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Where to find new pieces to learn? #2672080
09/01/17 12:31 PM
09/01/17 12:31 PM
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johnbarnesiii Offline OP
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Hi guys,

Where do you guys go for inspiration, to find new pieces to learn?

I'm not following a specific course book, so I like to instead find pieces that i enjoy listening to and learn those. I usually go on YouTube and just browse around, or sometimes in my iTunes library too.

I'm interested in different styles, I just like finding pieces that move me.
Examples of pieces I've learned and like are:
-Moonlight Sonata
-Prelude in D Minor (Clementi)
-Bye (Elliott Smith) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X8MiP0n68fI
-Prelude in A, Op. 28, No. 7 (Chopin)

I like everything from Tom Waits, Bessie Smith blues, to things like Blue Danube Waltz, Marchetti Fascination, etc.

Any suggestions are appreciated, thank you very much!

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Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672092
09/01/17 12:51 PM
09/01/17 12:51 PM
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I find inspiration "just a mouse click away". I listen to the recitals on this forum; If there is a question raised about a particular piece of music with which I am unfamiliar, I listen to it; if I like the music of Xxx Composer, I listen to other things he's composed on YouTube. If I like performances by a certain pianist, I listen to what else he's played. And then there's always the recommendations made by YouTube based on my own history

By doing this, just in the last two years, I have an unearthed pieces or composers that I've never heard, and my ' I want to play that' list has grown to over 200. My problem is deciding 'what next'


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672093
09/01/17 12:52 PM
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This book is famous for that, and is not too expensive. "Classics to Moderns."


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672122
09/01/17 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by johnbarnesiii
Hi guys,

Where do you guys go for inspiration, to find new pieces to learn?


The better you get, the more the world of great music opens up to you, because you are able to play it. BTW, I'm talking classical music, because that's where original through-composed piano music is to be found. In almost all other genres, what you get are just arrangements, most of which are truly dire. (BTW, never play simplified arrangements of any classical piano piece - they are the worst kinds. If you can't play a piano piece as it was originally composed, wait until your skills have improved sufficiently).

Personally, I never go searching on YT, because there's lots of rubbish there, and I don't have time to sift through it. When I was a student (in the age before internet), I would sight-read - or try to - through any piece of music I could get my hands on, and I regularly went through volume after volume of scores from my high school's music library. All those attempts at sight-reading improved my abilities, which made it easier each time. When I found a piece that appealed to me, I'd try to learn it - it could be just the tune I liked, or the way the whole piece sounds.

At your stage, you'd be restricted to easier pieces, and the Classics to Moderns series mentioned earlier are your best bet. I'd also recommend subscribing to Pianist magazine (www.pianistmagazine.com), which contains about fifteen pieces of sheet music (of which about a third would be suitable for your level) in every issue, plus a CD of the all the music played by a concert pianist on a Steinway D, plus advice on how to play the music, plus articles on piano technique and improving your piano & musical skills etc by renowned teachers and educators. There are usually also a couple of pieces of non-classical music in every issue: the current issue (Aug - Sep 2017) contains a good arrangement of Jerome Kern's "Smoke gets into your Eyes" along with original piano pieces by Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Granados etc. You won't ever lack for good music to learn.....


"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: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672135
09/01/17 04:26 PM
09/01/17 04:26 PM
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Why not let youtube guide you? It's a bit rough, but just go to the edges of your tastes (something that it's not too well known) and let youtube autoplay you further.

Alternatively check some obscure, indie publishing house (ahem! grin ) and see if there's anything that might interest you (most of which should be on youtube already as well).

Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672146
09/01/17 05:02 PM
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I forgot about the YouTube channel for the University of Iowa pedagogy project
The professors at the Un of Iowa are systematically uploading thousands of classical pieces, organized by difficulty, ... and the bonus is that you know the execution is done well

It would be a great resource for you to use for finding new music

Last edited by dogperson; 09/01/17 05:03 PM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672426
09/02/17 11:45 PM
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johnbarnesiii Offline OP
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Thank you guys for the great suggestions!

I especially like the 'Classics to Moderns' suggestion. Is there any way to preview audio of the songs in those books first? That way I can go through and learn the pieces I like and am drawn to. I looked on YT and there are some playlists for those books but they are incomplete and not inclusive of all pieces in the books.

Thank you.

Last edited by johnbarnesiii; 09/02/17 11:53 PM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672431
09/03/17 01:13 AM
09/03/17 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by johnbarnesiii
Thank you guys for the great suggestions!

I especially like the 'Classics to Moderns' suggestion. Is there any way to preview audio of the songs in those books first? That way I can go through and learn the pieces I like and am drawn to. I looked on YT and there are some playlists for those books but they are incomplete and not inclusive of all pieces in the books.

Thank you.


Why not just buy the "Classics to Modern" volume and go on your own voyage of discovery by reading through the material? That's the way so many of us learned new material when there wasn't YouTube to hold our hands and show us how to do it!

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: BruceD] #2672438
09/03/17 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by johnbarnesiii
Thank you guys for the great suggestions!

I especially like the 'Classics to Moderns' suggestion. Is there any way to preview audio of the songs in those books first? That way I can go through and learn the pieces I like and am drawn to. I looked on YT and there are some playlists for those books but they are incomplete and not inclusive of all pieces in the books.

Thank you.


Why not just buy the "Classics to Modern" volume and go on your own voyage of discovery by reading through the material? That's the way so many of us learned new material when there wasn't YouTube to hold our hands and show us how to do it!


thumb

And the added benefit of actually just reading through each piece with no preconceptions is that your sight-reading skills improve very quickly, which in turn enhances the experience and the pleasure of such self-discovery - which is lost when you already 'know' how the music is 'supposed to sound' (and that also has the negative effect if you can't play it like in the YouTube video.....).

Also, you can get the gist of the piece simply by just playing the top melodic line and the bottom bass line - i.e. the highest and lowest notes - while leaving out all the other notes. That makes it much easier to sight-read. Then, if you like what you hear, go on and learn it properly, with all the notes.

I liken it to going out on the high seas and not knowing what you're going to find.......like Columbus "discovering" the New World (except that there were already people there - just like zillions of pianists have been there before you and have had the same great experience of 'discovering' already existing pieces for themselves cool).


"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: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: bennevis] #2672455
09/03/17 06:51 AM
09/03/17 06:51 AM
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[
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by johnbarnesiii
Thank you guys for the great suggestions!

I especially like the 'Classics to Moderns' suggestion. Is there any way to preview audio of the songs in those books first? That way I can go through and learn the pieces I like and am drawn to. I looked on YT and there are some playlists for those books but they are incomplete and not inclusive of all pieces in the books.

Thank you.


Why not just buy the "Classics to Modern" volume and go on your own voyage of discovery by reading through the material? That's the way so many of us learned new material when there wasn't YouTube to hold our hands and show us how to do it!


thumb

And the added benefit of actually just reading through each piece with no preconceptions is that your sight-reading skills improve very quickly, which in turn enhances the experience and the pleasure of such self-discovery - which is lost when you already 'know' how the music is 'supposed to sound' (and that also has the negative effect if you can't play it like in the YouTube video.....).

Also, you can get the gist of the piece simply by just playing the top melodic line and the bottom bass line - i.e. the highest and lowest notes - while leaving out all the other notes. That makes it much easier to sight-read. Then, if you like what you hear, go on and learn it properly, with all the notes.

I liken it to going out to the high seas and not knowing what you're going to find.......like Columbus "discovering" the New World (except that there were already people there - just like zillions of pianists have been there before you and have had the same great experience of 'discovering' already existing pieces for themselves cool)
Actually, although I did it this way before YouTube existed, I don't think it's so practical for most people unless they are extraordinarily good sight readers...on the level of sight reading of many professional pianists. I think people, including me, often play pieces that they cannot sight read at a speed near enough to the real tempo to get a real feeling for how the piece sounds. Only playing some of the notes while sight reading may not give a very good idea of how the piece really sounds. I think listening on YT is an equally good high adventure and far more efficient. One can still practice sight reading pieces whose level is in general lower than the pieces one wants to learn.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/03/17 06:55 AM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2672482
09/03/17 09:29 AM
09/03/17 09:29 AM
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johnbarnesiii Offline OP
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
[
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by johnbarnesiii
Thank you guys for the great suggestions!

I especially like the 'Classics to Moderns' suggestion. Is there any way to preview audio of the songs in those books first? That way I can go through and learn the pieces I like and am drawn to. I looked on YT and there are some playlists for those books but they are incomplete and not inclusive of all pieces in the books.

Thank you.


Why not just buy the "Classics to Modern" volume and go on your own voyage of discovery by reading through the material? That's the way so many of us learned new material when there wasn't YouTube to hold our hands and show us how to do it!


thumb

And the added benefit of actually just reading through each piece with no preconceptions is that your sight-reading skills improve very quickly, which in turn enhances the experience and the pleasure of such self-discovery - which is lost when you already 'know' how the music is 'supposed to sound' (and that also has the negative effect if you can't play it like in the YouTube video.....).

Also, you can get the gist of the piece simply by just playing the top melodic line and the bottom bass line - i.e. the highest and lowest notes - while leaving out all the other notes. That makes it much easier to sight-read. Then, if you like what you hear, go on and learn it properly, with all the notes.

I liken it to going out to the high seas and not knowing what you're going to find.......like Columbus "discovering" the New World (except that there were already people there - just like zillions of pianists have been there before you and have had the same great experience of 'discovering' already existing pieces for themselves cool)
Actually, although I did it this way before YouTube existed, I don't think it's so practical for most people unless they are extraordinarily good sight readers...on the level of sight reading of many professional pianists. I think people, including me, often play pieces that they cannot sight read at a speed near enough to the real tempo to get a real feeling for how the piece sounds. Only playing some of the notes while sight reading may not give a very good idea of how the piece really sounds. I think listening on YT is an equally good high adventure and far more efficient. One can still practice sight reading pieces whose level is in general lower than the pieces one wants to learn.


I agree with this. Although I'm open to learning pieces I haven't heard before so as to help with my sight reading, and will continue do that as well, I sometimes prefer to at least be able to preview a little bit of a pieces audio to help me decide if it's worth spending the time to learn. Sometimes that feels like a more focused and time-saving approach bc I know I'm learning a piece that I respond to emotionally. And it helps me build a repertoire of pieces I really enjoy playing. Also just getting a quick audio preview of a piece is often just enough to help get a quick preference opinion but not enough to 'ruin' the sight reading process as one would by listening to it repeatedly before learning it.

I do also appreciate the value of just going in the dark and reading through pieces bc as mentioned that has certain benefits and allows for a cool discovery process, but I think each method has its place.

Sometimes if I own a book already I'll look through the index and do a quick online search for some of the pieces and preview a bit of the audio to help me decide if I want to learn them. But in the past when working with course books like John Thompson, I just went through the book from start to finish without knowing the pieces for learning purposes.

Thanks for the insights, I'll see if I can find a table of contents for these 'C to M' books. And circling back to the original topic, I appreciate the other suggestions for finding inspiration for new pieces, they have been very helpful.

Last edited by johnbarnesiii; 09/03/17 09:45 AM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672486
09/03/17 09:48 AM
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A great number of the Music for Millions pieces, Vol 17 and Vol 27 in particular, and MANY MANY other books - are recorded on Youtube by the University of Iowa.


IUPianoPed is their channel and Jason Sifford is actually a member here on PW smile


https://www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed/playlists


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EPP 2018 Sank Goar, Germany

Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: casinitaly] #2672505
09/03/17 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
A great number of the Music for Millions pieces, Vol 17 and Vol 27 in particular, and MANY MANY other books - are recorded on Youtube by the University of Iowa.


IUPianoPed is their channel and Jason Sifford is actually a member here on PW smile


https://www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed/playlists


To me - and I know others may strongly disagree - this type of "service" to the piano-playing public is really a cop-out, just as are some of the current RCM (Toronto) books of examination pieces which include a CD performance of the music. I just as strongly decry teachers who play entire pieces for their students so that the students "learn how the pieces should sound."

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672515
09/03/17 11:23 AM
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Sorry Bruce, I am one of those that strongly disagrees about the value of well performed works on YouTube. I listen to them to learn about music unfamiliar to me, and therefore consider it to be invaluable service. I guess if you only want to learn music with which you were already familiar, this will be hard to understand but I have discovered many composers that I truly love that are little known within the general repertoire. Without YouTube, they would be lost to me.

Copy as it is played? Never! I would be horrified at the prospect
Edited to add: my teacher could also play through my repertoire for me 1 million times, and my interpretation and feelings about the music will be very different from hers. I wouldn't dream of obliterating my own uniqueness

Last edited by dogperson; 09/03/17 11:27 AM.

"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: dogperson] #2672523
09/03/17 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Sorry Bruce, I am one of those that strongly disagrees about the value of well performed works on YouTube. I listen to them to learn about music unfamiliar to me, and therefore consider it to be invaluable service. I guess if you only want to learn music with which you were already familiar, this will be hard to understand but I have discovered many composers that I truly love that are little known within the general repertoire. Without YouTube, they would be lost to me.

What you're saying sounds odd - if you want to play music with which you are not familiar, the only way is to get the score and play through it yourself with no preconceptions. Not after having heard someone else play it. If you only ever learn pieces that you've already heard on YT, you're never going to do that - i.e. 'discovering' music for yourself.

And no matter what you believe, first impressions stick - what you heard on YT will influence how you play it. Not necessarily in terms of specific rubato and nuances (which are almost impossible to copy exactly), but overall in terms of tempo, mood, general 'feel' etc.

Do you only ever learn pieces that you've already heard? How about, having discovered a composer on YT - say, Louise Farrenc - through a piano piece of hers that you heard and liked, would you go on and explore her other piano music even though they aren't on YT? Or do you limit yourself to only what you have heard of her music?


"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: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672527
09/03/17 12:11 PM
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Bennevis
It may sound odd to you and it may not work for you, but it works for me And yes once I discovered a composer, I may pursue other work that I have not heard. You obviously do not live in a little town where you can just go down to a music store or library and browse piano music: I have neither so I listen to YouTube and browse through IMSLP

I don't agree with you either that the first way a composition is heard is the way you learn it. If that were true, even concert pianists would mainly play music at the same tempo and they do not. I have recently learned rach's elegy, and listened to recordings of about seven concert pianists including Rachmaninoff play it. My interpretation of it is not a copy of anyone of them, and if you listen to it on YouTube, you will find a wide variety of Tempo and mood, and as you put it "general feel "


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: dogperson] #2672532
09/03/17 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Bennevis
It may sound odd to you and it may not work for you, but it works for me And yes once I discovered a composer, I may pursue other work that I have not heard. You obviously do not live in a little town where you can just go down to a music store or library and browse piano music: I have neither so I listen to YouTube and browse through IMSLP

Actually, I live in a little village with no library or even bookshop, let alone music store. I buy all my music scores and books through Amazon (usually third party) or direct from the publishers, or else (if available) download from IMSLP.

The nearest good music store that stocks classical material is in London, but the journey there costs £20 by train. I'd need a very special reason to make the trip up there.....

In my case, I often make new discoveries (of composers and their music) via the radio, which I listen to whenever I'm tidying up, cooking, eating etc. If I hear something that appeals (which is hardly ever a specific piano piece), I find out more about it and the composer, what else he/she has composed etc (for piano/keyboard), then look for the music scores online. When I finally get the score, it's like an unopened treasure chest - I don't know what I'm going to get, and the only to find out is to play it........

Incidentally, in the days before internet, whenever I was in London, I'd spend a whole afternoon in the biggest book & sheet music store there, and browse through all the piano scores, buying whatever looks interesting. That's also where the ability to 'hear the music' in the head from reading through the score is invaluable. When I was a student, I only had enough money to buy very cheap sheet music, so I was restricted to the sales bin. That was how I came to acquire a big stack of sheet music by many obscure composers which nevertheless is very appealing and interesting to play. Many of those composers are one-hit wonders, like Sinding's Rustle of Spring, Cyril Scott's Lotus Land, Oscar Merikanto's A Summer Idyll & Valse lente, William Mason's Silver Spring, Levitzki's The Enchanted Nymph etc - not the sort of music one could easily come across when browsing on YT.


"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: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: casinitaly] #2672543
09/03/17 01:44 PM
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Thank you @casinitaly!

Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: dogperson] #2672558
09/03/17 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Sorry Bruce, I am one of those that strongly disagrees about the value of well performed works on YouTube. I listen to them to learn about music unfamiliar to me, and therefore consider it to be invaluable service.[...]


I don't deny the usefulness and musical interest in YouTube videos. I have occasionally listened to new-to-me composers that I would not have broached otherwise: Catoire's, Medtner's, and Suk's piano music comes immediately to mind.

What I am critical of are those beginning or intermediate students who feel they need to use YouTube to find out "how a piece sounds" because they can't figure it out from the score, or don't want to take the time to do so.

What purpose is served by such YouTube sites as IUPianoPed and enclosed CD's in scores but to show students "how" a piece should sound? Doesn't that deprive them of some of the experience of learning?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: bennevis] #2672574
09/03/17 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by dogperson
Sorry Bruce, I am one of those that strongly disagrees about the value of well performed works on YouTube. I listen to them to learn about music unfamiliar to me, and therefore consider it to be invaluable service. I guess if you only want to learn music with which you were already familiar, this will be hard to understand but I have discovered many composers that I truly love that are little known within the general repertoire. Without YouTube, they would be lost to me.

What you're saying sounds odd - if you want to play music with which you are not familiar, the only way is to get the score and play through it yourself with no preconceptions. Not after having heard someone else play it. If you only ever learn pieces that you've already heard on YT, you're never going to do that - i.e. 'discovering' music for yourself.
My guess is that far more people, perhaps the overwhelming percentage, learn music after they've listened to it on YT or some place similar vs. learning music having never heard it before. As far discovering music I think one can do that with great excitement by listening to YT, and that most people get a far better idea of what a piece sounds that way vs. sight reading the piece.

The already mentioned pedagogy project that has recorded thousands of student pieces is run by distinguished teachers who clearly think that there is great benefit to making these pieces available to students.

Even professionals, unless they are playing works outside the standard repertoire, learn pieces they have already heard.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/03/17 04:23 PM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: BruceD] #2672582
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Originally Posted by BruceD

What I am critical of are those beginning or intermediate students who feel they need to use YouTube to find out "how a piece sounds" because they can't figure it out from the score, or don't want to take the time to do so.

What purpose is served by such YouTube sites as IUPianoPed and enclosed CD's in scores but to show students "how" a piece should sound? Doesn't that deprive them of some of the experience of learning?
Yes, but one could argue that the student's lessons do the same except for the learning of the notes(which may also require correction is some cases) and that listening to recordings is not really different from listening to a teacher's comments.

Have you heard some incredibly terrible amateur YT performances? I certainly have although my guess is that the posters thought their playing was quite good. My first thought is often that I wish they had listened to a good pro performance to get a better idea of what the piece sounds like. Many pianists are not so capable of learning everything from the score unless they have good ability and have had good training. Of course, one could argue that if they had followed your preferred approach a lot more they might be more capable of doing so.

It's possible that one can compare learning a piano score to learning math. When i first started teaching math the big rage was "discovery learning" where students were encouraged to figure out an awful lot by themselves aided by teacher questioning. This approach returned recently to some extent in an teaching system developed at Exeter or some other prestigious boarding school. The original discovery approach of the 70's was mostly disbanded, at least in the pretty extreme form of that time. I don't know if the much more recent Exeter approach, which carried the discovery method to an extreme(students are given problem sets every day and expected to figure out new ideas almost completely by themselves) has been at all successful, but I do know that it was tried at a prestigious NYC school but abandoned after a couple of years.

I'm definitely not completely opposed to your thinking. Going back to teaching math again, it's almost a given that very few students, even the best ones learn or are capable of learning from the math text book. And I think part of the reason for this is that they have usually never been forced to do this. The students and their parents expect the teacher to explain everything first.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/03/17 04:50 PM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2672601
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Going back to teaching math again, it's almost a given that very few students, even the best ones learn or are capable of learning from the math text book. And I think part of the reason for this is that they have usually never been forced to do this. The students and their parents expect the teacher to explain everything first.

Using math as an analogy to reading music is quite false. You can't just read a complex maths equation and understand what it's all about, nor can you just find the solution to a math problem unless you've solved other similar problems. How many advanced mathematicians, even today, understand Andrew Wiles's proof to Fermat's Last Theorem?

But you can read a music score (very slowly if necessary) and play all the right notes, follow the phrasing, expression marks etc. Just like reading a book that's at your reading level. You won't necessarily understand all the nuances in it, especially if it's not your native language and of course, the better your language skills and the more familiar you are with it, the more you'll understand all its subtext. Many of the books - including those written for kids - that I read in my teens were like that for me. (I learnt English when I was ten). I could understand the main story, with the help of my dictionary, but the nuances escaped me. But every book I read improved my reading ability further, and improved my ability to comprehend the nuances in the text which no dictionary could have helped me with........


"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: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: bennevis] #2672603
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Going back to teaching math again, it's almost a given that very few students, even the best ones learn or are capable of learning from the math text book. And I think part of the reason for this is that they have usually never been forced to do this. The students and their parents expect the teacher to explain everything first.

Using math as an analogy to reading music is quite false. You can't just read a complex maths equation and understand what it's all about, nor can you just find the solution to a math problem unless you've solved other similar problems.
You don't sound very familiar with math texts.

Math texts offer detailed explanations and examples at every stage so a really good student who was experienced and trained in reading math texts could figure out most of it by himself. But very few students can do this even at the best schools in the U.S. So I think my analogy of learning to read a score and read a math book have many similarities.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/03/17 06:17 PM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2672604
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
[/quote] You don't sound very familiar with math texts.

Math texts offer detailed explanations and examples at every stage so a really good student who was experienced and trained in reading math texts could figure out most of it by himself. But very few students can do this even at the best schools in the U.S. So i think my analogy, I think learning to read a score and read a math book have many similarities.

A math text still requires the student to figure things out. (No, since you ask, I've never used such texts in math - I only ever studied math with teachers).

A music score just requires the student to be able to read music. If he can read music, he can then play it (assuming he has the skills), but he might not get all its nuances, because nobody can except the composer. But the more musical he is, and the experienced he is, the more deeply he can delve into it.


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Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672607
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One could just as easily claim that as long as one can read and understand whatever language a math text is written in, that's all that's required to learn it.

And if a composition is complex enough compared to the level of a particular student, trying to read the music or learn to play it could be as difficult as reading a math text. For example, I think many pretty advanced pianists would have difficulty figuring out the rhythm complexities of this transcription of a Bill Evans performance because the transcriber tries to notate every nuance of Evans' rubato.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4vumyjk0X8

Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2672609
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
One could just as easily claim that as long as one can read and understand whatever language a math text is written in, that's all that's required to learn it.

Math is puzzle-solving. You can read E = mc2. Anyone can, but not everyone can understand the implications of it.

Reading classical music is note-reading - not puzzle-solving. BTW, we're talking notated classical music here, aren't we? If I improvise, I challenge any transcriber to write down exactly what I play.


"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: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672620
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Can I come at this question from the point of view of both an amateur mathematician and an amateur piano player?

Math - I took a bunch of math in college, but didn't major in it. My job wasn't a lot of math when I started, nor a lot of programming. But as the years went by, I have needed more and more of both. What I found was that when you had a reason to learn it, you would dig in - with text books, websites, whatever - to figure it out. The solution is part of what other folks have done in the past, but "there is no right answer" - because you're solving problems that haven't been solved before.

For me, music is the same - I have a reason to want to learn - what are the notes, how does it sound at tempo (even if I may not soon, if ever, get to that tempo), what are the underlying structures. There are tons of people who can play if faster or better than me, but I'm looking for a solution that works for a piano player like me, with my experience (or lack thereof).

Listening to someone else (who is far more advanced) is part of the learning process, but not the whole.

For example.

I'm working on what, for me, are some huge stretch pieces - Beethoven Bagatelles op 126 and Hayden Sonata in C minor (H:XV1:20/ WU 33 - not sure how to read that, but that's what printed) - I sight read through them with my teacher standing by for handholding, then later found them on Spotify / Youtube - and found a number of performances that were far more technically adept than I can ever hope to be, but I thought were missing something by taking it at a super fast tempo. I guess I'm sort of talking my own book here, but seriously, I thought I would like to listen to a technical wizard take it a little more slowly.

Today I had a lesson dedicated to the Hayden Sonata, which I have been trying to learn both thoroughly and with freedom - and I knew I was taking some liberties with the tempo in order to bring out what I love about the music, which is the sort of "gypsy fantasia" nature of it, My teacher said he had been listening to various performances since we last met, and he hadn't really loved any of them because they were too fixed with the tempo - rushing the candenza-like parts ( which occur every 6 measures or so - Hayden seems to have been indulging himself!) in order to keep up with the more conventional parts of the music.

Long story short, the message for me was to not copy the tempos, but try to work on the utter relaxation that a technically advanced performer can, and does - you can hear it through out the professional recordings - , bring to the grace notes and ornaments.

Not sure whether this proves anything, but I thought I would offer it as part of the mix of a discussion of whether listening to someone else do the thing is a help or a hindrance.


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Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: Medved1] #2672643
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If you want to learn to read music well, you need to learn the notation until you understand it as well as you read your native language. Even then, you have to read it carefully, as you would have if you read "Haydn" instead of "Hayden." smile


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Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: johnbarnesiii] #2672649
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I get new music from all over the place honestly.

Firstly, I will often times look for new music around my difficulty level, whether I want to start a new piece, or I'm just bored. So when I am scrolling through catalogues of works on Henle's page, I will usually look up performances of a piece that is around my level of difficulty. If I like it, I put it on my list of works I want to learn later. Otherwise, I just skip it and try another one.

The other way I find new music is through YouTube. When I listen, I tend to listen to those videos with the scrolling sheet music as the music is being played. That way, on the recommended section on YouTube, there will be more similar videos by the same pianist or the same composer. Through that, I will find new music, and again if it interests me, I put it on my list of works I would like to play in the future. Of course, I have to consult the Henle website first, to make sure it's actually playable for my current technical level (which, sad to say, isn't the case most of the time, especially with Chopin haha).

So far, my list has got about 20 pieces on it, most of which I can't actually afford to try to play, because I will simply fail unless I get better first. However, I have a long life ahead of me, and so far I have been making steady progress learning different compositions by different composers (Ex. Beethoven Sonatas, Mozart Sonatas, Chopin Waltzes, Brahms Waltzes, etc.). So I think I will indeed be able to play those pieces one day in due time, given that I don't ever give up my passion for striving to be the very best I can be. Hopefully, you feel the same way!

Last edited by AviChak; 09/03/17 11:46 PM.
Re: Where to find new pieces to learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2672651
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
It's possible that one can compare learning a piano score to learning math. When i first started teaching math the big rage was "discovery learning" where students were encouraged to figure out an awful lot by themselves aided by teacher questioning. This approach returned recently to some extent in an teaching system developed at Exeter or some other prestigious boarding school. The original discovery approach of the 70's was mostly disbanded, at least in the pretty extreme form of that time. I don't know if the much more recent Exeter approach, which carried the discovery method to an extreme(students are given problem sets every day and expected to figure out new ideas almost completely by themselves)

This reminds me that Anton Rubenstein, the illustrious piano teacher, would never play for his students. He wanted them to develop their own individuality and interpretations. He was superb at teaching his students technique, and getting a nice tone out of them.

And yet, though the goal is good, something was lost. By not being able to "stand on the shoulders of giants" who came before them, they were not able to build on the interpretations of the past, and their interpretations were not quite so brilliant as they could have been.



Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Going back to teaching math again, it's almost a given that very few students, even the best ones learn or are capable of learning from the math text book. And I think part of the reason for this is that they have usually never been forced to do this. The students and their parents expect the teacher to explain everything first.

I'm curious, are they eventually able to read math? Or do you just not try to teach them?


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