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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:46 am 
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s_winitsky wrote:
PJF wrote:
At this point, I have difficulty learning pieces on par with or more difficult than Beethoven's Waldstein this way. At a certain level, my brain just can't visualize any more musical texture without actually hitting the keys. When I began to practice this skill, (five years ago) my 'free visualization limit' (that's what I call it) was Clementi Sonatinas. So, I've certainly improved and continue to get better at it with practice.


Hey Pete, Does it matter if you do this hands seperate. I find it is pretty easy to learn away from the piano if I start hands seperate for even complex music? With hands seperate even complex music becomes much simpler, making it easier to learn without even touching the keyboard.


Hi Stan, yes it matters! Hands seperate practice (HSP) is very good for isolating parameters that if prematurely combined, make the task of practice unnecessarily difficult. HSP is also needed to avoid favoring one hand over the other (I would go as far to suggest that pianists should take a few minutes each day and practice writing (words) with the wrong hand!).

I like to practice a piece by listening to a great recording, reading the score and trying my best to play one hand's part on a sofa cushion. This usually translates to a solid and relaxed frame of mind and body for the first reading at the piano.

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Pete


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:12 am 
Hands seperate is very easy for me. Putting both hands together especially for pieces like a Bach fugue can be a real workout! I usually repeat the hands together as slow as possible untill it sinks in.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:37 am 
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I think the best way is to read the score on the couch. Try to memorize a few bars, and then go to the piano and try to play what you have just learned. Then go back to the couch and review what you just tried to play, or go onto the next few bars. You will be surprised what parts of the music your brain 'leaves out' when you try this method the first time, but in the end you will also be amazed at your capacity to learn long and difficult works very quickly. This method is good because is forces you to memorize a piece without too much influence from finger memory.
An interesting point about this system: sometimes you will be able to memorize up to 20 bars in a minute and at other times it will take you 20 minutes to memorize one bar. Either way, you are forced to analyze the music and make it more meaningful and understandable to yourself right from the beginning of the learning process.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:56 pm 
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ben wrote:
I think the best way is to read the score on the couch. Try to memorize a few bars, and then go to the piano and try to play what you have just learned. Then go back to the couch and review what you just tried to play, or go onto the next few bars. You will be surprised what parts of the music your brain 'leaves out' when you try this method the first time, but in the end you will also be amazed at your capacity to learn long and difficult works very quickly. This method is good because is forces you to memorize a piece without too much influence from finger memory.
An interesting point about this system: sometimes you will be able to memorize up to 20 bars in a minute and at other times it will take you 20 minutes to memorize one bar. Either way, you are forced to analyze the music and make it more meaningful and understandable to yourself right from the beginning of the learning process.


I agree completely, Ben. (Not to say that all pianists can/should learn this way; everybody is different). The pianist's brains have to be straightened out BEFORE the fingers can reliably follow orders.

Stop, look and think about it. :wink:
Pete


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:02 am 
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Quote:
The pianist's brains have to be straightened out BEFORE the fingers can reliably follow orders.

Stop, look and think about it. :wink:
Pete


I don't know how true it is or not, but I've heard stories in the past about traveling concert artists who could learn pieces on the plane and in hotel rooms during their travels by just looking at the score and mentally rehearsing what the fingers would do.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:48 am 
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Nicole wrote:
Quote:
The pianist's brains have to be straightened out BEFORE the fingers can reliably follow orders.

Stop, look and think about it. :wink:
Pete


I don't know how true it is or not, but I've heard stories in the past about traveling concert artists who could learn pieces on the plane and in hotel rooms during their travels by just looking at the score and mentally rehearsing what the fingers would do.


I believe it! I can do that with simple pieces. It's a learned skill. As with any learned skill, it helps to regularly practice it.

Try this. Away from the piano, visualize a short sequence of notes and/or chords. It doesn't matter what, just make something up. Then, go to the piano and play the sequence. (If you can't, the sequence is too long or complicated; make up a simpler one.) You can do the same exercise with a very simple piece on sheet music. A gradual increase of the complexity and length of the pieces to be learned sans piano keeps it challenging.

Anyway, methinks it makes a fun game for students.
Pete


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:51 pm 
Nicole wrote:
Quote:
The pianist's brains have to be straightened out BEFORE the fingers can reliably follow orders.

Stop, look and think about it. :wink:
Pete


I don't know how true it is or not, but I've heard stories in the past about traveling concert artists who could learn pieces on the plane and in hotel rooms during their travels by just looking at the score and mentally rehearsing what the fingers would do.


I do belief it works. I do this a lot in the train and at school (especially during maths lessons, because those lessons are a waste of time. (No, I don't say maths is a waste of time!))
If other people see this, they always look like 'What is she doing?' Some people even ask it. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:53 pm 
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I do the same. I usually completely forget to study the pieces I had to learn for my piano lesson, so I just bring them all to school and then I practice them without actually playing them. It works quite well for me, and I save lots of time doing it this way.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:04 am 
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Studying a piece away from the keyboard can also keep an injury from happening. Sitting at the piano for hours on end is a great way to a backache! :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:14 pm 
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You know I agree with this 100%. Although I use to travel on the bus and I had plenty of time to learn music while taking the bus. I find these days I just don't have that time anymore :)

Do you also spend a certain amount of time practicing sight reading? I personally find developing both skills helpful in general for playing music.


PJF wrote:
Studying a piece away from the keyboard can also keep an injury from happening. Sitting at the piano for hours on end is a great way to a backache! :lol:


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 Post subject: Practice Tips
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:11 pm
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Location: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Hello

I have recently found this resource on the web with some good tips about practicing:

www.pianofundamentals.com

- or -

http://members.aol.com/chang8828/contents.htm


It is a book by Chuan C. Chang (Fundamentals of Piano Practice) that he has made available free on the web with some very good pointers on this subject matter; I'm not sure I agree with what he says 100% of the time but it sure gives you some very nice food for thought.

Marcelo


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:47 pm 
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s_winitsky wrote:
You know I agree with this 100%. Although I use to travel on the bus and I had plenty of time to learn music while taking the bus. I find these days I just don't have that time anymore :)

Do you also spend a certain amount of time practicing sight reading? I personally find developing both skills helpful in general for playing music.


PJF wrote:
Studying a piece away from the keyboard can also keep an injury from happening. Sitting at the piano for hours on end is a great way to a backache! :lol:


Yes, if I don't practice sight reading at least a couple times a week, I notice myself slipping. Case in point, my recent (butchered, IMO) recording of a Beethoven sonata showed some egregious sight-reading errors, like misreading a key signature or ignoring dynamical marks. Oy, vey!

Oh well. If we expect to improve or maintain, what can we do except the right thing? Skills don't grow on trees you know, but they grow just as slow.

The best way to study a piece??? I'm gonna put this in a large font...

HONESTLY & THOROUGHLY!

How easily we forget. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:43 pm 
For me I shorten the piece by finding all the common passages and noting on the sheet the variations - remembering the variations in order seem to make the rest automatic. There is so much repitition in pieces, that a 7 pager can quickly become a 4 pager by taking a few moments to analyze. This takes some pressure right off the top. I usually leave out the ornamentation and just get the basic melody down, and then it just seems to add itself back it naturally when the time is right.

Also, I take a new piece, simplify it down to its basic structure , and then start filling in the details after I'm familiar enough with it. Once you have structure, you find it easy to pace yourself as you fill it back in.

Fantasie Impromptu is the perfect example of repetition gone mad.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:33 pm 
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ctcrmcou wrote:
For me I shorten the piece by finding all the common passages and noting on the sheet the variations - remembering the variations in order seem to make the rest automatic. There is so much repitition in pieces, that a 7 pager can quickly become a 4 pager by taking a few moments to analyze. This takes some pressure right off the top. I usually leave out the ornamentation and just get the basic melody down, and then it just seems to add itself back it naturally when the time is right.

Also, I take a new piece, simplify it down to its basic structure , and then start filling in the details after I'm familiar enough with it. Once you have structure, you find it easy to pace yourself as you fill it back in.

Fantasie Impromptu is the perfect example of repetition gone mad.


You're absolutely right. Finding common denominators is extremely helpful!


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