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who was bernhard? (Read 2909 times)

Offline classicalnhiphop

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who was bernhard?
« on: July 26, 2014, 07:04:07 PM »
i've seen some posts directed to him from ages ago? he seemed worshiped like a deity.  An old version of a combo of J_menz, awesome_o, and ajspiano (minus the intense sarcasm, although i find it funny) all put into one  :o :o

Offline Bob

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #1 on: July 26, 2014, 07:13:53 PM »
Private teacher.  Taught piano and recorder.  I think he was in England.  I'm not quite sure.

Had he own developed philosophy on teaching, which was guiding the student a little more than the weekly lesson format I think.

Used a Dvorak keyboard so he could type faster.

Gave longer, more thoughtful posts, until one day he just left.  He popped in a bit after that but that was it.


A bit unusual online I guess. His posts are more like reading from a book (maybe he was writing one).  Here/online I guess it's unusual, but there are plenty of people in the real world with that kind of thinking.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline mjames

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #2 on: July 26, 2014, 07:36:17 PM »
The piano guru.

Online thalbergmad

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #3 on: July 26, 2014, 07:39:57 PM »
He was one cool guy. I believe differences of opinion with Marik might have led to his departure or perhaps he felt he had said all he wanted to say.

Hie profile indicates he logged on only a month ago.

Thal
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Offline mjames

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #4 on: July 26, 2014, 07:47:15 PM »
Man wish I could've met him when he was still active.

Online thalbergmad

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #5 on: July 26, 2014, 07:52:15 PM »
He was an anti Hanonist. ;D
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Offline mjames

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 07:58:42 PM »
So am I. I mean I'm not strongly against it I just don't see the point.

Offline classicalnhiphop

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 08:07:32 PM »
@thal, who was marik?

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 08:19:41 PM »
Hehe, revival of all the 'oldschool' members? I actually still type 'pianoforum.net' if i want to get on this forum ;)
1+1=11

Online thalbergmad

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 08:23:57 PM »
@thal, who was marik?

He is still an active member here.

His Weber/Tausig performance blew me away. Astonishing pianist.

Thal
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Online thalbergmad

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 08:26:14 PM »
Hehe, revival of all the 'oldschool' members? I actually still type 'pianoforum.net' if i want to get on this forum ;)

The Bernhard "era" was a Golden one on this forum and it was probably at its peak for both quality and quantity.

Perhaps one day, the forum might have another golden era, but we have lost so many interesting posters.

Thal
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Offline pover

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #11 on: July 26, 2014, 08:34:48 PM »
To be honest, if it wasn't for bernhard, 80% of my practice time now would be useless. I learned A LOT from him about almost anything I can think of. He was the single most useful person (resource) on the whole internet in regards to piano playing.

I wish I had someone like him as a teacher... he's had such a great influence on my very short "Piano life".

Offline Bob

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #12 on: July 26, 2014, 08:36:08 PM »
Someday... We can rise up again.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #13 on: July 26, 2014, 08:40:24 PM »
The Bernhard "era" was a Golden one on this forum and it was probably at its peak for both quality and quantity.

Perhaps one day, the forum might have another golden era, but we have lost so many interesting posters.

Thal

The blame might be partially our own perspective too; We've seen all types of posts here on this forum and the 'newity' is gone, even though it might be still interesting for the newer members.

A lot of people are referring to old posts in their replies and blaming posters for not looking for the answer on the forum first, and (as far as i can remember) this never used to be an issue in the old days, and it shouldnt, i think. It kills a discussion, and people usually dont come here purely for information anyway, especially not old info ;)

Gyzzz
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Offline chopin4life

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #14 on: July 26, 2014, 11:51:26 PM »
WOW! His posts are fantastic!!
Can someone bring him back please?!
I want him to be my teacher!
Currently working on:
Bach, WTC 1, c minor/d minor
Bortkiewicz, op 15 no 9
Chopin, op 25 no 1/ op 40 no 2
Ravel, sonatine
...

Online ted

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #15 on: July 27, 2014, 12:19:51 AM »
I do not know for certain, of course, but perhaps he became tired of spending hours selflessly helping people only to find the same old questions and arguments were being regurgitated year after year. I have often thought I could have done with a teacher like him in my youth; I would now be a much better pianist. However, musically I would be much less of a Ted, and I fear the loss might outweigh the gain.

 
The Bernhard "era" was a Golden one on this forum and it was probably at its peak for both quality and quantity.

Perhaps one day, the forum might have another golden era, but we have lost so many interesting posters.

Thal

There was certainly a greater humour and tolerance in those days, a greater desire to help other players while always accepting the validity of their choice to be different; more searching for truth and less argument, if that is the correct way to put it.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #16 on: July 27, 2014, 01:39:00 AM »
He was one cool guy. I believe differences of opinion with Marik might have led to his departure or

What thread was this in?

Offline theholygideons

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #17 on: July 27, 2014, 03:30:30 AM »
Will there ever be another golden era in piano street history? what if bernhard was secretly stephen hough?

Offline goldentone

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #18 on: July 27, 2014, 04:35:32 AM »
He had a definite philosophy of life that infused his philosophy of teaching.  He was an original.  As Thal said, it was a golden time here.  I showed up a little less than a year after he left.  He did return for a short time in 2008.  I think Ted nailed the reason why he left.

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

Online thalbergmad

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #19 on: July 27, 2014, 02:08:09 PM »
What thread was this in?

It seems to have vanished, but I do recall a little "heat".

Thal
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Offline cliffy

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #20 on: July 27, 2014, 11:41:49 PM »
It seems to have vanished, but I do recall a little "heat".

I believe the thread you're referring to is this one about Cortot's Exercises:
http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=19043.0

I think Bernhard's posts are very easy to misunderstand, because, while they present (possibly) the most well-developed pragmatic approach to pianism I've come across, it's easy to get the wrong idea about practically anything from them because of how fragmented they necessarily are. Learning the instrument is a large subject, and what we know of how the man operates we have through his answers to relatively specific questions. They're quite fragmented, and so it's easy to think he promotes ideas like "never use Thumb Under technique in scales" (Marik said Bernhard believed this once, I don't know if it was in that thread or another); "Never do a technical exercise ever" (I see this every once in a while); "You can immediately skip to difficult pieces without doing easier ones" (it's amazing that anyone would ever believe that), ect. When he never said anything of the sort. It's really something that, if you want a logical understanding of, you have to make an effort to do so by reading tons and tons of material.

I think the vast majority of the differences between Bernhard and Marik in that thread and others stem from two things: 1. A significant language barrier (Piano technique is one of the toughest subjects to write on and a huge one as well, and neither of them, I believe, we're native English speakers); and 2. A different goal for their students (Both wanted to have students reach independence and the ability to play even the Alkan Sonata if they really wanted to, but Bernhard was teaching amateurs and children while Marik (I believe) is a teacher in a conservatory.) To be entirely honest, I don't know that Marik raises an actually answerable point (that is, one that isn't totally subjective) against Bernhard in those threads which he hadn't already answered at least once elsewhere, but like I imagine they'd end up the best of friends if they got to discuss things face-to-face.

As a matter of fact, the most interesting posts by Bernhard for my purposes are ones which aren't even linked to and have to be found by sheer dumb luck looking through the archives of the forum (such as this wonderful thread about tempo: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=12075.0 or this one where he gives a rough progressive order for John Field's nocturnes: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=19177.0 (Interesting posts by Thal in that one, too)

One thing I quite liked about Bernhard, even though it was doubtless off-putting to many, was how hard he went out of his way to avoid "pulling rank" on anyone. For example: one of the few pieces we actually know (if he was being truthful) he plays from the advanced repertoire is Gnomenreigen. Suppose he'd posted a recording in the audition room, and it was a really fantastic one, an Arrau-level one or so; he'd probably have people be a lot less skeptical of his methods and accept them on face value, despite him expressly telling them not to. He wanted everyone who was even consider trying his ways of doing things to experiment with them, being as critical as possible. Personally, everything he suggested worked for me (only, however, after I spent a goodly amount of time reading many, many posts to be sure I understood what he was actually recommending and why), but that's no guarantee that they would work for anyone else or be the optimal solutions even for one they did work for, as he said multiple times. The point with him was not to get people to do what he said, but to get them to think.

Bernhard's method seems to have been motivated by two things: As strong a love of music as anyone ever had, and a realization that we will never have enough time to do all we want to musically. There is just too much possible to do, too much to learn from other composers, too much to improvise, too many ensembles and bands to play in. You could almost call it a "Bucket Liszt" approach to the piano.

There's a lot to elaborate on (so much so that I'm often tempted to create my own index of his posts, arranged in such an order that it can be fully understood in the quickest possible time), but that should do for who he was/is in my eyes. I'm sure he'll post again eventually, hopefully when we've all adopted Seymour Fink's piano terminology as standard, so we'll finally have a precise enough language to discuss these things properly.

(Of course, I could be misunderstanding all of this, though I don't currently believe so. Ain't life grand?  :P)

Best,
CLF

Offline j_menz

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #21 on: July 27, 2014, 11:46:24 PM »
You could almost call it a "Bucket Liszt" approach to the piano.

Not without being (deservedly) slapped.

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

Offline cliffy

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #22 on: July 27, 2014, 11:57:55 PM »
*Deservedly and repeatedly, I'd imagine.

Offline Bob

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #23 on: July 28, 2014, 01:08:33 AM »
Mayla tried to make an index of the forum.  It would have included a lot of Bernhard's stuff.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline cliffy

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #24 on: July 28, 2014, 01:35:01 AM »
The indexes are definitely there.

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,9159.0.html - Mayla's forum index

The one I've used for Bernhard in particular is:

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,5767.0.html - Giant Bernhard index

I'm more interested in organizing them in a recommended order to read. Mayla's index, both in concept and execution (as much of it as got done, at least) is a wonderful thing, but I'd want to make a reference out of them that a person could read from beginning to end and go from the easier, more concrete ideas to the more abstract ones; such a thing would get everyone on the same page and prevent unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #25 on: July 28, 2014, 03:13:26 AM »
He always linked his posts like a spider weaving a web, that's what i remember about him hehe. Good ideas and a rustic musical approach.
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Offline awesom_o

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #26 on: July 28, 2014, 04:03:54 AM »
I believe the thread you're referring to is this one about Cortot's Exercises:
http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=19043.0



Funny.... that thread was started by an old friend of mine who hasn't been active in ages!

gruffalo

I too wish Bernhard would return....I am very interested in recorder playing and would like to become more advanced!

Offline coda_colossale

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #27 on: July 28, 2014, 10:12:09 AM »
I have learnt from him more than I've ever learnt from anyone, I can say that without doubt.

Offline goldentone

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #28 on: July 28, 2014, 11:49:32 PM »
*Deservedly and repeatedly, I'd imagine.

Especially if he had given his composing "ring of power" to, say, a woodmaker.
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Offline Bob

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #29 on: July 29, 2014, 01:27:34 AM »
Bernhard composed?  I don't quite remember that.

I suppose if Bernhard were going to write a book it would be published by now.


I was wondering if Bernhard left because he ran out of ideas. If you've already posted the meat of everything you know... then what?
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline goldentone

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #30 on: July 29, 2014, 07:40:22 PM »
Bernhard composed?  I don't quite remember that.

I was speaking of Liszt.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

Offline timothy42b

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Re: who was bernhard?
«Reply #31 on: July 29, 2014, 07:58:24 PM »
He was an amazing presence here, and I hope is still doing well somewhere.

I do not recall him ever getting less than professionally courteous even in the heat of disagreement; if it happened I missed it.  If we could learn one thing from him..........

not gonna happen
unfortunately
Tim