115849 - 07/10/13 08:57 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: Amaruk]  
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I don't do studies, per se. By the time I finished graduate school I'd have more than my lifetime's ration of studying.

I ask my music teacher to help me with whatever I'm currently pursuing, musically. Sometimes it's just a simple pointer that gets me over a small hurdle. Other times it's an ongoing process that takes several small steps with practice in between.

But no overarching goal (other than making the kinds of music that I'm into) and no curriculum or benchmarks. So in a sense, it may never be "enough" for me. At some point it might not make sense to do a lesson every week but I can't imagine any real end to my desire to gain more insight into my playing (and singing for that matter).


Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis
#2115851 - 07/10/13 09:06 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Enough is enough when you can't do any more. Personally, I can never do enough. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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#2115854 - 07/10/13 09:23 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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There was another thread that mentioned goal setting. My piano goals seem more modest than most. I understand that regulars on a piano forum tend to be enthusiasts, many with a burning passion.

Each person has their own priorities. I tend to be process oriented, so I don't aim for any particular level (eg: exams) or pieces. For me, the priority is to enjoy the journey, and learn some along the way.

Some seem much more interested in maximizing their abilities. For me, if I have twice as much fun and get half as far, so to speak, I'm willing to make that trade off.

I use the word hobbyist. Some people dislike the word, but it is accurate for me. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. There are many more important things than hobbies. These include: family, physical health, financial well being, friends. All these I put in front of my hobbies. Others may have such a burning desire and passion that they sacrifice one or more of those for their piano journey. I don't see a right or wrong in that, as long as it is a conscious choice.

#2115859 - 07/10/13 09:44 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
How far are you prepared to take your studies, and to what level?


I don't understand why I play piano. I just--have to?

I don't really have a final level I'm striving for. My musical aptitude is not so great, but I feel I do myself a disservice if I don't try my best. So I guess I'm going to get to whatever level that gets me to.


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
#2115888 - 07/10/13 11:10 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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I have no intention of becoming anything but a piano hobbyist. I love learning what I can and I try my best and get the most out the experience. But I think I'm a little too old and past my prime to gear myself towards perfecting this instrument. I don't intend to go on competitions, but I may join another recital with the 5-10 year olds for fun. If I have an ultimate goal, it would be to learn as many techniques as I can so that I can get to a level where I'm satisfied with my skills and won't need a teacher. I know that's kind of a broad/bold statement...again I'm not planning to compete or become a concert pianist. Just wanna learn enough to cruise.


Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.
#2115933 - 07/11/13 02:19 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
How far are you prepared to take your studies, and to what level?


I set out from the beginning to write music. I easily come up with lyrics. I wish to write melodies.

Originally Posted by adultpianist
But even at an expert level, I have seen concert pianists talking through the music with the conductor and they discuss things and make little changes to suit one another.


They are discussing their interpretation of the music. It is one thing to copy perfectly. It is a whole different thing to play music.
Seiji Ozawa creates music out of Beethoven and other's. I have not seen another conductor that does anything but try to copy perfectly. Seiji is in a league of his own. Seiji gets it.
I also admit. I am not the greatest listener of Classical. What I have heard, I have heard.
The only other person I have heard in classical close to this is when I saw the movie about the pianist who went crazy. He would go to a night club where they had a piano. He would play it. What I heard in that movie out of him was impressive.
I enjoyed it.

I won't go into other Genre's of music. There are those that people really create music. I enjoy it. Some even extremely simple stuff. Some just didn't have the money for instruments. Weren't allowed an education in music. Yet, they created music that I consider great. It's because they had music in their hearts. They shared it. That's all that counts.

Originally Posted by adultpianist
I don't think you ever stop learning.


When you stop learning, you die.

Last edited by rnaple; 07/11/13 02:21 AM.

Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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#2115937 - 07/11/13 02:40 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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As far as my lazy discipline can take me.


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2115940 - 07/11/13 03:22 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
How far are you prepared to take your studies, and to what level?


As far as I can...I assume my natural limitations will become an obstacle before I have reached the level I would want to get to... I would be very happy to be able to learn some advanced repertoire when I retire. But if not I'll settle on the ability to play few hundred Scarlatti sonatas smile

#2116000 - 07/11/13 07:27 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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so long as it keeps giving me a legal high, I'll keep bashing those keys.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2116002 - 07/11/13 07:28 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: outo]  
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Presently, it appears that I will continue until I die. It is quite possible that a change in circumstances would require me to discontinue, but I'll worry about that when it happens.


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

#2116044 - 07/11/13 09:12 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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It's making music that keeps me moving forward. If it wasn't piano, it would be some other instrument (and has been other instruments in the past). But the piano is so versatile and there is such a vast repertoire of music to play that I doubt I will ever exhaust the possibilities of the piano.

And there is so much to learn. It does keep me sharp and on my toes to learn new things.

Sam

#2116045 - 07/11/13 09:16 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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I just go where my curiosity takes me.


view my profile for a link to my YT page.
#2116048 - 07/11/13 09:18 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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So much of the fun is the learning part. I know sometimes I feel a big let down when I'm done with a piece. As much fun as it is being able to play it all the way through there was something nice about every day sitting down and taking on a new measure. And of course... no piece is ever really "finished".


"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com

#2116072 - 07/11/13 10:37 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Quote
How far are you prepared to take your studies, and to what level?


I plan to take my piano studies as far as I possibly can, and to the highest level I can possibly achieve. 

After starting as an adult, I have been been playing for 14 years now (wow!) I have had a teacher almost constantly (except for a few 3-6 month stretches when my schedule has prevented me from having regular lessons).  I have recently been noticing more and more that I don't need a teacher for a lot of pieces that I want to play (especially Nevue and Einaudi pieces).  I've just had about 7 weeks of teacher-less-ness, and I worked up some pieces that I'd had on my "play in the future" list for a long time.

But working with a teacher makes it possible for me to tackle more challenging pieces that would take much longer, or not be do-able, on my own. And in the last few weeks, while I was without lessons, I set aside some more difficult pieces to come back to when I get back to my weekly lesson (starting next week, yay!)

I consider myself to be at an intermediate level right now, and there is a lot of music I like at this level. The times I've gone without lessons have shown me that I will always keep playing and can continue to progress and acquire new music on my own. But there is also a lot of music above my current level, and especially because of those times without lessons,  it's clear to me that working with a teacher is the best way to make sure that those pieces eventually come within my reach. 


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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#2116079 - 07/11/13 10:59 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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As my Mom used to say: "I'll tell you when you've had enough!"
shocked


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#2116154 - 07/11/13 02:36 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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I'll never stop playing for so many reasons. It helps me direct my energy in a positive way and keeps my mind sharp. It also allows me to express my emotions in a way that is more than just a smile and a laugh.

Playing piano also helps me unwind late in the evening before bed.

I could go on and on but like the old TV commercial....

Pork chops and stuffing,....I'm stayin'!

Plowboy, your mom sounds like mine. She used to drill the phrase "Don't be so easily satisfied" into me. European old school tough.

#2116501 - 07/12/13 07:35 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: Peyton]  
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Originally Posted by Peyton
So much of the fun is the learning part. I know sometimes I feel a big let down when I'm done with a piece. As much fun as it is being able to play it all the way through there was something nice about every day sitting down and taking on a new measure. And of course... no piece is ever really "finished".


That last part sounds really profound, but I wonder...

If not permanently "finished" then temporarily finished...

It would seem that on the surface of things that for any given player at a certain level of expertise at a given point in time there is probably only so much that can be done or accomplished with a certain piece of music - no matter how long or hard it is worked on - and so, given all this, the piece is finished.

Later, as one's abilities improve and skills increase and the same piece is again attempted, there probably will be more one can do with it - technically and interpretively - to "finish" it at a more sophisticated, better played and better sounding level - but here again there is a point beyond which very little or nothing can be done to finish it even more, and so it is "finished"...

And on it goes...but it is doubtful if this cycle can continue indefinitely, and so at some point it is finally finished.

Now, I am finished...


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#2116511 - 07/12/13 08:00 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: TrapperJohn]  
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Originally Posted by TrapperJohn
Originally Posted by Peyton
So much of the fun is the learning part. I know sometimes I feel a big let down when I'm done with a piece. As much fun as it is being able to play it all the way through there was something nice about every day sitting down and taking on a new measure. And of course... no piece is ever really "finished".


That last part sounds really profound, but I wonder...

If not permanently "finished" then temporarily finished...

It would seem that on the surface of things that for any given player at a certain level of expertise at a given point in time there is probably only so much that can be done or accomplished with a certain piece of music - no matter how long or hard it is worked on - and so, given all this, the piece is finished.

Later, as one's abilities improve and skills increase and the same piece is again attempted, there probably will be more one can do with it - technically and interpretively - to "finish" it at a more sophisticated, better played and better sounding level - but here again there is a point beyond which very little or nothing can be done to finish it even more, and so it is "finished"...

And on it goes...but it is doubtful if this cycle can continue indefinitely, and so at some point it is finally finished.

Now, I am finished...


I don't know John... maybe it's just a character flaw, but I am never satisfied with my playing. I always know I can do better. Nothing ever really feels finished. Don't get me wrong...I like that feeling. It keeps me interested and gives me drive.


"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com

#2116512 - 07/12/13 08:02 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: ShiroKuro]  
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
...it's clear to me that working with a teacher is the best way to make sure that those pieces eventually come within my reach. 


In a larger sense aren't we all self-taught?

How much of one's piano studies are actually accomplished in the presence of a teacher? Less than 5% probably...

Most of one's work is done alone - both the physical work of playing/practicing and the psychological/emotional work involved in persisting and motivating and encouraging yourself.

Random thoughts on a rainy day...



Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#2116517 - 07/12/13 08:15 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: Peyton]  
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TrapperJohn Offline
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Originally Posted by Peyton
Originally Posted by TrapperJohn
Originally Posted by Peyton
So much of the fun is the learning part. I know sometimes I feel a big let down when I'm done with a piece. As much fun as it is being able to play it all the way through there was something nice about every day sitting down and taking on a new measure. And of course... no piece is ever really "finished".


That last part sounds really profound, but I wonder...

If not permanently "finished" then temporarily finished...

It would seem that on the surface of things that for any given player at a certain level of expertise at a given point in time there is probably only so much that can be done or accomplished with a certain piece of music - no matter how long or hard it is worked on - and so, given all this, the piece is finished.

Later, as one's abilities improve and skills increase and the same piece is again attempted, there probably will be more one can do with it - technically and interpretively - to "finish" it at a more sophisticated, better played and better sounding level - but here again there is a point beyond which very little or nothing can be done to finish it even more, and so it is "finished"...

And on it goes...but it is doubtful if this cycle can continue indefinitely, and so at some point it is finally finished.

Now, I am finished...


I don't know John... maybe it's just a character flaw, but I am never satisfied with my playing. I always know I can do better. Nothing ever really feels finished. Don't get me wrong...I like that feeling. It keeps me interested and gives me drive.


Peyton - not a "character flaw", because I feel the same way more often than not (and I certainly don't have any character flaws laugh ) - but maybe it's just a matter of setting one's standards too high, or operating under the illusion that there is more one can do, or believing too much in the "myth" that a piece is never really finished (because one can't play it perfectly every time - or even at all).

When is a piece "finished"?

Technically, it's probably finished when one can play it perfectly as written. Interpretively, it's probably never finished because there may be an almost unlimited number of interpretations and variations one can put on it...perhaps this is what is meant by a piece never being finished...


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#2116519 - 07/12/13 08:17 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Lessons help me grow (entering yr 5) and give me someone to talk to about music which is absent elsewhere in my life...hmmmm have to do something about that!


many hands many smiles

Big Mama Yama U1
#2116525 - 07/12/13 08:42 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Brent H Offline
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TrapperJohn,

Here on ABF it's my feeling that we're a mixture of two strains of piano hobbyists. One strain is motivated primarily by the challenge of "getting better" and/or they are really into the whole "a piece is never finished" type pursuit of perfection. The other strain, in which I hope it's not too presumptuous of me to include yourself, is not looking for mountains to climb but just into playing tunes and hearing the hopefully lovely sounds that our piano can make when played with any modicum of technique at all.

I have to take care to remember that even though a perfectionistic set of expectations would make me, personally, so miserable I'd quit playing tomorrow for some other people my own ideas of "that sounds good enough, let's move on" would be just a miserably discouraging. But one result is in threads like this the two types of ABF'ers can end up talking across each other rather with each other...


Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis
#2116534 - 07/12/13 09:14 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: TrapperJohn]  
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Peyton Offline
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Originally Posted by TrapperJohn
Originally Posted by Peyton
Originally Posted by TrapperJohn
Originally Posted by Peyton
So much of the fun is the learning part. I know sometimes I feel a big let down when I'm done with a piece. As much fun as it is being able to play it all the way through there was something nice about every day sitting down and taking on a new measure. And of course... no piece is ever really "finished".


That last part sounds really profound, but I wonder...

If not permanently "finished" then temporarily finished...

It would seem that on the surface of things that for any given player at a certain level of expertise at a given point in time there is probably only so much that can be done or accomplished with a certain piece of music - no matter how long or hard it is worked on - and so, given all this, the piece is finished.

Later, as one's abilities improve and skills increase and the same piece is again attempted, there probably will be more one can do with it - technically and interpretively - to "finish" it at a more sophisticated, better played and better sounding level - but here again there is a point beyond which very little or nothing can be done to finish it even more, and so it is "finished"...

And on it goes...but it is doubtful if this cycle can continue indefinitely, and so at some point it is finally finished.

Now, I am finished...


I don't know John... maybe it's just a character flaw, but I am never satisfied with my playing. I always know I can do better. Nothing ever really feels finished. Don't get me wrong...I like that feeling. It keeps me interested and gives me drive.


Peyton - not a "character flaw", because I feel the same way more often than not (and I certainly don't have any character flaws laugh ) - but maybe it's just a matter of setting one's standards too high, or operating under the illusion that there is more one can do, or believing too much in the "myth" that a piece is never really finished (because one can't play it perfectly every time - or even at all).

When is a piece "finished"?

Technically, it's probably finished when one can play it perfectly as written. Interpretively, it's probably never finished because there may be an almost unlimited number of interpretations and variations one can put on it...perhaps this is what is meant by a piece never being finished...


There is a quote from a famous musician and I can't remember who the heck it was. It was told to me a long time ago. A famous pianist was asked near the end of his life after countless performances and recordings what he thought about a certain piece that was considered to be the cornerstone of his work. He said something like "I've almost got it!". That says it all to me. A good work is never "finished" because as soon as you think it is you lose something.


"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com

#2116546 - 07/12/13 09:58 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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Brent H Offline
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Well that's the kind of thing I was talking about. It's a neat anecdote but it really boils down to illustrating that famous touring concert pianists are incredibly perfectionistic about their performances. I think we all know that.

It certainly doesn't inspire me to try to practice some piece of music until it's so perfect a concert artist would think it's almost "finished". I've found two things about my playing. I really enjoy a good tune played well enough that it sounds beautiful and is recognizable. And other people who hear me play are much more concerned with hearing a tune they love than with figuring out how close to perfectly I played it.

In the end, if it gives me pleasure and gives pleasure to others that's as "finished" as it was ever meant to be.

P.S. I also found if I can sing the words to a song people know, they don't even care if I'm playing the piano at all much less how well I played!


Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis
#2116555 - 07/12/13 10:15 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: Brent H]  
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Originally Posted by Brent H
Well that's the kind of thing I was talking about. It's a neat anecdote but it really boils down to illustrating that famous touring concert pianists are incredibly perfectionistic about their performances. I think we all know that.

It certainly doesn't inspire me to try to practice some piece of music until it's so perfect a concert artist would think it's almost "finished". I've found two things about my playing. I really enjoy a good tune played well enough that it sounds beautiful and is recognizable. And other people who hear me play are much more concerned with hearing a tune they love than with figuring out how close to perfectly I played it.

In the end, if it gives me pleasure and gives pleasure to others that's as "finished" as it was ever meant to be.

P.S. I also found if I can sing the words to a song people know, they don't even care if I'm playing the piano at all much less how well I played!


I don't read it as trying to be "perfect". I see it as always wanting to make it better (not "perfect"). For me that is what keeps the music alive. You don't have to be a famous touring concert pianist to keep trying to improve a piece.


"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
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#2116557 - 07/12/13 10:19 AM Re: when is enough enough [Re: adultpianist]  
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keystring Offline
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There is a certain element of discovery and growth. There is always something new to discover in a good piece of music, or a new way to expand it. There are always other ways of hearing, or drawing out a note or a series of notes, or using silence. You're not trying to "complete" something like putting together an Ikea chair and when the last bolt is in place and it looks and functions like a chair, you know it's done. There is a creative element and that's the fun part. (Something like that).

#2116727 - 07/12/13 07:17 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: Brent H]  
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TrapperJohn Offline
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Originally Posted by Brent H


It certainly doesn't inspire me to try to practice some piece of music until it's so perfect a concert artist would think it's almost "finished". I've found two things about my playing. I really enjoy a good tune played well enough that it sounds beautiful and is recognizable. And other people who hear me play are much more concerned with hearing a tune they love than with figuring out how close to perfectly I played it.



Well stated Brent - I agree with this approach or attitude to a very large extent, especially the part I've italicized...it's nice if others think so too, but since I'm playing it - creating it or re-creating it - what matters most is what I think and feel...although this in itself goes to the "when is it finished" question because the next question is: just how beautiful can one make it sound given additional efforts?


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#2116731 - 07/12/13 07:22 PM Re: when is enough enough [Re: Peyton]  
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Originally Posted by Peyton

I don't read it as trying to be "perfect". I see it as always wanting to make it better (not "perfect"). For me that is what keeps the music alive. You don't have to be a famous touring concert pianist to keep trying to improve a piece.


How much better? When does "diminishing returns" kick in? That is, with each new effort when does the difference not make a difference; when is better not hardly recognizable as better?

And when does one just plain get sick and tired of playing the same piece over and over and over... laugh

Last edited by TrapperJohn; 07/12/13 07:25 PM.

Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
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