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Topic: What Chopin Piece should I learn?  (Read 1489 times)

Offline galante

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What Chopin Piece should I learn?
on: December 19, 2023, 08:23:29 PM
So next year (in a couple of days, lol), I am planning to have a project piece to be able to play it at the end of 2024. I have only been playing piano since the start of 2022, but I have progressed really quickly (I'm playing the famous Rach C-sharp minor prelude, which is an AMEB grade 8 piece, so yeah). I still have a lot of music experience; my musical journey started in 2018 with the double bass. Anyway, enough rambling. Here are the pieces that I want to play:
Chopin Fantasie in F minor.
Chopin Ballade No.1 in G minor.
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Offline lelle

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #1 on: December 19, 2023, 09:49:13 PM
Of the two, I'd argue the Ballade is easier technically. But if you've played two years only, don't expect to be able to learn it in a year. Your time would be more wisely spent playing many pieces around your level (or slightly push your comfort zone) that you can finish fairly quickly.

Offline transitional

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #2 on: December 19, 2023, 10:48:48 PM
You shouldn't bite too much over your level. When I was two years in, I struggled on the C Major prelude at the beginning of the WTK. If you want some "big" pieces from Chopin to work on, I'd suggest one of the Op. 40 polonaises which have a "big" sound but aren't too difficult. The No. 1 in A Major is one of my favorites.

Or you could do the Grande Valse Brillante. I would actually consider these pieces the MORE difficult end. If you can, please try to slow down and play a Mozart Sonata or something. There are many wonders within them that people dismiss as over-joyful music - K 457 seems to be a favorite among many. (Personally my favorite Mozart Sonata is k 533 but that one's quite difficult and we don't need to get in the weeds of that) Ballade 1 after 2 years of playing is asking too much. I've played piano for 11 years and still make around 20 mistakes every time I play the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, which is roughly the same difficulty.
Schubert sonatas are amazing and I want to learn all of them eventually! My favorites are D 960, D 959, D 840, D 568, and D 894.

Offline galante

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #3 on: December 20, 2023, 01:27:15 AM
You shouldn't bite too much over your level. When I was two years in, I struggled on the C Major prelude at the beginning of the WTK...

To not be offensive, I am able to play No. 1 of WTK without any mistakes. I guess I'm just more skilled. I am able to play most of the ballade, save the coda, which everyone agrees is insane and extremely difficult, and the waltz parts in the ballade.

Offline transitional

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #4 on: December 20, 2023, 01:45:04 AM
Yeah, I guess I was 6 then and wasn't trying too hard  ;) But if you struggle with Rachmaninoff's Op. 3 No. 2, I think it's worthwhile to really put some focus into pinpointing what you are doing wrong there and learning to fix these aspects of playing. Do you have a teacher?
Schubert sonatas are amazing and I want to learn all of them eventually! My favorites are D 960, D 959, D 840, D 568, and D 894.

Offline galante

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #5 on: December 20, 2023, 06:33:47 AM
But if you struggle with Rachmaninoff's Op. 3 No. 2...Do you have a teacher?

To make it more clear of my situation with the prelude, I can play the first (at full tempo, with rubato) and second (bars 14–20, Henle edition, I can play at full tempo, rest at varying speeds, sometimes full, but if you're talking about the notes, usually not at full tempo) parts of the prelude quite well notewise. The only thing that is causing a problem for me is getting both hands together, speeding up to full tempo, and my interpretation of the piece. I do have a teacher, but we are in the middle of trying to find another teacher because the one we chose was too expensive for us (our last lesson was 2 weeks ago) To add to that, the next teacher that is willing to teach me (she's the best in the city) has been sadly diagnosed with breast cancer and is going through chemotherapy for the next 6–12 months. So, yeah, we are quite stuck with finding a good teacher. But (yes, there is a but), the teacher that I want to be taught has suggested a few of her colleagues to teach me, and we are looking forward to that.

Offline transitional

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #6 on: December 20, 2023, 03:23:26 PM
Well, then, I'm a bit confused about your level. So the only advice I can give is don't do something too difficult for your own good, find something in the middle, and stick with that because you don't want to overwork yourself. This could be the Chopin Ballade, the Polonaises I mentioned earlier, or even something easier. Just find what works - something that challenges you, but that you can get down eventually.
Schubert sonatas are amazing and I want to learn all of them eventually! My favorites are D 960, D 959, D 840, D 568, and D 894.

Offline galante

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #7 on: December 20, 2023, 10:42:05 PM
Well, then, I'm a bit confused about your level. So the only advice I can give is don't do something too difficult for your own good, find something in the middle, and stick with that because you don't want to overwork yourself. This could be the Chopin Ballade, the Polonaises I mentioned earlier, or even something easier. Just find what works - something that challenges you, but that you can get down eventually.

So in this comment, I'll try to defend myself a bit and also inform you about the pieces and the Polonaises that you chose:
The way I chose pieces is not a good way of being aware of the difficulty of a piece itself. So here's how it goes:
1. I listen to recordings of people playing random pieces of a composer (usually Chopin)
2. If I absolutely love the piece, I will then search for the sheet music and have a play.
3. If I find it fun to play and I like how it sounds, I start to have a go at learning it.
This is maybe a normal way of picking a piece, but here's the catch: While I am learning a piece that I really like, if I listen to another recording of another, different piece that I absolutely love, then the same thing happens as listed above. "But what happens to the last piece that I was learning?" You may ask. Well, then the last piece usually starts to require more and more practice once I start enjoying more and more of the other piece that I'm learning. This was happening again and again until I finally got a piano teacher to teach me. Now I am determined to learn the Rachmaninov Prelude in C sharp minor and have at least one piece that I can fully play.

Ok, now to the pieces that you suggested earlier. With most of the pieces that you gave me to be able to play, most of them I can sight read (with mistakes, of course). The Mozart piece that you suggested is a good example. But the Grande Valse Brilliante (Op. 18) by Chopin is a good suggestion for me, and I actually had a go at trying to learn the piece, but my previous teacher stopped me from learning it because it was too fast, and he wanted me to play a slower waltz, the "Farewell" Waltz by Chopin (Op. 69, No. 1), so he could teach me my counting (I barely count while I'm playing on the piano; I only count when there is a metronome on). Maybe I'll give it a go again in the coming months. Also, to be a little technical about the Op. 40 Polonaises that you suggested, only the Military Polonaise is easy (I still really like both of them, the first one more, though ;D). The other one is quite difficult when you compare it with the others. The reason is that the second one has repeated double notes, a complex ascending scale, complex rhythms, and lastly, some hard places that need extreme care to bring out the voices. So yeah, I don't think you checked the score before typing it.

Offline pianabeth

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #8 on: December 28, 2023, 08:24:48 AM
I don’t think you should learn the Fantasie or Ballade.

Ok OP you sound very talented, and I know excellent pianists that have progressed very quickly, but you need to slow down and choose some pieces you can properly handle and that will develop your technical and musical maturity. I agree you also shouldn’t be learning any polonaises right now. If you’re set on Chopin, I’d suggest one of his easier preludes (raindrop is a personal favorite) or else a nocturne. There are some lovely nocturnes that aren’t crazy difficult but some of them do have more challenging bits if you’re really set on that. They also will challenge you musically.

That being said, I’d urge you not to discredit the value of learning Mozart or less “flashy” composers. I make it a priority to always be learning Bach no matter what else I’m pursuing. For example, a prelude and fugue would be a worthwhile challenge. Maybe learn some dances from a French or English suite.

Mozart may be sight readable, but he is extremely difficult to master. A very high level of clarity and technical precision is necessary to properly execute his fast works, and his slow movements require a lot of musical maturity.

I completely understand the appeal of hearing flashy pieces and wanting to learn them immediately, but I really think that at only two years of study you should slow down, expand your repertoire to more manageable but no-less valuable works, and learn to appreciate a good ol’ WTK prelude.

Offline transitional

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #9 on: December 29, 2023, 01:00:36 AM
COMPLETELY what I was trying to get at!!! I definitely think you should slow down, just didn't want to be too discouraging. Find a well-balanced repertoire: some Bach preludes or Inventions/Sinfonias or even P&Fs if you're up for a challenge, definitely Mozart (who writes very precisely and makes it hard to get accurate, and definitely extremely important even though people dismiss his stuff as too "happy"). The Romantic composers are kind of side projects if you really like their music at this stage. Post something in the audition room and maybe we can better evaluate what level you're at as anyone can say that they've mastered this hard piece and we won't know what skill level they're *really* at! And most importantly, have fun with your music!
Schubert sonatas are amazing and I want to learn all of them eventually! My favorites are D 960, D 959, D 840, D 568, and D 894.

Offline galante

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Re: What Chopin Piece should I learn?
Reply #10 on: December 29, 2023, 10:42:05 AM
I don’t think you should learn the Fantasie or Ballade...
...learn to appreciate a good ol’ WTK prelude.

I like to fact-check a lot. And one of these things is my love of Bach. For me, Bach is God in the Bible of music, and we are the people who came after him. (I'm actually repeating a quote from a famous composer here.). I respect his compositions at the highest level. My favourite compositions of his is the Italian concerto, WTK  and his orchestral suites.

 
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