The Chopin Etudes: a Study Guide for Teaching and Learning Opus 10 and Opus 25

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The etudes of Chopin are masterworks of the piano literature and are designed to go beyond mere technical exercises; moreover, each etude represents not only a technical study but also has a distinct musical character. Alarmingly, the current trend seems to be to assign the Chopin etudes at an increasingly young age to students who are not yet equipped either technically or musically to handle them. As Chopin’s pupil, Carl Mikuli, commented in the preface to his Chopin edition, the etudes were meant for “more advanced students.” If Chopin had intended his etudes for students at an intermediate level, he ... continued below

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Kim, Min Joung December 2011.

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  • Kim, Min Joung

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Description

The etudes of Chopin are masterworks of the piano literature and are designed to go beyond mere technical exercises; moreover, each etude represents not only a technical study but also has a distinct musical character. Alarmingly, the current trend seems to be to assign the Chopin etudes at an increasingly young age to students who are not yet equipped either technically or musically to handle them. As Chopin’s pupil, Carl Mikuli, commented in the preface to his Chopin edition, the etudes were meant for “more advanced students.” If Chopin had intended his etudes for students at an intermediate level, he would have assigned them to most of his students; however, only a limited number of students had his permission to work on their master’s etudes. As a teacher, I have always felt the need to devise a systematic teaching plan to guide students to handle the challenges of these pieces both physically and musically. This study examines the repertoire which might help prepare a student to learn the etudes without overstraining his/her muscular and mental ability. Rooted in Chopin’s teaching and his recommendation of the pieces to learn before tackling the etudes themselves, this pedagogical study guide intends to help students and teachers to work progressively towards the study of these works. While pinpointing some exercises and simple pieces to assign to a student in preparation for studying the individual etudes, helpful works of later composers are also liberally incorporated, as well as some suggestions for practicing the etudes themselves. Finally, I shall provide my own “re-ordering” of the etudes, with a progressive degree of difficulty, as an additional aid to a young pianist who may eventually want to learn the entire opus 10 and opus 25.

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  • December 2011

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  • Nov. 6, 2012, 3:03 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 1:04 p.m.

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Kim, Min Joung. The Chopin Etudes: a Study Guide for Teaching and Learning Opus 10 and Opus 25, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115039/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .