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Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: pianosuzemn] #2766493
09/19/18 04:34 PM
09/19/18 04:34 PM
Joined: May 2013
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Florida
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Glad it helped! I’m a little detached emotionally and don’t necessarily emotionally connect to every song I play but still want them to sound as beautiful as possible. I’m also at the point where I choose music I love and want to make each piece shine smile.


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Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: ghosthand] #2772034
10/13/18 04:09 AM
10/13/18 04:09 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 515
Just outside London UK
akc42 Offline
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Just outside London UK
Originally Posted by ghosthand
Originally Posted by dogperson
Ghosthand
I. too, am a huge fan of Westney’s book, and am quite jealous you had him for a teacher. Kudos to you on what you learned, and one of the truly outstanding posts on PW 👏🏻 We should all bookmark this one


I gratefully bow for these kind words. About Westney, I was indeed a bit nervous before the first lesson, because I had had such great expectations after this book, and I know that if you meet a "celebrity" (authority, expert, or whatever) IRL they sometimes turn out to be ... a bit disappointing. (And I am not much for idolizing, mind you.) But he definitely was a very nice person and also just the incredible teacher I had hoped for. Aaaaand ... we got along so well that we will try to continue the lessons later on. grin Unfortunately it must be online, we live on different continents.

One thing, though - when you read the book you may get a feeling that this teaching is kind of opposite to the rigorous, accurate technique discussions that we traditionally associate with world class piano teaching. Kind of "get hazy", love your mistakes instead of hating them, feel the music inside you, yeah yeah yeah. Well, with one exception I have never met a teacher who have been this picky about details (and I just loved it). God knows how many times I had to repeat the same two-chord combination before he said "there you got it". But it is great to leave a lesson with the feeling that you are a better and more educated pianist now than you were one hour ago. And how else do you define a good lesson?


On recommendation in this thread I just bought this book before I went on holiday. Upon return I tried to put into practice in my practicing what the book talks about. I must say I found it transformative. My abilities took a leap forward. I was struggling with measures 3 and 4 in Bach's Invention 13, but within a few days of trying to let myself go I was finding I was playing much more confidently - so much so that rather than looking at my hands (which had been essential before) I was looking at the music.

I didn't get the impression from the book that you should not be rigorous. Following my last piano lesson where my teacher was getting me to listen to the evenness of the right hand at the start of measure 3 and asking questions about what I was trying to achieve, I have spent several separate days on just these two measures (and after 20 minutes or so in each session moving on elsewhere - like the book recommends) getting an articulation that I am happy with.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is how different I feel about my practice sessions - I have always enjoyed practicing and concentrating on small areas, but I now feel much less frustrated when it doesn't go right. I relish the opportunity to try it again and to try and focus my mind even harder on what my fingers are doing. I come away more mentally tired, but somehow more relaxed inside about what I was doing. But time flies, and more than once I found myself going to bed at 1:00am when I meant to go at midnight.

Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: akc42] #2772081
10/13/18 09:08 AM
10/13/18 09:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 7,188
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Originally Posted by akc42
Originally Posted by ghosthand
Originally Posted by dogperson
Ghosthand
I. too, am a huge fan of Westney’s book, and am quite jealous you had him for a teacher.

bout Westney, I was indeed a bit nervous before the first lesson, because I had had such great expectations after this book,...

On recommendation in this thread I just bought this book before I went on holiday. Upon return I tried to put into practice in my practicing what the book talks about. I must say I found it transformative. My abilities took a leap forward.

Wow. I have had a copy of this book since about the 3rd month with the piano. However, I'd never got past chapter one. (I've actually made it further in A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances, which I've owned 2 weeks less, although both Westney and Ristad have only been "shelfware" in recent months.) The recommendations of ghosthand, dog person, and akc42 are hugely motivating - I feel finally inspired to actually read this book. I always have at least 30 mins before bed to read and there is no reason why I can't finish this book in about 2 weeks, except that I lacked the motivation as it wasn't clear that anything would change. But I should know better than that, as I have certainly felt transformed after having read certain books. Being moved by these three independent positive reviews, I am going to make it a point to polish this book off before the end of October and post again to this thread afterwards with my personal findings.


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Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: pianosuzemn] #2772695
10/15/18 11:21 AM
10/15/18 11:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 329
Salish Sea
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Posts: 329
Salish Sea
I have had a copy of this book for a few months, but set it aside until last night. Thank you all for the reminder! Westney has great advice that helps me where I am right now: I am working on different little segments of a piece that, although it is challenging, I’ve agreed to play for others in (eek!) 3 weeks. I have been so concerned with hitting wrong notes that I haven’t spent much time really listening to the sounds that come from my piano. Now I’m trying to do so, and make tiny adjustments to bring out the feelings of various passages that made me want to play this piece in the first place. “Here, listen to this!” rather than “listen to me.” Westney is encouraging!


”Mister Upright,” Yamaha YUS5.
Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: pianosuzemn] #2772719
10/15/18 01:37 PM
10/15/18 01:37 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,595
Florida
dogperson Offline

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Originally Posted by pianosuzemn
Once again, thank you to everybody! I have started reading the book by Westney on my kindle, and I ordered the Inner Game of Music. And I am feeling SO much better about this whole issue. I have tried some exaggerated playing, and it's actually OK to do on my own. I am determined to just bite the bullet and do it for my teacher next week as well. It's just good to know that others have experienced something similar. With respect to videotaping or recording myself, I know I should get back to that.
Thanks again, everyone!



Just wanted to see how you are doing since it has been one month 😊


"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

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: dogperson] #2772861
10/15/18 09:45 PM
10/15/18 09:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 88
Twin cities MN US
pianosuzemn Offline OP

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Twin cities MN US
Hi!
Thanks for asking. Things are going much better on all fronts. I loved the Westney book and now I'm reading the Inner Game of Music. So I'm feeling much better about how I practice and my enjoyment of the music. I'm doing a lot better with expressiveness and I even picked a new piece because it IS requiring a lot of expression. So I'm taking this on as a project. I know could spend my whole life playing nothing but Bach because I love him so much but I now have a desire to be more well rounded and to be able to play while focusing on HOW I play. Unfortunately I find that I'm still overly focused on "pleasing" my teacher and I can still leave a lesson feeling worse than when I went in.. She still has days when she's very blunt and insensitive and I don't really like this but she has many great qualities. I'm keeping an open mind and if necessary for my psyche, I will find a different teacher. The jury is still out on that one. Thanks for checking in!


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Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: pianosuzemn] #2801524
01/13/19 12:20 PM
01/13/19 12:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 88
Twin cities MN US
pianosuzemn Offline OP

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Hi people. I am leaving my teacher. Things just kept never getting better and hey Bobby style is wreaking havoc on my self esteem. It's been a difficult decision but now that I've decided, I'm feeling better and relieved and with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. I've been playing some easy flute-piano duets with my partner/wife, and that has been such a joy. No pressure. Just fun. I am going to be doing a chamber music trio with a violin and oboe, and we will have a coach.

And after I get used to this new way of doing things, I'm probably going to try some Skype lessons eventually. I'm sure I will continue to need help with my playing but I'm going to focus on where I currently AM in my piano playing rather than constantly pushing to get better and better, without ever feeling ok with where I am. That might have been a good approach when I was young but I want to spend my remaining years (I'm only 60 but still... I'm 60) feeling good about what I CAN do rather than always feeling crummy about what I CAN'T do. Thanks again for this really useful discussion. I know it got off track taking about teacher or no teacher, and that was not the original focus, but even that part of the discussion was useful. I'm sure I will have a teacher again but never again will I have weekly anxiety ridden lessons where I feel worse when I leave than when I arrived. Now--time to re-read the Westney book!


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Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: pianosuzemn] #2801559
01/13/19 02:23 PM
01/13/19 02:23 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 3,202
Florida
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Florida
Good for you! Breaking up is hard to do, but you’ve got to find the right fit and someone who will comfortably take you where you want to go. This should be a joyful hobby, not a stressful one. In the Skype front, look up Morodiene - she teaches by Skype and is a frequent contributor to the forum. She’s tops.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

YouTube

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions
Grieg Sonata - Andante molto

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Insecurities with expressive playing [Re: pianosuzemn] #2801569
01/13/19 03:11 PM
01/13/19 03:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 3,029
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Online content
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NobleHouse  Online Content
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
Thank you for the update. Even though I haven't posted yet on this, I have been watching this thread. Good luck and your Skype search. I have also read many good things about Morodiene as a teacher.


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