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I've seen some of his videos and find some of the ideas rather revelatory. What do you think?

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In my opinion a fraud. (And I've met him a number of times)


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
In my opinion a fraud. (And I've met him a number of times)
Wow, why so? While watching the video, I didn't get that impression.

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It depends whether or not you know how to play the piano. I.e. how it is played. I assume you don't, so any judgement on your part is not going to be reliable. My advice is look around. Playing the piano is easy. The basics take a matter of minutes to show you (see Glenn Gould). Beware of those who say otherwise and then offer you their 'special knowledge '.


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Anyone who enrolls in college as a piano performance major and then switches to a theory major does not have credentials I consider impressive as an instructor.


"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
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
It depends whether or not you know how to play the piano. I.e. how it is played. I assume you don't, so any judgement on your part is not going to be reliable. My advice is look around. Playing the piano is easy. The basics take a matter of minutes to show you (see Glenn Gould). Beware of those who say otherwise and then offer you their 'special knowledge '.
I do know how to play the piano. Saying that playing the piano is easy is ridiculous, and saying so hurts your credibility. Of course we're not talking about banging out the notes of Fur Elise but something more substantial. And I'd like to think that I know how to play the piano. I know Kemal Gekic and he is one of the best pianists out there though unfortunately underrated, so given that he accepted Alan Fraser as a student, I don't think he plays badly. Some of the principles I have seen him talk about are similar to what I've seen elsewhere in the Russian school, and some are a bit different but things I've observed in professional pianists from time to time. Can you provide any sort of substantive criticism about him? If I'm wrong I'd really like to know, but I obviously can't accept it at face value.

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I've spent over 30 years teaching piano. I've never spent more than a few minutes with a student on how to play the piano, it has always been a case of years of help with interpretation. Adult students can take years to take in those few minutes though.


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I've spent over 30 years teaching piano. I've never spent more than a few minutes with a student on how to play the piano, it has always been a case of years of help with interpretation. Adult students can take years to take in those few minutes though.
I'm curious, can you please elaborate on the bolded above? What specific aspects of "playing" the piano, beyond "interpretation" are you referring to?


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I've spent over 30 years teaching piano. I've never spent more than a few minutes with a student on how to play the piano, it has always been a case of years of help with interpretation. Adult students can take years to take in those few minutes though.
Honestly it sounds like you are either a poor teacher, unless what you do is very different from what you say. I've been with teachers like that, and I would rather self-study.

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Who is Alan Fraser ?

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"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

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I'm not much of a typer. Why don't you read Gould? He's eccentric for sure but knows his stuff piano wise: https://archive.org/details/foreveryoung00cott/page/28/mode/2up for free! Below 2 extracts:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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I will say this though. Let's say you've never ridden a bicycle and you get on one. Unbeknown to you your brain has already created a ton of ideas and strategies on how to ride a bicycle (otherwise you wouldn't even be able to get on!). Now, these will inevitably be wrong or certainly imprecise. Instead when you get on the bike you must be like a child with no mental baggage. In that way your body is free to interact with the machine and do what it does best. There are no interfering preconceptions! Schnabel's quote re: Mozart is a good illustration - Too hard for adults, too easy for children.


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Originally Posted by dogperson


I know a concert pianist who does practice Tai Chi. It is not connected directly with music but she says it helps her a lot to gain concentration and manage the stress out.

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I remember my teacher took only a few minutes to show me how the hand plays Bach. It took a few years before it came on board. Extra words from her wouldn't have helped.

Tai Chi , yoga - all good.


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I will say this though. Let's say you've never ridden a bicycle and you get on one. Unbeknown to you your brain has already created a ton of ideas and strategies on how to ride a bicycle (otherwise you wouldn't even be able to get on!). Now, these will inevitably be wrong or certainly imprecise. Instead when you get on the bike you must be like a child with no mental baggage. In that way your body is free to interact with the machine and do what it does best. There are no interfering preconceptions! Schnabel's quote re: Mozart is a good illustration - Too hard for adults, too easy for children.
Learning to play the piano is much more complicated though. I read the Gould quote, but it's not ideal to quote from eccentric geniuses. I have self-taught technique to a pretty significant extent, so I do know how it feels like to think of how to get that direct line of attack, how to be aware of tension and release immediately, to play while putting in little effort. I could play for hours without fatigue. However, my technique still wasn't good and I needed teachers to point out specific things I was missing.

I could tell you that all you need to understand mathematics is to pick up a graduate mathematics textbook, look up every word you don't understand, and eventually you will quickly gain ground and learn how to do math. I'm sure it has worked for people in the past (take Ramanujan for example). But it is a strategy which can only work if you are in the top 0.01% of natural talent. Most people even find it hard to understand trigonometry or calculus with a teacher, let alone from a textbook. You don't just walk up to a student and say that all of math can be taught in 30 minutes, it's just a sequence of logical steps, easy. However I could say that to you, and I know it's right. If you can follow each logical step, you will understand math, and that's all you have to do. Logic itself isn't complicated either. Now pass my graduate math course for me lol.

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Glad I wasn't there when you learnt to ride a bike!


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Originally Posted by ranjit
Learning to play the piano is much more complicated though.
Interesting that 5 year olds manage both quite well.


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I will say this though. Let's say you've never ridden a bicycle and you get on one. Unbeknown to you your brain has already created a ton of ideas and strategies on how to ride a bicycle (otherwise you wouldn't even be able to get on!). Now, these will inevitably be wrong or certainly imprecise. Instead when you get on the bike you must be like a child with no mental baggage. In that way your body is free to interact with the machine and do what it does best. There are no interfering preconceptions! Schnabel's quote re: Mozart is a good illustration - Too hard for adults, too easy for children.
Schnabel did not mean that learning the technique to play Mozart well was too easy for children. I think the idea that bicycle riding poses the same challenges as piano playing is utterly wrong. I think more than 99% of teachers and piano students would not agree with your ideas about playing the piano.

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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I'm not much of a typer. Why don't you read Gould? He's eccentric for sure but knows his stuff piano wise: https://archive.org/details/foreveryoung00cott/page/28/mode/2up for free! Below 2 extracts:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Gould knew nothing about teaching piano and never taught piano. He very often made outlandish statements. He may have thought that playing the piano was very easy and required little explanation because it was so easy for him.

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