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#3069075 01/14/21 01:15 PM
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Going through a relatively standard sequence of learning the works of a given composer.

Let me explain better with my story Mozart.

I started very late, at age 14. And skipped many of the developmental stages of pianism. My first sonata was Beethoven's Op. 13, and my first Mozart sonata was K. 333. I then jumped into K 332 and 330 in college. And then some more of the more advanced sonatas. Well, when I hit 30 I realized that one of my goals was to become a competent Mozart pianist and record and perform the complete sonatas. So recently, I realized that I skipped the main line of development. So now I am going back and learning k 545 and the d minor Fantasia.

I know now that with my students, we must start at the beginning regardless of age... and try not to skip too far ahead if at all possible.

Thoughts?

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The main thing is how well you play the Mozart Sonatas you have already learned. If you play them well I don't see a need to go back and play easier sonatas just because you skipped those. If you don't play them well or to your satisfaction, what you do next depends on what issues you feel you have to solve.

Most students do move progressively through the works of the major composers but I don't think that's always necessary, A terrific pianist who is a PW member once shocked me by saying her first Rachmaninov piece was his second piano concerto(or some similarly difficult work). I am quite sure she played it very well.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The main thing is how well you play the Mozart Sonatas you have already learned. If you play them well I don't see a need to go back and play easier sonatas just because you skipped those. If you don't play them well or to your satisfaction, what you do next depends on what issues you feel you have to solve.

Most students do move progressively through the works of the major composers but I don't think that's always necessary, A terrific pianist who is a PW member once shocked me by saying her first Rachmaninov piece was his second piano concerto(or some similarly difficult work). I am quite sure she played it very well.


Ive been told by all of my teachers through my college years that I am very dedicated to the score, and all its details... and have learned to play Mozart quite well. But now I am a professional, and on my own... and as an autodidact now, I want to do this as thoroughly as possible... because my goal is to be a master of it by age 50

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The main thing is how well you play the Mozart Sonatas you have already learned. If you play them well I don't see a need to go back and play easier sonatas just because you skipped those. If you don't play them well or to your satisfaction, what you do next depends on what issues you feel you have to solve.

Most students do move progressively through the works of the major composers but I don't think that's always necessary, A terrific pianist who is a PW member once shocked me by saying her first Rachmaninov piece was his second piano concerto(or some similarly difficult work). I am quite sure she played it very well.


And that's pretty amazing about her Rachmaninov isn't it? Maybe its a good thing she didn't start out banging out the C# Minor Prelude laugh laugh laugh

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
A terrific pianist who is a PW member once shocked me by saying her first Rachmaninov piece was his second piano concerto(or some similarly difficult work). I am quite sure she played it very well.

Ha ha, I was the same. My first (actually, my only) Rachmaninoff piece is Concerto #2. I guess I should learn some of the preludes. My husband would enjoy that.


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Originally Posted by coaster
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
A terrific pianist who is a PW member once shocked me by saying her first Rachmaninov piece was his second piano concerto(or some similarly difficult work). I am quite sure she played it very well.

Ha ha, I was the same. My first (actually, my only) Rachmaninoff piece is Concerto #2. I guess I should learn some of the preludes. My husband would enjoy that.

You might enjoy them, too. smile

Seriously, do learn some of them as they are so rewarding both to play and to listen to.

Regards,


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Once a player learns how to read and interpret music, along with how to manipulate their instrument into making it respond as they wish, playing the piano should be an enjoyable experience and not a chore. I see too many pianists here struggling with classical pieces of music. What has the average person really gained by saying that they can play xxx, the same piece of music that's been played millions of times over by a million other pianists??? I liken this to the joy of being able to throw a basketball through a hoop from the foul line; it's been done before, and it's no great accomplishment...but just because sports ball players get paid millions of dollars to do it, it's somehow worthy of replicating by John Q. Public, for no salary?

My piano lessons began at age 5, and I'm now 61 years old. Many years ago I discarded most of the 5' tall pile of classical music that I was trained on and began composing my own music, and it has been a wonderful, enjoyable, and often times a very touching experience for me.

I'm retired early due to health issues, suffering from severe RA and as such am on full disability, so I sleep when I'm tired and I eat when I'm hungry, and either of those two activities can take place at any time of the day, be it at 3am or 3pm. I'd much rather be healthy and still working and contributing to my pension/401k, but there's been a bright side to this; being disabled has given me the opportunity to be creative at composing music, and although I can no longer play as vigorously as I once could, I can actually be more gentle and expressive than I ever could before.

So my message to the struggling pianists is this; playing the piano should be a source of enjoyment and not a struggle. Do not "skip ahead" of your abilities or all you will gain is aggravation and disappointment. And if you find yourself struggling then perhaps you should step back a bit and revisit that which you learned prior; with familiarlity comes comfort. Then once you find that comfort, only then should you slowly forge ahead smile


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Originally Posted by DrewBone
Once a player learns how to read and interpret music, along with how to manipulate their instrument into making it respond as they wish, playing the piano should be an enjoyable experience and not a chore. I see too many pianists here struggling with classical pieces of music. What has the average person really gained by saying that they can play xxx, the same piece of music that's been played millions of times over by a million other pianists??? I liken this to the joy of being able to throw a basketball through a hoop from the foul line; it's been done before, and it's no great accomplishment...but just because sports ball players get paid millions of dollars to do it, it's somehow worthy of replicating by John Q. Public, for no salary?

My piano lessons began at age 5, and I'm now 61 years old. Many years ago I discarded most of the 5' tall pile of classical music that I was trained on and began composing my own music, and it has been a wonderful, enjoyable, and often times a very touching experience for me.

I'm retired early due to health issues, suffering from severe RA and as such am on full disability, so I sleep when I'm tired and I eat when I'm hungry, and either of those two activities can take place at any time of the day, be it at 3am or 3pm. I'd much rather be healthy and still working and contributing to my pension/401k, but there's been a bright side to this; being disabled has given me the opportunity to be creative at composing music, and although I can no longer play as vigorously as I once could, I can actually be more gentle and expressive than I ever could before.

So my message to the struggling pianists is this; playing the piano should be a source of enjoyment and not a struggle. Do not "skip ahead" of your abilities or all you will gain is aggravation and disappointent. And if you find yourself struggling then perhaps you should step back a bit and revisit that which you learned prior; with familiarlity comes comfort. Then once you find that comfort, only then should you slowly forge ahead smile

I know you're speaking from your own experience, but that's not my case at all. I love every note of Mozart I play... whether its K. 1 or K. 332. I have the ability now to play pretty much anything he wrote, but I am a bit of a completionist, and find great joy in doing it very thoroughly. That being said, I applaud your point.

Last edited by MinscAndBoo; 01/16/21 12:08 PM.
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Also, disregarding me and my mission... the point is that a more natural progression through the works of a given composer leads to a more natural understanding. Ive heard K545 and the d minor fantasia referred to as milestones, or rites of passage. I missed these rites of passage as a youth, and now find them necessary (and fun!). The same with Beethoven. Wouldn't your understanding of Op. 110 or 111 be more complete if you understood the earlier styles as a youth?... starting with things like op 2 no 1 and Op 14 1 and 2?

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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
... the point is that a more natural progression through the works of a given composer leads to a more natural understanding. Ive heard K545 and the d minor fantasia referred to as milestones, or rites of passage. I missed these rites of passage as a youth, and now find them necessary (and fun!). The same with Beethoven. Wouldn't your understanding of Op. 110 or 111 be more complete if you understood the earlier styles as a youth?... starting with things like op 2 no 1 and Op 14 1 and 2?

There may be some merit to this but if you were to take it this far would you not need to study the rest of the composer's output that defines the style? Especially in the case of Mozart, I wouldn't think that studying those piano works would be enough of a window into how to interpret...even the piano works. Or would you not need to study all the composers that influence the chosen composer? Like for example if Mozart were to revere Bach? And when you start to expand it becomes counterproductive to cover all of the one composer's works in order. I would also think the exact order would be debatable.

It seems that you are defining the order based on what many young students play. If many students play the 545 I don't think that means it's more beneficial than playing something else. I don't see the purpose of the rite of passage perspective. Such as Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, etc. It's great music but not exactly required unless it fits the student like a glove at that moment and they are eager to play it (I suppose that's often true).

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With Mozart, I don't think one needs to play his earlier sonatas or K397, or K545 (which isn't early) to go on to K457/K475, which, er, isn't late, or K576.

Same for Haydn, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Liszt, Fauré, Grieg, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev. Choose the battles you like, and you'll be fine smirk .

But with Beethoven, his pianistic style changed from Op.2 to Op.13 to Op.53 to Op.57 to Op.109/110/111. Just like one shouldn't jump straight into his late string quartets, one shouldn't jump straight into Op.111. The water is rather deep.

With Scriabin, his style changed from echt-Chopinesque to atonal in his sonatas.......

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This is also compositionally non-linear. Im not advocating learning works linearly based on when the composer wrote them... although now that I think about it... how interesting would that be? If I had the time and free will, learning the Bach keyboard works as he wrote them throughout his life. Could be interesting. Too bad Ive already learned most of the Art of Fugue

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I believe in rites of passage, both in Life and in Music. Learning Beethoven's Op. 13 Pathetique with no experience of sonata form and with no (playing) experience of Beethoven was a rite of passage for me musically and in life. Notice how this clashes against my point.


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