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Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy? (Read 1733 times)

Offline maxim3

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Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
« on: January 06, 2018, 12:00:26 AM »
Has anyone heard anything about the Beijing Conservatory style of piano pedagogy? After all I've read about modern piano teaching, with rotation, gentle motions, etc etc I was surprised (as an amateur with only a few dozen lessons from various teachers over the years, including one completely Russian-trained --but non-famous -- concert pianist) to see this:



[WARNING] This is Lang Lang playing a C major scale -- I know many of you detest Lang Lang but for the purposes of this thread just watch this 1.5 minute video and think of him as nothing more than "a graduate of the Beijing Conservatory school of pianism."

I simply want to know what you expert teachers think of what he's doing with his fingers, especially during the first slow passes through the scale. He is showing what he did as a child, and what he presumably continued to do in the Beijing Conservatory.

I thought this way of playing piano was history?? He certainly seems to attain a decent speed.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
«Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 09:30:39 PM »
That's called the Stuttgart School.   It damaged loads of pianists in the 19th century.  Read Amy Fay at archive.org about it.
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Offline dogperson

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Re: Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
«Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 10:01:12 PM »
Lang Lang has had left  arm tendinitis for many months and has canceled all concerts until June. I wonder how much of this injury  is due to piano technique?

Offline maxim3

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Re: Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
«Reply #3 on: February 02, 2018, 05:25:34 AM »
Thank you for the suggestion about Amy Fay and her book, I've just acquired it, I'd never heard of her before. I love these old memoirs.

As for Lang Lang's tendinitis, perhaps it was simply the result of performing strenuous pieces too often. I refuse to believe that even the most ergonomically advanced technique conceivable could allow a pianist to perform like a machine (forever, without rest) without inevitable breakdown and injury.

I don't think that any sane advocate of any modern ergonomic methods claims that human hands can be trained to the point where it is impossible to overtax them.

Finally, there are variations in human resilience. Some people are simply tougher than others. I suspect that a bit of research would succeed in revealing a number of successful pianists who played monstrously difficult pieces with old-fashioned 'bad' technique, for decades, without the least trace of injury.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
«Reply #4 on: February 02, 2018, 08:17:12 AM »
Amy Fay also relates how it wore out her piano!  Read who she goes to after in the book, there is a way to have a busy career and survive.  My bet is Lang Lang wil be back in a couple of years with a new technique.

You're right about resilience.  Many obviously did and do survive Stuttgart/Beijing but also many needlessly fell by the wayside.
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
«Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 11:59:34 PM »
Lang Lang has had left  arm tendinitis for many months and has canceled all concerts until June. I wonder how much of this injury  is due to piano technique?
For once (hopefully not forever), we are on the same page, especially in regards the so-called technique of Lang Lang.

1)  I have had the opinion, (vis a is Old Eastern German Olympic Athletes), that "Doping is Doping."  That is why the entire Russian Winter Olympic Team has been banned (with individual exception) from participating.

2)  When you see a filmed concert of Lang Lang or a video, you often see a "Headshot" from the top.  Then, when the focus on his left hand, he is always mashing his chords.  Most certainly, this is something that no piano teacher would ever recommend.

3)  Accordingly, many years back, Lang Lang was playing the Tchaikovsky live on a New Years Eve Concert on PBS.  And, lo an behold, right in the middle of it, he lifted up his entire left hand, winced, and then shook it in obvious pain.

4)  Steroids, which I use sparingly and topically due to my chronic Psoriatic Arthritis, are only a temporary fix to permanent injury.  In Lang Lang's case, it started out as an obvious Ulnar Nerve Injury and has now progressed to full blown Tendinitis.

Thanks once again for your post on this matter.

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: Beijing Conservatory's piano pedagogy?
«Reply #6 on: February 06, 2018, 12:31:26 AM »
Has anyone heard anything about the Beijing Conservatory style of piano pedagogy? After all I've read about modern piano teaching, with rotation, gentle motions, etc etc I was surprised (as an amateur with only a few dozen lessons from various teachers over the years, including one completely Russian-trained --but non-famous -- concert pianist) to see this:



[WARNING] This is Lang Lang playing a C major scale -- I know many of you detest Lang Lang but for the purposes of this thread just watch this 1.5 minute video and think of him as nothing more than "a graduate of the Beijing Conservatory school of pianism."

I simply want to know what you expert teachers think of what he's doing with his fingers, especially during the first slow passes through the scale. He is showing what he did as a child, and what he presumably continued to do in the Beijing Conservatory.

I thought this way of playing piano was history?? He certainly seems to attain a decent speed.

Look, I occasionally enjoy Lang Lang's playing, okay? Especially of Liszt.

That said, I can see why he has tendinitis. Playing with finger THAT high, combined with smashing chords much harder than need be in MOST pieces (ie, Chopin's Scherzos!), is a recipe for disaster, and that disaster just happened. Every great musician faces at least one great challenge in their career--some overcome, some do not. This is Lang Lang's.

Quote
Amy Fay also relates how it wore out her piano!  Read who she goes to after in the book, there is a way to have a busy career and survive.  My bet is Lang Lang will be back in a couple of years with a new technique.

You're right about resilience.  Many obviously did and do survive Stuttgart/Beijing but also many needlessly fell by the wayside.

Yes definitely, I hope so. Just because now he is still (in my own humble and immature opinion) a maturing musician, doesn't mean that he won't come back a few years from now with a newly beautiful sense of touch and interpretation. One could say something similar happened with Rubenstein.
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH