How many pages of music an average pianist should play for exams during all the 4 years of conservatory studies? What is a standard finals repertoire? Heard that Chopin and Liszt etudes are the gold standard for teaching pros in piano.

  • 5
    If you want to get the most out of your time, the number of pages of music you play for exams should be a tiny fraction (maybe 1%) of the total number of pages you play. It's probably the best chance you will get in your whole career to sight read your way through the whole of the standard 19th/early 20th century concert repertoire, if there is a half-decent music library. Not to mention playing chamber music, accompanying singers, etc, etc...
    – user19146
    Aug 19, 2016 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Don't think about the quantity but the quality

10 pieces studied fast are the worst think. Try to be concentrated (careful to all the particular on the score) on one, two pieces for the time you need. If you learn how to study any piece following all the particular written. You can be sure that a day you will be more faster and perfectionist in any new pieces. NEVER forget to train your sight-reading.

Busoni sad:

Bach is the base to play the piano. Liszt is the summit. Both make Beethoven possible.

Don't listen to anybody, but yourself. You have to find your way, YOUR repertoire. Not all the people can play everything. We are not all the Argerich.

We HAVE to find our repertoire, where we can play and teach in the best way.

Rules for practicing the pianoforte

Busoni in a letter:

Rules for practicing the pianoforte

  1. Practise the passage with the most difficult fingering; when you have mastered that, play it with the easiest.
  2. If a passage offers some particular technical difficulty, go through all similar passages you can remember in other pieces in this way you will bring system into the kind of playing in question.
  3. Always join technical practice with the study of the interpretation; the difficulty, often, does not lie in the notes but in the dynamic shading prescribed.
  4. Never be carried away by temperament, for that dissipates strength, and where it occurs there will always be a blemish, like a dirty spot which can never be washed out of a material.
  5. Don't set your mind on overcoming the difficulties in pieces which have been unsuccessful because you have previously practised them badly; it is generally a useless task. But if meanwhile you have quite changed your way of playing, then begin the study of the old piece from the beginning as if you did not know it.
  6. Study everything as if there were nothing more difficult; try to interpret studies for the young from the standpoint of the virtuoso. You will be astonished to find how difficult it is to play a Czerny, or Cramer, or even a Clementi.
  7. Bach is the foundation of piano playing. Liszt the summit. The two make Beethoven possible.
  8. Take it for granted from the beginning, that everything is possible on the piano, even where it seems impossible to you or really is so.
  9. Attend to your technical apparatus so that you are prepared and armed for every possible event; then when you study a new piece, you can turn all your power on to the intellectual content; you will not be held up by the technical problems.
  10. Never play carelessly, even when there is nobody listening, or the occasion seems unimportant.
  11. Never leave a passage which has been unsuccessful, without repeating it; if you cannot do it in the presence of others then do it subsequently.
  12. If possible allow no day to pass without touching your piano. [...] What do you think of these "maxims for Practice"? They are formed from my own experience.

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