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Major piano recital dilemma--please help


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UPDATE: Dd practiced hard all week and went ahead with the recital. We are both glad that she did. She played her piece very, very slowly and was able to get through it pretty well, though she did unfortunately flub just once at the end. Dd felt good about her performance, so I am really glad this went well for her. The instructor actually thanked all her students at the end for pulling together a recital in a hurry and learning their pieces without much time to do so. I appreciated her saying this. It seems the instructor wanted to make sure a recital of some sort happened, and really wanted a Christmas party too. (All her students are from families who are also church friends.) After the kids played we all sang Christmas carols for a while and ate some snacks, so a good time was had by all.

 

*********

 

My dd has been taking piano lessons for a number of years from our church pianist. The instructor does have a degree in music. She also has been one of the junior high volunteers at church and has an absolute gift for engaging and relating to kids/teens.

 

Our instructor is not the most professional, and this has been just fine for us. Dd is not particularly musically inclined. We have rejoiced to see her enjoying piano, though, and quite a lot of the reason for that is because she adores her teacher. Truly adores her--and with good reason. She's a lovely person whom we have known and liked for years. So the lack of professionalism usually isn't an issue partially because the student-teacher rapport is so positive and motivating, and partially because it works in our favor when we need to change the schedule. Also this instructor is much less expensive than just about anyone else around here (though that has absolutely nothing to do with why we stick with this instructor--it's just a nice fringe benefit).

 

The dilemma: Our piano instructor has scheduled a piano recital for this Saturday. Dd is absolutely NOT ready for this. Some of her lack of readiness is due to our nutty fall season--between illness and a nightmarish asbestos removal project it has been tough to keep up with anything. Also the instructor has had to cancel class more than a time or two for illness in her family. Both practice and lessons have suffered.

 

The other reason dd is unready, though, is because she hasn't had the music for the recital all that long. This is a real problem. It has happened before as well. Two years ago, for the Christmas play at church, dd was given her music four days prior to the performance. She had never, ever played with a group before. There were three rehearsals for the kids in the ensemble, and that was that. Dd did okay but felt shaky about the whole thing, and with good reason. At that time I spoke with the instructor and made it clear (nicely) that four days is not enough time to prepare a performance.

 

Last Christmas, the instructor scheduled dd to play in church for the offertory. Dd had a couple weeks to prepare her piece (3 weeks??? Might have been less). However, it was a bit challenging for her. When performance time came dd could play it slowly, more or less smoothly, but hadn't reached a comfort level with the piece. She got a little flustered while playing and made several huge mistakes and started the piece all over again from the top 3 or more times. It was obvious that she was falling apart up there--dd was frightfully embarrassed. (I must say, though, that the folks at church was so kind to her--several people came to her afterward and praised her for pushing through and choosing to calmly start over when needed. Their encouragement helped dd feel much better about the whole thing.)

 

So now, here we are, a year later, in the same situation. Dd has had the piece for 3 weeks. She is not musically inclined, and has to work hard before playing a piece becomes comfortable. She is really struggling with the piece.

 

Dd is insisting that she will be fine at the recital. Her instructor says she'll be fine. Admittedly it is a casual recital, at the instructor's home, with just a few families. However, I suspect dd says she's fine for the recital because she wants to enjoy the party at the instructor's home. I am terribly fearful that she will have ANOTHER difficult performance, through no fault of her own, and will be set up for future difficulties as a result.

 

Should I exercise my parental authority and pull dd from this commitment? She will be resentful, but I can deal with that if it means not setting her up for a difficult performance and future fears related to that. OR she may view this as my not having confidence in her, which would undermine her just as badly as another poor performance.

 

Yes, I do plan to speak to the instructor afterward about recital/performance expectations.

Edited by strider
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My initial reaction would be to let her go... it's an informal setting and she wants to have the chance to perform.

 

The only problem I could see from all of this is if you DD is a perfectionist... meaning, if she has a few mess ups, is she going to stress over it and possibly feel embarrassed. If this were the case, I might look at the situation a bit differently.

 

I know that for myself as a tween and teenager, I performed well under stress and maybe your daughter will too.

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Does your dd get to play with her music or does she have to have the piece memorized. Many of my piano teachers older students play with the music. Perhaps if she played with the music it wouldn't be such a hurdle to be ready in time. Either way if your dd wants to play I'd let her play. Although, the next time she schedules your dd to play in church and dd is not prepared, I'd politely tell the teacher that date is not good for your family and leave it at that.

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I would let her go. But I would be reluctant to let her play in a more formal setting again under these circumstances.

 

My concern would be that your dd would be getting in the habit of cracking at recitals. The whole point of recitals is to make performing a non-issue, to get into the habit of successfully making it through a piece. Has your dd's teacher discussed not starting over after a mess-up, but plowing through? That is super important.

 

I know you said that your daughter isn't particularly musically inclined, but I believe strongly that the habit of success in music translates into other areas of our lives. If your daughter cracks again at her teacher's house, I would talk with the teacher and let her know that for the next performance, you'd like her to play a piece that she's had for much longer than three weeks.

 

Is there any chance the teacher would let your dd play a piece that she's more secure with at this next concert? Our teacher has a student play not the current piece that the student is working on, but one that is super solid, one that has already been mastered. So perhaps she could perform the last piece she was working on?

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My initial reaction would be to let her go... it's an informal setting and she wants to have the chance to perform.

 

The only problem I could see from all of this is if you DD is a perfectionist... meaning, if she has a few mess ups, is she going to stress over it and possibly feel embarrassed. If this were the case, I might look at the situation a bit differently.

 

I know that for myself as a tween and teenager, I performed well under stress and maybe your daughter will too.

 

She's not overly perfectionist, but she is very shy in crowds and when performing. The one exception to this is when she is teaching or debating. She's quite comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but shrinks down within herself when it comes to performing in a more artistic way.

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Does your dd get to play with her music or does she have to have the piece memorized. Many of my piano teachers older students play with the music. Perhaps if she played with the music it wouldn't be such a hurdle to be ready in time. Either way if your dd wants to play I'd let her play. Although, the next time she schedules your dd to play in church and dd is not prepared, I'd politely tell the teacher that date is not good for your family and leave it at that.

 

She's never been required to perform from memory. She has always performed with the music in front of her.

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I would let her go. But I would be reluctant to let her play in a more formal setting again under these circumstances.

 

My concern would be that your dd would be getting in the habit of cracking at recitals. The whole point of recitals is to make performing a non-issue, to get into the habit of successfully making it through a piece.

Precisely my concern.

 

 

Has your dd's teacher discussed not starting over after a mess-up, but plowing through? That is super important. Not sure--I'll have to discreetly follow up on that.

 

I know you said that your daughter isn't particularly musically inclined, but I believe strongly that the habit of success in music translates into other areas of our lives. If your daughter cracks again at her teacher's house, I would talk with the teacher and let her know that for the next performance, you'd like her to play a piece that she's had for much longer than three weeks. :iagree:

 

Is there any chance the teacher would let your dd play a piece that she's more secure with at this next concert? Our teacher has a student play not the current piece that the student is working on, but one that is super solid, one that has already been mastered. So perhaps she could perform the last piece she was working on?

This opens another can of worms. My son's guitar instructor, who was a big-deal performer, has worked specifically with my son to always have four good pieces ready to play, in addition to the new pieces being learned/worked on. The piano instructor has not. Dd works through lesson books. Her recital pieces have been either Christmas carols or hymns chosen by our instructor together with dd's input. Once performed, the instructor does not require her to practice that piece again. I did speak to the instructor this past August about two things: letting dd work on a few pieces (4 or so) because she was screaming with boredom having to practice one or two, and specifically including finger exercises/warm-ups in dd's practice requirements. That lasted about a month--both the instructor and I have had a really rough fall. She let it drop and I just have not been able to provide accountability in this area myself this fall. The bottom line is--former recital pieces are so rusty at this stage that they're not a real option, and the pieces dd works through in her lesson books seem babyish to her, and she would just die of embarrassment (she's almost 13yo) if she had to play that stuff at a recital.

 

Answers above. As I said in my OP, this instructor is not the most professional. It has caused some frustration, but we stick with her because dd loves her and is motivated to work hard for her in an area that does not come easily to her.

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She's never been required to perform from memory. She has always performed with the music in front of her.

 

Ok, you totally lost me here. I don't understand how someone would even need to start a song at the beginning with the music in front of them. From memory.....yes. But...... with the music right there?

 

Does she really not know how to read the music, maybe? How many years of lessons has she had?

 

Is the teacher having her learn music that is more difficult than the level your dd is actually at? That could be the issue, because, three weeks is really plenty of time to learn a piece at your level and perform it with the music in front of you.

 

As to your question: if your dd wants to perform at the informal recital, I would let her. But I would definitely be talking to the teacher about giving her songs at a lower level to learn for performances.

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Back off. For whatever reasons your dd wants to try. Let her.

 

:patriot: Aye, aye cap'n!

 

This is what I love about you--your answer is always given straight, not watered down. At all. :)

 

FWIW, while I did ask dd about it earlier this week, she has not heard one word of complaint or fretting from me, ever, about this problem or about my frustrations with the teacher. Dd has also never, ever heard me say she's not musically inclined--I praise her work.

 

As far as dd is concerned, she's good to go with the recital. It's just me who is worrying and fretting over it.

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I would let her play the piece this time since she seems determined to do so. But I would make some guidelines with her instructor, that in the future, dd will not be performing any pieces that she has not had x amount of time to master beforehand.

 

Dd5 has only been playing for 3 months ;) but when her instructor picked her very simple recital piece it was one she had mastered 2 months ago and will be able to perform easily, and hopefully without much anxiety. I was so grateful, playing in front of people is hard enough even when you know what you are doing.

 

:grouphug: I hope it goes well, whatever you decide to do.

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Ok, you totally lost me here. I don't understand how someone would even need to start a song at the beginning with the music in front of them. From memory.....yes. But...... with the music right there?

 

Does she really not know how to read the music, maybe? How many years of lessons has she had?

 

Is the teacher having her learn music that is more difficult than the level your dd is actually at? That could be the issue, because, three weeks is really plenty of time to learn a piece at your level and perform it with the music in front of you.

 

As to your question: if your dd wants to perform at the informal recital, I would let her. But I would definitely be talking to the teacher about giving her songs at a lower level to learn for performances.

 

Yes, she can definitely read music. She was just so badly flustered about messing up in front of all those people.

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I'd also let her, and not be disappointed if she fumbles it. 3 weeks is usually enough time for an average student to get a piece recital ready. Is she practicing enough at home? Dd takes piano, also, and it's also from our church choir director/organist. She's never done a recital, but she's only the barest beginner. She was only practicing each piece once thru each day--it wasn't enough.

 

It doesn't sound like it's your dd's problem--sounds like you are fearful of her failing and feeling badly. No one likes her child to feel badly, but you must let her risk. If she does not play well, consider carefully before you swoop in to comfort her--see if she's truly upset, or if she just needs you to say, "I really liked the way you..." and pick something positive to say. Then ask her what she could do differently next time for a better outcome, again, only if she's upset, and support her in doing so (that would be the time to up the practice sessions or speak with her instructor, imo).

 

Not to say she will be. Not to say she'll screw up at all.

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I'd let her play the recital.

 

I would also make sure her teacher has taught her how to break down a piece of music to practice it and learn it more efficiently. Music can be broken down like math. Then, it becomes much more feasible for someone without lots of natural ability.

 

I'm sure she'll do great and I'm sure you will smile and hug and never let her know if she doesn't!

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Is the teacher having her learn music that is more difficult than the level your dd is actually at? That could be the issue, because, three weeks is really plenty of time to learn a piece at your level and perform it with the music in front of you.

 

 

 

This may be the issue. I kind of think, though, that it has more to do with other pieces that are not in place with this instructor (finger exercises and warm-ups, working on a wider variety of pieces in a season--things that build a comfort level with the instrument). I will have to pay closer attention and try to evaluate if the instructor may be giving pieces that are too difficult.

 

However, I disagree about 3 weeks being enough time, especially for a kid for whom music is not intuitive and who is very, very shy about performing. Ds' guitar instructor usually has a kid put in about two months on a recital piece. The first month is just the normal work of learning the piece. The second month is a very microscopic, narrowly focused perfecting process.

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The first month is just the normal work of learning the piece. The second month is a very microscopic, narrowly focused perfecting process.

 

That's an excellent point. The instructor may not view the recital at this level in that way, however. Maybe she should, but maybe she just wants her students to become comfortable with being in front of others and taking risks, and the perfection will come later, idk.

 

What did you decide?

I'm glad you started this thread.

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I would never have a student play a piece at a recital that they've had for 4 days or that they really don't know. It's much easier to get used to playing in front of an audience with something you really know, such as an old friend of a piece. As for how long it takes to learn a piece, that really depends on which level you're learning and how long the piece is, of course. Why can't your dd play a piece that she's already comfortable with? Is she expected to have it memorized? I can't tell you how many piano students curse the man (was it Chopin? I can no longer remember) who first popularized performing piano by memory, but I know that I was one of them.

 

As for playing the offeratory, it may not unusual for musicians to be given only a few weeks, but you can use the music, right?

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You have received great advice from everyone.

I thought I may make a suggestion/observation for when you speak to the teacher about upcoming recitals. My dd (14) has taken piano for 7yrs. -I don't know how long your dd has taken, so take with a grain of salt;). At this point my dd practices her winter recital piece for 3-4 months. Her spring recital piece can take up to 6 months. I don't know how involved your dd's pieces are, but it really takes a long time to get a recital piece in order.

This amount of time spent also is how long my other dds (violin/flute-with different instructors) take for their recital pieces-2 months is bare minimum-usually 3.

Have a great time at the recital and enjoy.

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You have received great advice from everyone.

I thought I may make a suggestion/observation for when you speak to the teacher about upcoming recitals. My dd (14) has taken piano for 7yrs. -I don't know how long your dd has taken, so take with a grain of salt;). At this point my dd practices her winter recital piece for 3-4 months. Her spring recital piece can take up to 6 months. I don't know how involved your dd's pieces are, but it really takes a long time to get a recital piece in order.

This amount of time spent also is how long my other dds (violin/flute-with different instructors) take for their recital pieces-2 months is bare minimum-usually 3.

Have a great time at the recital and enjoy.

 

When you get even more advanced, you work on pieces for even longer. I've worked on exam pieces (okay, they were going to be graded, so big stress and some of them were long) for over a year before. Often we'd prep by choosing one of those pieces for a recital.

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When you get even more advanced, you work on pieces for even longer. I've worked on exam pieces (okay, they were going to be graded, so big stress and some of them were long) for over a year before. Often we'd prep by choosing one of those pieces for a recital.

 

Yeah, I'm trying to mentally prepare them for that. The longest dd has worked on a piece in 7mo. She knows the year long pieces are coming:tongue_smilie:

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I agree with those who say to let her do it if she says she feels she can handle it... although... I'd probably shelve other commitments between now and Saturday and make sure she spends at least an hour a day practicing that piece. Seriously. I'd probably be willing to put off all other homeschooling lessons until Monday.

 

I also agree with the pps who pretty much said that there are different expectations for different types of recitals. My kids have worked for months polishing pieces for recitals, but they've also played pieces they've had for days/weeks in different circumstances. It really depends on the expectations for that particular situation.

 

Try to let it slide off... and enjoy the music. :001_smile:

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Yeah, I'm trying to mentally prepare them for that. The longest dd has worked on a piece in 7mo. She knows the year long pieces are coming:tongue_smilie:

 

Ok, I'm curious. What level would this be? My dd takes lessons from a teacher that uses the Music Teacher's Association levels. Dd is currently in level E, poised to move into level F. She is signed up through our community college for Applied Piano and these lessons (one semester) are worth 1 college credit; so by the end of this year she will have 2 college credits in Applied Piano.

 

She is working on 3 pieces for the fall music Festival. It took her 4 weeks to completely learn all three pieces (and she had other pieces she was working on for lessons and she also plays at church), and she spent the last three weeks memorizing them. One piece has 10 pages. She will spend this week polishing them up and perform for the Festival on Friday.

 

That is 2 months total for 3 pieces, completely learned and memorized. I'm having trouble fathoming working on one piece for 7 mos to a year, although I'm sure it must be coming.....but when? What level? What song(s) would that be?

 

Here is what she is playing:

 

Courante by Handel

Etude in C Major by Stephen Heller

Wedding Day at Troldhaugen by Edvard Grieg

 

I thought they were pretty advanced pieces......so much for what mom thinks, eh? So give me the low-down on this advanced piano stuff so I'll know what to expect and when.

 

Oh, and to the OP: Since my dd has taken lessons for 8 years and I *thought* she was advanced (silly me, obviously), and she has never taken over 3 weeks to learn one piece with the music (not from memory!), that seemed to me like a reasonable amount of time to learn a piece to perform. Guess I was mistaken. Sorry.

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Oh, and to the OP: Since my dd has taken lessons for 8 years and I *thought* she was advanced (silly me, obviously), and she has never taken over 3 weeks to learn one piece with the music (not from memory!), that seemed to me like a reasonable amount of time to learn a piece to perform. Guess I was mistaken. Sorry.

 

Did I offend you? If so I certainly did not mean to do so.

 

I can only relate my own experience, which is limited to my own two children and my brief high school experience with band and choir. I have no idea what's advanced or not. My ds is lucky to have a fabulous guitar instructor who was a classical performer--he's not only an amazing musician, he's a great teacher as well. I compare my dd's lessons to my ds' and find that the rigor is much, much higher for my ds in this area. Ds' guitar instructor spends about two months prepping my 8yo for a recital, so I assumed that that is what is normal. Because the standard is so different for my ds, having less than a month for dd to prepare for a recital or a performance did not seem reasonable to me.

 

Also, your daughter sounds like she is a good musician and a comfortable performer? As such, prepping for a performance will not be as hard for her as it might be for my own dd. My dd is not a strong musician, and must work hard at this because it does not come to her intuitively. Also my dd struggles with performing in front of a crowd. The instructor has known dd for many years, and taught her for 3 years--whether or not another student can prep in 3 weeks or less, our instructor should know by now that that is not realistic for my dd.

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Since my dd has taken lessons for 8 years and I *thought* she was advanced (silly me, obviously), and she has never taken over 3 weeks to learn one piece with the music (not from memory!), that seemed to me like a reasonable amount of time to learn a piece to perform. Guess I was mistaken. Sorry.

 

Katia,

 

Isn't it amazing how different kids can be? I think kids who pick music up very quickly can do a lot in a little bit of time. But... I honestly don't think that what your dd can do (10 pages for one piece, polished and memorized, plus two more pieces in two months) is typical. It's hard to see that sometimes, though, if that's all we as parents know. I bet it feels pretty "typical" to you, right? I know that if I didn't have my ds, but only my dd, I would assume that kids could whip through music, very musically, very easily. She does this. Ds does not. He is still good, but he has to work much harder at it, it takes him longer, and it doesn't seem to come naturally.

 

Anyway... it's amazing how different kids can be (even in one family)!

 

:001_smile:

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Is the teacher having her learn music that is more difficult than the level your dd is actually at? That could be the issue, because, three weeks is really plenty of time to learn a piece at your level and perform it with the music in front of you.

 

I agree with a pp -- three weeks *can* be plenty of time -- but it can also *not* be plenty of time. Needing more time doesn't mean the music is too difficult. Different kids have different strengths.

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Did I offend you? If so I certainly did not mean to do so.

 

I can only relate my own experience, which is limited to my own two children and my brief high school experience with band and choir. I have no idea what's advanced or not. My ds is lucky to have a fabulous guitar instructor who was a classical performer--he's not only an amazing musician, he's a great teacher as well. I compare my dd's lessons to my ds' and find that the rigor is much, much higher for my ds in this area. Ds' guitar instructor spends about two months prepping my 8yo for a recital, so I assumed that that is what is normal. Because the standard is so different for my ds, having less than a month for dd to prepare for a recital or a performance did not seem reasonable to me.

 

Also, your daughter sounds like she is a good musician and a comfortable performer? As such, prepping for a performance will not be as hard for her as it might be for my own dd. My dd is not a strong musician, and must work hard at this because it does not come to her intuitively. Also my dd struggles with performing in front of a crowd. The instructor has known dd for many years, and taught her for 3 years--whether or not another student can prep in 3 weeks or less, our instructor should know by now that that is not realistic for my dd.

 

Oh, no. I'm not offended at all. Actually, where my dd takes lessons, she is the one at her level that seems 'slow' or 'behind'......she loves to play but she is not a competitive person; she just plays because she loves to. It was a stretch for her to attempt to memorize this year (she didn't memorize anything last year) but it was required for the college credit class, so.....she's doing it.

 

My older dd hated piano, hated to practice and hated even more to perform but she still didn't have a problem when the music was in front of her; but she simply could NOT memorize music. She refused to play in her year-end recital without her music in front of her. The teacher-at-the-time was not pleased at all....but that is a whole 'nuther story and we won't go there.:D

 

So, yeah, each kid is different, that is for sure. But, like I said before if your dd is happy and wants to play in the recital then sure, she should play.

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Katia,

 

Isn't it amazing how different kids can be? I think kids who pick music up very quickly can do a lot in a little bit of time. But... I honestly don't think that what your dd can do (10 pages for one piece, polished and memorized, plus two more pieces in two months) is typical. It's hard to see that sometimes, though, if that's all we as parents know. I bet it feels pretty "typical" to you, right? I know that if I didn't have my ds, but only my dd, I would assume that kids could whip through music, very musically, very easily. She does this. Ds does not. He is still good, but he has to work much harder at it, it takes him longer, and it doesn't seem to come naturally.

 

Anyway... it's amazing how different kids can be (even in one family)!

 

:001_smile:

 

Haha! No, it doesn't seem typical to me.....it seems slow! The other kids where dd takes lessons all seem to learn more advanced songs much more quickly than dd...and they memorize them more easily. :glare: So in our situation, my dd is the slow one.

 

Yep, it's amazing how different kids are. :001_smile:

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Haha! No, it doesn't seem typical to me.....it seems slow! The other kids where dd takes lessons all seem to learn more advanced songs much more quickly than dd...and they memorize them more easily. :glare: So in our situation, my dd is the slow one.

 

Yep, it's amazing how different kids are. :001_smile:

 

Katia,

 

Your dd must take lessons in a place with a lot of musically gifted kids if what you have described seems slow.

 

My dd is 7, has studied viola for 4 years now, and gets a LOT of comments about being musically gifted (including from her Julliard-trained teacher). She has been working on her current piece, which is 3 pages, since the end of September. Although she can play it "okay" with the sheet music, she is still working on memorizing it, adding more dynamics and phrasing, polishing the tempo in a few areas, and fixing a few of the bow articulations. I think there also may be a note or two that is still out of tune. So that's closing in on 2 months now and that's only 1 piece. Now, granted, she's only studied 4 years... but maybe that's the difference. The OP said her dd has studied for 3... and your dd has studied for 8.

 

It may not be the number of years either, though. There are kids in the advanced group at my dd's music school who have been playing for 8 years and are not too much more advanced than my dd. They are not "slow," but more typical. I think it *really helps* to put things in perspective if you have a larger group of more typical kids as your measuring stick.

 

Maybe it's all in the measuring stick?

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Well, if you would like a piano teacher's advice (Suzuki method). I would not have a student perform in a recital until that person felt comfortable with the piece. If a child has nightmarish experiences performing, they will stay with her and she will eventually not like performing. Some kids start to dislike piano if filled with too many negative experiences. Some even start to dislike music in general. Less than positive performance experiences may also affect a child's self-confindence in a public speaking situation or anything else she may need to do in front of an audience in the future.

On the other hand, positive performance experiences help a child in so many different ways expecially with self-confindence and a love of music.:001_smile:

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Ok, I'm curious. What level would this be? My dd takes lessons from a teacher that uses the Music Teacher's Association levels. Dd is currently in level E, poised to move into level F. She is signed up through our community college for Applied Piano and these lessons (one semester) are worth 1 college credit; so by the end of this year she will have 2 college credits in Applied Piano.

 

She is working on 3 pieces for the fall music Festival. It took her 4 weeks to completely learn all three pieces (and she had other pieces she was working on for lessons and she also plays at church), and she spent the last three weeks memorizing them. One piece has 10 pages. She will spend this week polishing them up and perform for the Festival on Friday.

 

That is 2 months total for 3 pieces, completely learned and memorized. I'm having trouble fathoming working on one piece for 7 mos to a year, although I'm sure it must be coming.....but when? What level? What song(s) would that be?

 

Here is what she is playing:

 

Courante by Handel

Etude in C Major by Stephen Heller

Wedding Day at Troldhaugen by Edvard Grieg

 

I thought they were pretty advanced pieces......so much for what mom thinks, eh? So give me the low-down on this advanced piano stuff so I'll know what to expect and when.

 

Oh, and to the OP: Since my dd has taken lessons for 8 years and I *thought* she was advanced (silly me, obviously), and she has never taken over 3 weeks to learn one piece with the music (not from memory!), that seemed to me like a reasonable amount of time to learn a piece to perform. Guess I was mistaken. Sorry.

 

 

I"m impressed, even though I don't know these 3 pieces (there are thousands of them). How long is she practicing each day? I know I personally would have trouble learning a difficult 10 page piece well in 2 months, but then I never practiced as much as I should have. When I studied for an exam it was 5 pieces, but those who could practice longer often took 2 years and learned several in each group (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, Contemporary) and chose what they did best to master for the exam. There was also an enormous amount of technical preparation (scales in every single key, regular, 3rds apart, 6ths apart, octaves, contrary motion, chromatic scales starting on every single note regularly as well as octaves, and that's just scratching the surface, plus teacher usually have you practice technique not on the exam if they're good) as well as 2 studies, sight reading work, ear training, etc. But most students worked on each exam piece at least a year, even the very talented ones. Grading was very strict and the goal was to strive for perfection. Some of the pieces were many pages long (eg Beethoven sonatas with all the movements; there are a few of his sonatas which are late Intermediate, but most of them are Advanced, but even then at different levels). When you got to the exam, you weren't allowed to do any repeats, and it wasn't unusual for an examiner to have heard what s/he thought was enough, interrupt you and have you move onto the next movement or piece, so you can see that you'd want to have a piece nailed even better than for a recital.

 

That said, if you have ample practice time, it's better to build a reperatoire, and it's reasonable to work on 3 pieces for 2 months if you practice enough, you're talented, you have lots of practice time and the lengths of each piece is reasonable. Some students practice 3-5 hours a day, or are quicker studies. In addition, it depends on the technical challenge to that student. Also, it depends on how well the pieces suit the performer, and that is so variable. Two pieces might be judged equally difficult overall, but I could learn one of them far more easily than another due to what suits my style, fingers, etc. I was never one to practice 3-5 hours a day, much to the dismay of my teachers, but I threw my talent away because I just didn't have the drive. I also spent a great deal of time daydreaming about boys, etc, while practicing (no one knew because I was good enough to do fairly well, anyway, but it didn't help.) Talent alone isn't enough. I was about as lazy as you could get and still make it to the advanced levels in a relatively short time. But some people who work very hard don't go much faster (I'm thinking of a friend of mine who was good and made it to a higher level than me by 17, but, as she said, not me because I didn't understand it at the time, just didn't have the same talent as some people; she had a teacher who said she played like Frankenstein or something like that, but most of us couldn't tell the way he could as he was some top teacher.)

 

So, as I mentioned, there are some Beethoven Sonatas which are considered Intermediate, but most are various levels of advanced. Chopin Etudes have a few that are intermediate. I don't remember playing Heller. Same with Bach Preludes and Fugues, etc.

Edited by Karin
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  • 2 months later...
Guest jassmakeme

wow.. seems that I missed the fun part of this..

 

but to keep it short. it's nice to let her go.. OMG~ I'm too late to advice.. meh stupid..

but having piano recital is one way to let her self go from her shyness..

well glad to read this thread and move along..

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