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Repertoire for technique development (Read 809 times)

Offline flickmusic

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Repertoire for technique development
« on: November 21, 2019, 06:01:04 PM »
I played a little bit when I was a child and then briefly in my teens. Didn't advance too much, though. About a year ago I set a goal of "really" learning how to play. I've been studying between 1 and 3 hrs, 4, 5 days per week. I did a of reading around here and other places and it seems that the recommendation is that we ditch Hanon, Czerny, Pischna, and the likes and learn technique from repertoire.

I managed to go through a lot of the easy stuff that kids play (Tchaikowsky's Children's Album, Burgmuller and what not). Then I learned about 7 or 8 of Chopin's easier waltzes, but I realize that I don't play them very well. I  believe I don't have the technique to play them correctly. I figure that if I insist on them I'll be able to develop my technique as I practice, but what is happening is that because I don't have proper technique I end up developing bad habits that are hard to correct when I catch them.

So my question is: what kind of repertoire could help me develop good technique? Or should I select a some material targeted at the development of technique instead of learning from real music?

Unfortunately, I can't afford a teacher and don't have the time during the day to work with one (I work all day and I practice play late at night).

Offline associatex

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Re: Repertoire for technique development
«Reply #1 on: November 25, 2019, 07:59:33 PM »
Since you dont have a teacher and have to be at the mercy of your self-critical listening and playing skills to teach yourself technique, I would check out several books that discuss technique such Alan Frazer's, "The Craft of Piano" and the Taubman Technique. If you google those two, you will be directed to their web sites and YouTube videos where they discuss technique.

I personally dont think ditching Hanon, Czerny and those type of exercises is a good idea. While Hanon can be very dry, some of their exercises serve as a good warm up to increase hand and finger flexibility before you start a practice session. Another good book I just came across is Geoffrey Tankard's "Foundations of Pianoforte Technique" - which can be ordered from Amazon here.

As for specific repertoire, I would focus on Bach 2 and 3 part Inventions as they stress hand independence, proper fingering, and phrasing/voicing (particularly the Preludes and Figures from Well Tempered Clavier).

Chopin's Waltzes sound better only when your technique is solid, I would work on some of the easier Preludes such as the E minor Prelude (Op 28 # 6, I think). I would also be looking at YouTube videos from Josh Wright, Paul Barton and Cory Hall for insight on approaching specific pieces. It also doesnt hurt to post videos of your playing to any of the various Piano Technique Facebook groups that are around now (the one I follow is from Rami Bar-Niv called "Piano Technique discussion group". You will get a lot of suggestions there..

Working on:
Clara Schumann Nocturne Op 6 no 2
Rachmaninov Prelude Op 23/5, 32/10
Chopin Nocturnes

Offline flickmusic

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Re: Repertoire for technique development
«Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 01:03:33 PM »
Thanks for your feedback. I have organized a routine to study with more discipline and include technique and exercises, instead of just playing the pieces I like like I've been doing. I also realized these past few days while reading around here that my problem is also lack of (and improper) practice. I was so eager to learn new pieces all the time that I would spend just a little bit of time with each piece every day and then move on to the next, usually by playing the whole piece once or twice, not focusing on problem areas or anything, just playing it through. I realize now that this is not the proper way to learn a new piece and practice.

In about 18 months since I started playing again I went through close to 100 pieces. I would get anxious about not having stuff to play to friends and family when they ask and not wanting to play always the same pieces. So I really need to control myself! LOL

Offline edwincurrent

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Re: Repertoire for technique development
«Reply #3 on: February 05, 2020, 06:38:39 AM »
There's a great set of old but excellent books on imslp. https://bit.ly/2GltB2t

Master School of Piano Playing and Virtuosity.  7 Volumes in total.  Great for theory reference, technique tips and exercises.  Spend a little time with 1 volume each day of the week.

Offline timtim

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Re: Repertoire for technique development
«Reply #4 on: February 07, 2020, 09:52:04 AM »
I played a little bit when I was a child and then briefly in my teens. Didn't advance too much, though. About a year ago I set a goal of "really" learning how to play. I've been studying between 1 and 3 hrs, 4, 5 days per week. I did a of reading around here and other places and it seems that the recommendation is that we ditch Hanon, Czerny, Pischna, and the likes and learn technique from repertoire.

I managed to go through a lot of the easy stuff that kids play (Tchaikowsky's Children's Album, Burgmuller and what not). Then I learned about 7 or 8 of Chopin's easier waltzes, but I realize that I don't play them very well. I  believe I don't have the technique to play them correctly. I figure that if I insist on them I'll be able to develop my technique as I practice, but what is happening is that because I don't have proper technique I end up developing bad habits that are hard to correct when I catch them.

So my question is: what kind of repertoire could help me develop good technique? Or should I select a some material targeted at the development of technique instead of learning from real music?

Unfortunately, I can't afford a teacher and don't have the time during the day to work with one (I work all day and I practice play late at night).


Apart from typical technical repertoire, essential excercises were recommend by the greats are Liszt and Brahms books.

However,look at Graham Fitch videos about technical training, he has few good sentences of which pianists almost forgot and play technical pieces like a crazy for months with zero to non effect.

I am right now reading Gieseking book (which is btw write towards advanced pianists as stated by the author), but there is a ton of knowlege.

He say that techcnical development goes alon with practicing normal pieces with proper attitude and analysis. But yes, it's godlike virtuoso telling to us mortals waking up on the ladder...

but there are very good advices. Book seems tiny, but there is almost non unnecessery wirting, everything is right to the point, which ends in tons of knowlege and examples. Mind opening book.

He says, that if you understand what you want to play, and practice it properly, than techniqe will come by itself. I do not agree with this 100%, but definitely there is piano school which agrees with it.