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I guess it also really depends on how complex these pieces are. After 10 months of lessons my three "in the box" pieces are probably no where near as complex as someone with 3-4 years of study. Still, I know someone that after several years of lessons is not quite at my level (we both study the Faber Series). Everyone is different.

Also, my three pieces are not as complex as what I am currently studying, as in order for me to play something perfectly it can't be at the cutting edge of what I am currently capable of doing.

Someone in this forum introduced to the concept of the RCM classification system. I can actually go into the criteria of the different levels and get a reasonably accurate measurement of my progress (which is just below RCM Grade 1 which I personally am thrilled with!). You may want to check this out; very interesting!


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
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Originally Posted by BrianDX
I guess it also really depends on how complex these pieces are.


Well, part of feeling successful is being honest with yourself about what your current level of skill is.

It is a mistake to be trying to "perfect" a piece that you are not capable of perfecting. If you cannot play it well, it probably means you are not at that level yet. Go back to a simpler one. You just have to find a piece, regardless of the simplicity of it, that you can actually play very well each and every time you play it without being nervous.



Don

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Could not agree more. Also, for the lesson book that I am using, even somewhat simple pieces can sound really lovely and impressive when played well (both mechanically and expressively) to a small audience of friends or family (or just my wife and two cats).

Doing that really makes me feel that I am accomplishing something, and of course helps my motivation to press on to bigger and better things.


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
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One sure way for me to get in a funk about playing is to lose my 'beginner's mind.' I apologize to real buddhists, because I have a limited understanding of the concept.

When I started, I really had no expectation of competence at all, so I felt fine about whatever I was doing. One time, I even had this conversation:
FRIEND: I didn't know you played piano!
ME: I don't! That"s the beauty of it!

But now my critical self looks at the situation and says "you've invested all this time, energy, and money into doing this piano thing and you can't even play...blah blah blah" because I have some expectation and desire to play better than I am currently able to.


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I have to keep the "critical self" of my mind under control at all times.

I'll give you simple example of how the different parts of my mind works (Scary stuff eek )

Let's say I just mastered a difficult piece that took me several weeks to learn:
Positive side of my mind "Well done. Way to go. On to the next challenge"
Critical side of my mind: "It took you THAT long to master something that is clearly easy to do?"

See what I mean shocked


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
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Originally Posted by BrianDX
I have to keep the "critical self" of my mind under control at all times.

I'll give you simple example of how the different parts of my mind works (Scary stuff eek )

Let's say I just mastered a difficult piece that took me several weeks to learn:
Positive side of my mind "Well done. Way to go. On to the next challenge"
Critical side of my mind: "It took you THAT long to master something that is clearly easy to do?"

See what I mean shocked


Ain't that the truth!


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Originally Posted by BrianDX
...somewhat simple pieces can sound really lovely and impressive when played well (both mechanically and expressively) to a small audience of friends or family (or just my wife and two cats).


That is probably the single most important thing for a beginner to learn. Find a piece (or pieces) that you can play with ease and play it very well. I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard someone play a piece that I used to play and I now hear it being played "well" and it sounds very nice. It motivates me to go back and learn to play it that well.



Don

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I got totally demotivated when I got stuck in a rut teaching myself to play. I looked at piano teachers and realised they were too expensive and I kinda gave up for six weeks or so. I only live in a small place and the digital piano was always in the way. I was on a downer. However, after my break I came back to it and have moved onwards and upwards. I am presently working on a complex piece (for me anyway!) for the next recital, bring it on!

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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by outo
But no matter how well learned and memorized they are never "rock solid".


Then, I would suggest reducing the number of "rock-solid" pieces to one. Play that piece a few times each day.

You must get at least one piece you can play comfortably so you know it can be done.


Good advice...and I have been doing that. I currently have one piece very well memorized (not only muscle memory) and I usually use it as a warm up piece. I've practiced it in every possible way, hands separate, individual phrases and learned to start from all the different spots. But there are still days when I forget a random spot. It is not so much about memorizing but memory recall. I am sometimes unable to recall things no matter how familiar. Today I couldn't remember the name of the place where my parents live eek

I think some people have natural aptitude for consistency, while others like me were not quite properly installed in that department smile
I am good at other things, like creating something new and solving problems.

But I will still work on that piece to see what happens...

Last edited by outo; 06/23/14 08:56 AM.
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This may not matter, and it may well be a small point but I'll make it anyway.

None of my three repertoire pieces have been memorized. I still need to look at certain parts of the music to stay in sync and not get lost. Having said that, I can reliably play each piece without mistake as long as I am warmed up a bit.


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
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Interesting and relevant thread for me. I had a rough week last week. I've only been playing again for a few months, l've been doing very well and catching up to where I was quickly with the method book I was using.

Last week I decided I would print out the famous Minuet in G from Anna Magdalena Bach's notebook and started playing with that. I also went for a first lesson with a new teacher.. he thought I was going to do OK with the Minuet and gave me his blessing. This was pretty exciting, last time I was playing a decade ago I had learned a simplified beginner version, this time I was trying the real version.

So I worked real hard on it this week and started getting sore wrists.. at which point I started going backward. Then I had guests over this weekend, they saw the new DP and I wasn't really in a position to play anything well, partly because it was so distracting to have sore wrists, partly because I was working so hard on something too difficult for now.

I think I will be fine this week though.. I went for a lesson today, went over my concerns, and my teacher recommended putting aside that Minuet until later. Basically I was reaching for the octave jumps and stretching my hand/bending my wrist instead of moving my entire arm.. I've got a couple other things to work on this week that don't have such big jumps. I'll come back to it when I have a better handle on moving my arm correctly to avoid straining my wrist.. a perfect example of the advice on this forum in the last week about being able to play the notes but not doing it correctly, and also why it is so important to find a teacher. This piece was basically subtly out of my reach, not way out of reach, so it probably would have taken me longer to realize I shouldn't be trying to play it if I was trying it on my own.

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Originally Posted by BrianDX
This may not matter, and it may well be a small point but I'll make it anyway.

None of my three repertoire pieces have been memorized. I still need to look at certain parts of the music to stay in sync and not get lost. Having said that, I can reliably play each piece without mistake as long as I am warmed up a bit.


If you can play it while looking at the music, I would not put a lot of effort into memorizing it. If you wish to, fine. However, I would not make it a priority.



Don

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