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How many pieces do you learn in a year?
#2825297 03/11/19 09:13 AM
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I was talking with a friend who claims to have learned 40 pieces every year. She's fairly new to piano so I can believe that with dedication this is true, but it got me thinking. I tend to favor sonatas and other large-scale works so there's no way I'm making a 40 piece per year goal, but maybe I just learn slowly. How many do you guys get through every year?

Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825360 03/11/19 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by D959
I was talking with a friend who claims to have learned 40 pieces every year. She's fairly new to piano so I can believe that with dedication this is true, but it got me thinking. I tend to favor sonatas and other large-scale works so there's no way I'm making a 40 piece per year goal, but maybe I just learn slowly. How many do you guys get through every year?


As your post suggests, it really depends upon the length and the difficulty of the repertoire. Quoting number of pieces learned in any given time period is totally meaningless, in my opinion.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825434 03/11/19 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by D959
I was talking with a friend who claims to have learned 40 pieces every year. She's fairly new to piano so I can believe that with dedication this is true, but it got me thinking. I tend to favor sonatas and other large-scale works so there's no way I'm making a 40 piece per year goal, but maybe I just learn slowly. How many do you guys get through every year?

Beginners learn a lot of pieces because they are mostly short teaching pieces, to be discarded once the student has gotten what he needs out of it.

In my first year, I learnt many more than 40 pieces. The first few ones consist of just a repeated middle C, with different rhythms..... smirk

These days, as a fully-fledged mature adult and well past my student days (so I'm told), I learn just a few pieces a year, ranging from five to 35 minutes long, with a zillion more notes than what was in the pieces I learnt in my first five years combined.


"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: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825513 03/11/19 05:09 PM
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Depends on what you mean by "learn".

As an accompanist, I have to learn a ton of pieces every year when music festivals come around. Just this past weekend I played 16 pieces that were previously unknown to me. They ranged from fairly trivial to some pretty big hitters (Bernstein Clarinet Sonata (that was a fun one), Mozart Bassoon Concerto, Dukas Villanelle, etc...). But I wouldn't say that I studied these and learned them to the level that I might have learned solo literature. So in that sense, I "learned" 16 pieces within the space of 6 weeks or so. So 40 pieces a year doesn't seem like a stretch in that sense.

But if you are considering 40 good size pieces and really devoting serious study and effort to learn them "into the ground", so to speak, then that seems a bit ambitious. Again, it might come down to your definition of "learn" as well as the size/level of the pieces in question.


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Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825522 03/11/19 05:28 PM
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There's a semi common thing that's called the 40 piece challenge, most common in teacher groups on Facebook. Many of the teachers there first of all count movements as pieces, and secondly favor many short works and very few long ones, and not even necessarily finish them completely. Some also count older works, that are brought back, as new pieces.
Then you can play one Bach partita, a Haydn sonata and a Beethoven sonata, two Etudes and already have like 15 pieces. Then a bunch of smaller pieces, and you 40 without too much difficulty.

If you're a beginner that practice, you can easily get through two if these Alfred books per year, an cover 50 pieces.

Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825534 03/11/19 05:53 PM
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Personally, I don't see the point of learning (as in properly learning) lots of instantly forgettable pieces (like easy arrangements in method books), unless they are just stepping stones to develop specific skills and techniques.

When I was a student, I never learnt any piece by any lesser composer than Kuhlau, once I was three months into lessons and out of beginner's primers. And I never played any simplified arrangements of existing piano music either.


Only original piano/keyboard music was good enough for me..... 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: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825548 03/11/19 06:28 PM
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Nowadays, I only learn music that I record for Youtube later. Last year was pretty productive. I think I learned and recorded about 17 pieces from scratch, although to be honest they were all pretty short and below my level. If I picked real substantial works at my level or higher, I estimate I could probably only pull off 5-6 pieces in a year. Maybe double that if I didn't have a day job.


Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
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Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
BruceD #2825577 03/11/19 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by D959
I was talking with a friend who claims to have learned 40 pieces every year. She's fairly new to piano so I can believe that with dedication this is true, but it got me thinking. I tend to favor sonatas and other large-scale works so there's no way I'm making a 40 piece per year goal, but maybe I just learn slowly. How many do you guys get through every year?


As your post suggests, it really depends upon the length and the difficulty of the repertoire. Quoting number of pieces learned in any given time period is totally meaningless, in my opinion.

Regards,

I agree. It also depends on the pianist and amount of practice time available. I average 3-4 large pieces a year from scratch to performance level. OTOH, David Dubal challenged my teacher to learn Liszt's 12 Transcendental Etudes in 2 months. He did it, memorized too. Everyone and every piece is different.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825822 03/12/19 10:12 AM
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My goal is to learn about 30-40 minutes of music every year - learn all the notes, memorize them and perform them all (hopefully a few times) throughout the year. For me it's a reasonable goal while I am still working full time (45-50 hours a week). I understand if I don't memorize these pieces, I can probably learn more but at least point I still try to memorize them for performances, which is a challenge by itself.

Re: How many pieces do you learn in a year?
D959 #2825843 03/12/19 11:14 AM
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Since I work F/T, and my practice time is limited to maybe 1-2 hours on weekdays and a few more on weekends I only learn pieces through my group lessons w. my teacher - we usually do at least 2 pieces every semester..So that means around 4 or 5 pieces a year. I do a lot of sightreading and self-learning though but don't consider those "real" pieces I have learned because they weren't reviewed by a teacher measure by measure.

So looking back on the past year (formally started lessons only in Sept, 2018), I've actually learned only 3 pieces so far (Schubert, a Chopin Nocturne, a Tchaikovsky Seasons (June)). I agree it depends on the piece. The Nocturne was a piece I started learning on my own in May 2018 and it was a bad idea because I had wrong notes/fingering all over the place and had to un-learn all that crap. There are pieces I circulate on practice sight-reading and I am sure once I get it to my teacher to do a formal "ok we are going to really learn every measure/note/phrase correctly", it will probably need tweaking. And those pieces are probably 8- 10 a year since I do plan to learn them eventually (they include Chopin Faintaisie Impromptus, Chopin Ballade 1-4, Scherzo, Liszt La Campanella, Brahms Rhapsody Op 79/2). Some pieces I am tackling on my own just based on my mood (ie Beethoven Sonata "Pathetique", I can pretty much self-teach based on YouTube videos and already have most of the 1st movement in my head).

I don't count memorization since when I perform at my piano meet up group (1-2x a month), I bring my music with me. I had a very bad experience with memorization in high school when I was at my annual piano recital and completely forgot the middle section of the 1st movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I lost my train of thought about 6 measures into the piece and the whole thing derailed on stage. It was a mortifying experience and partially the reason I completely abandoned piano for about 10 years after that.

Since I only play the piano as a hobby, if I play any memorized pieces now, its usually only as a byproduct of having played it so many times and not through any deliberate method.


Last edited by AssociateX; 03/12/19 11:19 AM.

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