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Quick q about piece difficulty - piano

(15 Posts)
Enb76 Mon 30-Jan-17 11:19:03

I am the parent of an 8 year old (September born) who passed grade 1 in the summer. Her teacher has given her a new piece (A Sad Tale, Kabalevsky) which she's just learning. She's doing very well with it but it seems a massive step up from G1 and having a look on Youtube it seems it was a G4 Trinity piece in 2012/14.

This jump seems excessive and I can see that it's going to take her a while to get to grips with it. She's also going through Czerny and some much easier pieces but I wondered if it was, if not normal, not unusual for to be given a much harder piece along with easier music.

Just for non-drip feeding, her teacher praises her musicality and this is a very expressive piece and technically she's good on sight-reading etc... but she's hardly ever played a piece perfectly all the way through (hesitation and a funny panic when she thinks too hard - like her perfectionism is actually hindering her ability to play fluidly). I wonder if this is too much, too soon.

Fleurdelise Mon 30-Jan-17 15:20:10

My DD has played higher difficulty pieces than her level quite often for various reasons. Each time the requirement was to polish it to a certain standard, not to the grade level the pieces was set up to before. So for example after grade 3 exam she picked up Fur Elise which is meant to be around grade 6, she learnt the notes and achieve a certain level of playing it which sounded quite good but the interpretation was not to grade 6 level, first because the difficulty but also with regards to DD's maturity (she's 9). The teacher said she'll dig it out later on to polish it even more.

The teacher is probably trying to achieve something out of the piece set but the interpretation will not be grade 4 standard (unless that's the aim).

Mistigri Mon 30-Jan-17 20:23:32

I would trust the teacher, who probably has a good idea of what she's capable of. Often the difficulty of a piece is not technical, but rhythmic or expressive - it sounds like these are areas where your DD may be stronger than the average beginner.

onlymusic Mon 30-Jan-17 20:26:06

I have Kabalevsky book, A Sad Tale (A Sad Story in my edition) is marked as low intermediate level....
To put things into perspective, this piece is considered to be between grades 1 and 2 but in my opinion it is ways more difficult that Kabalevsky

onlymusic Mon 30-Jan-17 20:26:36

than not that smile

Cadenza1818 Tue 31-Jan-17 23:29:38

Hi little song from that book would be more appropriate but that's my view. It was on grade 2 syllabus a while back

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 31-Jan-17 23:44:40

I've just listened to both and agree with only - without seeing the music I would say the Kabalevsky looks more straightforward in some ways.) I think the teacher will have chosen it as a development piece and is not necessarily expecting it to be fully polished at this stage.
(I lent that kabalevsky book to a piano teacher - now I really want it back!smile)

onlymusic Tue 31-Jan-17 23:54:46

I googled again and actually there are two Kabalevsky pieces with the same name.
One is Op 27 (more difficult)

and another Op 39 (easy one)

Op 39 looks very much like grade 1 piece.
Which one does your dd play, OP?
(both are called A Sad Story in my book)

onlymusic Tue 31-Jan-17 23:56:39

LooseAtTheSeams music for Burgmuller looks really shock shock shock too!

Enb76 Wed 01-Feb-17 07:16:02

It's Op 27. Actually after two weeks my daughter is doing pretty well. Far better than I expected. We've broken it down into its patterns. She really likes chromatic patterns so she's got 3/4 of the piece firmly under her belt. The last line will be interesting as jumping her hands around a keyboard is a major downfall currently. The teacher doesn't like the pedal instructions in this piece so leaves them out until the last two bars. I don't normally take my daughter to her lessons but did this week so was able to get more info.

INeedNewShoes Wed 01-Feb-17 07:24:00

The Burgmuller is a good challenge for the able young pianist between Grades 1 and 2 and tends to be achievable because kids love playing it. It's certainly more approachable than some of the trickier Grade 2 pieces. My pupils love playing this piece. It depends on the pupil as to whether I introduce it after grade 1 or wait until later. I want them to play it at the point they'll be able enough to enjoy it.

Fleurdelise Wed 01-Feb-17 10:35:40

Most Burgmuller op 100 are to be played at the speed of light. grin DD played Arabesque for a bit after grade 1, quite well if I may say so but not as fast. I would like her to play it after taking grade 5 and do it justice. Ultimately when these composers wrote their music they didn't think "oh, I am writing this at around grade 2 level" but wrote it to be interpreted and enjoyed regardless of the players ability.

onlymusic Wed 01-Feb-17 21:25:45

I am still puzzled why Burgmuller's Arabesque is "rated" between gr1 and 2 to be honest....

Fleurdelise Wed 01-Feb-17 22:21:10

That is the level from a note reading point of view only. From a speed and interpretation point of view is much harder.

Abrsm would not expect that speed in an exam if set for grade 1 or 2 though, if you want to be puzzled even more check out Grieg, Dance of the elves, it was grade 4 a few years ago. Again I don't think that speed would be expected in a grade 4 exam. Or at least you wouldn't be losing points for playing it a bit slower than that at grade 4 I don't think.

onlymusic Thu 02-Feb-17 18:25:45

Fleurdelise, even notes in Arabesque look scary to me! But may be it just me.... Dd was given this piece straight after grade 1 and she was too tiny and young for smth like that, so it is a bit personal grin

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