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After Czerny Op.599
#2031929 02/12/13 04:39 PM
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Hi, I originally posted it in the adult beginner forum but I was adviced to ask here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2031618.html#Post2031618
Basically I finished the Czerny Op 599 and want to see which other Czerny studies should I continue to practice? I see it from Wiki that there's so many studies from Czerny and I guess there should be some overlap between them? And there should be some that is less important which can be skipped?
Thanks!

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Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2031955 02/12/13 05:13 PM
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What did your teacher recommend when you asked?


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2031965 02/12/13 05:23 PM
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If you finished 599, you're good enough to play the sonatinas of Clementi (Op. 36) and Kuhlau (Op. 55). Those sonatinas are infinitely better and more musical than anything Czerny wrote. You will also enjoy the sonatinas of Lynes, Lichner, Gurlitt, and Kabalevsky. For etudes/studies, try Burgmuller Op. 100 or Kabalevsky Op. 28. These musical works will make your study of piano much more enjoyable.

Please note that my dislike of Czerny is not baseless. Robert Schumann also did not like Czerny's works.


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Re: After Czerny Op.599
AZNpiano #2032017 02/12/13 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
For etudes/studies, try Burgmuller Op. 100 or Kabalevsky Op. 28. These musical works will make your study of piano much more enjoyable.


Not a teacher, just a n00b, but I wholeheartedly second that Burgmuller recommendation. I'm working my way through opus 100 myself, and it is definitely true that playing those pieces feels like making music, rather than practicing technique. This is one of the first things my teacher said to me after she gave me the Burgmuller book: they're pieces of music, rather than cut-and-dry exercises. And right then and there, I knew I had found a teacher who definitely knows what she is doing wink.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
Re: After Czerny Op.599
John v.d.Brook #2032769 02/14/13 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
What did your teacher recommend when you asked?


He should've posted it in this thread, but it's my understanding based on the other that he's been without a teacher for a few years.

Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2034604 02/17/13 06:54 AM
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Oh, yes. I am without a teacher since I left my home country.
And thanks for the suggestions. So no one is suggesting to use some of the Czerny's study?
I will take a look at those you mentioned especially those with an op. no.
Thanks!

Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2035087 02/18/13 03:10 AM
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I can't find the Kabalevsky Op. 28 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Dmitry_Kabalevsky
Am I missing something?
Thanks.

Re: After Czerny Op.599
AZNpiano #2035088 02/18/13 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Please note that my dislike of Czerny is not baseless. Robert Schumann also did not like Czerny's works.
You can add me to the list of those who do not like Czerny's works! I do find that for every op he has (with 30, 40 and 50 etudes) I can find only a very few which are worth it.

I can imagine him sitting the alphabet for half of his life and then playing games with it, but never writing a poem, or a story, or heck a fairy tale! :P

Re: After Czerny Op.599
AZNpiano #2035672 02/19/13 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
If you finished 599, you're good enough to play the sonatinas of Clementi (Op. 36) and Kuhlau (Op. 55). Those sonatinas are infinitely better and more musical than anything Czerny wrote. You will also enjoy the sonatinas of Lynes, Lichner, Gurlitt, and Kabalevsky. For etudes/studies, try Burgmuller Op. 100 or Kabalevsky Op. 28. These musical works will make your study of piano much more enjoyable.

Please note that my dislike of Czerny is not baseless. Robert Schumann also did not like Czerny's works.


I wholeheartedly agree. Czerny is great, but in small doses. If you've already done quite a few of his studies, time to move on. AZN's suggestions are great.


Tim Topham
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Inner Circle Piano Teachers' Community
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Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2036794 02/21/13 08:13 AM
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Thanks all!

Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2036936 02/21/13 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by kolen
I can't find the Kabalevsky Op. 28 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Dmitry_Kabalevsky
Am I missing something?
Thanks.

It's Op. 27.


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Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2124023 07/27/13 11:26 PM
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Why would you waste your time learning a whole book of Czerny!?!?!?! Play some MUSIC. You are missing out on so much better material.

Beginner stuff:
Bartok Mikrokosmos and First Term at the Piano
Berens Op. 70
Gretchaninov Op. 98
Gurlitt Opp. 101 and 130
Kabalevsky Opp. 27 and 39
Kohler Opp. 190 and 249
Muller Instructive Pieces
Prokofiev Op. 65
Shafer Sight Reading
Schumann Op. 68
Shostakovich Op. 69

Prokofiev, Schumann and Kabalevsky are overall the harder ones of the above list and probably better suited for you because Czerny 599 gets quite challenging toward the end as far as beginner material goes.

Also, take a look at:
Chopin Preludes: 4, 6 and 7. Many of the Mazurkas
Mozart Viennese Sonatinas
Bach Preludes (Not the Anna Magdalena crap! e.g. BWV999)And Two-Part Inventions e.g. 1 and 4
Berens Op. 79 Bk II especially (Musical studies!)
Burgmuller Opp. 100, 105, 109 (More musical studies!)
Gretchaninov Op. 115
Grieg Lyric Pieces e.g. Op. 12 No. 1 and 4

Seriously, get off Czerny: so unnecessary and monotonous. If you want to build technique, go with Liszts books on technique (12 I think), Delioux op. 86, Wieck First Studies or I. Philip's books. They are all really, really good.

smile









Prokofiev Seventh
Franck Prelude, Choral and Fugue
Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2124060 07/28/13 01:55 AM
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If you don't have an instructor (like myself) then you require explanation (from scratch) to go along with whatever you are practicing. For all the bashing of Czerny I don't know what else there is that satisfies the above criteria (and is free) in such a comprehensive fashion as:

Complete Theoretical and Practical School Piano Forte School (3 Volumes)

found at archive.org



I'm starting the solid wooden keys revolution in digital pianos. Get'em now or be square!
Re: After Czerny Op.599
StarvingLion #2124335 07/28/13 05:22 PM
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My criticism of those 3 volumes is that they don't represent textures that you'll actually play in pieces. What's the point of mastering a technical detail that you'll never play in the literature?

Re: After Czerny Op.599
laguna_greg #2124387 07/28/13 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by laguna_greg
My criticism of those 3 volumes is that they don't represent textures that you'll actually play in pieces. What's the point of mastering a technical detail that you'll never play in the literature?


Good response. I'm not sure what pathway to follow. I'm reading the Newman and Berman books plus a new one called "Natural Fingering: A Topographical Approach to Pianism" by Jon Verbalis.

Last edited by StarvingLion; 07/28/13 07:13 PM.

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Re: After Czerny Op.599
StarvingLion #2124518 07/28/13 11:22 PM
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How about starting with the sonatina/easy sonata literature, and also all the early/middle intermediate grade pieces like Buergmuller, Kabalevsky, Tansman, Bach, Heller, Bartok?

Re: After Czerny Op.599
StarvingLion #2125581 07/30/13 10:20 PM
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Kohler Op. 249 is very good. Lots of explanations and he draws on material from Czerny and others.

http://imslp.org/wiki/Practical_Method_for_the_Pianoforte,_Op.249_(K%C3%B6hler,_Louis)

Theodor Leschetizky method book is good also. Czerny wrote so many method books and they are really all the same. His only worth while one is op. 777 (and op. 453 to start with if needed).


Prokofiev Seventh
Franck Prelude, Choral and Fugue
Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2126653 08/01/13 09:59 PM
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FYI, in order of difficulty, the Burgmullers go 100, 109, 105.

Heller's great too, although a bit more difficult than Burgmuller op100

Re: After Czerny Op.599
kolen #2126666 08/01/13 10:41 PM
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I've become very skeptical about Czerny. He wrote thousands technical studies, all of them different (just the dilution effect alone here might call their quality into question), and they sold well, given his carefully promoted image (he was taught by Beethoven and then taught Liszt briefly), and made him a wealthy man. But they apparently were cranked out by the wagon load with profit in mind above all else, so their inherent technical merit seems questionable.

Re: After Czerny Op.599
Gyro #2126765 08/02/13 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyro
I've become very skeptical about Czerny. He wrote thousands technical studies, all of them different (just the dilution effect alone here might call their quality into question), and they sold well, given his carefully promoted image (he was taught by Beethoven and then taught Liszt briefly), and made him a wealthy man. But they apparently were cranked out by the wagon load with profit in mind above all else, so their inherent technical merit seems questionable.


I have far less against Czerny than those who chose to misinterpret what he was quite possibly doing and then run with their distorted interpretations.

A thought-provoking post:
Originally Posted by Bernhard
How did technical studies first come along?

It is simple. The fastest way to acquire technique is to identify the most difficult bars of a piece and work on them first of all. Any experienced pianist /teacher knows (or should know) that. Most inexperienced pianists/students ignore this (even if they have been told many times).

So, imagine for a moment Professor Czerny trying to teach his young and headstrong pupil, 10 year old Franz Liszt to play a Beethoven sonata. Franz is impatient. He wants to start at the beginning and go to the end of the piece (he can already sight read well). He does not want to spend time repeating over an over that single bar with arpeggios in the left hand. What is more, Professor Czerny is never happy. Not only he wants to Franz to repeat the arpeggio endless times, as he now wants him to do it with different rhythms, different accents, transposing in all keys. And this is just one bar, for crying out loud!

Professor Czerny is not indifferent to young Franz predicament. He remembers his own lessons with Herr Beethoven, the famous musicus. No exercises. Just a piece thrown onto his lap and the direction: Bring it ready next week. Not much discussion of technique at all, but oh! What interpretation insights! Yet he was grateful for his previous teacher to have told him many of the little practice tricks he now tries to impart to his own students and that allowed him to master the difficult pieces Herr Beethoven assigned to him. Has it to be like this? Dry technical tricks on one side, and beautiful interpretation on the other with no middle ground in between?

That is when he has an epiphany: The left hand has to endless repeat that arpeggio, so why not add a simple melody on the right hand to make things a bit more fun? Yes, why not write a little piece that will incorporate all the repetitions, all the rhythm variations, all the accent variations and so on? Yes, little Liszt will be so excited when I show him this!

And so professor Czerny sets to work. He believes Herr Beethoven’s 32 sonatas to be the pinnacle of piano music. So he sets out to identify and isolate every single difficulty he can find in these sonatas. And around each difficulty he builds up a little pleasant tune so that the task of learning these monumental works of music will be nothing but fun!

And he proceeds to compose over 50 000 of those fun pieces. For generations of students to come to have fun in the process of learning the piano.

Unfortunately for Professor Czerny (and all music pedagogues that came up with the same ideas) there are a lot of problems with this approach:

1. No one finds Czerny (or technical exercises) fun. Granted, they may be more fun than the alternative approach (work on the difficult bars without musical context), but this is more or less like saying that going to dentist is fun since he has all those nice magazines on the waiting room.

2. A Czerny study is completely specific to the Beethoven sonata difficult passage it was meant to conquer. Just playing any exercise – or set of them – will not help technique in general, because there is no such thing as technique in general. Technique is always specific to the piece you are working on. True, octaves, trills, scales and the like are common enough in most pieces, but even then they may have to be played differently according to context.

3. Czerny left no instructions on how to use such exercises. This is of course part of a tradition of secrecy amongst guilds of musicians/teachers in past centuries. You may buy the scores, but you still need the teacher to make it work. So once you have played all the 32 Beethoven sonatas perfectly and acquired all the technique, if you go back to Czerny it will be pretty obvious which exercises are taken from which sonatas. But then you will not need them anymore anyway! So if you are to benefit from them you need a knowledgeable teacher. But this is almost impossible to find since the knowledge was passed from Czerny to his pupils, and as the emphasis on teaching went from technique to interpretation at the start of the 20th century, the tradition was lost. Leschetizky may have been the last one who really knew this stuff, but since he never took on beginners, and since he rarely taught technique (Although Paderevsky was put on a regimen of Czerny for a couple of years) it all died with him.

4. Therefore, most likely your teacher will be giving you a Czerny exercise that has no connection whatsoever with any difficult passage of specific pieces. Go on, ask your teacher: Why am I doing this study? If the answer is: because your assigned piece this summer is the Moonlight sonata, and this particular exercise will get you through bars 1 – 4 of the third movement, the teacher knows what s/he is talking about. If the answer is on the lines of: “It is good for you, it will develop your technique” s/he knows nothing. (S/he can still be a good teacher, but you will waste a lot of time doing things for no purpose whatsoever). What if the teacher reply is: “This study is good to develop your facility with double thirds”. That is better than the previous answer, but then you must ask (most of all yourself): “Does any of my pieces requires double thirds?” If you have no piece currently on your repertory that requires double thirds, why should you be doing this exercise? This may uncover the teacher’s hidden philosophy that one should spend time acquiring all kinds of irrelevant (for the moment) techniques to be (or not to be) used at a later date. And this is really bad philosophy.

5. Although Czerny is better than Hanon (which in my opinion is not only useless but also completely misguided – don’t get me started on that one!) the sad truth is that as music, Czerny studies are crap. Would you perform them for friends and family? Would you like to share them with anyone? Actually there are a couple of them that I actually like, but I never played them for their “study” value, but simply because I like the music. Compare with Chopin etudes. Yes, they are studies, but they are also superb pieces on their own right (and in fact you probably need easier studies to acquire the technique to play them). And if you want easier studies, then go for Burgmuller, Heller and Eggeling which are actually musically satisfying.

6. But now not only you have to learn your assigned pieces, as you have to learn studies that may or may not have any relevance at all to the technique you need in your pieces (more often than not they will be irrelevant).

So what is the alternative?

1. Find a piece you desperately want to be able to play. This is your job . It is not your teacher’s job. Your teacher cannot divine your tastes. If you are assigned pieces you don’t like it is your own fault. Notice that a piece you want desperately to be able to play may or may not be a piece you like. But want to play it you must. Simply because without such compelling inner need you will not be bothered to learn and practise it.

2. Identify the most difficult passage in the piece: all the technique you will ever need to acquire to play the whole piece will be in that passage. It is usually short, and it does not occur too often in the piece (this is true even for advanced pieces). This is your teacher’s job . This is what you pay him/her for. S/he must be able to point out to you straight away the difficult passages. S/he must be able to show and teach you all sorts of practice tricks that will assist you in mastering the difficult passage as quickly and painlessly as possible. S/he must be able to provide you with a choice of movement patterns that will get the job done. S/he must be able to observe your playing and tell you exactly what you are doing – if it is right or wrong – and to assist you in correcting the wrong stuff. With such an approach technical exercises may not be needed at all. The technical exercise will actually consist on the several ways you are working on the difficult passage. If a technical exercise is assigned (and in some circumstances they are helpful) it must have a direct bearing on the difficulty you are trying to master.

3. It is your job (no one else can do it for you) to follow your teacher’s instructions in [2] above to the letter.

4. Therefore you must trust your teacher completely. You must admire him/her. You must worship him/her. I expect nothing else from my students (not that I get it though Sad). And the reason for this is simple: you will not follow instructions from someone you do not regard as a master.

We are talking of course of beginners or intermediate students.

The difference between beginner/intermediate and advanced level is not on the difficulty of the pieces one can play, but on the ability of the student to do all the above work without the close supervision of a teacher.

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