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#2227979 - 02/08/14 06:16 PM Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece?  
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ChopinLives81 Offline
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I've been consistently practicing the Liszt Legend No.2 and I was at a point where I could play all the sections well enough to my liking. I only needed to work out the dynamics and some interpretation. I also needed to work out the fatigue so I could play through the whole piece without being exhausted which would cause me to slip up a lot.

So ever since my last post on this about 3 weeks ago, I started playing through the piece at a very slow tempo, working out every little kink, working on an even touch, and learning how to control the dynamics better. Also learning how to relax and stay in control of the piece. So now I can play through the whole piece with no fatigue, but a new problem arises; I'm playing worst than I was before.

Suddenly I can't play the tremolos smoothly, I can't play the chromatic sections without slipping, I can no longer play the section with the ascending thirds in both hands, I keep losing track in simple sections and my accuracy is low...

Now I've experienced something similar back when I was younger learning a new piece, but it hasn't happened for a long time now. Not sure whats going on, or maybe I'm just over-thinking this.

Last edited by ChopinLives81; 02/08/14 06:18 PM.

"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
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#2228001 - 02/08/14 06:46 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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TwoSnowflakes Offline
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God I hope so.

I feel stuck and everything that I slow down and work out just ultimately ends up labored and uncomfortable sounding.

I know progress is incremental, and not always linear.

But if that's the case, based on how stagnated I've been feeling, I've got to be on the cusp of some kind of enormous breakthrough.

Or breakdown, lol!

Let's hope it's the former.

#2228004 - 02/08/14 06:50 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Derulux Offline
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Yes. In fact, sometimes that's all I do. grin

I think, much of the time this is a sync error between technique and ability (probably better termed a "retraining" error/issue). Because you've played this faster, your hands/fingers/arms/mind/eyes/etc have the ability to get there, but because you were missing notes/dynamics/select interpretation/etc, your technique wasn't quite able to keep up. Now you've gone back and corrected the technique, but as you try to bring it back up to your ability level (speedwise), the old habits that existed at those tempos want to creep back in.

It's a monumental struggle of willpower to exert your determination that you will not allow old habits to creep into good playing, but if you can get to the end result, it's well worth the struggle. smile


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.
#2228024 - 02/08/14 07:23 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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It happens to me when I start half way memorizing the piece before I worked out problems (=before I'm set to memorize the piece if it is required). I stop looking at the score. I was told today that I have to force myself not to look at my hands when it happens.

If I add other variables such as change speed etc the problem get worse. But in the end it will all work out. For me it's a necessary path. I'd rather like to encounter problems in my house or in front of my teacher than at a live performance. It will allow me to address the problem.



1) Bach c minor fantasy
2) Beethoven sonata g major 14 No. 2 (re do)
3) Chopin a flat major Ballade (schubert Impromptu A flat D935 No2)
4) Scriabin op11 prelude #2 and #14 (Re do #2, new #14)
5) Bartok. 4 old tunes and Scherzo)
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#2228088 - 02/08/14 09:31 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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hreichgott Offline
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Yeah, constantly. Whenever we make improvements to how we're playing something, like make a better fingering or choose a better articulation or alter dynamics or voicing, we're changing what we want to do physically. Then for a little while the old set of physical movements and the new set of physical movements are at war with each other.

There's really no quick solution. We just have to practice the new movements a lot, at a speed where we can do it the way we want every time...


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Solo Haydn/Beethoven program including Variations in F minor and "Pastoral" Sonata Op. 28
Beethoven trios for an original ballet
And... Nunsense II (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2228104 - 02/08/14 09:52 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Damon Offline
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I start off worst.

#2228113 - 02/08/14 09:59 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Damon]  
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Cinnamonbear Offline
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There are many days when I feel worst.

Ever hear the old theater idiom, "Bad dress rehearsal means a good performance"?

There are days when I cannot seem to get anything going right. But I practice anyway, because I know that tomorrow is another day. Sometimes, when I am messing up badly with what I am trying to accomplish, I wonder if I am supposed to be working on something else, or in some other way. So, I change what I am practicing, or, I change how I am practicing. That often allows me to find a flow that works for that day.

Come to think of it, there are some performances when I cannot seem to get anything going right, but I perform anyway, because I know that tomorrow is another day. wink


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#2228118 - 02/08/14 10:06 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Cinnamonbear]  
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Polyphonist Online content
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Ever hear the old theater idiom, "Bad dress rehearsal means a good performance"?

Does that imply that a good dress rehearsal means a bad performance? laugh Better not do a dress rehearsal at all, in that case.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2228133 - 02/08/14 10:34 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Cinnamonbear Offline
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Ever hear the old theater idiom, "Bad dress rehearsal means a good performance"?

Does that imply that a good dress rehearsal means a bad performance? laugh Better not do a dress rehearsal at all, in that case.


Actually, yes. Not only is that implied, it can work that way! eek At least, that has been my experience! crazy A good troupe will recognize it, and be en guarde! thumb


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#2228149 - 02/08/14 10:58 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Orange Soda King Offline
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Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Ever hear the old theater idiom, "Bad dress rehearsal means a good performance"?

Does that imply that a good dress rehearsal means a bad performance? laugh Better not do a dress rehearsal at all, in that case.


Sadly, sometimes yes. smirk

#2228152 - 02/08/14 11:03 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Polyphonist Online content
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Correlation is not causation.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2228158 - 02/08/14 11:25 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Cinnamonbear]  
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Ever hear the old theater idiom, "Bad dress rehearsal means a good performance"?

Does that imply that a good dress rehearsal means a bad performance? laugh Better not do a dress rehearsal at all, in that case.


Actually, yes. Not only is that implied, it can work that way! eek At least, that has been my experience! crazy A good troupe will recognize it, and be en guarde! thumb


Of course you have to consider that, most often, an unsophisticated audience prefers your "bad" performance. So what do you do? [Linked Image]

#2228179 - 02/09/14 12:07 AM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Damon]  
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Cinnamonbear Offline
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Speed home in my Scion.


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#2228500 - 02/09/14 03:59 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Scordatura Offline
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I'd find it hard to believe that any pianist committed to improving their performance of a piece they already know has never experienced this situation.

As I see it, there's a cast-iron logical explanation for it. If one sets oneself to do any task in accordance with newly imposed standards and criteria, one is in reality setting oneself a different and novel task. And bringing one's execution of it up to and above its earlier level requires, inescapably, learning this new, reconceived task precisely in accordance with one's revised standards. Realistically, that means reconciling oneself to the need to re-learn the task from scratch, or at any rate, to approach it from a new standpoint that embraces and attends to the improvements one aims to achieve (which I see to be virtually the same thing, in terms of mindset).

This process is not likely to be swiftly or effortlessly achieved. Horowitz, Rubinstein and Tureck are often-cited cases of pianists who took greatly extended sabbaticals re-modelling and re-constructing their technique so that it served their matured artistic, musical aims.

As a less experienced and insighted player, I took it that improving my performance by imposing a new criterion on it was analagous to, say, adding seasoning to a recipe one's making, polishing up an otherwise finished object, or tweaking the controls of some piece of equipment - i.e., it entails merely doing something extra that adds to and enhances something already extant or attained. That view I've found to be the norm for piano-students and is certainly promoted by traditional pedagogy. It's a comforting and naturally embraceable view that's hard to resist, since just about everybody prefers to cling to what they've so far learned to achieve. Over the course of decades, however, I've come to realize that improving my performance isn't a matter of adding something to it, but of integrating it into the whole process and technique of playing. And integrating something with something else generally entails disintegrating everything initially and re-nurturing that into an organic whole. Achieving that requires long, unswerving patience and meticulous attention to the criteria I want to achieve.



Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

https://understanding-piano-technique.com/ocportal
#2228504 - 02/09/14 04:11 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Take a break from it for a while




#2228530 - 02/09/14 04:56 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Minneapolis, MN
I agree with Miguel Rey. Sometimes you just need to take a break from it for a while. Sometimes our minds and bodies need some time to process what we are working on.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate seeing this thread right now! I'm having some of these same issues going on with two pieces right now. It's helping to see what others are going through, and that I'm not alone.

It has been useful for me to see this situation as similar to my work as a writer. When I sit down to the piano to work on my pieces, I've now come to view these sessions as developing a "draft." Some drafts go better than others. There is no straight forward way to get to your desirable results. However, you are writing drafts, and you'll get there!

Geez! The mind games we have to play to do our work! laugh

BTW, I'm not going to do a super job of proofreading my post. It's just a draft that I won't finish. Besides, I gotta go practice right now since you've all lifted me out of my funk! smile



Carl

#2228625 - 02/09/14 07:15 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: Scordatura]  
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ChopinLives81 Offline
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Originally Posted by Scordatura
I'd find it hard to believe that any pianist committed to improving their performance of a piece they already know has never experienced this situation.

As I see it, there's a cast-iron logical explanation for it. If one sets oneself to do any task in accordance with newly imposed standards and criteria, one is in reality setting oneself a different and novel task. And bringing one's execution of it up to and above its earlier level requires, inescapably, learning this new, reconceived task precisely in accordance with one's revised standards. Realistically, that means reconciling oneself to the need to re-learn the task from scratch, or at any rate, to approach it from a new standpoint that embraces and attends to the improvements one aims to achieve (which I see to be virtually the same thing, in terms of mindset).

This process is not likely to be swiftly or effortlessly achieved. Horowitz, Rubinstein and Tureck are often-cited cases of pianists who took greatly extended sabbaticals re-modelling and re-constructing their technique so that it served their matured artistic, musical aims.

As a less experienced and insighted player, I took it that improving my performance by imposing a new criterion on it was analagous to, say, adding seasoning to a recipe one's making, polishing up an otherwise finished object, or tweaking the controls of some piece of equipment - i.e., it entails merely doing something extra that adds to and enhances something already extant or attained. That view I've found to be the norm for piano-students and is certainly promoted by traditional pedagogy. It's a comforting and naturally embraceable view that's hard to resist, since just about everybody prefers to cling to what they've so far learned to achieve. Over the course of decades, however, I've come to realize that improving my performance isn't a matter of adding something to it, but of integrating it into the whole process and technique of playing. And integrating something with something else generally entails disintegrating everything initially and re-nurturing that into an organic whole. Achieving that requires long, unswerving patience and meticulous attention to the criteria I want to achieve.



Well like I said before, I used to experience this all the time is my first 10 years or so of playing piano, but then It stopped happening. I thought it was something you grow out of with experience. It just caught me by surprise.


"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81
#2228658 - 02/09/14 08:38 PM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: griffin2417]  
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Originally Posted by griffin2417
[...] It has been useful for me to see this situation as similar to my work as a writer. When I sit down to the piano to work on my pieces, I've now come to view these sessions as developing a "draft." Some drafts go better than others. There is no straight forward way to get to your desirable results. However, you are writing drafts, and you'll get there!


Fascinating! Sometime before my first mid-life crisis, I taught beginning writing to college freshmen, and the concept of the recursive nature of the writing process is one I tried to drive home to students.

How funny that I never considered the recursive nature of piano practice as a means to get to the "polish" stage, then the "publish"(/performance) stage of playing a piece! Thank you for that Carl! (Piano World University strikes again!) grin

Originally Posted by griffin2417
Geez! The mind games we have to play to do our work! laugh


I like to think of it as cooperating with the pace of my development... wink

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#2228753 - 02/10/14 12:43 AM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: ChopinLives81]  
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Tell me about it!

#2228834 - 02/10/14 07:38 AM Re: Anyone get worst before they get better with a new piece? [Re: hreichgott]  
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Yeah, I've had this happen, and not just when I was making small changes to the chart. A little sour spell can come along with nothing changed, too.

Sometimes something I've been playing for a while can also go totally to crap. I think it may be my subconscious telling me to chuck the arrangement and start over. I did that on "September Song". I need to do it on "Stardust" too.



-- J.S.

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