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How do you build "piano endurance?" #1425517
04/27/10 07:19 PM
04/27/10 07:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,224
CebuKid Offline OP
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CebuKid  Offline OP
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Hanon exercises, scales? ...just playing the piece over-and-over again?

Here's my problem. For my recital piece, I can play the D strain just fine by itself, but after playing in this order (by strain):

A-A-B-B-A-C-C-D.....D

...just as most of Joplin's rags are played, my arms are so fatigued by that last "D-strain", that I make lots of flubs - especially on the fast left-hand octaves.

I play this rag at what I'd call a medium tempo, which probably contributes to my fatigue. I don't want to play an "abbreviated version" for the recital though. What should I do to build up my endurance? ...should I go out for a jog? (lol)


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Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: CebuKid] #1425536
04/27/10 07:50 PM
04/27/10 07:50 PM
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not in Japan anymore
ShiroKuro Offline
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(assuming that you are not talking about playing a 3 hour piece of music, though if you are, disregard the following).

Fatigue probably comes from a combination of things.

1) Tension. Try to get rid of the tension that you may have in your arms as you play (you may not be aware of it, but that's one of the biggest causes of fatigue).

2) Improve your posture and overall playing position (this will also help with number 1). As part of this, make sure your bench is high enough.

3) Concentration. If you just concentrate on one thing, you should be less tired than if you're trying to think about several things at once. So for example, do not critique yourself as you play. Only think about the music, and just hear what you're playing, don't also try to listen for how you want to play.

4) Stamina, which might not be an issue if you solve the above. If D the most demanding section of the piece? (I don't play ragtime). If it is, work on playing just that repeatedly, work on releasing tension in your hands/arms/neck/shoulders while you're playing. Also work on releasing tension just before your start that section. If you're playing A-A-B-B-A-C-C-D.....D That's 9 sections. Try playing D 9 times. Or 5. Or play C-C-D-D 5 times.

5) Time and how you spend it. Forgetting my joking at the beginning of this post, how long is the piece (in minutes). The first time I ever played something that was over 5 minutes, it was really hard to get to the point where I could play the whole thing from beginning to end without slipping up somewhere, even though I could play all the individual sections fine. It wasn't physical fatigue, but mental fatigue. One thing that helped was for me to make a story out of the sections. You might try that here. So give each letter an actual name. Let's say you decide you're music is a love story, each letter is one step in the story. So instead of section A, say it's the "boy meets girl section." Then, instead of playing A-A-B-B-A-C-C-D.....D you'll be playing "Boy meets girl, boy meets girl again. Boy asks girl out. Boy asks girl out again. Boy meets girl again. Boy and girl have an argument. Boy and girl have an argument again. Boy and girl make-up. Boy and girl make-up again." Now you're moving through a story instead of moving through the alphabet.

Ok, that's pretty silly, but hopefully you get the idea.

Good luck!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: ShiroKuro] #1425577
04/27/10 09:06 PM
04/27/10 09:06 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 192
Central California
Susan K. Offline
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Then, instead of playing A-A-B-B-A-C-C-D.....D you'll be playing "Boy meets girl, boy meets girl again. Boy asks girl out. Boy asks girl out again. Boy meets girl again. Boy and girl have an argument. Boy and girl have an argument again. Boy and girl make-up. Boy and girl make-up again." Now you're moving through a story instead of moving through the alphabet.

Ok, that's pretty silly, but hopefully you get the idea.

Good luck!


That's brilliant! I'm going to try it!

Susan


Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: Susan K.] #1425579
04/27/10 09:08 PM
04/27/10 09:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 192
Central California
Susan K. Offline
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Also, I second the #1 reason of Shiro. Tension. If you learn how to relax your shoulders and wrists when you play and allow gravity to help you play, you'll not only find the you have more stamina, but also your speed might pick up.

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: Susan K.] #1425606
04/27/10 09:52 PM
04/27/10 09:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
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Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Tension is building up as the other posters have said. Usually it's just a little bit here and there, but without release, it gets worse the longer the piece is. I would actually practice this piece a lot slower, making sure you relax your fingers when they are not playing a note, or relaxing the entire hand in between octaves or big chords.

Gradually increase the speed as you are able to play through the whole piece without tension build-up. This will also help you "tune in " to when you are building up tension. Finding those spots that cause this in the piece can help you focus on just keeping those areas relaxed.


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Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: Morodiene] #1425626
04/27/10 10:30 PM
04/27/10 10:30 PM
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Rui725 Offline
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Suppleness of the hands is key, and to achieve this relaxation is needed. I found going through Hanon/scale, very slowly and focusing on maintaining the suppleness made it much easier to play longer times as well as achieving desired velocity. So its a bit counter intuitive, and as Morodiene pointed out, focusing on the area where the tension rises and practicing that section slowly will rid the tension. I also used to hunch over to look at the music closely, but I decided to shed some money and buy some nice Urtext with big, clear scores. This fixed my posture and by sitting up straight, my arms and hands really relaxed.

My left hand builds tension much easier than my right, so currently I do a lot of left hand only warm ups that consists of very slow, even scales and exercises, and focusing on keeping the hand as supple and relaxed as possible. It has really helped.

Last edited by Rui725; 04/27/10 10:35 PM.
Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: Rui725] #1425671
04/28/10 01:04 AM
04/28/10 01:04 AM
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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In ragtime your wrist should go up on the bass note and diagonally to the right arriving over the chord with hand hanging, then drop the weight, flop then lift and drop/flop for the second chord. Move the resultant low wrist left to the next bass note and do again. In this way you transcribe a large oval. If your wrist goes up and down on the bass and the chords, you're using too much effort. If your wrists don't move at all there's too much tension.


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: keyboardklutz] #1425832
04/28/10 10:09 AM
04/28/10 10:09 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 17
Prague Czech republic
kovarex Offline
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I have question on related topic, how do I recognize in time, that I should pracitse less to avoid accident.

I practised 4 and half hours today, mostly technique to get my hands in shape, and I feel some kind of pressure(not pain, but also not so far from it) in my forearm.

I know it is important to play relaxed, to avoid any tension, I try to concentrate on that also.

Last edited by kovarex; 04/28/10 10:35 AM.

I'm currently working on:

Beethoven - Pathetique Movement 1
Chopoin Etude Op. 10 No. 3
Bohuslav Martinů: Foxtrot (1920)
Requiem for a dream
Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: kovarex] #1425836
04/28/10 10:16 AM
04/28/10 10:16 AM
Joined: May 2007
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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Practice 45 minutes, have 15 minutes out. That's how an army marches all day. That is if your technique is good.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: keyboardklutz] #1425855
04/28/10 10:38 AM
04/28/10 10:38 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 17
Prague Czech republic
kovarex Offline
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Prague Czech republic
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Practice 45 minutes, have 15 minutes out. That's how an army marches all day. That is if your technique is good.


Until I will get used to playing a lot, or forever?

Last edited by kovarex; 04/28/10 10:38 AM.

I'm currently working on:

Beethoven - Pathetique Movement 1
Chopoin Etude Op. 10 No. 3
Bohuslav Martinů: Foxtrot (1920)
Requiem for a dream
Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: kovarex] #1425863
04/28/10 10:44 AM
04/28/10 10:44 AM
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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Forever.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: keyboardklutz] #1425964
04/28/10 12:58 PM
04/28/10 12:58 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,224
CebuKid Offline OP
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I noticed that I get tense when I have to play 16th notes octaves. I think I'll have to focus on just this area of that 4th strain, and practice those left hand octaves with minimal tension and supple wrists.

Thanks for the tips, everyone! smile


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Scott Joplin Repertoire


Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach


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Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: CebuKid] #1425988
04/28/10 01:49 PM
04/28/10 01:49 PM
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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Here's your problem. The fingers you are not using are stuck in the air totally tense.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: keyboardklutz] #1426066
04/28/10 04:14 PM
04/28/10 04:14 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
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CebuKid Offline OP
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Ah, yes. That's from my "Bethena" video from 6 months ago or so. I was extremely tense in that one. I have softened up a bit since that time, but still "catch myself" tense at times.

Thanks keyboardklutz. I will do octave exercises and work on NOT being tense.

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: CebuKid] #1426281
04/28/10 11:54 PM
04/28/10 11:54 PM
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Even though a finger isn't needed it should still be touching a key. There is a sense of using your whole hand to play but directed at the playing finger(s).


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: keyboardklutz] #1426406
04/29/10 08:30 AM
04/29/10 08:30 AM
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Pump ivory.

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: pianoloverus] #1426413
04/29/10 08:38 AM
04/29/10 08:38 AM
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If you're playing a rag, I think not repeating one or more of the sections is a good idea if it helps reduce tesnion in your arm(s) by the time you get to the D strain. As your technique improves, hopefully with help from your teacher, you can play every repeat.

Re: How do you build "piano endurance?" [Re: pianoloverus] #1426442
04/29/10 09:43 AM
04/29/10 09:43 AM
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Stanza Offline
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Another aspect of endurance is taking advantage of resting points. Look through your music and identify rests, fermatas, long notes, etc. that might give you a little "oasis" to briefly rest before proceeding.


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