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Maintaining a repertoire piece
#2526603 04/01/16 01:26 AM
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I felt like I wanted to keep my last piece as a repertoire piece. I thought that by playing it once per day I could keep it in good shape. This was the first piece I ever really wanted to keep.

But as it turns out I can feel the piece is slowly going downhill from the level I had it at, even though I've played it once every day since I moved on. It has only been three weeks since I finished it. Today I had to really work on fixing some problems.

Since I spent a lot of time working on it while learning it I didn't really want to have to keep putting a lot more time into it. But I'd hate to lose it.

Just looking for advice on this subject, because I've never kept repertoire before - I always just felt like moving on to something better.



"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist
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Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
bolt #2526663 04/01/16 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bolt

Since I spent a lot of time working on it while learning it I didn't really want to have to keep putting a lot more time into it. But I'd hate to lose it.



If it's a piece that stretches your current technical capability (i.e. you're having to play right at the edge of your technique to play it properly), you'll need to do more than just revisit it once a day, at least for a while, to maintain it. Little gremlins creep in easily, and get ingrained.....

I suggest that you take extra time once a week to really practice it (as in isolating the problem spots and practicing them by themselves, extra slowly if required, before reinstating them into the piece) until it's 'perfect' again.

After anything from several weeks to months, you'll find that you don't have to do this quite so often - maybe once every two weeks, or once a month.

It can be time-consuming to maintain such a piece, so make sure it's something you really want to keep indefinitely. Otherwise, let it go, and you can always pick it up again later on, and you might well find it much easier than you think to regain fluency, after you've had more repertoire under your belt, and your technique is much better etc. Don't forget that easier pieces are much easier to maintain.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
bolt #2526752 04/01/16 10:39 AM
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That is some really great advice right there. Thanks bennevis !


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Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
bolt #2526764 04/01/16 11:14 AM
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Thanks bennevis. It's not at the edge of my technique but it's a lot of detail to keep in memory accurately. I'll try what you say but maybe also try to play it twice on some days too.

There were a few other pieces in the past that I really wanted to keep and I let each of them slide away.

I think it's a bit sad if you've been playing for years and you have nothing you can play - other than your current pieces you're working on - if you are somewhere where there's a piano.

Curious what other people are doing on the subject of keeping pieces as memorized repertoire. Does everyone have repertoire?


"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist
Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
bolt #2526769 04/01/16 11:31 AM
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The suggestion from the book The Musician's Way, is 20% for repertoire, 40% for learning new pieces, 20% musicianship, 20% technique. Some approximate 20% by allocating one day a week just for old pieces.

What ever a person can do with that 20% of time is their level. Some are good at memorizing, some are average, some are terrible. Those that are terrible are going to have a tougher time and will tend to have smaller repertoires. A small group sight reads well enough to keep repertoire without memorizing. Most of them are naturally gifted sight readers that often say they never had to work on the skill. It just came to them while they did their normal piece practice.

No, not everyone keeps repertoire. My educated but anecdotal guess from reading posts, is about 20% of the active folks on this forum, keep nothing. Zero, zip, nada. For most, it is a conscious choice.

I suggest that everyone try to have at least one piece, that they can play from memory when they see a random piano.


Last edited by Sand Tiger; 04/01/16 11:39 AM.
Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
bolt #2526833 04/01/16 01:58 PM
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I have a dozen and a half presentable pieces that I maintain and play all the time, and one (White Christmas) that I only need once a year. I find that getting it out every couple months is enough.

There are a couple (Stardust and Blue Skies) that I've done my best to totally forget, because I want to bring them back with completely different arrangements some day.



-- J.S.

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Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
bolt #2526868 04/01/16 04:15 PM
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A lot of the pieces we learn are on the edge of our abilities and not really cemented into our memories.

My advice: Allow your self to lose the piece--just for a little while. Then get back to it. And it will come back quickly. After the third time you've learned a piece, it is yours.

Moreover, once you've re-learned something a couple of times, you will find yourself manipulating the notes and pulling more expression out of them... without even really trying.


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Re: Maintaining a repertoire piece
Sand Tiger #2527126 04/02/16 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Sand Tiger
I suggest that everyone try to have at least one piece, that they can play from memory when they see a random piano.



I've thought that many times; I'm going to start on something.


In progress:
Working through First Lessons in Bach and Russian Music Book 1

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