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Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) #2928858 01/01/20 01:25 AM
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Tenaya Offline OP
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Hi,

I'm new here. If this is in the wrong sub-forum, I apologize and ask that it be moved to the appropriate one.

Full Disclosure: I can't play piano; I never learned and know little about playing music.

My 10-year-old granddaughter has been learning piano for 3-4 years. She takes weekly professional lessons and her mother has played nearly her whole life. To give some indication of her current skill level, the latest pieces she is working on are The Entertainer and the Star Wars theme, both of which sound great to me.

I am a huge Mannheim Steamroller fan. Back in the day I worked for a high-end Hi-Fi shop and we used MS to demonstrate elaborate (read: expensive) audio systems. My favorite piece is Sonata from the very first MS album. I would like to gift my granddaughter the Fresh Aire I Sheet Music so she could learn to play Sonata for us.

My question is this: Is MS Sonata appropriate for a player of her skill level, or would it be too difficult? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aj0m7xn84I

Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Tenaya


Tenaya
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Re: Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) [Re: Tenaya] #2928886 01/01/20 06:06 AM
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dogperson Offline
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Hi
Full disclaimer: I am not a teacher. There are many arrangements of both pieces she is playing : from easy piano to intermediate/advanced, if she is playing the easy arrangements this would be way over her head. It’s hard to know unless we knew exactly what arrangement she is playing.

What I would do: buy it for her. When I was her age and was taking lessons, I had music sitting on my piano that was way over my grade level. I would pick at it and just play the melody or work on the rhythm knowing I would be able to play it ‘someday’ She also has a teacher that can help out. As long as she doesn’t have an expectation that you need to hear it played right away, it should be fine. I would sign and date the inside so she will always know the year it was gifted.

Re: Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) [Re: Tenaya] #2928893 01/01/20 07:08 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Tenaya
My favorite piece is Sonata from the very first MS album. I would like to gift my granddaughter the Fresh Aire I Sheet Music so she could learn to play Sonata for us.


With regards to the difficulty of the piece in relation to what she's currently playing, like dogperson, I'd say that depends on what arrangements she is playing. (The original "The Entertainer" is an advanced piece; Star Wars isn't a piano piece, and can be any number of arrangements ranging from very easy to difficult).

But my worry about what you wrote is highlighted above.

My caveat is: only give it to her purely as a gift with no strings attached, and no expectations that she'll like it and actually want to learn it. Remember that just because it's your favorite piece, doesn't mean it will be to her liking. And think of what your own response will be if she doesn't like it at all - and will she feel under pressure to learn it just to please you? (I don't know what it's like in your culture, but in some cultures - like mine - if an elder gives a gift, that gift must be seen to be appreciated, regardless of whether the recipient likes it, or wants it). If that might be the case, then don't buy it for her. Because the problem is that it's just one piece, not a whole book of various pieces, where she has a good chance of finding something that she'll actually enjoy and want to learn.

When I was a child and starting lessons, my first teacher gave me a lovely album of Mozart's piano music - his most popular sonatas, rondos and variations - as a parting gift. (She left me after a year to go abroad to continue her music studies.) She hoped that I would 'one day' play all the music in it. I had only just done Grade 1, and none of the pieces in it was within my grasp (I could just about play bits of them, like the opening of the Twinkle, Twinkle variations K265). But she knew that Mozart was my favorite composer, so she already knew that the gift would be very much appreciated - not least because I'd already heard her play some of the pieces in it for me over the course of the year, and I'd told her they were my favorite ones. And she was right - I did eventually learn all the music in the volume, and I still use it to this day.

My uncle also gave me a parting gift when I myself also left the country a few years later to continue my education in the West - again, based on his knowledge of what I loved: the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano sonatas from his own LP sets, which he transferred on cassette tapes for me. I listened to them before bedtime every night in my new boarding school......and eventually, learnt many of the sonatas myself.



"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: Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) [Re: Tenaya] #2928992 01/01/20 12:51 PM
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Tenaya Offline OP
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dogperson, bennevis, thank you both for your thoughtful replies.

Regarding the specific arrangement, the fact that it never occurred to me to consider that is why I asked my question here.

I plan to give her the official Fresh Aire I sheet music book from MS, which contains Sonata. The Chip Davis recording is primarily a piano piece, but makes good use of harpsichord and strings, nether of which she has ;-). There is at least one cover of Sonata on YouTube with piano alone (Pablo Huelsz - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLW-_R3qSpw). To my ear, Mr. Huelsz simply plays the piano part "as-written." I have no idea what arrangements of the two pieces she is playing as she learns (or any other pieces). I'm sure her teacher and her mother (whose not-my-wife mother teaches piano in another state) are guiding those details.

Regarding the issue of an obligation that my gift might instill, I never give gifts with such intent to anyone. To me, doing so would clash with the very nature of gift giving. I take it as MY responsibility to choose gifts in such a way that they are appropriate to the person and occasion such that they will be appreciated for themselves. Taking such care in gift selection is a huge part of the enjoyment of gift-giving.

Half a century and countless differences in taste lie between my granddaughter and myself. Every time I give her something, these and other differences raise the risk that the gift won't be as liked/loved as I expect. I am proud that my gift-giving track record is quite good, but several failures languish at the bottom of her toy box. I don't take such failures personally and I certainly don't fault her. Rather, I learn from it and take it into consideration next time.

While I would certainly love to hear this piece played at the hands and fingers of my granddaughter, the gift is about her, not me. I wrote "so she could learn to play Sonata for us" because on every weekly telephone call (she lives in another state), she proudly shares whatever she's working on with us. I simply wish to share a piece of piano music that I truly love, full stop. It is, however, unavoidable that she will feel some obligation simply because her grandfather likes it and her grandfather gave it to her. I am glad you raised this issue: I will take care to minimize such unintended pressure.

Sonata is beautiful and I wish to share it with her. I still do not fully understand the difficulty level of the piece and am concerned about giving her something that is over her head. If it fits within the 'one day' category, I would prefer to wait, even if that wait is measured in years.

Do you think the original arrangement of Sonata, as written in the MS Fresh Aire I sheet music book, is too difficult for a piano student at her level?

Thank you,


Tenaya
Re: Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) [Re: Tenaya] #2929042 01/01/20 02:43 PM
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If is impossible to tell from what you have written if this will be too difficult for your granddaughter as both pieces you have listed can be found in easy piano through advanced piano versions. If you don’t want to present it to her unless you know she can play it now, her teacher should be able to answer your question.


"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: Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) [Re: Tenaya] #2929058 01/01/20 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tenaya

Do you think the original arrangement of Sonata, as written in the MS Fresh Aire I sheet music book, is too difficult for a piano student at her level?


Unless you know of any unsimplified and original piano/keyboard pieces (i.e. classical pieces) she has played recently, no-one can tell, because no-one knows how difficult (and therefore what "level") the two pieces you've told us she's currently playing is.

We're of course assuming that she's not playing the original version of The Entertainer, which is this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cFkae0j_Ns

If she's actually playing that (and you can always ask her teacher if she is), she'll have no difficulty with your piece. If she's playing a much easier simplified version, she won't be able to manage it.


"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: Fresh Aire I for New Pianist (child) [Re: Tenaya] #2929149 01/01/20 08:44 PM
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Tenaya Offline OP
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bennevis,

To my uneducated ear, that's what she played when we were there over Xmas.

We're headed there again later this month and I'm going to go ahead with this.

Thank you for your insight,


Tenaya

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