Case Study Project – Greg (Part 5)

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ‘Piano Sonata’ no. 16 in C major, K. 545

I think that expansion of the form, complicated structure and variety of individual movements require a full commitment during all the stages of work. Greg had heard this piece before and was very excited to play it. I asked him to find out what a sonata form is and mark all the outline parts (introduction, theme, exposition etc.) in the scores.

Aims of the work:

  • analyzing the piece basing on the knowledge about the composer and his pieces and on the characteristics of the classical period

  • separating the elements and to determining their role in the structure of the form

  • choice of the elements of interpretation

  • full knowledge of harmonic structure and its importance in shaping the dynamics and drama of the piece

  • choice of tempo

  • ability to maintain a steady speed

  • correct legato slurs and phrasing

  • performance of ornaments and pedaling consistent with the style

  • diversity of individual movements

Problems faced:

Alberti bass

Greg has been having problems with playing the Alberti bass accompaniment quieter than the melody in the right hand. His left hand seemed a bit tensed and the sound was very heavy. He also found speeding up the Alberti bass problematic. I recommended a few methods of practising it:

  • making sure that we don’t think about all the notes equally because only the first one, out of four, is important and gives us energy to play the rest of the notes

  • playing the left hand quietly and gradually introducing single notes from the phrase in the right hand while still maintaining a quiet left hand

  • practising the left hand on its own using different rhythmical patterns

Evaluation

I think that Greg will successfully pass his Grade 8 exam. I wish I had found a way to motivate him a bit more in all aspects. As he was aware that he had to significantly improve his sight-reading, he started to practice far more frequently. Unfortunately when it came to the pieces, he thought that everything will come in time without actually doing much. There were a few piano lessons where he had clearly done very little or no practice beforehand and it made me really impatient and disappointed. On the other hand, sometimes he prepared more that I asked him because he was inspired by a performance he recently attended. It would be easier if he had any ideas regarding the pieces he wanted to play. He says that he will play everything I give him but then ends up saying that he doesn’t like the piece. I hope that by getting to know him a bit more, I would be able to choose a more suitable repertoire for him as Greg would benefit by having an approach which is defined, clear and focused and maintained throughout our lessons along with his own practising.

Edyta Lajdorf BMus (Hons), MMus, LRSM, SMISM

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