Marko Räsänen wrote:
Fair enough, Carl. It looks like there was no basis for my concern.
On the matter of being singled out, I understand how you may get that feeling, but as far as the critique I offer is concerned, you shouldn't feel that way. First, unfortunately I don't have the time to listen to every performance posted on these lessons, but for those that I do, I don't nearly always comment, usually because I don't feel I have any advice to give. Or even if I do, I may not simply have the time at the moment. So it's always more or less random. The exception being my own class mates for whom I always try to comment something. I also tend to base my comments more on the actual performance in the recording when it comes to my class mates. For other class levels I tend to focus on hopefully helpful comments, and not compare anyone's performance to that of others, except for an occasional bravo, when someone's playing is exceptionally good, or I can see they've worked really hard.
On the specific matter of the tempo of your menuet, for me it never was the question of being too fast to suit musically, but two other things: 1) your chosen tempo was such that you couldn't play it through completely using the same tempo, and 2) on the parts that you played using faster tempo, it was too fast to play it clean, using legato articulation, which I think is very important for the menuet.
As long as your technique is developing (and I think it's safe to say that will be during the remainder of all the lesson levels here; not just for you, but for every student here), it's always better to play too slow than too fast, if you're only thinking about the technical development and learning. We all do however play pieces too fast / beyond our technical abilities because most pieces will sound better that way, unless playing fast means playing sloppy. In the end I don't think it matters too much which tempo is chosen for the recording posted here. What really matters is the tempo used for practice (it should be slow enough to not learn mistakes, but fast enough to be technically challenging), but unfortunately it is from those recordings that we must infer how the player is practicing and offer criticism based on that.
You're right to ignore the tempo marking in the sheet music. Many times they're just ridiculously high, and would require the technique of a professional musician to reach. None of us are concert musicians, but I think we all want to get better in our hobby, and I think it's important to discuss the practice methods too in order to improve. I sometimes get a feeling here that very few people are willing to actually take heed of the advice given by others, probably because the advice isn't coming from a proper teacher. And it's not necessarily that they disagree with the advice, or if they do, they don't express it, just ignore the advice. Which is fine, as I understand that they really don't want any feedback. I'm not speaking of you Carl, nor any of your class mates, nor anyone in particular. Just a feeling I get in general here in the English online lessons forum. It could be just me though