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How difficult should repertoire pieces be? #2871964
07/23/19 03:52 PM
07/23/19 03:52 PM
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mimi9 Offline OP
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I have been looking through the RCM repertoire list. I noticed that many of the pieces that I worked on with my last teacher were RCM levels 9 or 10. Those were too hard for me and it's no wonder I couldn't get them perfected.
I probably should have stuck with pieces in level 8 or less.

But here's my question: I know repertoire/recital pieces are traditionally harder than what a person can easily play. But how much more difficult should they be? In your opinion.

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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2871975
07/23/19 04:32 PM
07/23/19 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mimi9
I know repertoire/recital pieces are traditionally harder than what a person can easily play.

???

Repertoire/recital pieces should be comfortably within one's musical and technical grasp, so that one's musicianship shines through without sounding like one's struggling just to play all the right notes in the right order.

Teaching pieces, on the other hand, should push one's comfort zone so that one can improve and master new challenges. And they don't need to be completely mastered before moving on - that's not the point of them. They are for learning new skills or mastering existing ones, on the way towards stardom (or whatever).

Listen to any decent concert pianist, and you'll hear that he's got technique to spare in the pieces he plays. That's why he sounds effortless and you can just sit back and enjoy the fireworks (or the emotionalism, as the case may be) without wondering whether he's going to go splat! at the next corner.........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O8Pa9tKkuM


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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2871977
07/23/19 04:37 PM
07/23/19 04:37 PM
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mimi9 Offline OP
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Bennevis, I think you are right. But the teachers I had and a lot of other teachers assign recital pieces that are the hardest pieces their students ever play. I don't know why. Recitals are hard enough without having to play something that you can just barely do.

Same has happened with my husband in a clarinet class. The students spend half of the semester on their recital pieces....and even then they are not quite right.

Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2871991
07/23/19 04:59 PM
07/23/19 04:59 PM
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Some good points bennevis. Although it takes a Good teacher to communicate whether it’s either practice or recital piece. In my experience, my teacher aims to keep my confidence strong, and will point out if a piece is changing for now or easy. Whilst I love a challenge, I notice a piece that is too challenging at my current level just makes me less likely to practice.

An interesting thread that I’m going to follow up with my teacher.


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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2871998
07/23/19 05:14 PM
07/23/19 05:14 PM
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Interestingly, I attended a recital with a professional pianist in Paris last month, and was amazed that his performance included several pieces I have learned. Of course, for me they were reach pieces, whereas for him they were his easy pieces. (Chopin Nocturnes In C# min, E min, Satie Gymnopedies, and others).


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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2872033
07/23/19 07:43 PM
07/23/19 07:43 PM
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I agree with what bennevis wrote and also concur with the difference between a recital piece and a teaching piece. I would certainly question the wisdom of giving recital pieces to a student who can just barely manage them after considerable preparation. In performance, whether it be a recital or an examination, the student should not be struggling just to play the right notes. The technical challenges need to be very well in hand so that the performance as a musical one is what one hears.

Regards,


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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2872039
07/23/19 08:11 PM
07/23/19 08:11 PM
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Morodiene Offline
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There's kind of this thing, where you want to memorize as much hard music when you're young as possible. Not that you're "ready" for them, but you will revisit them and each time they will become more second-nature. So that's probably where you got the idea to work on stuff harder than your level.

I'm not sure how old you are, but mid- to late 20s there's decreasing value in this. At this point you work on repertoire at varying levels - some easier pieces that will take you 1-3 months to perfect which is not very difficult for you, 3-6 months which is moderately difficult, and 6-12 months, which would be at the level of a full Beethoven sonata or concerto. Obviously, you don't want to work on several pieces in the 6-12 month range, but have only one of these and depending on your practice time, you decide between the other levels.


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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2872041
07/23/19 08:13 PM
07/23/19 08:13 PM
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The pieces I play in lesson are the same as I play in a recital. Does there need to be a difference?

Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2872052
07/23/19 08:35 PM
07/23/19 08:35 PM
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I don't do recitals with my current teacher, but I did a few with a previous teacher and I was never told the recital piece should be harder than I could reasonably play. The opposite in fact, because I was expected to play in front of a crowd, I had to be able to play something that was easy enough I couldn't make a mistake. (that was the theory at least smirk)

Is the purpose of a recital there to impress everyone (including fellow pianists)? I don't think so.

Originally Posted by mimi9

Same has happened with my husband in a clarinet class. The students spend half of the semester on their recital pieces....and even then they are not quite right.


Oh, and I don't think clarinet players can be trusted smile

Last edited by earlofmar; 07/23/19 08:37 PM.

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Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: bennevis] #2872073
07/23/19 09:56 PM
07/23/19 09:56 PM
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Great answer.

Back in the day, we'd be working on at least double the number of pieces which I'd be playing in "the exam". And, some were harder than I could comfortably play. But, in a couple of cases, they became my exam pieces a couple of years later. I think he was stretching me.

He also did that with sight-reading, but that didn't help as much as I hoped due to me being somewhere on the aixelsyd - woops dyslexia spectrum, being a slow reader of books as well (still, at 66!!).


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2872077
07/23/19 10:30 PM
07/23/19 10:30 PM
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mimi9 Offline OP
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Thanks for the answers. I guess my experience isn't typical. Thank goodness.

I've had three teachers and never had to memorize recital pieces (I'm 62) which would have been impossible for what I had to play for the last two. No wonder I hated the recitals. Who wants to have to play over your head?

I dumped my last teacher. She didn't think I played with enough expression. I asked her how to do that and got no answers. She was always in a bad mood anyhow. One day she turned her mood on me and I quit.

Re: How difficult should repertoire pieces be? [Re: mimi9] #2872365
07/24/19 07:33 PM
07/24/19 07:33 PM
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by mimi9
Thanks for the answers. I guess my experience isn't typical. Thank goodness.

I've had three teachers and never had to memorize recital pieces (I'm 62) which would have been impossible for what I had to play for the last two. No wonder I hated the recitals. Who wants to have to play over your head?

I dumped my last teacher. She didn't think I played with enough expression. I asked her how to do that and got no answers. She was always in a bad mood anyhow. One day she turned her mood on me and I quit.

Oof! Seriously, I hate it when teachers criticize something but don't know how to teach a solution. What's the point in saying it then?? >_<

Last edited by Morodiene; 07/24/19 07:34 PM.

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