How much time do I need to prepare Debussy’s Clair de lune?

04 June 2019
By Melanie Spanswick
Melanie Spanswick answers your questions every Tuesday

Welcome to Q&A Tuesday with Melanie Spanswick! This is a brand-new series in which pianist, author, teacher and composer Melanie will tackle all your burning questions every Tuesday.

Our ninth question comes from Twitter. @JustoBecerro asks:


Do you think that six months is a lot of time to prepare only 25 bars of Debussy’s Clair de Lune?


If this piece is above your current level of playing, it will take this time to master, and there will probably still be many issues. It's only a good idea to play pieces beyond your level when you are aiming to develop a particular area of your technique, and then you must do it carefully with the help of a teacher otherwise you may injure yourself by creating tension in your hands, wrists and arms.

A better plan would be to obtain an arrangement of this piece, so you can play an easier version. There are many on the market and you will find one which is satisfying to play. You will then be able to play to the end of the piece without taking six months to learn it. In the meantime, if you are serious about your playing, why not find a good teacher who can help to build the foundations of a solid technique? It takes time to do this, but eventually, you will be able to master the original version of Clair De lune with relative ease.

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Have you got a question you’d like to ask? Contact Ellie at [email protected].