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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1585889
12/28/10 05:53 PM
12/28/10 05:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 7,027
Italy
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casinitaly  Offline

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Italy
Amy it is great that you have pieces that are "challenging enough" for you. There are times when simple pieces just make us feel babyish, but the material we'd like to play is still way beyond our skills - finding something enjoyable that is playable and just enough of a challenge is a delicate balance!

Glad you have some good ideas to work with from this thread!
Good luck


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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: david_a] #1585993
12/28/10 08:53 PM
12/28/10 08:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
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Andromaque Offline
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Originally Posted by david_a


Due to dis-satisfaction or embarrassment or whatever, many adult students keep on "moving the goalposts" so that they can avoid ever walking onto the stage. Such a plan does not serve them well.


You are too rigid about that. Not everyone wants to be on stage, neither should they frankly.. I hate amateur recitals.. Why bother when you can hear the music played a million times better?? Now for those (and their teachers)who get a kick or a sense of achievement out of it, that is fine..
It does not necessarily imply that non-performers cannot develop their musicianship ..

This subject irritates me to no end. I know we have exchanged some thoughts about it before but I still don't get your rationale. And it does touch a nerve for me, because my own teacher is in constant nagging mode about this. I figure if I can convince you, I might have a chance with him. smile

Sorry if this is detracting from the topic of this thread. Obviously here is a situation where Amy really wants to perform, in which case your advice is well taken..

Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: Andromaque] #1585998
12/28/10 09:01 PM
12/28/10 09:01 PM
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Posts: 16,642
Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Originally Posted by david_a


Due to dis-satisfaction or embarrassment or whatever, many adult students keep on "moving the goalposts" so that they can avoid ever walking onto the stage. Such a plan does not serve them well.


You are too rigid about that. Not everyone wants to be on stage, neither should they frankly.. I hate amateur recitals.. Why bother when you can hear the music played a million times better?? Now for those (and their teachers)who get a kick or a sense of achievement out of it, that is fine..
It does not necessarily imply that non-performers cannot develop their musicianship ..

This subject irritates me to no end. I know we have exchanged some thoughts about it before but I still don't get your rationale. And it does touch a nerve for me, because my own teacher is in constant nagging mode about this. I figure if I can convince you, I might have a chance with him. smile

Sorry if this is detracting from the topic of this thread. Obviously here is a situation where Amy really wants to perform, in which case your advice is well taken..


I have had different opinions on this and will probably continue to waffle. I always encourage my adults to participate in recitals, and will always encourage them. The reason being is that having a specific goal and deadline really is great for milestones. If they are embarrassed to play in front of a large group, then they can play at adult group lessons (which consists of 3-4 adults) and participate in music festivals where it's just them and the judge in the room. Having such milestones really allows students to see their accomplishments and to feel like they are progressing. Having that goal and going for it does wonders to increase their self-confidence.

However, I don't push. Sometimes I know that there are those who have no desire to perform. They are driven internally and simply want to work on pieces and enjoy them alone or along family and friends in informal gatherings. I can respect that.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1586031
12/28/10 10:04 PM
12/28/10 10:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,264
Melbourne, Australia
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There is a saying about the difference between student and professional musicians. Students practising until they get it right. Professionals practise until they can never get it wrong.

This makes me think of altering the way I practise. Places where I tend to hit the wrong notes, I'll need to find a way to practise it to the point that I cannot get it wrong. It also makes me think of the way I memorize a piece, to find a way that I won't have "blackouts" when nervous. I tend to relay a lot on "muscle memory". So when I'm nervous it affects my playing. perhaps I need to go further and understand the piece more.

Hmmm... I might talk to my teacher about this in the next lesson and see what tips he can offer.



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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1586060
12/28/10 11:02 PM
12/28/10 11:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 476
Roswell, GA, USA
F
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You may want to consider what we are all trying to do when playing the piano relative to what the human hand is meant to do. For the first 99.99+ percent of human existence, there was no such thing as a keyboard instrument. Our hands were designed to grasp objects, gather food, and carry children. None of this required independent hand movement. Now along comes the piano, and we want to not only move our fingers independently, we want the right and left hands to do this simultaneously while doing two different motions - and this all needs to happen in a precise rhythm, with a precise acceleration and stroke, and to happen fairly quickly. When you think about all that, the surprising part is not that we make mistakes, but that any of us can do this at all.

Any teacher can tell you the average rate that a student will progress, and can also tell you that there is an enormous variation between individuals. Some students will be playing early intermediate music in six months, others in three years. I have a daughter who started lessons shortly before I did, and she is somewhat amused by my slow progress, since she is able to progress more quickly than I do with about a third as much practice time. One of the reasons that I'm an adult beginner is that I have a talented sister, and as a child when I compared my rate of progress to hers, I determined that I was hopeless and gave up. If it makes you feel any better, you're progressing more quickly than I am. I started a little later than you did, and am just finishing up Piano Adventures level 2A, while it sounds like you are about done with 2B.


We all get frustrated, and this is a good place to vent. Just realize what you are going through is normal for someone of average talent. There are some out there who just have a gift for piano and will progress more rapidly, but not all of us do.


Piano self teaching on and off from 2002-2008. Took piano instruction from Nov 2008- Feb 2011. Took guitar instruction Feb 2011-Jul 2013. Can't play either. Living, breathing proof some people aren't cut out to make music.
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: Tubbie0075] #1586063
12/28/10 11:05 PM
12/28/10 11:05 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,393
Beautiful San Diego, CA
eweiss Offline
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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
I want the answer to this question too!

The answer's easy - stop playing other people's music and you won't hit any wrong notes. smile


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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: Tubbie0075] #1586068
12/28/10 11:27 PM
12/28/10 11:27 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,913
D
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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
This makes me think of altering the way I practise. Places where I tend to hit the wrong notes, I'll need to find a way to practise it to the point that I cannot get it wrong.
This part has a solution. It is not "getting to the point" where you don't get it wrong, but simply never getting it wrong in the first place. That may sound like a terrible burden, but it isn't. Just play your first few tries slowly enough that you can very easily play everything correctly. That may mean a snail's pace, but who cares? Even if it takes you forty minutes to play a page, that doesn't matter.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: Andromaque] #1586079
12/29/10 12:00 AM
12/29/10 12:00 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,913
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Originally Posted by Andromaque

You are too rigid about that. Not everyone wants to be on stage, neither should they frankly.. I hate amateur recitals.. Why bother when you can hear the music played a million times better?? Now for those (and their teachers)who get a kick or a sense of achievement out of it, that is fine..
It does not necessarily imply that non-performers cannot develop their musicianship ..

This subject irritates me to no end. I know we have exchanged some thoughts about it before but I still don't get your rationale. And it does touch a nerve for me, because my own teacher is in constant nagging mode about this. I figure if I can convince you, I might have a chance with him. smile
Developing your musicianship is pointless. You can hear it a million times better on recordings. The only reason any of us do this anymore is other people.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1586112
12/29/10 12:48 AM
12/29/10 12:48 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,886
New York
Andromaque Offline
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New York
I do it for my own pleasure. So do all the rest of you.. Some need the pleasure (or adulation) of others too.

Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1586146
12/29/10 01:36 AM
12/29/10 01:36 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 25
P
paquijote Offline
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The key, I believe, is simple but difficult: preparation of the fingers over the right notes, and slow, FOCUSED (key word!)practice. As mentioned above, if your fingers are above the right keys, you cannot miss.

david_a, could you explain why developing musicianship is pointless? If you are a piano teacher, are you teaching your students to simply strike keys in a mechanical fashion, with no understanding of the musical context and why what they are playing sounds, or should sound, as it does? Please let me know, I am a bit confused!

EDIT: grin Nevermind, I read your other posts and see that it was said in sarcasm....

Last edited by paquijote; 12/29/10 01:39 AM.
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1586416
12/29/10 01:38 PM
12/29/10 01:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,886
New York
Andromaque Offline
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Andromaque  Offline
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New York
sarcasm of the highly useful variety too...

Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: Andromaque] #1586703
12/29/10 07:57 PM
12/29/10 07:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,494
Santa Fe, NM
J
jotur Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,494
Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted by Andromaque
sarcasm of the highly useful variety too...


smile

Cathy


Cathy
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Practice what you suck at - anonymous
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1587103
12/30/10 10:24 AM
12/30/10 10:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,206
Rocky Mountains
R
rnaple Offline

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R

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,206
Rocky Mountains
Hi Amy...
Another point of view to perhaps help you.

Yes pro's goof up. Just go look at utube: Diana Kroll doing Temptation at a Jazz Festival. As one commenter put it: What a pro. She stuck her fist in it and recovered like a pro.
If you want to see it done perfect. Another copy of the same thing there.

Also... I'll never forget when I was a kid. Went to school band contest. Did a solo. Kid after kid came out saying "no"... she's really tough (the judge). I got all anxious and thought I had to play perfect. Doh! (bad mistake) I went in there. Started all anxious. Then fell apart 4 bars into the piece. Stopped. Then started again at that point playing the way I knew how. Just played music. Even ended it witha little toot toot. Figured I didn't have anything to loose? I had already goofed it up completely. Went outside and sat on the grass waiting for it all to end so I could go home on the bus. Little while later my band director came by and told me I had won a first rating!? I looked at him funny. Told me to go the the table and get my medal. I was bewildered. Went to the table. The lady handed me a medal and my judging sheet. I opened the sheet and...written across it in big letters was: "I enjoyed it". Was still bewildered. Couldn't believe it. Went over and sat under a tree and thought about it.
Now kid after kid went in there and got "gonged". They were trying to copy perfect and she killed them. I went in there and stopped and played music. And she gave me the only first rating on a solo in my school. (perhaps the only first rating on a solo in the entire contest) Quartets and such got some first ratings. But no other solo that I knew of.
I really had to think. It quickly became obvious to me that she wanted music. She did not want perfect copy that wasn't music. Thought about my band director who loved music. I began to realize that what "they" want is music. They don't give a didily about mistakes. They want music.

I think perhaps we try to keep using the wrong part of our mind when trying to learn. We just try to copy. When we forget to just make music. We patronize that piano expecting it to result in music. It won't! We must take it to heart. Make love to that keyboard. Play it. Command that instrument. Creat music. The instrument ain't gonna make music if we just sit there and ask it to. When we get into the frame of mind of making music. The anxiety leaves and we are freed to remember, to hit the right keys, to perform. What we are doing is much much more than just hitting the right keys at the right time.

Last edited by rnaple; 12/30/10 05:46 PM.

Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1587153
12/30/10 12:31 PM
12/30/10 12:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,494
Santa Fe, NM
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Santa Fe, NM
+ a million, Ron! Nice post -

Cathy


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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1587393
12/30/10 06:09 PM
12/30/10 06:09 PM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 58
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T

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hey, as in jazz, a "wrong" note is only a half-step away from a right note!! Just consider it a "passing tone".

Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1587410
12/30/10 06:34 PM
12/30/10 06:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 774
Canada
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I read a comment somewhere about Chet Baker's trumpet playing, the thing that was so amazing was that he'd hit a wrong note, but then he'd somehow make the rest of the solo fit so that by the time he got to the end, he'd turned it into a right note. (& I would SO love to be able to make that happen on piano when I hit a wrong note!)


Carol
(Started playing July 2008)

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Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: rnaple] #1587658
12/31/10 08:07 AM
12/31/10 08:07 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 8
PA
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PA
Thanks Ron, I enjoyed reading that. Made me think about my son in his last recital. He played an advanced piece. I thought he was wonderful and I could hardly keep from crying I was just fit to bust. He said later "I really messed that up." Huh? I didn't hear it, I don't think anyone else did.

However, my pieces are still pretty simple so it's hard to do much with them at my level.That's one reason why I am anxious to get more advanced.

The main reason I'd like to get over my fear of playing for others is I'd love to be able to play at church and/or the nursing homes some day when I can play for people to sing along to. Long way down the road but thought I should start conquering my fears now.

Happy New Year,
Amy


Amy
Sugarpine
PA
"Ask the animals, and they will teach you...For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of all humanity." (Job 12:7a,10, NLT)
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1587665
12/31/10 08:47 AM
12/31/10 08:47 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 73
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Hi Amy & everyone,

There is much good advice here and makes very interesting reading.

I was in your situation for some time.

I'm unable to give you any technical advice but I'll tell you what I did. I went and played piano in some nursing homes for about 3 years before I did any serious (classical music) contest or recital playing. I didn't play classical pieces at the nursing homes, I played songs from the 30's, 40's, 50's & 60's. After 3 years of playing at the nursing homes, my confidence really hit the roof because everyone there is either talking, yelling out, watching tv, the staff are walking round handing out coffee and anyone listening is usually strapped to their chairs anyway so they're not going anywhere and you have an instant audience.

Of course I still get nervous and concerned before hand but I'm able to control it so much that when I get up to play my nerves and wrong notes are almost none-existent.

Best,

Anthony.


Beethoven, the Best.
Re: Why do I always hit the wrong notes, when does it get better [Re: sugarpineamy] #1587917
12/31/10 04:37 PM
12/31/10 04:37 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
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Bulgaria
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It gets a lot easier as you practice. As others suggested it should be slow practice and also hands separate. Do not play the piece hands together until you feel confident and you learned the notes in both hands. Eventually you will face more problems that are far more important than hitting the right notes and you'll see that hitting the notes was the easiest part laugh


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