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#963931 - 06/25/04 05:04 PM Chopin etude
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
I am working on Chopin's etude opus 10, #3 (theme) from the Alfred Adult Book #2. In discussing it with my teacher he said that it was not the original but an arrangement. Also, said that Chopin's etudes are very difficult and that he can't even play a lot of them because of the difficulty factor. This was somewhat surprising to me because he has been teaching for many years and also performs and has a music degree from a good university (not sure if it is in performance or something else). I should add that he came very highely recommended from more than one source.

I am very happy with his teaching. He is very tough when it comes to the technical things, counting tone quality etcetera. He will not let me go forward until I have a piece mastered to the degree that he want's. I don't play every piece perfectly, but as long as the point of the exercise is absorbed and performed correctly then I can go on.

I have two questions: First; Should I be concerned that he can't play these pieces, such as Chopin etudes? Not that I am in any way EVER going to outgrow his teaching ability. Second; I have been taking lessons for 18 months and I am 3/4 of the way through the Alferd Adult Book Two. I am also, working from a fake book, about one tune per week. I am getting more comfortable every day with all the chord inversions. Each song seem to have some new challenges with the inversions but I am able to work them out without too much trouble. Does this seem to be a good rate of progress? I only ask this question because my teacher says that I am making very quick progress compared to his other students, it just doesn't seem that fast to me. I am asking this because I am wondering if teachers tell students things like this just to keep them motivated. Motovation is not a factor in my case.

Would appreciate your feedback.
Keep a song in your heart!

It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#963932 - 06/25/04 05:43 PM Re: Chopin etude
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
Frank, Chopin etudes can be extremely tehnically challenging. My previous teacher readily admitted she could only play about half of them. I would not be worried about that as long as your teacher is helping you become a better musician.

It's also true that some piano teachers will say nice things to their students to encourage them and raise their self esteem. On one hand it's good, on the other, it can be counter-productive. I'm not really sure why you are learning from the Alfred Adult Book. I used to play pieces out of them but, since they are mostly arrangements, I don't think they have any educational value (personal opinion). Mozart and Bach and Chopin will help you become a better pianist. Not to question your teacher or anything but that could be something to ask him or her.

P.S. A piece with lyrics is called a "song." If the piece has no lyrics it is called a "piece."

#963933 - 06/25/04 06:04 PM Re: Chopin etude
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA

Thanks for the feedback. I didn't know the difference in terminology between "song" add "piece". I respectfully hope that your opinion on the Alferd series is not correct because as I understand it my teacher is planing to continue thru Alfred's book three. Followed by a pretty much exclusively classical study. We will also be doing jazz study because that is where my real interest is at this point.

Thanks again for your response.
Keep a song in your heart!

It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

#963934 - 06/27/04 12:19 PM Re: Chopin etude
anomaly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/04
Posts: 95
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
I wouldn't be worried that your teacher can't play all of the Etudes.

Interestingly I have an Alfred edition of "Anthology of Romantic Piano Music." It has the Chopin Op 10 No3 in it, and it is also a highly edited arrangement (as many of the pieces in this book are). I would suggest buying a copy of the complete Etudes.

Fast is a relative term. If you are continually learning new things and enjoying the time you are spending at the piano then you should be satisfied with your learning pace.

Good luck!

#963935 - 06/28/04 07:46 PM Re: Chopin etude
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi Frank R,

Way back in the 1940's some song-writer grabbed the melody of Chopin's Etude Op. 10, no. 3 and made a hit out of "So Deep Is the Night".
Could this be the origin of your "theme"?

However, there is nothing quite like the original.

You might find it a worthwhile exercise to lay hands on Chopin's score and read along with a CD of the music. Chopin sandwiches some breathtaking keyboard pyrotechnics between his gentle opening and closing "theme".

Not many people are brave enough to say they could do justice to this piece. The famous Etude needs the nimble fingers of a concert pianist.

#963936 - 06/29/04 10:58 AM Re: Chopin etude
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA

Thanks for the info. I have heard the original etude op. 10, no. 3 and there is no way I am even remotely ready for the "pyrotechics" as you describe them. At this point I'll stay with the arrangement. I am going to look for the song "So Deep Is The night", should be interesting.
Keep a song in your heart!

It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

#963937 - 06/29/04 06:47 PM Re: Chopin etude
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado

This should not be your concern as long as your teacher knows how to 'teach'. My own piano teacher (I only had one piano teacher in my life) does not play the piano at all. He was one of the so-called 'pure teachers'. He taught quite a few major international competition prize winners. As a matter of fact his very FIRST piano student won third prize in Warsaw Chopin Competition back in 1955. This great 'surprise' launched his teaching career. He had been a very successful teacher for over 40 years. His last prize winning student took 5th prize in the Cliburn competition when he was in his 80s. He coached me in all aspects of classical music until the day he passed away.

#963938 - 07/01/04 11:11 PM Re: Chopin etude
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi Frank R,
Imagine if your teacher could play the Chopin Etude 10, no. 3 - what a showpiece - however your teacher should be able to play the first 20 bars of the Lento, ma non troppo ("theme")

What your question is really saying is that after 18 months you wonder why your progress appears to be on a plateau ... and wonder whether the teacher could be responsible for your studies dragging.

Progress is directly related to good aural memory. This developed skill helps reduce the drag of sight-reading to merely skimming the score. Most teachers gear the pupil's speed of advancement to this ability.

But let it be said that very few pupils are blessed with a good aural memory.

You might like to look at the current Pianist Corner "How to learn to play by heart" where advanced colleagues contribute their views on the subject.

#963939 - 07/02/04 11:17 PM Re: Chopin etude
chopin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/02/04
Posts: 24
My etudes are not only technically challenging but also emotionally demanding. It is more of a test of maturity in thinking rather than just merely finger movements. I guess when someone say he could not play a piece doesnt mean he do not know how to play it physically, but refers to the tonal qualities and the ability to touch the hearts of both himself and the listener. \:\)

#963940 - 08/06/04 05:53 AM Re: Chopin etude
Homme du coeur Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Netherlands
Just a quotation from Monique Deschaussées's book "Frédéric Chopin, 24 Études - Vers une interprétation": "Or, je pense que tout pianiste professionel ne mérite ce nom que s'il est capables de jouer les 24 Études enchaînées, sans ressentir aucune fatigue physique ou musculair " (page 5).

I.e.: You are only a professional pianist when you can play all (!!) Chopin's etudes in one time without any fatigue.

That is a clear answer and definiton of a real professional pianist. One mastered all Chopin's etudes, there is no obstacle whatsoever to play piano at the highest level.

Homme du cœur ....


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