Piano Forum

Musical Revolutions – An Isacoff Exploration
The new book “Musical Revolutions” encompasses nearly two millennia of Western music and investigates how the sounds of the Western World changed. Piano Street had a talk with its author, Stuart Isacoff, a performing pianist, prize-winning author and lecturer. Read more >>

Topic: Managing Bach executions  (Read 2869 times)

Offline fcracker79

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Managing Bach executions
on: December 27, 2007, 10:42:37 AM
I'm preparing for the fifth year piano exam, which requires the execution of the english suites 2 and 3, over all.
Now, I have a problem: after studying a piece, from day to day, my execution starts to be less correct, unarticulated, I mean the execution degrades...
How can I prevent this problem? It's very frustrating to restart studying a piece, moreover if you consider that you already know it but with consolidated errors.

Thanks a lot!

Offline rc

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1935
Re: Managing Bach executions
Reply #1 on: December 28, 2007, 06:58:21 AM
I get that too, especially with Bach.  I think it's because I find his music difficult to memorize, so eventually I wind up over-relying on muscle memory, which causes the musical memory to fade and eventually weird mistakes start creeping in.  Possibly this is you too?  I think the solution for that is to keep the notes fresh in the head as well as the hands...  To look at the score more, and clarify things like the harmony and structure.

Offline stringoverstrung

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 270
Re: Managing Bach executions
Reply #2 on: December 29, 2007, 05:55:07 PM
possible reasons are:

- you did not study the notes away from the piano beforehand
- you practice too fast
- you practice inaccurately (= you practice the errors while playing)
- you do not correct 'practiced' errors at the end of the session by playing the piece slowly one more time
- you practice in chunks that are too large for you to handle without error.
- it has to do with concentration
- you sit too long at the piano instead of practicing in smaller but more concentrated chunks of time.

It also helps to understand the correct motion for up to speed execution when you practice slowly.

Offline hwangs

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 56
Re: Managing Bach executions
Reply #3 on: December 31, 2007, 05:20:10 AM
Hey-- It's kinda funny, I just uploaded English Suite #2, if you want to give it a hear, on the audition section. The biggest thing that helped me interpret this piece was to play it like I would sing it. Hope that helps  :)

Offline ganymed

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Re: Managing Bach executions
Reply #4 on: December 31, 2007, 05:24:49 PM
I advice not to be too strict with yourself! Bach is very hard to play!
Thats why you can only learn the pieces if you divide the pieces in segments .
U have to devide your work into steps so the process of learning is more organized.

It psychologically doesnt look like much work anymore if you divide e.g an invention into 8 segments.

What helped me a lot with bach was slow practice and hands seperate practice.
My definition of slow is a sixteenth = 50 bpm.

The problem that i struggle with is always thinking goal-oriented. I always set high goals instead of working process-oriented, i.e How is this goal achieved ?!

"We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come."

Milan Kundera,The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Offline nyquist

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
Re: Managing Bach executions
Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 10:39:29 PM
Old bad joke:

"What do you think about this pianist's execution."

"Execution would be too harsh.  A couple of years in jail would be appropriate, though."



Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert