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Thread: Keeping Pieces from Getting Stale

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    Default Keeping Pieces from Getting Stale

    I wanted to pick the collective brain of musicians here. I have a recital coming up in about 5 weeks, and the program has been set in stone for a few months now. Everything has been memorized for quite some time, and it has been a while since I've really studied any new music.

    I'd imagine this isn't much of a problem for the professionals here who may need to build a large repertoire quickly, but nearing a recital, how have you kept pieces fresh and exciting and keep yourself from seeming to just go through the motions? I really enjoy my program, but it is starting to feel a little beaten to death.
    Last edited by keymasher; Aug-04-2017 at 14:38.

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    First of all, I don't necessarily practice all my recital pieces every day. Every other day is probably enough if you already know the pieces quite well.

    Secondly, when I do practice the pieces, I sometimes try playing them in new ways to keep them fresh, experimenting with different articulations, dynamics, pedal effects, phrasings, etc. Even if I've already decided on my final interpretation, these new "experiments" help me hear and feel the piece from different perspectives so that I don't get tired of repeating the same old thing. Also, sometimes these experiments help me to make new insights into the music, and I might even end up rethinking my overall interpretation as a result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina View Post
    First of all, I don't necessarily practice all my recital pieces every day. Every other day is probably enough if you already know the pieces quite well.

    Secondly, when I do practice the pieces, I sometimes try playing them in new ways to keep them fresh, experimenting with different articulations, dynamics, pedal effects, phrasings, etc. Even if I've already decided on my final interpretation, these new "experiments" help me hear and feel the piece from different perspectives so that I don't get tired of repeating the same old thing. Also, sometimes these experiments help me to make new insights into the music, and I might even end up rethinking my overall interpretation as a result.
    As always, I really appreciate your taking time to provide a thoughtful and constructive response. It is always incredibly exciting to discover something new about a piece you thought you knew inside and out. Will definitely begin to explore your idea of experimenting more, and not just trying to refine a piece towards one idea.

    The idea of a "cheat day" where I guiltlessly practice something new has crossed my mind. God knows there are boatloads of pieces that I would love to play! Might be best to provide myself (and the downstairs neighbors) an occasional break from the established repertoire.

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    Senior Member Rossiniano's Avatar
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    Bettina is right on target!

    I am a rank amateur, and the only recitals that I give are the ones about which I fantasize. Still, in my day I did have to prepare for recitals and the odd competition. Still, one likes to keep things fresh. When I learn a piece I first deal with the technical issues. I usually have certain ideas about interpretation and once you know the notes then you can play around with things. However, I never used to get overly creative.

    I hate to copy what others do, but one day I decided to check out the YouTube performances of a Haydn Sonata just for the fun of it. I was playing the trio of the minuet movement of the piece as delicately as possible so as to create a contrast with the minuet proper. Of course the minuet proper being somewhat subdued, I really emphasized the delicacy of the trio. There could be no other way to approach things. I then listened to the same Sonata on YouTube and a talented child prodigy ripped into that trio if it were Beethoven in a fit of rage. He produced a veritable tempestuous tumult of sound! A lightbulb flashed in my mind! Sturm und Drang! There could be no other way! Why had I not thought of that approach! Finally the piece made total sense to me.

    So from that experience I have become creative in how I approach things and have not been afraid to try the polar opposite! If for no other reason it often confirms that you are on the correct path. Still, it can be a pleasant surprise when you realize that you opened Pandora's box and she supplied the fantasy that was needed to keep things fresh.

    Best of luck!
    Stendhal on Rossini: The fame of this hero knows no bounds save those of civilization itself...

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