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Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
#3023975 09/11/20 11:25 AM
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They say that familiarity breeds contempt. I am very worried that learning how to play a piece destroys little by little much of the enjoyment that I had in listening to it, in the days when I could not dream of playing it. And yet, much of my incentive for learning how to play the piano is geared to the dream of performing myself my favourite music. What a paradox !

What a nasty, vulgar, basic term, this word "piece" which we all use... Like piece of c... We called it a work-of-art, an oeuvre, an opus. It has become a chore. I have to endlessly rehearse all its difficulties. I have to destroy its magic by applying mundane scholastic music theory... Plodding criticism pretending at emulating genius...

I guess this is part of the stupid adolescence of early intermediate levels. But I have now changed my priority of only learning and practicing works I love. I will go back to the clever pedagogy of nondescript Clementi sonatinas. Bach and Mozart must be deserved.



Steinway "A". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
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Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3023981 09/11/20 11:44 AM
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I play pieces that I like but it will be many years before I contemplate attempting anything I love.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3023990 09/11/20 12:10 PM
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What does your teacher say about all of this
Originally Posted by Vikendios
They say that familiarity breeds contempt. I am very worried that learning how to play a piece destroys little by little much of the enjoyment that I had in listening to it, in the days when I could not dream of playing it. And yet, much of my incentive for learning how to play the piano is geared to the dream of performing myself my favourite music. What a paradox !

What a nasty, vulgar, basic term, this word "piece" which we all use... Like piece of c... We called it a work-of-art, an oeuvre, an opus. It has become a chore. I have to endlessly rehearse all its difficulties. I have to destroy its magic by applying mundane scholastic music theory... Plodding criticism pretending at emulating genius...

I guess this is part of the stupid adolescence of early intermediate levels. But I have now changed my priority of only learning and practicing works I love. I will go back to the clever pedagogy of nondescript Clementi sonatinas. Bach and Mozart must be deserved.

What does your teacher say about all of this ?


Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3023995 09/11/20 12:25 PM
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If you compare it to a work of art, learning can be like da Vinci dissecting cadavers to study anatomy. His artwork is beautiful but the background study of the underlying structure may not be so pretty. But you must know your subject inside out. And you need to know the behavior of the mediums and tools, so that you are in control.

There are people who study technique by learning pieces. And there are people who study technical exercises. I do technical exercises.

But still sometimes when I work on a piece a lot I find I've lost those magic moments at certain spots. That certain feeling I had on a certain note is gone. Previously there was a surprise, a wonderment no matter how many times I listened to it. What happened? Then I set aside this piece for a few weeks and hope to recapture the feeling later.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3023997 09/11/20 12:30 PM
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Actually
I only learn pieces I love - and the more I work on them, I love them more than when I started. I have no explanation for it; it’s just the way it is


"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: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3023998 09/11/20 12:33 PM
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When I start a new piece I sight read it to locate the hard parts and to hear the beautiful parts.

Turns out most every piece I play is mostly beautiful parts and I never tire of hearing them. The difficult parts unfortunately consume most of my practice time. And if I get stuck and can't improve in the difficult bits, I move on to something else. Why? Because I don't want to get mad over my lack of ability then turn around & blame it on the piece!


With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.
Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
dogperson #3024000 09/11/20 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Actually
I only learn pieces I love - and the more I work on them, I love them more than when I started. I have no explanation for it; it’s just the way it is
That's how I feel. If you go to my house all you hear right now is Bach/Busoni's Chaconne. Doesn't matter the section. I can't get enough of that piece. There's just so much beauty in it. Bach's a super genius and Busoni's transcription of this piece is masterful.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/11/20 12:46 PM.

Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
dmd #3024001 09/11/20 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
What does your teacher say about all of this

My teacher is an astute virtuoso who trains me by mutual consent in sound technique, and makes allowances for my old age ramblings... as you kindly do.



Steinway "A". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024003 09/11/20 12:57 PM
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If learning pieces is learning to hate them, then:

1. Choose pieces you love
2. Choose easier pieces if the ones you love are too difficult

Most of the time learning a piece should be rewarding and exciting.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024006 09/11/20 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
They say that familiarity breeds contempt. I am very worried that learning how to play a piece destroys little by little much of the enjoyment that I had in listening to it, in the days when I could not dream of playing it.
If this is the case, stop playing the pieces that you love, and start to play pieces that you may start to love by learning them. Five or ten years from now, you're probably a much better pianist, and then you can learn the pieces that you enjoy listening to.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024011 09/11/20 01:14 PM
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By reverse reasoning, you should only practice pieces which you hate. That way it cant be worse and maybe that you will even finally get to love them.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024025 09/11/20 01:27 PM
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'What is unusual to me is that I love to play pieces (e.g. classical) that I would never listen to on my music stream. Maybe as I get better and play harder arrangements this will change.


First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Now working on Faber Piano Adventures 3B Lesson, T&A, Performance, Theory and Faber FunTime Ragtime & Marches. Kawai MP11SE. My Sound Cloud Piano recordings
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Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024053 09/11/20 02:45 PM
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Learning songs I find tedious already may not always improve my enjoyment of the song.

However, learning pieces I'm interested in that is actually within my capabilities to play well will almost always just make me enjoy and appreciate the piece more.

I enjoy the process of trying to interpret the different emotions of a piece and try to express those feeling within my own playing. The only possible negativity is perhaps from elevating my understanding quality standards for what I would find acceptable for a melody, but it that only allows me to appreciate it more when it's played well.

Now with pieces that are perhaps overly difficult for me, I suppose some frustration may set in, but I'm not usually one to be overly frustrated by challenges, at least for challenges I wanted to tackle.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024055 09/11/20 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
I guess this is part of the stupid adolescence of early intermediate levels. But I have now changed my priority of only learning and practicing works I love. I will go back to the clever pedagogy of nondescript Clementi sonatinas. Bach and Mozart must be deserved.
The bane of adult students who know too much, and whose skills aren't yet up to their aspirations...... smirk

Kids have it easy - they know nothing, so anything they can do which they couldn't do before is something to be savoured, celebrated even. Like riding a bike, or swimming.........or playing Ah! vous dirai-je, maman on the piano. Even better if Wolfie is involved thumb. No need to hate his music. And you move on quickly to the next piece, because the music is easy enough to learn within a couple of weeks, so you don't have enough time to get bored, let alone hate it.

Incidentally, Mozart has composed lots of simple pieces which near-beginners can play - I started playing him within three months of lessons - my first real piano pieces.

As an adult learner in several different activities/sports, I always maintained my 'child mentality' with regards to learning. My teacher or instructor does all the planning, and tells me what I need to learn. I never push the agenda or insist on learning only what I was interested in. After all, just because I really, really wanted to climb the North Face of the Eiger - or even something easier like the Hörnli Ridge of the Matterhorn - doesn't mean that I can achieve it as my first Alpine climb. (I might die trying....... wink ). So, learn with small, baby steps, build up my skills, plenty of practice, acquire lots of experience on easier stuff, then, lo and behold! I was finally ready......

The same with learning piano.

Or harpsichord.


"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: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024056 09/11/20 02:59 PM
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I many cases, once I learn a piece, I start hearing things in it that I didn't notice before. Like the full harmony and some inner lines and phrases which were harder to pick up from recordings.

So, you can technically appreciate it much more once you study it properly. I do, however, understand exactly what you're talking about. After a certain number of repetitions I just get fed up with the piece.

Good news are, the magic comes back after some (not so long) time of not touching the piece at all. It will sound fresh again.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024064 09/11/20 03:40 PM
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In the beginning learning any piece takes weeks. Once you get into playing pieces at a certain level, the learning curve gets much shorter.

I tend to think of the learning process as experimenting with different sounds. Wrong notes are ones don’t give a pleasing sound. We all get pieces assigned by a teacher. Some we like more than others. I don’t like to look at pieces composed by other people as repertoire I need to reproduce according to other people’s exact specifications. There is always room to make a piece sound personal.

I download some pieces that I like occasionally. I hear something on the radio I’ll write down the title and find the score. Always have interesting pieces to keep my playing from becoming exercises and get bored.

Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024074 09/11/20 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
Originally Posted by dmd
What does your teacher say about all of this

My teacher is an astute virtuoso who trains me by mutual consent in sound technique, and makes allowances for my old age ramblings... as you kindly do.

Quote
I have to destroy its magic by applying mundane scholastic music theory... Plodding criticism pretending at emulating genius...

Seems you are confusing the tools and the goal.

My first teacher taught me that your playing should become more *beautiful* every time you play it.

Technique, knowledge, analysis, they are just tools to aid you.

Maybe you should just drop these chores and just try to bring out that magic that you hear. Try to enhance it. Pick out the places in music where the magic is best, and make the rest support these places.

Only play if you are in the mood and can hear the magic. Stop when it starts to wear. Don't over-play your ears. Maybe you are playing too long or too loud etc.


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Re: Learning a piece is learning to hate it.
Vikendios #3024310 09/12/20 01:04 PM
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IDK... I’m only maybe four months on piano. I learned to play Bach’s Prelude in C, first thing I learned to play. Memorized it. And was really clunky.

I still can’t play it perfect against a metronome. Almost, but not quite. But sometimes I just forget the metronome and play the thing for it’s beauty. And I love it more now than before I could play it.

The other stuff I practice will be the same way, I think. After I master them enough to where I don’t have to struggle, (as much), and can just play them for enjoyment, I think they’ll make me feel empowered.

1st movement of the Moonlight Sonata - I’ve almost memorized the first of three pages. I think a year from now that thing will be sending me to 7th heaven.


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