How to teach beehoven adagio cantabile Op 13 2nd movement : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I have just started teaching a student the 2nd movement of a beethoven sonata op 13 I am not sure how to go about teaching this piece and what are the most important areas to address Obviously a good singing tone is needed but how do you get a student to produce that What is specific to beethoven regarding phrasing? In short how would you go about teaching this piece?

-- m.n. kasgate (, February 17, 2003


It's not too late to back out of it. My first thought is that if you haven't thought these things through before assigning it, you shouldn't have assigned it in the first place. Many of the things that you work on in this piece should already be comfortable before you even begin it.

This is not the piece in which to learn singing tone because the entire melody must be voiced above accompaniment in the same hand. Is the student capable of balancing melody in one hand and accompaniment in the other? If not, you have to back up and do that -- a lot. When that is secure, then you can do shorter, simpler pieces that require voicing within the hand.

Can the student sustain interest in a long melodic line? That is also required for this piece.

That's only scratching the surface.

If you are really determined to keep on with this piece, get a good edition (Henle is the best, imo) and get some good recordings (Richard Goode, John O'Connor, Alfred Brendel). Good luck!

-- Arlene Steffen (, February 18, 2003.

THANKYOU for your candid response I realize that this is going to be a challenge for me but it is out of a real desire to do what is right and to learn from it. Yes the student can bring out the upper melody while maintaining the inner part as an accompaniment and can do so beautifully, but it is my desire to really make sure I am teaching what I should be, not just hoping I am covering everything on my way through it. This message board, I thought was for that purpose help one another with problems we MAY encounter or are encountering Therefore, I think I am being proactive. Is this not a good thing? If we are unable to offer technical advice to one another maybe you or others could point me in the direction of literature or web sites that give you an analysis of the work and the problems relating to teachingand /or playing of it. After all isn't that what most examination bodies around the world now do for their teachers, because they have seen there is a need and a real desire on the teachers part to do the best that they can. We all have not ARRIVED, some of us are still on the journey.

-- rnn gasgate (, February 18, 2003.

I didn't say you shouldn't teach the piece ever. I'm saying that you shouldn't teach the piece until you have first studied it and determined what needs to be 1)secure before starting the piece and 2)what you want the student to learn from studying the piece.

Ideally, you work out the difficulties of this piece in similar shorter repertoire and technical exercises. Has the student played similar easier pieces of Beethoven? Is the student comfortable in Ab Major? How secure is the student rhythmically (this piece has a number of rhythmic changes)?

As I said before, listening to good recordings can be most enlightening. The student should also listen to them and also to Beethoven's symphonies. Beethoven worked out many orchestral ideas through the sonatas.

I would teach this piece by having the student practice the layers of sound with the kind of tone and dynamic level appropriate for each layer. Then, put the melody with each different layer individually. Start compiling layers gradually. Define where the climax of the piece is and define your phrasing around that.

-- Arlene Steffen (, February 19, 2003.

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