Guilty secrets

November 1, 2007 at 10:50 PM · Are you practicing a piece that you won't talk to your teacher about? Something you wouldn't mention to your colleagues or friends?

When I was 14 my teacher said to get the vivaldi A minor. While we were at the music store (otto Stein in Phoenix Arizona) I convinced my mother to buy the music the Bruch G minor concerto.

It was a huge disparity and I didn't have a lick of a chance of playing it (the Vivaldi was hard enough). I never told any teacher about it.

Do you have a secret piece that is really too hard but you're trying it anyway?

Please share.

Replies (21)

November 1, 2007 at 10:53 PM · Vieuxtemps cappriccio for viola

My teacher is not fond of the peice at all

November 2, 2007 at 01:17 AM · stravinsky violin concerto :o

paganini moto perpetuo

these arent hard, but my teacher doesn't know i play these regularly:

kreutzer etude 2

vivaldi: all of la stravaganza

bruch kol nidre

i hope my teacher isn't reading this right now :o

Hi Mr. Zyskind! -_-

November 2, 2007 at 01:45 AM · What a good question! I'm working on an Irish reel called Mother's Delight. Don't have music for it but it's in my head and I play it almost every day, probably won't have the technique for it for at least another 6 months. I wonder sometimes if my teacher would be irritated if he knew how much other stuff I work on---he tells me frequently that I need to focus on just few pieces and polish those. And I do, but it's too hard to resist all these other beautiful melodies I want to play!

I'd love to know what the teachers here think of this question!

November 2, 2007 at 02:48 AM · Rebecca Clarke - Sonata for Viola and Piano. My teacher knows I have it, but not how much time I actually spend on it. The harmonic double-stops are killing me!!!

My teacher does know that I work on pieces outside of lessons before I request that we work on them together. He doesn't seem to mind one bit. In fact, I think he now expects it of me to have some basic understanding of a piece before I take it to him and say "HELP!!!!". That is what happened with the piece we are working on now. When I asked for help on this "new" piece, he asked exactly where I was having the most problems :)

November 2, 2007 at 04:33 AM · I'm going to have my first lesson in 8 years a week and a half from now, and I tried to be up front with my teacher about what I wanted to work on but there's just too much I want to do. I'm hoping that being open about my challenges in that area (ability to focus) will help me improve.

Blake, I also want to work on that Vieuxtemps Capriccio for viola but I don't think I'm ready for it yet.

November 2, 2007 at 05:23 AM · i was very lucky in that my teacher NEVER minded my playing pieces on my own. I remember that as a student my father asked him if it was okay that I was purchasing and playing all manner of pieces. My teacher said, that it was a matter of reading things. Though one year he came back from his summer vacation, and I had been reading the Chaconne and wanted to play it for him. I think I was 14 or so...and he said we could work on the other movements. I think that was rather diplomatic of him!

November 2, 2007 at 08:16 AM · Haha, I am the teacher!

November 2, 2007 at 12:30 PM · Hi,

pieces that I won't show to my teacher: no. My teacher is very open minded and I've already made several interesting finds outside the usual repertoire.

Pieces that I don't show to my teacher: sure. Some things I can now thankfully tackle on my own.

If I run into problems or need a "second opinion", I'll ask my teacher for help (and have up to now always received it).

Of course, as an amateur violinist I have probably more latitude in choosing repertoire (in the sense of what I want to play, of course, not what I actually am able to play).

Bye, Jürgen

November 2, 2007 at 12:34 PM · Your teachers are probably thrilled that you love the music enough to have a bash on your own. Just don't neglect the assigned pieces. I know of one or two Brodsky students who were reduced to ashes when they brought in show pieces instead of their Mozart Concerti! ^o^

November 3, 2007 at 12:13 AM · I was once really scolded by Gitlis for attempting to learn the Berg Concerto on my own after 2 years of studying the violin. Of course I was far from being ready, but I always thought the Berg was so cool and even brought it once to the lesson. I think that was the only time he was ever angry at me.

November 3, 2007 at 12:30 AM · A few pictures, while legetimate, are a bit racy.

If I can I'll post it here in the near future.

November 3, 2007 at 01:25 AM · When I was in high school I discovered the Brahms Concerto. I bought the music and brought it to my teacher who told me "Put that away! It will be years until you are ready for that concerto." So I promptly started working on it on my own. I probably spent a year on it. Was I ready? No! Did I do it justice (whatever that means.) No! But I learned and grew immensely as a violinist and musician. It was also a tremendous inspiration and played a part in helping me to decide to become a professional musician.

November 3, 2007 at 06:26 AM · Hey Sung-Duk,

I can really understand that. Berg's VC certainly is cool. Incredible combination of system and imagination.

November 3, 2007 at 03:55 PM · Karen -- It is a rather hard peice to be graded as it is(grade 4-5 ish).

November 3, 2007 at 08:44 AM · Mr. Sonne, it's nice to hear an accomplished professional tell that story. I did the same thing with the Beethoven when I was in high school (somewhat less daunting to the eyes of a high school violinist, if not actually easier) and feel the same about the inspiration it provided. I should hasten to add that I definitely spent too much time on it at the expense of my teacher's assignments and might have progressed a little faster had I focused better. But still, I don't regret it... and when I learn it properly sometime soon, I'll have large chunks memorized going in!

November 5, 2007 at 06:42 AM · PDQ Bach's "The only piece ever written for violin and tuba"

November 5, 2007 at 08:18 AM · Corwin,

Interesting. I worked at Otto Stein Music for about six years in my late teens and early twenties.


November 8, 2007 at 03:59 AM · I never worked there but perhaps we crossed paths in the store. Your picture suggests that perhaps we are near the same age. Your teacher, Eugene Lombardy was concertmater of the Phoenex Symphony at that time.

November 8, 2007 at 03:31 PM · Brahms-Joachim Hungarian Dances

Wieniawski Etudes-Caprices #2

November 8, 2007 at 11:21 PM · A few years ago, I worked on the Wienawski Scherzo Tarantelle behind my teacher's back. But, I think with more years and the more passionate I became, I gained a patience. A mature patience that says, "If I wait, the sweeter the moment will be when my teacher hands me the piece I have been waiting for. Because at that moment, I'll know--I deserved it.

November 12, 2007 at 01:26 AM · no teacher anymore, but today I put Erlkonig on the stand - and it CERTAINLY shouldn't be there!!!

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