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#2475888 10/31/15 01:36 PM
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Adult Beginner attempting to learn piano by myself. Attempting to learn Fur Elise, and getting to a point where I'm happy with my progress, but feel I need some feedback to advance.

Here's a progress audio I recorded toward the end of last month. I'm rushing at times, but a good indication of my progress.

I'd appreciate an constructive critiques, esp. in terms of musicality vs technique, following score.

https://soundcloud.com/dakardave/fur-elise-sept-progress

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DakarDave, As far as I'm concerned your doing fine with this piece. Your tone and phrasing are good and will improve as your playing matures. Listening to the space between the notes always helps.

My only concern is the clarity of the damper and damper pedal system. Your piano tech may be able to make some adjustments.

Enjoy.


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Disclaimer: I'm far from an expert myself so take my comment for what it's worth.

Okay, you need to do some slow metronome work because it's VERY uneven. The passage from the left to the right hand should be very smooth as if you were playing with one hand. Right now there's a very ugly jump and it sounds as though the right hand is playing 32nd notes rather than 16ths. In this piece you can sometimes "strech" the notes a bit but do that only after you've learned to play it very evenly.

IMO you should start much softer. The melody is marked pianissimo in the score. It also sounds mechanical when you don't breathe between phrases. I think you should listen to some professional recordings to get a better sense of the musicality. Here's a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3gPgLBgvuA

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Same notes as Qazsedcft... uneven, need more slow work with the metronome and slow phrasing to get it right.

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Completely agree with Oazsedcft ...

You need to get a metronome going a very slow pace (60 bpm or less) and begin working on the first 2 or 3 measures and get those down perfectly ON TIME before going any further.

TIMING is probably the most important aspect of any musical piece. If you miss a few notes here and there it is hardly noticed by the audience ... but if you are not ON TIME, they will notice that immediately. Why ? Because they are participating with your performance. They are following along with the melody in their head or maybe even quietly humming along. If you break time, they can't follow along and will be unhappy.

You could really use a teacher for this problem but if you cannot have one for whatever reason then you need to work with a metronome regularly.

Good Luck


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Thanks for the feedback guys! Appreciate it.. going to help me focus on what I need to practice.

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It is not an easy piece and many beginners (including myself) have attempted this before we were ready. None the less to get this far is a triumph and no doubt you have leaned many things from this piece.


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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Thanks for the encouragement. It definitely wasn't an easy piece, and I probably started it before I should have - it's easier to get the motivation to practice when you work on pieces you love.

Thanks everyone for spending the **time** to listen and to post comments! Your time is appreciated, and I will use the comments to try to improve!

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There is a lot of effort that has gone into learning this piece, especially if you are a beginner and you learned it on your own.

Were you playing from memory? The music sounded "improvised".

I suggest that the first thing you need to do is check the notes and the note values to make sure they are correct. You don't want to spend too much time practising the wrong thing.

Secondly, I suggest that you work on the evenness of your notes. Don't attempt to play at normal tempo when you practise. Slow it down. How slow? As slow as you need to get it correct. Practice in sections (rather than playing through the whole piece again and again) also helps.

Well done and keep it up!







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Yes, it was played from memory - i.e. not reading the score.

Part of the "improvised" sound, I hope, is me trying to add my own interruption of the piece, i.e. trying to add something in terms of musicality.

I plan on bring back the score, and working with a metronome to try to get timing right. I hate practicing with the metronome - and it shows!

In addition, going to concentrate on working to make sure the introduction of the right hand is not as noticeable - i.e. it should appear to be "one big hand" playing. I don't want it to be "here's the left hand, and now... the right hand!"

I'm also going to have my piano tech look into the damper system, it does ring on a bit, but that has nothing to do with my practicing :-)

Last edited by DakarDave; 10/31/15 06:15 PM.
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Originally Posted by DakarDave
Part of the "improvised" sound, I hope, is me trying to add my own interruption of the piece, i.e. trying to add something in terms of musicality.



As a beginner, you probably should concentrate on playing it as it is written and not engaging in interpreting.

When a beginner "interprets" a piece of music, that usually translates into "It is too hard for me to play it as written".



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Originally Posted by DakarDave
Yes, it was played from memory - i.e. not reading the score.

Part of the "improvised" sound, I hope, is me trying to add my own interruption of the piece, i.e. trying to add something in terms of musicality.



What I meant about it sounded improvised is that sometimes there are notes missing, sometimes there are extra notes, and sometimes some notes are shorter etc. I think that's because you were playing from memory.

You don't have to practise with metronome. My teacher hates it. It's sometimes useful in the beginning especially if you are uncertain with the tempo and note values. But as soon as you've developed your inner rhythm, you should ditch the metronome and practise on your own (other than once in a while use it to recheck your tempo).





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Originally Posted by dmd
As a beginner, you probably should concentrate on playing it as it is written and not engaging in interpreting.

When a beginner "interprets" a piece of music, that usually translates into "It is too hard for me to play it as written".

I disagree. I have been taking lessons for less than a year and a large part of my lessons consist of tips for interpretation. Right from the first lessons the focus should be on making music and not just hitting the right keys.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by dmd
As a beginner, you probably should concentrate on playing it as it is written and not engaging in interpreting.

When a beginner "interprets" a piece of music, that usually translates into "It is too hard for me to play it as written".

I disagree. I have been taking lessons for less than a year and a large part of my lessons consist of tips for interpretation. Right from the first lessons the focus should be on making music and not just hitting the right keys.

Yes and No.

Yes, you should make music and avoid "typing." I think everybody can agree on this.

No, you shouldn't take "your take" out of the boundary of good taste and what is the accepted standard for a certain composer. At least at the beginning...

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I disagree. I have been taking lessons for less than a year and a large part of my lessons consist of tips for interpretation. Right from the first lessons the focus should be on making music and not just hitting the right keys.



That is fine ... as long as you know the difference between "interpreting" and "It is too hard for me to play as written".



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Fellow beginner here.

Nice job Dakar Dave! Really enjoyed listening to your version.

I agree that using a metronome (at least part of the time) and slowing it down and gradually working your tempo up to speed would help with the unevenness. But again, great job!


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Since you asked for a critique I'm afraid I'm going to be less kind than the other people responding to your interpretation of Fur Elise. I listened to about 1 minute of your piece. It really is terrible. You are not displaying any musical sense and your timing is all off. Have you considered starting from the beginning and getting a teacher to help you?



dmd #2476053 10/31/15 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I disagree. I have been taking lessons for less than a year and a large part of my lessons consist of tips for interpretation. Right from the first lessons the focus should be on making music and not just hitting the right keys.



That is fine ... as long as you know the difference between "interpreting" and "It is too hard for me to play as written".



I think this is valid. For me, playing it as written is getting more important to me. I'm starting to listen to how Schnabel, Kempff and more recently Lisista play this beautiful - often overplayed piece, and the desire to replicate that sound is strong.

If you asked me a year ago, I would have said that "I'm an adult learner, so I'm not trying to be a concert pianist.. I just want to play it so I'm happy with it"

Its funny as you learn more the piano, you stop being happy how you really start to develop a desire to want to play it "correctly" smile

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You can work with a metronome or just practice counting, both ways will help you learn to play in time. But you must, because at the moment your playing is quite intolerable to listen to due to the rhythm issues. Getting that right is the first priority IMO.

The fact that it doesn't bother you more just shows that you need to develope you ears a bit. The best way to do this is to listen and learn to play music that is a little simpler.

There are adult beginners who seem to get it right at once simply by ear, but not everyone can. And seems you will need to put some work into it...The good news is that when you start to work seriously on your weakest spots, progress also can be really fast and that is very motivating.

Last edited by outo; 11/01/15 04:53 AM.
dmd #2476084 11/01/15 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
You need to get a metronome going a very slow pace (60 bpm or less) and begin working on the first 2 or 3 measures and get those down perfectly ON TIME before going any further.

Agree. Most people who complain about playing to a metronome do so because they lack a solid sense of time. (I know because I used to be one of them. smile ) Interpretation is a matter of stretching and compressing time, but one should be able to feel an underlying pulse of the beat underneath it.

A metronome trick for beginners is to set it to the eighth note, or in this case, the sixteenth. Try 150-160 range. It's easier to keep on track that way.


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