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#942759 - 12/20/08 03:18 AM What to do next?  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Journee Oubliee Offline
500 Post Club Member
Journee Oubliee  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Orlando
Hi everyone.

For the 1st time in my teaching life, the following has happened...

I had started teaching one of my students Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Sonata before I had left on a small trip. We had covered before that about 4 pages worth of the sonata and it was fine up till then. Midway of my trip he was done with the 1st movement.

Coming back, I have had 1 lesson with him where he has all of a sudden found impossible to continue with the piece. He says the 2nd movement is impossible for him because the fingering requirements are too uncomfortable for him.

Do I continue the piece? Do i drop it? Or do I make an attempt at easing the difficulty?

I am specifically referring to the 2nd movement, although it is slow, he does not like the chords on both hands and finds it impossible to play them accurately.

I did try in fact to help him, and offered all possible fingerings, but he would not get it. This is coming from a kid who has played several Rachmaninov etudes, preludes, and so forth, along with Scriabin etudes as well. I do not understand why!

I would love to continue with the 3rd movement and then return to the 2nd movement later, but his aggravation has left me doubtful.

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#942760 - 12/20/08 09:19 AM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,114
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,114
Boynton Beach, FL
When frustration has set in, sometimes it is best to leave it alone for a while. Sometimes overcoming the mental blocks is the hardest part of playing an instrument. Let him know that while you are confident he is capable of finding a way to play the piece with ease, you will set it aside to revisit at a later time. Then give him something that you know he would enjoy, but not too challenging. He probably needs a little boost right now. You can always go back to the piece in 6 months or so, and chances are he'll no have the problems he did this time around.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#942761 - 12/20/08 05:18 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
Gyro Offline
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Gyro  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
In my opinion, this seems to be the all too
common situation of a highly-trained
classical pianist eventually reaching a
point where the years of playing with
so-called correct fingering has finally
taken its toll.

This "correct" fingering is typically
what is printed on the old editions,
that is, fingering that was devised in
the early 1900's by some hack editor
based on "the latest principles of
modern pianoforte playing." This
generic, one-size-fits-all fingering is
what's been foisted on students
for the last hundred years as the
only authoritative fingering acceptable
for a clasical pianist. The elite
among classical players--those with
otherworldly memorizing ability--take
to this easily, as their mnemonic
ability enables them to get away with
any manner of playing. But for lesser
players this unnatural fingering, crammed
down their throats, is eventually going
to catch up with them. It's based
on some hack editor's hand and psychology
and cannot suit them individually. Thus,
when they play with it, they're forcing
their body to do something that is
inherently unnatural for it, and at some
point their body is going to rebel
and will go no further with it. This
is why so many classical pianists injure
themselves or burn out of quit or
end up "just playing the notes." The
years of playing with unnatural fingering
finally takes its toll, and their body
won't do anymore of it.

You statement that you tried to show him
other fingerings shows a lack of understanding
of this. This will do no good, because
in my view no teacher is qualified to
devise even a single fingering for
any student, because he cannot know
a student's physical and psychological
requirements, which are unique to him alone.
If you devise a competely new set of
fingerings, all that does is subsitute
some hack editor's fingering for
a new set based on your hand and your
psychology, which is not going to fit
a student any better than the one-size-
fits-all fingering on the score.

This is why I contend that students should
not look at printed fingering or that
written in by an instructor, and
instead simply plop both hands
(students should not practice hands
separate in my view) down on the keyboard
in the vicinity of where the music
is to be played, and then play from
the score without looking at their
hands as much as possible. Besides improving
reading, this will enable the hands to
find the best fingering and technique
on their own with no special effort
on the student's part. This fingering
and technique will be the one best
suited to each student individually,
since it was devised by the student's
own hands, which are a part of him and
know what is best for him.

#942762 - 12/20/08 05:22 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Horowitzian  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
:rolleyes:


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#942763 - 12/20/08 05:25 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 384
Fraggle Offline
Full Member
Fraggle  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 384
Nottingham, U.K.
How can you be so sure, what the heck do you know about it anyway? You`re not even a piano teacher!


Will
#942764 - 12/20/08 05:28 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member
sotto voce  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Gyro, is amnesia one of your afflictions, or do you imagine that everyone else suffers from it? Is it OCD that compels you to repeat yourself ad nauseam?

Steven

#942765 - 12/20/08 05:30 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,366
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member
playadom  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,366
New Jersey
Quote
Originally posted by Horowitzian:



[Linked Image]

Where did you pick that one up?


Practice makes permanent - Perfect practice makes perfect.
#942766 - 12/20/08 05:50 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Horowitzian  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#942767 - 12/20/08 06:29 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Journee Oubliee Offline
500 Post Club Member
Journee Oubliee  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Orlando
Quote
Originally posted by Morodiene:
When frustration has set in, sometimes it is best to leave it alone for a while. Sometimes overcoming the mental blocks is the hardest part of playing an instrument. Let him know that while you are confident he is capable of finding a way to play the piece with ease, you will set it aside to revisit at a later time. Then give him something that you know he would enjoy, but not too challenging. He probably needs a little boost right now. You can always go back to the piece in 6 months or so, and chances are he'll no have the problems he did this time around.
Thanks Morodiene for the advice. I guess that's what I was to expect to hear from someone. I think deep inside the issue is with me for some reason, as if I have failed him. We have never left a piece unfinished before, so I was perhaps heart-broken by this. I think that the 3 missed lessons in between was a great factor in this. I'll get over it.

#942768 - 12/21/08 09:51 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,114
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,114
Boynton Beach, FL
Quote
Originally posted by Horowitzian:
:rolleyes:


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]
This is the best response I've seen in a while.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#942769 - 12/21/08 11:55 PM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Journee Oubliee Offline
500 Post Club Member
Journee Oubliee  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 556
Orlando
^ LOL, yeah, where does Horowitzian find all these icons?

hilarious ...

#942770 - 12/22/08 12:14 AM Re: What to do next?  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Horowitzian  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
http://www.runemasterstudios.com/graemlins/

http://www.mysmiley.net/

Most of the ones I use are on these sites. wink laugh

Thanks, Morodienne! I thought I'd do something a little different...not worth typing anything. :rolleyes:


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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