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My Czerny experiment (Read 352 times)

Offline cuberdrift

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My Czerny experiment
« on: December 24, 2019, 12:55:27 PM »
Greetings all,

So, I'm in my early 20s and graduated from a local conservatory. I've managed to, with great effort, perform pieces like Schumann's concerto and Scriabin's b minor fantasy in recital.

Now that I'm free at the moment, I'm quite obsessed in doing research on the great virtuoso composers - Liszt, Alkan, Hummel, Chopin, etc. particularly obscure and technically difficult bravura pieces.

However, I am unable to learn any of them easily. My sight reading is not really good - it is a chore to read even Bach WTC and stuff like that (though I noticed analyzing pieces beforehand make it a little easier to read).

And even if I know the notes, I will need to repeat the sections over and over and over and over and over again to make it musically secure. Which, of course, is the ultimate goal. However, getting there is an ardous journey that takes up so much time and sucks up energy.

One particular ambition of mine is to play Czerny's opus 365 (School of Virtuosity) at tempo. This will obviously be a monumental task. I tried practicing the second study and it took a week to memoeize it at a rather slow tempo.

My practice method typically involves slow practice but with each repetition I aim for a musical result. This I do until I am exhausted and then tackle it the next day etc.

So anyways, you get the idea. I can learn pieces but only after a lengthy duration. Thus I want to acquire the skill to read and learn pieces very fast - even difficult ones.

So here is the thing (sorry I took so long to get to this part). Bernhard made a post listing Czerny exercise books in progressive difficulty. Although he is not an advocate, I decided to start from Opus 599. I plan to learn that book, then Opus 849, Opus 299, Opus 636, then Opus 740.

The idea is that learning these pieces, because they are very gradual, and getting them to tempo, should be a rather easy task. So by the time I am at 740, I will be studying etudes roughly as demanding as Chopin etudes easily and efficiently due to the reading and technical skills I built up from the preceding exercises.

So far I am still in the midst of Op. 599, but I can say that my technique and reading have noticeably improved. Hopefully this will go on and on until I finally am able to satiate my desire to learn difficult repertoire quickly!

Personally, I think the reason why Liszt was a master sight reader and technician is because of Czerny's training. Czerny noted in his autobiography that constantly giving Liszt new pieces to learn made him a quick reader. If you look at the early virtuoso pieces of Liszt, they contain figurations that are very similar to Czerny's.

So the idea of this post is just to inform you of my venture and if it becomes successful, maybe restore some belief in these notorious exercises. Personally I don't know why people hate them, since they are purposefully tailored to be easy to learn while developing skill efficiently.

It's not like learning, for example, Chopin etudes, which are a chore to read much less get to tempo. Those Chopin etudes are supposed to be the result of an already advanced reading and technical skill set, not the way to develop it.

So wish me luck as I provide an answer as to whether Czerny is truly worth the time.

By the way, I highly suggest people do some research and look up the actual music of Czerny and also read up on his influence on the virtuosos of the day. I personally feel that somewhere there every virtuoso at the time owed their success to Czerny's methods. One problem I think about many piano teachers is they forcibly make students do homework and the students don't know where all this is coming from, but this topic is another one lol.

For your listening pleasure:


Offline opus10no2

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Re: My Czerny experiment
«Reply #1 on: December 24, 2019, 08:52:11 PM »
respect!  8)
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