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Keystring
Have you ever known or ever heard of a piano teacher that said ‘absolutely no rubato’ when playing Chopin? I have not. If I am s student and my piano teacher says too much’, that is not the same thing as ‘not at all’. In fact, ‘too much’ indicates a ‘musical bone’ from the teacher.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Keystring
Have you ever known or ever heard of a piano teacher that said ‘absolutely no rubato’ when playing Chopin? I have not. If I am s student and my piano teacher says too much’, that is not the same thing as ‘not at all’. In fact, ‘too much’ indicates a ‘musical bone’ from the teacher.

I'm confused by your question. I did not write anything about "absolutely no rubato" anywhere. Does that come up in the thread somewhere? I wrote some general concepts. Perhaps my post was not written clearly enough for you to grasp what I was saying?

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by dogperson
Keystring
Have you ever known or ever heard of a piano teacher that said ‘absolutely no rubato’ when playing Chopin? I have not. If I am s student and my piano teacher says too much’, that is not the same thing as ‘not at all’. In fact, ‘too much’ indicates a ‘musical bone’ from the teacher.

I'm confused by your question. I did not write anything about "absolutely no rubato" anywhere. Does that come up in the thread somewhere? I wrote some general concepts. Perhaps my post was not written clearly enough for you to grasp what I was saying?


The point is: the teacher in this post does not have any markings of being a ‘rule follower ’ With ‘no musical taste’’. In fact, taste has been demonstrated.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by 3B43
I told him that’s the way my heart and soul ‘felt’ it should be played, because it’s a very emotional and full of passion, but he didn’t really agree. And that’s the problem.

I don't see any problem here. Teachers sometimes disagree with their students.

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Originally Posted by 3B43
I need to clarify and expound on this: Nocturnes seem to have more ‘leeway’ for rubato then Mozart. I’ve started a Mozart, per my teachers instructions, and I ‘feel’ zero need to stretch/condense any bar(s), or ‘rubato’ anywhere. Yes, I can play it ‘straight’ and it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. I’ve listened to numerous concert pianists play these pieces, along with several Beethoven pieces I play, and there is a wide range of.......some of them seem to be playing just the ‘notes’, technically perfect, but..... my go to pianist, for anything, is Claudio Arrau. I haven’t heard him play anything that I don’t love.

Now, some of our differences are very minor, e.g. how much crescendo, or poco rallent to use.

My guess would be that I like a slow movement of a Mozart sonata with a little more rubato than you do, and I like a Chopin Nocturne with a little less rubato than you do. I'm assuming the teacher is not advocating for a metronomic or unarticulated rendering of the piece as a final interpretation. If that were the case, I would suggest finding another teacher.

Here's the deal. When you are playing for yourself, you can play the piece any way you like. When you play it for a teacher, you learn and grow musically by playing it in a way that fosters approval of the teacher. This does not mean you have to play it that way for yourself. It means that until you play it for the teacher in a way the teacher finds satisfactory, you have not demonstrated the musical ability to do so. The teacher is helping you to develop that musical ability. If you do not wish to develop the musical capabilities the teacher believes will benefit you, why are you paying for a teacher?

Once you have demonstrated that you can play a piece in a manner that your teacher finds satisfactory, you will be qualified to decide whether you prefer that interpretation or another interpretation of your choice.

Subtle, but effective rubato is more difficult to achieve than exaggerated rubato. The teacher is offering you the opportunity to explore this point. Regardless of where you land with respect to how you wish to play Chopin 9/2, the ability to use subtle rubato and subtle artistic nuance will benefit you for other pieces, such as some by Mozart.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
The point is: the teacher in this post does not have any markings of being a ‘rule follower ’ With ‘no musical taste’’. In fact, taste has been demonstrated.
I wrote nothing about that teacher. I gave general ideas, generalities. These issues are also considered by any student (or teacher) at any time, now and in the future.

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Can I be stubborn? Yup! I can also be flexible when the need arises. I’ve been an instructor 34 years (not in music) and have dealt with numerous individuals that were stubborn, or could not understand, or grasp what I was attempting to teach/convey to them. My job, as an instructor, was to get them to understand what I was trying to get them to do. Some refused to ‘listen’ ( sorry for the ‘) and never improved. Refused to improve.

Am I so stubborn that I’m refusing to listen and improve? No! I’ve improved greatly, in the last six months, due to practice and listening to my teacher. I like my teacher. He’s communicated, in a way I could understand, how certain sections of a piece should be played and sound, e.g. picture a leaf falling off a tree and floating to the ground. Perfect description and I immediately understood what he was saying. Without his help, I’d still be....

BUT......Clair de lune is a perfect example. It’s not only played differently by everyone I’ve heard play it, but at totally different tempo and speed. Some take a minute longer, or shorter, to play it then others. Who’s right/wrong? That’s my question! If, I’m being told ‘play it as written, perfectly first, then go off on your own’, OK, I understand that. I have recorded certain pieces, but only on my iPhone. Is there a better way to do it?

BTW, the first time I played the first page of Clair for my instructor, his response was comical. I’m smiling now thinking about it.

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You might find Debussy’s writings on rubato interesting
http://www.djupdal.org/karstein/debussy/method/m06.shtml


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Originally Posted by 3B43
Can I be stubborn? Yup! I can also be flexible when the need arises. I’ve been an instructor 34 years (not in music) and have dealt with numerous individuals that were stubborn, or could not understand, or grasp what I was attempting to teach/convey to them. My job, as an instructor, was to get them to understand what I was trying to get them to do. Some refused to ‘listen’ ( sorry for the ‘) and never improved. Refused to improve.

Am I so stubborn that I’m refusing to listen and improve? No! I’ve improved greatly, in the last six months, due to practice and listening to my teacher. I like my teacher. He’s communicated, in a way I could understand, how certain sections of a piece should be played and sound, e.g. picture a leaf falling off a tree and floating to the ground. Perfect description and I immediately understood what he was saying. Without his help, I’d still be....

BUT......Clair de lune is a perfect example. It’s not only played differently by everyone I’ve heard play it, but at totally different tempo and speed. Some take a minute longer, or shorter, to play it then others. Who’s right/wrong? That’s my question! If, I’m being told ‘play it as written, perfectly first, then go off on your own’, OK, I understand that. I have recorded certain pieces, but only on my iPhone. Is there a better way to do it?

BTW, the first time I played the first page of Clair for my instructor, his response was comical. I’m smiling now thinking about it.

Some would say that if you cannot play a given piece with more than one interpretation then you have not really mastered it. How do you know what interpretation you actually like best if you only play the piece one way? Your teacher's job is not to tell you how you should interpret a piece. Your teacher's job is to ensure that you are growing as a pianist by insisting that you learn as much as you can from studying a piece with him or her. This usually involves ensuring that you can play the piece in a manner that exercise most if not all of the technical and interpretive demands of the piece, which may require asking you to play it a certain way. If you are a former teacher, it might be helpful to think of that as a pedagogical device instead of as trying to shape how you play.

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I have played it 3 or 4 different ways. And, quite frankly, on the two sections we disagree on, I’ve settled on an ‘in between’....his way and my first way. Am I compromising? No. I actually feel it sounds better, from all aspects. And, the more I play it/play with it, the better it sounds.

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Originally Posted by 3B43
I have played it 3 or 4 different ways. And, quite frankly, on the two sections we disagree on, I’ve settled on an ‘in between’....his way and my first way. Am I compromising? No. I actually feel it sounds better, from all aspects. And, the more I play it/play with it, the better it sounds.

Great news! I found Clair de Lune to be tricky to get the rubato nuanced. The first time I played it for an instructor, the comment was ‘Do you want to be a composer? No? Then you need to play it with the beat as written ‘. 🙀


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Originally Posted by 3B43
I have played it 3 or 4 different ways. And, quite frankly, on the two sections we disagree on, I’ve settled on an ‘in between’....his way and my first way. Am I compromising? No. I actually feel it sounds better, from all aspects. And, the more I play it/play with it, the better it sounds.

Then why is there even a problem? Play it for the teacher the way the teacher suggests, complete the study of the piece, and then play it how you like when playing for yourself or others.

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by 3B43
I have played it 3 or 4 different ways. And, quite frankly, on the two sections we disagree on, I’ve settled on an ‘in between’....his way and my first way. Am I compromising? No. I actually feel it sounds better, from all aspects. And, the more I play it/play with it, the better it sounds.

Then why is there even a problem? Play it for the teacher the way the teacher suggests, complete the study of the piece, and then play it how you like when playing for yourself or others.

This seems dismissive of adult learners. Sure, we can play any music ‘the way we want’ or we can take learning new music as an opportunity to understand the composer, his musical style, and the nuances of the music. This is not ‘just play the way your teacher wants during lessons’ But really seeing a new score as an opportunity to learn and explore. Clair de Lune is a great opportunity which seems a shame to dismiss. Would you advise an advancing teenager the same way?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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I guess my point, my question, is this: Op. 9 No. 2, Clair de lune, 1st Mvt of Moonlight, etc., is played/interpreted differently by Lupu, Huppmann, Arrau, Kissin, Lisitsa, Horowitz, Lang Lang, and many others I’ve listened to. Which one is ‘correct’?

As an instructor (in my area of expertise), if you can accomplish the task, but differently then the way I’m instructing it, and repeat it, I have no issue.

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Originally Posted by 3B43
I guess my point, my question, is this: Op. 9 No. 2, Clair de lune, 1st Mvt of Moonlight, etc., is played/interpreted differently by Lupu, Huppmann, Arrau, Kissin, Lisitsa, Horowitz, Lang Lang, and many others I’ve listened to. Which one is ‘correct’?

As an instructor (in my area of expertise), if you can accomplish the task, but differently then the way I’m instructing it, and repeat it, I have no issue.


I agree with your conclusion.in many areas, but not in music. It is not a task such as developing a computer program, but an Art. I see it always as I balance between ‘what I like’, the score and what can be learned/inferred of the composer's Intent. To me, it is like a large target: you don’t need to hit the mechanical ‘bullseye’, (and shouldn’t) but within the larger general area of score and composer intent and documentation. That means there should be some analysis and finding a balance between blind adherence and extravagance.

Just my personal opinion — and I am not a teacher but a serious adult student— probably more serious than is warranted by talent.


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Maybe as someone only in their third year of learning I'm too young to take part in this conversation and that learning as advanced students is different than it is for me, but I don't know that I'd be concerned about interpretation when you're first learning something. Generally when I joke saying, 'hey, it's art, there is no wrong answer' or if my teacher says 'sounds nice, but we're not playing jazz' it means I've made a mistake or I need to keep working on something.

Bottom line for me would be, can the student demonstrate understanding of what the instructor is trying to impart about the piece by playing it as s/he has dictated? And I don't think that simply accomplishing the task is necessarily the whole of the point, when how and why you get to that end point is just as important.

If I were in the instructor's shoes I'd perhaps wonder whether this isn't really about interpretation but rather a problem with technique and thus something to drill and work on some more.

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Hi Blague
Your perspective is always welcome 😊 mine changes based on the level of experience and training of the
Student. As a beginner back in the dark ages, I totally relied on my teacher’s instruction for the interpretation. I did not have enough experience and skills to even have a perspective.

Now, it is more of a dialogue/give and take: sometimes I am able to explain my choice and all is fine, sometimes my teacher explains why I am wrong—- and sometimes my teacher makes a suggestion snd there is no need for a discussion. I just realize he/she is right.

I follow this ‘formula’ Now with whomever is my instructor— it works and helps me be independent while at the same time, still learning. I view my lessons as an opportunity to pick the brains of those with more education and experience than I have. My own private Masterclass


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by 3B43
I have played it 3 or 4 different ways. And, quite frankly, on the two sections we disagree on, I’ve settled on an ‘in between’....his way and my first way. Am I compromising? No. I actually feel it sounds better, from all aspects. And, the more I play it/play with it, the better it sounds.

Then why is there even a problem? Play it for the teacher the way the teacher suggests, complete the study of the piece, and then play it how you like when playing for yourself or others.

This seems dismissive of adult learners. Sure, we can play any music ‘the way we want’ or we can take learning new music as an opportunity to understand the composer, his musical style, and the nuances of the music. This is not ‘just play the way your teacher wants during lessons’ But really seeing a new score as an opportunity to learn and explore. Clair de Lune is a great opportunity which seems a shame to dismiss. Would you advise an advancing teenager the same way?

I wasn't trying to be dismissive. When I was studying with teachers, my goal was to learn as much of what they had to offer as possible. Playing a piece a certain way may require technical or musical abilities not required to play it in a different manner. The point is to ensure that educational and growth opportunity is not lost. Most often, but not always, once a student masters those capabilities, it will become their preferred interpretation, perhaps with more nuanced differences.

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Originally Posted by 3B43
I guess my point, my question, is this: Op. 9 No. 2, Clair de lune, 1st Mvt of Moonlight, etc., is played/interpreted differently by Lupu, Huppmann, Arrau, Kissin, Lisitsa, Horowitz, Lang Lang, and many others I’ve listened to. Which one is ‘correct’?

...

Well none of them are incorrect and I don't think any of them are exactly right for you. We should make pieces our own as they all have.

--

I had similar issues when I got a teacher later in adult life and also learning more about these concepts here, as I started into more classical.

Once I started to get serious about improving again this was one of the first things to be fixed. I had to dial in my timing, my rubato was too all over the map with everything I played from Pop to standards to classical and I didn't even realize it. But, try singing along to that and it's downright annoying.

Anyway, I still like to play my own way, but within better reason. For me now, I start by playing it straight and then add in small doses instead of full on rubato and then trying to dial it in.

It still has to be unique to ourselves though.

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Originally Posted by 3B43
I guess my point, my question, is this: Op. 9 No. 2, Clair de lune, 1st Mvt of Moonlight, etc., is played/interpreted differently by Lupu, Huppmann, Arrau, Kissin, Lisitsa, Horowitz, Lang Lang, and many others I’ve listened to. Which one is ‘correct’?

As an instructor (in my area of expertise), if you can accomplish the task, but differently then the way I’m instructing it, and repeat it, I have no issue.

They interpret it differently though within certain limits. I think you are making conclusions based on an analogy which like all analogies has limits. Basically you are saying, many professionals play that piece very differently and there does not seem to be a wrong or a right way, therefore why cant i do the same ? And why my way wouldnt be perfectly correct vs the teacher view ?

And the answer is that you are not Arrau, nor Horowitz, nor ..... these people played that music for decades, had great musical culture, tremendous technical skills which allowed them to elaborate any nuances they wanted and they had or have superior artistic sensibility. Now without being dismissive of your talent, i would venture to guess that you are not at their level in any of those categories.

An interpretation has to be consistent from beginning to end. The ability to glue together the dynamics, rubato, phrasing so that you produce something that you both can execute given your technical skills and produce something that holds together artistically demand a lof of skills and experience. Maybe you have those skills, but maybe not. And this is where your teacher should help you. It is not a question of him imposing to you his view vs your view, but his role is to guide you so that you can execute the piece in an artistically consistent manner. Playing certain parts with a lot of rubato may be appealing to you, but it may not be working at all. What you instinctively feel as being the right may in fact be a wrong choice. That is probably one of the biggest problem of many adults who dont realize that playing a piece the way they "feel" it does not necessarily produce a convincing result. Of course when playing for yourself, you do what you want.

Again without hearing concrete examples of how you play, it is difficult to substantiate the exact nature of the subject. Maybe your choice are quite good and your teacher simply dont like them or he could be very right, but you dont yet realize why.

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