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Chopin Ballade 1 .. could you tell me what you think about my piano playing (Read 808 times)

Offline alextrp7

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Hi there,

That is just an excerpt, the main theme of Chopin Ballade N.1. I can't fully play it at normal speed. I do the codas at about 60/70% of concert speed.
Please let me know what I'm doing wrong and good.

https://soundcloud.com/user-114966151/voice-047

I started to seriously work my piano 1 year and half ago. I never really had a teacher and still I can't afford one now :( Before I only played pop music and never seriously played any classical pieces.

I have no feedback about how I  play. I just exercise and play for myself. Only my GF could help but classical is not her cup of tea. She finds it a somewhat stiff when I play.

PS : I know that Chopin's Ballade was a stupid choice for me, I would not do it again if I knew all the work I went through.

Also that would be great if some of you could help me about my work on my other pieces. (Litsz Un sospiro, Chopin Fantaisie Impromptu, Chopin Op 9 n.2, Chopin Op 32 N.2).

Thank you

Offline dogperson

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Hi Alex
Your determination to tackle this piece is admirable  given your experience level. But I think that you would acknowledge that it is above your capabilities at the present time. It sounds like you have learned the notes but that you were struggling to play it, and have  not played it with the musicality that it or you deserve. Please put this down (for now) and focus on more manageable pieces at your level that you could play well.  We all have ‘wish list’  pieces but need to recognize what is manageable now versus what needs to be put on the ‘later” stack.  What I have seen recommended is that you work on the most difficult section of any new piece and see if that is a section that you can conquer. If not, it is better to choose  something else.  It is not just enough to play at the right tempo but also evaluate how does it sound. 

Based on this, I would suggest that the other pieces in your list are probably ‘do later’ rather than now.  You have selected what is considered very advanced repertoire; back up a little and work your way up to them. Love Chopin? Start with the easier preludes: 4, 6 20!.  Then add the slightly more difficult ones etc. then the easier waltzes.  You get the idea: do it gradually without jumping into the deep end of the pool.

My teacher helps to rein in my enthusiasm by  suggesting ‘not yet’.  When you don’t have that bumper as a self-taught pianist, you will need to do this type of analysis on your own. The goal is to play beautifully what you do play.  It takes patience and discipline.

I’m sure this is not what you want to hear.  I hope you will think about it. This advice is offered with the best of intentions.

Offline alextrp7

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Hi Dogperson,

Thank you very much for your nice answer. Yes of course this is not what I wanted to hear LoL :) Though now I'm pretty aware and I fully agree about what you say.

I really dived in the classical piano world 2 years ago (for my newborn son), I read so much and hear a lot of music everyday. For 1 year I gave nearly 5 hours every day at the piano. I know this is highly stupid. I gave it 3 hours to 4 hours now.

I don't want to give up my work, I spent so many hours and I've got every notes in my muscle memory. I learned Chopin's nocturnes and some other easier Mozart pieces in order to do what you say in your post.
Also I have to say that I haven't spend any time on the musicality and expression part of my hardest pieces. I just spent time to put the notes in my muscle memory.

Could you or some other people tell what sound wrong in the recording. I spent so much time and I would like to get some precise (if possible) feedback on what I achieve during all that time.

Thank you

PS : There is this guy on youtube (he is french like me). He learned to play the same Ballade and he took him more that a year of hard work. He never really seriously played classical music before that, but that was his dream to play it. It is not perfect of course but it is still enjoyable to my ears. He was a somewhat a hope for me to do the same.



Offline avguste

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hello Alex

Where are you in France? I reside in Bordeaux.

I listened to it and it is well for done for someone who hasnt had a piano teacher.
I would strongly recommend to look for a piano teacher locally or over the internet who will help you make progress.

A few things:
-less body movement
-more clarity in general
-less left hand

I would also suggest to listen to Desire N'Kaoua
Avguste Antonov

Pianiste Concertiste

Professeur de Piano | Couleur Musique

Offline keypeg

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A few things:
-less body movement
-more clarity in general
-less left hand

I am wondering whether you were watching the person that the OP linked to - who is not the OP.  The piece that Alex played is audio only, on SoundCloud, so we cannot see things like body movement.

Offline alextrp7

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I am wondering whether you were watching the person that the OP linked to - who is not the OP.  The piece that Alex played is audio only, on SoundCloud, so we cannot see things like body movement.

Yes, not me on the video but another french guy. In his Youtube thread, he said that he never really practiced the piano before this but another instrument. He spent more than a year to come with what's in the video and I think it sounds great for what it is. But unlike me he's got a teacher. I really can't afford one for now.

I've got a lot of pieces in my memory, some easy and some hard. I decided to practice them very slowly for now. I mean extremely slowly. I use them to just feel my fingers on the keyboard, my muscles, my shoulders etc. I try to make every notes even, exercise pianissimo to forte, crescendos and decrescendos. Then I do some very short parts very fast, one or two times in order to understand what could be a better hands and body position, then I exercise this very slowly again with the same body movements.
What would you think about this ?

Also I can have practice sessions when I wander deeply slowly on the keyboard. I mean it is like improvisation, some kind of very easy "a la Bach" inventions with 2 voices. I try to feel my body, hands an fingers. I try to depress each keys deep in the key bed. Play with all expression range. It is a very free and relaxing work. I think it should pay with the time. What do you think about this ? I don't think that I can hurt myself with this isn't it ?



Offline avguste

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Yea, I misunderstood/didnt read carefully....LOL. Apologies :D
Avguste Antonov

Pianiste Concertiste

Professeur de Piano | Couleur Musique