Practice Advice: Is this piece too difficult for me?

A common question is: "Can I start working on this piece, or is it too difficult for my level?" Today we will discuss general questions and considerations to make when choosing new repertoire that will challenge you to improve!

 

Find the start time in your time zone by clicking the photo or following this event link:                                       

 

https://app.tonebase.co/piano/live/player/is-this-piece-too-difficult-dominic

 

 

 

We are going to be using this thread to gather suggestions and questions!                                                                   

  • What questions do you have on this topic?
  • Any particular area you would like me to focus on?
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    • Should I start pieces that have  "big stretch"  for small hand size?
    • Should I try part of a repertoire for the sake of learning, without the whole piece?  like  etudes, ie... La Campanella, Winter Wind
    Like 1
    • Jenny
    • Jenny.1
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I seem to take ages to learn a new piece, and wondered if this was a sign of too much difficulty - What might be considered a reasonable amount of time to learn a "development/progress" piece?

     

    Also, i've just been introduced to the benefits of memorising music. Are there things to look out for if trying to improve skills in this area without getting overwhelmed and taking on something too tricky?

     

    Thank you, this is such a useful topic! 

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    • Freya C
    • fcham
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Thank you for the advice! Unfortunately due to the time difference I can't join webinars live but really enjoying these :)

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    • Pauline
    • Pauline
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I like that approach to improving: building on success. Excellent! That places emphasis on empowerment. Yes!

     

    I so appreciate being able to watch these Livestreams after the fact.

     

    I like the 30 - 70  recommendation: 30% - Difficult pieces / 70% - Comfortable pieces.

     

    I love the analogy about playing the "root" pieces (easier pieces) to get to the "tree" (dream piece(s). )  That is a wonderful way to get there...to learn the culture of the composer, the feel, the taste of his/her work.

     

    Your advice about memorizing pieces is very eye opening.

     

    Thank you, Dominic! Thank you to everyone who asked questions, too!

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    • Pauline
    • Pauline
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I also like the term "lively music" rather than "fast music". :D

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    • Pauline
    • Pauline
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Thank you for being so candid, Dominic. I find that you often address aspects of music that one doesn't often hear. It speaks to your wisdom and your concern to help us be the best we can be - to reach the goals we set.

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    • Pauline
    • Pauline
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Regarding "perfection", I have heard this, and I like it:

     

    "Progress not perfection."

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

    Hi Dominic ! Thank you for this great class! Very valuable insights, and I see things pretty much the same as you that a piece shouldn't take too long to learn and that we can loose motivation if playing something too difficult early on. 
    Speaking of difficult pieces, I've been practicing The Goldberg Variations a little on and off for some time now, and I realized that I've been playing very little Bach threw-out my life. I think it is causing me some difficulties with learning this piece fast enough. I have the aria, var 1. most of var 2. and 4 memorized. Var 3 and 5, I'm working on on the slower side. I decided on doing the aria and var 1. - 5. for now, and learn some other Bach! I started playing threw some 2-part inventions, then will progress to sinfonias, prelude/fugue and suite/partitas perhaps. 

    I was wondering; do you have any specific recommendations as a road-map to the Goldberg variations? What should one have played to learn G.V. in one month?  

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    • Sindre Skarelven following

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  • This is a great topic. Building on success versus challenge. So good. I have always picked pieces that are too hard....not because they are hard, but because I love them. Love is a big part of my formula. If you love a piece you can work on it for a long time without as much success. I am only getting some success now. Some of it is due to Tonebase! You cover the pieces I have been working on and I get great advice that has led to palpable success. So thank you.

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