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Learning through pieces (Read 1790 times)

Offline gupiano

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Learning through pieces
« on: October 13, 2013, 07:09:23 PM »
Well, everywhere I read one should learn to play the piano by learning pieces. And I am impressed that there is not a list of songs you should play from start until you become a good pianist. The problem is the songs change from hard to impossible really fast. With methods it is the same thing. The czerny books start easy and then suddenly it is impossible to play. Does anybody know a list of music and exercises that increase GRADUALLY in difficulty in such a way that if one practices it it will develop all the needed skills in a gradual but efficient way???? I think sight reading is also a problem because of this.

Offline pianoslav

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Re: Learning through pieces
«Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 07:33:10 PM »
The problem is the songs change from hard to impossible really fast. With methods it is the same thing.
This makes it sound like you're trying to teach yourself how to play piano. I have not come across any method books so far that get impossibly difficult out of nowhere. On the contrary, it's been my experience as a teacher that most method books move painfully slow. I think instead of looking for "a list of music and exercises", you should look for a teacher who can explain the confusing stuff to you.

Offline gupiano

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Re: Learning through pieces
«Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 07:47:49 PM »
I have a teacher, and I think having a teacher is really important. But what I am saying is that, taking the piano graded songs as an example, they start reasonably playable, and then they become really hard fast. There should be a set of songs and exercises that deal with that.

Offline outin

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Re: Learning through pieces
«Reply #3 on: October 14, 2013, 05:16:52 AM »
It may feel that way because the earlier pieces have not been properly learned and the deficiences of playing become a real obstacle. I have a tendency to not concentrate in things that do not seem to have enough challenge at first sight, so I don't always learn them properly. Yet practicing them more thoroughly will make the later "impossible" tasks more manageable.

The other thing might be lack of patience: It may take longer to get the things into your hands when you progress. Many new things/pieces seem impossible at some point to me when I begin, but if I stick to it they soon feel much more possible. I am still learning to control my  impatience, but I do see some progress lately...I can now better accept that I won't learn every passage on one sitting :)


Offline j_menz

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Re: Learning through pieces
«Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 05:28:52 AM »
I'd also add that the actual difficulties aren't linear - they tend to be smooth progression -> impossible hurdle -> smooth progression -> impossible hurdle and so on. That seems to be true pretty much all along. And the very nature of them means that there isn't a "gradual pathway".

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline landru

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Re: Learning through pieces
«Reply #5 on: October 14, 2013, 08:41:46 PM »
I'd also add that the actual difficulties aren't linear - they tend to be smooth progression -> impossible hurdle -> smooth progression -> impossible hurdle and so on. That seems to be true pretty much all along. And the very nature of them means that there isn't a "gradual pathway".
Yup.

My own recent example: Learning a Bach Fugue from the WTC. I've done the inventions, a couple French Suites and I'm thinking I can just work on the fugue by voices slowly and just progress - "a gradual pathway" I thought.

Except that there is a left-hand trill where the 4 and 5 fingers are doing eight notes at the same time the other fingers are trilling. Totally impossible with where my technique was when I confronted it. I had to stop everything and construct ways of learning how to do it. I see a light at the end of the tunnel now, but I am still doing 32nd notes to the 16th in the right hand - i.e. not a smooth trill like I can do without the 4-5 fingers.

Just an example of how these things come up to jolt you into something totally new - no matter your level.

Offline jjjessee

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Re: Learning through pieces
«Reply #6 on: November 20, 2013, 09:40:22 PM »
I hear and often share your frustration and and it is a thoughtful request.
I only played a few months from a piano method book before my teacher just started assigning short easier Bach pieces,  Mozart, and the like from Easy Classics to Moderns Vol 27.
I kind of expected my teachers to find the next level of difficulty for me to tackle.
It seemed I never could perform a piece to my satisfaction despite hours and hours daily of practice for almost 5 years, before the I got caught up in the next assigned struggle. As a result, I covered a lot of literature in an unpolished fashion. My natural instincts for music are certainly not great so a even a perfect curriculum would have probably not have made me much better  ;D

Piano playing is like climbing Mt Everest for me. If there were a long even, gradual ramp to the top I'd have made it to the top along with lots of others by now. As it is, I regularly find myself  climbing a rope hand over fist to the top. And that can get tedious in a blizzard.

Commiseration is all I've got.
Just hang on to the rope.