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Sam S Offline OP
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Going into my 11th year now, and I have a long string of pieces in my past that were too difficult for me, or too long, or got pushed aside for something else because there just wasn't enough time.

So I picked two of them this week and restarted them - and was pleasantly surprised at the progress I am making.

The first one, the Mendelssohn Song Without Words op 67/3, I gave up on probably 8 or 9 years ago. It was just too difficult for me at the time. But now I can read through it, recognize the difficulties, and come up with a plan. That's encouraging.

The second one, The Muczynski Toccata op 15, I gave up on about 3 years ago. It is probably still too difficult for me, but I am going to give it a try - what's the point in waiting?

Have you ever restarted something that you gave up on? And succeeded the second time?

Sam

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Originally Posted by Sam S
Have you ever restarted something that you gave up on?

Regularly. An unfortunate side effect of impatience and often choosing pieces that are too difficult!


Originally Posted by Sam S
...And succeeded the second time?

How do you define success? blush

I've only been back at the piano for just under 3 years...so whether I like it or not (I don't), that's not enough time to be where I would like to be.

I did just dust off my book of Inventions ~2 weeks ago after taking a few months off. I'm revisiting my favorite 2, one of which I haven't touched since May. I was really pleased that it took less than a week to get both of them back to where I had them before...which means too slow and with ample mistakes. eek But it's promising...I'm confident I can do better this time around after putting some effort in. I have to accept that as a win, even though I know they still won't be "great" yet.


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That's a regular thing for me. I'll try something and give up on it, then try again in six months or a year or two and can make more progress on it.

My latest lets-give-that-another-go piece is Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses, which I still can't get the rhythm exactly right for but I'll get there eventually....


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Yes! I have been working on the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata in C, K. 279, on and off, for years. I restarted it about a week ago and played it for my teacher at my lesson a couple of days ago. She heard a lot of improvement and I could hear--and feel--it as well.

Slowly, slowly over time my ear has improved, my physical control has improved, and my feel for where things are on the keyboard has improved, and these things all add up. I am also more disciplined now about counting (bless her heart, my teacher has been after me for years with respect to counting) and better at working on the hard parts.

I need to go back to more old pieces and have a go at them. Unfortunately, for me, those projects are always at the end of the line and more often than not I run out of time before I get to them. In other words, good intentions, but poor follow-through.


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I did it successfully with this shostakovich fugue and played it recently maybe several years after first attempting. It was however a tough one to learn but was determined to get there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orxbrES8ptY

I did try again with rondo capriccioso and got through it slowly but even a couple of years later is still beyond my abilities. I am not sure it is worth reattempting a piece if it beyond your abilities as you end up with a piece semi finished.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hoz_vkmIN5U

Some pieces I have learnt and not very polished but now tbh I tend not to pick pieces far beyond abilities anymore to avoid this issue. The Mendelssohn op 67/3 would great to return to. The Toccata you may have the same issue as I had with the rondo. I think there is merit in waiting until you are confident you can finish it but its up to you. Good luck.

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I am about to revisit Bach's Sinfonia from Partita II. When I just got back to piano 5 years ago after a very long break, my teacher immediately assigned it to me. I am still flattered by her faith in me :), but, while I managed the first two sections fine, the third allegro section was a real challenge. It's "only" a 2-part fugue (and I normally don't have problems with Bach's fugues), but it's just really tricky. I got close to getting it, but it would have taken a long time and I wanted to move on to other pieces (and my teacher, too, encouraged me to leave it aside and revisit it later). We'll see how it goes this time.

Originally Posted by Moo :)
I did try again with rondo capriccioso and got through it slowly but even a couple of years later is still beyond my abilities. I am not sure it is worth reattempting a piece if it beyond your abilities as you end up with a piece semi finished.

Rondo Capriccioso is one of my dream pieces, but I doubt I'll ever reach the technical level to be able to play the whole thing... Sigh...

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Quote
Have you ever restarted something that you gave up on?

Many, many times!

Quote
And succeeded the second time?

Maybe in about half of the cases? whome

There are a few pieces in my past that I've started and stopped several times, so it's especially gratifying when one of those pieces falls into my fingers!


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Pieces are not abandoned but rather put aside till later.

Later might be weeks, months, or years. An important and totally legitimate process in the development of a pianist.

Look at the many examples where pianists have recorded works early in their careers only to come back at a later time and re-record the same works.

The two recordings by Gould of the Goldberg Variations spring to mind.

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Sam S Offline OP
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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
Pieces are not abandoned but rather put aside till later.

Later might be weeks, months, or years. An important and totally legitimate process in the development of a pianist.

Look at the many examples where pianists have recorded works early in their careers only to come back at a later time and re-record the same works.

The two recordings by Gould of the Goldberg Variations spring to mind.

It might spring to your mind, but I am talking about pieces that were abandoned because they couldn't be matsered. Not the same as Gould recording the Goldbergs, which became a bestselling classical album. Only to re-record them later, which also became a bestselling classical album...

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Sam, it's always fun to look at pieces that are perhaps beyond present capabilities. It's good to explore the piano repertoire, and the best pieces are always the hard ones.

But don't think of it as abandonment!

I'm pretty old and have played all my life. Coming back to pieces that I've played before whether they are "hard" pieces that weren't mastered before or not means that I can "hit the ground running", not have to start from scratch when I come back to them.

Look at it as preparing for the future!

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Originally Posted by Sam S
[quote=CharlesXX]
It might spring to your mind, but I am talking about pieces that were abandoned because they couldn't be matsered. Not the same as Gould recording the Goldbergs, which became a bestselling classical album. Only to re-record them later, which also became a bestselling classical album...

Sam

And Sam, I was talking about pieces that were abandoned because they couldn't be mastered. That was my point. If you only tackle pieces that you can master, you will not progress.

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I don't think I ever abandoned any piece I started learning, but there were several pieces I put on the back-burner when I found them too difficult when I was a student in my teens. But I'd regularly return to them over months and years, to see how much further I could get with them........until un bel dì, I was finally able to play them from beginning to end in a satisfactory manner. whistle

The longest gestation I had for a difficult piece was around seven years. (When you are a kid and fall in love with something, you have no concept of time, and you never doubt you'll become good enough to achieve what you want - eventually -, if you just keep pluggin' away smirk .)

In early adulthood, I accumulated some pieces that I never thought I'd ever be able to play (just from looking through the scores), but as I didn't own a piano, I had no way of finding out, let alone abandoning them, as I never actually started. When I did eventually buy my own piano in 2010, and started working on them, I realized that they weren't impossible after all, and just needed a lot of patience and a lot of slow and careful practicing. No need to put them on the back-burner and keep returning to them periodically over years, as I had to do with difficult stuff when I was a student: I already had all the required skills (thanks to my teachers) and just needed to concentrate on getting them up to scratch to be able to take on those 'impossible' pieces. It's when you tackle stuff like that (where the composer throws everything, including the kitchen sink, at the hapless pianist) that you really appreciate all that technical stuff you had to do as a student to get through exams.........


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I’ve never really ‘abandoned’ a piece, but I’ve ’shelved’ countless ones. I regularly revisit them, and occasionally I’m in for a pleasant surprise.

My progress could be charted as a very shallow - but at least upward - spiral. smile


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Learned the notes to a Bach fugue 8 years ago with phrasing & counting issues. Waited a while before re-learning the piece measure by measure to make sure everything is fixed.

A while back downloaded a waltz in Cm. The piece has big jumps that I wasn't ready for. Waited for a year before trying it again. This time the learning was much faster. I can play a section through in minutes than struggling to learn the notes.

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Yes. I'm working now on Chopin's Waltz in A minor (Op. Posth. B150) for the second time after a failed attempt from about 6-7 months ago. It's almost good enough to record (as in, I can play it through without any wrong notes). After that, it's polishing dynamics, voicing, etc. I'm very excited about this.

I also tried Für Elise around the same time and, after learning part A of the ABACA rondo, gave up tying to learn B and C because they were too hard for me. Once I'm "done" with this Chopin Waltz, I plan to return to Für Elise with hopes that I'm good enough now to at least play through the B and C parts. We'll see!


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Good thread, Sam. I have the opposite problem. Stuff I learned for these recitals I find hard to re-learn. It's like starting anew, like I've never clapped eyes on 'em before.
I did this at school before every exam, marvelling at stuff I'd done that I had no recollection of. I had to relearn it.
It can be hard at times. I would not make a good liar.


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I think some music composers (bach / schubert) that can bevery tough but when you manage one type of there piece often a lot more music becomes possible. I would therefore recommend persisting with this as you learn a lot and afterwards see the benefits. There is a lot of music without this benefit. returning to it may be pointless and I am sure many month can be easily wasted on overly complex pieces getting nowhere. Faster pieces are often more frustrating. Teacher advice on this is very useful. Can cause a lot of mental stress so it's often good to never return !

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The first and last piece I'd play is "Sarabande" from the Bach Fr. Suite #3. My love for this piece in particular went back to 1985. In my school days I took music class when a group of people did a class project on the composer J.S. Bach with a harpsichord version of the Fr. Suite #3 for the presentation. Later that year was the tricentenary celebration of Bach & Handel. A lot of their pieces were performed on the radio including a version of the Sarabande by Keith Jarrett (the Jazz improviser).

The "Sarabande" & "Minuet & Trio" from the Fr. Suite #3 are the 2 pieces I would play from time to time. I learned to play violin and didn't actually learn these 2 pieces I heard until 3 decades later.

Yesterday was not exactly an eventful day. I was away from home with nothing much to do. Had a portable keyboard and started playing the first half of the "Sarabande" off my head. The piece isn't exactly abandoned, just that the score is back on the shelf ready to be played at anytime.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
Going into my 11th year now, and I have a long string of pieces in my past that were too difficult for me, or too long, or got pushed aside for something else because there just wasn't enough time.

So I picked two of them this week and restarted them - and was pleasantly surprised at the progress I am making.

The first one, the Mendelssohn Song Without Words op 67/3, I gave up on probably 8 or 9 years ago. It was just too difficult for me at the time. But now I can read through it, recognize the difficulties, and come up with a plan. That's encouraging.

The second one, The Muczynski Toccata op 15, I gave up on about 3 years ago. It is probably still too difficult for me, but I am going to give it a try - what's the point in waiting?

Have you ever restarted something that you gave up on? And succeeded the second time?

Sam

Probably not the example you meant, but 20 years ago my "hit the wall" piece was CPE Bach's Solfeggeitto. I didn't have the greatest teacher back then and really should never have been given this piece to begin with, mainly because said teacher never broke it down and explained how to properly play it. I had just started a new job working shift, and that screwed things up, too, so I ended up quitting piano. I returned 6 years ago this month (can't believe it's been that long now)! Anyway, the piece finally came up for me in Snell's series last year. I was really scared to play it!! But lo and behold, it was quite easy, so then I started roundly abusing my old teacher in my mind for not showing me how to play it, LOL. I was very proud of myself, I can tell you that!

I'm pretty rigid and don't often try pieces that are far above my level, so if I quit something, it's because it's just not challenging enough and I get restless and bored with it. My teacher from last summer was a great one to challenging me and I really miss her. Totally going back when things are relatively normal again. She really improved me by pushing harder stuff. I miss her a lot.


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I have been reclaiming pieces from the past for the past year. I was unable to bring those pieces to a very polished standard in the past, and it has been rewarding to relearn them and do a better job with them. What seemed difficult before, comes together much faster and is much more fluid. This has been so rewarding that I am continuing with this process. I am truly enjoying these old friends.

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