Monika鈥檚 musical meanderings

How do you both learn new music AND maintain the repertoire you already have and love? That鈥檚 my central dilemma around practice time. I鈥檓 not a performer but still, I like to do things well.
I鈥檓 looking at learning Beethoven Op. 28 - assuming that one day I will understand its opening measures - and polishing Op. 27 No. 2. Like good wine, my Chopin Nocturnes are ageing well and will be a likely choice for our online concert. 

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  • Which Nocturne(s) are you playing?

    Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Heng-Pin Chen 

      I know 1-2-3-5-6-9-11 and would love to add 7-8-10. The more I know, the more I want to know. 

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady Yes, Chopin Nocturnes are all beautiful. 

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  • Great! I have played/practiced Beethoven op 28 and op 27 no 2, but it's been a while! I've been thinking about freshing up some of these Beethoven sonatas. Didn't get them to a concert level, so far from finished. Will love to hear you play them. PS I love Chopin Nocturnes. 

    Like 2
  • Monika, I have the same constant struggle. I know a wonderful pianist whose mother was her first piano teacher - made her keep a 鈥渓ist of 10鈥 finished pieces that she would review on top of her new repertoire. When a new one is learned she could swap it out on the list for one of the previous 10. I have been trying to do that for years, but my problem is not enough practice time鈥..I keep trying though. My newest idea is that I should work on new pieces in the early part of the day (when I鈥檓 caffeinated) and review the old repertoire at night. 

    Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan Top 10 sounds great. It鈥檚 a simple way of formalizing, intellectualizing that part of your repertoire. Like you, I work on new pieces first thing in the morning, a time that never disappoints, except that it always flies by too quickly!

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    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I love the idea of a top 10 list!  I wish I had 10, LOL! 

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  • I was so inspired by Tammy's outstanding (really outstanding!) video that I decided to record one of my own. Now I know that I really don't know what happens in those little runs!

    Like 9
      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady played beautifully. I always indulged of its few notes at beginnings. 

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      • Tammy
      • TT2022
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady So beautifully played, Monika! Really enjoyed this. 

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      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Beautifully played! I like how you keep it very calm, witch is important in nocturnes. This piece has so delicate runs, that I feel fits the hand perfectly. 

      Like
  • Beautiful, Monika!

    Like 1
  • I scribbled a note at the top of the first page: Never miss an opportunity to decrescendo. Seems like good advice鈥

    Like 1
  • If Beethoven behaved in real life like in his sonata Opus 28, it is easy to understand why he had trouble with interpersonal relationships. Not that he was a bad person, but most would have seen him as erratic.

    Contrast is at the heart of sonata form, but usually larger sections contrast with one another. The suddenness and frequency of the emotional shifts of this opening movement are something major to grapple with. At times, Beethoven perseverates (what people with autism do) 鈥 he repeats and repeats an idea, like a dog fighting for a bone. Sometimes, like a narrator who loses his thread, he takes off on the first tangent that comes to mind, only to return, just as quickly, to his original narration. And sometimes he makes completely non sequitur statements. I know the type, as I鈥檝e had students like this in my day: one of them started university at 15, and one at 16.  

    I have added some narrative subtitles to today鈥檚 video to illustrate how I was able to make sense of this. I would welcome feedback (actually, discussion would be nice) from this wonderful and skilled community.

    Like 7
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady "You are not listening, I"M TALKING"!  LOL.  You have the same voices in your head as I do.  That is clearly why we are friends!  I literally do the same thing, even when I'm not playing the piano.  LOL!

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      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr OMG, I was stepping out of my comfort zone when I wrote the words but really, it was the only way I could make sense of this piece. It was like finding the human behind these musical non sequiturs. Reading your words made me smile, thinking how great (and unusual!) it is to be understood in a musical way! 

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      • CK
      • br0wn
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady very creative and imagination. It will be a mission impossible task to me馃槶. Thanks for sharing. 

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady 馃榾very beautifully played!

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    • Monika Tusnady Beautiful, Monika!! A loving touch for this Beethoven piece. Love it. Thank you for sharing this intimate music with us. XOX 

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      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Loving this, Monika!! What a great narrative, I had a great time following along :D I think this is a fantastic movement by Beethoven, some very nice transitions and I agree that there is a conversation going on here. Looking forward to the rest! :) 

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  • I like so much your videos, Chopin and Beethoven, Monika. Beautiful played both and with and intriguing inner voice in Beethoven, what would he think about that...?

    Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Juan Carlos Olite you are asking what Beethoven would say upon hearing an inner voice that he wrote? Hmmm. I hope that he would like it, even if he didn鈥檛 agree with my little interpretive narrative!

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      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady Of course, he would like it; I was toying with the idea馃...  By the way, do you know this?:

      https://www.theguardian.com/arts/audio/2006/nov/22/culture1415

      Like
  • Monika Tusnady  That's a GREAT question... I think all the pianists in the world are always asking themselves that question!!! So - I entirely sympathize with your dilemma! 

     

    One of my practice strategies is to stay with piece - or a passage - until it's been fully internalized, to the best extent that I feel I am able to. I confirm my internalization of a passage by transposing it a few times, play in different tempi, and playing hands independently (by memory!) Often, when I'm satisfied with my ability to do these transformations. I find that I'm able to maintain a piece simply by playing it through maybe once a day, then once every day, then once a week, for example. 

     

    My first reaction to your post, though, had to do with intentionality in one's playing. At the same time as I try to pack a piece into muscle memory, I also try to build up a structure of interpretive decisions, such as making a crescendo here or tapering a phrase there. I make a point of it to practice these decisions actively and especially when I'm maintaining a piece. Thus, even when I'm practicing older repertoire, I'm actually practicing many pianistic techniques that I can apply to new repertoire - which facilitates the learning process! 

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