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When are you ready for a Chopin etude? (Read 7673 times)

Offline frank_48

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When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
« on: September 04, 2008, 01:56:30 PM »
hello people!

obviously my question is a bit complicated and 1 person cannot give me a direct answer on the "average" time would take for a person to be "ready" however i thought it would be a good idea if the fellow virtuosi on this board could post what grade they are(6,7,8 etc) what chopin piece/s they have done and how long they have been playing piano. that way i can get an average understanding on how long it takes.

ive only been playing piano for a year (started at 17). i'm guessing theres a good 5-6 years of practice before i could tackle most of them, but still, no harm in getting a general idea now though ;D

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Sheet music to download and print: Etudes by Chopin



Offline db05

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 01:58:39 PM »
Er... When are you ready for a Chopin anything?
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Offline frank_48

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 02:01:32 PM »
lol, i was speaking more to the point of the difficulty of the piece itself. if you can play the etudes well, you can pretty much play anything esle...right?

chopin aside, its more to get an understanding of how many years it takes to play something difficult.
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Offline db05

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 02:09:27 PM »
lol, i was speaking more to the point of the difficulty of the piece itself. if you can play the etudes well, you can pretty much play anything esle...right?

chopin aside, its more to get an understanding of how many years it takes to play something difficult.

I don't think so. Some weird modern compositions may be difficult.

It depends. If you're still keeping up you 7-hour routine, I'd say in 3 years. You're smart, imo. Unless you get injured. Knock on wood.

No, seriously, when is one ready for ANY Chopin, as I'm dying to play something Romantic.
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Offline frank_48

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #4 on: September 04, 2008, 02:28:42 PM »
I don't think so. Some weird modern compositions may be difficult.

It depends. If you're still keeping up you 7-hour routine, I'd say in 3 years. You're smart, imo. Unless you get injured. Knock on wood.

No, seriously, when is one ready for ANY Chopin, as I'm dying to play something Romantic.

try his preludes, No.4 or 7. technically very easy imo.
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Offline mmro

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #5 on: September 04, 2008, 09:10:38 PM »
Hey.. Try to play some Moszkowski's Etudes. I recommend Op 72 No 2 (G minor).. they're difficult and not as challenging as Chopin's

I'm new to Chopin etudes (only played 4). I think Op 25 No 12 is not as hard as the others, and sounds great. You might want to start with that one, I think.

Offline tsagari

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #6 on: September 05, 2008, 07:10:14 AM »
I was given my first Chopin Waltz op 64. no2 - after 2 and a half years of study - not an Etude yet. The experience is that although it looks easy it is  a very demanding piece from many aspects. I agree that the two preludes are easy but in terms of interpretation demanding too. Also there a number of romatic pieces that you can play other than Chopin. If you want some suggestions I can make you a list. And a piece of advice from someone who is as impatient as you, wait until your playing is mature enough for the grand pieces.
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Offline eric_wong1387

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #7 on: September 06, 2008, 03:14:27 AM »
If you're comfortable with RCM Grade 10 (thats a system in Canada, I'm not sure what its analogous to in ABRSM), you might be able to start on some of them I think.

For me, I probably took longer than average...I can't remember....over 10 years for sure.  I've really only made my first serious attempt at them this past summer, and I was able to learn four so far (10-3, 25-1, 25-9, 25-12).   However I think it is conceivable that I could've already started with them maybe 2 or 3 years ago (I don't have as much time with piano as I'd like these days, being a university student who is not studying music).

My personal recommendation as a starting Etude is Op. 25-1.  Its more straightforward compared to many others, and I've found that it can be a good warm-up piece too.

Offline quantum

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 10:15:59 AM »
What Chopin have you played so far?  How did you find the difficulty?

With Chopin learning notes is the easy part most of the time.  A lot of work needs to be put in towards using correct technique and forming an interpretation of the music.

Learned my first Chopin etude (10/3) after about 3 years of playing.  As a young student I was always pushing myself to play more advanced works, while my teacher wanted me to play the stuff in the RCM grade books.  I don't necessarily recommend you do this. 

I have studied a lot of Chopin.  Looking back now, I think this greatly aided my technique - more so than any exercises, scales, chords or technical repetitious patterns have. 
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Offline frank_48

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #9 on: September 06, 2008, 10:30:39 AM »
What Chopin have you played so far?  How did you find the difficulty?


so far i have learned, Opus 28 No.4 & 7, Waltz Op.69 no.2, cantabile in b flat major, mazurka, op 67 no.3 and 3/4 of nocturne, opus 48 no.1 (kinda regret starting it too early) to be honest when playing chopin i find his works a lot easier than say beethoven,mozart or bach. playing chopin comes so much more naturally and not alot of work needs to be put in in order to sound good.
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Offline quantum

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #10 on: September 06, 2008, 05:15:04 PM »
You may wish to try some of the more difficult preludes first.  See how you find them.  You could also try out Etudes 25/1 or 25/2. 

The Nocturne 48/1 is quite difficult, so don't get discouraged. 
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Offline eric_wong1387

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #11 on: September 06, 2008, 10:24:41 PM »
I'm surprised you've gone into the Nocturne Op. 48/1 already this early.   I've only sightread it, but I think its probably too steep for a first nocturne.

Be wary of Chopin - when you say it comes so much more naturally, do keep in mind that sometimes its easier to hide behind the pedal with Chopin.   I agree that Chopin is easier for most people to relate to musically because of his many memorable melodies, but it makes it easy to skim over the more technical aspects of playing Chopin.

For some more challenging Preludes:

No. 15 is a classic (the Raindrop)

No. 11 is a personal favourite of mine, but a bit more challenging, albeit very short

No. 6 is also well-known, and I think it'd be a good prerequisite for the Etude Op. 25 No. 7 (which is very similar in construction and mood but is much longer and demanding)

No. 17 I have not played, but knowing that it involves bringing out a melody above a chord accompaniment (like the second half of 48/1), I think it might be a good idea to try it before you get to Op. 48/1

Offline frank_48

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #12 on: September 07, 2008, 01:39:21 AM »
what are peoples opinions on prelude no.13?

oh and eric, when you say "hide" behind the pedal, i make a great deal of effort to learn pieces without pedal first and add it after.
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Offline eric_wong1387

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #13 on: September 08, 2008, 02:55:37 AM »
Cool.   Yeah I used to have a habit of over-pedalling until I was corrected by a teacher, so just making sure ;)  In fact I went through a stage where I was completely avoiding Chopin and focusing on Mozart and Bach while trying to correct my habits.

Prelude No. 13 - I'm not very familiar with this one, so don't take what I say for granted.  Its a very nocturne-like piece, some large chords, requires some careful pedalling and quite challenging musically. 

It is rated Grade 9 under the RCM in Canada, which is one grade above the Waltz Op. 69 No. 2 which you said you've played, and the same grade as the Raindrop, to give you an idea of its difficulty level.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #14 on: September 09, 2008, 02:07:19 AM »
The simple test is to try to learn one of them. If you cannot sight read through the piece then don't attempt it (I would think that probably 90% of the notes played at a slower tempo with correct fingers would be acceptable ). If too many figures you read are new to you and you cannot understand or predict its direction, then try something easier. Of course you can treat the etudes as a source for initial knowledge of a technical feat, but it may come with an inefficient learning rate. We rather use Chopin etudes as a reinforcement and development of already acquired technique.

One etude learned by an advanced student I think should take about 50hours maximum to learn (not perfectly, but the piece is pretty much under the hand). Then about 25 more hours to polish up to acceptable performance level. Of course it takes a long time to completely master these. But you should be able to initially learn these at a good rate.

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Offline frank_48

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #15 on: September 14, 2008, 03:22:45 PM »
ok so, Assuming my calculations are correct, after playing for about 7-8 years, one would be able to actually start playing the etudes,

lets say we want to learn all 24 in an efficiant amount of time, these are just extremley average figures but anyway,

i'm also assuming that by this time the person is already technically superb in thier own right. so...

starting 4 etudes at the same time,(starting the easiest first) 2 hours of quality practice each, thats 8 hours a day, 56 hours a week, and 224 hours a month. Multiply that by 6 months and you have been relentlessly practicing etudes for about 1344 hours. if you divide that by 4 it comes to something around 330, so that would be around 330 hours per etude, meaning 4 etudes every 6 months, 8 etudes a year, 3 years to master all 24 ;D

im guessing it would only take about 100, max 150 hours to master an etude, but then again, these are just rough figures.

there, that should work right?  :P
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Offline soderlund

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #16 on: September 14, 2008, 03:35:35 PM »
I started taking piano lessons when I turned 16, which is almost exactly two years ago. Since then I have played Op. 10 no. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and Op. 25 no. 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.
Of these, I played Op. 10 no. 1, 12 and op. 25 no. 2, 7 and 10 in concert. Don't know if it helps, but it is possible to play Chopin etudes early on. I am certainly no Rubinstein or Horowitz, so if I could then I am sure you could manage too, with lots of practice and a good teacher. 

Offline frank_48

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #17 on: September 14, 2008, 03:39:10 PM »
I started taking piano lessons when I turned 16, which is almost exactly two years ago. Since then I have played Op. 10 no. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and Op. 25 no. 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.
Of these, I played Op. 10 no. 1, 12 and op. 25 no. 2, 7 and 10 in concert. Don't know if it helps, but it is possible to play Chopin etudes early on. I am certainly no Rubinstein or Horowitz, so if I could then I am sure you could manage too, with lots of practice and a good teacher. 

so, on average, how long did it take you to finish one?
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Offline soderlund

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #18 on: September 14, 2008, 03:43:48 PM »
Two months maybe, on average! Some are way harder than others though. I would stay away from 10. 1, 2 or 8 to begin with. I found those very difficult and they defenitely will take you longer than two months unless you are some sort of genius  ;) Perhaps you could start with 10.6 or 25.7? If you want some more virtuoso etudes I would say 25. 2 or 25.12. These were my two first, and in my opinion they both sound and look harder than they are. But it is all very individual.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #19 on: September 14, 2008, 08:29:04 PM »
Youre ready for a chopin etude when you know what your own limitations are, and when you know how to aproach them.

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Offline Bob

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #20 on: September 15, 2008, 12:17:03 AM »
so, on average, how long did it take you to finish one?

I'm still not finished.  I started one probably too early.  Now I wonder if it really was too early.

You can use them to develop technique.  You don't get them to performance level, but it's not bad to do that with them.  Build up technique and learn a standard repertoire piece. 

I still doubt I'm finished with those etudes.  Even now.
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Offline loonbohol

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #21 on: September 28, 2008, 12:30:32 AM »
I'm still not finished.  I started one probably too early.  Now I wonder if it really was too early.

You can use them to develop technique.  You don't get them to performance level, but it's not bad to do that with them.  Build up technique and learn a standard repertoire piece. 

I still doubt I'm finished with those etudes.  Even now.

well, I was 15 years old yet I have finished nine and one-half of Chopins Etude.
Well there are 18 Etudes more to go.

Well most of the Chopin's Etude that I master is the easiest among them.
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Offline mad_max2024

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #22 on: September 28, 2008, 01:00:22 AM »
Hey.. Try to play some Moszkowski's Etudes. I recommend Op 72 No 2 (G minor).. they're difficult and not as challenging as Chopin's

I'm just starting that one  ;D
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Offline eminemvsrach

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #23 on: October 01, 2008, 12:56:06 PM »
For me, Chopin's Ballade No. 3 is technically easier than the Chopin Etudes (Except for the slower ones). I've played Moszkowski's Op. 72 Nos. 1, 2, and 11, but none of them can beat Chopin. It seems like I still have a long way before I can get to play any Chopin etudes...... (excluding the slow ones @_@)
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Offline xpjamiexd

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Re: When are you ready for a Chopin etude?
«Reply #24 on: October 04, 2008, 02:52:03 PM »
What Chopin have you played so far?  How did you find the difficulty?

With Chopin learning notes is the easy part most of the time.  A lot of work needs to be put in towards using correct technique and forming an interpretation of the music.

Learned my first Chopin etude (10/3) after about 3 years of playing.  As a young student I was always pushing myself to play more advanced works, while my teacher wanted me to play the stuff in the RCM grade books.  I don't necessarily recommend you do this. 

I have studied a lot of Chopin.  Looking back now, I think this greatly aided my technique - more so than any exercises, scales, chords or technical repetitious patterns have. 

Well I have been playing for a little over a year (well piano for around 5 months before that it was keyboard) but I just finished Chopin's Prelude in Db Major Op. 28 No. 15 and have started Op. 28 No. 20 and also Nocturne in C- Sharp minor Op. posth. but I have not yet tried any Chopin etudes; and it was the same for me, my piano teacher said I wouldn't be able to play any Chopin but I pushed myself and did it. I think if you have the desire to play a song you'll do well with it so don't let anyone tell you you can't play something.