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Topic: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?  (Read 34393 times)

Offline b_nghiem

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #50 on: August 31, 2011, 01:05:31 PM
In short, no you are not crazy - I too am studying this piece and I'm 13. But my philosophy is to get the technique done early and get the notes embedded into your soul. You will take all the pieces with you your entire life, so why do you have to rush the process: it is a very complex and mature piece and these things take time! The point of me having the notes by heart is so that it becomes a part of me when I finally decide that I am ready to play it and sounds as I am just organically expressing what I am feeling.

Good luck with this monumental piece!

P.S. I hope you have listened to many other (and better) recordings then that of David Helfgott...)
"Music must be given to those who love it. I want to give free concerts; that's the answer." - Richter

Offline lonelagranger

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #51 on: September 01, 2011, 01:05:27 AM
Steinway_D,

Did Mr. Nikolai Lugansky win a Tchaikovsky competition playing it and get a ticker tape parade in New York with his version?

Offline cmg

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #52 on: September 01, 2011, 04:17:12 AM

PS: I have very large hands if that's useful. :)

I have absolutely no idea and no interest in what others have posted here, but this PS is particularly amusing.  No, "very large hands" are not an asset. According to the late virtuoso, Earl Wild, large hands are a hinderance.  Smaller hands, that can comfortably handle an octave, are superior.  Their very size forces a comfortable and natural hand position, that minimizes habits that lead to tension.  I'm sure this insight from a great pianist (Wild, of course, and not me, certainly) will only stir up debate and derision from the rest of you, but there it is -- a valuable insight, nonetheless.  

As to your grandiosity about learning the Rach3, with limited experience, go for it.  I doubt, very seriously, that you are some undiscovered pianistic treasure that critics have been praying for, but, if you, by some remote statistical chance are, then dazzle us.  Frankly, however, this type of delusional thinking is enormously depressing, if one takes it seriously.  Honestly, I cannot.  If this isn't spam, it should be. 

Very few can play this piece of such enormous technical and musical difficulty with any assurance and artistic originality.   
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline danhuyle

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #53 on: September 01, 2011, 07:16:21 AM
There's no need to rush the learning of this piece. Are you performing it in public or are you just learning it because you love playing it? If you play it for the love of the music, then you'll have to break the piece down, and don't worry about memorizing it. The more familiar you are with the structure (key modulations, entries) the easier it is to memorize.

If you have "I'll try it out and see how it goes" then you're not going to get it. Pianists who undertake virtuoso pieces know the outcome, jump in both feet and let nothing stand in the way. You're going to get "It's too hard for you" "Why don't you play something easier" "Pick an easier piece" Don't let that get in the way.

Don't get me wrong, playing virtuoso pieces is great, however, in the process you can also grab a handful of pieces that are easier to handle than Rach3.
Perfection itself is imperfection.

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Albeniz Triana
Scriabin Fantaisie Op28
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Offline pianolilly

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #54 on: September 05, 2011, 04:09:02 AM
How much do you want to learn it? Rach 3 is one of the most beautiful and challenging pieces in the Romantic repertoire. I fell in love with this piece when I was 12 years old. I am still trying to learn it! Won't tell you how much later! If you will not get frustrated and continue to learn other pieces, there is absolutely no harm.  Youtube has some great recordings of the Rachmaninoff 3 -some are classics- Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Gutierrez, Argerich, Ashkenazy, Kissin to name a few.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #55 on: October 29, 2011, 05:33:14 AM
Yes, you are crazy. Good luck with it!
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Offline starstruck5

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #56 on: October 29, 2011, 01:57:30 PM
Could I ask a simple basic question - how do you get to Grade 8 by playing only Baroque composers ????-since the grades are structured by all the colleges to include the historic gamut of the piano repetoire/? it is certainly a good indication, that if you can play Bachs' Italian Concerto right through, with very few errors - then you are technically capable of passing Grade 8. BUT -if you have never played Romantic or Modern composers, then stylistically you fall way short of the standard.  In Baroque music there are few Chopinesque style runs and arpeggio figures - and even the left hand technique for playing waltzes etc. 

So if you want to jump into Rach 3 - then wow - that is a HUGE leap - like trying to tackle Everest if you have only climbed the Old Man of Hoy - no one in their right mind attempts it.

OK, maybe my analogy is a bit skewed, but I think you should listen to the wise voices here and become fluent with many Schumann, Chopin and Brahms pieces - and of course the Rachmaninoff Preludes and Etudes - the Corelli Variaitons are beautiful if cloyingly sad - I would even suggest having a go at the Pagannini varaitions - before tackling one of the hardest pieces in the canon. That is a big challenge also though.
When a search is in progress, something will be found.

Offline kellyc

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #57 on: October 29, 2011, 06:03:30 PM
In case anyone hasn't noticed, the original thread was posted in February . They have posted a total of 9 posts and haven't been heard from since August. Perhaps it is time to let this silly thread die a natural death. Just one girls opinion. Thanks

The only thing I have to say about this is the person expressed the belief that they could not just learn it , but learn it as well as the great virtuosos who make this piece of music come alive with fire and intensity and great artistic interpretation. That alone lets me believe they are self deluded and this was never a serious discussion to begin with.


Kelly
Current recital pieces
Chopin Fantasy Impromptu
Prokofiev Tocatta in D minor op 11
Schubert Wanderer Fantasy
Chopin Ballade in G Minor
Mendelssohn 2nd piano concerto

Offline keyboardkat

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #58 on: November 23, 2011, 11:25:09 PM
I will give you some advice.   Practice some of the difficult passages carefully, slowly, and as techinical exercises.   A few years hence, when you're ready to tackle the whole piece, you will discover that you can play those passages!
The piece can be "softened up" this way.  Learn a page here, a page there, out of context and in isolation.  This will also help a lot with memory later.
One of the most difficult passages, and, yes, with polyrhythms, are the opening measures (in the piano part) of the second movement.   This is also about as atonal as Rachmaninoff ever gets.

I remember hearing about a famous pianist (and for the life of me I can't remember who it was) who used to practice the Brahms Paganini variations as technical studies, for years.   Then one day he discovered that he could play them.

Offline pastlifepianist

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #59 on: November 24, 2011, 03:34:53 AM
Based on your age and ability, I would say, play this for fun...only. You'll have plenty of time to work your way up to this later in life.  :)

Your large hands are an asset, but will not determine if you will be able to play this piece well, or without injury in the long run.

Offline amelialw

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #60 on: November 24, 2011, 02:49:28 PM
if my teacher gave you an answer she'll just say no....

I'll say no too! considering this is your first romantic work no?? you have so much you need to learn before attempting to learn this big work!!! and if you're even considering it go learn a couple of Rach preludes, really... Not discouraging you but it's normal for us pianists to fall in love with pieces after listening to them but you must know what you're capable off it

just speaking from experience
J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu

Offline legibet

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #61 on: February 02, 2012, 11:25:52 PM
Have a go at it. There are a lot of people here who seem to take a rather 'precious' attitude to this work. Even if you don't play it well it won't kill you, or injure you. In fact by trying to learn it you are bound to learn a lot about playing the piano. I don't think any great pianist ever could have achieved greatness without technically over-reaching themselves at some point in their youth. Give it a go.

On the other hand if you have a date to play a concerto with an orchestra and have a choice, then I would recommend starting with an easier one :)

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #62 on: February 03, 2012, 03:54:55 AM
I was quoting what I think is the longest reasonable time someone should take to memorize it if they have been playing piano for as long as the poster indicates he has and is of perhaps average intelligence (I'm sure some people, due to being incredibly stupid, are probably incapable of memorizing even simpler pieces). I'm not saying that people in his shoes don't take longer, say a year and a half or more, to memorize Rach 3, simply that this is due most likely to inefficient and lazy memorization methods rather than their innate capacities.

Frankly, given a time investment of 4 hours a day, talking strictly about the notes, I don't think memorizing Rach 3 in a single month is an all unreasonable. I'm certainly not saying it would be up to speed in all places, and playing it up to speed may take a few more months. Also, the musicality is of course extremely difficult to get right and could possibly take a year or more. What I'm talking about just the notes themselves.

Just do the arithmetic: my edition has 128 pages for Rach 3 with about 14 measures per page, or approximately 1778 measures (not all of them even have notes, because sometimes the orchestra is playing, but let's assume they all have notes). Three months at 4 hours a day is 21600 minutes. 12600/1778 = 12 minutes. Take the hardest measure in the entire concerto. Could you memorize it in 12 minutes if you focused all your energy on that one single measure? Certainly (though of course not up to speed). Ergo, the whole work should be memorizable in around three months, 4 hours a day, even by an average person, provided the chunked it carefully and diligently in this manner. Some people who are naturally better at memorization may be able to memorize measures faster (say, 8 minutes per measure), and ergo would learn it much quicker.

I don't know if I'm responding inside the quote or not, but you can't apply a mathematical equation to this.  Don't forget about the forgetting curve!  

The more time you spend to learn something, the longer you remember.  The less amount of time, the less you remember.  12 minutes per measure is definitely not enough.  (Psychology class!)

And then you have to be able to play it up to speed get the dynamics right etc. 
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #63 on: February 05, 2012, 10:25:32 AM
Learning Rach's 3rd PC when you are only playing at most 8th grade stuff, might as well take a 5 year old into uni. Hardly possible. Musically and technically speaking, it is the pinnacle of piano repertoire. If you learnt this concerto, you just about tackle anything.

I don't know if I'm responding inside the quote or not, but you can't apply a mathematical equation to this.  Don't forget about the forgetting curve! 

The more time you spend to learn something, the longer you remember.  The less amount of time, the less you remember.  12 minutes per measure is definitely not enough.  (Psychology class!)

And then you have to be able to play it up to speed get the dynamics right etc. 

Agreed, but also remember, there are some measures that are easier to memorise than others, the first page of the concerto for instance. You only have to memorize the expression. And never forget, perhaps a good pianist can squeeze  in 12 minutes per measure. At least for some measures.

JL
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Offline squarevince

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #64 on: February 14, 2012, 05:50:30 PM
Nikolai Lugansky supposedly learned this concerto in 3 days.

Pssh, that's nothing.  Martha Argerich learned the Prok 3 in her sleep  ;D
toying with:  Schubert Op 90 & 142, Chopin Op 25 #11
focusing on:  Bach Partita 4, Hough/Hammerstein "My Favorite Things", Chopin Op 10 #1
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Offline omar_roy

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #65 on: February 23, 2012, 07:34:00 AM
In short, no you are not crazy - I too am studying this piece and I'm 13. But my philosophy is to get the technique done early and get the notes embedded into your soul. You will take all the pieces with you your entire life, so why do you have to rush the process: it is a very complex and mature piece and these things take time! The point of me having the notes by heart is so that it becomes a part of me when I finally decide that I am ready to play it and sounds as I am just organically expressing what I am feeling.

Good luck with this monumental piece!

P.S. I hope you have listened to many other (and better) recordings then that of David Helfgott...)

This thread is more or less dead, but I felt that this needed to be addressed.

Saying that you're going to learn it early and carry it with you is not the greatest idea.  If you haven't already reached a certain degree of mastery of the keyboard, then this is a horrible idea.  All you'll do is learn it badly, and ingrain some very bad habits that will be extremely hard to get rid of when you do intend to perform the piece.  Let your hands and your musicianship develop before you tackle this piece, and learn it the right way the first time around.  Accuracy and precision in the beginning is slower going, but will pay off immensely in the future.

Offline dickknowsbest

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #66 on: February 23, 2012, 10:14:56 AM
You're not crazy.

I saw an amateur pianist play the Rigoletto Paraphrase de Concert (Liszt) and Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto, and he played them very well. He was an orthodontist for a living and played piano as a hobby every 'now and then'. His name is Thomas Yu, look him up on youtube, he's quite inspirational. :)

Sure, his performance wasn't like Horowitz', but it was actually REALLY good for an amateur, the interpretation, technique was solid, and despite some flaws (which are expected), it had it's really cool moments. You'd easily think he was a professional pianist, and yet he dedicated his life to pulling teeth.

But everyone is different, and I cannot judge. You might never be able to master the Concerto, or maybe you'll get bored one saturday morning, whip out the sheets for Rach 3 and magically memorize the whole thing over a weekend or something. :P

We'll never never know.

Offline akthe47

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #67 on: February 23, 2012, 07:11:27 PM
Not to say Rach3 is impossiblem, but read up on Thomas Yu on his own website.  He is anything but a dentist that takes lessons on the side.

https://thomasyu.ca/

he was a pianist BEFORE he turned to dental school.

 

Offline dickknowsbest

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #68 on: February 23, 2012, 10:17:54 PM
Not to say Rach3 is impossiblem, but read up on Thomas Yu on his own website.  He is anything but a dentist that takes lessons on the side.

https://thomasyu.ca/

he was a pianist BEFORE he turned to dental school.

 

Good point. Still, I thought his performance was very impressive!

Offline akthe47

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #69 on: February 23, 2012, 10:44:37 PM
Very impressive-- he is incredibly inspirational.

I just love seeing amateur pianists on youtube who play very well-- just goes to show you can do it if you have the discipline and desire :)

r1skarb (who also posts here) is another good pianist on youtube, although not at Thomas' level.... but I'm sure he could be if he wanted to!

Offline dickknowsbest

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #70 on: February 24, 2012, 01:59:03 AM
I know. Despite the fact he has years of piano experience to begin with... I'd like to think, If he can play Liszt and Rach 3, surely I'd be able to learn a Chopin Ballade and a Mendelssohn Concerto and still have another profession. In fact I want to be an Architect. Who says I can't play Mendelssohn really well AND design cities? :P

And maybe I can be a brain-surgeon on Wednesdays and a footballer on Sundays.

Nah, I'm kidding. It's probably not that hard having a profession and playing piano very well. Playing piano doesn't require much practice anyway. 4 hours a day is more than enough for most people, unless you need to keep up with vast amounts of repertoire. (I'm talking hundreds)

But Thomas Yu really is an inspiration. :D

Offline liszt8

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #71 on: February 26, 2012, 05:48:56 PM
No, you're not crazy.
I'm 12 and I'm learning that piece.

Offline akthe47

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #72 on: February 27, 2012, 04:33:37 PM
practicing 4 hrs a day is waaay more than most people would need to give piano at a non-professional level.

I am happy if I can sneak in 3 hrs a day despite having an intense day job (50-60 hrs a week).  It really just comes down to having the discipline to practice piano , effectively, after a day of work. 

On that end of effective practice piano, I've been using Focus Booster on the Mac and have been getting great results--  it's free timer software that let's you know when 25 minutes is up so you can take a 5 minute break.  I found it really helps my concentration.  I don't work for Focus Booster... you could achieve the same thing with a cheap Ikea egg timer.   But wow, does it help with concentration--- I wish I knew about it before.

Offline dickknowsbest

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #73 on: February 28, 2012, 03:02:37 AM
I remember Bernhard (on PianoStreet) once saying something about splitting your practice sessions up into 15-30 minute sessions. i.e 20 minutes practicing a few bars in a piece, 20 minutes sight-reading, then 20 minutes practicing a few bars in a different piece etc... He also said it's more effective to work on a piece 20 minutes a day for 2 weeks than to spend 5 hours on it in one day. He also said by splitting up into 15-30 minute sessions you can fit in around 3 sessions every hour, so in 3 hours a day, over a week or two, you could learn 9 fairly complex pieces.

I'm not sure if it works, but you don't know until you try. I know for a fact it's not healthy to spend too much time on ONE thing. :)

Apparently pianists likes Horowitz and Rubinstein practiced no more than 4 hours a day (Horowitz claimed 2 hours) and in an interview, Zimerman claimed he didn't practice at all!

Pianists are crazy. :)

Offline pianovlad1996

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #74 on: March 02, 2012, 08:05:40 PM
Crazy-No
Unconcious-Yes
This is a very good question...  :) I can say you can learn it because it's up to you but if you are a true musician you can decide yourself.
Playing pieces that are too hard for your level shows the lack of musical education and that you are not capable of estimating your abilities. Rach 3 is one of the most difficult piano concertos in the standard piano repertory along with Prokofiev 2 and Brahms 2. Attempting to learn it in order to show off your technique is not a solution as I heard that even Horowitz was shaking because of the emotions to perform the concerto. Even he made mistakes, even he lacked in clarity in some passages... Rach 3 means maturity, power, technique, knowledge about the harmonic structure, the aesthetical problems of the piece, articulation, phrasing and so on. ::) And I doubt a grade 8 pianist has the maturity or the musical intelligence to play such a concerto. I don't want to expose a total lack of modesty but I will play at the 2015 Chopin Competition and I am still fascinated but affraid by this concerto.
Anyway, it's up to you to decide but this ISN'T a concerto for a grade 8 piano student, neither for a conservatory student. This is a concerto that needs a mature mind to handle it in such way that the colours , the deep expression and the virtuosic technique to be exposed in a well-balanced manner.
Current repertoire:
Bach Toccata in E minor
Beethoven Sonata op.110
Rachmaninov Corelli Variations
Liszt Paganini Etudes No.2 and 6.
Strauss Burlesque in d minor, Brahms piano concerto No.2.

Offline the89thkey

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #75 on: December 18, 2012, 03:28:33 AM
Yes, you are crazy. Whatever you do, do not try to learn this piece at your experience level. Why not learn something easier like Beethoven 3, or maybe 4? Or do a Mozart, or Chopin if you like them, but don't try and jump into Rach 3...

Offline cadenza14224

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #76 on: December 18, 2012, 07:03:42 PM
yeah, you're crazy.

Offline the89thkey

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #77 on: December 18, 2012, 10:54:06 PM
yeah, you're crazy.
He has seconded the motion  ;D

Offline riskarb

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #78 on: March 18, 2013, 05:15:02 PM
Very impressive-- he is incredibly inspirational.

I just love seeing amateur pianists on youtube who play very well-- just goes to show you can do it if you have the discipline and desire :)

r1skarb (who also posts here) is another good pianist on youtube, although not at Thomas' level.... but I'm sure he could be if he wanted to!

haha - thanks for the nomination akthe47 but I still suck ass! In hindsight I truly regret posting what I did on youtube..... you start out learning a piece, think it's passable, upload it, look back on it a year later and think  :o :-X 

I will however play the Rach 3 Ossia Cadenza someday soon (maybe in a few months when my work dies down) ... hopefully then I can close the gap with Mr Yu a little bit!



Offline keyofc

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #79 on: March 20, 2013, 10:41:37 PM
Eb F G  Ab Bb C Db Eb
 3   1 2   3   1     2   3
Right hand above
 3=2 1 =

Offline virtuoso80

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #80 on: March 24, 2013, 11:24:10 AM
When I was 18 I could play Fur Elise badly. My vast improvement I believe to have come from two sources: 1. A good teacher who taught me correct techniques. 2. Constantly challenging myself with pieces that are too hard for me. If you have the patience, a puzzle you can't solve always helps more than a puzzle you can solve easily.

IMO anything someone is inspired to start playing, they should start playing. Just realize it's probably going to serve you as a practice tool for now - something to improve your note reading and get you accustomed to more complex situations. It may me a decade before you actually play it at performance level. Having said that, enjoy!

Offline willrachfan

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #81 on: December 21, 2013, 05:05:56 PM
Eb F G  Ab Bb C Db Eb
 3   1 2   3   1     2   3
Right hand above
 3=2 1 =

I am new to this excellent site and of all the replies this is the one I enjoyed most because it really rubs in how daunting it is to learn Rach 3.

I can only hazard a guess even to what it means and I am laughing at myself.

If at some point you have the time and the inclination would you be kind enough to explain what this means?

For fun here is my guess:

Play Eb with the third finger F with thumb G with second finger. So far so good? Yes except I don't know which hand we are talking about.

But there isn't a number under the C so that breaks down! Maybe the C is on holiday.

Then I notice that the right hand has to do something but what the = signs mean is a mystery.
Brilliant! In one short post you have demonstrated the mountain to be climbed in grasping technique and even its notation.

I can play Bach's prelude in C major (the Ave Maria one) so I am clearly ready to tackle Rach 3. I also know what a treble and bass clef is so don't anybody dare tell me I am not ready for this stroll in the park.

Joking aside, could some kind soul indulge me and explain your gobbledygook?

Offline awesom_o

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #82 on: December 21, 2013, 05:47:24 PM
I remember Bernhard (on PianoStreet) once saying something about splitting your practice sessions up into 15-30 minute sessions. i.e 20 minutes practicing a few bars in a piece, 20 minutes sight-reading, then 20 minutes practicing a few bars in a different piece etc... He also said it's more effective to work on a piece 20 minutes a day for 2 weeks than to spend 5 hours on it in one day. He also said by splitting up into 15-30 minute sessions you can fit in around 3 sessions every hour, so in 3 hours a day, over a week or two, you could learn 9 fairly complex pieces.

I'm not sure if it works, but you don't know until you try. I know for a fact it's not healthy to spend too much time on ONE thing. :)


Oh it works!!!!! I almost never practice for longer than 45 minutes to an hour in one sitting!

Offline markcohen1

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Re: I'm going to learn Rach 3! Am I crazy?
Reply #83 on: May 13, 2016, 11:04:49 PM
I got through the first 2 pages easily, so you should have no problem.

  :) This Guy! That's pretty funny ;D
 

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