Bored

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
I recently expressed to my piano teacher that I wanted to start playing more advanced music. She appreciates this and agreed to find some more level appropriate stuff. But the thing is, all she wants me to play is Bach! She explained how I have to understand and master the early preludes and whatnot to be able to bring out the themes in the harder pieces like fugues later on. But one thing about me as a pianist is that sometimes I just can't bring myself to play a piece if I dislike it or am BORED with it. The latter of which is exactly what the preludes and musettes do to me. So, do you have any suggestions on how to make them more interesting/fun or maybe some equally leveled pieces? Even though my teacher agreed to give me harder pieces, the music she's had me playing still seems too easy (i.e. Kuhlau and Clementi sonatinas, Kabalevsky's Toccatina). Thanks!
 - Caitie

Dear Caitie,

I'm sorry Caitie, but I can't bring myself to disagree with your teacher! I've never heard you play and I'm unaware of the reasons your teacher has asked you to practice lots of Bach and easy material (and you may not be aware either!).

You can start by making sure she knows how you feel, but remember that you're paying her for a reason. Sometimes you have to follow your teacher's advice, even if it isn't what you want to do. Watch Karate Kid for a powerful example of this in action.

Also, remember that Kuhlau and Cleminti sonatinas are not easy. There's no end to the detail, refinement, and control one can aim for in those pieces. And if you're really that bored, find a way to interest yourself. Turn the different voices in Bach's music into different characters. Is one a jester? a campy diva? a doleful mother? a loyal friend? How can you bring out their personalities in the way you play their musical lines? How do these different personalities interact in the musical counterpoint? Turn the sonatinas into miniature operas! Play as if you're playing at a funeral. a wedding! a political gathering! As I said in a previous question, play as if it is the last time you'll ever play the piano!

It's up to you to make sure you have a good time!

- Greg