September 18, 2018 at 10:05pm

Hello Guys!
I got to learn some useful tips from this article- “10 tips from a good performer to a great performer”. I have never realized some of these tips until now. Still, better late than never! Hope you find it useful too! cheers :)

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Mabel Ong

Nice sharing! I think the weekly meetup already helps with point 5 and 8!

September 21, 2018 at 12:47pm
March 31, 2017 at 10:15pm

Something I've noticed : pianists who are good at sight reading are generally not so good at playing by ear or improvising, and vice versa. I wonder why. (Because two different parts of the brain are utilized?)

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Liew Soo Hin

Haha, can see that this can be a "war" between sight-reading and play-by-ear. But I think we can discuss with educational benefits.

One simple example that sight-reading will survive is... See More

Haha, can see that this can be a "war" between sight-reading and play-by-ear. But I think we can discuss with educational benefits.

One simple example that sight-reading will survive is because composers want their works to be reproduced correctly.

Maybe a piece played by a single instrument can be reproduced by a person with great ears, but a film music typically comprising many instruments would be better reproduced with scores.

I've always looked at scores with thick chords, maybe both hands playing about 8 notes together, and wonder how someone can pick these 8 individual notes out easily by ear. It's quite obvious which side I'm on.

November 23, 2017 at 11:57am
Goh Zensen

Not really a "war" but more a "divide". In fact I was invited to delivery a talk on this topic at one of Pianovers's special meetup at the Bliss House some months ago. In the talk I mentioned each... See More

Not really a "war" but more a "divide". In fact I was invited to delivery a talk on this topic at one of Pianovers's special meetup at the Bliss House some months ago. In the talk I mentioned each serves a different set of purposes, and the merits and shortcomings of each. If you are keen I can email you the slides.

November 24, 2017 at 9:24am
Goh Zensen

Another vital insight to share with regard to play-by-ear is as follows. If we treat classical/art music as THE genre, then of course sight-reading carries heavy weight. Don't get me wrong, I'm a... See More

Another vital insight to share with regard to play-by-ear is as follows. If we treat classical/art music as THE genre, then of course sight-reading carries heavy weight. Don't get me wrong, I'm a classical music specialist (among all genres) and I advocate all music learners go through at least the main classical repertoire.

However, the world of music is more than the classical genre. We have several other genres of music whereby "scores aren't available" for such pieces because of the nature/context of things. For example, traditional folk music of several countries/regions such as Greensleeves (England) and Sakura (Japan) - we can't really traced their original composer. And even if we are able to, most of them did not pen their works via the 5-lined stave. Many could be played/sung throughout the generations/eras. And if we need to rely on scores to play such pieces, we can only find specific score versions done by specific ARRANGERS. So we are playing someone's arrangement, instead of its original version (which has no score). Play-by-ear and improvising/arrangement skills of us (as pianists) are thus coming in handy for such purposes.

Even in the mege-genre of pop music, and also other genres like New Age music and Soundtrack music, many composers don't create the stave notations - they only produce the final product (the audio track). As such, music score transcribers start to earn some market share by notating these to various degrees (which again is subject to their own "arrangement"). So in this context, wouldn't it be better that we play by ear?

November 24, 2017 at 9:52am
Michael LS

Black cat or white car, as long as it can catch the mouse, it's a good cat.

Using this philosophy, it doesn't matter the method to learn, as in the end, you achieve your aim. Of course,... See More

Black cat or white car, as long as it can catch the mouse, it's a good cat.

Using this philosophy, it doesn't matter the method to learn, as in the end, you achieve your aim. Of course, your aim might be different from me.

January 15, 2018 at 5:59pm
December 5, 2017 at 8:38pm

Is there anyone seeking to play a duet or a piece for four hands or maybe needs a vocalist, instrumentalist or more? Why not list your title and composer below and we can take it away by contacting each other through the user messaging function for a lively collaborative performance at our weekly recitals.

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Gavin Koh

Would love to play a duet of Grieg's "The Last Spring" from this book. Anyone interested?... See More

Would love to play a duet of Grieg's "The Last Spring" from this book. Anyone interested? Please message me by selecting my name and then clicking on the Message button. Or, you could easily find me on Facebook and Friend me there. Thanks.

December 6, 2017 at 12:59pm
Carlyn Ng

Gavin, I only managed to play very very simple duet with my teacher, hehehe. I'm still beginner. But I like duets!

December 16, 2017 at 10:59am
Gavin Koh

Yes, duets are great fun!

December 16, 2017 at 10:03pm
Gavin Koh

Here are books of classical duets from various composers that are begging to be performed by Pianovers:
a)... See More

Here are books of classical duets from various composers that are begging to be performed by Pianovers:
a) A Book of Piano Duets
b) École de la mesure
c) Melodien-Album
d) Pianoforte-Album
e) Moore's Irish Melodies
f) Payne’s Album für Musik
g) Modernes Vortragsalbum ausgewählter neuzeitlicher Tonstücke

Of course, you can just go to IMSLP and pick a composer that you like and look up their list of duets or 4 hands piano pieces.

December 19, 2017 at 8:18am
November 28, 2017 at 4:56pm

How many pianists here love taking a hiatus now and then from playing the piano and trying something else - like learning another instrument, composing music, limelighting as a lyricist, or partaking in singing?

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Goh Zensen

Cakewalk! Superb! Been using its ancient versions for orchestral music arrangements since the early 90s, recently upgraded to using Sonar Artist!

December 2, 2017 at 11:56pm
Gavin Koh

Arrgh... why do I keep typing Cakewalk. I am using Sonar too.

December 3, 2017 at 2:36pm
Carlyn Ng

Teik Lee, what is comping?

December 16, 2017 at 11:01am
Gavin Koh

"Comping" is short form for complement or accompaniment. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comping... See More

"Comping" is short form for complement or accompaniment. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comping

December 16, 2017 at 10:02pm
November 1, 2017 at 1:44am

Which performing pianist do you like best and why?

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Gavin Koh

Yes, some of Clayderman's pieces are still appealing. But I got tired of the boring left-hand accompaniment styles from Olivier Toussaint and Paul de Seneville. See image for what I mean.... See More

Yes, some of Clayderman's pieces are still appealing. But I got tired of the boring left-hand accompaniment styles from Olivier Toussaint and Paul de Seneville. See image for what I mean. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/5e/54/f9/5e54f979f8f89c9a111a41e082b60be7...

November 21, 2017 at 11:08am
Mabel Ong

Which piece are you learning now?

November 21, 2017 at 10:57am
Gavin Koh

I was just learning Harmonies du soir (Liszt). I have other pieces I am interested in, but will shelf them because of the stuff that I hear from our Meetups. For example, Asturias led me to... See More

I was just learning Harmonies du soir (Liszt). I have other pieces I am interested in, but will shelf them because of the stuff that I hear from our Meetups. For example, Asturias led me to Villanesca (Granados).

November 21, 2017 at 11:51am
Mabel Ong

Har... I just saw the scores for the Harmonies piece. So many chords. ? ? Definitely beyond me.

November 21, 2017 at 12:11pm
March 25, 2017 at 9:57pm

What's the difference between playing a piece in the privacy of your living room versus performing the same piece for an audience? After all, it's the same piece right (no?) Any thoughts or comments on this? :)

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Michael LS

Is there any well-known method then?

November 3, 2017 at 7:29pm
Goh Zensen

The Acosean Method of Music Education (AMME), though it isn't well-known yet.

November 4, 2017 at 2:36pm
Michael LS

I googled up AMME, and it points back to you! So you're the founder of AMME!

November 7, 2017 at 11:04pm
Goh Zensen

Haha, long story!

November 8, 2017 at 7:14am
April 1, 2017 at 9:42am

Can playing by ear actually be learnt or is it something innate, i.e. either you have it or you don't. I've always thought that all pianists could play by ear (at least simple tunes on the simpler keys) but was amazed to find out that it wasn't so in my JC days.

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Goh Zensen

Bing Shao, I think I'd missed your posts! Anyway it was great meeting you in person and we had a good chat on the play-by-ear methodology in greater depth!

November 2, 2017 at 8:36am
Gavin Koh

One thing that has helped greatly in improving my play by ear ability is to listen on Youtube hundreds of pieces that follow the score as a video. Now, when pieces are played, I start visualizing... See More

One thing that has helped greatly in improving my play by ear ability is to listen on Youtube hundreds of pieces that follow the score as a video. Now, when pieces are played, I start visualizing staves and notes and can more intuitively figure out how to play a piece just through listening.

November 2, 2017 at 11:18am
Gavin Koh

Oh yes, to answer your question. I don't think this is an innate ability unless your parents have been exposing you to music ever since you are in the womb. Then maybe you would be more accepting... See More

Oh yes, to answer your question. I don't think this is an innate ability unless your parents have been exposing you to music ever since you are in the womb. Then maybe you would be more accepting of music in life.

November 2, 2017 at 11:20am
Gavin Koh

Before I forget. There are quite a number of Ear Training software on the Android Play Store that may be of some use. I have used 'The Ear Gym', 'Functional Ear Trainer', and 'Perfect Ear' before... See More

Before I forget. There are quite a number of Ear Training software on the Android Play Store that may be of some use. I have used 'The Ear Gym', 'Functional Ear Trainer', and 'Perfect Ear' before. Quite simple but useful apps for training yourself to play by ear. I am pretty sure there are equivalent apps on iTunes too - like 'Play by Ear' and 'Ear for Life, Ear Training'

November 2, 2017 at 3:11pm
August 14, 2017 at 3:05pm

Have you been seriously pondering over the following question? Many pianists avoid this question, perhaps because of sociopolitical sensitivity (instead of musical sensitivity)?

Take for example the entire China with a population of 1.3 billion. Most would agree that the most celebrated (classical) pianists are Lang Lang and Li Yundi.

So my question is: Are there other pianists (non-celebrities) in China whose piano playing is on par with theirs? If the answer is yes (e.g. if... See More

Have you been seriously pondering over the following question? Many pianists avoid this question, perhaps because of sociopolitical sensitivity (instead of musical sensitivity)?

Take for example the entire China with a population of 1.3 billion. Most would agree that the most celebrated (classical) pianists are Lang Lang and Li Yundi.

So my question is: Are there other pianists (non-celebrities) in China whose piano playing is on par with theirs? If the answer is yes (e.g. if you say at least thousands of them), then why aren't they famous? In other words, does it mean that only when you reach this level of piano playing superiority will you definitely be "discovered" and made eminent?

Note that I'm confining my topic to pure playing-by-score instead of playing-by-ear or improvisations, since that would have opened a bigger can of worms.

For those who feel that within China, very few pianists would match or beat the level manifested by Lang Lang or Li Yundi, then my next question for you will then be: What is it that they can do (or do well) which other pianists in China can't? Is it the speed or tempo of playing? Or is it their sheer playing techniques? Or is it their interpretations?

I would like to hear your viewpoints before I elaborate on this further.

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Goh Zensen

Wayne, very well said! I'm in agreement with every statement you've made; and thank you so much for making explicit what I've been wanting to say (but haven't said it) for years!

September 4, 2017 at 7:06pm
Mabel Ong

Actually a lot depends on luck too. You can be super talented and hardworking, but you still need luck to get noticed, appreciated, groomed. ?

October 13, 2017 at 9:22am
Goh Zensen

Totally agree!

October 25, 2017 at 9:37pm
Mabel Ong

Pity not many pianists in SG are recognised.

October 26, 2017 at 1:01am