2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
40 members (cygnusdei, beeboss, Ben_NZ, choppin, Animisha, Boboulus, CraiginNZ, benQF, 7 invisible), 922 guests, and 402 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
My teacher says I should add a stretch piece to my list of things to practice, and it should be a few levels above what I'm working on (level 1). I am currently always working on technical stuff (scales, etc), 1 repertoire piece and 1 etude. The pieces take about 3 weeks to get really comfortable and up to tempo.

I hear a lot about adding a challenging piece to carry along with the usual work load...and taking several months with it. I like seeing progress, and ~3 weeks per piece seems ideal. Always something new and I feel like I'm learning and improving. Will my skills bump up more quickly? What will it do for me? At this point, I feel like it might just be frustrating.

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 306
B
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 306
Occasional challenging pieces can definitely be beneficial. But when you say your are level 1, do you mean less than 1 year, beginner level playing?

If so, I think that is far too early to consider challenging pieces. I think concentrating more on a large volume of easier pieces is a much better way to go at that level.

Once you get more into late elementary, level 2 or 3, then I think you can try the occasional challenging pieces at that point. But still, I would only pick something 1 level up, not "a few" (2 or more). You don't want anything that would take more than, say, 2 months to finish.

Once you are solidly in intermediate territory, then you could finally consider an occasional song that would take several months to learn and perfect.


Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,460
A
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
A
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,460
grace_note, on this page, which are Primer pieces, Bahay Kubo and Frère Jacques (in Level C) have a "shift down" and "shift up" movement; Amazing Grace (Level B) also moves left hand down; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (B) the same. Ok! I found the one where it says "stretch": Clementine (Level C).

They are all Beginner pieces, so I guess good to try these things for the first time. It meant a new little challenge for me. laugh

The page: http://www.gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/freebiesP.html

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,471
I am thinking that if a teacher tells a beginner student to stretch in this way, the teacher should also be recommending pieces to that student to try. Not only that, but the teacher should be vetting the editions, checking for things like fingering or whatever. Teachers - am I wrong? @Grace note - I think you should ask your teacher to recommend a piece or a couple of pieces.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Originally Posted by Albunea
grace_note, on this page, which are Primer pieces, Bahay Kubo and Frère Jacques (in Level C) have a "shift down" and "shift up" movement; Amazing Grace (Level B) also moves left hand down; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (B) the same. Ok! I found the one where it says "stretch": Clementine (Level C).

They are all Beginner pieces, so I guess good to try these things for the first time. It meant a new little challenge for me. laugh

The page: http://www.gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/freebiesP.html


What a great site! Looking at the music, I'm probably around Level 3. To level set my playing ability, I've completed Alfred's Adult All in One, Book 1, and am using the RCM Level 1 Rep and Etudes books as my lesson books. My teacher says that's a little unusual, but I have them, and I like the pieces, so she's ok with it.

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,825
K
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
K
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,825
Our own Happy Piano Muse has a blog site where she offers (free!) compositions suitable for levels one two and three. There's some nice preludes that might suit your level.

Here's a link:

Happy Piano Muse Blog

Kurt



**********************************************************************************************************
Co-owner (by marriage) and part time customer service rep at an electronic musical equipment repair shop.
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,949
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,949
At level 1, you should not have to spend 3 weeks on any piece. It's an indication of weak sight reading ability and/or poor choice of repertoire. You might want to duck back down to primer level and play more, easier, shorter pieces to build up your sight reading ability. At this stage, you need a quantity of new music to help you read better.

Stretch pieces at this level are completely pointless unless the student can read fluently and learn music quickly. The frustration you are experiencing should be avoided by giving the student pieces they can handle well for your level. I don't give out stretch pieces until the student is in level 4 or so, and it's never more than 2 or 3 levels above what the student can handle.

FWIW, my level 1 students can pretty much sight read their new pieces in class, almost decently. The practice during the week is to bring the piece up to a polished form, and then we move on.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
At level 1, you should not have to spend 3 weeks on any piece. It's an indication of weak sight reading ability and/or poor choice of repertoire. You might want to duck back down to primer level and play more, easier, shorter pieces to build up your sight reading ability. At this stage, you need a quantity of new music to help you read better.

Stretch pieces at this level are completely pointless unless the student can read fluently and learn music quickly. The frustration you are experiencing should be avoided by giving the student pieces they can handle well for your level. I don't give out stretch pieces until the student is in level 4 or so, and it's never more than 2 or 3 levels above what the student can handle.

FWIW, my level 1 students can pretty much sight read their new pieces in class, almost decently. The practice during the week is to bring the piece up to a polished form, and then we move on.


1 piece per week, wow. I can play through a piece (very slowly) at first sight. It's the technical aspects of the piece, the fingering, and figuring out how I want to play it musically. Then, just getting it fluent and up to tempo. They feel challenging, but not too hard. I'll ask my teacher about that. I did bring the books to her at my first lesson...she didn't choose them for me.

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,087
M
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,087
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
FWIW, my level 1 students can pretty much sight read their new pieces in class, almost decently. The practice during the week is to bring the piece up to a polished form, and then we move on.
+1


Pianist and Piano Teacher
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,471
I had hoped for some teacher response to this.
Originally Posted by keystring
I am thinking that if a teacher tells a beginner student to stretch in this way, the teacher should also be recommending pieces to that student to try. Not only that, but the teacher should be vetting the editions, checking for things like fingering or whatever. Teachers - am I wrong? @Grace note - I think you should ask your teacher to recommend a piece or a couple of pieces.

Surely a teacher of a beginner should have some input on what the student is choosing, rather this being totally up to the student. I may have missed it, but I don't think I saw any suggestion saying "Consult your teacher."

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Thanks everyone, for your responses.

Thank you keystroking, I did ask my teacher to recommend a piece.

AZNpiano, I asked my teacher if the pieces are too hard for me because they are taking a few weeks. She said I was doing just fine. She did say the kids want a new piece every week... I'm just enjoying the music. I've attended 2 of her recitals now, and let's just say she seems to be holding me to a higher standard than what the kids are playing. (Although some of them are pretty impressive).

But.....no one has answered the original question in the topic. Anyone?

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 306
B
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 306
I guess its hard to quantify but I will give it a try.

It really depends on what particular stretch piece it is. For example, perhaps it is a style of music you have never read before, and so it will improve your sight reading or at least start to make you a little more familiar with that particular style.

Or it could contain new technical demands you have not encountered before- such as specific pedaling demands, scale passages, or grace notes, or rhythmic combinations. Maybe a new key?

It could demand more from both hands at the same time than you are usually used to.

It all really depends what the piece is, but basically, if I could generalize, it introduces you to new styles and concepts. So the benefit is, the next time you encounter a similar piece in that style, you will already be "primed" shall we say, and able to learn additional pieces in that style faster.

I think maybe the main benefit (more than just learning some new concept) is the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment from doing a stretch piece, the inspiration you derive from it, and the motivational kick it gives you to keep going and work harder to get to those next levels!

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,701
C
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by grace_note
My teacher says I should add a stretch piece to my list of things to practice, and it should be a few levels above what I'm working on (level 1).
I disagree with your teacher. Refining one piece to a high level, yes, but punching above? no. That's what exercises are for.

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,182
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,182
I just had this exact discussion with my teacher last night (for the umpteenth time).

Her philosophy is pretty straight-forward: attempting pieces that are several levels above your current playing ability is a really really bad idea.

However, here is an example of what she is willing to entertain:
By the end of next month I will be starting the next level of my lesson books (early intermediate). There is a lovely Chopin piece (grade 3) that I think I would like to start working on. She will examine the piece, and if it is doable at my current playing level she will approve.


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,701
C
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,701
Also, I've been teaching for 25 years now and never come across the term 'stretch piece'. Someone's made it up and, most certainly, it's not pedagogically sound! i.e. don't all pieces 'stretch'? I do believe that's the point of education.

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,089
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,089
Originally Posted by grace_note
My teacher says I should add a stretch piece to my list of things to practice, and it should be a few levels above what I'm working on (level 1).

Do you have some reason to doubt your teacher's recommendation?



Originally Posted by grace_note
Will my skills bump up more quickly? What will it do for me? At this point, I feel like it might just be frustrating.


I don't know what will happen. Your teacher almost certainly knows you better than anyone on the forum. (If this is not the case, then there is a problem!)

Of course the experience will depend on the piece and on your skills. Why not try it and see? Maybe it will be a wonderful experience. Maybe it won't be. Maybe it will be frustrating or maybe it will be a delightful challenge.


Learner
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 205
Originally Posted by blueston
I guess its hard to quantify but I will give it a try.

It really depends on what particular stretch piece it is. For example, perhaps it is a style of music you have never read before, and so it will improve your sight reading or at least start to make you a little more familiar with that particular style.

Or it could contain new technical demands you have not encountered before- such as specific pedaling demands, scale passages, or grace notes, or rhythmic combinations. Maybe a new key?

It could demand more from both hands at the same time than you are usually used to.

It all really depends what the piece is, but basically, if I could generalize, it introduces you to new styles and concepts. So the benefit is, the next time you encounter a similar piece in that style, you will already be "primed" shall we say, and able to learn additional pieces in that style faster.

I think maybe the main benefit (more than just learning some new concept) is the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment from doing a stretch piece, the inspiration you derive from it, and the motivational kick it gives you to keep going and work harder to get to those next levels!


This is most helpful. Thank you.

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,949
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,949
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Also, I've been teaching for 25 years now and never come across the term 'stretch piece'. Someone's made it up and, most certainly, it's not pedagogically sound! i.e. don't all pieces 'stretch'? I do believe that's the point of education.

In my experience, a "stretch" piece is one that is intentionally difficult, which causes the student to struggle more than usual in order to perfect. I've used such pieces strategically with certain students who are more tenacious and musical than others. The result can be quite astounding.

Of course, there are other times where I assign a piece that's 2 levels below what the student is playing, so that the piece can be polished easily and presented at recitals, exams, festivals, etc.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,701
C
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,701
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

In my experience, a "stretch" piece is one that is intentionally difficult, which causes the student to struggle more than usual
I hate to sound pedantic but isn't there a problem if the student is struggling? I mean Beethoven struggled, Michelangelo struggled but our students? I'm not sure that's the point of piano lessons.

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,471
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,471
I am still waiting for any teacher to respond to what I wrote. It would seem to me that if a beginner is expected to choose a more advanced piece, that the teacher should have a role in that choice. Nobody has addressed this yet, and I'm not willing to let it go, because it seems important. I can't imagine that I have to write reasons.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Sustain Pedal Use
by john fh - 09/25/21 02:13 AM
Insulted a Kawai salesman with straight talk
by Cristofori - 09/25/21 01:37 AM
Berg Sieben Früher Lieder and more
by MinscAndBoo - 09/24/21 08:47 PM
Free Books
by Larry Fine - 09/24/21 07:18 PM
Need help finding a piece (Streabbog?)
by cygnusdei - 09/24/21 06:51 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Our Free Newsletter for Piano Lovers!
The summer edition of our free newsletter
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics209,282
Posts3,134,982
Members102,816
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5