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November 25, 2017, 04:06:23 AM *
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Sigismond Thalberg’s 200th Anniversary

The recent anniversaries of Chopin and Schumann in 2010 and Franz Liszt in 2011 inspire us to once again travel back in time and set focus on another tremendously important, yet almost forgotten virtuoso pianist from this golden era of pianism: Sigismond Thalberg. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Not having fun with some pieces.  (Read 324 times)
edlav
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« on: October 21, 2017, 10:16:44 PM »

So it goes as following:
When my teacher was learning piano he went through Das wohltemperierte Klavier thus suggesting that I should learn some Prelude & Fugue sets. At first I found Bach very boring for the most part, but now I can appreciate the Preludes. Unfortunately the Fugues make me feel like not practicing, I mean cleaning suddenly seems a lot more tempting. Anyways my question is whether I should say anything or just see it through?
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dogperson
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 10:32:22 PM »

Teachers certainly assign music to teach skills,  but that doesn't mean that you need to be silent about what you like.  If I were in this same situation. I would let my teacher know that I do not enjoy the fugues  and would prefer to leave them for something else as soon as my teacher felt appropriate.

With discussion with your teacher, you can find something that is good for you and at the same time feels good to practice.

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outin
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2017, 10:59:08 AM »

Those times I would rather clean than practice something I always drop the pieces in question. From the past I know it won't pass. It doesn't matter to me how much work something requires as long as the music seems worthwhile to learn. Not everything is, I'm afraid, no matter how many good skills it would teach.

Then again at the moment I cannot either practice or clean much due to shoulder injury...life sucks  Angry
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My summer projects: Scarlatti K87, K466, K109, Scriabin op74 preludes, Chopin Waltz 69-2 and Berceuse. And just exploring more music...
iansinclair
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 07:43:28 PM »

Those times I would rather clean than practice something I always drop the pieces in question. From the past I know it won't pass. It doesn't matter to me how much work something requires as long as the music seems worthwhile to learn. Not everything is, I'm afraid, no matter how many good skills it would teach.

Then again at the moment I cannot either practice or clean much due to shoulder injury...life sucks  Angry
Sorry about your shoulder -- that does suck indeed!  And I agree -- if there are pieces I start to work on which just don't seem to inspire me, I drop them.  As you say, they might be things I "should" learn for technical or musical reasons, but I'm way too old for that!
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Ian
indianajo
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 11:09:55 PM »

I quit piano lessons shortly after the time my teacher assigned me a JS Bach French Suite.  I'm a great JS Bach fan, starting with Disney/Stowkowski Fantasia, but 50 years later the French Suites still don't do anything for me. 
If she had assigned me a Goldberg Variation, or one of the Prelude's with orchestral backup, I'd have jumped in with relish. 
In 1967, my ignorance of other repretoire was understandable.  In 2017 with soundcloud & U-tube, anyone with internet access has no reason why he can't continue the discussion next lesson with some other piece he think achieves the same goal, but is different. Then you can have a rational discussion about the teaching point she is making, your tastes, and maybe come up with a compromise on what to learn next. 
Personally, the point of a fugue is, my brain lights up when a fourth or fifth passes by, then gets lost again in the murk of notes.  If your brain doesn't give you this pleasure morsal, then maybe fugues can be appriciated as  an intellectual exercise like a shrubbery maze.  Some people get into the fugue structure, how themes are inverted and played backwards & forwards upside down and bits at a time, the way John Lennon reacted to George Martin's tape recorder tricks.  Fugues are like crossword puzzles to those people. 
Try to find out how your teacher views fugues - that is worth knowing, if only as a sort of market research as to what you should play in public. Hint, the fans are few in number, but powerful in academia.
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mjames
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 03:05:13 AM »

Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Mozart....blahblahblah "you need to learn how to play in different styles."

I feel you bro, this is 200%%%%%%%% my teacher. If I had complete control I'd only play Chopin but no..*** Mozart sonatas instead

kill me
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Pianism is my religion, Bach is my God, and Chopin's my prophet.
huaidongxi
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 06:12:11 AM »

for me there's quite a bit a diversity between the 24 fugues.  there's probably a least a small handful most pianists could at least tolerate or even relish, but a different specific handful for any individual player.  if the conventional performances leave you cold, try listening to the ones by John Lewis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNCuPAgG9eo&t=2814s
 (conventional, live rather than gould's spliced and edited version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22yLbGU3obA&list=PLZawGHJEONskktQmsCC9cD6pf_FAQLadI
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bernadette60614
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 10:15:37 PM »

I hear you.  I think a stiletto through the eyeball would be more enjoyable than the fugue I'm learning how...

that being said, what I have found is that I have to practice it will the utmost precision and concentration.  It is easy to fall into some sloppy practice habits, and Bach fugue's always bring me back to the essential principles of slow, meticulous practice.

So, while this may not be the approved of perspective, if you view it as an exercise in pianistic discipline rather than a piece of music, it may make more sense to learn it.
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