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Repertoire Currency
#2631693 04/09/17 07:32 PM
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How many pieces can an intermediate student expect to keep “fresh”? I find that if I go a week or more not playing a piece it takes several times through to get it back to my previous level. (We are talking intermediate level, not concert pianist level). Sometimes even a day later the first play through is rougher than my best. The second pass is usually much better. If I drop something for a month or more is takes several days to get back to where I was before. Juggling 6-8 pieces during a week (maybe 2-4 a day) seems to be my limit. How do others handle this? Just keep a few “fresh” and let the others fade away and maybe come back to them again later?

Memorized pieces seem to retain better than playing from score. Maybe this is because when reading I tend to rely on memory for some note sequences and do not concentrate on the score. Since the piece is not fully memorized I get lost. That might explain why a few times through brings it back - the short-term memory is refreshed. But this is purely speculation on my part.

Last edited by ee375; 04/09/17 08:25 PM.
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Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631696 04/09/17 07:46 PM
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What pieces are you currently learning?
I am new and I am learning 3 pieces as of now and maybe more next week but I practice them all at once. I do the easy piece first then the hard ones last. Rinse and repeat. The past pieces I play them when I finish practicing and play them for fun I guess? I wish my brain could store 1000GB of pieces lol 😂

Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631699 04/09/17 07:50 PM
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As far as I am concerned ... that is what caused me to change course with my piano playing.

I became tired of that cycle of memorize a tune, memorize another, memorize another, forget the oldest one, memorize another, forget the second oldest one, go back and re-learn the oldest one, etc ...

I thought ... Is this it ? Is this what playing piano is ?

I changed course.

I tried becoming a better reader. That will work but I just did not like it.

So, I moved into the jazz genre.

Now, I play tunes where I utilize the chord progressions to help me "remember" what comes next.

I am still memorizing but mostly only the melody of a very familiar tune (jazz standards).

The accompaniment to the melody can be varied or almost decided upon as I play.

I am operating at a very elementary level, perhaps ... but I find it gives me more freedom to just play something without worrying about every note being perfect. And, it may not the same each time I play it.

Much more enjoyable, for me.





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Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631707 04/09/17 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ee375
How many pieces can an intermediate student expect to keep “fresh”? I find that if I go a week or more not playing a piece it takes several times through to get it back to my previous level. (We are talking intermediate level, not concert pianist level).

Once you've finished with a piece, let it go, unless it's one you really like and want to keep for performance purposes. Don't hang on to too many, or you'll end up spending more time keeping them in your fingers than learning new stuff.

At intermediate level, you want to keep acquiring new skills, improve old ones, and learn new pieces that will help you with all that. Don't stagnate on old pieces.

When I was at intermediate level, I didn't hang on to any piece, once I was done with it (and my teacher didn't want me to either) - I was too busy making new discoveries, and learning new pieces, improving my skills. I was also an avid sight-reader, and borrowed volumes of scores to sight-read through, however ineptly. It made me realize that there are a lot of riches out there, just waiting for me to discover, and to sink my paws into when the time was ripe....... wink


"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: Repertoire Currency
bennevis #2631713 04/09/17 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I was also an avid sight-reader, and borrowed volumes of scores to sight-read through, however ineptly.


Well, there you go !!!

If you do that, you do not have to "memorize" pieces. You can let the notation be your memory. All you have to do is read it and play it.

Of course, it isn't quite that easy but it beats purely memorizing which keys to press and that is often what beginners/intermediate players do in their zeal to play things.



Last edited by dmd; 04/09/17 08:51 PM.

Don

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Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631759 04/10/17 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ee375
... I find that if I go a week or more not playing a piece it takes several times through to get it back to my previous level. (We are talking intermediate level, not concert pianist level). Sometimes even a day later the first play through is rougher than my best. The second pass is usually much better. If I drop something for a month or more is takes several days to get back to where I was before. Juggling 6-8 pieces during a week (maybe 2-4 a day) seems to be my limit. ...

You are not alone! Same here.

But I cannot memorize music. Although not being good in first time reading, at least the music from my repertoire is quickly back with the already in the past intensively studied sheets in front of me. Well, I guess this is what sheets have been invented for: memorizing statements is more difficult than simply reading them.

A couple of days after having learned a piece, I get it fully back by the second or third try. A couple of days after having polished=finished a piece, I get it fully back by the first run. Keeping it in my repertoire for a couple of month, I get it back on the first or second run, if at least having played it once in a week for the last months. If I cannot do so, then I cancel it to be part of my repertoire folder, put it back to the practice folder, and practice it more intensively again.

Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631762 04/10/17 03:13 AM
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Sadly this is how it is for me: I polish pieces only to forget them. Some people say things can be better retained if learned when young...don't know...the only things I can retain are songs.

I can only perform from memory, even if I can read music. I can sight read better than I can follow a familiar score.

Now I am trying to get a piece I performed last spring to recording level. And I have forgotten it almost completely. The positive side is that I can play some parts better and found more clever fingerings. But it takes plenty of hours to get it back.

Since I cannot enjoy music if I need to stare at a score I just have to accept this. After 6 years of practicing I have no "ready-to-play" repertoire...

Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631772 04/10/17 04:28 AM
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+1 to basically everything outo wrote

It's a source of frustration to me that I tend not to have pieces ready to play when the opportunity arises. But I have come to realise and (more or less) accept that what I really enjoy about piano is learning new pieces. I think it would be self defeating for me to do less of that in order to maintain repertoire so that I have more to play on those handful of occasions where opportunity unexpectedly presents itself.
If I had more practice time perhaps it would be different (or perhaps it would be exactly the same smile )


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Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631931 04/10/17 02:05 PM
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A lot depends on how big the pieces are. I play popular songs of the early 20th century, typically 2-3 minutes each. A couple dozen of those may be as much to remember as just one classical concerto or sonata.



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Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2631972 04/10/17 04:18 PM
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Quote
Once you've finished with a piece, let it go, unless it's one you really like and want to keep for performance purposes. Don't hang on to too many, or you'll end up spending more time keeping them in your fingers than learning new stuff.

bennevis: That is not really what I wanted to hear. But I am sure that you are correct. There are several pieces that I really like (that's why I attempted to learn them even though they are above my level) so maybe I can recycle 1 or 2 every few months. As you said, it is impossible to keep everything current. Thank you for the advice.

Since I am working on technique memorizing is not a high priority. Getting through as many pieces as possible is more important to improve.

Several others reported the same concerns so clearly this is a common issue.

Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2632161 04/11/17 10:03 AM
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Most of the songs I play are 4-5 minutes in length. Granted, Pop songs, but still played piano solo.

If you take 15 mins a day and rotate every 4 days, you can
keep a list of about 12 songs ready to go. This, with only a short amount of your practice time, used for review.
If you play, and have access to an instrument, you'll often be asked to play. I believe you should have at least one or a couple ready.
Not only that, its nice to make some music when that practice time gets frustrating.

Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2632186 04/11/17 11:58 AM
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Letting a piece go is a good idea because once you come back to it in 6 months, you'll have learned more skills that let you add some extra that you didn't have before. It's especially jarring if you make recordings of yourself and then compare the different versions through time.

Re: Repertoire Currency
ee375 #2632215 04/11/17 02:39 PM
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This is a great thread. I need to improve my sight reading. Advice above noted. I also would like to have a better short repertoire of music ready to play.


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