Advanced Piano Coaching Online

Example: how do my lessons by video take place?

chopin opus 47 bars 1 5

Phone: open this video in a new window.

I usually have live lessons with Mark. But when he played me Chopin’s 3rd Ballade, I decided that the optimal solution to correct all the details was a video/mail lesson. Here are the instructions I sent him by mail after watching the video received. This text covers the first 54 bars of the piece only. The listening and analysis of the video and the response by mail (24 points) took me 1h12.
I can’t imagine how long a live lesson with all these details would take. Not to mention the student’s endurance, his/her resistance to fatigue and how much his/her memory could retain!

  1. I do not know if it is only a deformation of your camera, but it seems to me that you are leaning backwards. I never noticed this during our live lessons. Odd. On the contrary, you should slightly lean forward.
  2. In the beginning: you are too light, your legato does not sound, it is holed. The harmonies do not flow, as the pedal is also insufficient. Very short and very well synchronized pedals are required.
  3. Bar 3: the first D flat is not detached from the beginning of the phrase.
  4. Bar 4: the A flat is too short. As the phrase ends here, you must slow down a little, i.e. it must be longer than an ordinary dotted eighth note.
  5. Bar 5: the inferior voice of the RH is too loud, yet it is a secondary voice. The main voice here is the bass.
  6. Bar 7:
    1. LH - no silence
    2. RH - there is a crescendo, thus the A flat must be less loud so the sound can be increased.
  7. Bar 8: In this bar, you don’t slow down, but you are doing a fermata on the last chord and the rest, which makes a rhythmical disproportion. To finish a phrase in a natural way, and especially if a fermata is not marked at the end, you have to make a light and regular ritenuto on ALL THE VALUES - including the long notes and the rests. Then the rest will be proportional to the degree of slowing down.
  8. Bars 9-10: you play piano, whereas it is written forte. The piano of bar 11 comes as a sought contrast thanks to this forte.
  9. Bar 14:
    1. The RH octaves are too fast. You play them with both hands - as many pianists do - but one should remember that originally, they were meant to be played only with the RH so no one is able to play them that fast. Tricks are allowed on condition that they do not modify the sound image intended by the composer. The initial idea cannot be deformed.
    2. This octuplet - 4+4 - must be well organized rhythmically. Please look at my score: I have indicated a small accent on the E flat, in order to balance the rythmic division.
  10. In bars 11-12, RH, there are rests on the 1st and 4th beat, so that’s OK. But notice that in an analogous place - bars 15-16 - the rests at the beginning of the bar have been replaced by ties!
  11. From bar 17 onwards , it is very nice, but you have to respect the LH slurs.
  12. Bar 21 is very nice, but you must remain in the same ambience for bar 22. It falls apart because of the appoggiatura - you are too much in a rush. Take your time, play hard and sing instead of rushing towards the next bar.
  13. Bar 25: why pp??? These are trumpets! Listen to Seong-Jin Cho!
  14. Bar 26: why do you lengthen it??? on the contrary, since the emotional tension is building, you must advance. I mean ADVANCE , not hurry!
  15. Bars 26-29: the semiquavers must be crescendo because of the general indication. The diminuendo occurs only from bar 30 onwards.
  16. You often miss the last semiquaver with the 5th finger RH, as you do not sufficiently lower your wrist when playing with the thumb, i.e. the articulation at the base of the thumb is stiff. You must close the "gripper" between the thumb and the index finger!
  17. Bar 33: why a pedal hole? It extends over a bar and a half.
  18. Bar 34: change the pedal on the last C. While maintaining the G and C!
  19. Bar 39: The mordent in bar 3 was better. Here, you play it on the beat and this is quite awkward. Aim at the second B flat on the RH D flat.
  20. Bar 41: I probably might have already told you to sing well the LH scales. It is very well done and even a little... “too well”:). You must now balance:
    1. the first plan , i.e. the soprano: SING!
    2. the second plan, i.e. the lower part of the RH;
    3. the third plan - the LH.
      Notice that bars 5 and 41 are identical, but their meanings are different:
    1. In bar 5, the most important is the bass, which repeats the main theme.
    2. In bar 41, as I wrote above, the role of the bass passes to the background. Which, of course, in no way means that it becomes a less important voice. Each note is important, but a hierarchy must be established between them so that the listener can easily understand the meaning of the music.
  22. Bar 46: you have annihilated the arpeggio... It must shine like six little pearls! Although in piano.
  23. Bars 52-53:
    1. One RH element (C-C) is missing i.e. you have shortened bar 53 by half;
    2. It is dragging a bit. You may start faster, then slow down, and then resume in tempo bar 54.
  24. Bar 54: the LH C is too soft. Otherwise, it is nice, but:
    1. The pedal is not very clean;
    2. The soprano is not sufficiently singing;
    3. You are trying again to play the appoggiaturas on the beat. At times, this should be the case, and at other times - not. There is no strict rule. Here - no, it comes out a little not natural. Play ahead, and above all, do not interrupt the melody to get across an ornament! The melody must flow freely without skirmishes. The ornaments must blend into the melody, not tear it up.

On page How to study Chopin’s works - Introduction
you will find more details on my method and lessons.


This site uses cookies
I use cookies on my website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (Tracking Cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.