Friday, August 18, 2006

August 17: Piano Lesson

Good lesson today. Deborah and I usually chat up a storm before we get around to music, but that didn't happen today. We just dove right into the lesson.

Scales and arpeggios were fine. When we got to Suzuki, I told her I didn't want to do Suzuki anymore, that I felt that the time required wasn't equal to the benefit it was giving me. I knew she wouldn't be happy to hear that. But it's true--I hate taking valuable practice time to work on something that I believe is, honestly, not challenging enough. Particularly when I have a Liszt transcription and a fugue to work on.

She compromised. She said, "OK, maybe some of these pieces are too easy for you, but I want you to try the Beethoven sonatina at the end of the book." At two pages and with two movements, it's the longest piece in Suzuki Book II. So I guess I'll get started listening to that.

I played my twelve and a half measures of the Bach and she basically said to keep on doing what I'm doing, that it sounded very precise, intelligent, and musical, and that I seem to be doing a wonderful job practicing it. That was it. I must admit that I did play it pretty well.

I played through the Liszt, not very well, which shouldn't be a surprise since I slacked on it all week. After I played through it, I told her that I'd slacked on it, and that it just paled so much in comparison to the Bach. I felt really bad, saying that I was getting bored by a piece, particularly something as beautiful as the Liszt.

But she seemed to understand! She said that the Liszt bores me because the Bach is such an intellectual piece and the Liszt isn't a very intellectual piece at all. The Liszt is beautiful, of course, but it's not as interesting as the Bach on a theoretical level. In addition, it's not as difficult as the Bach.

"I just wish I could motivate myself to practice the Liszt with as much focus and tenacity as I give the Bach," I said.

"So do that," she replied.

"But ... I don't know how!"

"Practice it like the Bach," she said. "No pedal. Play everything very distinctly. Don't let yourself be lazy about the notes or the timing. Don't play it rubato. Pretend it's Bach."

Basically, I am to strip the Liszt down of all of its exterior beauty and look at the inner workings. I think that will help. I find that the rubato and pedal tend to make me lazy when I practice.

It was a good lesson. It was the most "piano-focused" lesson we've had in a while.

3 comments:

  1. You struck a good deal on Suzuki, Waterfall!

    And D. is absolutely right on practicing Liszt like he's Bach. Not only increases interest, but very good for dealing with technical issues. I'm doing just that with Chopin 10.4,

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  2. Which Beethoven Sonatina? These strike me as being a fair way below your level. I've done G (grade 2) and F (grade 4). Are there others?

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  3. Cheers to a good session of learning. :)

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