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#1987410 - 11/16/12 11:40 AM Making Practice Count  
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 31
jaredm2012 Offline
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jaredm2012  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 31
Alabama
So I figure that a lot of you can relate to me on this, that sometimes you just don't have much time to spend practicing. I'm a university student in my 5th (and final!) year, so sometimes schoolwork and other obligations become pretty crazy and I just can't seem to find time to diligently practice. For instance, this last week I had a few tests and quizzes and a big project due, so I'm going into my lesson today with maybe one hour of practice since the last one.

When you guys are faced with times like that, where for a few weeks you just can't practice like you'd want to, how do you make it count?

I don't seem to accomplish much with short practices; I'd rather just take an hour or two block of time and really work some things out. But in those times where I might be able to find 20 minutes to practice before something else comes calling, what is a good way to spend that time? I find that often I'm not even fully warmed up by the time it is over!

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#1987428 - 11/16/12 12:31 PM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: Apr 2009
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malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
Focus on one small thing.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#1987432 - 11/16/12 12:44 PM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: Apr 2009
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dmd Offline
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dmd  Offline
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Pennsylvania
I would suggest picking a spot in something you are working on that is difficult for you and just playing that small passage over and over until it smooths out. That way you should feel, rightfully so, that you have actually improved something that needed improvement.


Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur
#1987477 - 11/16/12 02:30 PM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 137
Cookie74 Offline
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Cookie74  Offline
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 137
California
Depends on what you want to improve.

Sight reading--use the time to go through pieces that you are unfamiliar with and sight read them.
Speed/Agility--do scales, arpeggios, broken chords and other exercises (not much fun, though)
Learning a Piece--do what dmd suggests.
Jazz--work on reading a lead sheet and improvising off of it.


" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

--Ludwig van Beethoven
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#1987518 - 11/16/12 04:23 PM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: Dec 2009
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PaperClip Offline
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PaperClip  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 525
Amsterdam, Holland
If there isn't much time to practise, then there is also a lot of concentration spend on other things. Leaving almost no concentration for good learning. At least, that's me.

Doing scales works good. The bad thing about scales - it's dull and no fun - turns out to be a good thing in those times. It takes less switching of focus, less energy. And there are many notes played, giving a good feeling to the ears afterwards that I actually did something in a limited time period.

Unless there isn't time to practise, I don't do scales. So I guess doing scales makes it count.


Chris

Playing since May 02 2009
#1987530 - 11/16/12 05:00 PM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,393
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014
Bobpickle  Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,393
Cameron Park, California
you could always find little bits of time away from the piano to practice (before bed, while traveling, etc.) assuming you can carry around your sheet music with you. See a nice article here (under "memorization"): http://grahamfitch.com/articles.htm


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1987698 - 11/17/12 03:55 AM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: Jun 2005
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Derulux Offline
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Derulux  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
It's been said already, but I'll put it another way. At first, it sounds completely opposite to traditional/engrained thinking, but if you have very little time to work with, it's the most efficient way to work. The idea is this: do as little as possible. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#1987939 - 11/17/12 08:32 PM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: Bobpickle]  
Joined: Mar 2012
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justpin Offline
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justpin  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 504
Holmes Chapel
Bob, carrying around sheet music is dangerous!

My typical day. I wake up and my Casio is in the corner, it gets a quick finger drill to warm up my day...... this sometimes makes me late.

I then go to my main work place (I work in numerous places and always go to the Hub in the morning) and have to walk past a baby grand.... go to my briefing, grab my papers, plans and do some printing, pass the baby grand on the way out.

I work at 6 different sites. At site #1, #4 and #5 there are pianos in various states of repair...

If I carried sheet music I would never get any work done!

#1988079 - 11/18/12 10:21 AM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,477
zrtf90 Offline
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zrtf90  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,477
Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted by jaredm2012
When you guys are faced with times like that, where for a few weeks you just can't practice like you'd want to, how do you make it count?

When I'm pressed for time at the keys I spend two minutes before work memorising a short section from one of my current pieces which I practise at the worktop while I'm making coffee, on the steering wheel at lights and on my desk when I'm 'on-hold' on the 'phone. I may also practise without moving my fingers while eating or digesting lunch (it grows the connections just the same as playing and avoids wrong notes) and any other convenient moment.

If I forget the section by the time I get to work I either use the previous day's section or look it up on IMSLP.

I spend two minutes when I get home trying it out on the piano and either extending the section to the end of the phrase or prepare the next one for the day ahead. I might get another two minutes on the piano just before bed to work on in my sleep.

I always have an objective (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-limited) and keep a journal of those objectives and how much I do each day.



Richard
#1988821 - 11/20/12 05:46 AM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,393
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014
Bobpickle  Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,393
Cameron Park, California
Josh Wright just posted this new video; like he says, it's probably his best yet in terms of the magnitude of its message (probably my considerable new favorite on the topic)

[video:youtube]Th5ljgUP9lg[/video]


I think it's so valuable I might make a new thread just for it, but I'm debating it.


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1988898 - 11/20/12 11:23 AM Re: Making Practice Count [Re: jaredm2012]  
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,477
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
zrtf90  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,477
Ireland (ex England)
If I had to choose one set of piano tuition videos from YouTube it would be Josh Wright's. I've found them very impressive and whilst I haven't actually learnt anything new from them myself, I've been using all the techniques he espouses for some time.

This is another that I just recently recommended on the Mendelssohn recital thread.



Richard

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