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Not enjoying new piece (Read 585 times)

Offline dorihunt

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Not enjoying new piece
« on: March 26, 2020, 03:25:21 PM »
Seeking advice:   I just started learning Moonlight Sonata, 3rd movement.  I really donít like it (Under statement). I am an adult student and play for the challenge and enjoyment.  I will never get this piece up to tempo and am not certain why my teacher wants me to play it.  He just told me I was going to learn it.   I am dreading spending the next year of my life trying to learn this monstrosity.   As a teacher, what would be your response to a student who doesnít want to play a piece you selected for them?   

Offline keypeg

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Re: Not enjoying new piece
«Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 04:00:29 PM »
Dorihunt, there is a bigger picture, and I figure teachers are may have more to say.  Given your previous posts - and we had a conversation then - there may be a problem with the teaching, period.  Even before, it sounded like your teacher was simply "giving you pieces" which you then learned on your own to play, and lessons consisted of corrections to what you were doing.  That is a far cry from real teaching.

There are some clues in your post.  You talk of playing this piece over and over for a year.  There are also no goals, given by your teacher, skills you are to get, or anything - simply that this is the piece that must be "learned" and "done".  I don't think you're being taught, frankly.

I could respond by saying that one does not work on a piece by playing it over and over; but that misses the point.  You should be taught how to work on a piece: how to subdivide; how to approach.  Specific skills should be given, in the lesson, that go with the piece, or that the piece will help you acquire.  Like when you practise, you should know what the heck you are doing, what you're aiming toward - and that should come from the teacher.

Now, if this teacher has students who have come up the ranks, and are now at a highish level, then they will already have been:
- given the technical skills
- given the type of theory that helps them work with and analyze a piece for working on it
- been guided on how to work on music (maybe by a previous teacher who sets up beginners and early intermediate students) so that at this stage they can simply work on a piece on their own, in an effective manner. 

There are teachers who do not know how to give skills and approaches.  A teacher who is an expert in this (the "first teacher" who should be highly respected, instead of being seen as 'not as prestigious) does this preparation of the student.  Therefore the 'advanced' teacher who inherits these students doesn't need to know squat about this side of it.  He can have the fun of helping interpret the piece, fixing this or that.

There is an added problem that adult students can quickly pick up abstract concepts, have listened to a lot of music so they know how it should sound - and this fools teachers into rushing them forward too early, and not giving them the same groundwork they'd give the kids.  The adult "seems to know" what the kids do; but does not have it in his body and musician ears - like the kids. This seems to be a common problem.         

Finally there is adult deference.  One "doesn't dare say anything" since the respect for the teacher is that high. And depending on the teacher, the clueless ones would get insulted anyway.  The good ones, however, are not.  (have an old t-shirt to sell)

Offline dorihunt

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Re: Not enjoying new piece
«Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 09:07:25 PM »
Keypeg,  Thank you for the thoughtful reply.  You address many areas in which I struggle.  I have tremendous respect for this teacher.  He is regarded as the best in my area.  His students are superb.  My teacher is very technique oriented and I really like that and feel like I have improved in that aspect.  His students are unbelievably polished and quite nearly perfect in my opinion.  I feel like in the majority ó ďmusic chose them.Ē In my case, ďI chose music.Ē  Unfortunately, that does not mean I am any good at it. I am especially bad at playing quickly.  For example, the cadenzas in Mozartís Fantasia D minor, K 397 were disastrous for me.  Now, I am looking at a piece that is presto agitato.  I feel failure is imminent.

Nonetheless, I might not be seeing the full picture.  it is quite possible that I am being asked to learn this piece simply for technique advancement.  I just donít know.  I donít want to give the impression that I am miserable.  I am not.  Possibly it is more just lack of understanding.  In a worldly sense, I am accomplished... doctorate degree.  I have been blessed with excellent work and I am good at my day job.  I play piano because I enjoy it.  I fear losing my love it because I am not enjoying the piece I am playing.  I hate quitting something I start. 

I probably am over thinking it all.  I know I am not the first student who did not enjoy a particular piece.  So I just thought I would get some advice before I made myself crazy with worry.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Not enjoying new piece
«Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 09:36:53 PM »
Have you discussed how you feel and your concerns with your teacher?  That should be your first step.

Offline dorihunt

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Re: Not enjoying new piece
«Reply #4 on: March 26, 2020, 10:07:30 PM »
No.  I have not.  I am very hesitant to do that right now,  I just am not sure that would be productive or beneficial. I needed advice before taking that step. 

Offline dogperson

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Re: Not enjoying new piece
«Reply #5 on: March 27, 2020, 12:09:44 AM »
No.  I have not.  I am very hesitant to do that right now,  I just am not sure that would be productive or beneficial. I needed advice before taking that step.


If you talk to your teacher, he can explain the reason he assigned it, how long he expects you to work on it and you can explain your frustration and concern.  Frankly, as an adult student I canít imagine not discussing things like this with any teacher I might have.  It is one of the benefits of being an adult.  Otherwise, both of you are just trying to be mind readers. ... and you are asking internet strangers who know nothing about the skills you have and the skills you need for advice.


Offline quantum

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Re: Not enjoying new piece
«Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 04:50:48 AM »
Failure is an amazing learning tool.  Embrace failure.  Of course that is easier said than done for an adult... our mind is filled with what ifs, what will others think.  To a child that falls and scrapes their knee, they get up and continue. 

You need to keep communication open with your teacher.  Not fully expressing your concerns is just setting up for more frustration.  When you talk about respect, think about the respect for your work, the effort you put into it to achieve goals.  Make your work about a team effort to attain a goal rather than retain the prestige of any particular person. 

You have been given very insightful responses by other posters here. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach