2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
50 members (AndrewJCW, c++, Boboulus, anotherscott, Beowulf, ambrozy, 12 invisible), 577 guests, and 553 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
#2991957 06/16/20 08:26 AM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 79
A
Ay9293 Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 79
Hello, this has been something I have been curious about. When does your piano teacher let you move on from a piece if your not being examined on it (i.e. being part of exam repertoire)? This question is mainly aimed at beginners/ intermediate pianists as I suspect it may slight differ for advanced students. Will you have to display that you play it to the correct rhythm, pulse, notes, and expression before your teacher lets you move on. Or is it to a lesser standard but you can perfect in your own time?

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2991968 06/16/20 09:06 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,914
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,914
My guess is it depends on the teacher and the student at every level including beginner and intermediate.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2991971 06/16/20 09:15 AM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 365
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 365
My teacher has me move on when she feels I have learned all I can learn from a piece at that time. Usually the tempo is slower than marked (for fast pieces), and I'm never playing everything right. Most of the time I'm not satisfied with it. But...I can come back to it in ~6 months and do much better, if I choose to. I don't do exams and I rarely perform, so I typically don't spend more than a month on any particular piece for lessons...except for Inventions! After a month I'm still working on getting the notes down.


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
JB_PW #2992004 06/16/20 10:44 AM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 79
A
Ay9293 Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by JB_PW
My teacher has me move on when she feels I have learned all I can learn from a piece at that time. Usually the tempo is slower than marked (for fast pieces), and I'm never playing everything right. Most of the time I'm not satisfied with it. But...I can come back to it in ~6 months and do much better, if I choose to. I don't do exams and I rarely perform, so I typically don't spend more than a month on any particular piece for lessons...except for Inventions! After a month I'm still working on getting the notes down.

Thank you both for your insights!
And thank you JB__PW for the brute honesty, I also only have very rarely go it perfect (to me) in my lessons (just twice in 1.5 years ) which was why I was asking this question. I would be interested in seeing if any others rarely play everything right, or conversely must play it perfect before moving on.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992008 06/16/20 10:58 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,290
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,290
This was discussed previously but I can’t seem to find the thread. I do remember, however, that it is common to move on when your teacher decides you have met the main objective of the piece. Some elements that mean ‘you have perfected it’ may be skills you need to develop later


"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: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992018 06/16/20 11:47 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,112
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,112
As a student, I was never required to perfect any piece before moving on, if it wasn't an exam piece. The whole point is to learn a whole of stuff to do with piano (and there's a lot of stuff) - musical as well as technical (and don't forget pedalling), and good teachers (or at least, my teachers - who selected all the pieces for me) choose the pieces that do the job, including those that are meant to revise previously-learnt skills from different angles. It's more tricky with adults who want to choose what they want to learn.......

It stands to reason therefore that 'teaching pieces' (even if they are by the greatest composer that ever existed, i.e. Wolfie whistle) have done their job when the student has learnt or mastered the skill, not necessarily the piece itself. And the student should move on to new pastures, not stagnate, or expire from boredom. Of course, if that student likes the piece so much that he wants to continue playing it, that's also fine, but the teacher should not be returning to it without good reason: there's just still so much more to learn.

Since I've acquired a few students, I've also applied the same principles when teaching. My students never get bored with what they're learning.


"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 much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992022 06/16/20 11:54 AM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 365
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 365
Originally Posted by Ay9293
I also only have very rarely go it perfect (to me) in my lessons (just twice in 1.5 years )


Hah! I would say you have me beat. smile I've been in lessons for 2 years now (not starting from scratch), and I don't think I've perfected a single piece. I've been proud of my progress on many, but even the few I've performed I've never managed to play exactly the way I wanted.


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992026 06/16/20 11:58 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,488
T
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,488
In adult group class, I get a different experience than those who take private lessons. The first and last thing the teacher does not do is give individual attention to each student. She would play a song through in class. We'd be in front of a DP with our headphones and play along. Anybody with questions would ask the teacher. We all play the same pieces in front of the teacher but the teacher doesn't hear and see what each person is doing.

Right now the class is on summer break and won't be meeting until September in person in class or at home with Zoom. The last book we worked on has Jazz tunes for easy piano. These are easily accessible online so I'd listen to a performance of a song to the tempo and some of the nuances. I'd work on a song for 3 weeks at most and learn the notes and then a quick recording with a phone or a camera to listen for places I can improve and work on these individually like tempo, dynamics, foot pedal, etc. Adult group class is full of retired people who play music as a hobby and they really take their time learning. I can work on 2 pieces per month while the other students are keen on doing 1 piece in 2 months. When people are not pushed with exam or recital deadline, they tend to repeat the same pieces day after day to justify putting in an hour of practice each day. The last piece the teacher asked the class to work on before the summer break was the Gershwin tune "Summertime". I've learned the piece before the break while everybody else is still "working" on it. A piece of music is work in progress. If you leave a piece for a while and come back to it you always find something new.

It's a good idea to finish a song with a recording. Even a bad recording is better than no recording. Personally, a recording is more than just record keeping. It's experimenting with a song to make it sound the way you want. I wouldn't call it perfecting a song. A lot of times there is no right or wrong answer like playing a section louder. It's a personal preference.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992033 06/16/20 12:18 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 161
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 161
As much as I can for my level. Then I usually let it go. smile

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
JB_PW #2992038 06/16/20 12:33 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 1,986
K
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
K
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 1,986
Originally Posted by JB_PW
Hah! I would say you have me beat. smile I've been in lessons for 2 years now (not starting from scratch), and I don't think I've perfected a single piece. I've been proud of my progress on many, but even the few I've performed I've never managed to play exactly the way I wanted.

I don't think I'll ever play a piece exactly how I want. But I am pretty stubborn and get a lot more pieces further than I should towards a level of finish that doesn't really improve my skills, other than I suppose the skill of getting a piece to a point where someone might actually enjoy listening to it.

Since I am not doing exams and doing this for myself, I pretty much accept that this slows my progress in improving, but that I've a collection of pieces I have acceptable recordings of. That helps with my motivation and keeping up motivation is an important part of making progress in this game.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992063 06/16/20 01:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,940
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,940
My teacher has me move on when he is satisfied that I have learned what there was to learn in the piece. Usually, I still make mistakes and rarely play the piece the way I would like but I have mastered the main difficulties. There is little point in continuing to revisit the piece at every lesson until it's perfect as this can take a very long time. It's better to leave it and move on to something else.

Early in my learning this bothered me and I felt a bit overwhelmed as my teacher had me moving very quickly to more advanced repertoire. After a year I was playing RCM 3, after 2 years RCM 6, after 3 years RCM 8, now after 5.5 years my usual pieces are around RCM 10. I never felt like I really mastered the pieces although my teacher assured me that I did.

Then recently I started going back to some earlier pieces and learning new pieces at a much lower level on my own just for fun. I realised I can play these pieces at a much higher standard and I can hear things I wouldn't have thought of earlier in my learning. You wouldn't believe how much musicality you can pull out of a simple level 2-3 piece or how much fun it is to play these pieces insightfully like my teacher would! Now I'm really motivated to continue improving until I can learn more advanced pieces to such a high standard. But it still takes me a few weeks of practice to get them to this level even though I can sight read these pieces decently. The amount of time polishing in proportion to learning the notes is probably 90-95 percent, so I imagine that for pieces at my current learning level it would take way too long to get them really perfect.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992080 06/16/20 01:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 425
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 425
A quote often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci:

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."

That's how I feel about my pieces, even my exam pieces.

bennevis accurately summed up my approach to my students' pieces.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Cedar Park, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko"
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992186 06/16/20 07:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 262
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 262
My own expectations, and what I expect my teacher to expect from me, is that we don’t move on until I’ve demonstrated the best performance that can be expected from my level.

But not necessarily at full tempo. Sometimes quite a lot less. My technique falls apart so much at higher tempos that if I didn’t move on until I reached the indicated tempo then I would never get anywhere. I think that sometimes you have to be pragmatic and accept that you’re going to learn more from something new than endlessly struggling to reach full tempo.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992206 06/16/20 08:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,958
E
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,958
Originally Posted by Ay9293
I would be interested in seeing if any others rarely play everything right, or conversely must play it perfect before moving on.

probably for the first four years it bothered me that I could not play pieces to an extent I was happy with. There always seemed a point in the finishing process where my technique just wasn't developed enough. Now with a more developed technique I can attempt much more complex pieces, but the bar is also that much higher and I am still can't say I am 100% happy. This is just the natural order of things as I see it.

IMHO, most of us who take piano beyond a mere hobby into something more serious, there is obviously an emotional tug of war between not giving up and admitting defeat. A good teacher's job will be to lead you through this without too much angst.


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


13x[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992220 06/16/20 09:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 24
V
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
V
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 24
I just wanted to say thank you for this thread. It's always bothered me a bit that some/many songs I just can't get clean or where I'd like them, but then my teacher has me move on because she feels it's good enough. I just assumed that everyone else was able to play songs cleanly and at full tempo before moving on, so I've always felt a bit deficient there, like there was something wrong with me. Glad to know I'm not alone.


Faber Piano Adventures AIO Book 2
Roland FP-30
Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992236 06/16/20 11:35 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 46
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 46
My teachers keep moving at a fair pace, well before the piece is perfected. What they have told me is "you can always come back to it".

I'm now at grade 7 classical guitar, and having come back to those earlier pieces, I can see why. I can play them now far more musically and accurately that if I belabored them for a straight year back then.

Also, one can use multiple pieces to attack a certain technique from many different angles and approaches. There aren't that many techniques anyway. Instead of belaboring a technique on the back of just one piece, one can try different approaches by playing many different pieces.

So I'll definitely vote for forward movement at the expense of "perfection" (which IME isn't really possible at one's current level).

Going through Piano Adventures, it surprised me to see regular references that a piece must be perfected at tempo before moving on. This has not been my experience.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2992258 06/17/20 02:09 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,645
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,645
My experience has been similar. Unless a piece is for an exam or performance, my teacher had me move on when the piece was played fluently, but below tempo or with a few errors. This really bugged me, because I felt like I had left the piece unfinished, and somehow failed to do it right. In the last few months I have gone back and relearned some of those pieces on my own and been pleased at how quickly they came together and how much easier they seem. So, it makes sense to leave a piece when you have learned what it can teach you, and then revisit it when your technique improves.

That said, I think there is value in also bringing some pieces to performance level. Polishing a piece is a skill to be learned as well. Depending on your level, this could be a piece a month or four pieces a year or whatever. There is a lot of work to get that last 10%, but then you own it, and can be proud to present it to a quarterly recital, live recital, or playing for friends.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
JB_PW #2992495 06/17/20 06:48 PM
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 59
I
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
I
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 59
I recall an interview with an incredibly accomplished concert pianist who was speaking about performing a piece live in concert vs performing for a recording where you may have several takes.

Even at her level of virtuosity she mentioned that when performing live you must have to respect that your playing will not be exactly what you want it to be, and to have the humility to accept that as part of the process.

I have found that to be a very practical approach while studying, especially for amateur pianists. We strive to practice as "well" as possible to get the best results, but we have the humility to realize we will fall quite short. Pianism becomes even more enjoyable acknowledging this.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
vintagevt #2992499 06/17/20 07:03 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 79
A
Ay9293 Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 79
Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
A quote often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci:

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
That's a lovely quote, I often allow my paintings to be works in progress without feeling there is any issue with that are return to add details later. I should take the same approach with my pieces.

Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
My teacher has me move on when he is satisfied that I have learned what there was to learn in the piece. Usually, I still make mistakes and rarely play the piece the way I would like but I have mastered the main difficulties. There is little point in continuing to revisit the piece at every lesson until it's perfect as this can take a very long time. It's better to leave it and move on to something else.

Early in my learning this bothered me and I felt a bit overwhelmed as my teacher had me moving very quickly to more advanced repertoire. After a year I was playing RCM 3, after 2 years RCM 6, after 3 years RCM 8, now after 5.5 years my usual pieces are around RCM 10. I never felt like I really mastered the pieces although my teacher assured me that I did.

Thank you for your input, it gave me insight into what I was feeling that pieces were unpolished was normal and that moving on will likely allow me to master more skills.

Originally Posted by vintagevt
I just wanted to say thank you for this thread. It's always bothered me a bit that some/many songs I just can't get clean or where I'd like them, but then my teacher has me move on because she feels it's good enough. I just assumed that everyone else was able to play songs cleanly and at full tempo before moving on, so I've always felt a bit deficient there, like there was something wrong with me. Glad to know I'm not alone.

It bothered me too but it was very good to have all the experiences of this thread's contributors.

Thank you to everyone who contributed in this thread and sharing their experiences.

Re: How much do you perfect a piece for a lesson?
Ay9293 #2993664 06/21/20 07:35 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,907
I
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,907
This topic is very interesting. Considering the technichal side, I think there are two types of motions at the piano. One I would call elementary motions or general motions, they are used for playing notes and chords in a more detached manner, that is in slow and average tempo, when sight reading, in cases when you have enough time to treat each note and chord. The other type I would called compound motions or specialized motions and they are used to play sequences of notes and chords, whole figures and phrases in one motion, and to produce sound of certain tonal quality in figures and phrases. The latter type is used for playing in fast tempo, when you have no time to treat every note, and also when you need to achieve some special sort of sound.

The point, I think, is that when we play pieces slowly or in medium tempo, when we play pieces in unpolished manner, we utilize more or less the same set of elementary motions for every piece we play. The motions of the second type appear only when we start to polish a piece, that is when we bring it to fast tempo and when we strive to achieve sound of certain refined tonal quality. So at some point when elementary motions are acquired, IMO it becomes more and more important to polish pieces and the task of a pedagogue is not to miss that point. Unfortunately not all pedagogues are very good in that and not all pedagogues want to mess with polishing many pieces, that's another reason why having a good pedagogue is so important. IMHO.


Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our January 2021 Free Newsletter for piano lovers is here now...
---------------------
NEW! Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
How to sound like Scriabin
by pianoloverus - 01/22/21 08:10 PM
Most realistic Piano VST?
by Rickdiculous - 01/22/21 06:13 PM
An exemplary piano quiz
by Withindale - 01/22/21 05:57 PM
First DP -- PC Connectivity Question
by Mikex3 - 01/22/21 03:09 PM
CA99 vs LX706
by David Izquierdo - 01/22/21 02:50 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics204,471
Posts3,050,310
Members100,180
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4