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#496044 - 01/02/02 03:39 PM What next?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,031
Dan Offline
Dan  Offline


Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,031
Colorado
Greetings all,

As some of you know, I am a novice pianist that has only been playing for about 2 years. I am just finishing up the memorization of Moonlight Sonata I am trying to decide what to tackle next. My repertoire so far is as follows:

Carol of the Bells – Faber & Faber arrangement, level 4 book
Good Morning Blues – Faber & Faber arrangement, level 4 book
Prelude in E Minor – Op 28, No 4 – Chopin
Gymnopedie #1 – Satie
Moonlight Sonata – Op 27, No 2, 1st Movement – Beethoven (my first movement from a major piece! Wahoo!)
Plus a dozen plus short “learning” pieces

All of these pieces still need polishing, but I need to pick a new piece to begin working on. My teacher and I have already agreed on one piece (one of Bach’s 6 Short Preludes, #4 I think). Since I like to work on 2 pieces at a time I want to go to her with several possibilities so she can help me pick one I can master.

A few things I like (but am not sure I’m ready for) are:

The Seasons – Tchaikovsky (August is a favorite, but I also like January, June and November)
The Girl With The Flaxen Hair – Debussy
Prelude in C# minor Op 3, No. 2 – Rachmaninov

It has taken me several months to get Moonlight memorized, but even so another major work might be fun to take on. By the way, I also only started listening to classical music when I started lessons, so if there’s something not on the list of things I like, its probably because I am not familiar with it. I do seem to be more drawn to Romantic music however, so perhaps ideas should be from that era/style.

Guess that’s it. Suggestions?

Thanks and regards,
Dan

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#496045 - 01/02/02 04:22 PM Re: What next?  
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Amy Offline
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Upstate New York
I don't reccomend that you play the Rachmaninoff piece. It takes much more technique and general piano skill than the other pieces.


-Amy-
*Visit my page! http://www.expage.com/pianopalace
#496046 - 01/02/02 05:37 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Sep 2001
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jazzyd Offline
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jazzyd  Offline
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United Kingdom
"It takes much more technique and general piano skill than the other pieces."

A great reason for learning it, surely? I've always loved challenges.

The C# is certainly demanding, but not overly difficult. If you are an enthusiastic learner, read music well, can span an octave comfortably in both hands, use sensible fingering and have a decent piano to practice on - I say go for it.

Divide the piece up into its natural three parts and you should have no trouble making some progress with it, even if it's only one hand at a time, one chord at a time, one note at a time.

The benefits will probably be significant too; the leaps will improve your keyboard coordination, while the Agitato section will get your fingers doing all sorts of fun stuff! And if you are interested in pursuing Rachmaninoff's other works, this piece is a great one to start with as it characterises a lot the harmonies and pianistic style he used in many of his subsequent works.

It is my experience that there are many piano pieces that require an awful lot of effort, but very few genuinely difficult piano pieces that cannot at least be attempted - regardless of your abilities.

Good luck!

Dave


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
#496047 - 01/02/02 06:36 PM Re: What next?  
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PianoMuse Offline
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PianoMuse  Offline
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Posts: 902
Philly, PA
I have to strongly, STRONGLY disagree with Jazzyd. I do not think that the Rachmaninoff would be a wise choice. Though one of his easiest, Rachmaninoff's peices are very demanding, requiring a high level of technichality and musicianship that one can only get after many years of playing. I can assure you it will only become an excercize in frustration, which will lead you to make bad technichal mistakes that may carry over into other peices. there are easier arrangments of this peice, however, and in easier keys, if you are set upon playing this peice.
In my opinion, I would say go for the Debussy. it is not so technichally and physically demanding. Also, keep up the Bach! his music is fantastic to build technique.
P.S.- my teacher didn't even let me TOUCH Rachmaninoff's music until I was at about 9 years of lessons and was able to play other sets of preludes like Chopin's flawlessly. And many other teacher do the same as well.


"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." ~Rachmaninoff
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#496048 - 01/02/02 07:02 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jul 2001
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Bernard Offline
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Bernard  Offline
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Posts: 3,857
North Groton, NH
Dan,

There are a few lovely Scriabin preludes that are not too difficult but excrutiatingly beautiful. I'll post the numbers tomorrow.

Re: Rachmaninoff. I'm of 2 minds on this, both expressed by jazzyd ("I've always loved challenges") and PianoMuse ("...it will only become an exercise in frustration.") You will have to give it a try to see if you are ready for the challenge--only you will know. I can say for myself that I'm often experimenting with pieces that are a bit beyond me. It gives me a feel for what I need to learn. And I can usually tell whether serious study of the piece will turn into frustation so will put it off until I think I'm ready. Give it a whirl... if it turns out to be too much, set it aside.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
#496049 - 01/02/02 07:04 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 144
EricL Offline
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EricL  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 144
Upstate NY
If you know or have learned how to voice chords and use the pedal, try the followings:

Grieg's Lyric Pieces (e.g., Arietta, Erotik)
Liszt's Consolations (e.g., No. 1, 2 and 5)

They are very beautiful pieces (in my opinion) and relatively easy to play. (Mastering them is of course another story.)

Eric

#496050 - 01/02/02 08:34 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Sep 2001
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jazzyd Offline
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jazzyd  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 1,861
United Kingdom
I'm sorry that people strongly disagree with me, and I agree that it is not a particularly appropriate piece for young children to learn, in light of the physical demands.

I should probably point out at this juncture that I'm not a piano teacher, so if the general consensus leans against learning it, then perhaps it would be well not to tackle the Rach just yet. I stand by my comments though - because is it is a fun piece to learn!


Dave


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
#496051 - 01/02/02 11:16 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 92
Aura Offline
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Aura  Offline
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Posts: 92
Melbourne, Australia
Dan,

I think that learning a few pieces that are well under your control and one piece that is more challenging and probably slightly more advanced than anything else you've ever done is a very wise thing to do. Of course, you shouldn't be attempting Brahms sonatas and rachmainoff concertos at this stage, that would be ludicrous, but something like the Rach prelude in c# minor, tackled slowly, little by little, will be of much benefit to you I feel.

In my own experience, having one piece that is very challenging for me along with others that are very comfortable is wonderful. Some say that at 14, I'm not ready to be playing the 2nd Ballade of Chopin, but learning it has been great for so many other things that can be applied to other repertoire. Even if you can't really get it under your belt at first, when you come back to it in, say, a year or two, you will be amazed at how easy it seems and your evident progress will be a fantasitc ego booster! You'll feel more ready to tackle other things then, and it's overall very encouraging.

As for other pieces that I would recommend... have you done the Raindrop prelude of Chopin? It's a great miniature romantic work with a lot of lessons in melodic control, sensitivity etc.

Also, some of the smaller Schumann works for piano are very good.

bach 2 and 3 part inventions are EXCELLENT - and very very very beautiful. I strongly suggest looking into them... I want to learn the complete set myself. There quite tricky in places, but well worth the effort! Suggested listening: Glenn Gould's rather eccentric interpretation. Quite fine.

best of luck!

cheers


cheers

Aura
#496052 - 01/03/02 11:56 AM Re: What next?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 722
magnezium Offline
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magnezium  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 722
Singapore
from Tchaikovsky's Seasons, August and November are some of the more difficult ones, but they are very fun to play, November especially... January and June are a little easier, of the two June is probably the easier one, and it's nicer too...

the Debussy prelude is a lot easier than all these pieces from Seasons...

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: magnezium ]

#496053 - 01/03/02 09:36 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22
Robert Offline
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Robert  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22
San Diego
Dan,

I believe I am in a very similar situation as you. I started playing again as an adult (40) a little more than two years ago. I did play for about two years as a teenager. I often play the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata as my kids are going to sleep at night. I am also very anxious to start work on the Rach. Prelude in C#m but I am not ready to put that much time into the piece right now when there is so much other really good stuff to work on that will also help my technique for tackling that piece in the future.

I have been pretty picky about choosing pieces that I really enjoy playing and that will help my overall technique in order to the play the more difficult piece in the future.

This is some of what I have been playing:

Chopin Preludes, 4, 6, 7 & 20
Bach Inventions, 1, 4 & 8
Chopin Waltz in A Minor (Op. Post.), Waltz in B Minor (Op. 69, No. 2)
Chopin Polonaise in G Minor (Op. Post)
Chopin Mazurka, F Major, (Op. 68, No.3)
Schubert Waltz (Op. 18a, No. 6)
Clementi Sonatina in C Major (Op. 36, No. 3)
Prokofiev Op. 65, No. 5, Regrets
Schumann Album for the Young, Op. 68, No. 1, 2, 8, 10 & 11
and of course the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata & Fur Elise

I think all of these pieces are really fun to play.

When I mentioned to my teacher that I wanted to learn that Rach. Prelude he suggested that I work on the Grieg Lyric Pieces and some of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words first.

Good luck in your playing!

Robert

P.S. I have the music for the Rach. C#m and play the first page hands separately every once in while just because I like the way it sounds

#496054 - 01/03/02 10:28 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jul 2001
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Bernard Offline
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Bernard  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,857
North Groton, NH
Robert wrote "I often play the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata as my kids are going to sleep at night."

What fortunate children you have.

Dan, these are a few Scriabin preludes I mentioned yesterday. They are not lengthy.

Prelude, E major, Op. 11, #9
Prelude, Gb major, Op. 11, #13
Prelude, Db major, Op. 11, #15
Prelude, Eb major, Op. 16, #4
Prelude, B major, Op. 27, #2

Although they may not look it on the page, I think the last 3 of these are harder than the first 2. Op. 11, #15 contains thirds in the left hand that must be smooth; Op.16, #4 is so sparsely written that it takes a bit of work to pull it off musically.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
#496055 - 01/05/02 02:00 AM Re: What next?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,031
Dan Offline
Dan  Offline


Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,031
Colorado
Thanks for all the advice. I've been able to find and listen to a few of your suggestions on the net. I was able to find one Scriabin Prelude (Op 11, No 9) that Bernard had recommended and also found several Schumann pieces at Aura's recommendation that I enjoyed (Traumerei, Romanzi in F# Major, Foreign Lands & People), one of the Grieg Lyric pieces (Op 54), and the Chopin Raindrop Prelude.

The Schumann Traumerei and Chopin Raindrop were both quite nice, so I think I'll add those to my list that I'm choosing from this time.

Thanks again for your suggestions. And thanks Magnezium for some insight into how the Seasons compare to the Debussy. That type of comparison helps me a lot.

Regards to all,
Dan

#496056 - 01/05/02 08:33 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 18
Carol Offline
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Carol  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 18
Cleveland, Ohio
Dan, if you are a "novice" player after 2 years of study, I think Rach would be a bit much at this point. There is such a huge amount of Classical music for piano that I think what you would want is to just know as much of it all as possible, starting with the easier pieces. Hey, if they're so easy you can just sight read them, then just keep going until you come to something that requires more work. For me the Chopin Raindrops was always just an easy sight reading piece, whereas I have small hands and still can't handle Rach.

Schirmers has a nice set of books, Master Series for the Young. There is a separate book for each composer, each one a sampling of some of the easier pieces.

Good luck. Carol smile

#496057 - 01/06/02 08:51 AM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 92
Aura Offline
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Aura  Offline
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Posts: 92
Melbourne, Australia
Ahh, but the Raindrop prelude played sensitively and musically... flowing like honey with a heartwrenching climax is another matter, my friend.


cheers

Aura
#496058 - 01/06/02 05:16 PM Re: What next?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 18
Carol Offline
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Carol  Offline
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Posts: 18
Cleveland, Ohio
Aura, shame on you. I've played the piano for 60 years and taught it for 27 and I sort of think I should be able to meet the standards you mention.

#496059 - 01/06/02 05:40 PM Re: What next?  
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Posts: 296
Rodion Offline
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Rodion  Offline
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Salt Lake City
Carol, i don't think she was talking to you, it doesn't seem that way anyway...


Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz
#496060 - 01/06/02 09:25 PM Re: What next?  
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jazzyd Offline
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jazzyd  Offline
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United Kingdom
I agree. And even if she were referring to yourself [Carol], I don't think Aura meant to presume that you couldn't play it convincingly.

I think this emphasises a point. I mean, how is anyone on here supposed to instinctively know what another pianist is capable of? The majority of us have never met, let alone performed for each other.

The worst thing we could do is to start establishing who should not be spoken to in which manner because they have had x amount of hours at the keyboard.

Dave

[ January 06, 2002: Message edited by: jazzyd ]


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
#496061 - 01/08/02 02:14 AM Re: What next?  
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Posts: 92
Aura Offline
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Aura  Offline
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Melbourne, Australia
OK, before I get shamed any more, and make Carol even more defensive, I think this should be set straight.

Carol, I was NOT meaning to suggest that you cannot meet the standards I mentioned. Not in the slightest. I actually wasn't aware of the fact that you've been playing for 60 years, so thank you for informing me. I think that your comment about this particular piece "always" being an easy sightreading piece, small hands and not being able to handle Rachmaninoff cuased me to come to the conclusion that you were not very experienced yourself. I'm sorry.

But I'm not sorry about saying that the Chopin prelude is more musically difficult than most people think. I too can sight-read this piece, but I think for a novice pianist, sight-reading it well is another story.

If you disagree with me, good luck to you.

Actually, my comment was intended to be more general than taking a snap at you, Carol.

Good luck with your playing, Dan. smile


cheers

Aura
#496062 - 01/08/02 03:04 PM Re: What next?  
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Posts: 1,031
Dan Offline
Dan  Offline


Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,031
Colorado
Thanks again to all for your input. Based on my teachers review of my "possibles" and her advice, we selected the Debussy piece, along with completion of the Bach Prelude No 3 (not 4 as I said earlier) from his 6 Short Preludes.

Regards,
Dan


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