How to learn a piano piece before you actually play it

05 September 2011
imports_PIA_0-0rpu8j32-100000_77660.jpg How to learn a piano piece before you actually play it
When faced with a new piece of piano music, where do you begin? How do you start to learn it? The following article gives you all the tips necessary in order to learn your piano piece quickly and efficiently...

The evidence is in: you can use the same methods to explore any piece of music even before you start to play. Inge Kjemtrup explains.
Faced with a new piece of music, you may find yourself feeling both excited and anxious. Where, you wonder, should you begin? No matter what piece is on your music stand, start by playing detective with the score and look for the common elements, the clues that will help you. Do this, and you’ll be a step ahead once you put your fingers on the keys.

As the famous teacher Heinrich Neuhaus put it, ‘Mastery of the art of working, of learning compositions... is characterised by an unwavering determination and an ability not to waste time.’ Over the next three pages, I’ll examine two pieces that appear in this issue’s Scores (the Beethoven Bagatelle and the Liszt Consolation) with the idea of gathering as much information as possible from looking at the score before beginning to play. Your first clue may be in a piece’s title. A ‘bagatelle’ is a ‘trifle’, which suggests that Beethoven’s Bagatelle in B minor op 126 no 4 is light-spirited. What other clues are on the opening page?.....

These were just the two opening paragraphs. To read the whole article, which appeared in issue 61, you can download the back issue here. Or you can subscribe to Pianist today to ensure not to miss such 'how to play' articles.

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