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The Bigger Picture: A Personal Perspective on Practicing Routines

In the third and final part of the series on building a career as a professional pianist, Alexander Buskermolen gives a personal perspective on practicing routines at the piano with practising tips by Dutch pedagogue Jan Wijn. Read more >>

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Author Topic: is Fur elise a good foundation?  (Read 4120 times)
werther
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« on: September 08, 2004, 01:30:41 AM »

I just got a digital keyboard from RadioShack a few days ago. it has a some classical midis in it, and ive been learning fur elise and im up to the middle part when it gets difficult.  my intention was to learn the basics then start on a difficult piece such as rach 3 or what not. Im guessing that by my current progress, i should have fur elise memorized in a month. Its very hard for me to play up to speed. Well i was browsing a piano message board and someone said that hungarian dances no 5 was simple ! Shocked Thats also on my keyboard and it sounds a lot more difficult that fur elise. So i guess my question is somewhere along the lines of is learning fur elsie(the version i have is only a bit over a minute) a good stepping stone to harder pieces? and do you think im making ok progress?
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piano sheet music of Für Elise
Motrax
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2004, 02:01:38 AM »

I'll answer your question with a question of my own... what's the hurry?

It's no shame to not be a prodigy who can pick up concertos like other people pick up allergies. Fur Elise is a fine way to begin, but it's important to get a teacher. If you are not shown proper technique, you can really ruin your ability to play harder pieces. Professional pianists didn't become professional by playing Fur Elise in a month - you should spend more time on the piece, simply to understand it better. Take the time to pay attention to every detail - phrasing, dynamics, etc. I assume you are very early in your musical education, so it would be good to stick to the music completely. Play some Bach 2-part inventions, play some easier Romantic pieces... gain some musical understand from the perspective of the piano before you go rushing off to conquer monumental works.

To me, it is more impressive and more fulfilling to play a nocturne beautifully than to hack out an etude with nothing in place besides the notes themselves, and I believe most others would agree. Patience is very important, if you rush, you will only ruin the potential you may currently posses.
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"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.
thierry13
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2004, 02:42:08 AM »

If you say this, you are not close to be near to know how rach 3 is hard. Say, without exagarating, about 100X harder than für elise. But, if you're good enough to trill with thirds, go real fast, have a two hands fast run with an independant 5th finger who play a melody at the same time, maybe that in two years, you will be close of playing it. And that's not any exageration. If you still think you can try it, well good luck. If you want a REAL, manageable hard piece, maybe try the easier chopin etude, maybe op.10 no.3, or in the style. If you want a friend's advice, do not same try it(rach 3)...
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liszmaninopin
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2004, 03:14:40 AM »

What are your goals?  By this I mean, do you hope to simply play a few of your favorite pieces well enough to enjoy and play for friends/family, or do you want to become a concert artist, or something in between?

If all you want to do is learn a few favorites, then I would suggest finishing Fur Elise and playing it really well.  If you can sight read and practice carefully, you should be able to do that.  Then, pick out some other popular, lyrical pieces that are easily recognizable-such as the first mvt. of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Claire de Lune, some Chopin preludes, etc.

If you want to become a concert artist-I suggest you hire a highly qualified teacher, and let him/her guide you.

If you want any repertoire suggestions, or technical suggestions for Fur Elise, I'll be glad to help.  However, I strongly suggest against you even touching the Rach 3 at this point.  Listen to it on a disc and enjoy it, but you'll likely only develop bad habits.  If you want to learn Rachmaninoff, at your level I would suggest starting with his "Melodie" of op. 3.  It is a lovely piece, not difficult-and very satisfying.
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dreamaurora
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2004, 04:27:49 AM »

Don't you love it when these kind of threads keep popping up? Note that the pattern is the same:
- I just started playing piano
- I have no teacher
- I'm learning ( Fur Elise or Rondo Alla Turca or etc )
- Can I learn Rach 3 next?
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Antnee
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2004, 05:50:31 AM »

I think Werther was exaggerating a little when he used the Rach 3 as an example. I may be wrong! Back to your question...Fur Elise or any other pieces along this difficulty level are good stepping stones. There is one drawback to pieces like this. You can get away with a lot. Wrong movements or fingerings can be detremental to your future playing, especially if this is your first piece or so. Like Lizmaninopin said, you need to assess your goals. If you are into for your own enjoyment, It doesn't matter as much. But, it still matters. If you hope to play things like Chopins Heroic polonaise or Liszt's hungarian rhapsody for your own enjoyment, You still need to start correctly. If you are planning to be serious about piano, then you need a teacher. These sort of questions are much more easily answered by a teacher and it will help you greatly in the long run. Trust me, within the course of a year you will look at things like that hungarian dances completely different! Good luck to you!!

-Tony-
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"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky
Egghead
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2004, 06:54:08 PM »

Quote
Don't you love it when these kind of threads keep popping up? Note that the pattern is the same:
- I just started playing piano
- I have no teacher
- I'm learning ( Fur Elise or Rondo Alla Turca or etc )
- Can I learn Rach 3 next?

Hi dreamaurora,

to me these posts are most inspiring: they reflect the daring and indomitable spirit of mankind. (Do you know of any ladies having posted this kind of message ? Wink).

How do they do it? Would someone, who mastered Rach3 as their second (ok, let us be generous: third) piece unveil their superior learning methods? Please.

I MUST find out how to end the terrible drudgery of Bach, Chopin, Beethoven and all the other STEPPING stones. (Shocked)

Grin sorry, werther, I could not help it,
Egghead.

p.s. Actually I wonder whether matt_black is making an incognito appearance here. He needs us. People stopped calling him a moron five times a day. That is SO unfair of them.
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tell me why I only practice on days I eat
cellodude
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2004, 09:39:53 AM »

werther,

After Fur Elise, you should give the following a try:

1. CPE Bach's Solfeggietto
A good peice to help improve your arpeggios and the broken octaves is a precursor to learning the tremolo. Rotate your wrists a little as you move from thumb to fifth finger and back to thumb.

2. JS Bach's Inventions
Try the easier ones first like the one in F. Broken thirds, finger coordination and a great warm-up piece.

3. Daquin's (sp?) Le Coucou.
Broken thirds and streching the fifth finger, ornaments. Another great warm-up piece.

These should keep you busy the next couple of months. BTW, you should get a teacher if you don't already have one.

Digital vs. Acoustic. I tend to lean toward acoustics although I've never really tried a digital. See
http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=stud;action=display;num=1094184059 for a discussion on the topic.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now),

dennis lee
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Cello, cello, mellow fellow!
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