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40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
#2380860 02/01/15 12:26 PM
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I've been doing lots of research into the theory that learning 40 pieces a year makes you a better and more varied pianist. I thought back to my piano history and realized that I haven't done this since I was a child when I was using method books! That said, I'm working on some more advanced repertoire now and like the idea of being able to use smaller/easier pieces for skill building and tracking my progress. I want to try this as a project this year, probably with a Tumblr blog or something associated with it to post recordings and my thoughts on the process.

Is anyone else interested in trying this experiment for a year? I thought it might be fun if a group of us were interested. We could help track each other's progress, find new pieces for each other and keep each other going when we got busy and practicing is harder. Anyone else game for this idea?


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380904 02/01/15 02:34 PM
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Hi Anne,

I'd really like to do this. The question is whether I can actually keep up with the challenge. Seems even the easier pieces I choose, I cannot complete in a week or two.

Maybe for me it would be about getting pieces going and in some sense playable, even if my playing of each piece is not that great by the end of each week.

Do you have ideas for pieces? I'll have to look through some of my old piano books to see what's possible. A week is not long to learn a piece!



Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Valencia #2380912 02/01/15 02:45 PM
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I don't think they have to be finished, persay - and some can certainly be below your current level to help with sight reading, etc. The idea isn't to aim for "recital" quality on every piece, just to make sure you're getting a quantity and variety for skill building and sight reading, etc. You can also be working through multiple easier pieces at once, if you like to work that way. I like the idea in part because I think it's open to so many different skill levels and styles of learning.



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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380916 02/01/15 02:49 PM
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My level is something around second grade or less so it's easy for me to do a lot of new pieces per year. With adavanced grades it may be more difficult because the pieces are longer and more complex. So it's a nice idea of yours to play some easy pieces just to have more different material to work on. You don't need to perfect them, and they're also good for practicing reading / sight reading.
So, IMHO, go for it!

Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380917 02/01/15 02:53 PM
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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380918 02/01/15 02:57 PM
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My plan is to attempt 40 pieces for this year. I believe the idea is to look for material below your current grade level since you need to get through them quickly. I don't plan to overly polish the pieces, but I would like to record each one. We'll see how it goes.


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380937 02/01/15 03:50 PM
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Is the idea that this would be a *recognized* ABF activity, like MOYD and recitals, with running threads and virtual merit badges at the end of the year?

Nothing motivates me like those gold stars! smile


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380940 02/01/15 03:52 PM
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Lol @ ClsscLib

40 pieces a year might be a demotivator to advance. With the short pieces I am playing now it shouldn't be a problem but I don't see myself playing 40 sonatas a year..

Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
ClsscLib #2380941 02/01/15 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Is the idea that this would be a *recognized* ABF activity, like MOYD and recitals, with running threads and virtual merit badges at the end of the year?

Nothing motivates me like those gold stars! smile


I think that would be awesome, but I have no authority in those things? Does anyone know who we would ask? Casinitaly, perhaps?

Also, I adore your Florence Foster Jenkins quote. I do have a habit of thinking "What would Florence do?" when I get discouraged in life sometimes, so it's nice to see that someone else thinks of her positively!


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380944 02/01/15 04:06 PM
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So by the end of the year I should memorize and be able to play 40 pieces in row. Is that the idea?

Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380946 02/01/15 04:09 PM
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I don't think it's that you will have 40 fully "polished" pieces by the end of the year (which probably includes memorization if that's your thing). The idea is to complete the 40 by mixing in studies, easier pieces, technique building things, etc.


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380948 02/01/15 04:09 PM
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There's no "official" ABF stamp with MOYD, or AOTW, or anything else. They've just turned in to long-running threads because ABFers like them. This wouldn't be anything different, I think.

The thing that is different about the recitals is that they get "stickied" for awhile (which isn't true of MOYD et al), and whether those are stickied and for how long, etc, has been the result of a general discussion thread in the ABF.

So there's no need to ask. Just start a thread! And if you want to give out gold stars, just do so. Whoever jumps in will keep it going.

And if you want just a support, discussion thread for folks who are trying it, much like FOYD, just do that.

ABF is participant focused smile

Cathy


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
jotur #2380954 02/01/15 04:30 PM
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I think there were a few people who listed the 40 piece challenge in their goals for 2015, so there are probably some others who would be interested. My understanding of it is that it should be a mix of pieces with a few at your level and most at lower levels. The pieces should be learned to an acceptable standard at the correct tempo with correct notes, but not necessarily polished for performance. I think it is a great idea. It could become a permanent thread here like MOYD, FOYD, or AOTW. There are all sorts of possibilities. Each participant could report their list weekly, or recordings of each piece could be submitted, whatever people are interested in.

I would definitely participate in a "40 piece per year club". It sounds like fun.

Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380958 02/01/15 04:36 PM
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I think earlofmar has talked several times about the forty pieces a year challenge.

It's my understanding it's what some people call a 'throw-away', usually a one-a-week piece. It's generally a slightly easier than your normal fare piece that you can get to a playable stage in one week. If you get it to performance level, great!


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Stubbie #2380976 02/01/15 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
I think earlofmar has talked several times about the forty pieces a year challenge.



I completed the challenge last year and have re-started again this year I found the benefits so good. This year I am working through each piece of "Joy of First Classics". I only started playing piano two years ago and while I currently play grade 4 & 5 material even simple material will usually have a phrase, technique or tempo I find difficult to overcome. So I think this method is like a catch up of all the things I didn't do in the first years. Of course there are other benefits which can be read in the links earlier on in this thread. I will usually have three or four of these little pieces on my practice list and it only needs a couple of daily play throughs for them to become recordable over time. I have had some I could almost sight read and others that have taken up to four weeks but it all averages out.

This thread could be kept updated by those interested, perhaps on a weekly basis and recordings submitted here as well. I certainly would be interested to hear what everyone else is up to.


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2380994 02/01/15 06:06 PM
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Actually, this might be a really good thread for me. I gig a lot at senior center/assisted living/memory care units, and many of the songs they like are what I think of as old campfire/singing in the car songs - my favorite example is "Home on the Range" laugh But there's thousands of them, and they always sing along - Daisy, America, The Star-Spangled Banner, You Are My Sunshine, etc.

These are approachable, by me, by ear, with simple made-up accompaniments. Since one of the things I'd like to do is get less and less dependent on the sheet music, whether memorized or not, this would be a really useful exercise in adding tunes my audience loves to my repertoire, and in getting more and more "at home" with my piano.

I won't guarantee anything, since I'm notoriously fickle about my goals, and I listed "following my nose" as one of my 2015 goals laugh , but I'll join in.

Cathy


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2381064 02/01/15 09:03 PM
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Yes, please count me in.

I fell off MOYD last Thanksgiving after losing motivation. The previous six months spent on bad habit resolution meant much physical repetition with few completed works. This sounds like a productive way to put new skills to use.

Should we post our 40 pieces here and then start checking them off as we progress?


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2381071 02/01/15 09:43 PM
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I guess this is in line with the idea that working on pieces lower than your skill level has value. Because, no way could I learn 40 pieces at the upper range of my skill level!!

Although this is interesting, I doubt I participate. I'd need to get my teacher onboard. And while she has been more or less behind my participation in the ABF Quarterly Recitals because I just record something we have been working on, the themed recitals have been a different story. I'm finding that she likes to be the one choosing pieces. So, when I suggest something, she isn't necessarily in favor of my doing it.

I will be interested to see what pieces are chosen at the various levels. Really anything that motivates practice is a good thing. My teacher is doing a 21 day practice challenge right now. Practice every day for 21 days, you get a prize. Practice more than 600 minutes, you get an additional prize. The 600 minutes is more of a challenge to someon who practices around 30 minutes a day. I figure I should hit the 600 around day 10 or even earlier.


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Tararex #2381073 02/01/15 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Tararex

Should we post our 40 pieces here and then start checking them off as we progress?


I think this thread can definitely be a resource for people in whatever way they need, but I think your idea sounds like a great start. Too bad we can't have "virtual" stickers every time we finish a piece - it's funny how motivating that can be when you're a kid (or now). I think it'd be fun to post recordings too, if people are using that as a tracking technique.


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Re: 40 Piano Pieces A Year Club
Anne H #2381187 02/02/15 05:46 AM
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Count me in!
This sounds like a great idea.
Can anyone suggest a way we can make a collaborative list of good pieces, sorted by skill level?
Then we wont run out of inspiration or suggestions, and I would prefer to be playing the same pieces as other members. More of a shared experience then.

The idea of throwaway pieces really appeals to me. Takes the pressure off memorising every note in a piece.

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