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Posted By: TonalHarmony Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 04:03 PM
I have a question for piano teachers:
Did any of you ever teach this piece? My teacher hates teaching Mozart, and I think it is because he is hard to teach. If you taught it how hard was it? If you didn't, how hard do you think it would be?

Here is a link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14hl3qSkStI

Regards,

Joy
Posted By: Nannerl Mozart Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 04:35 PM
The reason why quite a few teachers say that Mozart is hard is because a of a few reasons:

1. Mozart's piano was different to ours, it was just being developed, it was small, depressing the keys felt very different and the sound was smaller. A number of people disregard that today and a lot of the time it is overplayed.

2. Textually, Mozart's music is quite thin. It's easier to stuff up and sound obvious. Every note and nuance has to be played with precision because you can't 'cover it up,' in a way it's very exposed.

3. Mozart is described to be 'perfection' he very cleverly transports from learned style to galant to strum and drang to emfindsamer stil very seamlessly.

4. From time to time you hear this: Mozart was of course THE child prodigy. And so only an 8 year old or 80 year old can interpret him well. Thing is, there are a number of myths on Mozart, so I don't really like this statement.

Having said that I don't think dodging the hard stuff is the right approach. I think any good teacher would know what to listen for in terms of interpretation and technique so that s/he can guide the student accordingly. Just not playing the hard stuff because it's hard is just silly.
Posted By: Gerard12 Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 04:39 PM
Just because we can perform something, it doesn't mean we can also teach it.

Okay, maybe we can teach......um....let's say, the notes of this piece...or we can dwell on different facets of it. But how these facets blend to create an expressive end? That's what stumps me when teaching Mozart.

I know 12 of his piano sonatas very well, and wouldn't hesitate to put any one of them on a live program. But I will only teach 3 of them. I know 4 concertos well. I only feel comfortable teaching one, and maybe 2 movements from another.

If a student displays exceptional sensitivity, or already has a sense of conviction concerning these pieces, I sometimes will make an exception - and just be a guide. Otherwise, I will recommend another teacher for those pieces.
Posted By: Gyro Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 06:53 PM
Lehvinne was one of the greatest pianists ever. If you're having trouble sounding like her, it's because she's playing rubato, that is, nothing is played in strict time. All those notes are played slightly out of time, even at the breakneck tempo, which is what give it it's marvelous effect--you don't hear this kind of playing today. You can't sound like this if you play everything in strict time.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 07:20 PM
Originally Posted by Nannerl Mozart
The reason why quite a few teachers say that Mozart is hard is because a of a few reasons:

1. Mozart's piano was different to ours, it was just being developed, it was small, depressing the keys felt very different and the sound was smaller. A number of people disregard that today and a lot of the time it is overplayed.

2. Textually, Mozart's music is quite thin. It's easier to stuff up and sound obvious. Every note and nuance has to be played with precision because you can't 'cover it up,' in a way it's very exposed.

3. Mozart is described to be 'perfection' he very cleverly transports from learned style to galant to strum and drang to emfindsamer stil very seamlessly.

4. From time to time you hear this: Mozart was of course THE child prodigy. And so only an 8 year old or 80 year old can interpret him well. Thing is, there are a number of myths on Mozart, so I don't really like this statement.

Having said that I don't think dodging the hard stuff is the right approach. I think any good teacher would know what to listen for in terms of interpretation and technique so that s/he can guide the student accordingly. Just not playing the hard stuff because it's hard is just silly.


It's not that she won't teach it; it's just she doesn't like to. So I was just wondering how hard it actually would be for her to teach me.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 07:22 PM
Originally Posted by Gerard12
Just because we can perform something, it doesn't mean we can also teach it.

Okay, maybe we can teach......um....let's say, the notes of this piece...or we can dwell on different facets of it. But how these facets blend to create an expressive end? That's what stumps me when teaching Mozart.

I know 12 of his piano sonatas very well, and wouldn't hesitate to put any one of them on a live program. But I will only teach 3 of them. I know 4 concertos well. I only feel comfortable teaching one, and maybe 2 movements from another.

If a student displays exceptional sensitivity, or already has a sense of conviction concerning these pieces, I sometimes will make an exception - and just be a guide. Otherwise, I will recommend another teacher for those pieces.


Thanks for that bit of information, Gerard12. It was helpful.
Posted By: Gary D. Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 07:42 PM
I also hate teaching Mozart unless working with someone VERY advanced who loves his music and understands what is involved.

Problems:

1) When played well, Mozart sounds really easy.

2) It does not sound difficult, so when it is really well-played, most people are not impressed.

A good example is the recording linked to in this thread.

Lhevinne, to me, is simply amazing in this recording, and the fact that she was 80 at the time shows how little aging spoils a sound technique when a performer remains healthy.

So if someone, already playing well, said, "I love this concerto. Can we work on it?"

My immediate answer would be: "Yes! Let's go!!!"

But I would not recommend it to someone does not seem to me fully ready for it, both technically and temperamentally.
Posted By: John v.d.Brook Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 09:42 PM
+1 Even the "simple sonata", K545, isn't as easy as students think. Which is why it is so poorly performed 99% of the time.

OTOH, the 2nd movement of several sonatas make great worship music, and are definitely worth the student's time and effort to master.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/23/11 10:27 PM
Originally Posted by Gary D.
I also hate teaching Mozart unless working with someone VERY advanced who loves his music and understands what is involved.

Problems:

1) When played well, Mozart sounds really easy.

2) It does not sound difficult, so when it is really well-played, most people are not impressed.

A good example is the recording linked to in this thread.

Lhevinne, to me, is simply amazing in this recording, and the fact that she was 80 at the time shows how little aging spoils a sound technique when a performer remains healthy.

So if someone, already playing well, said, "I love this concerto. Can we work on it?"

My immediate answer would be: "Yes! Let's go!!!"

But I would not recommend it to someone does not seem to me fully ready for it, both technically and temperamentally.


My teacher says I'm definitely ready for it. I'm ready for it both technically and temperamentally. You are right. Mozart does sound simple even though it is hard. It takes really knowing Mozart to know the amount of effort that was put into the piece.

Posted By: AZNpiano Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/24/11 04:41 AM
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
OTOH, the 2nd movement of several sonatas make great worship music, and are definitely worth the student's time and effort to master.

I love several 2nd movements. The problem is selling the 2nd movements to students! With all the speed demons I teach, they all want to learn the 1st movement or 3rd movement. I've only taught two 2nd movements of Mozart sonatas.

However, I do teach Mozart pretty frequently.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/24/11 10:58 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
OTOH, the 2nd movement of several sonatas make great worship music, and are definitely worth the student's time and effort to master.

I love several 2nd movements. The problem is selling the 2nd movements to students! With all the speed demons I teach, they all want to learn the 1st movement or 3rd movement. I've only taught two 2nd movements of Mozart sonatas.

However, I do teach Mozart pretty frequently.


That's funny because I've learned the first movement, skipped the second one and am gearing up for the third.
Posted By: John v.d.Brook Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/24/11 11:05 PM
Originally Posted by TonalHarmony
That's funny because I've learned the first movement, skipped the second one and am gearing up for the third.

Your loss.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/25/11 12:34 AM
Not saying I won't, I just don't like the sound of it as much as the others.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 04:44 PM
My teacher agreed to teach me the piece. Even though she doesn't like Mozart or teaching it, she LOVED the piece when she listened to it.

Thanks all for helping me with my question!

Tonal Harmony
Posted By: Gary D. Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 07:36 PM
Originally Posted by TonalHarmony
My teacher agreed to teach me the piece. Even though she doesn't like Mozart or teaching it, she LOVED the piece when she listened to it.

Thanks all for helping me with my question!

Tonal Harmony

She didn't know this concerto? <shock!!!>
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 07:56 PM
Ha ha, no she didn't. But ever since she listened to it she's been bouncing-off-the-walls excited to teach me the piece.
Posted By: apple* Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 08:07 PM
I am not a huge fan of Mozart.. I like some of his music.. the fantasy in D minor particularly.

anyway, my nephew about age 16 has really taken off as a piano student.. doing well in competitions, etc., and improving exponentially every time I hear him play (every 6 months or so). Anyway, he played Mozart's 1st sonata for me.. the whole thing.

He played with such aplomb and masculinity (not how Mozart is usually played at all).. with great finesse. I absolutely loved it. I loved hearing Mozart this way and went home and got out his book of sonatas.. I've been on a Mozart kick for a couple weeks now.

just commenting.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 08:24 PM
I've always loved Mozart. It's just so beautiful. Right now I'm resurrecting the first movement of the same concerto. I played it about a year ago at my 5th recital, and it was one of the most beautiful pieces I've played. It took two pianos with my teacher playing the orchestra part.
Posted By: Gary D. Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 08:57 PM
Originally Posted by apple*

He played with such aplomb and masculinity (not how Mozart is usually played at all).. with great finesse.

"UN-neutered" Mozart. wink
But I would stay away from the words "masculine" and "feminine". Because if playing with power, passion, excitement, huge contrasts is "masculine", then Argerich would be a man.

I don't think stereotypes work well for musicians or music.
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 09:00 PM
ha ha
Posted By: currawong Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 09:19 PM
Originally Posted by TonalHarmony
I've always loved Mozart. It's just so beautiful. Right now I'm resurrecting the first movement of the same concerto. I played it about a year ago at my 5th recital, and it was one of the most beautiful pieces I've played. It took two pianos with my teacher playing the orchestra part.
But you said she didn't know the concerto. Or was that a different teacher perhaps. *confused*
Posted By: Gary D. Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 09:23 PM
I'm confused too!
Posted By: TonalHarmony Re: Teaching Mozart? - 07/27/11 09:37 PM
Oh, sorry about that. I've had two different teachers. The first teacher taught me the first movement of the concerto. I was planning to learn the third movement with her, but she was finishing collage/going out of the country for two months and had to drop all her students. She recommended me to a new teacher, and this new teacher is the one who is teaching me the third movement of the same concerto.

Hope that clears things up,

TonalHarmony
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