Teaching Beethoven – tips from a pro
If you have ever taught or learnt any of the Beethoven sonatas, you’ll know how important it is to hear and learn from other people about ways of approaching and teaching the music. In my own studies, I watched hours and hours of online tutorials and master classes to ensure that I had as much information as possible upon which to base by own interpretation.
No doubt most teachers will be aware of the amazing work of Andras Schiff. He is without a doubt one of the most acclaimed pianists of our time and his performances of Beethoven and Bach in particular are some of my favourites.
One of the audio lessons I found online when I was studying for my Diploma was a recording of Andras Schiff teaching about Op 26. I had no idea where it was from or whether there were other recordings out there, but the quality and ‘insightfulness’ of the thoughts presented by Schiff were incredibly helpful. Sometimes they challenged the views of my teachers and mentors (or my own) and sometimes they were completely in-line, adding support to decisions that I’d already made about interpretation.
Beethoven Sonata lectures now online
What I didn’t realise until recently was that his complete Beethoven masterclass lecture-recital series of all 32 Beethoven Sonatas is now available online for free from the Wigmore Hall website. Here’s what the website says about their recording:
András Schiff last performed the complete Beethoven piano sonatas at Wigmore Hall from 2004–6 to overwhelming critical acclaim, with the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, describing one particular performance as ‘a riveting mixture of erudition, analysis, passion, wit and memory’.
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On the day before each of the eight recitals in the series, the world-renowned pianist, pedagogue and lecturer gave a lecture-recital in which he explored the works to be performed. Deeply engaging and insightful, these thought-provoking lecture-recitals, recorded live at the Hall, are available below as eight audio lecture-recitals.
While the way he explains and discusses the music is almost poetic at times, teachers will find many concrete teaching suggestions and interpretative directions in his lectures:
- What does this part of the music say about Beethoven?
- How to approach certain passages.
- Why he wrote the way he did and how it related to his life and the world around him.
And, of course, the chance to hear the great man play, while starting and stopping, from memory, perfectly!
New to teaching the Beethoven Sonatas?
In my opinion, this series is a must-watch for advanced pianists, especially those attempting the Diploma exams, but equally, this information will be crucial for new teachers who are just starting to teach the higher levels.
Given that movements of Beethoven Sonatas appear at all levels on exam and competition syllabi, it’s well worth spending the time getting an insight on the music from one of the world’s most respected performers and teachers.
Find out more by following this link: András Schiff Beethoven Lecture Recitals | Wigmore Hall Live.
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What are your favourite Beethoven teaching resources: YouTube videos? Essays? Books? Videos?
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