Disadvantages of learning a piece?
One could think that the more you learn, the better. Nonetheless, I've experienced this is not always true. I'm sure I'm not alone. There are some pieces you love and respect a lot, admire, because, besides being beautiful and so meaningful, they are really difficult, they might seem impossible, so you see them as something not possible for a mere human, something godlike. One day though, you are so good you can learn and play them, but in the process, you break that kind of mystic wrap that hold the piece from your repertoire. It's then when you realize it wasn't such a holy piece, it's possible to do, its value decreases for you because now you can play it, it's not anymore something unreachable. Have you ever felt this way?
Have you thought about these things?
Are there other disadvantages you have discovered?
The only time I've really experienced anything like this is when I try to learn something that's just plain too hard for me, even as a stretch goal. But in the past years I've been more disciplined about avoiding that.
I feel that after learning and performing a piece. When I pick up a new project, it's usually a piece of music that I love and that really moves me. But after so many hours of work and intense focus on one piece, I could probably go the rest of my life without hearing it again. When I'm done with it, I'm done with it.
No. I almost always like something more after I've played it, and know all of its details.
I think the magic only begins once you get it under your fingers and you can finally give the piece the respect it deserves. When I get to that point I can just listen and enjoy the music - imo there's nothing better.
I do recognise your experience. But I now see the same proces over and over again in my own practicing: 1. I love a piece. 2. I start to practice this piece myself and it's a wonderfull discovery tour. 3. I play the piece for a while, I can play it but not good enough and start to really hate it. It is in my head, I dream about it, I just never ever want to hear it again. There is no magic left in it whatsoever 4. I start to master it a bit more, and can really work on interpretation. Think about how I really want to make a story about it etc. And I start to love it again in another way.
Suzuki said somewhere that the real work starts when we know the piece.
M Snellen, this is where as an amateur you should assert yourself. You're paying for lessons; tell your teacher that that you want to spend more time on the piece rather than going on to the next thing.
I think it is good to humanize the music, take from mythic god-like realms and place it here on earth, where it was created.
Paul, I decided I agree with you. It'll totally wreck all the warhorse romantic concertos for me if I learn them. Especially the really effing hard ones. LOL
Lydia: "M Snellen, this is where as an amateur you should assert yourself. You're paying for lessons; tell your teacher that that you want to spend more time on the piece rather than going on to the next thing."
The only disadvantage to working on a piece is when a young student, still in the improvement stages of technical development, works on a major piece that they are not quite ready to play well. They will use primitive bowings and fingerings, and establish playing habits that are hard to break later, when more mature. But, if you are an amateur, with no intention of doing pro-level auditions, solos, competitions, then go ahead and work on that Beethoven concerto, you will enjoy it. Something like taking a painting class and trying to copy the masters.
Albrecht, if a teacher cannot help a student polish a work, I don't think that they are a very good teacher. Part of teaching interpretation is also the teaching of how to use technique in a fashion that is expressive.
I can see Albrecht's point in a sense that I think any instrumentalist can get caught up in certain ways of seeing a work through their instrument, and sometimes another musician without that baggage can see other possibilities. Sometimes I hear certain pianists approaches to pieces or composers, and I go, "I'd like to get that kind of sound or expression or phrasing". It can be freeing in a way.
Lydia, what I wrote came out of my experience: Out of my four teachers only one made this part of "learning"* a piece a major focus. The others dropped hints in that direction once in a while. I have learned more in this regard from conductors (from the remarks that they drop in rehearsals) and especially from chamber music coaches. Coaches are almost always experienced chamber musicians. Their trade is to work on interpretation; they have experience in doing it and in teaching it. Few violin teachers (many of whom play neither in an orchestra nor in a chamber group) have that sort of experience. Though if you have such a one, good for you!
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