Let The Rest Of The World Go By Sheet Music Developing a Classical Piano Repertoire and Building a Music Library

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Developing a Classical Piano Repertoire and Building a Music Library

You don’t have to be a concert pianist to put in the time and effort to develop a large repertoire. What does “repertoire” mean? In short, a repertoire is the body of works and songs that form the core, or foundation, of a pianist. (Technically, a “song” has lyrics, while a “piece” or “piece” does not. The word “song” is often misused.) Many pianists believe that the whole part should be kept “under the fingers.” at all times and it forms the human repertoire. However, I believe that the repertoire includes something much wider. Now let’s explore this term and explore the most effective ways to develop, expand and develop it.

Five golden rules for building a large piano repertoire

1. Practice, practice, practice

2. The micro-cycle tasks you are currently doing

3. The macro cycle works throughout your life

4. Think that no work is ever “finished.”

5. Keep adding books and music to your library

The first rule of practice does not need to be explained. In order to become better and more proficient at something, one must love to do it, do it often, and do it with all one’s heart. Tiger Woods didn’t become a great golfer by eating snacks and watching TV. The world’s best surgeons didn’t get there by hanging out at the bar and drinking beer. Likewise, a pianist who wants to have fun playing hundreds of songs and compositions and wants to excel will never achieve it by neglecting regular practice. The reason is that people should study not out of responsibility, but out of love for music and the desire to improve themselves.

The second rule of micro-cycle production is the pianist’s short-term plan, which can last from a few weeks to a few months, maybe even a year. Most people use the word “repertoire” because it’s the amount of time (more than from memory) that one can sit down and play a large number of pieces at any given time. I’ve found the best microcycling results by focusing on about five tasks at a time. For example, I’ll spend an entire week practicing just one piece (like Joplin’s Rag), the next week just another piece (like a Mozart sonata), and the following week just another piece (like a Liszt etude). Then I might not touch them at all for a couple of months, and when I return to one of them, it feels like “meeting an old friend” and accelerates the relearning phase. What was once done in a week now only takes a few days. It is right for a pianist to strive to learn, forget, and relearn a piece in a monthly, weekly, and daily cycle. This is the eternal and never-ending plan that I follow while practicing and preparing on my YouTube videos.

The third rule of the macrocycle is the long-term plan of the pianist, which lasts from one year to ten years. Little does the fledgling thirteen-year-old know that what he learns in these formative years lays the musical foundations of his life. Having written this article at the age of 47 and having started playing the piano at the age of 6, I am always amazed at how flexible and powerful the human brain really is. For example, I started studying Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso this week after 27 years of dormant work, and I was shocked when I memorized it again in just three days. It took three months to learn well at age 20, but only three days to learn again at age 47. That’s one of the satisfying things about music and the piano repertoire. After all, all music remains in your conscience and forms your “musical identity” until you leave this earth. It’s never too late to learn the piano, develop your repertoire, and harness the power of your musical memory. I spent a week working on “Rondo Capriccioso” and posted it to YouTube and probably wouldn’t touch it again for years.

The logical successor to the third rule of the macro loop is the fourth rule, which assumes that work is never finished. When I was an 18-year-old freshman music major in college, I thought a piece was “finished” when it was performed at a performance or concert. My usual plan of action was to work on a certain number of pieces over the course of a semester or year, “finish” them, and then move on to the next pieces assigned by the professor. The 47-year-old can’t help but poke fun at his youthful innocence. Through the experience of Rondo Capriccioso, I learned over time that no work is ever finished. Never. The piano repertoire of micro and macro bikes is the bread and butter of a pianist’s musical life. These cycles, like food and water, continue until the end. I constantly revive pieces that I thought were finished, and I’ve never been satisfied with the evolution or progression of the music.

The first four rules form the mental and intangible components of developing a large piano repertoire, while the fifth rule of constantly adding books and music to your library forms the physical and material components. Just as you can’t wash the dishes without first buying plates, cups, and utensils, so a pianist can never develop a large repertoire without buying or acquiring printed music. Most people refer to all printed music as “sheet music,” but that’s really a misnomer. Technically, a “sheet music” refers to a single piece of work of up to four pages. For example, I recently commissioned the song “My Heart Will Go On” from my favorite music company. Sheet Music Plus. (Even though I’m a classical pianist, I like to dabble in pop music every now and then.) It’s properly called sheet music because it’s the only name. On the other hand, William Bolcom’s Complete Rag for Piano, which I also ordered Sheet Music Plus, 21 names thick and not quite a “music book” or “musical volume.” (Pardon this comment, but the term “sheet music” is often misused.)

I love my music library and still play from the books I’ve owned since I was 10 years old. I’m always looking for new books and pages to buy, treasure and add to my library. I’m constantly branching out and looking for new repertoire. In the age of the Internet, using free PDFs has become too much in my opinion. PDF prints usually only last a few weeks because they can be lost or torn very easily. I sometimes use free PDF files, but 98% of my music library consists of music and books I’ve paid for. Although any music published before 1922 is in the public domain and legally free to everyone, relying too much on free PDF files is fooling itself. A book lasts a lifetime and can be reused and reused until the end of its life. Refusing to buy music and obsessing over getting it all for free is like eating off paper plates and plastic utensils. A pianist will never vastly expand their repertoire without acquiring some physical equipment (i.e. books) along the way. Let’s end with a story.

Once, when I was teaching piano in college, a student came to class with a copy of the first movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata on twelve thin sheets of fax paper. They did not stand on the music stand, but constantly fell on the floor. This lasted for a whole semester until I almost tore out all my hair and had coronary heart disease. Since then, PDF printing has been banned from the studio forever, and students have been encouraged to buy music from stores, just like in college (pre-internet days, imagine!). If my student had invested a small amount in a volume of Beethoven (that’s a lot of money to go to the movies and order popcorn), he would have not only the Appassionata but thirty other great sonatas in his lifetime. . However, instead of investing in his future, he took the cheap route. In terms of compositional ethics, quality and longevity prevail, and it is in one’s self-interest to develop and maintain a music library throughout one’s lifetime. Immaterial and material work at the same time. Physical and intangible. Yin and Yang. (In Chinese philosophy, “yin” or “feminine” is associated with the immaterial or transitory aspects of exercise or cycling, while “yang” or “masculine” is associated with material instruments such as music books and pages.)

Here it is in a nutshell: practice, micro-cycle, macro-cycle, no work is ever finished, constantly adding music to your library. These are the five golden rules for building a great piano repertoire. Thanks for your time and enjoy the workout!

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