Tag: Beethoven貝多芬

Focus on The Good

Recently I did a concert at a private residence my friend so graciously hosted. I had never done a concert like this before. I actually really loved it: an intimate setting for a closer connection between the performers and the audience.

I played some classic pieces such as Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Piano Sonata and Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, as well as a couple compositions of mine. I also played a couple chamber pieces with my friends, including Brahms’ and Dvorak’s piano quintets. I had a few of my piano students perform too. It was a lot of fun.

After I finished the concert, I had a reception in which I got to interact with my audience and friends. I felt pretty good about how I played in general. There is always room for improvement. But this time I tried not to focus on that.

I recorded the whole concert (video and audio). Usually I don’t really want to watch or hear how I played after the concert. I would just leave the recordings there until I gather up the courage to look/listen to them. But this time I might watch it soon to see what I did good and what didn’t work.

I find, as most of us musicians and piano students do, that we focus on how bad we did, or how we could have done better. “I could have played that phrase more clearly”, “I could have controlled the left hand line better”, “I could have made less mistakes” etc. Often we forgot to think about what we did right: “I played it with good control”, “I did great dynamic contrast there”, “I have improved so much!”.

I am not saying we should not improve ourselves, not at all. But we need to shift our focus to what we have done right more. It’s the good part that keeps us move forward, knowing that we did something good, so that we can continue on our journey to play more and do better next time.

If we keep beating ourselves up, we would feel frustrated. “I’m not good enough”, “I would never do better than this”, “this is a waste of time”, “I don’t have talent/what it takes to succeed”, or simply, “I’m not good at the piano!”.

Focus on what you’ve been doing good so far. See what you’ve done to do those right things, and how you can apply that to the not so right things. Focus on the accomplishment. Then comes the improvement. There is always room to be better next time, whether it be in a piano lesson, piano exam or piano performance.

Do the best you can, and move on to the next (lesson/exam/performance).

Of course, you can always consult someone on where you are at and how you can improve.

Now would you excuse me, but I am going to do some brainstorming on the next project.

Teresa Wong

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References for Piano Music of Classical Period

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Here are some great references for anyone who is serious in learning more in depth about piano/keyboard music of the classical era:

CPE Bach’s treatise: Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments)

It’s available in German and French at IMSLP: http://imslp.org/wiki/Versuch_%C3%BCber_die_wahre_Art_das_Clavier_zu_spielen,_H.868,_870_(Bach,_Carl_Philipp_Emanuel) 

For English translation: https://www.amazon.com/Essay-True-Playing-Keyboard-Instruments/dp/0393097161

Czerny’s Op. 500 Pianoforte-Schule

another historic treatise, in particular the second chapter concerning “the proper performance of Beethoven’s works”.  

English translation:  http://imslp.org/wiki/Pianoforte-Schule,_Op.500_(Czerny,_Carl) 

Second chapter on it’s own here: http://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/356510     

Rosenblum’s Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music

This is the go-to reference for all aspects of historically-informed performance at the piano Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Performance-Practices-Classic-Piano-Music/dp/0253206804 

Brown’s Classic and Romantic Performing Practice: 1750 – 1900

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Classical-Romantic-Performing-Practice-1750-1900/dp/0195166655/ref=pd_sim_14_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51zCN6Dra0L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR105%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=MZ31B06KHX63PDSB2767

Malcolm Bilson’s DVDs on performance practice:  

(If you don’t know who he is, go learn here )

https://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Score-Malcolm-Bilson/dp/0801444845/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1466971031&sr=8-18&keywords=malcolm+bilson https://www.amazon.com/Performing-Score-Malcolm-Bilson/dp/B006IVOTWU/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1466971031&sr=8-20&keywords=malcolm+bilson 

And his recordings:

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/277-5565438-5991311?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=bilson+schubert 

Special thanks to our guest teacher Mr Polanski for this note.

Teresa Wong

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