Good post. I want to say thanks first though, because most of the piano forums that I've been on, people have greeted me with stupidity, such as: "OMG You played for four years and you're only working on Beethoven's Pathetique? I was playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody blah blah blah"
I appreciate the maturity.
As far as the level at which you were playing, I don't necessarily agree entirely with that. My teacher performed the Ocean etude his freshman year, the Tristesse and the Revolutionary his sophomore year, some Liszt etudes for his third year, and a few Scriabin etudes his fourth, at the Peabody Conservatory of John Hopkin's University, studying under Leon Fleischer.
In his graduate work, for his masters, he played Chopin Op.10 and 28 for the first year, and a bunch of Spanish work after that (Villa Lobos, and others), and for his Doctorate, Beethoven's Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos. He started playing piano when he was 13 years old, five years before he began playing at the university level. Five years is, I think, a long time where one can easily begin to start working on difficult pieces, even if they don't perform them up to par, simply because it will enhance your technique earlier in the stages of learning. I'm open to argument, as you have far more experience than me, but I'm a bit closer to my teacher and his philosophies than somebody I've communicated to through a web forum.
Actually, now that I think of it, if you happened to see a piano performance in the Spring of 2007 (or was it the summer...) at the Sydney Opera House, by a Dr. Robert Miller, that's my teacher. He performed a solo tour of Australia last year.
Anyway, I've been working on this etude now since around July. I do have a lot to do mentally to prepare, but my teacher insists that he wants me to perform it in April. I need to work on it with complete devotion. This isn't something that "I wanted to play". If you ask what I want to play, then the answer would be Beethoven's Tempest, Scriabin's Vers la Flamme, and Chopin's Op.10 n.4. The Tempest, I can slowly work my way through, but I haven't given it much time, Vers La Flamme, I need to put in some years of study before I'm able to play it, and the Op.10 n.4 is one of the most difficult pieces I've ever attempted, so once again, I need to mature a bit before I can begin work on that monster.
I've already performed the Tristesse (Op. 10 n.3, for whatever reason, not many people call it by that name), and a few others.
Just to give you an idea of what I've done so far, which may or may not help in understanding where I lay in terms of performance ability...
My senior recital in May -
Mozart K.488, Piano Concerto n.23 in A
JS Bach WTC1, Prelude and Fugue in D minor and D major
Beethoven - Op. 13, Sonata in C minor
Brahams Op. 79, Rhapsodies in B and G minor
Claude Debussy - Preludes La fille aux cheveux de lin, la cathedral engloutie, and voiles
Khachaturian - Toccata
Other works that I've performed as a student:
Mozart K.397 - first recital ever, 6 months into playing
Bach 2 part inventions in d minor and a minor
Chopin Prelude in B minor, Prelude in e minor, prelude in F# Major, and Etude in E Major Op.10 n.3
Beethoven - Moonlight sonata Mvts 1 and 2, Fur Elise
CPE Bach - Solfeggietto
and there's a few smaller pieces that I've done with a local jazz group for university credit...
Since I started playing, I've put anywhere from 4-10 hours per day into playing... I'm completely devoted to it, and it's all I can think about, honestly.
It's kind of elitist to say, but I need to play piano. Whether for an audience or not, I just need to play...
Good morning, my name's AJ. I've been playing piano since January of 2004, as a sophomore in college, and I changed my major to music. It's all I love now.