Whole concerto versus just single movements
I'm just curious -- when you are learning or teaching, do you do just one movement of a concerto or the entire concerto? Both my son's current teacher and his former teacher have always had him do full concertos (once past the Suzuki stage) but a lot of others seem to only do one movement, usually the first. For example, my son wasn't given Lalo until he had the ability to play all 5 movements at a high level, which he did. But we know kids with other teachers who just do the first mvmt, or play just the 3rd mvmt of Mendelssohn, or the 1st mvmt of Bruch or Dvorak and never the 3rd.
I see the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches and was just curious what people do and why.
It is always nice to learn a whole concerto. However, learning single movements is just fine. My teacher generally does single movements to leave more room for exploring other repertoire.
When I was a kid, single movements were super common, especially the teaching of last movements in isolation.
My son, a junior in high school, has always learned the complete concerto with his teacher. Now that he is doing competitions and getting asked to play solos with orchestras, he is so thankful that he learned the entire piece.
What Steve writes makes sense to me. We always hear kids being held back from working on this or that because theyre not "musically" ready. But rep can be revisited later.
I love Vivaldi’s concertos and I aim to learn all three movements. His slow movements are challenging and often sublime.
Whole concerto, because why not? With no teacher, I have 100% control over my repertoire. My approach has been very similar to Steve's son; I learned a lot of pieces at a good clip in the past, only bringing them to where I can revisit and polish them relatively quickly.
When I did grade 8 oboe the prescriptions included only the first movement of the Mozart concerto. We did the 2nd for fun, but we didn't touch the 3rd.
My son moves through repertoire pretty quickly, usually learning a new movement each month or so in most cases, so I guess the complete concerto method is working well for him. When he is on an easier movement, his teacher supplements with more Bach or Paganini or harder etudes. I have to say, I have met a few kids who have hardly ever played a slow movement in their lives and they just cannot play as expressively. I think learning those slow movements is extremely important!
I guess it depends on the individual. I think some kids are totally capable of learning the whole concerto, but due to time constraints and wanting to explore a greater variety of repertoire, they choose to learn single movements instead.
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