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#1002419 - 06/21/04 02:31 PM Practice - what's yours like?
plays88skeys Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
Just wondering if anyone has a set practice routine that they follow, and if so, how has that worked for you?

I do Hanon as a warmup, followed by scales in the key signatures of the pieces I'm studying and 10 minutes of cold sight reading. Working on problem areas in the pieces I'm studying comes next, then playing the whole piece through at whatever tempo is comfortable, then I cap off the practice with something already committed to memory. All this is about an hour's work. It's a good week if I do this 3-4 times. I almost never get to the piano on weekends.

Is this enough? I have a terrible lack of self discipline. Good intentions fall by the wayside frequently, yet intellectually I know that regular practice leads to success.

What's it like for you?
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills

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#1002420 - 06/21/04 02:35 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
sister... you are disciplined. That is an excellent idea to play the scales of the pieces you practice....more later.. I get to practice.
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#1002421 - 06/21/04 03:19 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I usually warm up with some scales, arpeggios, and some Hanon type stuff my teacher showed me. I try to keep this to under 10 minutes as I find it extremely boring(big surprise). Then I run through the pieces I am learning at whatever tempo I can manage. I will site read for about 10 minutes if I can squeeze out the extra time. Total practice time 30-60 minutes depending on how much else is going on in our busy house.
Also, I have started recording my pieces to see what they sound like and to hopefully make them more musical as I improve.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

#1002422 - 06/21/04 03:43 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
Toddler2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 877
Loc: Hillsborough, NC
You are better than me, of course I'm only at month 4 of lessons, so there isn't much to play yet.

I do 30 minutes a day, and another 15-20minutes made of up just playing my baby sized pieces one or two times every time I pass the piano. So maybe 5+5+30+5. I only do scales and arpegios (SP?) during the 30 minute one. I find that doing this has me whistling or thinking about the pieces fairly frequently.

M&H AA (2006)

#1002423 - 06/21/04 03:47 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
Cindysphinx Offline

Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Mmmm, it depends. If I'm preparing for recital, I'll play the difficult parts of the piece a few times, then play the whole thing slowly with metronome, then play the whole thing up to temp. Then I'll glance nervously at my Hanon book and scales lying in the corner and blow them off in favor of playing my piece again and again. If it's a weekend, I'll then reward myself with a ton of sight reading simple Broadway show tunes.

If I'm learning a new piece, then I'll warm up with Hanon and whichever scale we're doing. Then I'll work on the new piece. I might play an old piece for old times' sake. I usually can't tackle more than a line or two a week of a new piece -- this piano thing is *hard,* you know?

Total time when I'm a good girl -- 45 minutes to an hour

Total time when I'm a lazy bag of bones -- 0

Cindy -- who wishes she had practiced consistently over the years because she'd be a lot more advanced
Vote For Cindy!!


#1002424 - 06/21/04 04:11 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
Phlebas Offline

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
I try to practice about 2 hours a day - one hour in the early morning, and one hour in the evening.
Try to map out what I need to work on ahead of time, so my practicing can be more efficient.

I'm usually working on about 3 or 4 pieces at a time, so I limit my practice to about 1/2 hr on each piece. If I'm really focusing on a specific piece - like now I just started Chopin Etude op10#10 - I practice it for an hour.
If I have time, I do a little sightreading or improvising.

In general, I don't practice scales or technical exercises.

#1002425 - 06/21/04 08:47 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I just love to practice. I live to practice. At times when I lived alone I'd practice 100 hrs. a week. Now I am lucky to play for 90 minutes.

I have a church accompanist job for a choir/ensemble and play weddings. I must practice that music and I first figure out the fingerings, then start out very slowly... If I make a mistake I practice that measure and the ones before and after it 10 times each. Then I start going faster and faster, till the rhythm and structural skeleton of the music is evident. Then I play the hands separately, then together, slowly then up to speed, and finally I sing and arrange it for who or what I'm playing for.. develop the musicality I guess for performance.

Then I get to practice my classical pieces...

I have about 20 big pieces that I have been working on for about 20 years. (my supposed professional repertoire, for the possibility of the playing for an audience or teacher or an excellent pianist) I practice frenetically, with great determination and strength, but very little discipline or structure. Most of things I practice are etudish or way too difficult, and I make little sub-etudes and variations within the music, to practice certain techniques that I haven't mastered or been exposed to..to imagine being a composer, to create little tunes. I just have a good time, keep madness at bay, and burn a little energy, that would otherwise be ill spent.
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#1002426 - 06/21/04 09:27 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
I adhere to the Abby Whiteside school along with many others who say that playing scales are almost a complete waste of time. As an adult beginner I don't have time to waste. Warm ups are devoted to playing Bach minuets, and now finally Invention number 1. Bach has plenty of scales that are combined with musicality. I have no time limit on practicing a piece. I usually focus on a difficult passage from a piece I want to play and practice that until I can do with with the metronome, which has almost miraculous effects for me. I might spend a half hour on a difficult passage or just 10 minutes on a new piece I am familiarizing myself with. Once I am able to get to the metronome stage of a piece the music begins.
_ _ ___________________________ _ _
"There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing." Beverly Sills

#1002427 - 06/22/04 03:54 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Hey Abby Whiteside, you are the gal for me. To he*& with those silly scales.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

#1002428 - 06/23/04 02:30 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
Hammerklavier Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 46
I start my practice with scales and arpeggios in selected keys. Then, I'll move on to Hanon - an exercise a week. I will usually do 5-10 min of sight reading before proceeding to work on assigned short studies and longer elementary repertoire. The above is accomplished in 1 or 2 sessions and this may well take up to 2, 3 hours depending on how intensive I want it to be.

#1002429 - 06/23/04 02:32 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
Hammerklavier Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 46

#1002430 - 06/25/04 12:45 AM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
warming up with Bach's inventions is always a good idea to me, and then move on learning new pieces.

#1002431 - 07/04/04 05:03 PM Re: Practice - what's yours like?
Steve B. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/04
Posts: 7
Loc: Southern California
I start with scales (I know 11 so far), five times for each scale. Then I play the I, IV, and V7 chords for the first 5 scales I learned (I haven't learned the chord fingering for the rest of the scales yet). Then I move on to Hanon (I only know four exercises so far, so it doesn't take very long to get through them all). Then, I work with the week's assignment from the lesson book, and on the songs I'm currently working. I try to keep it all to an hour, but it usually goes an hour and a half. I try to practice every day, but some days I shorten the session if I run out of time.


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