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Re: How do you start a piece?
f3r #2532556 04/20/16 09:56 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 221
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Originally Posted by f3r
I post here the videos I posted in another thread.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpyMjpj5yGK3k_YKRKVJU_mSZMzPh7aFf

It's a series of videos by Dr. Mortensen on how to practice, I think they are very useful.


These videos are great. Very clear, very detailed.


Adult Beginner/Early Intermediate
Knabe 1902 Grand
Re: How do you start a piece?
million$glasses #2532974 04/22/16 01:33 PM
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The way that I've been learning to play new songs this year is to first slowly sight read play the song to find trouble spots with finger positioning or coordination. After I've memorized a difficult passage I like to play the .mp3 song at a very slow tempo and follow along to get the feel of the correct rhythm and dynamics (as played in the song). The 'Amazing Slow Downer' app on my phone works perfectly for this. This quickly gets my timing into proportion. Anyone else do this?

Doritos Flavored has a very good point about how the influence of a recording may tamp down individual stylistic variation, but personally, when I want to learn a song that I've heard, I want to play it the way that I've heard it, because that's what I heard that inspired me. I leave my composing to separate songs.

Last edited by DavidCox; 04/22/16 01:35 PM.

David cox
My new Love: My amazing 88-key Korg Kronos 2!
Re: How do you start a piece?
million$glasses #2532994 04/22/16 02:38 PM
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I like your approach - identifying technically challenging sections and dedicating more of your practice time to them makes a lot of sense.

Two things I would add:

The first thing I do is to mark the various sections of the piece and then analyze the piece harmonically, either section by section as I learn them if it's a long piece, or the entire piece if it's short. By harmonic analysis I mean Roman numeral analysis, sometimes circling non-chord tones, and marking sequences and things like circle-of-fifths progressions. If I run up against a section that I can't figure out with RNA, I simply identify each chord (all of this is written in the score) - sometimes after doing so I can then figure out the logic behind the progression. I regard this as one of the most effective methods to make the learning process efficient. Once this is done, I no longer see the piece as being made up of hundreds of individual notes, but a far less amount of logical groups of notes, often in logical progressions. This makes both learning the piece and memorizing it much, much faster and easier.

The second thing I want to add is that mastering technically challenging passages often requires not just repetition, but the use of specific practice techniques, i.e. practicing in rhythms, practicing backwards (last note, then last two, then last three, etc.), practicing with eyes closed, practicing accenting certain notes or fingers that are weak, practicing jumps with techniques specifically designed to deal with them, etc., etc. Identifying the best practice techniques for specific passages will also add greatly to practice efficiency.

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