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Topic: Advice for going forward with lessons  (Read 525 times)

Offline contrapunctus1

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Advice for going forward with lessons
on: May 15, 2022, 01:16:41 AM
I decided to look for another teacher because things weren't working out that well with my first one.
So I hoped maybe you can offer me some advice on how I should move on with my piano studies.

So first of all maybe important to state that in regards to my studies im mostly just concerned with learning to play and understand Bach well and maybe play some other composers in between but the main focus should be Bach as he is by far my favorite.

So I recently picked up a book that was recommended here by Bernhard and which is called "An Introduction to the Performance of Bach" by Rosalyn Tureck.

So I really enjoy the book as it goes into great detail on all aspects of interpreting Bach and offers progressive pieces to get there. There is great detail in how each of the pieces can be interpretated and many added annotations. My issue is, that it's still not easy to go through with it without having a teacher because I dont have anyone correcting my playing and help with questions if I do it on my own.

What I really would love is to have a teacher whom I can give this book and who will just use it as a teaching method (as I think the book was intended as anyways because it often says "the teacher should...", "the student should...") and go through it with me together and also teach me music theory along the way.

But I feel like teachers have kind of their own ideas in regards to teaching and I don't want to seem like im patronizing them in regards to "how they should teach me" as I am sure they generally know what they are doing and maybe they have no interest in reading a book that outlines how they ought to teach me.

Any recommendations of what I should do?
Maybe practice through the book and only get a lesson every few weeks to check on my stuff? (But then again the teacher would just criticize my playing based on his/her own ideas of interpretation and not the ones outlined in the book.)

I hope I made my ideas somewhat clear and any advice is greatly appreciated  :D

Online brogers70

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #1 on: May 15, 2022, 10:10:16 AM
You have a very specific idea of what you want from lessons. I'd suggest approaching potential teachers and telling them exactly what you wrote in the post here. If they are not interested in working that way, you'll find out up front. If they are, so much the better. You should maybe be careful not to try to force them to BE Rosalyn Turek, or to too often argue with them (look it says right here on page 59 to do it THIS way). In any case, being up front about exactly what you want is a good thing.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #2 on: May 15, 2022, 05:48:41 PM
There is nothing wrong with telling your future teacher you want to focus predominantly on music from Bach. I would be wary studying with any teacher who teaches out of some predetermined course book though, each person has their own needs and a good teacher will hone in on your specific needs. A book doesn't know what you need personally, a good teacher does and they can know things you don't realize you need.

You do not necessarily get better at playing Bach by only playing music from Bach. For instance, as your sight reading improves Bach becomes a lot easier to manage, but restricting yourself only to Bach would be detrimental to your progress in this case.

Piano development is something that is revealed to you over time, as you get to know your own two hands and mind. Sometimes if you read something it can offer you ideas which are not naturally understood or you don't have sufficient experience to hook the information onto. You may get some superficial or an estimated type of understanding. You may have some ideologies which you want to uphold but have not built yourself up to be able to hold it up effectively.
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Offline contrapunctus1

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #3 on: May 15, 2022, 09:48:48 PM

You do not necessarily get better at playing Bach by only playing music from Bach. For instance, as your sight reading improves Bach becomes a lot easier to manage, but restricting yourself only to Bach would be detrimental to your progress in this case.


I agree with what you said but my issue is for example that my teacher wanted to kind of force me to play a Mozart Sonata (K330 1st movement) as a an "etude" to get better at playing piano. And being pushed into practicing pieces I do not enjoy makes me approach my piano practice time as "work" instead of "fun". So I started to avoid practice altogether  :(
And I do enjoy a lot of other composers besides Bach :D
I just want his music to be the main focus  :)

Online brogers70

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #4 on: May 15, 2022, 10:37:19 PM
I agree with what you said but my issue is for example that my teacher wanted to kind of force me to play a Mozart Sonata (K330 1st movement) as a an "etude" to get better at playing piano. And being pushed into practicing pieces I do not enjoy makes me approach my piano practice time as "work" instead of "fun". So I started to avoid practice altogether  :(
And I do enjoy a lot of other composers besides Bach :D
I just want his music to be the main focus  :)

Bach learned to play the keyboard pretty well without ever playing Mozart or Czerny.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #5 on: May 16, 2022, 02:22:53 AM
I agree with what you said but my issue is for example that my teacher wanted to kind of force me to play a Mozart Sonata (K330 1st movement) as a an "etude" to get better at playing piano. And being pushed into practicing pieces I do not enjoy makes me approach my piano practice time as "work" instead of "fun". So I started to avoid practice altogether  :(
And I do enjoy a lot of other composers besides Bach :D
I just want his music to be the main focus  :)
Being forced to study that Mozart Sonata seems rather silly though and unnecessary especially given your repertoire wishes. I was specifically focusing in on Sight Reading. You simply cannot avoid playing much easier works from multiple composers if you want to get good at sight reading, and this doesn't mean you need play only the famous masters of the keyboard, there are tonns of easier works by a various range of composers, both old and modern, well known and not. Underdeveloped reading skills makes learning Bach a lot more difficult which is simply not desirable for your situation, with good reading skills you will be able to play a large portion of his works much more immediately and thus expand your repertoire logarithmically.

Bach learned to play the keyboard pretty well without ever playing Mozart or Czerny.
Bach also devoted his life to music, so if you want to take his path you need to change your life completely, which most people cannot do. We are in a much better position to learn the keyboard than Bach ever was, so I would not merely focus on material that was available in his day.
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Offline ranjit

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #6 on: May 16, 2022, 08:48:50 AM
I think you can focus primarily on the content (order of pieces etc.) from the book if you wish, but it's a better idea imo to be open to whatever the teacher has to say when it comes to those pieces. You don't want to micromanage your teacher, because then you miss out on all the little things they can offer. It's fine to ask for clarification, for example if you ask whether it's standard practice to not hold eighth notes or whatever, they should be able to answer with some justification of what they're doing. But certainly don't quote them the book like you're quoting the Bible, lol.

Offline lelle

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #7 on: May 16, 2022, 06:28:04 PM
I agree with what you said but my issue is for example that my teacher wanted to kind of force me to play a Mozart Sonata (K330 1st movement) as a an "etude" to get better at playing piano. And being pushed into practicing pieces I do not enjoy makes me approach my piano practice time as "work" instead of "fun". So I started to avoid practice altogether  :(
And I do enjoy a lot of other composers besides Bach :D
I just want his music to be the main focus  :)

Which composers do you enjoy apart from Bach? :) I agree with the sentiments that some valuable skills that you can apply to Bach may most beneficially be learned from other composers, as paradoxical as that might sound.

Offline contrapunctus1

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Re: Advice for going forward with lessons
Reply #8 on: May 16, 2022, 10:18:09 PM
Which composers do you enjoy apart from Bach? :) I agree with the sentiments that some valuable skills that you can apply to Bach may most beneficially be learned from other composers, as paradoxical as that might sound.

I enjoy most of the baroque music (Rameau, Couperin, Händel, Scarlatti, Purcell) as well as Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov mainly.

But this is when it comes to solo piano only. I love listening to other composers as well when it comes to other types of classical music (orchestrations, chamber music, or the Schubert song cycles for example)  :)
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