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#2757316 08/10/18 08:28 AM
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A couple of months ago I posted that I'm thinking about quitting lesson in 2 years time, having returned to the piano for 8 years. I didn't know where I wanted to go with lessons because it felt too repetitive, new piece, practise, another piece, practice and so on.

After some reflection, I started to compile a list of the pieces I studied. Then I tried to make a wish list for the next few years hoping I will keep going with my lessons. Below is what I came up with.

I feel like I want to explore other composers in the romantic era like Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn, but I don't know what pieces I will find interesting and challenging enough to tackle. I also want to have a go at Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 or 21 but not sure if it's normal for people to study concerto not aiming to perform? Also, I'm thinking about Bach outside of WTC, maybe Aria and a selection of variations from the Goldberg Variations, or something from one of his suites or partitas. Because of uncertainties I haven't added these to my wish list yet. Any suggestions?

What was your journey like and what does it look like ahead?


STUDIED May 2010 - Aug 2018

BACH
[*]Prelude G, WTC2
[*]Prelude & Fugue Fm, WTC2 (Grade 8 exam)
[*]Prelude & Fugue C#, WTC1
[*]Prelude & Fugue Dm, WTC2
[*]Prelude & Fugue E, WTC2

BEETHOVEN
[*]Pathetique Sonata (repeated)

BRAHMS
[*]Ballade, Op118

CHOPIN
[*]Nocturne Db
[*]Fantaisie Impromptu C#m
[*]Nocturne Cm
[*]Nocturne Em (Grade 8 Exam)
[*]Waltz C#m
[*]Waltz Em
[*]Ballade 1
[*]Ballade 4 (studying now)
[*]Etude 3, Op10
[*]Etude 4, Op10

DEBUSSY
[*]Golliwoggs' Cakewalk
[*]The Snow is Dancing
[*]Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
[*]Reverie
[*]Girl with Flaxen Hair
[*]Sarabande

HAYDN
[*]Andante with Variations Fm

LISZT
[*]Concert Etude Forest Mummers
[*]Liebestraume 3

MOZART
[*]Sonata A, K331 (1st & 3rd movements) (Grade 8 Exam 1st mvt)
[*]Sonata C, K330 (repeated)
[*]Fantaisie Cm, K475

MESSIAEN
[*]Prelude the Dove (Grade 8 Exam)

PROKOFIEV
[*]Love of Three Oranges, March

RACHMANINOV
[*]Prelude C#m
[*]Prelude D
[*]Prelude Gm (repeating now)
[*]Prelude G#m (repeated)

RAVEL
[*]Jeux Deau
[*]La Vallee Des Clothes
[*]Pavane for a Dead Princess (studying now)

SCALARTTI
[*]Sonata Bm, K27


One-Off Lesson
[*]Bach Prelude Cm, WTC2
[*]Haydn Sonata C, HobXVI/48 (2nd movement)
[*]Chopin Raindrop Prelude
[*]Chopin Prelude No. 1
[*]Schubert Moment Musical Fm


WISH LIST
[*]Chopin Grand Waltz (teacher previously rejected)
[*]Polonaise Ab (teacher is encouraging)
[*]Mazurka Ab
[*]Bach-Rachmaninov Partita 3 (teacher is encouraging)
[*]Bach-Busoni Chaconne (teacher is encouraging)
[*]Liszt La Campanella (didn't dare to suggest)
[*]Prokofiev Toccata Dm (teacher previously rejected)
[*] Haydn Sonata (London) (teacher previously rejected)
[*]Debussy Arabesque 1 (teacher previously rejected)
[*]Debussy Claire De Lune (teacher previously rejected)


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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
A couple of months ago I posted that I'm thinking about quitting lesson in 2 years time, having returned to the piano for 8 years. I didn't know where I wanted to go with lessons because it felt too repetitive, new piece, practise, another piece, practice and so on.



This statement indicates (to me) that you are not enjoying the journey.

That can be a problem because that is all there is.

I was at a similar place a few years ago and decided to end that cycle you alude to.

I was probably in a worse place than you because my efforts were primarily memorizing each piece and playing from memory.

I could read the music but not while I was playing. I needed to look at the keyboard in order to play.

That routine got old, as you apparently know.

I shifted into the jazz genre.

That enabled me to make a piece of music my own by playing with the skills I had or if I chose to … build new skills for that piece.

While I may not be moving up along the grade levels, I am still playing and enjoying what I play.

If I had not done that, I believe I would have focused more on playing from a score so that the memorizing part was reduced to a minimum because the memorizing is what I objected to. That was too tedious.

Good Luck


Last edited by dmd; 08/10/18 09:50 AM.

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Other than Debussy and Prokofiev, you're short on modern music. Maybe exploring something with strong rhythms and beats would get you excited?







Sam

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I had regular lessons weekly during school year for about 7 years. Then my teacher became unavailable for a year. So I decided to take a break from lessons but not from practicing. At first my work was a bit random but now I feel I am getting back on track. I do not miss weekly lessons because I realize now that it was getting tedious and isn't necessary the most suitable model for me. I simply enjoy more the independent study without lesson deadlines. Sometimes I put aside a piece for some weeks only to come back to it with renewed interest. But I do miss my teacher's tips and our discussions on the pieces. So I think I will ask for less frequent lessons when she returns.

I find a lot of pleasure now in returning to polish and memorize some music that I really enjoy and exploring new pieces that intrique me. I still have a long list of pieces and composers I want to study, so it's more a matter of finding the time and energy with my present job situation.

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Originally Posted by outo
I simply enjoy more the independent study without lesson deadlines. Sometimes I put aside a piece for some weeks only to come back to it with renewed interest. But I do miss my teacher's tips and our discussions on the pieces. So I think I will ask for less frequent lessons when she returns.

I find a lot of pleasure now in returning to polish and memorize some music that I really enjoy and exploring new pieces that intrique me.


It sounds like you have discovered how you enjoy the journey. That is the trick.

We are all different and we must find our own way.

I also take lessons periodically (Skype) just to have a professional keep me moving in the right direction. After that, it is up to me to do the work. That works for me.


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Hey, Tubbie, that's a nice list...you should be really proud of that list! I love lists (eg my Repertoire Vault thread...similar style).

Some of your pieces are on my wish list, but most are on the "never gonna happen" list! That's what's so great about this instrument, as we learn, there are new and more avenues to explore. Either more in depth focus on a genre or composer, or new styles and composers yet to be explored. It sounds like you're breaking through the intermediate into the advanced stage, which opens up your options even further. Stick with it!


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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
A couple of months ago I posted that I'm thinking about quitting lesson in 2 years time, having returned to the piano for 8 years. I didn't know where I wanted to go with lessons because it felt too repetitive, new piece, practise, another piece, practice and so on.

After some reflection, I started to compile a list of the pieces I studied. Then I tried to make a wish list for the next few years hoping I will keep going with my lessons. Below is what I came up with.

I feel like I want to explore other composers in the romantic era like Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn, but I don't know what pieces I will find interesting and challenging enough to tackle. I also want to have a go at Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 or 21 but not sure if it's normal for people to study concerto not aiming to perform?

Normality is grossly overrated.

If you want to learn a concerto, why not? I learnt K466 and K467 among others - by myself - when I was still a student. I played the orchestral parts whenever I had free fingers or hands to do so, so I could play the whole concerto complete, not just the piano part.....and I composed my own cadenzas for them, which helped to make them "my own" wink .

And I've never played them with anyone else, not even a second pianist playing the orchestral part, let alone an orchestra.

As for Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn, I strongly recommend them. You can start with Schubert's Impromptus - my favourites (which I still perform regularly) are D899 Nos.2, 3 and 4. And have a go at the sonatas - D664 is usually the first one pianists learn, but I like the dramatic D784. Have a listen to Richter's granitic performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAxuFcFSw_g

If you prefer something gentle (and more 'Viennese'), there's D894. This is the slowest on record grin, again by Richter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7_OW2__ZR0

And I really like the Klavierstücke D946:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG_ftHbEGps

As for Schumann, my last teacher introduced me to his fantastical world of abrupt shifts of mood and texture (Florestan & Eusebius) with Carnaval and Kreisleriana......and I went on to learn his great C major Fantasy by myself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ7hE4lQAYs

Mendelssohn has composed many brilliant and tuneful pieces, like the Rondo capriccioso (still my favourite since my teens):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMbgwEB5_NI

And this 'Scottish sonata': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7HghWHOCZQ


Quote
Also, I'm thinking about Bach outside of WTC, maybe Aria and a selection of variations from the Goldberg Variations, or something from one of his suites or partitas. Because of uncertainties I haven't added these to my wish list yet. Any suggestions?

The Goldberg is one of the few Bach keyboard pieces I like enough to learn & perform (not in its entirety - yet). Another is Partita No.1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvhurpp-wDc


Quote
WISH LIST
......
[*]Debussy Arabesque 1 (teacher previously rejected)
[*]Debussy Claire De Lune (teacher previously rejected)

What's the reason your teacher rejected those lovely Debussy pieces?

They're easy enough for you to learn by yourself, in any case. Go ahead - they won't take you long, and they're always appreciated even by non-cognoscenti.

BTW, have you tried Bartók's Romanian Folk Dances? Quite a different style from any of the stuff you've played so far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoaKYJrXoVw


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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
A couple of months ago I posted that I'm thinking about quitting lesson in 2 years time, having returned to the piano for 8 years. I didn't know where I wanted to go with lessons because it felt too repetitive, new piece, practise, another piece, practice and so on........

Then I tried to make a wish list for the next few years hoping I will keep going with my lessons. Below is what I came up with.


I have to wonder if your list really addresses the deficit you feel. You lament the repetition "new piece, practise, another piece, practice and so on". Yet, your remedial plan is a list of pieces that will inevitably take you down that same path interminably.

Might there be other activities in which you can use your considerable experience and skills with piano? Have you considered singing, and using your piano to accompany yourself? Or, performing with friends, a local piano group, or a local group of musicians? There are likely populations nearby that do not get to hear much live music, and would be appreciative even if you learn no additional repertoire.

How about composing?

How about providing volunteer or low cost lessons to kids or adults who might not otherwise have an opportunity to ever play? Your contributions on ABF certainly show understanding, talent, and willingness to share. You are likely more equipped for this that you give yourself credit for.

I am doubtful that your list is really going to address the angst you are feeling.


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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
I am doubtful that your list is really going to address the angst you are feeling.



+1


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dmd
It's not like I don't enjoy lesson. I constantly learn a lot during lessons which makes me feel excited and give me hope I can play better. But because of lessons and practising for them, I have 0 time to venture outside those pieces.

My guess about my teacher rejecting Debussy pieces is that either they are overplayed or that they aren't much for me to learn from those pieces. I don't know because I never ask. I think they are pieces I can learn myself. The problem is, if I don't learn them through lessons, I don't get the spare time for them.

Bennevis
I would happily add Mendelssohn's Rondo capriccioso to my wish list. I'll have a listen to your other suggestions. Thanks.

Ralphiano
I've tried but not very hard and to no success looking for someone to play/share piano interests with. I even attempted to offer free lessons to adult beginners.

I'm not creative or knowledgeable enough to compose anything I'll like. I've tried them. That said, I'd really like to transcribe Bach's Andante for violin solo to the piano. I've been thinking of asking my teacher for guide since he's also a composer.

Sam S
I don't think those are my cup of tea although they do sound very interesting. I've been thinking of Piazzolla but don't know any good piano transcriptions for his music. You know any?

outo
Lesson deadline is part of the problem for me too and restrict me from venturing outside pieces I'm learning. I don't want to completely withdraw from lesson so I'm now considering suggesting to teacher a "blend" it with something else.

cmb13
I've enjoyed the pleasures and challenges throughout the last 8 years and I don't want to throw them away. There are several pieces I want to revisit, particularly the more challenging ones like Chopin's Ballade 1 and Etude 4 and Ravel's Jeux Deau. I know if I don't have lessons I won't be disciplined enough to practise as much as I do now (and I don't practise that much already). That's why although I've grown rather tiresome of the lesson cycle, I still want to somehow keep going.


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Very interest thread.

I am quite obsessed with Mendelssohn so I can advise on this one.

Songs without words

It is a very good series which has a wide variation of pieces that are short and extremely interesting.

The most commonly played are the gondola songs which are well within your abilities. There are four of these but perhaps these two would be a good introduction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AluVjLyVzFU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxVIYxE9CEI

There are other styles of pieces by mendelssohn, there is a quite elf-like and fast pace style which you dont get in other pieces.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8EWtvUKEv0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt25qJV4-_I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSytpkdEz-M

Scottish sonata sounds hard but it is certainly quite doable so I agree with this one. It is a very good suggestion. I play only the first of the movement as the entire sonata is too much work. It may be harder as you have not played Mendelssohn before but an excellent suggestion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=786RVhOXF5w

There are some impossible pieces by Mendelssohn. Rondo capriccoso is one. It is perhaps doable for someone who has good experience at a professional diploma level but I would strongly strong strongly recommend to avoid. This is a very naughty suggestion by Mr Ben. I would not recommend it to you perhaps it needs much more experience. I cant play it properly.

Schubert has a very nice series called Musical Moments which again has some nice styles. I find that his music requires quite a lot of fingerwork to achieve a good result.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq5Ks3_r6f0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlxIqsCEMLE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgFjNS7bY8U

I love this piece but it is a duet. I intend to clone to play it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO5fLLHj55k

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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
dmd
It's not like I don't enjoy lesson. I constantly learn a lot during lessons which makes me feel excited and give me hope I can play better. But because of lessons and practising for them, I have 0 time to venture outside those pieces.



Be careful. You may be in danger of slipping into a form of depression due to a feeling of helplessness.

You must take control.


YOU decide how much time you will spend on formal lesson pieces.

YOU decide which other pieces you are going to have "fun" with.

It is similar to a saying about those who worship "money"...... You can't take it with you.

Same applies to this .....

Do the things that make you happy.

Do not be a victim.

Take over.

You will be much happier in the long run.


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Moo

I like Mendelssohn Gondola Song op. 19 and 30 no. 6 I'll have to listen to the sonata properly to decide on that one.

I already play Schubert Moment Musical 3. I quite like it and fish the music out once in a blue moon to play.

The other suggestions I'm not too keen.

Thanks


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Schubert Wanderer Fantasy ain't half bad either, You could try giving that a bash.

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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
I've been thinking of Piazzolla but don't know any good piano transcriptions for his music. You know any?


There are a few collections on Amazon UK (I don't know about Australia).

This is one I have of his best-known tango, Libertango:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/PETERS-PIA...;keywords=Piazzolla+libertango+for+piano

You can glimpse a bit of the score to see whether it suits you. It's also in one of the anthologies:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/40-Piazzol...;sr=1-2&keywords=Piazzolla+for+piano
....but I don't know what it's like.

Have you thought of Spanish music? Albéniz and Granados composed a lot for piano, including very difficult stuff (Iberia and Goyescas), but there's also the easier Chants d'Espagne (Albéniz) which includes the well-known Asturias and Córdoba (both better known in guitar arrangements) and Granados's Spanish Dances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P8BQVhOv5A

Have you tried Grieg? Many of his Lyric Pieces are easy enough to be sight-read (like the lovely Arietta, Op.12/1), but there's also fun rumbustious stuff like this famous wedding:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eMFuTpchns

......which is one of my (and my audience's) favourite party pieces grin.

Staying in the Nordic countries, I fell in love with this piece by Finland's greatest composer (though not particularly known for his piano music) when the winner of the Sydney Piano Competition played it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWJJkYm_66E

Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so branch out into less familiar (but fun) stuff........


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dmd

Thanks for your concern. I have plenty of excuses to slip into depression, like being gay in my midlife. Piano is far from a possible cause. It's one of my salvations.

I'm someone that's over controlling at work and in my private life because I tend to steer away from the unexpected. Security issues? If anything, I'd like to let loose and not control too much in my musical life too. I need to learn the freedom of chaos and the excitement it brings. My life is boring enough.

Happiness doesn't always mean doing the things you like and avoiding the things you don't like. Sometimes happiness becomes more meaningful when, despite not liking it, you put in the effort, struggle and accomplish to get to where you want to be. With piano, I suppose what I'm trying to do is find a way to enjoy the process more.

That's my take :-)


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Tubbie I have a Piazzolla Milonga series that I like. It’s out there on Google - Milonga del Angel is the first of the series. Love it !


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Regarding your statement on challenges, I find that it is often the things that your most afraid of or that are the hugest obstacles, that once attacked and concured bring the most satisfaction. That was how it was for me in my occupation as well.


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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
dmd

Thanks for your concern. I have plenty of excuses to slip into depression, like being gay in my midlife. Piano is far from a possible cause. It's one of my salvations.

I'm someone that's over controlling at work and in my private life because I tend to steer away from the unexpected. Security issues? If anything, I'd like to let loose and not control too much in my musical life too. I need to learn the freedom of chaos and the excitement it brings.



Well, I just looked at your Youtube contributions and you probably have a repertoire which could serve you well for some sort of public concert. A free concert at the park ? Playing at a dinner club ?

You might find something like that would present you with a new challenge/motivation and serve to give you some recognition for the work you put in on this.

I think your skill level is certainly at a point where you could do this.

I think you need a spark of some kind to get you going and add some meaning to this.


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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075

Happiness doesn't always mean doing the things you like and avoiding the things you don't like. Sometimes happiness becomes more meaningful when, despite not liking it, you put in the effort, struggle and accomplish to get to where you want to be. With piano, I suppose what I'm trying to do is find a way to enjoy the process more.


As dmd mentioned, if you could make opportunities to use your music in other, less private ways, that would add a spark to your musical life. You just have to find them - and grab them when they come wink .

I was always quite content to practise and play purely for my own satisfaction, and I never even talked about my piano playing to anyone, unless they were musicians themselves. (To this day, none of my work colleagues know I play the piano, or sing, or....). But I did enjoy trying out all pianos whenever I could find them - in public spaces and places like airports, train stations (- I also enjoy travelling), churches, stately homes, hotels, ships, shopping malls etc. Often, people would stop to listen, or even video me - and I've had the odd request too grin.

And it was actually in a conference hall where I first attended for a meeting a few years ago which eventually changed my outlook on my piano playing - I arrived early, saw the ancient grand there, and asked the organiser if I could play it. By the time I ran through a few pieces that I could play (roughly) from memory, other people had arrived, and were sitting quietly listening to me - and I was then asked if I could make it a regular event. It was an offer I couldn't refuse..... cool

It was only after I got home that I realised what I'd let myself in for: I had next to no pieces I could play complete from memory, and I couldn't keep fudging by half-improvising to 'fill in the blanks' like I did earlier that evening, if I was going to play a short recital once a month. And I had no page-turner to help me out, so playing from the music wasn't practicable.

So, I started memorising the easier pieces that I could already play well, and it went on from there as I went on to learn new pieces to perform from memory. Initially, it was almost like sitting a piano exam every month, such was the amount of work I had to put into learning and memorising pieces (the latter I never did for my grade exams, of course), but the satisfaction was immense - especially when people came to me afterwards to compliment my playing and my choice of music. Even more so when people asked me about the pieces I played, their composers etc, and whether - and how - they could start learning to play themselves (or re-start, if they once played as kids).

Or to put it another way, in my old age whistle, I discovered a new lease of life to my piano playing and an incentive to learn new rep and practice them properly.

So could you, if you look for it.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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