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Topic: Help with learning plan.  (Read 1591 times)

Offline koitako

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Help with learning plan.
on: June 17, 2015, 11:10:54 PM
Hello, this is my first time posting in this forum but it's been a while since i read it.

I'm a self-taught beginner (I've been playing for about 11 months) but i'm very erratic with my practice sessions, somedays i can play for about 4 hours and some others i will "play" for 40 minutes (doing random things at the keyboard, arppegios, scales, etc.) or not play at all.

So i want to design a learning plan that will bring me to the Chopin Etudes/Ballades and romantic/post-romantic pieces.

My repertoire is something like this:

Bach: WTC Book 1, first prelude, Inventions 1 - 4 - 8, AMB Notebook Minuet G Major (Not very fond of the inventions i might add, although i like the WTC)
Chopin: Waltz A-minor Posth. - Prelude op28 20 (the chord prelude)
Schumann: Schumann - Kinderszenen Op 15 First piece.

I've been thinking of going more strict on my practice, and doing 2 hours at least of the following:

Clementi: Preludes and Exercises.
Cramer Etudes.
Moscheles Etudes.


Just wanted to hear your thoughts!

Thank you all!



Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Help with learning plan.
Reply #1 on: June 17, 2015, 11:45:22 PM
Go ahead and practice those, but don't expect the breakthrough of the ability to play Chopin etudes and ballades to happen overnight.
With that negative bit out of the way, here's the good news.
There's tons of fun literature at your level (we can give the standard list if you'd like), and that can give you better preparation for the etudes and ballades than anything else can.
I personally detest the Clementi etudes, but the sonatinas from Opus 36 are great. Just a suggestion!
I don't know about Moscheles etudes, but Cramer is decent, as is Dohnanyi.
You can PM me with questions if you wish, I'm on here almost 24/7...

Offline koitako

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Re: Help with learning plan.
Reply #2 on: June 18, 2015, 12:16:38 AM
No! Of course i do not intend to play the ballades or etudes overnight! (although it would be really nice, right?  ::) ) but to have a effective plan to reach them.

I didn't know that Dohnanyi had etudes, i was recently listening to those and they seem technically demanding but beautiful.

What are your thoughts about finger exercises? (since we are talking about Monsieur Dohnanyi)

Are those necessary/effective?

Thank you!!

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Help with learning plan.
Reply #3 on: June 18, 2015, 01:09:23 AM
I actually meant his finger exercises, I didn't know he had etudes either  ;D
As far as exercises are concerned, I've always said (and been able to see results from this philosophy in practice) that it's far more about how you play the exercises, than what you play. I recently made a topic about the Brahms exercises, and their validity. After listening to them, I can see how they would be helpful, but the entire time I practice them I would need to be thinking of the concept. Of course, if you overthink something it can just make it worse, especially if the thoughts of "I can't do this, this part of my technique sucks" come into play.

Offline maxyim

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Re: Help with learning plan.
Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 08:58:17 PM
My own learning plan was something like this:

Various easy pieces > Fur Elise > Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement > 10 year break > 50% of Revolutionary Etude on my own > finished Moonlight Sonata 1st > Rach C#Minor?! and got a teacher after first page > Rach BMinor (lol) > Scriabrin Op8No12 (studying now, pray 4 meh).  

As you can tell from the above, it is rather extreme, but it worked out very good for me, as I am comfortably progressing on one of the most difficult pieces of the style that I have targeted.  I felt like I was jumping to a new tier with each piece, exponentially boosting my technical ability.  I should probably have inserted Rach GMinor and completed Revolutionary before starting the Scriabrin, but hey, too many listenings of Horowitz playing it got me impatient...  

In any event, I don't have a specific objective to "play everything well," I really only want to play the pieces that interest me, that is why I chose this approach.  Your own learning plan should be heavily influenced by (1) your goals, (2) inherent ability / knowledge, (3) dedication / ability to practice autonomously, and (4) number of lessons you can afford!

Edit - real quick on the lessons, I realize that you are self-taught.  There is a lot of information out there (esp. Youtube) that can assist with this approach.  But at some point, like me, you are going to hit a wall.  Also, you are running the risk of picking up bad habits.  The fact is that you will progress much faster with even just one 1 hr lesson a month; find a good teacher that specializes in classical music and expect to pay at least $60 / hr.
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