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Posted By: 24000rpm Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 01:39 PM
do you actively avoid listening to the piece that you are working on. For example, if you are working on a Bach invention, you avoid listening to that on a Gould's CD.

One of my friends told me that , to test if you have the ability to interpret the piece yourself and not to have a 'pre-impression' of it or phrasing, etc, you need to avoid listening to other poeple's play, especially virtuoso's.

I found this notion make a little bit sense after a while. Do you?

Being able to listen to what you are working on shortens the time that you need to work on the piece, though, IMHO.
Posted By: Mosotti Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 01:43 PM
I think that's the worst "advice" ever.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 01:54 PM
I attend piano camps taught by a concert pianist; he strongly encourages his students (both at camp and private) not to pre-listen. The reasoning is to avoid copying what you hear rather than interpret what you see on the score.

I personally don’t find listening to be so problematic, but that depends on whether you recognize that what you hear is only one view of the score.. not the only view. I use the analogy for myself of a Target with a bullseyes: you can be faithful to the score and the composer’s intent in a wide range. I will never copy what I hear, but find my own voice.

If you will copy, I would agree with my teacher: don’t listen.
Posted By: rocdoc Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:10 PM
Yeah, if I find myself accidentally sounding like Glen Gould because I listened to him performing the piece I was working on, I will bravely accept that terrible draw back smile
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:11 PM
I don't see much difference between copying what one hears on a recording and copying advice given by one's teacher. I think for most beginning and intermediate students listening to a recording is actually preferable because figuring everything out by themselves is too complex. I would compare it to someone just starting out on computers. There is just too much on the screen for them to comprehend everything. One just has to listen to some horrible YouTube recordings and wonder if the pianist ever heard the piece played by a professional.

There is a huge piano pedagogy project, I think at the University of Iowa, where several piano professors have recorded thousands of elementary and intermediate pieces so that students can listen to them. I'm quite sure their performances are designed to be listened to before and during the learning of a piece. Advanced players learning a piece usually have heard many performances of a piece before they start learning it unless it is not a mainstream repertoire work. So in that sense their interpretation isn't all their own.
Posted By: Serge88 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:23 PM
In blues and jazz piano the first advice is to listen to other jazz and blues performers.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:24 PM
Plover
For the record; I have never copied my teacher’s interpretation. In fact, I have never had a teacher play any of my scores for me from beginning to end. Copying is not how I view lessons
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:27 PM
I never deliberately listen to any piece I'm working on until it's done & dusted, though I don't "actively" avoid it. I much prefer to have my own interpretation of the score set down before checking out other pianists'.

Though of course, at my age, I've probably heard most piano music that's worth playing (and a lot that isn't smirk ).

When I was a student, 99.9% of the pieces I learnt with my teacher (and by myself, without my teacher's knowledge) were totally unfamiliar, and the only person I ever heard playing them was myself. I soon learnt how to make musical sense of any new score I came across, which is an invaluable skill for any serious musician. As a kid, I just loved trying out new music (begging, borrowing or stealing volumes of it from anyone and anywhere whistle - though of course, I always returned anything I stole......after making a copy) to discover their riches, entirely by myself - and for myself. (It was the age of discovery, the Amazon basin was largely unknown, Everest and K2 had yet to be conquered......but I digress.)

These days, it seems most adult students only ever learn pieces that they already know from YT videos - or if they were prepared to learn stuff given to them by their teachers, the first thing they do is to find a recording on YT.....before they even play a single note from the score.
Personally, I don't see how that benefits the acquisition of real musicianship, and I make sure my students don't fall into that trap - I plonk new scores in front of their unsuspecting eyes and say: "Play!" grin (just like my four teachers did with me in the good old days).
Posted By: QuasiUnaFantasia Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:35 PM
With a piece that is relatively unknown to me, I listen to as many versions of it as I can find, before learning it. While learning it, I make up my mind as to how it should actually sound.

If I have known the work for a long time, my mind will already have been made up.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:37 PM
Originally Posted by Serge88
In blues and jazz piano the first advice is to listen to other jazz and blues performers.
And folk music is handed down by aural tradition, and gradually changed over the ages. Which is why their provenance is often not possible to pin down.

Western classical music is much more complex and has to be set down on manuscript paper, and performers became proficient at reading and making sense of it very quickly. Bach composed a complete cantata every week for performance almost before the ink was dry - and his musicians were practically sight-reading his music.
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:51 PM
No I’m the opposite. I actively listen to it . Il try and listen to a recording played correctly though.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 02:52 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Plover For the record; I have never copied my teacher’s interpretation. In fact, I have never had a teacher play any of my scores for me from beginning to end. Copying is not how I view lessons
You don't have to hear them play the music. Any verbal suggestion they make that you use is the equivalent of copying their idea about a piece. They don't have to play a piece from beginning to end to illustrate something that you might use. Every master class I have attended has consisted mostly of the teacher giving interpretive ideas to the student. I think other than giving technical advice on a piece, everything else a teacher says is interpretive advice, although some of the advice might be better called correcting clearly incorrect readings or musical approaches vs. interpretive as in one of many possible approaches.
Posted By: Animisha Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 03:09 PM
As a beginner, I have learned very much by trying to imitate my teachers and play it just like they do. Can I make the same fluent, gradual diminuendo as I hear? Can I play towards the culmination of a phrase, without creating an accent - just like she demonstrates? Can I play light but not shallow, loud but not harsh, just like my teacher?

This is the adult beginners' forum. Adult beginners can learn a lot by listening first to other people playing a piece. Intermediates and advanced players may want to come up with their own interpretation first, and therefore avoid listening to others.
Posted By: lautreamont Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 03:17 PM
After reading through the score and first approaching a piece of music, I often have an idealized sound that I want from a piece, from my estimation of the structure, nuances, and character of the piece. Listening to recordings for most pieces is something I do critically, or something with a specialized focus (usually rubato, dynamics, and tempo). Where recordings are helpful to me are with either extremely virtuosic music or modern music where I might not get the theory behind musical choices. With extremely virtuosic music it's sometimes difficult to envision sonorities because there is so much going on--how to balance all these voices, what to prioritize, where the focus should be, what their relationships are, can all be tricky. With modern and contemporary music the sonorities are complex, and getting a sense of cohesion and an organic sound can be very difficult, rather than a mechanical rendition that is a little nightmarish to me, sense I aspire to nuance and delicacy.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 03:30 PM
Originally Posted by Animisha
As a beginner, I have learned very much by trying to imitate my teachers and play it just like they do. Can I make the same fluent, gradual diminuendo as I hear? Can I play towards the culmination of a phrase, without creating an accent - just like she demonstrates? Can I play light but not shallow, loud but not harsh, just like my teacher?

This is the adult beginners' forum. Adult beginners can learn a lot by listening first to other people playing a piece. Intermediates and advanced players may want to come up with their own interpretation first, and therefore avoid listening to others.


Different approach by different teachers and perhaps different times. My teacher when I was a beginner never played the piece for me. We just opened the score and I started playing. Since this was pre-internet and my family was not musically oriented, even standard classics were ‘new to me.’

The concert pianist/teacher I referenced above encourages beginners not to pre-listen.
Posted By: WittyName Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 03:49 PM
I do pre-listen. I feel I don't know enough techniques to do my own interpretation. Right now my only ability for interpretation is basically deciding how loud I want to play the different hands haha. Maybe when I have better technique and gotten further along in my piano journey I'll try to avoid pre-listening.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 04:06 PM
Originally Posted by WittyName
I do pre-listen. I feel I don't know enough techniques to do my own interpretation. Right now my only ability for interpretation is basically deciding how loud I want to play the different hands haha. Maybe when I have better technique and gotten further along in my piano journey I'll try to avoid pre-listening.


Seems reasonable to me — as does the teacher who plays the piece for his/her students to emulate. Being different doesn’t mean it is ‘wrong’ IMO.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 04:15 PM
All 4 of my instrumental teachers encourage me to listen to others to get a sense of different people’s interpretations, then use my own judgment (i.e. think for myself) on how I want to interpret it.

I think telling absolute beginners to not listen to others is poor advice. If you do that I don’t think you’d get very far because you don’t know all the nuances yet. How do you know what you don’t know? Once you’re somewhat experienced, however, I think it makes more sense not listening, if that’s what you want. That’s still not what I’d do though.

There are so many other instances of learning where students are either told what to do or shown what to do (visual and aural). If you’re learning carpentry, you would watch the master carpenter show you his skills, tips and tricks. You might even pick up his style and preferences and personalize it for yourself. If you are a surgery student, you’d be in the operating room, watching the lead doctor operate to learn how to do surgery. You’d pick up on his style and preferences and then when you do surgery on your own, you’d personalize what you previously learned from the teacher. If you are a child, you’d learn how to speak by imitating your mother or father’s speech. The list goes on. I think it is no different for music.

Maybe some child prodigies don’t need to listen to outside influences and have their own ideas at very young age but how many of us are child prodigies?
Posted By: Sam S Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 04:40 PM
I listen in the early stages, when I am choosing what to study. Assuming I have never really heard it before. In most cases I decide to play something because I heard it in a recital or online. While I am working on the piece I rarely listen to a recording. Then when I am getting close to finishing the piece I will gather several recordings and actively listen to them to hear what I can improve in my own playing.

Sam
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 04:41 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by WittyName
I do pre-listen. I feel I don't know enough techniques to do my own interpretation. Right now my only ability for interpretation is basically deciding how loud I want to play the different hands haha. Maybe when I have better technique and gotten further along in my piano journey I'll try to avoid pre-listening.


Seems reasonable to me — as does the teacher who plays the piece for his/her students to emulate. Being different doesn’t mean it is ‘wrong’ IMO.

But is WittyNitty being “different” here? I’d suggest this “do not listen approach” is a piece of advice that’s being perpetuated on piano forums and it has undeservedly grown bigger than it really is. It has grown to gospel status and it’s just not so. In the real world (i.e. in the piano schools and studios, real everyday pianists and musicians, etc), the majority of learners/teachers do exactly as WittyNitty does. It is actually the “normal”.

I’ve heard so much “advice” on here and on other unrelated fora (not just music-related) that are taken as gospel and when I go out into the real world and interact with real musicians (as opposed to anonymous online ones), I tell them what I’d heard online and they all scratch their heads, sometimes with amusement, sometimes with “OMG”.

An example from another forum: 80 - 90% of members on a scuba diving forum strongly advocate and personally use a certain type of gear in a certain type of configuration. So I took that as gospel as the right thing to do as a noob and bought myself a set. And for the next couple of years, I go out into the wild so to speak and it’s the exact opposite. Only 5 - 10% of “real divers” on any boat is using that type of gear and configuration. And the funny thing is, since there are usually only 10 -12 people in a dive boat, that 5 - 10% is made up of my husband and me! Go figure!

Lesson learned? Online forums can be biased and there’s a lot of group think going on. Lots of good advice being used by the wrong people. For example, what might be good advice for experienced people are being taken as gospel by beginners.

I have to admit there’s some great experienced people here who give great advice as well but it so hard for beginners to tell what is what.

Beginners: be careful what advice you get online. Getting a private teacher is always the best bet.

Sorry for the rant and stay safe out there! (from COVID and misinformation)
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 04:50 PM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
All 4 of my instrumental teachers encourage me to listen to others to get a sense of different people’s interpretations, then use my own judgment (i.e. think for myself) on how I want to interpret it.

I think telling absolute beginners to not listen to others is poor advice. If you do that I don’t think you’d get very far because you don’t know all the nuances yet. How do you know what you don’t know? Once you’re somewhat experienced, however, I think it makes more sense not listening, if that’s what you want. That’s still not what I’d do though.

There are so many other instances of learning where students are either told what to do or shown what to do (visual and aural). If you’re learning carpentry, you would watch the master carpenter show you his skills, tips and tricks. You might even pick up his style and preferences and personalize it for yourself. If you are a surgery student, you’d be in the operating room, watching the lead doctor operate to learn how to do surgery. You’d pick up on his style and preferences and then when you do surgery on your own, you’d personalize what you previously learned from the teacher. If you are a child, you’d learn how to speak by imitating your mother or father’s speech. The list goes on. I think it is no different for music.

Maybe some child prodigies don’t need to listen to outside influences and have their own ideas at very young age but how many of us are child prodigies?


You might find it unreasonable not to listen, but that has been how two teachers I have had teach. I would not remotely try to estimate how commonly this is the way beginners are or are not taught. Further, the word ‘different’ was not meant to imply inferiority. Did anyone here issue an absolute of ‘don’t listen’? Don’t think so. Some are taught as beginners to listen, some are taught not to listen. There should not be an edict for either perspective.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 04:58 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
You might find it unreasonable not to listen, but that has been how two teachers I have had teach. I would not remotely try to estimate how commonly this is the way beginners are or are not taught. Further, the word ‘different’ was not meant to imply inferiority. Did anyone here issue an absolute of ‘don’t listen’? Don’t think so. Some are taught as beginners to listen, some are taught not to listen. There should not be an edict for either perspective.

dogperson, the post wasn’t “directed” at you so to speak. So please don’t get upset.

No one person issued an absolute edict but that’s the message beginners are getting in this forum, that certain advice is gospel. And yes that is bothering me.

Not just this issue of listening or not listening, also other issues such as sight-reading, metronome use, etc.
Posted By: PianogrlNW Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 05:20 PM
Why not listen to recordings of the piece you are working on. I listen to as many as I can get my finger on as I hit the YouTube channel. I listen to the pros and the amateurs. I consider this all part of background research. The idea that you should not listen to other recordings because you might copy them seems like a silly notion. If we could mimic our favorite artist, wouldn’t we all be playing like Horowitz or (fill in the blank of your favorite pianist)?
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 05:27 PM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
All 4 of my instrumental teachers encourage me to listen to others to get a sense of different people’s interpretations, then use my own judgment (i.e. think for myself) on how I want to interpret it.

I think telling absolute beginners to not listen to others is poor advice. If you do that I don’t think you’d get very far because you don’t know all the nuances yet. How do you know what you don’t know?
I think you're misunderstanding what the rationale is for teachers telling their students not to listen to others before they've learnt the piece (and formed their own interpretation, when they're sufficiently advanced). After they've learnt it, they should listen to others better than themselves playing it - including their teachers - so that they can see what is possible and even preferable to what they did. They won't necessarily be able to incorporate what they hear, because of technical limitations, but it is important that they know what's possible.

Of course, beginners can't reproduce intricate nuances anyway - in fact, they might still be struggling to play one hand louder than the other, so the main focus initially is to have the student being able to read music accurately, rather than just reproduce something he's already heard. (How often have teachers seen poorly-taught students - "transfer wrecks" - struggling to play straightforward rhythms in new pieces they've never heard - because they've always relied on copying someone else in the past? Or even - not actually being able to read music at all, because the student has such a good ear for imitation that he's always been able to copy what his teacher plays - as one teacher in the Piano Teachers Forum found out to her cost?)

Firstly, the 'test' for the ability to read accurately depends on the student being able to do it readily with music he's never seen or heard before - and going on to sight-reading, a valuable skill to have, once the student can read notes on staves reasonably well, and know about basic expressive indications. (Everyone doing ABRSM, AMEB, RCM etc exams have to learn to do this, and there are very good reasons why sight-reading forms part of them.) The basic expression markings are in the music (unless you're talking urtext Bach etc): for near beginners, they can play loud, soft and everything in between, and getting louder and softer. You do not need to copy someone else to do this.

As the student progresses, his musicality improves, and he learns about more expression markings and to decipher more into the music, adding things not expressly indicated (like slowing down just before the end, bringing out the melody, voicing and playing them like a good singer would sing them) and so on. If he just copies someone else in every piece he learns - even if he only chooses the bits he likes from each performer - he is, in effect, relying on someone to teach him what to do for everything before he even tries it for himself, from the score.

Classical music students through the centuries, until fairly recently, have never been able to listen to someone else playing all their pieces for them before learning them (unless they have misguided teachers like the one mentioned above, who played every piece for her students before they tried playing & learning for themselves) because there were no recordings. In fact, it's only since the advent of YouTube that almost every piece that's been published (including simple beginner pieces) can now be heard before learning - and IMO, far too many students have become totally reliant on it.

In case anyone is still misunderstanding what I'm getting at: I am NOT saying that no-one should ever listen to any recording of what they are learning. I am saying that (assuming you can already read music) you should try to learn the piece entirely from the score first - including forming your own ideas and interpretation - before you listen to other people's performances. That way, you develop your musicianship far better, including learning from your mistakes.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 06:06 PM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
All 4 of my instrumental teachers encourage me to listen to others to get a sense of different people’s interpretations, then use my own judgment (i.e. think for myself) on how I want to interpret it.

I think telling absolute beginners to not listen to others is poor advice. If you do that I don’t think you’d get very far because you don’t know all the nuances yet. How do you know what you don’t know?
I think you're misunderstanding what the rationale is for teachers telling their students not to listen to others before they've learnt the piece (and formed their own interpretation, when they're sufficiently advanced). After they've learnt it, they should listen to others better than themselves playing it - including their teachers - so that they can see what is possible and even preferable to what they did. They won't necessarily be able to incorporate what they hear, because of technical limitations, but it is important that they know what's possible.

Of course, beginners can't reproduce intricate nuances anyway - in fact, they might still be struggling to play one hand louder than the other, so the main focus initially is to have the student being able to read music accurately, rather than just reproduce something he's already heard. (How often have teachers seen poorly-taught students - "transfer wrecks" - struggling to play straightforward rhythms in new pieces they've never heard - because they've always relied on copying someone else in the past? Or even - not actually being able to read music at all, because the student has such a good ear for imitation that he's always been able to copy what his teacher plays - as one teacher in the Piano Teachers Forum found out to her cost?)

Firstly, the 'test' for the ability to read accurately depends on the student being able to do it readily with music he's never seen or heard before - and going on to sight-reading, a valuable skill to have, once the student can read notes on staves reasonably well, and know about basic expressive indications. (Everyone doing ABRSM, AMEB, RCM etc exams have to learn to do this, and there are very good reasons why sight-reading forms part of them.) The basic expression markings are in the music (unless you're talking urtext Bach etc): for near beginners, they can play loud, soft and everything in between, and getting louder and softer. You do not need to copy someone else to do this.

As the student progresses, his musicality improves, and he learns about more expression markings and to decipher more into the music, adding things not expressly indicated (like slowing down just before the end, bringing out the melody, voicing and playing them like a good singer would sing them) and so on. If he just copies someone else in every piece he learns - even if he only chooses the bits he likes from each performer - he is, in effect, relying on someone to teach him what to do for everything before he even tries it for himself, from the score.

Classical music students through the centuries, until fairly recently, have never been able to listen to someone else playing all their pieces for them before learning them (unless they have misguided teachers like the one mentioned above, who played every piece for her students before they tried playing & learning for themselves) because there were no recordings. In fact, it's only since the advent of YouTube that almost every piece that's been published (including simple beginner pieces) can now be heard before learning - and IMO, far too many students have become totally reliant on it.

In case anyone is still misunderstanding what I'm getting at: I am NOT saying that no-one should ever listen to any recording of what they are learning. I am saying that (assuming you can already read music) you should try to learn the piece entirely from the score first - including forming your own ideas and interpretation - before you listen to other people's performances. That way, you develop your musicianship far better, including learning from your mistakes.

I don’t think I’ve misunderstood the rationale for teachers telling their pupils to not listen to others’ interpretations. I think I understand.

But when experienced folk like you come here and say such things, the noob thinks it’s good advice for them. And they take it to heart. And they think it’s gospel. That’s my pet peeve.

Honestly, how an experienced pianist wants to learn, listening to pieces prior to learning or not, doesn’t bother me at all. It is their decision. They’re experienced enough to know what is good for them. But so many noobs are reading similar threads from the past with very strong opinions about things and getting such a twisted view of the “best” way to learn the piano.

And I don’t know about you but I’ve always hated the term “transfer wrecks” and really thought “not highly” of the teacher that calls his students such. Perhaps he comes from an era where that kind of mean talk is ok. I hope you don’t perpetuate such negativity.
Posted By: keystring Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 06:20 PM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
do you actively avoid listening to the piece that you are working on. For example, if you are working on a Bach invention, you avoid listening to that on a Gould's CD.

One of my friends told me that, to test if you have the ability to interpret the piece yourself and not to have a 'pre-impression' of it or phrasing, etc, you need to avoid listening to other poeple's play, especially virtuoso's.

I found this notion make a little bit sense after a while. Do you?

Being able to listen to what you are working on shortens the time that you need to work on the piece, though, IMHO.

Any advice given about anything has to be coupled with why it is given, and under what circumstance. With the caveat that some people will simply pass on advice as gospel because it was told to them as gospel.

Supposing the student needs to learn to read music, and to count. If the student always listens to the music first, to "hear how it sounds", will reading abilities progress? Same with counting. You can't grow in what you don't practice. In fact, in the teacher forum, a teacher discovered to her dismay that her student who had been playing well for about 3 years, actually couldn't read! Parent had been helpfully downloading Youtube videos all that time. And then some of those method books come with play-along CDs.

So there is a circumstance and reason not to.

I had no chance to listen to anything I played when I first learned, because that wasn't available back then. So I'm learning to listen now. I'm encouraged to listen to good performers and interpretations. Usually I do that after studying the score, because that is just what is natural to me.

But interpretation also comes from understanding the music. Where is a phrase? What notes, in a series of chords, might be like a hidden melody? What might the high point be? What do you think you'd like to stress, and why? Then you listen to performances. "Hey, why did that person do it this way?"

Listening, meanwhile. It took me time to hear some things, and some I still don't hear, esp. in regard to the fine points of time.

Just some general thoughts.
Posted By: 24000rpm Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 06:45 PM
I think I should have been more clear about this. What my friend was telling me is that : do not listen to a recording BEFORE you learned the piece.
After you can fluently play the piece, listen to anything you want.

The idea, as I was told, is this:

1. a beginner like me occasionally would read the scores wrong , so listening to a recording before you learn the piece will kinda rob you the opportunity to carefully read the sheet and/or double checking because you would have the sound of the recording as an aid.

2. phrasing and dynamics, etc---- phrasing a piece of music and making dynamics are acquired skills. Listening what you are learning would rob you the opportunity to do the "homework" yourself


etc etc
etc etc
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 06:56 PM
I’d say if the score has been read wrong then by listening to the piece you would be more likely to realise a mistake/ mistakes had been made reading the score rather than carrying on ingraining bad habits
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 06:59 PM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
I think I should have been more clear about this. What my friend was telling me is that : do not listen to a recording BEFORE you learned the piece.
After you can fluently play the piece, listen to anything you want.

The idea, as I was told, is this:

1. a beginner like me occasionally would read the scores wrong , so listening to a recording before you learn the piece will kinda rob you the opportunity to carefully read the sheet and/or double checking because you would have the sound of the recording as an aid.

2. phrasing and dynamics, etc---- phrasing a piece of music and making dynamics are acquired skills. Listening what you are learning would rob you the opportunity to do the "homework" yourself


etc etc
etc etc


That is the way I was taught as a raw beginner (with no parental support). Pick up the score and work out the notes and rhythm without hearing it first. There were no aids except correction at my next visit. I did learn from my mistakes that way. ... snd it was all 100% homework.

Is this the only way to learn? No but I would not have a problem suggesting it to beginners as it worked for me as a beginner. Just a few scabbed knees. 😉 as adults, beginner or advanced, we are capable of evaluating pros and cons of varied approaches.
Posted By: No Expectations Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:01 PM
Originally Posted by Serge88
In blues and jazz piano the first advice is to listen to other jazz and blues performers.

Also, the great painters spent much time in museums copying the works of old masters. I'm too much of a noob to offer good advice, but I learn a lot listening others play. It expands the realm of possibilities for me. And just because I hear something doesn't mean I can play it the same way or as well.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:02 PM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Honestly, how an experienced pianist wants to learn, listening to pieces prior to learning or not, doesn’t bother me at all. It is their decision. They’re experienced enough to know what is good for them. But so many noobs are reading similar threads from the past with very strong opinions about things and getting such a twisted view of the “best” way to learn the piano.
I don't know whether you think I'm still talking about only "experienced" pianists doing that. Or if only "experienced" pianists can do that.

I am not.

I am talking about anyone who has already learnt to read music fluently. Anything from three months to three years into lessons. "Noobs" if you like (though it's not a term I'd ever use - not that I'd use "transfer wrecks" either, except that I couldn't think of a term for 'students who were badly taught by someone else before coming to a teacher who knows how to teach properly' quickly enough to fit into my post before I thought of something else I wanted to say.)

But as I've said often enough in the past - no-one needs to read (let alone agree with, or learn from) my posts. And - to repeat myself ad nauseam - everyone should enjoy their learning, in whatever way they choose.

However, I do practice what I preach. If I had a kid who was learning piano from a teacher who told him to always listen to YT recordings of all his pieces before he learnt them, I'd switch teacher - pronto.
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:11 PM
Trouble with YT is that you not necessarily listening to a recording played as it should be
Posted By: 24000rpm Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:13 PM
I would think that pressing the wrong note is not a bad habit. I will just sound differently. Once you think you completed the piece and listen to other's playing, you'd identify the mistake and correct it. No bad habit retained, does it?

Originally Posted by Wayne2467
I’d say if the score has been read wrong then by listening to the piece you would be more likely to realise a mistake/ mistakes had been made reading the score rather than carrying on ingraining bad habits
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:15 PM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
I would think that pressing the wrong note is not a bad habit. I will just sound differently. Once you think you completed the piece and listen to other's playing, you'd identify the mistake and correct it. No bad habit retained, does it?

Originally Posted by Wayne2467
I’d say if the score has been read wrong then by listening to the piece you would be more likely to realise a mistake/ mistakes had been made reading the score rather than carrying on ingraining bad habits
You can press the correct note and still make the wrong sound though- acquiring the wrong sound becomes habitual imo
Posted By: 24000rpm Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:24 PM
speaking of which, I had a long conversation with this friend about what constitutes a bad sound.
I've been doing piano tuning 3 times already by myself. Reason being that those hired ones are too careless. So I know a thing or two on the physics of how piano makes sound.

My argument is that, you can't really tell one single note by Gould or by me, because its physics behind this single knock on key are identical, unless the piano got a problem.
My friend agreed.
We also agreed that the real difference you hear a virtuoso and me is how all those notes' properties are combined: duration of vibration, hitting force.

basically, there's really no single bad sound, but there are bad combination of sounds.

Just some food for thought.



Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
I would think that pressing the wrong note is not a bad habit. I will just sound differently. Once you think you completed the piece and listen to other's playing, you'd identify the mistake and correct it. No bad habit retained, does it?

Originally Posted by Wayne2467
I’d say if the score has been read wrong then by listening to the piece you would be more likely to realise a mistake/ mistakes had been made reading the score rather than carrying on ingraining bad habits
You can press the correct note and still make the wrong sound though
Posted By: ebonyk Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:27 PM
Absolutely not! I generally listen to as many different performances of a piece as I can, and I also look to a few online teachers and see what their suggestions are about learning and playing and voicing the piece. How else you can keep learning? You can make your own decisions on interpretation, and hearing it played many different ways is helpful, IMO. Then consulting the score and deciding how YOU will play it, seems a reasonable path.
Posted By: ranjit Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:30 PM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Maybe some child prodigies don’t need to listen to outside influences and have their own ideas at very young age but how many of us are child prodigies?
I think child prodigies tend to listen more, not less. Tiffany Poon used to listen to recordings repeatedly until she got a piece in her head before she sat down to play as a child.

Classical music is music, and as all music, is somewhat analogous to language. The musicality you bring to the table is what your subconscious has understood from prior listening experiences. If you change those listening experiences, to some extent you can reprogram your subconscious musicality.

Imagine a dramatic reading of a Shakespeare play. If you have zero experience with it, and are thrust in front of a mic, you will do a terrible job. What you need is extensive prior experience of listening to people reading Shakespeare, and some training where someone coaches you on how to recite Shakespeare. After all of that, once you read a completely new Shakespeare play, you can give it your own touch or otherwise do your own thing, but it is only because you have assimilated the idiom first. And even after that, you need to listen to other people so that you don't stagnate when it comes to your own ideas.

I think many classical musicians miss this because they had been listening to classical music constantly since they were 4 years old or something, so they don't even remember the assimilation process, it just happened. They would have automatically gained an instinctive understanding of functional harmony and a huge number of other stylistic things related to classical music, by just listening to it so much. I think it's possible to do the same thing later on, or even as an adult (I believe I have) but at that point it's even more important that you listen to stuff like your life depends on it. There's a reason they say great artists steal.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:35 PM
Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Trouble with YT is that you not necessarily listening to a recording played as it should be
Just listen to a good professional playing the piece. Much of the beginner and low intermediate rep has been recorded by pros for the specific purpose of allowing those level of pianists listen to a recording.
Posted By: ebonyk Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:37 PM
Originally Posted by ranjit
I think child prodigies tend to listen more, not less. Tiffany Poon used to listen to recordings repeatedly until she got a piece in her head before she sat down to play as a child.
If you watch her practice sessions (which are usually looooooong, LOL), you'll also see her pause and go to Youtube to see how other pianists play a certain section. I do this, as well. It's helpful.
Posted By: ranjit Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 07:43 PM
Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by ranjit
I think child prodigies tend to listen more, not less. Tiffany Poon used to listen to recordings repeatedly until she got a piece in her head before she sat down to play as a child.
If you watch her practice sessions (which are usually looooooong, LOL), you'll also see her pause and go to Youtube to see how other pianists play a certain section. I do this, as well. It's helpful.
Are you talking about the Patreon ones?
Posted By: DThompson55 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:19 PM
I'm a year in, working on piano skills during covid. I mostly read pieces on my own now. But as an early beginner I gave a listen whenever I was fairly certain a piece was not supposed to sound like that. A few months in someone suggested Tchaikovsky's Morgengebet. I tried. It couldn't possibly sound like what I was playing so I pulled up a youtube. Ah, it's in 3/4. Beginner's mistake. With no one to correct us, we're on our own. So yes go ahead and listen if it helps.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:20 PM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Honestly, how an experienced pianist wants to learn, listening to pieces prior to learning or not, doesn’t bother me at all. It is their decision. They’re experienced enough to know what is good for them. But so many noobs are reading similar threads from the past with very strong opinions about things and getting such a twisted view of the “best” way to learn the piano.
I don't know whether you think I'm still talking about only "experienced" pianists doing that. Or if only "experienced" pianists can do that.

I am not.

I am talking about anyone who has already learnt to read music fluently. Anything from three months to three years into lessons. "Noobs" if you like (though it's not a term I'd ever use - not that I'd use "transfer wrecks" either, except that I couldn't think of a term for 'students who were badly taught by someone else before coming to a teacher who knows how to teach properly' quickly enough to fit into my post before I thought of something else I wanted to say.)

But as I've said often enough in the past - no-one needs to read (let alone agree with, or learn from) my posts. And - to repeat myself ad nauseam - everyone should enjoy their learning, in whatever way they choose.

However, I do practice what I preach. If I had a kid who was learning piano from a teacher who told him to always listen to YT recordings of all his pieces before he learnt them, I'd switch teacher - pronto.


I think noobs is a very neutral term by the way, and newbies or beginners refer to themselves as noobs all the time. This might be a generational thing. Not suggesting you’re older or anything because I really don’t know.

A kid who learns from a teacher who tells him to always listen to YT...come on, you don’t need to use the most extreme example to support your argument. We both know that’s not what I’m referring to and you know that.

I don’t fundamentally disagree with many of the points of view here. And I even understand what the rationale is behind those views. But I don’t believe a beginner should figure out a lot of stuff on their own, even as “homework” if they’ve never experienced it or heard it before. A beginner who has more experience and have been taught or shown how to play a crescendo or diminuendo or ritardando, etc., can repeat that skill in their next piece without watching a YT video, according to their interpretation. But a beginner who has not heard these before trying to figure this out themselves? I think it’s just inefficient and can cause frustration. Some folks might say this is making our youth “soft”, not having to “try and err” and figuring things out for themselves. I think that argument is valid too but practically speaking nowadays, youth are learning things very fast, so much faster than previous generations because they have lots of info at their disposal. This would include YT. While there are horrible interpretations of music on YT, there are also many good interpretations there, such as the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy project and other teachers and professionals. So much info - why not learn from it?

I know there is much discussion here about how today’s children are poorly taught and lazy. I don’t see the youth of today like that. All the youth I’ve had the opportunity to interact with have always impressed me with their intelligence, work ethic and tech saviness. Maybe my sample is different from others’ samples.

I know my opinion is different than some others here. There’s nothing wrong with different opinions. My teachers are all either my age or younger so there might be a difference as a result of that generational difference. As a result, I do have a more flexible view on learning methods and how different people learn differently. So much so that I’ve consciously chosen to learn violin using the Suzuki method. I wanted to find out for myself why it was being bashed on here and in other forums despite it being THE method for violin in the real world. And my conclusion on that is, while the complaints of it on the forums are valid to a certain extent, they’re also exaggerated and perpetuated versus what they really are in reality.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:21 PM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
I think I should have been more clear about this. What my friend was telling me is that : do not listen to a recording BEFORE you learned the piece.
After you can fluently play the piece, listen to anything you want.

The idea, as I was told, is this:

1. a beginner like me occasionally would read the scores wrong , so listening to a recording before you learn the piece will kinda rob you the opportunity to carefully read the sheet and/or double checking because you would have the sound of the recording as an aid.

2. phrasing and dynamics, etc---- phrasing a piece of music and making dynamics are acquired skills. Listening what you are learning would rob you the opportunity to do the "homework" yourself


etc etc
etc etc

I really dont think so. First of all, most great composers started by imitating older composers before finding their own style (sometimes quite early though). So first thing, there is nothing wrong copying a great version. Second, i think that unless you are already quite experienced with various styles and composers and have a good sense of what is or is not musical, it is a bit presomptuous to believe that you can build up your "personal" vision of the piece. Most likely, you will just not do much justice to it. That said, nothing wrong with trying to do it and then compare it. Then if you want to be faithfull to a given style, you need to master the elements of that style.

On your points, i dont see why listening to other versions would rob you of anything. To do the homework as you say implies that you have the skills to do so. Learning how to phrase is not innate. There are things that works and others dont. Listening to other versions will give you some guidance as to how to do it. It is not very different from a session with your teacher where he will correct you when you are playing incorrectly (not technically). If you have no clue as to how to phrase, listen to other versions. If you have an idea, give it a shot and then check it out.

I dont think you have to make it a rigid kind of rule, like never or always.
Posted By: ebonyk Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:25 PM
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by ranjit
I think child prodigies tend to listen more, not less. Tiffany Poon used to listen to recordings repeatedly until she got a piece in her head before she sat down to play as a child.
If you watch her practice sessions (which are usually looooooong, LOL), you'll also see her pause and go to Youtube to see how other pianists play a certain section. I do this, as well. It's helpful.
Are you talking about the Patreon ones?
She’s on YouTube.
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:29 PM
I wish I had YouTube available when I was a lad back in the day to take a listen to some pieces. Do have to side that I don't think it is a great idea to use it all the time though. Use it when you need to but don't listen to the piece when just starting out IMO. It will help you with learning to read the sheet music.

But mostly keep enjoying playing/learning the piano smile
Posted By: ebonyk Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:32 PM
We all learn differently, as well. I started my musical training with the violin as a child, so I developed a very good ear. That’s the way I learn best: by listening. We all have our own particular strengths. We should be using them to our advantage.
Posted By: ebonyk Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:37 PM
Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Trouble with YT is that you not necessarily listening to a recording played as it should be
Obviously, which is why you should probably choose actual pianists, not some kid using Synthesia. 😂😂😂

You might want to pick Agerich or Horowitz instead, LOL.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:37 PM
Originally Posted by ebonyk
We all learn differently, as well. I started my musical training with the violin as a child, so I developed a very good ear. That’s the way I learn best: by listening. We all have our own particular strengths. We should be using them to our advantage.

I agree with that as well. Take advantage of your strengths but remediate your weaknesses. I’m a visual learner so strong visually but weak aurally.
Posted By: ghosthand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 08:50 PM
I have, during the last years, actually met music teachers who don't go to concerts. They just shrug and say they don't have the time. When I was a teenager, me and my family often went to classical concerts whenever that opportunity was given in our fairly small town. (Note, this was Before Internet, ok?) And all music teachers from the municipal music school, where I took lessons, were there too. Of course!
Today I really wonder why someone chooses to teach music och play an instrument if they don't love to LISTEN to music as well?

When I encounter an adult person who has just begun learning to play the piano and wonder how to increase their motivation and stamina, my advice usually is to "immerse" in it. Listen to recordings, go to concerts, visit websites, discuss with people, enjoy all kinds of activities connected with piano, explore piano models in the piano store - the music world is big and lovely, and the more you dwell in it, the more easily practice will come to you. If piano playing, however, is an odd activity that barely can be squeezed in your other daily routines, you will find it difficult. You will not find time to practice, it will never be an integrated part of your life ... and you will miss so much fun. Yes, it is fun to be a bit obsessed ...

When I'm about to learn something new, I may study the notes first, but sooner or later I look for recordings and listen to them. It is nice to get a good grip of the melody and hear it in tempo, because when I start to play, I play slowly, I work with single bars or even shorter bits, and it is hard to understand what I'm aiming at. But I don't want to, I CANNOT "copy" someone else. It is simply not possible.
But, well, Chopin's etudes for instance, are always performed in an insane tempo and it is easy to get totally disencouraged when you hear that. They seem so utterly difficult. But one fantastic thing with these etudes are that they sound wonderful even in slow tempo, and you can even use parts of them to learn something or drill certain technical things. So listening to recordings of the etudes is one thing, and learning them is something else.
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 09:13 PM
You might want to pick Agerich or Horowitz instead, LOL.[/quote]
Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Trouble with YT is that you not necessarily listening to a recording played as it should be
Obviously, which is why you should probably choose actual pianists, not some kid using Synthesia. 😂😂😂

You might want to pick Agerich or Horowitz instead, LOL.

I avoid synthesia. The instructor will let me know sometimes if it’s being played correctly.
Posted By: MrShed Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/20/21 09:55 PM
Originally Posted by Mosotti
I think that's the worst "advice" ever.

Fully agree terrible advice do just the opposite listen to many different pianists and listen closely to how they phrase, their idea of the tempo, and etc. Remember no matter how many people you listen to you're always going to be you. Listen to others for reference and absorb the piece of music then play and record yourself and listen to yourself. You are your own best teacher and recording yourself is greatest tool for practice.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 12:04 AM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
A kid who learns from a teacher who tells him to always listen to YT...come on, you don’t need to use the most extreme example to support your argument. We both know that’s not what I’m referring to and you know that.
Actually, I thought that's exactly what you said:

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
All 4 of my instrumental teachers encourage me to listen to others to get a sense of different people’s interpretations

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
A beginner who has more experience and have been taught or shown how to play a crescendo or diminuendo or ritardando, etc., can repeat that skill in their next piece without watching a YT video, according to their interpretation. But a beginner who has not heard these before trying to figure this out themselves? I think it’s just inefficient and can cause frustration.
Of course no teacher would expect a student to know how to do all that.

That is what a teacher is supposed to do: teach the skills so that the student can use them by himself when the music requires them. Just like a child is taught how to read so that he can then read books by himself (rather than having books read to him).

Incidentally, several people still seem to have misconceptions of what I'm talking about.

Every student must do as much listening to good music as he can. If you're going to learn a piece by Mozart, it's imperative that you listen to his operas, because Mozart's music is operatic and "vocal" in nature - including his piano music. If you're going to learn Chopin, it's imperative that you listen to the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti, because Chopin's melodies (especially in his nocturnes, but also pieces commonly played by near-beginners like Préludes Op.28 Nos.4 & 6) are similarly based on his profound love of them. And I'm not talking through my hat - all good pianists know that, because they have been taught that by their teachers. If a 'Chopin pianist' doesn't know about bel canto singing, he shouldn't be playing Chopin.

Listen to these pairs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg4L5tcxFcA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtIW2r1EalM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsLlv1Ntdg4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U37SB4i54JU

That is how you develop real musicality with composers' music - by listening to lots of recordings and attending live performances - just like composers & performers of their time did, and still do today. Not to the pieces you're about to learn, but to the music that influenced their writing, and to lots of their other music that you're not learning.

In other words, lots of listening around the music you're learning will teach you how to phrase, how to inflect the phrases, how to use rubato, how to.......be a complete musician.
Posted By: ranjit Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 12:19 AM
Originally Posted by MrShed
Originally Posted by Mosotti
I think that's the worst "advice" ever.

Fully agree terrible advice do just the opposite listen to many different pianists and listen closely to how they phrase, their idea of the tempo, and etc. Remember no matter how many people you listen to you're always going to be you. Listen to others for reference and absorb the piece of music then play and record yourself and listen to yourself. You are your own best teacher and recording yourself is greatest tool for practice.
To add to that, I'd say that trying to mimic a concert pianist 1:1 is an incredible learning tool. I've tried it before -- listen to them playing, and then try to keep the recording going on in your head while you play. Then, you compare your playing to theirs. It will sound worse. But listen very carefully to both recordings side by side. You'll realize -- oh, I need to give that downbeat some more oomph, I need to create a rum-pum-pum left hand accompaniment by shortening the second beat, I need to play this section softly to create space for the next one, this time around is just an echo of the previous one, etc. It is super instructive.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 12:25 AM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
A kid who learns from a teacher who tells him to always listen to YT...come on, you don’t need to use the most extreme example to support your argument. We both know that’s not what I’m referring to and you know that.
Actually, I thought that's exactly what you said:

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
All 4 of my instrumental teachers encourage me to listen to others to get a sense of different people’s interpretations


My teachers encouraging me to listen to other people’s interpretations does not equal them telling me to ALWAYS listen to YT. So no, that is not what I said. You are beginning to put words in my mouth.

I really do not wish to “argue” with you over this anymore. I’ve made my point and ready to move on.
Posted By: Yao Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 12:38 AM
Well as a beginner now when I have the choice to choose the music I play, I don’t get motivated playing a piece that I might not like much, so I definitely do listen so I know what to look forward to after I have put in the hard work.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 12:55 AM
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by MrShed
Originally Posted by Mosotti
I think that's the worst "advice" ever.

Fully agree terrible advice do just the opposite listen to many different pianists and listen closely to how they phrase, their idea of the tempo, and etc. Remember no matter how many people you listen to you're always going to be you. Listen to others for reference and absorb the piece of music then play and record yourself and listen to yourself. You are your own best teacher and recording yourself is greatest tool for practice.
To add to that, I'd say that trying to mimic a concert pianist 1:1 is an incredible learning tool. I've tried it before -- listen to them playing, and then try to keep the recording going on in your head while you play. Then, you compare your playing to theirs. It will sound worse. But listen very carefully to both recordings side by side. You'll realize -- oh, I need to give that downbeat some more oomph, I need to create a rum-pum-pum left hand accompaniment by shortening the second beat, I need to play this section softly to create space for the next one, this time around is just an echo of the previous one, etc. It is super instructive.
.

I would not recommend copying the interpretation of a concert pianist. As a exercise, listen to the same piece performed by a variety of pianists, and there will be individuality to how each interpret and play the music. You want to establish your own voice not a copy of someone else's.

And an anecdote that was shared with me: a teenager was applying to Juilliard if the fall and decided it would be great to play the Goldberg Variations like Glenn . Gould. So she did. It was recognized and not received well at the audition.
Posted By: BruceD Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 01:13 AM
Of course listen to the music of the composers you are or will be studying. Don't limit your listening to piano music, however, because many of the composers of piano music put much of their heart and feeling into other genres: symphonies, other orchestral music, chamber music, opera, etc.

What I do object to quite strongly - and fortunately these are in the minority, but they are there:

"I can't find the music on Youtube, so I don't know how it is supposed to sound, so I can't play it." or
"I need to hear my teacher play the music so I know how I am supposed to play it."

These few individuals need to learn from the outset how to read music and understand all that the score is "telling" them; if they are taught properly, they will . This is a far cry, a very far cry, from those who say we should or shouldn't listen to recordings of others playing the works we study; that's a different discussion.

Regards,
Posted By: ranjit Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 04:13 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
To add to that, I'd say that trying to mimic a concert pianist 1:1 is an incredible learning tool. I've tried it before -- listen to them playing, and then try to keep the recording going on in your head while you play. Then, you compare your playing to theirs. It will sound worse. But listen very carefully to both recordings side by side. You'll realize -- oh, I need to give that downbeat some more oomph, I need to create a rum-pum-pum left hand accompaniment by shortening the second beat, I need to play this section softly to create space for the next one, this time around is just an echo of the previous one, etc. It is super instructive.
.

I would not recommend copying the interpretation of a concert pianist. As a exercise, listen to the same piece performed by a variety of pianists, and there will be individuality to how each interpret and play the music. You want to establish your own voice not a copy of someone else's.

And an anecdote that was shared with me: a teenager was applying to Juilliard if the fall and decided it would be great to play the Goldberg Variations like Glenn . Gould. So she did. It was recognized and not received well at the audition.
Yes, but we're talking about mimicking a concert pianist as a pedagogical device, not to fix your interpretation along those lines. If you want to, you can attempt to mimic multiple concert pianists.

I think it's healthy to mimic other people's playing and steal their ideas. You shouldn't go all out and simply copy all of the time, but how else will you broaden your horizons? You may never get the idea to play something a certain way unless you copy a certain concert pianist who managed to get that sound.

There is something to be said about not going overboard with that though, and I thought I would mention one of my favorite interviews of all time, Oscar Peterson and Andre Previn.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFNMw3GW3Ng
Posted By: trooplewis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 04:27 AM
Even when I had a teacher, when I played something incorrectly, the teacher would show me the right way by playing it correctly right there in front of me. I'm willing to bet that 99% of face-to-face teachers do the same thing today.

So what is different having your teacher play it then listening to Lang Lang or Horowitz play it?
Yeah, listen and learn...

Or as they used to say in Spanish class, escucha y repite
Posted By: 24000rpm Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 05:26 AM
in my untrained ear, i found Gould's style has a lot of staccatos, even the original sheet doesn't mark as so,
and of course hi lines of voice separation is crystal clear


Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
I think I should have been more clear about this. What my friend was telling me is that : do not listen to a recording BEFORE you learned the piece.
After you can fluently play the piece, listen to anything you want.

The idea, as I was told, is this:

1. a beginner like me occasionally would read the scores wrong , so listening to a recording before you learn the piece will kinda rob you the opportunity to carefully read the sheet and/or double checking because you would have the sound of the recording as an aid.

2. phrasing and dynamics, etc---- phrasing a piece of music and making dynamics are acquired skills. Listening what you are learning would rob you the opportunity to do the "homework" yourself


etc etc
etc etc

I really dont think so. First of all, most great composers started by imitating older composers before finding their own style (sometimes quite early though). So first thing, there is nothing wrong copying a great version. Second, i think that unless you are already quite experienced with various styles and composers and have a good sense of what is or is not musical, it is a bit presomptuous to believe that you can build up your "personal" vision of the piece. Most likely, you will just not do much justice to it. That said, nothing wrong with trying to do it and then compare it. Then if you want to be faithfull to a given style, you need to master the elements of that style.

On your points, i dont see why listening to other versions would rob you of anything. To do the homework as you say implies that you have the skills to do so. Learning how to phrase is not innate. There are things that works and others dont. Listening to other versions will give you some guidance as to how to do it. It is not very different from a session with your teacher where he will correct you when you are playing incorrectly (not technically). If you have no clue as to how to phrase, listen to other versions. If you have an idea, give it a shot and then check it out.

I dont think you have to make it a rigid kind of rule, like never or always.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 05:46 AM
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
To add to that, I'd say that trying to mimic a concert pianist 1:1 is an incredible learning tool. I've tried it before -- listen to them playing, and then try to keep the recording going on in your head while you play. Then, you compare your playing to theirs. It will sound worse. But listen very carefully to both recordings side by side. You'll realize -- oh, I need to give that downbeat some more oomph, I need to create a rum-pum-pum left hand accompaniment by shortening the second beat, I need to play this section softly to create space for the next one, this time around is just an echo of the previous one, etc. It is super instructive.
.

I would not recommend copying the interpretation of a concert pianist. As a exercise, listen to the same piece performed by a variety of pianists, and there will be individuality to how each interpret and play the music. You want to establish your own voice not a copy of someone else's.

And an anecdote that was shared with me: a teenager was applying to Juilliard if the fall and decided it would be great to play the Goldberg Variations like Glenn . Gould. So she did. It was recognized and not received well at the audition.
Yes, but we're talking about mimicking a concert pianist as a pedagogical device, not to fix your interpretation along those lines. If you want to, you can attempt to mimic multiple concert pianists.

I think it's healthy to mimic other people's playing and steal their ideas. You shouldn't go all out and simply copy all of the time, but how else will you broaden your horizons? You may never get the idea to play something a certain way unless you copy a certain concert pianist who managed to get that sound.

There is something to be said about not going overboard with that though, and I thought I would mention one of my favorite interviews of all time, Oscar Peterson and Andre Previn.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFNMw3GW3Ng
.

If you think it’s good to mimic rather than absorb, carry on with what you are doing. IMO, listening to several performances and analyzing the differences in interpretation would be much more instructive.
Posted By: weinstay Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 06:15 AM
Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
With a piece that is relatively unknown to me, I listen to as many versions of it as I can find, before learning it. While learning it, I make up my mind as to how it should actually sound.

If I have known the work for a long time, my mind will already have been made up.

This is exactly what I do and makes the most sense to me, or rather it is very logical to go about it this way.
Posted By: weinstay Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 06:16 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
If you think it’s good to mimic rather than absorb, carry on with what you are doing. IMO, listening to several performances and analyzing the differences in interpretation would be much more instructive.

Spot on.
Posted By: BruceD Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 06:38 AM
Originally Posted by trooplewis
Even when I had a teacher, when I played something incorrectly, the teacher would show me the right way by playing it correctly right there in front of me. I'm willing to bet that 99% of face-to-face teachers do the same thing today.

So what is different having your teacher play it then listening to Lang Lang or Horowitz play it?

I would suggest that some would consider that there is a considerable difference between a teacher illustrating a phrase and discussing ways of interpreting it and sitting there and playing an entire piece for the student. I don't think that is what most (good) teachers do.

I think that a good teacher gives the students the tools to work with and requires that the student use those tools to figure out some things for him/herself. Otherwise, how is there to be personal growth and development?

On the other hand, if the student is playing literature that is beyond the beginner level and if that student already has the notes well in hand, then I don't see anything untoward if the teacher were to say: "You should listen to what Rubinstein does with this," or "Have you heard Gould's unorthodox take on this?"

Situational context counts.

Regards,
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 06:52 AM
I think it's a very good thing to avoid listening to other interpretations before creating your own interpretation, and it's tremendously interesting to compare interpretations afterwards.
Posted By: ranjit Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 09:15 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
To add to that, I'd say that trying to mimic a concert pianist 1:1 is an incredible learning tool. I've tried it before -- listen to them playing, and then try to keep the recording going on in your head while you play. Then, you compare your playing to theirs. It will sound worse. But listen very carefully to both recordings side by side. You'll realize -- oh, I need to give that downbeat some more oomph, I need to create a rum-pum-pum left hand accompaniment by shortening the second beat, I need to play this section softly to create space for the next one, this time around is just an echo of the previous one, etc. It is super instructive.
.

I would not recommend copying the interpretation of a concert pianist. As a exercise, listen to the same piece performed by a variety of pianists, and there will be individuality to how each interpret and play the music. You want to establish your own voice not a copy of someone else's.

And an anecdote that was shared with me: a teenager was applying to Juilliard if the fall and decided it would be great to play the Goldberg Variations like Glenn . Gould. So she did. It was recognized and not received well at the audition.
Yes, but we're talking about mimicking a concert pianist as a pedagogical device, not to fix your interpretation along those lines. If you want to, you can attempt to mimic multiple concert pianists.

I think it's healthy to mimic other people's playing and steal their ideas. You shouldn't go all out and simply copy all of the time, but how else will you broaden your horizons? You may never get the idea to play something a certain way unless you copy a certain concert pianist who managed to get that sound.

There is something to be said about not going overboard with that though, and I thought I would mention one of my favorite interviews of all time, Oscar Peterson and Andre Previn.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFNMw3GW3Ng
.

If you think it’s good to mimic rather than absorb, carry on with what you are doing. IMO, listening to several performances and analyzing the differences in interpretation would be much more instructive.

What's the difference between listening to different interpretations and mimicking them? I still think that the latter is more instructive because you might realize ways of playing that you hadn't thought of earlier.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 09:33 AM
I was not suggesting mimicking anyone. Sorry Im not able to explain it better for you to consider a different approach.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 10:21 AM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
in my untrained ear, i found Gould's style has a lot of staccatos, even the original sheet doesn't mark as so,
and of course hi lines of voice separation is crystal clear

Thats an excellent point. So if you are referring to Bach, most of his scores dont mention where to play staccato. In fact many things are not written at all. There are no dynamics either (for obvious reasons). That is typically a composer that requires that you understand his stylistic components, assuming you would want to remain somehow faithfull to his style. Now the level of separation is not always the same for all pianists. But there is a fair consensus for some pieces. Learning how to play Bach is not something you can do on your own. You need a teacher and guidance and examples to understand.

When it comes to Gould, he is known to overuse staccato, even when it is not necessary. Of course in his case it is a deliberate choice made with a full knowledge of Bach style and his own biaises and their musical effect. Gould was looking at showing at best the underlying contrapunctal architecture of the piece. As such he privileged clear separation of voices and little legato. When you listen to various versions on the net, you do need to have a minimum of understanding of what you are listening to. Of course many people play simple pieces of Bach for the purpose of developping hand coordination and other skills but are usually not that aware of stylistic constraints. You develop your musical maturity over time by taking scores and trying to understand how to play them and comparing with other versions. For some things, there are different options but that does not mean that anything is good ....

When i was studying advanced math, i would learn the theory but then when actually trying to do an exercice i would be unable. I would need to look at the solution and understand how the theory should be applied to solve the problem. And then i understood how to use it. I think music is not different. Once you have the basics, You need to hear the various solutions taken by interprets to understand how to translate a specific score into a leaving interpretation. Generic concepts are usefull but you need practical hand on cases.

I dont have a rigid predefined rule as to listen before or after. I think again if you have no clue about how to play a piece, listen first. It will avoid you to waist time, and as i said there is nothing wrong with copying a good version. If you already have good basis, you can work it out on your own and listen when you have doubts or need guidance or to check if your view is somehow valid. If you have a teacher, of course you will do that work with him/her.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 11:54 AM
Originally Posted by BruceD
I would suggest that some would consider that there is a considerable difference between a teacher illustrating a phrase and discussing ways of interpreting it and sitting there and playing an entire piece for the student. I don't think that is what most (good) teachers do.

I think that a good teacher gives the students the tools to work with and requires that the student use those tools to figure out some things for him/herself. Otherwise, how is there to be personal growth and development?

On the other hand, if the student is playing literature that is beyond the beginner level and if that student already has the notes well in hand, then I don't see anything untoward if the teacher were to say: "You should listen to what Rubinstein does with this," or "Have you heard Gould's unorthodox take on this?"

Situational context counts.
That is exactly my take on this conundrum.

If the student is unable to comprehend what the teacher is asking him to do, the teacher 'illustrates' by playing the offending bit - maybe a few notes, maybe a few bars. A far cry from playing the whole piece for the student, or the student listening to the whole piece played by someone else before starting to learn it.

Once learnt, it's always a good idea to listen widely to see what other pianists come up with. I well remember my last teacher being pleasantly surprised by the way I played the coda of Schumann's Arabeske (in my voicing and rubato) - he asked me to repeat it so he could assimilate it properly. Even a teacher can learn interesting new things from his students........
Posted By: thepianoplayer416 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 12:23 PM
If you're in Suzuki music, you're learning your pieces partly out of CDs at the back of the Suzuki Books.

When we're practicing a piece, we all practice slow. Listening to pieces (especially technical ones) would give us some indication how much faster to push.

When we get into pieces that are not originally for solo piano we want to compare the arrangements against original performances.
Posted By: Sam S Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/21/21 03:18 PM
Haven't there been studies which show that songbirds raised in isolation can sing, but not very well? They learn to sing by listening to adults and getting feedback from their mothers.

I don't know much about this field, of course. I just remember seeing this study ages ago, and felt sorry for the poor birds that were raised in isolation. A quick google search shows lots of results.

Seems to me we could use this example to make a decision about becoming musicians...

Sam
Posted By: Fidel Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 02:00 AM
I don't listen to piano recordings because after more than a half century of listening, I've heard it already!

But on a serious note I would never listen to somebody else to get tips on how to play a piece. If I am merely repeating what somebody else has done, why bother? If I need know how a piece sounds I open the score and (sight)read it.

Honestly at this point in my peculiar piano journey I don't want any outside influences. I'm searching for my own style. It isn't easy and requires copious amounts of quiet contemplation.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 12:32 PM
Originally Posted by Fidel
I don't listen to piano recordings because after more than a half century of listening, I've heard it already!

But on a serious note I would never listen to somebody else to get tips on how to play a piece. If I am merely repeating what somebody else has done, why bother? If I need know how a piece sounds I open the score and (sight)read it.

Honestly at this point in my peculiar piano journey I don't want any outside influences. I'm searching for my own style.
Assuming you'd agree that some performances are superior to your own, don't you think you could learn something from them?

My guess is most professionals listen to other performances, although for some it is only after they've learned a piece. For most pieces in the standard repertoire they've already heard many performances before they start learning a work. And I assume after listening to other performances they get some new ideas that they incorporate into their own playing.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 12:54 PM
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Fidel
I don't listen to piano recordings because after more than a half century of listening, I've heard it already!

But on a serious note I would never listen to somebody else to get tips on how to play a piece. If I am merely repeating what somebody else has done, why bother? If I need know how a piece sounds I open the score and (sight)read it.

Honestly at this point in my peculiar piano journey I don't want any outside influences. I'm searching for my own style.
Assuming you'd agree that some performances are superior to your own, don't you think you could learn something from them?

My guess is most professionals listen to other performances, although for some it is only after they've learned a piece. For most pieces in the standard repertoire they've already heard many performances before they start learning a work. And I assume after listening to other performances they get some new ideas that they incorporate into their own playing.

Absolutely you can get new ideas from listening. What I find wrong is for a student to listen and copy what is done by someone without any thought of whether the decision is supported by the score: I.s. He emphasized that note, I need to emphasize that note.

That process is not learning how to analyze and form an interpretation, but learning how to copy.
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 01:00 PM
Are we saying then for example that a piece by Beethoven we should not strive to play it the way he did?
Posted By: keystring Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 01:35 PM
Originally Posted by Sam S
Haven't there been studies which show that songbirds raised in isolation can sing, but not very well? They learn to sing by listening to adults and getting feedback from their mothers.

Totally OT but:
- My parents had a canary. While watching tv in the evening, invariably someone got up when the microwave beeped, to get out the other person's coffee. Empty. It had been the canary.
- Our own roller had a beautiful song that it regularly interspersed with ugly squawks learned from some outside birds. It had no "musical taste" and was simply some kind of random-generating tape recorder
- Our last offspring, which tried to sing while still a ball of fluff, got sold to a pet shop owner who spoiled him, and named him McNeil - because of all the music she exposed him to, he loved Rita McNeil the most. McNeil was an orphan btw: parent died just as he had learned to get his own food.

Have you heard of the whales? cool
Years ago we watched a documentary about one breed of whales, which an expert had been following for a decade, learning the language of their music in detail. In this species there was a repertoire that had to be learned; then improvised with embellishments; and sung through a cycle that could be akin to sung in an array of keys. The whale that did the most perfect, but complex version, got the females - who did not sing, but had a fine and discerning whale-musical ear.

Are these whales closer to this thing we're talking about? Or do they relate to the time of Bach, when musicians improvised, and jazz, where they still do?
Posted By: jjo Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 03:43 PM
Apologies if this has been mentioned earlier (I can't read the whole thread) but here's a very interesting recent article in the New York Times on how a pianist studied prior recordings of a piece by Liszt before recording it. The article (it may be behind a paywall) has excerpts of phrases comparing prior recordings and the new one. Very interesting read!

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/arts/music/benjamin-grosvenor-piano-liszt-classical-music.html
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 07:29 PM
Originally Posted by jjo
Apologies if this has been mentioned earlier (I can't read the whole thread) but here's a very interesting recent article in the New York Times on how a pianist studied prior recordings of a piece by Liszt before recording it. The article (it may be behind a paywall) has excerpts of phrases comparing prior recordings and the new one. Very interesting read!

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/arts/music/benjamin-grosvenor-piano-liszt-classical-music.html
Just in case anyone gets the idea from the article that Grosvenor listened to several celebrated pianists before he started learning the Liszt from scratch, the opposite is true - he first performed it in concert when he was about 15 (I have a recording from a BBC Radio 3 broadcast from around that time), and he's continued to listen to other performers since then.

His new CD recording is strikingly very similar to his teenage live performance. I don't know how old he was when he first learnt it, but I get the impression that no matter how many other performances he listens to after learning pieces, he'd already made up his mind about his conception of those pieces. I have a CD that he made when he was ten (called, appropriately, "Ben at 10"), and it's striking how he played many pieces with that kind of early 20th century 'style' - even though at the time, he'd not heard recordings of those pianists.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 08:08 PM
Originally Posted by jjo
Apologies if this has been mentioned earlier (I can't read the whole thread) but here's a very interesting recent article in the New York Times on how a pianist studied prior recordings of a piece by Liszt before recording it. The article (it may be behind a paywall) has excerpts of phrases comparing prior recordings and the new one. Very interesting read!

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/arts/music/benjamin-grosvenor-piano-liszt-classical-music.html

Well in the case of Grosvenor, obviously other performances fuel his imagination and he gets inspired to try certain things he may not have thought of otherwise. I guess other pianists may think otherwise.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 09:56 PM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by jjo
Apologies if this has been mentioned earlier (I can't read the whole thread) but here's a very interesting recent article in the New York Times on how a pianist studied prior recordings of a piece by Liszt before recording it. The article (it may be behind a paywall) has excerpts of phrases comparing prior recordings and the new one. Very interesting read!

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/arts/music/benjamin-grosvenor-piano-liszt-classical-music.html
Just in case anyone gets the idea from the article that Grosvenor listened to several celebrated pianists before he started learning the Liszt from scratch, the opposite is true - he first performed it in concert when he was about 15 (I have a recording from a BBC Radio 3 broadcast from around that time), and he's continued to listen to other performers since then.
How do you know he didn't listen to recordings when he first learned this piece at 15? And didn't his teacher at the time undoubtedly offer advice about playing the piece? This is equivalent to listening to recordings IMO. Don't you think Grosvenor had probably heard many recordings/live performances of the piece before he started learning it or even decided to learn it?
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 10:15 PM
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
How do you know he didn't listen to recordings when he first learned this piece at 15?

He learnt it at a much younger age.

No kid pianist makes a live broadcast debut on BBC with the Liszt Sonata on a big stage (I think it was the Wigmore Hall) until he's totally assimilated it over a few years, and performed it in smaller venues.

Quote
And didn't his teacher at the time undoubtedly offer advice about playing the piece? This is equivalent to listening to recordings IMO.
No, it isn't equivalent.

His teacher never played the Liszt sonata for him.

Just like my last teacher never performed any of the big-scale pieces I learnt with him - several Beethoven sonatas, Brahms's Op.117 - Op.119, Schumann's Carnaval, Kreisleriana etc. In fact, he never played more than a couple of bars of any of them for me during lessons.

I never had any idea how he'd play any of them himself.


Quote
Don't you think Grosvenor had probably heard many recordings/live performances of the piece before he started learning it or even decided to learn it?
Of course he'd have heard recordings of it before.

But he didn't learn the music by listening to recordings - once he started learning, he avoided listening to others (like most concert pianists) until he'd finished learning it.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/22/21 11:09 PM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
How do you know he didn't listen to recordings when he first learned this piece at 15?

He learnt it at a much younger age.

No kid pianist makes a live broadcast debut on BBC with the Liszt Sonata on a big stage (I think it was the Wigmore Hall) until he's totally assimilated it over a few years, and performed it in smaller venues.
No matter what age he learned it at he almost undoubtedly had heard recordings and/or live performances before learning it. So my point remains.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
And didn't his teacher at the time undoubtedly offer advice about playing the piece? This is equivalent to listening to recordings IMO.
No, it isn't equivalent. His teacher never played the Liszt sonata for him.
I didn't say his teacher played the Liszt Sonata from start to finish for him. But he certainly could have demonstrated parts for him. Whether that was a page or little two measure sections he was still influencing Grosvenor's playing. More importantly, he most certainly made some verbal suggestions which I think are clearly no different from getting ideas from a recording.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Don't you think Grosvenor had probably heard many recordings/live performances of the piece before he started learning it or even decided to learn it?
Of course he'd have heard recordings of it before.

But he didn't learn the music by listening to recordings - once he started learning, he avoided listening to others (like most concert pianists) until he'd finished learning it.
Do you think Grosvenor forgot everything he heard on probably many recordings before he started learning the piece? If not, which I assume would be the case with someone of his ability, he could certainly be influenced by what he heard before he started learning the piece.

I think it's clear that many professional pianists are influenced to at least some degree by recordings/live performances/lessons before or during or after studying the piece. It is not to the extreme of a relative beginner who listens to and tries to copy everything in a performance while learning a piece, but they are influenced never the less.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 12:15 AM
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
he certainly could have demonstrated parts for him. Whether that was a page or little two measure sections he was still influencing Grosvenor's playing. More importantly, he most certainly made some verbal suggestions which I think are clearly no different from getting ideas from a recording.
I don't know how you listen to recordings and performances, but when I listen, I get the whole conception of the piece as well as the details - and I'd recognize it again as being from the same pianist if I hear his subsequent CD, and often, even years or decades later if his conception of the piece is sufficiently unique and different from others'.

Hearing tiny snippets from a teacher is nothing at all like this. As I said, I have absolutely no idea how my own last teacher (a concert pianist) played any of the works I learnt with him. (Note: I didn't say "pieces he taught me" - because after sight-reading them initially in front of him during the lesson, I'd go and learn them by myself, then play for him in subsequent lessons. In other words, I learnt them by myself, and he then gave suggestions on how I might make improvements. But my conception of the pieces were wholly mine, and he never tried to push his own interpretation on me.)

Quote
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Don't you think Grosvenor had probably heard many recordings/live performances of the piece before he started learning it or even decided to learn it?
Of course he'd have heard recordings of it before.

But he didn't learn the music by listening to recordings - once he started learning, he avoided listening to others (like most concert pianists) until he'd finished learning it.
Do you think Grosvenor forgot everything he heard on probably many recordings before he started learning the piece? If not, which I assume would be the case with someone of his ability, he could certainly be influenced by what he heard before he started learning the piece.
Of course he would remember some ideas he'd heard before, and maybe even use them (consciously or not) in his interpretation.

What I'm saying is that he didn't learn any of his pieces by the process of deliberate listening to other pianists.

Incidentally, he enjoys playing (as encores) Cziffra arrangements, of which the only recordings ever made were by......Cziffra. But you can hear that his playing & interpretations are quite different from Cziffra's.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 12:39 AM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
he certainly could have demonstrated parts for him. Whether that was a page or little two measure sections he was still influencing Grosvenor's playing. More importantly, he most certainly made some verbal suggestions which I think are clearly no different from getting ideas from a recording.
I don't know how you listen to recordings and performances, but when I listen, I get the whole conception of the piece as well as the details - and I'd recognize it again as being from the same pianist if I hear his subsequent CD, and often, even years or decades later if his conception of the piece is sufficiently unique and different from others'.

Hearing tiny snippets from a teacher is nothing at all like this. As I said, I have absolutely no idea how my own last teacher (a concert pianist) played any of the works I learnt with him. (Note: I didn't say "pieces he taught me" - because after sight-reading them initially in front of him during the lesson, I'd go and learn them by myself, then play for him in subsequent lessons. In other words, I learnt them by myself, and he then gave suggestions on how I might make improvements. But my conception of the pieces were wholly mine, and he never tried to push his own interpretation on me.)

Quote
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Don't you think Grosvenor had probably heard many recordings/live performances of the piece before he started learning it or even decided to learn it?
Of course he'd have heard recordings of it before.

But he didn't learn the music by listening to recordings - once he started learning, he avoided listening to others (like most concert pianists) until he'd finished learning it.
Do you think Grosvenor forgot everything he heard on probably many recordings before he started learning the piece? If not, which I assume would be the case with someone of his ability, he could certainly be influenced by what he heard before he started learning the piece.
Of course he would remember some ideas he'd heard before, and maybe even use them (consciously or not) in his interpretation.

What I'm saying is that he didn't learn any of his pieces by the process of deliberate listening to other pianists.

Incidentally, he enjoys playing (as encores) Cziffra arrangements, of which the only recordings ever made were by......Cziffra. But you can hear that his playing & interpretations are quite different from Cziffra's.
Non answers to what I said.

I could respond to virtually every point you wrote but I'd just be repeating what I've said before. Just one little example in response to your very last sentence. There are numerous YouTube recordings of various Cziffra arrangements. And if Grosvenor's playing is "quite different" is doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by Cziffra's or someone else's playing of the piece. It just means he didn't copy it. You said your teacher made suggestions, and if you adopted them, whether they were conceptions of the whole piece or details, that means he influenced your playing of the piece.

The bottom line is that most pro pianists are influenced by recordings/live performances and lessons before, during, and after learning pieces.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 01:21 AM
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Non answers to what I said.
.
I have no idea what you're arguing about, unless you just enjoy arguing.

No musician lives in a vacuum, and I never said that pianists aren't influenced by others they've heard. After all, that's the whole point - including of listening around the music they're learning (Casta Diva when learning Chopin, Don Giovanni when learning Mozart's K330) - to understand what the composers themselves were about and what in turn influenced them.

All I'm saying is that concert pianists generally don't learn by deliberately listening to other pianists play their pieces before they have learnt them and developed their own interpretations.

If you're arguing that classical pianists should learn their pieces like jazzers do instead of direct from the score, then I'd say - you are wrong.

Incidentally, the only YT video of the Cziffra arrangement I'm talking about is by.......Cziffra.
Posted By: Bob A Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 05:22 AM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Non answers to what I said.
.

All I'm saying is that concert pianists generally don't learn by deliberately listening to other pianists play their pieces before they have learnt them and developed their own interpretations.

This is the adult beginner forum. I'm 6 weeks into learning how to read music and nowhere near being a concert pianist (Remember Fun with Dick and Jane?). If I can speed things up by listening to the same piece by different pianists, I'm going to do it. I'm 61 and don't feel I have time to waste. Just saying. Everybody has to do what they feel is right for them IMO.

That being said, If my sight reading skills were advanced, then no I don't believe I would need to listen to other performances as the composer / piece should speak to you directly from the page with no translation needed.

Am I wrong in this assumption?
Posted By: FloRi89 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 08:11 AM
I didn't really follow this thread, but I'll answer the question. No, I won't, I'll actively try to listen to different interpretations and try to find one that I like and then try to copy it.

The advise to not do that might be O.K(ish) for a professional, but if I'm not mistaken this is the "Beginners Forum", aka nobody here is able to "inperpret" a piece on a level that comes even close to anything a professional in a recording does. You won't sound like Kissin just because you listen to him interpreting a piece that you are learning, if you can come even close to what he is doing you aren't a beginner but either a professional yourself or a very advanced pianist that has been doing this for a long time.

Those recordings are light years ahead of anything that I will ever be able to achieve, if I can get some resemblece of what the pianist there is doing, it's going to elevate my playing considerably. Very likely everything that I can come up with myself will just sound bad. You know, that's why we go to teachers, so that they help make our own really bad interpretations better. And if you are doing what your teacher tells you, you are copying him. The teacher is just telling you to interpret the piece as he or she would.

Also, the idea that you can come up with something completely new that nobodody has ever done before is pretty pretentions. Chances are, no matter how you "interpret" it, someone else already did it that way.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 09:07 AM
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I could respond to virtually every point you wrote but I'd just be repeating what I've said before. Just one little example in response to your very last sentence. There are numerous YouTube recordings of various Cziffra arrangements. And if Grosvenor's playing is "quite different" is doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by Cziffra's or someone else's playing of the piece. It just means he didn't copy it.

I think Grosvenor goes definitely one step further than being influenced. He explicitely says he is actively studying other versions in detail and with the examples, it is clear that he is looking at how other pianists specifically manage certain parts. Now he is not necessarily playing them exactly like that but he is retaining the concepts and adapting them more or less. At this level anyway, any pianist has the capability to adjust the fine details to its own sensibility, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see how the creative process of Grosvenor is fueled by external ideas.
Posted By: marklings Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 10:04 AM
Interesting issue

Contrary to many, I do post listen.

I study a piece, I get my feeling of it, I get to the point where it needs perfectioning. I don' stumble upon notes but at this point I may need to play faster and with more expression

Then I start listening to a lot of different interpretations.

This gives me many ideas but kind of preserves my own take on that !

M.
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 10:17 AM
Seems to be a lot of references to “ professionals” when this is the “ beginner” section 🙄
Posted By: Bob A Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 11:03 AM
Do you think Beethoven watched Mozart videos on Youtube? I think not. LOL
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 11:12 AM
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I could respond to virtually every point you wrote but I'd just be repeating what I've said before. Just one little example in response to your very last sentence. There are numerous YouTube recordings of various Cziffra arrangements. And if Grosvenor's playing is "quite different" is doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by Cziffra's or someone else's playing of the piece. It just means he didn't copy it.

I think Grosvenor goes definitely one step further than being influenced. He explicitely says he is actively studying other versions in detail and with the examples, it is clear that he is looking at how other pianists specifically manage certain parts. Now he is not necessarily playing them exactly like that but he is retaining the concepts and adapting them more or less. At this level anyway, any pianist has the capability to adjust the fine details to its own sensibility, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see how the creative process of Grosvenor is fueled by external ideas.


This thread has evolved into something that I’d more suitable for the Pianists forum and is of little benefit to the beginners on this forum. They don’t need to read what an advanced or concert pianist does, but what they should do as an early learner.

Can we start a new thread for advanced pianist discussion on the Pianists corner and discuss the appropriate path for beginning to low intermediate students?
Posted By: JimF Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 12:37 PM
My teacher has always encouraged me to NOT run out and start listening to recordings of newly started pieces.
Posted By: Wayne2467 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 01:01 PM
So what happens if you study the absrm pieces that come with the cd of every piece in the book.
Are some saying don’t listen because it’s detrimental or are we talking just some of the YT versions?
Posted By: dogperson Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 02:31 PM
Here’s what I would recommend for a relative beginner:
- try to play the right notes and rhythm without listening first. You want to develop the ability to read the score and play it without ‘knowing’ the music
- then listen to the CD: what did you get wrong? Do you know why? You may need to count the rhythm out loud - maybe you missed an accidental
- if you are working on dynamics, highlight them in the score. Work on them on your own
- once you give it a try, listen. What is different from what you did? Is there a reason?
Posted By: Stanza Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 03:08 PM
The biggest risk of pre-listening is that you need to learn and practice slowly. That can conflict with the up to tempo piece in your head.
Posted By: NordWest Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 03:48 PM
My teacher warned me there is a lot of bad recordings of exam pieces with bad rhythms etc that are put out whenever new syllabi appear.

My personal opinion is that it is not harmful to listen to get an idea of how it should sound, as a beginner your limitations will stop you sounding like what a professional pianist sounds like, whatever their interpretation; and a more advanced pianist will have their own ideas and voice, and if they are influenced it will be because that version has struck a chord.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 03:57 PM
Things have got lost in translation - not unexpected, if you go from English to Urdu to Aramaic to Mongolian and back again via Esperanto.



So, just to recap, as a perpetual classical student myself (the day when I stop learning is the day when I admit I'm old & decrepit, which of course I'll never admit, though I'm old & decrepit): I'm talking about near-beginners in most of my posts here, except when things got derailed by mentions of Ben and Vladimir H et al, and things got messy.

To repeat what I'd already said in a previous post: the reason why classical pianists learn their pieces directly from scores is not because that's the way it had been done since time immemorial (because Bach & his big family weren't around during time immemorial), but because all their music is preserved on manuscript paper (until they're replaced by chips) and the whole world is there waiting to be discovered. Practically infinite resources, in fact. All the information required for learning classical music is in the scores - you just need to bring in your own learning & personal interpretation to bear, including of course what composers expected of their performers during their own time.

If you always rely on hearing someone else play it first because you are unable to learn any classical piece accurately entirely from the score (I'm not talking about interpretation - just the correct notes & rhythm), then you'll always be limited by what is available on YT etc. But of course, many adult learners never go beyond that (and don't want to go beyond), so it's not a problem for them. And if you don't think you're missing anything by not being able to do that, that's not a problem for you either.

(BTW, if you have no interest in classical, just pretend I don't exist, and never existed....... smirk )

But - if you're aiming to go real high in classical, you're going to need to be able to decipher music scores (of music you've never heard before), make sense of them, and make music out of them - with no help from recordings. Lots of amateur as well as professional classical (and non-classical) pianists do that all the time. For instance, I have a musician friend whose interest is classical but gets his main income from accompanying all sorts of music, often at short notice: he'd be called one day to play the piano in the stage pit for Sweeney Todd (the sweet angelic barber of Fleet Street who loves pies wink ) to replace an ailing colleague, and he'd be expected to practically sight-read a score he'd never seen or heard before, playing alongside musicians who've been playing the same stuff for years. As for amateurs (like me), I'd be called upon to deputize for the indisposed accompanist in a Christmas concert......only to discover that I'd be expected to sight-read pop songs I'd never heard before (or knew existed) in my long life, from fully-written out scores as well as lead sheets. Do I admit defeat? Of course not.......(when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, etc whistle). And of course, in my spare time (when not learning new scores or practicing), I sight-read through everything I can get hold of, for fun.

Which is why, if you do RCM, ABRSM or AMEB exams, you have to be able to sight-read. You never know when you might called upon to accompany the great Jonas Kaufmann in his debut in The Fair Maid of the Mill.......



If you think: "I'm not going to be able to sight-read that!" - of course not. After one year of lessons - this is the level actually expected of the average student:

Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 04:08 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I could respond to virtually every point you wrote but I'd just be repeating what I've said before. Just one little example in response to your very last sentence. There are numerous YouTube recordings of various Cziffra arrangements. And if Grosvenor's playing is "quite different" is doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by Cziffra's or someone else's playing of the piece. It just means he didn't copy it.

I think Grosvenor goes definitely one step further than being influenced. He explicitely says he is actively studying other versions in detail and with the examples, it is clear that he is looking at how other pianists specifically manage certain parts. Now he is not necessarily playing them exactly like that but he is retaining the concepts and adapting them more or less. At this level anyway, any pianist has the capability to adjust the fine details to its own sensibility, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see how the creative process of Grosvenor is fueled by external ideas.


This thread has evolved into something that I’d more suitable for the Pianists forum and is of little benefit to the beginners on this forum. They don’t need to read what an advanced or concert pianist does, but what they should do as an early learner.

Can we start a new thread for advanced pianist discussion on the Pianists corner and discuss the appropriate path for beginning to low intermediate students?


I think the main point is that if even a pro pianist can benefit from listening to others, it is even more suitable for a beginner or an intermediate pianist. I think it is perfectly applicable to all sorts of pianists with varying levels.
Posted By: petebfrance Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 04:58 PM
I often play music that I haven't heard and will continue to do it, not because of any benefits (or lack of) in doing things that way but because I enjoy doing it. In fact I started doing it when I was 'self-teaching' in a 'relative vacuum' (i.e. no teacher, no internet, not that many recordings partly because I usually preferred to buy recordings of orchestral music, and, in those days they would be very difficult to find anyway) and it was (and still is) part of the pleasure in playing the piano.
Never listen beforehand? I doubt if I'd be dogmatic about it, but it does take some of the fun of discovery out of things and I really don't take a great deal of pleasure in imitating other people even though at times it is, unfortunately, necessary.
Posted By: rocket88 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 05:15 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
This thread has evolved into something that I’d more suitable for the Pianists forum and is of little benefit to the beginners on this forum. They don’t need to read what an advanced or concert pianist does, but what they should do as an early learner.

Can we start a new thread for advanced pianist discussion on the Pianists corner and discuss the appropriate path for beginning to low intermediate students?

Moving this to another forum is a good idea.

However, in my experience, beginners and early learners by definition typically do not know how to proceed in matters such as this.

Perhaps a more appropriate venue would be the Piano Teachers forum here on PW.
Posted By: 24000rpm Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 07:18 PM
ok, an somewhat negative example. When I started , i stretch myself too much and I learnt bach's 2part invention #13 and wtc book 1 #2 prelude.
After I learned these, I listened to recordings again and again, from various artists.
I spotted an error today on my invention #13, I missed one hidden "#" after the same note appeared before in the same measure.
The problem is, I didn't spot the error because I listened to the recordings. I read the scores again and again to appreciate its beauty and found it suddenly, without a piano.
Posted By: keystring Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 07:56 PM
Originally Posted by bennevis
Things have got lost in translation - not unexpected, if you go from English to Urdu to Aramaic to Mongolian and back again via Esperanto.

[movie clip]

I watched the clip but I didn't get how it fits in what we're discussing.
Yes, we have to contend with this, and there isn't always a chance to find the original. However a professional translator will not just translate words. We do research, use background knowledge, and ask questions. We consult others, or say "Sorry, this is outside of my expertise." Here is the pertinence to music: Interpreting the music involves some knowledge which you apply; or experience that may be more instinctive. If a piece is in 3/4 time and you know it's a waltz, you will probably know what to do with those notes.

I'm still not quite getting the English to Urdo to Aramaic etc. bit. Do you mean; there's a composition - pianist A copies pianist B who copied pianist C who copied pianist D, and maybe D has seen the score and the rest haven't?
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/23/21 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
ok, an somewhat negative example. When I started , i stretch myself too much and I learnt bach's 2part invention #13 and wtc book 1 #2 prelude.
After I learned these, I listened to recordings again and again, from various artists.
I spotted an error today on my invention #13, I missed one hidden "#" after the same note appeared before in the same measure.
The problem is, I didn't spot the error because I listened to the recordings. I read the scores again and again to appreciate its beauty and found it suddenly, without a piano.

If you listen to others play it, the objective is not to compare note by note to check if you are playing the right notes. You can occasionally spot an error but thats not the main purpose. What you are looking is things like the effect various tempo can have, the articulation, phrasing, some stylistic elements. How difficult places are managed.

So after you listened all those other versions, what did you get out of it ?
Posted By: keystring Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/24/21 01:42 AM
Here's a thing about listening when you are still relatively new, or there are things you have not yet learned to hear or understand. It happed a few years ago when I took part in a themed recital here, and I took the only composition which for some reason seemed never to be played by student - yet the notes were so "simple"? I got the simple notes down. But I could not turn it into music i.e. make it interesting.

There were only 4 or 5 professionals who played it, and no students. I think one was Arrau. Each pianist played it differently, each made it interesting. I could hear that they were doing something to the rhythm: some speeding up, some agogic accents maybe. But I could not hear what I was hearing. When I experimented, if it got interesting with some kind of cool flow, people I tested it on said "I can't hear your pulse." Well, I had a weak sense of pulse, even if I could do proper timing, and also could not hear when it was lacking. If I counted strictly I could end up with good pulse. But it got boring again. I had to grow my hearing and understanding. Before improving these, no amount of listening would have helped.
Posted By: FloRi89 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 02/24/21 08:50 AM
Originally Posted by keystring
Here's a thing about listening when you are still relatively new, or there are things you have not yet learned to hear or understand. It happed a few years ago when I took part in a themed recital here, and I took the only composition which for some reason seemed never to be played by student - yet the notes were so "simple"? I got the simple notes down. But I could not turn it into music i.e. make it interesting.

There were only 4 or 5 professionals who played it, and no students. I think one was Arrau. Each pianist played it differently, each made it interesting. I could hear that they were doing something to the rhythm: some speeding up, some agogic accents maybe. But I could not hear what I was hearing. When I experimented, if it got interesting with some kind of cool flow, people I tested it on said "I can't hear your pulse." Well, I had a weak sense of pulse, even if I could do proper timing, and also could not hear when it was lacking. If I counted strictly I could end up with good pulse. But it got boring again. I had to grow my hearing and understanding. Before improving these, no amount of listening would have helped.

Yea well that sounds about right. Most likely you won't be even able to hear everything that a professional does when you are still a beginner. So worst case the impact of listening to someone else playing ist simply zero.

I'm an adult beginner and I have been listening to classical music for most of my live. Apart from total beginner stuff that no one would ever touch I have heard all of the pieces I want to play hundreds of times. I'm not choosing those pieces by accident, I want to play them because I like them and I have heard them before. What I'm learning now "Träumerei" is probably one of my favorite pieces of all time. Countless people have played that before and I have listended to a large amount of them.
So now I stop listening to one of my favorite pieces of classical music, because I'm learning it? I'm not going to erase the memories of how others interpreted it, it's impossible. That might be different for children, but as adult beginners, you have have listened to piano music before, unless you live in shed in the wilderness.
Posted By: ranjit Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 03/09/21 03:19 AM
I think that even children who play well at a young age have formed a subconscious corpus of hundreds of pieces just by being exposed to classical music at home.

If you already have that listening experience especially as a young child, it's kind of like having learned a language. You may forget that you actually learned it, but it stays with you. So the ideas which come to mind, which you use to interpret pieces, are heavily influenced by your database of pieces, and understanding of the style.

I think that immersion is incredibly powerful in that sense. It is what I've used to learn classical music so far. Every other system of music has an aural tradition. The fact that the European classical tradition has gotten divorced from that does not mean that music learning happens any differently. Of course, once you have a strong imprint of a hundred Strauss and Chopin waltzes in your head, you can probably come up with meaningful ways to interpret the next one you hear. Notation is just an approximation of the actual music.

You will usually not find the interpretive ideas written down. It's not as if there will be a note in the margin -- "agogic accents might be a good idea here ^^". So how do those ideas come about in the first place? This is where listening to recordings is instrumental. It's very common to see people who decide to learn entirely from the sheet music play like robots -- and it's because this whole internal machinery isn't in place which "tells" them what to do, where to take liberties, what makes sense musically.

So, you listen to recordings to get a sense of those tools. You try and imitate them so that you can be sure that you properly understood and internalized the specific ideas, and check if they're working as they should.

It's a misconception in many creative fields that ideas come "out of nowhere". It is useless to think this way imo, because while your idea may be a very clever combination of existing ideas, it will never be new in a fundamental sense. So, it's a great idea to keep collecting ideas of other masters, and eventually, you will be able to draw the links to come up with your own ideas. If you actively handicap yourself by not listening to and imitating recordings, you will probably never get many of those ideas in the first place.
Posted By: Peyton Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 03/09/21 11:26 AM
Originally Posted by rocdoc
Yeah, if I find myself accidentally sounding like Glen Gould because I listened to him performing the piece I was working on, I will bravely accept that terrible draw back smile

thumb

I always try to find someone good to listen to. I do not take lessons so that is about as close as I can get to understanding how the piece should be played.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 03/09/21 02:02 PM
A lot of times you'd get into playing a piece because you listened to a recording and like the music. Even if you're not learning by listening to the recording you're familiar enough with the music to know how it should sound. Once I got into playing the first mvt of the Bach Italian concerto in F. This was after hearing the 1985 Keith Jarrett recording. 2 months ago I learned a piano arrangement of the Irish tune "Danny Boy". A year ago I was in a music group and we started working on DB with a few musicians. The piece was a different arrangement and in another Key it's still the same song.

Even a piece assigned by a teacher he/she would suggest the tempo, dynamics and phrasing. Last year I worked on an old Jazz tune "Stormy Weather" from the 1930s with a teacher. she played the first section slowly for the students so we had some idea if we were playing the right notes. And the Gershwin song "Summertime" I worked on with my music group years ago. The next piece I worked on was the Disney theme "When You Wish Upon a Star" from 1940 that I heard on radio recently. Hearing it just once was enough.

I worked on the Cat Stevens arrangement of "Morning Has Broken" before Christmas. Of course I heard a recording on radio many years ago. Suppose you're registered with an online program like Piano Marvel, you can pick songs at random that you don't know and try to do your best. A lot of people like myself would get into a song because we like the music, not because we are good sight-readers and love the challenge of trying something totally new.
Posted By: 24000rpm Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 03/09/21 04:57 PM
when I hear pros playing it, I got surprises here and there, for sure.

Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
ok, an somewhat negative example. When I started , i stretch myself too much and I learnt bach's 2part invention #13 and wtc book 1 #2 prelude.
After I learned these, I listened to recordings again and again, from various artists.
I spotted an error today on my invention #13, I missed one hidden "#" after the same note appeared before in the same measure.
The problem is, I didn't spot the error because I listened to the recordings. I read the scores again and again to appreciate its beauty and found it suddenly, without a piano.

If you listen to others play it, the objective is not to compare note by note to check if you are playing the right notes. You can occasionally spot an error but thats not the main purpose. What you are looking is things like the effect various tempo can have, the articulation, phrasing, some stylistic elements. How difficult places are managed.

So after you listened all those other versions, what did you get out of it ?
Posted By: tkdoyle Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 03/09/21 11:33 PM
I try to learn things without hearing them first. It's like reading aloud rather than trying to remember what I've heard and piece it together as I read it. I'm intermediate level, but I also like the challenge of seeing whether I can make a piece sound like something on my own.
Posted By: piano2020 Re: Do you actively avoid this: - 03/10/21 09:24 PM
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
do you actively avoid listening to the piece that you are working on. For example, if you are working on a Bach invention, you avoid listening to that on a Gould's CD.

One of my friends told me that , to test if you have the ability to interpret the piece yourself and not to have a 'pre-impression' of it or phrasing, etc, you need to avoid listening to other poeple's play, especially virtuoso's.

I found this notion make a little bit sense after a while. Do you?

Being able to listen to what you are working on shortens the time that you need to work on the piece, though, IMHO.

Hi,

I like to listen to the piece before I start to learn it. However, I don't it it really helps me too much because I'd forget the details, probably because I've not played it. I do feel more confident learning once I've heard the piece though; maybe it is psychological (which is still valid and helpful).

I know it is very important for me to repeatedly listen to the piece while learning. This helps me check my phrasing and articulation. For example, just now, I don't play a note staccato (because the book I used did not explicitly indicate it), while Youtube plays it staccato. So I change the way I play it. (I don't think the book is wrong, likely I'm not interpreting the music correctly.)

Even in the past (40 years ago) when I took piano lessons, before starting each piece the teacher would play it for me. Back then, I can't hear the piece whenever I wanted to, so I paid a lot of attention to the initial playing. (Now, thinking back, why wasn't I smart enough to tape the playing I don't know.) So, I think, in general, people put some value on hearing the piece correctly played before starting.
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