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#2063701 - 04/12/13 08:40 PM How to make enough time with my piano?  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
ChCh re-fresher Offline
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ChCh re-fresher  Offline
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Posts: 3
New Zealand
hi there,

I am new to this forum (this is my first post) so I'm not quite sure of the format in how to post questions.....

I am essentially an adult beginner piano student (I played to grade 4 LSM when I was 12 but that was 26 years ago so I really don't recall much!) and have just recommenced 5 months ago. I feel I am now 'addicted', which is causing me much personal conflict as I cannot seem to find enough time to practice or play the piano amongst my other responsibilities (I am an engineering professor in which my job incurs >55 hrs/wk and mother to a great but very demanding 4 year old boy). However, I NEED to play the piano as this is the time I can allocate for myself and creating music feeds my soul!

I find it very distracting to practice and concentrate with others in the same room (our main living area) so I have resorted to playing late at night (after 10pm) but then I am tired and lack enough concentration......

My burning question is does anyone have effective strategies or insightful suggestions for helping me allocate enough time to my relationship with the piano? I should admit this does not just include playing the piano but I think I have become obsessed with wanting to understand all about music theory, how pianos are crafted and the whole wider field of classical pianists.

Is this 'normal' with adult beginners or am I being too selfish in my desires? Has anyone heard of piano retreats? I think this is what I need.

Thanks for any suggestions...

ChCh refresher..


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#2063716 - 04/12/13 09:22 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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Michael_99 Offline
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Well, I used to have a job where I had to work overtime all the time, although, I could do it at anytime after hours, if you will, and I was paid, of course. So for me, for my social life - I was 22 - life in general. Am 64 now. I would do this. When I used to play in a few bands, I would leave work at 4:30 and go to band practice and go back to work and work until I was tired and then roll up into a sleeping bag on the floor or on a couch, and get up at 7:00 have a shower and soon regular people would come to work. Of course, they knew what I did. Now, I am not suggesting you should do that. It is an example. So I guess you could say, and I would say, I would do everything when everybody was sleeping because the world, doesn't care about other people when they are sleeping so people didn't miss me when I was working. So when everybody at your house is sleeping, you can play the piano/digital with headphone and nobody will miss you or care. If dinner is late, or you are not there at breakfast, that may be different, because they are awake again.

So get a digital piano, put it in you vehicle, take it where ever you go, some are cheap so get several at 300 to 600 dollars Canadian, play and practice where and when you can.

--> If you are 21 and you live to 65, you only have 2000 weekends left in your life. Do that math.

This is not to depress you but realize every moment is precious. I have been playing a piano for a year, had health problems and when I could not play the piano because I was too weak for a while, I bought a digital keyboard with weighted keys and played the keyboard/piano on my back on the floor resting the keyboard/piano on concrete blocks and tilting the piano/keyboard at an angle so I could play it on the floor with me underneath the keyboard and used clothpegs to hold the music in place. You have to do what you have to do.

Now, back to you. So get your digitals and if you have a piano, great use it when you can but use a digital where can with earphones. Get up and play every morning at 3 am for an hour, what ever, go to bed 30 minutes earlier. You get the idea. Get creative. You can do it. I did it my whole life.

When I was in hospital for a month, I took a keyboard and the hospital said nobody ever brought a keyboard/piano before to the hospital. They brought laptops. Again do what you have to. It is your precious life.


Last edited by Michael_99; 04/12/13 09:35 PM.
#2063739 - 04/12/13 09:56 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
Joined: Mar 2012
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Sand Tiger Offline
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The word balance comes to mind. A person with a 4-year old needs to make that a high priority.

Many folks find time by giving up other things, such as computer time, or TV time. If those things are already cut, it gets tougher. One possibility is to look for ways to practice during short breaks at work. A portable keyboard, or an Ipad with a MIDI keyboard and Garageband aren't a pianos, but can help give a person some piano flavor in their lives.


#2063772 - 04/12/13 11:13 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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-Frycek Offline
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If you're able to play late at night, then you should be able to play early in the morning. I mean really early before anyone else is up and you are just up and refreshed. Carve out an early morning pre work practice time, just you, your piano and your coffee. This is what I've done for years. It's the best two-three hours of my day.


Slow down and do it right.
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#2063800 - 04/13/13 12:44 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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ChCh re-fresher Offline
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Wow - thanks for the prompt and helpful suggestions.

I don't watch TV or spend much time on the computer apart for work - what seems to consume the rest of my time is chores at home (laundry, dishes etc)and of course ensuring I spend some quality time with my young son. I already get up and go for a short jog before anyone else in the house is awake as I can listen to music and fit in some weekly exercise that way. But I think I will now get up even earlier and practice on my piano aswell every morning. I'm also planning to change jobs to more reasonable hours so I can spend more time enjoying what really matters to me in life (this hasn't been possible before as I am the bread winner).

Thanks for the feedback smile

I'm still wondering if the concept of piano retreats exist?





#2063804 - 04/13/13 12:55 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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Sand Tiger Offline
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Originally Posted by ChCh re-fresher

I'm still wondering if the concept of piano retreats exist?


SummerKeys is a summer piano retreat in Maine and several Piano World folks have gone and will go again this year. I'm not sure how many are in New Zealand or Australia.

Songwriters often roll their own retreat by packing up their gear and go somewhere to write music for a few days or longer. Obviously, for someone with a nice acoustic piano, that strategy isn't so easy. One way might be to send the kid to camp and have mom do a musical stay-cation (stay at home vacation).

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 04/13/13 01:30 AM.
#2063807 - 04/13/13 01:02 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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earlofmar Offline
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Hi ChCh refresher and welcome to this great forum where you among like minded lunatics......I mean that in the nicest way of course.

My strategy at the moment is to get up an hour earlier than my wife and have breakfast followed by time on the piano. It is said that we are at our best mentally first thing in the morning. I use this time for my sight reading practice.

Now I think I got you right when you were asking is your obsession "normal" for a beginner. My answer is yes because I suffer the same condition (just been playing for five months. With so much new information to learn and new physical changes to adopt you have to be a bit obsesive to take on the feat of learning the piano. I was lucky to have found my passion in sport but when I finished with that I have been lucky to rekindle an earlier passion for playing an instrument. We are so lucky to have found our course, some people never do. So be a bit selfish you deserve it.

All the best
Me


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2064131 - 04/13/13 04:59 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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PaperClip Offline
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I think it's very difficult to have a 55 hours job, a child 4 years old and a piano hobby, because all three needs your best attention.

Assuming you work 5 days in a week and if your aim is 1 hour practise per day, I would suggest a 1/2 hour practise before breakfast at a working day and 2 hours practise at days in weekends. That's a total of 7 1/2 hours a week.


Chris

Playing since May 02 2009
#2064140 - 04/13/13 05:17 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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Quote
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano


Earl, love your signature!


Slow down and do it right.
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#2064598 - 04/14/13 05:32 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
Joined: Apr 2013
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ChCh re-fresher Offline
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ChCh re-fresher  Offline
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New Zealand
Thanks for the further feedback.

I have got up even earlier and played my piano before the family awoke - it feels a great start to the day!

I'm looking into finding piano workshops/retreats in NZ or Australia - what a wonderful opportunity the Summerkeys one looks to be (I am envious). The other suggestion of creating my own weekend at home dedicated to piano indulgence is a possible one as my husband thinks he can go camping for a weekend with our son for a night or 2.

thanks for the support and suggestions :-)

How many hours a week do other beginners typically spend practicing and playing (or does this just vary hugely depending on individual circumstances)?

What a resource this forum is!

#2064612 - 04/14/13 06:07 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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jrcallan Offline
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I love getting up at 4:30 a.m., making the coffee, and practicing my piano for an hour and a half. Great way to start the day. I use the digital and headphones in the morning, and try to use my acoustic studio piano whenever possible.

Last edited by jrcallan; 04/14/13 06:07 PM.

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#2064620 - 04/14/13 06:18 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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earlofmar Offline
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ChCh re-fresher your just a trifle too far away or I would suggest we set up a piano workshop (I live just north of Sydney).

I look forward to the weekends as I am totally free of work to just satisfy my urgent need to play and practice.

Still a newbie I aim for two hours a day, but that is in multiple sessions. 15-30 mins sight reading is the recommended dose anything longer and you get too tired to get anything useful out. I do finger and hand exercises, scales and now some chord progressions and bass runs. I also include of course practice on new pieces. I find though if I am tired or not focused I just have to walk away.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2064822 - 04/15/13 07:04 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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PaperClip Offline
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I think 30 minutes practise is good for beginners for first half year. Then slowly up to an hour. Not more than an hour if you are a busy person anyways.

But it depends what you want. If you have the time, a really good teacher and enough dedication, I would suggest 2 hours each day from the start.


Chris

Playing since May 02 2009
#2064864 - 04/15/13 08:56 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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CarlosCC Offline
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Hi ChCh, and welcome to PW.
Nice to know that you're already fitting your piano time in your life.
But I'd like to point out what said Michael_99: "play and practice where and when you can". That's a great advice.


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#2064886 - 04/15/13 09:40 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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Also I think it's good to keep in mind a couple of things:

1) Four 15-minute practice sessions are equivalent to one hour session is equivalent to six 10-minute sessions, etc. Take a break in between your chores to practice for 10-15 minutes, and you will be progressing as long as you are practicing efficiently and not just playing straight through songs and relying upon sheer repetition

2) Playing with distractions such as others moving around may be difficult, but given your circumstances you will have to buck up. If you wait around for ideal circumstances to happen for you to practice, you really won't achieve your goal of practicing, because very rarely do ideal circumstances show up in life. Certainly you can set some rules for when you are at the piano like no one enters the room, tv must be on mute or something, but with cooperation from everyone you should be able to get accustomed to noises happening while you are playing and this is a good thing to get used to

To answer your question about how many hours, I would not really try to put a number on it as it depends on what level of playing you are doing. As a beginner (someone who never played and is learning how to read music along with learning to use their fingers in this way) they may only need to spend 15-20 minutes per day. It is more effective to get in daily practice no matter what as opposed to cramming it all into a few days of the week. The longer/more complicated the music, the more hours needed to practice is the general rule of thumb.


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#2064941 - 04/15/13 11:32 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
1) Four 15-minute practice sessions are equivalent to one hour session is equivalent to six 10-minute sessions, etc. Take a break in between your chores to practice for 10-15 minutes, and you will be progressing as long as you are practicing efficiently and not just playing straight through songs and relying upon sheer repetition


I would go so far as to say that multiple short practice sessions during a day are better than a single session of the same cumulative duration (subject to being able to practice long enough to work through at least one problem section mindfully per practice session).


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#2065169 - 04/15/13 08:38 PM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: ChCh re-fresher]  
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#2065375 - 04/16/13 07:02 AM Re: How to make enough time with my piano? [Re: Michael_99]  
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Originally Posted by Michael_99
play and practice where and when you can.



I agree. I always try to force myself to practice early in the morning, when I am most alert and fresh.


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