Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!


SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Modern Piano Moving
Modern Piano Moving
(ad)
Virtual Sheet Music
Download Sheet Music Instantly
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Sheet Music...
(125ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2017
(ad)
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
Who's Online Now
121 registered members (ajames, Adypiano, accordeur, Almaviva, agraffe, aleksivu, 29 invisible), 1,993 guests, and 8 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 10 1 2 3 9 10
#2618357 - 02/27/17 12:12 AM Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi,

I decided to sign up for a 3 month,$94, online beginner-intermediate course based upon the Russian School of Piano Playing by Nikoleav. I'll create some ongoing notes for others who may in the future contemplate signing up for the course.

pianocareer.com

1) So far the content is extremely well thought out with excellent presentation. The instructor clearly wants the students to understand the material as it would be presented in a one on one setting.

2) Thorough instruction on fundamentals with emphasis on technique, the holistic relaxed body, arm, wrist motion, intonation dynamics, the equality of the LH and RH all of which are a hallmark of the Russian Method she is presenting.

3) The instructor explains the purpose of each of primary pieces in the Nikoleav book, demonstrates the technique and sounds that should be produced, advices about potential problems, and suggests ways to practice. The videos are very professional and easy to follow. She also provides information for teachers who may be using her course.

This was the first day and I am extremely satisfied with the content and presentation thus far. Even though I have already worked through half of book 1, I am starting from the beginning so that I can review all of the instructor's video instruction.

The videos are embedded in a forum such as this one, so you can read comments made by her students as well as her answers. Often, she created new videos to answer the students questions which are linked in the forum.

This is going to be lots of fun for me, since I was looking for a course that was hotter-focused on developing good technique in both hands so as to be able to produce exceptional dynamics. More later. I'll be happy to answer questions, but I've just started and there many, many more videos that cover all of the Nikoleav books and then proceed to go deep into intermediate instruction.


Last edited by Richrf; 02/27/17 09:32 AM.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2618375 - 02/27/17 03:13 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 43
Stopparde Offline
Full Member
Stopparde  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 43
Richrf,
Is it $94 a month or for 3 months ?
Also, are the videos downloadable or just streaming ?
Thanks.

#2618396 - 02/27/17 05:31 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 857
barbaram Online content
500 Post Club Member
barbaram  Online Content

500 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 857
Hi Richrf
Sounds like you are off to a very positive start with this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it's both helpful and interesting

#2618434 - 02/27/17 09:16 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
bSharp(C)yclist Online content
500 Post Club Member
bSharp(C)yclist  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
Orange County, California
I look forward to hearing more about this. Is there any sort of video exchange process, where a teacher can comment on how you play?

(ad ) MusicNotes.com
sheet music search
#2618445 - 02/27/17 09:44 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: bSharp(C)yclist]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by bSharp[C
yclist]I look forward to hearing more about this. Is there any sort of video exchange process, where a teacher can comment on how you play?


While I haven't participated yet, there is a monthly Q&A Livestream where the instructor critiques or-submitted recordings of no more than 1 minute. You can email them your questions about the course and they do get back to you fairly quickly. I received my 30% discount (which is suppose to be lifetime renewable if I continue) by emailing and asking.

The Q&A videos I've looked at are extremely detailed with each question and answer together with timestamps outlined in the description. The amount of work they the authors put into the course is quite remarkable though I wish it was slight better organized.

#2618457 - 02/27/17 10:34 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 167
Montuno Offline
Full Member
Montuno  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 167
Thanks for updating us on your experience. I considered trying out the program in the past so I really look forward to your findings.

Have fun!


Casio Privia PX-150 - Pianoteq
Working on Fundamental Keys / Alfred's Adult All-In-One Book 2

My Music
#2618463 - 02/27/17 10:47 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Montuno]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Montuno
Thanks for updating us on your experience. I considered trying out the program in the past so I really look forward to your findings.

Have fun!


Thanks. I'll try to post any significant new information that I find as I walk through the course. I am pretty fussy about learning tools and 99% that I've signed on to, e.g on Udemy,, I end up cancelling, but this one is a keeper. The quality of instruction is excellent so far. The instructor did have some sample videos on Youtube for those who are interested in her teaching style.

#2618466 - 02/27/17 11:08 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 38
ARpiano Offline
Full Member
ARpiano  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 38
Really interesting! I've seen many of her videos, she's really good, thanks for the info

#2618485 - 02/27/17 11:59 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
I am also following this with interest. I've looked at her various videos a number of times as they crop up, and have always seen a summary, but not actually how the things are taught, which has always been the unknown factor. Broad summaries don't cut it for me, because people who know things don't necessarily know how to break it down and teach them. You've given a bit of a window on this. Thank you.

#2618491 - 02/27/17 12:07 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand. I played along in order to emulate timing, technique and dynamics. Now I am practicing each finger for each piece in order to develop good fundamental technique. This will become part of my permanent practice for now. It is slow but I want to focus on technique for each hand, finger by finger so that the are no weak spots. Also focusing on relaxed shoulders.

Last edited by Richrf; 02/27/17 01:09 PM.
#2618504 - 02/27/17 12:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
bSharp(C)yclist Online content
500 Post Club Member
bSharp(C)yclist  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
Orange County, California
What book are you using?

#2618507 - 02/27/17 12:52 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This one:

Russian School of Piano Playing

The emphasis of this approach is equality of both hands, dynamics, nimbleness, technique. While the book is meant for children, I believe adults benefit from the fundamentals perspective, which I why I chose to use it.

Last edited by Richrf; 02/27/17 12:57 PM.
#2618510 - 02/27/17 12:55 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand. I played along in order to emulate timing, technique and dynamics. Now I am practicing each finger for each piece in order to develop good fundamental technique. This will become part of my permanent practice for now. It is slow but I want to focus on technique for each hand, finger by finger so that the are no weak spots.

Do you get feedback from the teacher, for example by sending in videos? I've been in two programs of an on-line sort similar to what this is, which features this, so it is not an uncommon idea. In lessons, including in-person, it has happened more than once that I think I am doing what the teacher has demonstrated, and discover through feedback that I haven't. That is why I'm asking.

#2618513 - 02/27/17 01:08 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
It's a great question and it would be great if there was, even if it required an additional fee, but as far as I can tell there isn't any way to get constant feedback. What they do offer, is very limited. You can submit a 1 minute video for feedback in their once-a-month Q&A which may or may not be reviewed in their live-stream broadcast.

The $30 a month bus you access to all of their demonstration and instruction videos (which are quite detailed and well thought out), access to their forum, and downloads. From my vantage point it is a terrific purchase depending upon what one is looking for. If I could buy 10 min. of feedback time it would be even better.

Last edited by Richrf; 02/27/17 01:10 PM.
#2618519 - 02/27/17 01:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
The FAQ for this site is comprehensive and accurate:

Course FAQ

Here is a list of all of the video tutorials for the Beginning course:

Beginner Course curriculum


#2618520 - 02/27/17 01:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
bSharp(C)yclist Online content
500 Post Club Member
bSharp(C)yclist  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
Orange County, California
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand. I played along in order to emulate timing, technique and dynamics. Now I am practicing each finger for each piece in order to develop good fundamental technique. This will become part of my permanent practice for now. It is slow but I want to focus on technique for each hand, finger by finger so that the are no weak spots.

Do you get feedback from the teacher, for example by sending in videos? I've been in two programs of an on-line sort similar to what this is, which features this, so it is not an uncommon idea. In lessons, including in-person, it has happened more than once that I think I am doing what the teacher has demonstrated, and discover through feedback that I haven't. That is why I'm asking.


I think I asked the same thing above smile

#2618530 - 02/27/17 02:34 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today I read some of the instructor's ideas on practice in the forum (which has tons of interesting insights but has become somewhat inactive), and noticed the instructor's emphasis on always practicing with expression. I went back to the simple exercises and performed them as if I am playing the words to the tune. It was a big difference. Imagination plays a big role in this teaching method.

#2618800 - 02/28/17 07:39 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 857
barbaram Online content
500 Post Club Member
barbaram  Online Content

500 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 857
I've just realised that I have used her video on learning Chopin's C# minor nocturne no. 20 (the "easy" posthumous one. Not at all easy for me I should add!), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI .
I found it excellent, I think her approach makes great sense and I love her emphasis on expression. I'm working with a teacher, but I found referring to this to support my practice at home was useful (especially during breaks in lessons.

#2618827 - 02/28/17 09:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: barbaram]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by barbaram
I've just realised that I have used her video on learning Chopin's C# minor nocturne no. 20 (the "easy" posthumous one. Not at all easy for me I should add!), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI .
I found it excellent, I think her approach makes great sense and I love her emphasis on expression. I'm working with a teacher, but I found referring to this to support my practice at home was useful (especially during breaks in lessons.


Yes, there are many such tutorials that are part of this course. I would say the key elements of the instructor's teaching process is relaxation followed by the emergence of imagination which then manifests as expression. The sequence of the course lessons is designed to gradually develop a sense of these three skills.

#2618925 - 02/28/17 02:38 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today's lessons were about dynamics, playing with the thumb and fifth finger, pain, injury, tension, and the proper way to practice to avoid discomfort while learning. The instructor also demonstrated the appropriate gesture for initiating a movement with either hand and gestures that may be employed to create expressive tones with dynamics.

For my own practice, I continue to be aware of any tension that may be created and immediate relax such tension. Also, I observe with some attention the route of gestures the instructor is making and how it relates to the dynamics she is creating. All of this revolves around having a sound in my imagination and attempting to express that sound or melody through my body (energy) and then through the piano and then back to me. The smallest gesture thus becomes as enjoyable as the largest or most complex. It very much reminds me of Tai Chi.

On a technical note, the course seems to be about 5 years old and at that time the forums and instructor interaction appeared to be quite active. This is no longer the case. However, the is still a wealth of information in the forum's thanks to the questions that v were v asked and the instructor's answers. Lately, it seems a monthly Q&A video is used in lieu of an active forum. Also, I like using Chromecast to watch the videos. Casting these lessons is technically unpredictable, but with some effort I do get it to work.

Happy piano to all! Cheers!

Last edited by Richrf; 02/28/17 04:11 PM.
#2619347 - 03/01/17 03:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today, I watched a couple of excellent videos. The first one discussed and demonstrated a holistic, relaxed technique for playing the piano. It was very well explained with lots of comments about how to create a complete gesture while still keeping wrists very relaxed so as to create the correct tone, maximize efficiency, and avoid injury.

The second video was a monthly Q&A which discussed a variety of techniques that students, who asked the questions, could approach specific pieces that included classical, rag time, and beginners out of the book we are using. Chuck full of information for beginners to advanced.

I continued the beginners course with new instruction on dynamics and relaxed playing technique. I noticed, unlike typical method books, there is as of yet no discussion of chords or keys. The exercises, studies, and melodies are designed primarily to develop equal dexterity in both hands and musical expression.

After just a few days, I already feel I have my money's worth for the the months tuition. It is a magnificent course for what I am looking for.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/01/17 03:30 PM.
#2619684 - 03/02/17 03:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi everyone,

Today I am following the videos that are primarily addressing stacatto and legato play. There was quite a bit of discussion concerning legato. Besides the videos themselves, there was also quite a bit of discussion and connects in the forum that dates back to 2012 when the forum was more active. Lots of valuable insights are discussed in these original forum posts.

One thing I have noticed is even though lots of discussion revolves around the wrist, in order to maintain a very relaxed wrist, most of the impulse for action comes from the shoulder (including the back), and arms. The joints are always very relaxed until the moment some dynamics are required.

The instructor also had an opportunity to read my diary and has some additional information that she wished to share to me, which I've included in this post.

Cheers!

The instructor's comments:

1. You didn't subscribe just for the 'Beginner to Intermediate Course'. You subscribed to our entire database of tutorials - which comprises many hundreds of video and articles for ALL levels (including the Course for Beginners, the Scale & Arpeggio Course, and many other projects and features structured according to categories).

2. Our Questions & Answers project is not a Livestream. I record it like any other tutorial (first the members post their questions - and at the end of the month I review them). Each answer is thoroughly designed in advance - in order to offer maximum information and benefits to our members (without wasting their time, as it usually happens with Livestreams). So far we had 22 editions of the Q&A - and I have answered each and every question that was asked (so if you post a short recording of your playing, you WILL get a guaranteed video feedback).

3. If you take a look at our Complete List, you will discover many video feedbacks from the past editions of our MasterClass project. This project is currently inactive (so that I can dedicate more of my time to the new website that we are currently designing). Once the website is ready, the MasterClass project will resume - so there will be more feedbacks smile. You can learn more about our new website by reading these posts.

4. Chords and keys are fully covered in our Scale & Arpeggio Course (which you can start following after reaching Lesson No. 48 for Beginners). Moreover, you will find lots of 'theoretical' tutorials as part of the Piano Theory category (on the Complete List).

Last edited by Richrf; 03/02/17 06:01 PM.
#2620064 - 03/03/17 07:49 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
The last few lessons consisted of pieces and exercises that are slowly increasing in difficult. The video instruction analyzed each piece for proper phrasing, dynamics, playing techniques and dynamics. Overall, extremely well-rounded and well thought out instruction, much of it new. As for now, I just keep repeating and repeating while observing the instruction in order to refine my technique. I even just play both hands on single notes in a up and down wave manner in order to achieve a very relaxed but dynamic technique. Over and over and over again.

A couple of technical notes. Since I do not want my subscription to automatically renew, I sent a request to cancel my subscription when it ends in May. This request was honored within a day with an email confirmation.

Also, for security reasons, when I signed up I used Paypal and a temporary credit card number that is issued online by my bank.

Cheers!

#2620654 - 03/05/17 08:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
The last few lessons have delved deeper into arm/wrist technique for differing dynamics including staccato, legato, portamento with emphasis on synchopated rhythms. I enjoy b syncopation and may try some ragtime at some future date.

Something to note. Both staves up until now are treble clef so that the entire attention can be turned toward technique and not to bass clef reading. I have noticed that I am now able to play much more advanced pieces in my other books now because of the ease in which my technique had become. Very relaxed which increases my nimbleness and dexterity over the keyboard and in sight reading. This is a skill I was never able to attain with past one-on-one teaching.

#2622048 - 03/09/17 09:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
The videos in the course have become progressively longer as the pieces that are being practiced become musically richer in dynamics, rhythms, and voices. Lesson 9, which also includes a supplemental piece which the instructor calls a dessert, is 50 minutes long. Earlier videos averaged about 7 minutes per short piece or exercise. In each video the instructor describes in great depth the different aspects of the piece as well as demonstrates the piece and phrases in the piece in final form as well as practice form.

During this process, my whole viewpoint of piano practice and playing has changed. It has moved from "playing keys to creating music" to manifesting physical gestures with mind, body, and spirit that express shades, tones, and dynamics for creating music through the instrument. It is like singing.

The transformation in my viewpoint not only had affected the music I can and do create, but also my overall enjoyment of the learning process. It is precisely the way I practice and describe the act of doing Tai Chi and drawing. All of this is due entirely too the manner this particular instructor teaches piano.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/09/17 10:37 PM.
#2622595 - 03/11/17 12:07 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Rich, I freelance and got caught up in a very heavy workload. I intended to respond before this. Where we left off, I had asked whether you can get direct feedback on videos of your own playing, where you try the instructions - and your answer was no.

What I have found (not always) is that I follow an instruction which I think I understand, and often actually do understand, and think I'm doing what was said. Even watching a video of myself doing it. But then when the teacher sees me, I may have missed the mark in part of it, or he sees some refinement to do on it, or (worse case) I misunderstood, or exaggerated - or he seems some other aspect in my playing that needs to be addressed. What I think I am doing, and what I think I understand, may not be the total reality. That is why I asked about this part.

I've worked in a number of ways. I've only had lessons as an adult. The first was several years of regular hour long violin lessons in person the traditional way. I have worked/am working with more than one teacher on-line, some of it more ad hoc (but organized) and several are within organized programs that are designed for on-line instructions. Among them there is Jaak Sikk's series for piano. This has been written about before.

The other has been the ArtistWorks which is an organized platform for lessons by various (selected? vetted) teachers. In returning to violin, I registered with Darol Anger, a superb fiddler who is much more than that, whose approach to technique is also perfect for classical. I'm coming out of a mess with violin and restarting at the beginning. Nathan Cole is the classical counterpart there, also excellent. This platform offers the following:
- access to every single video lesson that the teacher has put in there, at all levels, shot in a professional studio often from multiple angles
- sheet music to go with it
- for non-classical, backing tracks
- discussion forum
- FEEDBACK. You upload a video of yourself playing, and within the registered group that feedback will be visible to you as well as other members. So for example, if there is a lesson "how to play staccato - using Piece X", all the videos submitted by all students having worked on that lesson are in there in a row, along with the teacher's video feedback and observations. Your playing will be commented on. You get insights in what others have done, and the feedback they got. Specifically.
- access to related material by other teachers in the same category (classical or non-classical, maybe banjo and violin)
- interviews with other musicians by your teacher and other related things
- write-ups and advice of various kinds in written form

Without the feedback, what I've learned to watch for is:
- is what I'm doing becoming more comfortable, and easier
- does it sound better; am I getting at the sound I want

I've also learned to watch out for some things. Years ago I worked briefly with a teacher who told me insistently what results I would be feeling and hearing. I did not experience those things, but since I was "supposed" to have those results, I doubted my senses and instincts. I went through some "choreography" at that time - move this in this way etc. - with some harm (this was not piano), which was undone when I started listening to my body. Paired with good instruction, listening to your own body is powerful.

I was also advised to listen to sample playing while not watching. Some people can have beautiful, flowing, choreographed playing which looks like swan-like ballerinas, and your eyes will you to hear flowing sound - but it's not coming out - Others seem to barely move (It's happening underneath all that), and yet the sound flows.

If you're getting the results you want, and especially if it differs from what you used to get in how you worked before, then it must all be in order. smile

#2622600 - 03/11/17 12:22 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thanks for your comments.

Just wanted to mention that there is limited access to instructor feedback via the monthly Q&A video feedback session. For those who are looking for more feedback, the venues you mentioned may be more applicable. The type of feedback I am looking for is very specific: it from someone who plays with this naturally created "wave-like" expressive gestures that begin with the creative mind and flows through the body like waves as exemplified in this tutorial:

Expressive flowing water-like piano gestures

While many teachers play like this, I have found it very difficult to find a teacher who teaches like this.

#2622603 - 03/11/17 12:29 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
More generally: What bothered me in the past was when I saw various Russian teachers present what they teach by outlining "Western" in a stereotypical miserable manner, and then presenting an alternative as "Russian". What they present exists everywhere. However, there is a real problem that there is a lot of the type of teaching that they outline, so if you can get the alternative, that's what counts.

Everything you have written about here and in your new thread are familiar to me. A lot of it often doesn't get taught, or mistaught.

At the moment I'm on an Arrau binge. Claudio Arrau studied with a German teacher named Krause who in turn studied with Liszt. I'm watching a run-down by a former student on the main playing principles taught by Arrau, along that line. Many things are similar to what you have described. Liszt was fighting to change how playing was done: Chopin did so .... why on earth is what they fought 100 years ago still being taught? But it is NOT taught everywhere, and these things are not exclusive to Russia. Liszt was not Russian. Krause was German.

You wrote of abandoning Alfred because of what that repertoire does. My first learning was as a self-taught child using my grandmother's books. I later learned that my grandmother had been taught to keep her arms motionless, be able to balance a pencil on the back of her hand, etc. - all the things from the clavichord era. I was never taught. My playing resembled what my grandmother was taught, because I used the books that she used. In my recovery I have stayed away from that kind of music - Chopin opens the movements for me, and require different movements - going to this other music immediately pulls me backward.

In regards to large sweeping movements: In the older Russian school it was minimal motion i.e. no wasted motion. But if you try not to over-move and clamp down on yourself, that is a huge expenditure of energy. All movements must be there at least in miniature. Also, a choreographed movement can be ineffective if it's not doing what it is supposed to be doing. But again also, if you've always been restricted, then feeling the joints in your wrists etc. through the large movements at least makes them come alive to you. Little kids do everything in exaggerated style and then settle down. The whole body ends up working together.

Last edited by keystring; 03/11/17 12:30 PM.
#2622610 - 03/11/17 12:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Yes, I agree, at the end there should be a fluid, whole body movement (it may be very subtle) that expresses the music that one wishes to create. I have found that the Nikoleav approach much more conducive to the development of this feeling than the Alfred's approach.

#2623000 - 03/12/17 01:46 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.)

I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.

#2623008 - 03/12/17 02:11 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
I have found that the Nikoleav approach much more conducive to the development of this feeling than the Alfred's approach.

Is Nikolaev the name of the teacher? I've never worked with Alfred or any method book, but from what I know, I wouldn't see it as an "approach". A good teacher can take any "textbook" (in this case method book) and teach how to move, and other approaches, using the material. That said, material itself affects how we move. If the music stays in a 5-finger hand span, in the middle of the keyboard, mostly on white keys, this affects how you move. If the LH is constantly playing chords, while the RH plays melodies, this also determines how you develop. So in that way you are probably on the right track.

#2623069 - 03/12/17 06:00 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Nikoleav is the author of the fundamental book Russian School of Piano playing, the book used by the instructor Illinca who created the online teaching course at pianocareeracademy.com. when she created the course 5 years ago, she was clearly putting her heart and soul into a complete course that teaches most of all creative imaginative expression via relaxed piano technique.

#2623114 - 03/12/17 09:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 745
Ralphiano Offline
500 Post Club Member
Ralphiano  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 745
Originally Posted by keystring
I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.).....

....I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.


I am self taught, two years in, good at self study, and good at sifting the wheat from the chaff. During the course of my self study, I encountered the concept of wrist rotation, and gave it some serious study. At first, it seemed like an answer that the world needed to know about. I watched a lot of videos by well intentioned, widely respected teachers, describing the technique. However, I soon noticed that I was not seeing this technique put into practice by the highly acclaimed and noteworthy pianists that I had the opportunity to watch. This puzzled me.

I eventually stumbled onto a seemingly benign comment by one teacher to the effect that the rotational technique, in the very visible form utilized in teaching sessions, was not in fact what gets put into practice during effective piano play. The teaching version was a purposeful exaggeration of the rotational motion, and the grandiosity of the teaching version served the purpose of providing the student with effective visual and tactile recognition of the concept of rotation. The exaggeration is just a tool to get the student to recognize the movement, so he/she can begin to blend it into the array of other techniques and skills possessed.

The actual piano playing version of rotation is, by contrast, very subtle and nearly undetectable. The highly proficient pianist merely uses what small amount of it that is called for in the moment, and that usually looks very little like the versions we see in those teaching videos. This solved, for me, that mystery of why teachers were teaching big rotational movements, but, the best pianists did not appear to be using it.

So, I think you are correct in saying that all the parts work together, and that the impairment or neglect of one impairs the others, as well.

This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.

I hope this does not come across as trashing her or her teaching effort. She is impressive, and clearly knows about piano. I just hope the exaggeration, if any, is made clear to the students, so they don't hinder their own development by trying to play with a lot of excess and inefficient movements.

Richrf, have you learned anything about whether the movements she demonstrates are exaggerated for teaching effect?

Last edited by Ralphiano; 03/12/17 10:00 PM.

Ralph

Casio Privia PX-760
Pianoteq Stage
Pianist since April, 2015
#2623131 - 03/12/17 10:42 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
They appear to be "exaggerated" in accordance to the music which is being demonstrated, e.g. very slow portamento, legato, or staccato, for instructional purposes. As the tempo and rhythm become more in concordance with final tempo, the movements become more minimal. Gestures and movements are always as one unit (there are in reality no such things as parts of a body) and necessarily in concordance with the music that is being expressed. There is always a gently rolling for motion in legato, for example, because that is precisely the the gesture that reflects the musical expression.

One can observe the totally natural gestures of this artist and how it adjusts to create different rhythms and tonalities an accordance to what the artist wishes to express. She studied under a student of Horowitz.

Nicole Wang in concert

In my opinion "rolling the wrist" is an inadequate description to explain the motion since the whole arm (and of course more since the whole body is involved) is acting as a unit. The instructor in her videos explains it as shifting the whole arm weight to different fingers. I would describe it as a soft, rolling, wave.

At about 1:35 of this video to can see that soft rolling gesture in Horowitz's play:

Horowitz technique in slow motion

I would, of course, practice very slowly with larger gestures since I am still a beginner developing body memory. More practice yields greater subtlety, as appropriate.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/12/17 11:20 PM.
#2623141 - 03/12/17 11:11 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Ralphiano, I think we are on the same page about a lot of things. It is indeed true that often techniques that are taught as principles are taught in isolation, in an exaggerated and unnatural way. I have been advised (by teachers I trust) to always watch what that same teacher does when they are "just playing normally". Recently there was one (I forget which) who was brought up in the ABF and I watched other lessons by him. Among others, he spoke against any motion of the wrist for something or other and demonstrated his idea - later when he played, esp. putting him in slow-mo, one saw a soft feathering in the wrist. I had expected it.

I have also seen lessons of choreographed motions, showing children being taught, and those motions should have a given effect. But when those children played in recitals, that effect could not be heard, because you also have to have a feel for it, to interact with the keys and hear the sound. Otherwise it is programmed puppetry.

I have also seen (always on-line) teachers preaching about relaxation, holding the child's hand or wrist, making it go up and down in a "relaxed" manner - and at the end you'd see the poor tyke's fingers splayed like a trapped wild mouse.

We will hear very expressive playing while seeing what seems like almost no motion - unless you put it on 50% speed or slower and really watch for the subtle things - And we will also see very large motions with less expression: but our eyes may make us hear what isn't there. It's a thing to be careful about.

One thing for myself: In the beginning I can't do "subtle" because my reflexes are not refined enough. When you watch little children, their motions are exaggerated - heck, even their speech is exaggerated - using big muscles, the whole arm - and then it refines. I can't feel the joints I'm using, at first, unless I do rather large silly looking things, and then as those parts wake up, I can get subtle. Exaggeration might be a stage.

#2623227 - 03/13/17 09:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring


I have also seen (always on-line) teachers preaching about relaxation, holding the child's hand or wrist, making it go up and down in a "relaxed" manner - and at the end you'd see the poor tyke's fingers splayed like a trapped wild mouse.


Relaxation is absolutely the most fundamental skill after imagining the sound itself. Every single art that I have ever studied is based upon these to skills: first imagining and then expressing through a relaxed but still energetic body.

#2623251 - 03/13/17 11:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,024
Alexander Borro Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Alexander Borro  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,024
UK
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Originally Posted by keystring
I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.).....

....I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.


I am self taught, two years in, good at self study, and good at sifting the wheat from the chaff. During the course of my self study, I encountered the concept of wrist rotation, and gave it some serious study. At first, it seemed like an answer that the world needed to know about. I watched a lot of videos by well intentioned, widely respected teachers, describing the technique. However, I soon noticed that I was not seeing this technique put into practice by the highly acclaimed and noteworthy pianists that I had the opportunity to watch. This puzzled me.

I eventually stumbled onto a seemingly benign comment by one teacher to the effect that the rotational technique, in the very visible form utilized in teaching sessions, was not in fact what gets put into practice during effective piano play. The teaching version was a purposeful exaggeration of the rotational motion, and the grandiosity of the teaching version served the purpose of providing the student with effective visual and tactile recognition of the concept of rotation. The exaggeration is just a tool to get the student to recognize the movement, so he/she can begin to blend it into the array of other techniques and skills possessed.

The actual piano playing version of rotation is, by contrast, very subtle and nearly undetectable. The highly proficient pianist merely uses what small amount of it that is called for in the moment, and that usually looks very little like the versions we see in those teaching videos. This solved, for me, that mystery of why teachers were teaching big rotational movements, but, the best pianists did not appear to be using it.

So, I think you are correct in saying that all the parts work together, and that the impairment or neglect of one impairs the others, as well.

This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.

I hope this does not come across as trashing her or her teaching effort. She is impressive, and clearly knows about piano. I just hope the exaggeration, if any, is made clear to the students, so they don't hinder their own development by trying to play with a lot of excess and inefficient movements.

Richrf, have you learned anything about whether the movements she demonstrates are exaggerated for teaching effect?


Ralphpiano, Thanks for your post. Your feeling/instincts very much echo mine.

In that light, I would add, what you say is a very good example why in my opinion I value Graham Fitch as an instructor so much, and a lot of the pianist magazine videos. I mentioned Graham the other day a couple of times. I can't say about piano career obviously in that regard, since I have not used it, but to make my point.

Graham will demonstrate X, then say,

"See what I did there, watch carefully, but of course not that much, I am exaggerating to make the point"

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.

To me, statements such as playing with wrists means nothing isolation. Playing with flat or more curled fingers has to be put in context when and where it is appropriate etc. etc., but often I do hear statements of that sort, that really do not give any meaningful perspective to put those things in context, just as with your example of suspecting slightly OTT motions above.

I suspect it's often the case that such things can happen, at least with many videos I have seen, so I am ready for it, it's always in the back of my mind while watching them, but I try to take out of it what I can, as best as I can.

Best regards,

Alex.



Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Casio AP450 & software.
[Linked Image] 10x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
#2623297 - 03/13/17 01:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Alex, I'm curious about the Graham Fitch. I read a lot of praise from various people including one teacher I respected, and one person who went through "the whole series". So I purchased the "set" on-line. What I got was a lot of text and a lot of words. There were a few videos embedded which featured somebody else's hand - not Fitch's - and even though that hand was doing what had been described, it looked oddly tight or "shaped" in an old fashioned sense, and the demos were ultra brief. I'm wondering if there is a different set out there.
I have seen a few Fitch videos on Youtube which go into things a lot more.

#2623323 - 03/13/17 02:03 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 20
Tiger22 Offline
Full Member
Tiger22  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 20
Graham Fitch does regular articles for Pianist Magazine and there are dozens of associated videos he does on YouTube associated with those articles (check out the Pianist Magazone channel). He also is part of an online teaching Academy called "Practising the Piano" which is still in its infancy. I would hire Graham for weekly lessons in a heartbeat but there's no way he is going to have the time for beginners like me.

I have done a 3 month subscription to Piano Career Academy and very much like what I see. It certainly complements my regular lessons with my teacher.

#2623586 - 03/14/17 12:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Tiger22]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Tiger22

I have done a 3 month subscription to Piano Career Academy and very much like what I see. It certainly complements my regular lessons with my teacher.


If be very interested in hearing your comments in this thread. Let me know how things are going for you. I might be missing things that you are picking up.

Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired. The larger or more subtle movements are dictated by the creative expression. Expression is always relaxed, but not relaxed like a wet noodle. It is full of energy - but not muscular.

#2623838 - 03/15/17 01:34 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today's video was quite long (45 minutes). The instructor, Illinca, spent quite a bit of time describing the expressive aspects of a special piece she chose that is outside of the primary method book. Since understanding the story behind a piece of music is intrinsic to expression, she first explained the background of the piece an then how each of the phrases express different parts and aspects of the story. After that, she described how different techniques can be used to express various emotions and ideas within the story and phrases.

This was quite a lot to digest and I'll be revisiting this lesson again tomorrow. In the meantime, I keep repeating most of the previous lessons and have added Bastien Level 1 to my practice since it reinforces in a complimentary manner the material I am learning in this course. I supplement the Bastien material with online demonstrations I find in YouTube.

One more thing, there are many excellent questions and answers on the forum that follow the lessons. Most date back to 2012, but all quite relevant and full of information for students such as myself.

#2623915 - 03/15/17 10:00 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This is Fern, who is one of the students taking the course. I practiced Tai Chi today to this beautiful rendition of the Moonlight Sonata. I was quite literally swimming in her music. I invite you to like her video if you enjoyed it as much as I did!馃槂

Moonlight Sonata performed by Fern


Last edited by Richrf; 03/15/17 10:30 AM.
#2623991 - 03/15/17 02:19 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
Reseda, California

Very nice. But I think she's sitting about half an inch to an inch too low, which requires her to bend her wrists downward.



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2624237 - 03/16/17 10:44 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
What I've noticed it's that Illinca, the instructo adjusted her lessons to suit the student body when she first began developing the course. There is a completely separate advanced course which I have not involved myself with, but even within the beginner's course, there are more advanced elements and pieces introduced, beginning with lesson 19, in order to address the advanced beginners who are taking the course and would like slightly more advanced pieces to practice.

Every lesson reveals elements of Illinca's teaching method, so it appears that all students, whether beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate or advanced, are walking through each lesson, but there are branches in the lessons for those who are more advanced.

Right now, I am studying the more advanced pieces, first bar by bar, then phrase by phrase, allowing repetition to guide me to greater skill and proficiency. I use Bastien's studies and techniques to augment and add more differences but at the same time more repetition to my daily practice. My approach is to slowly develop more and more body memory and connection between myself (including my creative mind) and my beautiful Kawai piano. I wonder if I should give it a name?

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 10:44 AM.
#2624313 - 03/16/17 04:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 92
fishandchips Offline
Full Member
fishandchips  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 92
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.


Valentina Lisitsa uses exaggerated gestures when she performs, and she's clearly not in the learning phase! It's mainly a visual aid for the audience, adding drama and theatrics to the performance. Like those players who, when they hit a loud and powerful chord, they whip their head back like they just got an uppercut from Mike Tyson. Their hair flies around very dramatically and all that. Or how Lang Lang always looks like he's at the height of ecstasy when he plays. I saw a video of a woman performing Bach, and as she started playing the piece with her right hand, her left hand was stretched way above her head. How or why it got there, I do not know. But they're performers. It's theater. Guitar players practice that stuff in front of the mirror.



Middle-aged curmudgeon, started learning on Nov. 3, 2016.

https://soundcloud.com/user-197203213
#2624315 - 03/16/17 04:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Alexander Borro]  
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 92
fishandchips Offline
Full Member
fishandchips  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 92
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.


I like Graham Fitch too. I don't want a teacher to give me inaccurate information, even if they think they're doing it for my benefit. That's like getting a kid to eat his spinach by telling him he'll have super-strength like Popeye if he does.

But that's just me. To each their own.



Middle-aged curmudgeon, started learning on Nov. 3, 2016.

https://soundcloud.com/user-197203213
#2624321 - 03/16/17 04:41 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by Richrf
They appear to be "exaggerated" in accordance to the music which is being demonstrated, e.g. very slow portamento, legato, or staccato, for instructional purposes.

Just reading through this discussion, and this is the 2nd time you used this term, but I'm not sure it is what you mean to use. Portamento most commonly refers to a gliding between pitches or bending of pitches. It can have other uses as well, but I wonder if you meant "portato" which is more of a string term, notated as staccato and a slur at the same time, implying a long staccato if you will?


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2624333 - 03/16/17 05:07 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Portamento would be the range between staccato and legato. There are many different techniques that can be used within this range that the instructor demonstrates. She usually suggests playing a piece with portamento at the beginning learning stages and gradually introduce other dynamics once the student becomes familiar with the piece.

#2624335 - 03/16/17 05:09 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: fishandchips]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by fishandchips
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.


I like Graham Fitch too. I don't want a teacher to give me inaccurate information, even if they think they're doing it for my benefit. That's like getting a kid to eat his spinach by telling him he'll have super-strength like Popeye if he does.

But that's just me. To each their own.



Graham Fitch's mode of teaching is not to my own personal taste. In regards to providing accurate information - well since every teacher has their own way of teaching, one can take the stance that they are all accurate or that they are all inaccurate. I prefer to take the stance that they are all different, since that would be accurate.馃槂

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 05:12 PM.
#2624340 - 03/16/17 05:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by Richrf
Portamento would be the range between staccato and legato. There are many different techniques that can be used within this range that the instructor demonstrates. She usually suggests playing a piece with portamento at the beginning learning stages and gradually introduce other dynamics once the student becomes familiar with the piece.
Interesting. I've never heard it used in that way before. Thanks for clarifying.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2624357 - 03/16/17 06:24 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
I'm wondering if what is meant is portato, because the definition matches that of portato.
Also, I don't think it's dynamics, but articulation.
(Hopefully to avoid confusion)

#2624362 - 03/16/17 06:33 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Googled portamento. First listing on page:

por路ta路men路to

noun MUSIC
1.
a slide from one note to another, especially in singing or playing a bowed string instrument.
2.
piano playing in a manner intermediate between legato and staccato.
"a portamento style"

Portamento is a type of articulation that can be played with a variety of dynamics which the instructor illustrates. For me learning to play the piano is all about hearing a sound inside of me and using many different techniques to manifest this sound via the gesture. The instructor often emphasized this concept since at this end it is about bringing one's own artistry to the music. It is far less about mechanics and far more about spirit.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 06:40 PM.
#2624365 - 03/16/17 06:43 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by Richrf
Googled portamento. First listing on page:

por路ta路men路to

noun MUSIC
1.
a slide from one note to another, especially in singing or playing a bowed string instrument.
2.
piano playing in a manner intermediate between legato and staccato.
"a portamento style"

Portamento is a type of articulation that can be played with a variety of dynamics which the instructor illustrates. For me learning to play the piano is all about hearing a sound inside of me and using many different techniques to manifest this sound via the gesture. The instructor often emphasized this concept since at this end it is about bringing one's own artistry to the music. It is far less about mechanics and far more about spirit.
What you've added makes a lot more sense to me. Portamento literally means "to carry the mind", and so that can be done in a number of ways, I had not heard of it used as a means of in between legato and staccato, however.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2624367 - 03/16/17 06:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Morodiene
What you've added makes a lot more sense to me. Portamento literally means "to carry the mind", and so that can be done in a number of ways, I had not heard of it used as a means of in between legato and staccato, however.


Clearly the meaning of portamento as lying between staccato and legato must be fairly widespread or it would not appear as the basic Google definition, but possibly it may be more regionalized in its usage.

I can understand derivation of this word since surely musicians, as artists, wish to convey their spirit through the music they create. I most enjoy teachers that embrace this spirit in their teachings.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 06:51 PM.
#2624368 - 03/16/17 06:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
dogperson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
dogperson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
Florida
Portamento, between legato and staccato, was used as a term by

Horowitz

and Neuhaus (couldn't find the exact citation)

as well as others.

#2624374 - 03/16/17 07:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
Clearly the meaning of portamento as lying between staccato and legato must be fairly widespread or it would not appear as the basic Google definition, but possibly it may be more regionalized in its usage.

Morodiene is an expert teacher in the area of singing, and I studied violin for a few years - both instruments where you control pitch and can slide pitch. Even the definition you found through google has the pitch definition coming first. It is not lack of knowledge that created the confusion.

Btw, did you miss my post on portAto? smile

It is not puzzling that Morodiene, as a singer, thought of the usual meaning of portamento first, and had not heard of portamento being used to mean portato.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portamento
Here you will find in the title "portato (portamento)"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD_GYpyZSpUHY
Here it is as shown as notation
http://andrewhugill.com/manuals/violin/lefthand.html

portato
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portato
Here is portato on the violin (taught) and it goes somewhat with what is being taught in this piano course, except it can be done more subtly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whXj4-60SR0

I am not disputing the use of the term "portamento" - only stressing that it is most often used to mean the sliding of a pitch, and anyone used to that term may not be familiar with the other. It is not ignorance or lack of knowledge, far from it.

Horowitz studied in Russia, and so did Neuhaus. They would not be good references for English usage. My multilingual music dictionary shows a blurring of "portato" and "portamento".

"Heinrich Gustavovich Neuhaus (Russian: 袚械虂薪褉懈褏 袚褍褋褌邪虂胁芯胁懈褔 袧械泄谐邪虂褍蟹, Genrikh Gustavovi膷 Nejgauz; 12 April [O.S. 31 March] 1888 鈥 10 October 1964) was a Soviet pianist and pedagogue of German extraction."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Neuhaus

Music is an international language practised internationally but described in many languages, so there will always be some confusion of terminology.




#2624378 - 03/16/17 07:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
I can understand derivation of this word since surely musicians, as artists, wish to convey their spirit through the music they create. I most enjoy teachers that embrace this spirit in their teachings.

In this case it is not spirit but precision. In an instrument where you can create pitch and sustain a note, you can hold that pitch or change it after producing it. One way is a long sustained slide called glissando or "gliss", the other is a more brief kind of sob which is the portamento. there is a specific word used to describe that desired pitch effect.

Then you have the articulations - the ultra sharp staccato that lasts only a tiny point of time, with big spaces between notes on the one hand, and legato at the other extreme where one note almost blends into the next, and there is no separation --- and in between. The portato of violin or piano cannot be duplicated on piano, but something close to it can be produced. It's sort of the fine line between legato and the beginning of staccato. This too is a definite thing rather than something vaguely about feelings.

#2624380 - 03/16/17 07:27 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Greener Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014
Greener  Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
...
Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired

I think the above statement should end with the sound desired and perhaps what is meant.

It just all seems like a lot more to think about, to me. There is already a lot to think about, just with the music. I believe, that if you focus on the sound you want to produce, the gestures will take care of themselves. Not the other way around.

The way I was taught, fingering wasn't considered highly important, was never fussy or much discussed. Gestures not at all. What was always important though, was the sound. How to bring out the melody or move from here to here quickly and softly, which may have included a tad bit of fingering. Listening closely for the sound was always the focus.

There is surely value in exaggerated movements and exaggerated everything for teaching purposes, but I do not agree with focusing on physical movements to get the sound. Find the sound and once you have found it, repeat it and practice it to secure the gestures you need to achieve it. If you want to get fancy after that for visual flair that's fine as you've already secured the sound. The end product may all look as one, but personally i think the approach is backwards. But, then again, maybe mine was.

#2624385 - 03/16/17 07:43 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Greener]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Greener
Originally Posted by Richrf
...
Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired

I think the above statement should end with the sound desired and perhaps what is meant.

It just all seems like a lot more to think about, to me. There is already a lot to think about, just with the music. I believe, that if you focus on the sound you want to produce, the gestures will take care of themselves. Not the other way around.

The way I was taught, fingering wasn't considered highly important, was never fussy or much discussed. Gestures not at all. What was always important though, was the sound. How to bring out the melody or move from here to here quickly and softly, which may have included a tad bit of fingering. Listening closely for the sound was always the focus.

There is surely value in exaggerated movements and exaggerated everything for teaching purposes, but I do not agree with focusing on physical movements to get the sound. Find the sound and once you have found it, repeat it and practice it to secure the gestures you need to achieve it. If you want to get fancy after that for visual flair that's fine as you've already secured the sound. The end product may all look as one, but personally i think the approach is backwards. But, then again, maybe mine was.


Yes, what I said, and what the instructor emphasizes, is that the sound comes first and manifests as a gesture. She then demonstrates the various gestures that one might use, but in practice the are literally an infinite number of infinite gestures that manifest. Ditto with Tai Chi, dancing, drawing, etc. And if the gestures are large and dynamic and reflect the spirit of the artist, so be it. That is the nature of artistry. First comes imagination and physical gesture follows.


Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 07:46 PM.
#2624388 - 03/16/17 07:48 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Richrf
I can understand derivation of this word since surely musicians, as artists, wish to convey their spirit through the music they create. I most enjoy teachers that embrace this spirit in their teachings.

In this case it is not spirit but precision. In an instrument where you can create pitch and sustain a note, you can hold that pitch or change it after producing it. One way is a long sustained slide called glissando or "gliss", the other is a more brief kind of sob which is the portamento. there is a specific word used to describe that desired pitch effect.

Then you have the articulations - the ultra sharp staccato that lasts only a tiny point of time, with big spaces between notes on the one hand, and legato at the other extreme where one note almost blends into the next, and there is no separation --- and in between. The portato of violin or piano cannot be duplicated on piano, but something close to it can be produced. It's sort of the fine line between legato and the beginning of staccato. This too is a definite thing rather than something vaguely about feelings.


One can seek precision in art if one wishes. It is the difference between Rembrandt and Monet - both seeking precision in their own manner.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 07:49 PM.
#2624393 - 03/16/17 07:54 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: dogperson]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by dogperson
Portamento, between legato and staccato, was used as a term by

Horowitz

and Neuhaus (couldn't find the exact citation)

as well as others.


Thank you for the historical context. I found this in some c quick research. The subject appears to be one that deserves further research.

Horowitz on Portamento

"Stream of energy continuously flows to and through the right Zone (look at the samples 6 and 7, too) of the proper keyboard depths' level and is being directed to the side the musical progress is going on. The tendency to steer fingers' motions a little bit backwards and, simultaneously, to guide the whole hand to the side that accurately corresponds with the musical progress (left & up or right & up) 鈥 brings greater easiness to the action. Especially if connected with famous portamento (let you look up the V. Horowitz's explanations in the D. Dubal's book), this technique offers possibility to almost endless fingers' activity without any physical fatigue. It is worth to maintain that such spiral-like motions fully correspond with motions suggesting by the famous Alexander-technique; seemingly "thoughts for wisdom and truth and the perfection of our soul" represent the same nature; from the ancient India and TAO up to our times."

This is the Horowitz book being referenced:

Horowitz book

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 07:56 PM.
#2624398 - 03/16/17 08:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I found this article written by the instructor Illinca concerning the subject at hand, that discusses an aspect of her teaching approach:

Constructive tips for piano beginners

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 08:34 PM.
#2624423 - 03/16/17 09:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Interesting discussion on the term "portamento". I think it's odd that through my master's education in piano and all the years of private piano instruction I had the word never came up. But then, I didn't study with anyone Russian, and it seems from the references that this use of the word comes from the Russian school, so perhaps not as surprising.

Portato was a term only one piano teacher used, but it is taken from strings. All other teachers referred only to legato, non-legato, and staccato.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2624426 - 03/16/17 09:44 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This is one teacher's take on the subject. Of some interest are the associated comments. My own preference is to always try to understand the underlying concepts as opposed to the words being used, since word usage is constantly changing.


[video:youtube]OD_GYpyZSpU[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 03/16/17 09:45 PM.
#2624520 - 03/17/17 10:18 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
For supplementary knowledge I am often watching the pianotv YouTube channel. This is an example of the instructor discussing some famous performers:

[video:youtube]mhnZshIxtF4[/video]

#2624763 - 03/18/17 09:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
My practice plan has evolved into daily repetition of every study and piece in the Nikoleav book while debut revisiting the video instruction when necessary. I am supplementing this study with the extra, more advanced pieces, that the instructor has demonstrated as well as exercises from the Bastien Piano and Technic books.

I am following the same repetitive lesson approach that I used to learn Tai Chi, dancing, and drawing. With energetic relaxation and repetition I will gradually quiet all of the willfulness in my body so that what will be left within me will be the sound of the music that I wish to play. The constant repetition is training my body intelligence to play the sounds with gestures that are formed by the creative mind - not the willful mind.

In this way, I hear the music in my creative mind, my body expresses it through gestures which flow through the piano instrument that creates the physical sound that flows back to me. The circle is complete. This approach of relaxation, repetition, and creative expression seems to be applicable to every art (I am also applying it to singing and drawing) and seems to be very much in accordance to the approach of this book and this course.

#2624765 - 03/18/17 09:28 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
dogperson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
dogperson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
Florida
Rich
You might want to do a little reading about Dalcroze methodology. It was recommended to me by my primary piano teacher and I am taking Dalcroze lessons as well as the standard approach.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin

"My toy was my piano" -Alicia de Larrocha
"Just waiting until I can retire from my day job so my piano can be my toy"- dogperson
#2624767 - 03/18/17 09:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi Dogperson,

Thank you for sharing your insights. Yes, this method very much dovetails my own self-taught approach, and I'll be investigating it more. Dance, song, art, and music do work together to create artistic expression. Thanks!


Last edited by Richrf; 03/18/17 09:43 AM.
#2624802 - 03/18/17 11:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
dogperson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
dogperson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
Florida
My Dalcroze teacher recommended a book by Lussy written in 1895 on musical expression. You can view it on the Internet as it is no longer in copyright but you can purchase it on forgotten books.com for about $11 which is a great deal as it is quite a large book . I've honestly just started reading it, and she suggested that I start with chapter 8. See what you think They also carry a book by Dalcroze which I have not purchased yet

I do think the Dalcroze is helping me even though I only take lessons about twice a month instead of weekly. My musical budget will only stretch so far ..... 馃槉

Last edited by dogperson; 03/18/17 12:11 PM. Reason: Correct spelling to Lussy
#2624811 - 03/18/17 11:36 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thanks for the suggestion dogperson. I can't seem to find the book you recommended. Do you have a title you can share with me? Thanks!

I also have a limited budget. I find that a teacher can teach just so much at one time. Mostly I think it depends upon the quality and repetition of practice in order to build whole body intelligence. For me, this course is more than adequate for now and a bargain for the amount of knowledge and instruction I am gaining.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/18/17 11:39 AM.
#2624824 - 03/18/17 12:10 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
dogperson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
dogperson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
Florida
No wonder you couldn't find it ... it is Lussy crazy Sorry about the spelling; that's what I get for typing on a cell phone
https://archive.org/details/musicalexpressio00lussuoft

#2624841 - 03/18/17 12:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thanks dogperson. Got it. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

#2624861 - 03/18/17 01:37 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I am currently working on Lesson 20. Here is the full syllabus of the course:
Piano Career Academy Russian Method Syllabus

As you can see, there is a wealth of video and written instruction. I often go back to previous videos to rehear instruction and review the the demonstrations of the pieces. So far, everything is pretty well explained so I have not taken advantage of the once a month video Q&A.


Last edited by Richrf; 03/18/17 04:35 PM.
#2624905 - 03/18/17 04:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 167
Montuno Offline
Full Member
Montuno  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 167
The syllabus is only visible if you're logged in Richrf.


Casio Privia PX-150 - Pianoteq
Working on Fundamental Keys / Alfred's Adult All-In-One Book 2

My Music
#2624911 - 03/18/17 04:37 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Sorry about that Montuno. I updated the post with a new link that is coming from their publicly accessible FAQ. Hope this one works.

#2625139 - 03/19/17 11:53 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This is one of the channels I use for supplemental knowledge. The already if this instructor is very similar to Illinca's though Illinca tends to be more concise in her applications.

In this video the instructor talks about playing the piano with relaxation. It is very similar to the way I teach Tai Chi. It is a water-like flow that begins with the imagination and propagates to the extremities. In Daoism, this flow is called the Yi (creative energy). This is different than the Zhi (willful energy).

In this video she uses singing as a metaphor. In Tai Chi I use waves in water or water filling a balloon.

https://youtu.be/tVkU_5G0Ow8


Last edited by Richrf; 03/19/17 12:01 PM.
#2625151 - 03/19/17 12:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,473
Stubbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Stubbie  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,473
Midwest USA
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by fishandchips
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. ........

I like Graham Fitch too. I don't want a teacher to give me inaccurate information, even if they think they're doing it for my benefit. That's like getting a kid to eat his spinach by telling him he'll have super-strength like Popeye if he does. But that's just me. To each their own.

Graham Fitch's mode of teaching is not to my own personal taste. In regards to providing accurate information - well since every teacher has their own way of teaching, one can take the stance that they are all accurate or that they are all inaccurate. I prefer to take the stance that they are all different, since that would be accurate.馃槂
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


[Linked Image]
#2625152 - 03/19/17 01:04 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Stubbie]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


Hi Stubbie,

I don't usually describe things as accurate or inaccurate since everyone perceives things in different ways. In regards to Graham Fitch, his style of teaching does not resonate with me.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/19/17 01:04 PM.
#2625155 - 03/19/17 01:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,473
Stubbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Stubbie  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,473
Midwest USA
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


Hi Stubbie,

I don't usually describe things as accurate or inaccurate since everyone perceives things in different ways. In regards to Graham Fitch, his style of teaching does not resonate with me.
Do you perceive Graham Fitch as providing inaccurate information?


[Linked Image]
#2625156 - 03/19/17 01:35 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Stubbie]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Rich, what are you saying here with respect to Graham Fitch providing accurate information?


Hi Stubbie,

I don't usually describe things as accurate or inaccurate since everyone perceives things in different ways. In regards to Graham Fitch, his style of teaching does not resonate with me.
Do you perceive Graham Fitch as providing inaccurate information?


Probably this deserves another thread. Thank you.

#2625169 - 03/19/17 03:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
This was in response to what I wrote.
Originally Posted by Richrf
One can seek precision in art if one wishes. It is the difference between Rembrandt and Monet - both seeking precision in their own manner.

We're missing each other here. I was referring to teaching, and trying to bring across things. In a very fundamental way, when you teach something you have to make sure the other person understands what you mean. So here it happens that on instruments where you create pitch, such as voice and violin, you can slide up to a note or down from it pitch-wise - this is a specific thing, sliding a pitch up or down. Another thing you can do with musical sound is to join one note to the next note (legato) or have an interruption of silence between them (staccato) with those degrees of silence being infinitely variable. Whether you are talking about pitch or moments of silence between notes - that is a definite precise thing. And that has to be clarified when there is confusion, just as a fundamental thing. It happens that "portamento" is largely used to mean a type of sliding into a pitch: that "portato" tends to be used to mean the silence-thing, but that in some quarters "portamento" is also used to mean the silence-thing. You can be intuitive, mystical and the rest in any art, but when describing something, people must be clear whether pitch or silence is meant.

Yes, Monet and Rembrandt were different. But they both used colours, shapes, and textures (those are the concretes or specifics). If one talked of "red" and the other thought "blue" was meant, there would be a problem. That is what I meant. smile

I once lost the chance to learn to play vibrato, because my teacher told me to move my "wrist" back and forth, when he meant the back of the hand. The wrist is the knobbly joint bendy thing. When I did precisely what he told me to do, it looked so weird that he got alarmed, and delayed teaching it for another two years. There is a "feeling" to vibrato; it is an emotional, delicate, beautiful, wistful elusive thing - I had that feeling, including in voice. But because he said "wrist" and meant back of hand, I couldn't follow the instructions.

#2625174 - 03/19/17 03:46 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
This is one teacher's take on the subject. Of some interest are the associated comments. My own preference is to always try to understand the underlying concepts as opposed to the words being used, since word usage is constantly changing.

Most of the associated comments go toward that term again. Robert Estrin was aware of the problem which is why I put a double term in his title "Portato (Portamento)"
I agree 100% that the most important thing is concept(s). But I'll say that there is a marriage between a concept and a term, which makes it important and tricky. Your teacher taught a concept, and linked a word to that concept (in that order) so that when in her lessons she refers to "portamento" you keep that whole concept and experience in mind. If she didn't have a word for it, then she'd have to describe the whole thing over and over. Meanwhile when you try to bring this across to a group that has not studied with her, you have to be aware that the term will not mean anything to others - or mean something else You may well have to do an overview of the concept for it to come across, or they (we) may attach our own concept.

I think I get what she is actually doing by starting with this portato/portamento. The way many people learn to play, they are all "fingery" with a static pre-shaped hand and perhaps arms and wrists that are equally static. Trying to play legato and trying to hold on to each previous note last minute can make this even worse. Staccato, otoh, esp. repeated notes or chords, induces a more free and larger motion. Portato is somewhere between the two, and I can see it leading to a more free and graceful motion.

It was interesting to hear Robert talk about his experience as a brass player - the tata vs. the dada. On each instrument you experience it differently. The dada gives the feel of the sound as well. On violin, you create a continuous sound by having the bow rub against the string. If you lighten the pressure, as if you are about to lift off but don't quite so that the sound almost disappears and then comes back, that's the violin portato. (I actually thought the expression came from there, because you are sort of "carrying" the bow by lifting it briefly).

#2625185 - 03/19/17 04:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
This is one of the channels I use for supplemental knowledge. ....

In this video she uses singing as a metaphor. In Tai Chi I use waves in water or water filling a balloon.

https://youtu.be/tVkU_5G0Ow8

I am familiar with this teacher. I haven't seen this video before - she seems to have brought out some new ones recently. I've done some thinking about the singing she presents, in particular - the same thing that she does around 27:00 (btw, that's "portamento" in the sense of glissing a pitch a short distance toward the target note). My thinking about this in particular:
- You can't bend pitch that way on piano, so what is she actually doing? At the same time she does a sideways motion at the wrist toward the next note. Putting this together - I had feedback that in my own playing, at times I will have a start-stop motion - reach note 1, stop my motion when I land there, restart the motion to get to note 2, etc. I was told of "perpetual motion" by the teacher who tends to stress this. Every time you stop, that's inertia, and effort in restarting. The concept is also "B as precise pitch, then C as a precise pitch, then D as a precise pitch" - like a distinct dot. Her glissing however mentally slides up the pitches so that you might picture a glissando even though you are producing a distinct B, then C, then D .... and joining the mental glissando with motion, this contains that continuous motion. That's what I figured out.

She also highlights that her previous idea had not totally worked for her: just mentally singing the notes didn't necessarily produce relaxed fingers. That makes sense to me, because when I sing (I'm an untrained singer) I'm not using the same physical apparatus as when I play. The whole thing is about JOINING TOGETHER all the things that work together: the whole body and all its part, the sounds you envision, and more. There are probably many ways of doing so.

An intriguing aside: In the beginning she talks about octaves, and how in that dream she dreamed that she had gigantic hands. The reverse of this is imagining that your hands are too small (she does not have large hands) and the need to stretch into the octaves - which creates a subconscious mental strain. By imagining your hands are gigantic, you're doing the opposite. This rang a bell, because a friend of mine took up viola, and her teacher (who taught violin and viola) kept telling her how "big and heavy" her instrument was. She was feeling a lot of discomfort. Then she worked briefly with a teacher who had her play "air viola" while he put on a recording - then had her freeze in place - then placed her actual viola on her. The "air viola" she was imagining was much bigger than the actual instrument. Constantly being told how big and heavy it was had caused her to imagine it that way, and then struggle.

#2625198 - 03/19/17 05:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring

We're missing each other here. I was referring to teaching, and trying to bring across things. In a very fundamental way, when you teach something you have to make sure the other person understands what you mean.


Thank you for your insights.

Yes, the instructor Illinca demonstrates everything repeatedly so there is no confusion in what she is suggesting. There are literally hous upon hours of a discussion about various techniques and gestures that can be used to produce different musical sounds. I believe visual demonstration is always the best way to demonstrate artistic ideas coupled with metaphors if applicable. Individual words are very susceptible to misinterpretation. I would never entertain the the thought of teaching Tai Chi with words. I think it is impossible.



Last edited by Richrf; 03/19/17 06:16 PM.
#2625478 - 03/20/17 05:12 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Since I have to hear the sound inside of me prior to playing it, I decided I needed to learn to look ahead in the piece as I play it but more importantly hear the notes before I play them. I am thinking that practicing singing would be a great supplement to my piano practice so I am perusing YouTube for singing exercises and lessons. Hopefully I find a channel that approaches singing less mechanical and more from creating the sound naturally from imagination.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/20/17 05:14 PM.
#2625758 - 03/21/17 05:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
At this point, I am repeating each lesson in such a way that I am hearing the music before playing the notes. Sometimes I have to scan ahead to see the notes before I hear them and then play them. Sometimes I just hear the notes and just play them. In this way I am developing a connection鈥 between the sounds I hear in my mind and the instrument I am using to produce the sounds. This is my primary focus and the course syllabus very much supports this learning process.

Not so Bastien or Alfred's which I decided to put aside at least for now. I can't figure out what the primary concept is behind these methods but it is not in concordance with this idea that I have. The Nikoleav book and this course seems to embrace a more naturally flowing learning process.

#2625761 - 03/21/17 05:44 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Albunea Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Albunea  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Spain
Which Bastien are you with? Primer?

I've done Primer, 1st and now 2nd level. I think it's good to learn to read? Pieces are graded slowly and tries to deal with the most basic concepts in order. Then the music is not like much of a thing... it's not like music most of the time, but I had fun with some uproarious pieces.

#2625764 - 03/21/17 05:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Albunea
Which Bastien are you with? Primer?

I've done Primer, 1st and now 2nd level. I think it's good to learn to read? Pieces are graded slowly and tries to deal with the most basic concepts in order. Then the music is not like much of a thing... it's not like music most of the time, but I had fun with some uproarious pieces.


It's difficult to explain in words the particular issues I am having with Bastien and more so Alfred's, but there does not seem to be a natural learning flow for me. The early introduction of an enormous about of staccato in the Bastien pieces and the immobility in the Alfred pieces are very descriptive of the entire thought behind the methodologies. My own preference is for flow propogating throughout my body in a harmonious manner.

#2625765 - 03/21/17 05:51 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Albunea
Which Bastien are you with? Primer?

I've done Primer, 1st and now 2nd level. I think it's good to learn to read? Pieces are graded slowly and tries to deal with the most basic concepts in order. Then the music is not like much of a thing... it's not like music most of the time, but I had fun with some uproarious pieces.


It's difficult to explain in words the particular issues I am having with Bastien and more so Alfred's, but there does not seem to be a natural learning flow for me. The early introduction of an enormous about of staccato in the Bastien pieces and the immobility in the Alfred pieces are very descriptive of the entire thought behind the methodologies. My own preference is for flow propagating throughout my body in a harmonious manner.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/21/17 05:52 PM.
#2625767 - 03/21/17 05:53 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Albunea Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Albunea  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Spain
I was always using another method with music I like more, but that one was more difficult so I think Bastien really helped me in learning to read. Not sure how I'd have done with your method, for example. You are learning difficult pieces?

#2625771 - 03/21/17 06:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Nikoleav's book is fine for learning to read notes. My approach is constant repetition until the note is connected with the sound in my imagination and the sound is connected to the piano producing a sound back again. For me, relaxation and repetition are the keys.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/21/17 11:30 PM.
#2625825 - 03/21/17 11:36 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
While looking for some ideas about singing, I came across this quote of Marcel Proust (a famous modernist novelist who is almost impossible to read) concerning the arts:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

So for me, piano playing is a way for me to create new eyes into the universe.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/21/17 11:38 PM.
#2625848 - 03/22/17 03:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 888
RaggedKeyPresser Online blank
500 Post Club Member
RaggedKeyPresser  Online Blank
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 888
Orig. land of Svear&G枚tar
Originally Posted by Richrf

I can't figure out what the primary concept is behind these methods


I've had some thoughts similar to these also.
Even the most advanced composers of "method books". Did they really understand everything about it?
(What Bastien or Alfred's has or has not, may be fairly simple to figure out, though)

The whole area seems so complex, that not even they would know the whole implication of a teaching material method that they have come up with.
How can one put together a method that is the most efficient and perfect for a piano student? There are thousands of of questions to satisfy. Including all those that nobody has yet come up with.
And it doesn't only involve the work at the keys, but also the total environment from a very early age.
In any case, it's a fascinating subject.


Working through Czerny's first baby beginning steps for classical piano.
Hoping to graduate well within two years of study. Now at #75 of Opus 599 and behind schedule.
#2625853 - 03/22/17 05:00 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,135
johan d Offline
1000 Post Club Member
johan d  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,135
Belgium
Originally Posted by Richrf
My approach is constant repetition until the note is connected with the sound in my imagination and the sound is connected to the piano producing a sound back again.

So you have perfect pitch?


Functional Ear Trainer on Android
ChordProg Ear Trainer
#2625878 - 03/22/17 09:24 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: johan d]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by johan d
Originally Posted by Richrf
My approach is constant repetition until the note is connected with the sound in my imagination and the sound is connected to the piano producing a sound back again.

So you have perfect pitch?


My pitch is OK but far from perfect. Like everything else in art, the more one practices and observes, the more skillful one becomes. It is a matter of training the mind and the "body memory" so it connects. In me experience, repetition and relaxation with observation is the key. It cannot be taught, it can be learned.

The objective of my arts study is not perfection, there is no such thing, it is learning from the exploration. As Proust would say: to create new eyes.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/22/17 09:28 AM.
#2625881 - 03/22/17 09:38 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by johan d
Originally Posted by Richrf
My approach is constant repetition until the note is connected with the sound in my imagination and the sound is connected to the piano producing a sound back again.

So you have perfect pitch?


My pitch is OK but far from perfect. Like everything else in art, the more one practices and observes, the more skillful one becomes. It is a matter of training the mind and the "body memory" so it connects. In me experience, repetition and relaxation with observation is the key. It cannot be taught, it can be learned.

The objective of my arts study is not perfection, there is no such thing, it is learning from the exploration. As Proust would say: to create new eyes.
Perfect pitch is a term to describe certain individuals who can identify a note name (A, B, C, etc.) based solely upon hearing the note.

This is what johan is referring to, although I'm not sure why in response to what you said. All learning occurs in the imagination, and you don't need perfect pitch to be able to hear a note in your head before playing it.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2625884 - 03/22/17 09:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Yes Morodiene, what I am practicing is hearing the note rather than playing the written note. I have to do it rather slowly with lots of repetition and my buddy had to be relaxed so the sound can "sink in" in propagate.

It is an interesting process to explore.

#2625895 - 03/22/17 10:21 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,135
johan d Offline
1000 Post Club Member
johan d  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,135
Belgium
Originally Posted by Morodiene
although I'm not sure why in response to what you said.

If you know how a note is going to sound like in your head and/or when played on the piano...


Functional Ear Trainer on Android
ChordProg Ear Trainer
#2625896 - 03/22/17 10:23 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: johan d]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by johan d
Originally Posted by Morodiene
although I'm not sure why in response to what you said.

If you know how a note is going to sound like in your head and when played on the piano...
Perfect pitch is not required for this. Relative pitch is all that's needed, and once you've played a piece enough times, this is easy.

And really, that's only for the first note of the piece. Once you've started playing, you have your key and context to hear the note. So if need be, you could play the starting pitch for yourself before playing, but generally I find that's not necessary.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2625900 - 03/22/17 10:29 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Perfect pitch is not required for this. Relative pitch is all that's needed, and once you've played a piece enough times, this is easy.

And really, that's only for the first note of the piece. Once you've started playing, you have your key and context to hear the note. So if need be, you could play the starting pitch for yourself before playing, but generally I find that's not necessary.


Yes, this is a very nice way to explain it. I am doing it intuitively so I would not have been able to understand it in this way. Nice piece of adfitional knowledge!

Last edited by Richrf; 03/22/17 10:29 AM.
#2625902 - 03/22/17 10:31 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,135
johan d Offline
1000 Post Club Member
johan d  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,135
Belgium
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Perfect pitch is not required for this. Relative pitch is all that's needed, and once you've played a piece enough times, this is easy.
And really, that's only for the first note of the piece. Once you've started playing, you have your key and context to hear the note. So if need be, you could play the starting pitch for yourself before playing, but generally I find that's not necessary.
OK get it. must overlooked/misunderstood something.


Functional Ear Trainer on Android
ChordProg Ear Trainer
#2625909 - 03/22/17 10:54 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: johan d]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 15,847
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by johan d
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Perfect pitch is not required for this. Relative pitch is all that's needed, and once you've played a piece enough times, this is easy.
And really, that's only for the first note of the piece. Once you've started playing, you have your key and context to hear the note. So if need be, you could play the starting pitch for yourself before playing, but generally I find that's not necessary.
OK get it. must overlooked/misunderstood something.


Not to belabor the point, but this is a really helpful tool to get in the habit of doing - especially when playing for others: hear how your piece begins before you start playing it, and then keep thinking ahead as you go.

This is something that singers have to do in order to make the pitch happen on time. If the note is not heard in their head first, then it won't get sung. Add on top of that different techniques required depending upon the sound you wish to make, and you really have to know in advance what you plan to do.

I think for pianists it can be "easy" to just start playing and read as you go without much forward thought to the sound desired - even more so if you are eye-oriented or kinesthetic vs. ear-oriented.

A great way to break through this habit is to practice a piece completely mentally away from the keyboard. You can have the score in front of you, but you sing through the whole piece in your mind (not aloud), the way you want it to sound.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#2625952 - 03/22/17 01:45 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thank you Morodiene for your additional insights. They are always welcomed and appreciated.

My idea is clear though I realize it is a long process. It is for the sound to originate in my creative mind first. The gesture will follow, whether it be playing the piano, dancing or singing. Lots of relaxation (of an energetic sort) and repetition is required.

I am applying the same approach to drawing, though I do not practice drawing as much. I applied exactly the same approach when practicing/teaching Tai Chi or when dancing. The creative mind (not willful mind) always comes first followed by the energy flow (it feels like water) and the gesture.

But to be clear, at the beginning willfulness is required as I begin the process of creating body memory. Slowly the willfulness quiets as the creative takes over. In Tai Chi this is clear when I am able to perform the Form independently while talking.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/22/17 01:49 PM.
#2626276 - 03/23/17 02:51 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This has become my four elements to creating music in this sequence:

1) Imagination

2) Relaxation

3) Flow

4) Connection

5) Repetition

The more I repeat, the more naturally it all happens. The willfulness gradually disapates and it's replaced by something else - call it the creative spirit.

#2626330 - 03/23/17 06:39 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 745
Ralphiano Offline
500 Post Club Member
Ralphiano  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 745
I encourage you to continue on this path. From the way you have described what she teaches, I am reminded of the common technique of visualization utilized by athletes in sports that require very precise bio-mechanical movements in order to execute difficult physical tasks repeatedly and consistently (golfers, bowlers, etc.) Consulting the visual image, which can be static or dynamic, immediately before the actual performance can greatly increase the probability of performing as visualized.

Although I am limited by having only two years piano experience, I think I recently experienced the benefit of "visualization" at the piano. I was learning, and growing very fond of, a piece at the upper reaches of my current ability. I spent a lot of time at it. For some time I was stuck at a point of being able to play through all of the notes as written, but not yet achieving the beautiful sound I knew the piece was capable of yielding. But, I stuck with it. After some time, and for the first time for me, I came to a point of being able to hear the music as I wanted it to sound, as I played it. And, that was the point at which my mere successful note playing elevated into music. It has been my best success so far. I anticipate more. You are reminding me of that process with this thread.

I think some of the stumbles and snags along the way in this thread have resulted from simple disconnects in communication, the difficulties of expressing in words ideas that represent in the real world non-corporeal things, such as sound and music. Sometimes your expressions seem very romanticized, perhaps triggering within your readers, some undervaluing of what you are reporting. I have personally had this reaction to some of your posts in this thread. However, I do believe there is worthy substance behind them. I think your current direction is a useful one, and I wish you luck with it.

I will continue to read this thread as I am convinced of the value of visualization and its related phenomenon, by whatever name they might be called.


Last edited by Ralphiano; 03/23/17 07:10 PM.

Ralph

Casio Privia PX-760
Pianoteq Stage
Pianist since April, 2015
#2626361 - 03/23/17 08:57 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 9,236
bennevis Online content
9000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Online Content
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 9,236
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
I encourage you to continue on this path.

I think some of the stumbles and snags along the way in this thread have resulted from simple disconnects in communication, the difficulties of expressing in words ideas that represent in the real world non-corporeal things, such as sound and music. Sometimes your expressions seem very romanticized, perhaps triggering within your readers, some undervaluing of what you are reporting. I have personally had this reaction to some of your posts in this thread. However, I do believe there is worthy substance behind them.

My experiences learning piano (and music) were pretty prosaic - there was (and still is - I'm still learning) no mysticism, spiritualism, any -ism involved at all. As for 'willfulness' - I don't know what that is, in relation to learning piano.

What I learnt quite early on, from watching and listening to my teacher play (she played a classical piece for me at the end of every lesson - ranging from the slow, soft and serene to the fast, furious and virtuosic), was that the acquisition of technique is a means to an end. She was able to play expressively, and run through the whole gamut of expression from deep despair to joyous abandon because she had the technical means to express what she wanted, as the music required. Or, as a certain virtuoso once said, the technique is the expression.

That's not to say that I couldn't play expressively with my very limited skills at the beginning, just that what I could express was very limited, and frequently masked by technical deficiencies - unevenness in tone and rhythm and dynamics etc, inability to delineate & shape the melodic line, or simply sounding effortful in music that should sound effortless. My teacher was able to help me to overcome each hurdle - hurdles that I often didn't realize were there (as well as errors that I didn't know I was making), with solutions which I'd never have found on my own.

The risk that the OP is running with his method of self-teaching, of his creative mind controlling his gestures (as he puts it), is that he is hearing what he wants to hear rather than what he is actually playing. I've seen that happening with my friend who is also entirely self-taught: he doesn't hear his mistakes - though to be fair, he is only playing to please himself, and he isn't aiming high.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2626368 - 03/23/17 09:38 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
I encourage you to continue on this path. From the way you have described what she teaches, I am reminded of the common technique of visualization utilized by athletes in sports that require very precise bio-mechanical movements in order to execute difficult physical tasks repeatedly and consistently (golfers, bowlers, etc.) Consulting the visual image, which can be static or dynamic, immediately before the actual performance can greatly increase the probability of performing as visualized.

Although I am limited by having only two years piano experience, I think I recently experienced the benefit of "visualization" at the piano. I was learning, and growing very fond of, a piece at the upper reaches of my current ability. I spent a lot of time at it. For some time I was stuck at a point of being able to play through all of the notes as written, but not yet achieving the beautiful sound I knew the piece was capable of yielding. But, I stuck with it. After some time, and for the first time for me, I came to a point of being able to hear the music as I wanted it to sound, as I played it. And, that was the point at which my mere successful note playing elevated into music. It has been my best success so far. I anticipate more. You are reminding me of that process with this thread.

I think some of the stumbles and snags along the way in this thread have resulted from simple disconnects in communication, the difficulties of expressing in words ideas that represent in the real world non-corporeal things, such as sound and music. Sometimes your expressions seem very romanticized, perhaps triggering within your readers, some undervaluing of what you are reporting. I have personally had this reaction to some of your posts in this thread. However, I do believe there is worthy substance behind them. I think your current direction is a useful one, and I wish you luck with it.

I will continue to read this thread as I am convinced of the value of visualization and its related phenomenon, by whatever name they might be called.



Hi Ralph,

Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts and your journey.

I've been exploring the spiritual/mind/body aspects of the arts for a good part of my life. While my journey began as a philosophical exploration, it soon turned into much more as I studied yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, sports, health, martial arts, singing, art, and now music. There are similarities and differences in all but fundamentally they are exactly the same as I described in my four elements above: first imagination (visualization), then relaxation (energetic not like a limp noodle), then flow (like water) and then a complete connection.

Keep me in touch with your journey as it unfolds. We are all different and the same. That is the beauty of art. Cheers!

Last edited by Richrf; 03/23/17 09:43 PM.
#2626371 - 03/23/17 09:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: bennevis]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
I encourage you to continue on this path.

I think some of the stumbles and snags along the way in this thread have resulted from simple disconnects in communication, the difficulties of expressing in words ideas that represent in the real world non-corporeal things, such as sound and music. Sometimes your expressions seem very romanticized, perhaps triggering within your readers, some undervaluing of what you are reporting. I have personally had this reaction to some of your posts in this thread. However, I do believe there is worthy substance behind them.

My experiences learning piano (and music) were pretty prosaic - there was (and still is - I'm still learning) no mysticism, spiritualism, any -ism involved at all. As for 'willfulness' - I don't know what that is, in relation to learning piano.

What I learnt quite early on, from watching and listening to my teacher play (she played a classical piece for me at the end of every lesson - ranging from the slow, soft and serene to the fast, furious and virtuosic), was that the acquisition of technique is a means to an end. She was able to play expressively, and run through the whole gamut of expression from deep despair to joyous abandon because she had the technical means to express what she wanted, as the music required. Or, as a certain virtuoso once said, the technique is the expression.

That's not to say that I couldn't play expressively with my very limited skills at the beginning, just that what I could express was very limited, and frequently masked by technical deficiencies - unevenness in tone and rhythm and dynamics etc, inability to delineate & shape the melodic line, or simply sounding effortful in music that should sound effortless. My teacher was able to help me to overcome each hurdle - hurdles that I often didn't realize were there (as well as errors that I didn't know I was making), with solutions which I'd never have found on my own.

The risk that the OP is running with his method of self-teaching, of his creative mind controlling his gestures (as he puts it), is that he is hearing what he wants to hear rather than what he is actually playing. I've seen that happening with my friend who is also entirely self-taught: he doesn't hear his mistakes - though to be fair, he is only playing to please himself, and he isn't aiming high.


We all learn in our own way.

#2626496 - 03/24/17 12:53 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I have found a great value in YouTube in that it presents to the student, such as myself, an opportunity to observe the many ways that teachers teach and students my learn.

I believe, when it comes to the arts, the teacher had an ability to share with students new modes of expressions and ways that students can learn these different types of expressions. Metaphors are one very good way or sharing b with a student the feelings that one is having while playing music.

In this regard, Illinca, the instructor of this course is quite extraordinary. When examining a piece she often first offers some background to the music, a story that needs to be expressed, and then she offers imaginative images gestures, and techniques, as one connected flow, that one can embrace to express this story through the instrument.

As a personal commentary, I never think about am I doing this "correctly" or am I "making mistakes". This type of thinking is possibly for someone who will be taking an exam or playing a recital where they will be "judged". As for me, at this point in my learning process, I am only concerned with whether I am expressing music that I love to hear and my wife enjoys. The demonstrations that I receive via this online course and via other YouTube videos are more than enough for me at this point.

I'm always looking for new sources of creative expression so if anyone has a favorite YouTube channel or blog, I welcome you sharing it with me. Here is one YouTube channel that I visit now and then:

[video:youtube]D8iAsT20cFE[/video]



#2626942 - 03/25/17 08:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
The above video on Patience and Piano really helped me get through a passage in a short ditty in Nikoleav's book that I've been practicing.

In general, I continue to repeat, and repeat, and repeat the melodies and studies. Almost always I use portamento as the instructor suggests at a moderate speed. I am always looking ahead so that I can hear the sound in my imagination before I play it and in some cases, where I already have the melody in my mind, I just play from my mind. I need to play relatively slowly in order to practice on this manner, until the sound is totally within my mind and my play can keep up with my imagination. I feel the two must always be v in synch. Slowly my speed and overall technique is improving in a very natural and relaxed manner. No tension, no stress, no exhaustion. I am being very patient because I want to develop very solid fundamentals.

I always tell my Tai Chi students that the slower you go the faster you will get there.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/25/17 08:28 PM.
#2626948 - 03/25/17 08:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
What I think I understand is that you were in that one system, the method book one, and you have discovered this other way of seeing things. The fact of discovering a second way of perceiving music is huge, because it changes your world completely. One can get extremely enthusiastic, and want to tell the whole world. Things will tend to be seen through the eyes of this new discovery. Later on you may discover still other worlds, and you may even find weaknesses in what you are now discovering. All of that will be growth. Nothing is perfect, nothing is complete, and seeming opposites and contradictions actually complement each other. (Having gone through this some years ago.)

#2626952 - 03/25/17 08:59 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring
What I think I understand is that you were in that one system, the method book one, and you have discovered this other way of seeing things. The fact of discovering a second way of perceiving music is huge, because it changes your world completely. One can get extremely enthusiastic, and want to tell the whole world. Things will tend to be seen through the eyes of this new discovery. Later on you may discover still other worlds, and you may even find weaknesses in what you are now discovering. All of that will be growth. Nothing is perfect, nothing is complete, and seeming opposites and contradictions actually complement each other. (Having gone through this some years ago.)


The way I am studying piano is really not new to me. I have used exactly the same process to study Tai Chi, dance, and drawing (the former two I've been studying for many decades to very good effect).

What is really nice about the Piano Career Academy course is that the instructor Illinca is teaching piano utilizing the same fundamental principles that I have used in my other studies. Thus there is an excellent synergy. The advanced students who are also taking this course as well as teachers, tend to share this same perspective about studies which makes it easy to converse and relate to each other. In general they come from many parts of the world with this shared interest.

As always, I am very patient and enjoying every moment. 馃槂 If I rush, I'll miss the whole wonderful journey! I also realize from all of my studies the are many, many roads that one may take.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/25/17 09:04 PM.
#2626961 - 03/25/17 09:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Ok - Imagination, feeling, flow and similar --- If you have been very mechanical, very intellectual and such, then maybe it is good to balance that out by learning to let go into something like that. But if that is not where you're at, then you need something else. Also different situations need different approaches.

I first was given an electric organ and then a piano when I was a child, with no instruction. Therefore the spontaneity of a child became second nature. I know what that feels like. But decades later my mother revealed that my playing always sounded bumpy and squashed, rushed and exaggerated. 35 years without the instrument, and a few years after having lessons on another, I got a piano again. There were things I could not do, and this time I was aware of it. My "spontaneity" and "inner feeling" made my pre-hear staccato as a sharp sound, and forte as strong emotion and energy: physically this translated into tightness for staccato, and overbearing pressure for forte. This was a flow from my heart and my inner ear to my body; it created the sounds I wanted as long as I played slowly. In other words, it was ineffective.

To get out of this I had to learn to do deliberate things that were unnatural to me. Forte was no longer the overbearing pressure that was natural to me, but a sped up motion with surprisingly loose and relaxed arms. I had to temporarily pull my inner ear and heart out of it, because they immediately caused me to go the tense angry route by habit and association. Once the new loose relaxed motion had been drilled in, I could create a new association where "this sound = that motion". The idea of imagining the sound and having a flow from that would have been very wrong for me.

Another thing was what I could and could not hear. To my judgment, my playing was fine. But when an experienced teacher began guiding me, he pointed out faded notes, or puzzling pulse which I could not hear and thus not correct. when I did get at that pulse, suddenly my music had a quality that it did not have before. After that I could hear the problem in my old recordings, and could hear that quality in the recordings of good musicians. This is one problem in self-teaching - I asked about feedback early on.

I have always been expressive "instinctively" and this is not something that I have suppressed or undervalued. But I have also been learning to do deliberate things, like holding back a note in its timing like a "pregnant pause", learning to speed up a section of music and slow down again without losing underlying pulse through mechanical counting. A lot of the things I have learned to do are temporarily artificial, like scaffolding, and then the scaffolding falls away. At those times it is the opposite of trying to get flow right away.

The thing about music is that it is multidimensional.

#2626965 - 03/25/17 09:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thank you for sharing your piano study journey with me. Yes, your path is very different from mine.

For me, quite early in my life I embraced spirit, imagination, relaxation, flow, and gesture. These are all second nature to me right now and are fundamental principles which appear in every art form. By embracing these principles, I am able to express my own creative self. The rain I study the arts is to express myself. In this respect my own understanding of study is very synergistic with the instructor's approach which is why I and many other for students (many of whom are quite advanced) are enjoying our online studies so much.

As for one to one in person teaching at this time, I have found it counterproductive for variety of reasons. Being a teacher myself, and fully understanding the nature of teaching and studying, I feel this is quite fine for me at this time.


Last edited by Richrf; 03/25/17 09:32 PM.
#2626972 - 03/25/17 10:03 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 165
Zilthy Offline
Full Member
Zilthy  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 165
I am curious, what do you find counterproductive?

I am new to piano myself. I have played music on many other instruments for many years, and have found for myself what works and what does not for the most part, but I still look at new ways and ideas.

In addition to the lessons I am taking, I also recently signed up with Piano Career Academy a few days ago, and I am checking that out. I doubt I will drop the lessons and method/approach I am working with, but I will certainly incorporate some aspects in to my own study.

For me, from my own history of learning an instrument, is that I do not want to get in to a bad habit somewhere that limits my expression and capabilities. I had that happen once, and unlearning something deeply ingrained in to muscle memory is very hard, and can stick with me a long time.

So the value I find is feedback. I know what I know, I know what I don't know. But, there is this other area of unknown, that I could be completely oblivious of.

Another thing I do for feedback, is that I record myself. I find listening to a recording, I can hear a lot of things that might slip by while I am playing. There are times it can be quite an eye opener.

#2626976 - 03/25/17 10:21 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Zilthy]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Zilthy
I am curious, what do you find counterproductive?

I am new to piano myself. I have played music on many other instruments for many years, and have found for myself what works and what does not for the most part, but I still look at new ways and ideas.

In addition to the lessons I am taking, I also recently signed up with Piano Career Academy a few days ago, and I am checking that out. I doubt I will drop the lessons and method/approach I am working with, but I will certainly incorporate some aspects in to my own study.

For me, from my own history of learning an instrument, is that I do not want to get in to a bad habit somewhere that limits my expression and capabilities. I had that happen once, and unlearning something deeply ingrained in to muscle memory is very hard, and can stick with me a long time.

So the value I find is feedback. I know what I know, I know what I don't know. But, there is this other area of unknown, that I could be completely oblivious of.

Another thing I do for feedback, is that I record myself. I find listening to a recording, I can hear a lot of things that might slip by while I am playing. There are times it can be quite an eye opener.


Hi Zilthy,

First, I hope you take the time to introduce yourself on the Piano Career Academy forum so that I and others can welcome you.

About the question regarding teachers, it is a very complex topic in many dimensions. It is an area that I have studied quite carefully as I myself am a Tai Chi teacher. In my practice I never accept payment (personal reasons), I never suggest that my way is the correct way (I present it as my approach and I explain why), and I strongly encourage students to study on their own, providing as much guidance as they ask for, so that they can discover their own personal path.

Everyone is different. Whether or not one on one teaching is suitable or not is for each student to discover and decide for oneself. There is no one way that is correct, optimal, or best. It all depends.

For me, given my current situation, I have decided that I am enjoying my studies to no end and am very pleased with my current course of study. This can always change as I am always open to change. As of now, my Tai Chi, dancing, piano, and art practice are in perfect harmony. For me, I could not ask for more.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/26/17 01:14 AM.
#2626982 - 03/25/17 10:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I believe this video filmed by the instructor Illinca summarizes well the basic principles of this course.

She has created other free videos for Youtube that may offer further information about the course.

[video:youtube]Y8xF8F6mykM[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 03/26/17 12:23 AM.
#2627114 - 03/26/17 12:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Sunday is not a rest day when it comes to piano study. 馃槂

Today, I reviewed lesson 23 which is nearing the end of the first book of this course. This is probably a good time to review briefly what is happening.

The online course was originally designed as one lesson per week. I am at my one month anniversary so I have proceeded at a rate commensurate with my past experience putting in many hours of study each week. I am retired, so may have more time available than the average person taking this course.

Based upon comments in the associated forum for this course, some students proceeded at a slower rate than one one lesson a week when the course was first introduced. Others, who may have been more advanced, were using this course to supplement their own technique training and followed the course at the rate presented. There were many questions on the forum that Illinca answered directly or created extra videos to answer, such as how to address tension in one of the hands.

The course itself is moving ahead very methodically, building skills equally in both hands. This is in stark contrast to Alfred's and Bastien's which emphasize certain skills in one hand while building entirely different skills in the other hand. Both physical and mental dexterity evolve naturally and equally with the Nikoleav approach. As I mentioned early, I dropped Alfred's and Bastien's for the time being because they disrupting my study pattern.

The pieces are getting progressively more difficult for both hands with a mixture of dynamics, articulations, tempos that are designed to develop mental and physical mobility and alertness. One piece, which I am now studying, is a Russian patriotic melody that sounds very similar to Paul Anka's score for the Longest Day.

Peeking ahead, there will be some challenging pieces coming up shortly but I am very confident that Illinca's course has more than prepared me to play these pieces. As always, I will approach these pieces in exactly the same way I approach Tai Chi, dancing, and drawing. One phrase at a time, with lots of repetition and observation and recapitulation of the videos, until I can play without any willful thought allowing my creativity energy to emerge. Gradually the music will become unity with myself.

#2627152 - 03/26/17 02:55 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Albunea Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Albunea  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Spain
Originally Posted by Richrf
One phrase at a time, with lots of repetition and observation and recapitulation of the videos, until I can play without any willful thought allowing my creativity energy to emerge. Gradually the music will become unity with myself.


For the sake of conversation, that sounds to me like what is usually called "rote learning", and I agree it must be more relaxing to play by rote than by reading. I have problems with tension myself. The very best against tension should be just improvising. laugh

#2627212 - 03/26/17 06:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi Albunea,

Thanks for the conversation!

The way I understand "rote" is that implies mechanical. This is totally opposite from my approach, and I'll try to explain why.

The overall process can be described as moving from the willful (which generally requires lots of energy) to playing with the creative, which is extremely relaxed but still energetic. It is like water flowing in a steam. Using the the creative is very relaxed, calm, and allowing the full body to express music through the instrument.

The way I move from one state to the next is exactly the way I learned Tai Chi and then dancing. When I first start studying a new piece, I observe how Illinca describes the story, how the story is expressed through the music and then fix the music in my mind.

At first, I have to use willful movements since I am still a beginner. However, through repetition, my body memory begins to develop so that the movements and gestures are being entrained with the music and art the same time becomes connected to the piano. I am developing a complete circular flow from my creative mind (the sound I imagine in my mind) into the instrument and then back again.

This process takes a very, very long time which is why I continue to study the very simple pieces up until my newest studies. The simplest are closer to complete creative expression and newest ones are a work in progress.

I do not think of my studies as "learning a new piece". Instead everything a play is am element of a larger process of continued refinement in the development of my creative mind and connecting my imagination to the instrument. Every single note, phrase, piece, composition is exactly equal in the overall continuum.

The result is a very relaxed form of playing with creative expression. It is very enjoyable for me and totally harmonious with all of the arts I study.

I hope I have adequately described my already to me study of piano. 馃槂

#2627250 - 03/26/17 08:17 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Synchronicity strikes. 馃槂

I was watching Valentin Lisitsa tonight, observing her method of expression, when I ran across this video. At about 3:40 she explains the circular movement of music from the imagination through the body, into the piano and then back again. Her gestures that she uses to express herself are amazing!

Cheers!

I do not watch her in order to copy, since her gestures are unique to herself, but rather to just observe.
[video:youtube]TVG7A0ID9vY[/video]


Last edited by Richrf; 03/26/17 08:18 PM.
#2627477 - 03/27/17 04:00 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
Reseda, California
Originally Posted by Richrf

I do not watch her in order to copy, since her gestures are unique to herself, ...


The one thing I've noticed is that she does these little bounces up off the bench. I haven't seen anyone else do that.



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2627509 - 03/27/17 06:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: JohnSprung]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Richrf

I do not watch her in order to copy, since her gestures are unique to herself, ...


The one thing I've noticed is that she does these little bounces up off the bench. I haven't seen anyone else do that.



Hi,

Yes, it is very interesting to note how every artist emotes their creative spirit with their own unique gestures.

Today I watched this video where the instructor was talking about wrist movement. Immediately I recognized the infinity sign (鈭) made by the gesture of the wrist. It is exactly the same motion that is fundamental to Tai Chi and to Latin dancing (the Cuban Motion). The infinity spiral allows for smooth, continuous motion. Here is the video:

[video:youtube]GR-AZOKVfdE[/video]

#2627519 - 03/27/17 07:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 165
Zilthy Offline
Full Member
Zilthy  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 165
I have been looking at wrist motion a lot myself, although I probably will never use the word gesture myself. Okay, I will admit it, the word triggers me, but I know what is meant and implied, and I am getting over it. laugh

But I found working on a new piece for this week, that my thumb was getting sore right away. Now, a much younger Zilthy would have said "Well, let's do some exercises, and build up strength for this" while an older and hopefully wiser Zilthy goes "I must be doing this incorrectly, let's step back and take a look"

It's a fairly simple waltz bass line: C G G | C G G | D G G | D G G | E G G | E G G | like that, and legato, except for the G to G which is portamento.

Upon inspection, I find that I stiffen up in the G to G and I am just using my thumb, and wrist tenses up there. So even though I am getting to the point of being relaxed and flowing playing pure legato or pure portamento, mixing them is a new trick to teach these muscles.

Now, my teach did show me the proper movements for this figure, but that's during a lesson once a week, and in the future I will ask to spend more time on that particular item, especially when it comes to some new combination.

But, it is so great being able to look up a video there, and she does a really good job explaining and demonstrating these things.



#2627572 - 03/27/17 11:48 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
Thank you for sharing your piano study journey with me. Yes, your path is very different from mine.

For me, quite early in my life I embraced spirit, imagination, relaxation, flow, and gesture. These are all second nature to me right now and are fundamental principles which appear in every art form. By embracing these principles, I am able to express my own creative self. The reason I study the arts is to express myself. In this respect my own understanding of study is very synergistic with the instructor's approach which is why I and many other for students (many of whom are quite advanced) are enjoying our online studies so much.

The thing that has niggled at me about this is that you seem to be responding to what I wrote, but I'm not so sure. Starting with "different paths". I wrote of the need for technique, for getting different motions than what I had formed during my self-teaching. Well, what do you think Ilinka's hand gestures are about? Or the video you linked to recently that you said summarizes what she teaches. Are you simply going by "feeling" - are you not also paying careful attention to what she says about movement? How is that so different?
Quote
As for one to one in person teaching at this time, I have found it counterproductive for variety of reasons. Being a teacher myself, and fully understanding the nature of teaching and studying, I feel this is quite fine for me at this time.

If it's a response to me, I did not write about one person teaching you, I don't think. I did write about feedback. If nobody gives you feedback, then you can't know for sure that you are doing what you think you are doing, and cannot catch things that you cannot catch. That's all. smile

#2627652 - 03/28/17 09:51 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi Zilthy: Thanks for sharing with me your approach to addressing tension while playing piano. I do similar things when I notice tension, for example in my shoulders. I believe learning piano is as much about learning about ourselves as it is about learning the piano.

Hi keysring: Thank you for your comment. What I enjoy most about Illinca's technique approach is that it is entirely holistic and brings together the imagination with the actual movements that are employed to create sound. Similar to the manner that Valentina Lisista describes in the video.

As for feedback, as a teacher, I am very aware of the benefits of feedback and when appropriate I'll certainly seek some out. Of course, everyone who provides feedback has their own point of view, so there is a limit to the amount of feedback that one can consume, so feedback itself can become counterproductive unless used judiciously.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/28/17 09:53 AM.
#2627667 - 03/28/17 10:21 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
As for feedback, as a teacher, I am very aware of the benefits of feedback and when appropriate I'll certainly seek some out. Of course, everyone who provides feedback has their own point of view, so there is a limit to the amount of feedback that one can consume, so feedback itself can become counterproductive unless used judiciously.

We are both teachers. That is, I began as a trained teacher who taught in public school at the grades 2 - 4 levels with a specialization in second language learning and postgraduate training in learning disabilities, which often is in an exercise in aligning oneself in "alternate thinking styles". Language learning itself has some non-intellectual components, when you try to get students to be able to express themselves in flow of thought, teach without using their native language as a crutch, and especially, getting a natural pronunciation. I got out of the system and pursued a second profession, but continued to teach one-on-one on occasion. Often I helped students who had problems in a subject area, finding there was something at the core somewhere and if you got at that, everything else started to flow. (I'm trying for a bit of a meeting of the minds here.) ... erm, I should complete that thought. With a few of those students, their real problem was some kind of misteaching in the past, some wrong feedback about themselves which then paralyzed them in their work. The input of an excellent teacher is wonderful. The input by teachers can be harmful and crippling. I think that puts us pretty well on the same page.

Going back to this:
Quote
Of course, everyone who provides feedback has their own point of view, so there is a limit to the amount of feedback that one can consume, so feedback itself can become counterproductive unless used judiciously.

Yes to this. I am only thinking of good teachers (how envision it) and these are a rare breed. "Point of view" immediately makes me think of people who have shoulds and oughts, and maybe interpretations. I am thinking more of what this good teacher I'm envisioning can hear or see that you can't yet hear or see. For example, as an untrained singer I tended to have lovely flowing lines to my music, but no pulse underneath. I was fine with it. Indeed, the flowing lines have been seen as a strength in my playing. But a musician who had taken up the piano first commented "I can't follow your pulse and it bothers me." My teacher heard the lack of pulse, and then worked with me until I could get both pulse and flow. THEN I could hear a difference - the same piece had a much different quality, sounded so much better. ..... Or there is a physical thing you do that you don't notice while your notes are also bumpy sounding which you don't notice, and an astute observer notices, sees the connection. We can only see what we can see, and hear what we can hear, and so we miss what we cannot yet hear or see. Does this makes sense?

In the danger zone of observations: For example, a teacher who believes every student's hands must move in a particular way; every student must do this and that; because there is a rule that says this is the way it goes - or there is a theory that says this is the way it is done because theoretically it works. This teacher gets a student who produces good sound, has comfort in playing, and happens to play physically in a manner that might be wonderful in another "school of thought", and then starts "correcting" this. That is our "should and ought" teacher.

I played many years without a teacher, and never had a teacher in my life until I was almost 50 years. The one thing I know is that as we play we grow, and we will hear, see, and experience things we cannot yet see and hear - but if you never get feedback, your only point of reference is yourself - it can create a loop. If at some point you could get someone trustworthy to watch and hear you play, it would be beneficial, in order to see whether you're doing what you think you are doing. I am not that weak in this, and I've been surprised at the holes I had in this regard.

(I write a lot when I'm hunting for my own thoughts. Sorry for the length. :()

#2627705 - 03/28/17 11:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi keystring,

Thank you for sharing with me your perspective and history. I find your insights very insightful and always appreciated.

#2627720 - 03/28/17 12:12 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 647
PianogrlNW Online content
500 Post Club Member
PianogrlNW  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 647
Pacific Northwest
Originally Posted by Richrf

As for feedback, as a teacher, I am very aware of the benefits of feedback and when appropriate I'll certainly seek some out. Of course, everyone who provides feedback has their own point of view, so there is a limit to the amount of feedback that one can consume, so feedback itself can become counterproductive unless used judiciously.

Sounds like you have found a piano teaching program that fits your needs and style. I've watched some of Illinca's videos you posted and she is impressive and provides very specific and detailed instruction.

I'm going to chime in here along with others about the pitfalls of teaching yourself in a vacuum without the aid of a really good teacher to give you feedback. Even taking lessons once a month or less is way better than not taking any lessons.

The reason I feel strongly about the benefits of feedback from a qualified teacher is because when I got back into piano as an adult I thought I sounded just great. Then I found a teacher. My teacher showed me how my playing had some serious issues, rhythm being one of them.

I listen on SoundCloud to some of my recordings from 3,,4, 5 years ago and some of them make me cringe. Maybe I should delete them. smile But, there is a flip side and that is I've improved since then - but it wouldn't have happened without teachers.



#2627758 - 03/28/17 01:56 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,812
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
rocket88  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,812
Originally Posted by Keystring
The one thing I know is that as we play we grow, and we will hear, see, and experience things we cannot yet see and hear - but if you never get feedback, your only point of reference is yourself - it can create a loop.


I second the motion to have another set of eyes and ears watch one's playing.

When playing the piano, one's mind is very very busy with all the things necessary to play. To think that you can see and hear the proper way for all those things while playing, and notice errors, is self-deception. Especially true for beginners who likely do not even know what to look out for.

Right now I have several students who were formerly "self-taught" who now take lessons. These are avid students who are very focused upon learning how to play.

Each one has significant errors in their playing...poor hand or body posture, inability to keep time, cannot count while playing a very simple piece, just to name a few.

None of those students were aware of these issues, or, just dimly aware, and none had the wherewithal to properly fix them.

Which is why advanced players continue to take lessons, even those at the professional level who have had years of top-shelf lessons, and/or go to teachers for checkup feedback...for example, that is what "master classes" are all about...those typically are not for beginners, but rather are for advanced players to fix and/or improve their playing, or simply to have an experienced person watch and hear who is not limited by being in the player's "bubble".


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#2627762 - 03/28/17 02:19 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
Reseda, California

Another thing to do is to record yourself and play it back. You'll notice a lot that you were too busy to notice while you were playing.



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2627805 - 03/28/17 04:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Albunea Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Albunea  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Spain
Let's not forget some of us are not considering playing for others. Richrf has said somewhere that he's retired, so he is not planning to become Horrowitz. smile It looks to me like he is enjoying exploring the whole thing by himself, the learning of the piano. That is, not just playing the piano, but learning how to play it.

Last edited by Albunea; 03/28/17 04:29 PM. Reason: Richrf gets changed to Richard
#2627813 - 03/28/17 04:54 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Albunea
Let's not forget some of us are not considering playing for others. Richrf has said somewhere that he's retired, so he is not planning to become Horrowitz. smile It looks to me like he is enjoying exploring the whole thing by himself, the learning of the piano. That is, not just playing the piano, but learning how to play it.


I think this is a very nice way to describe my situation Albunea. I am playing for myself and my wife (and my neighbors who I try not to disturb 馃槂), and there is a joy in the exploration and discovery.

While I had a teacher early in my Tattoo Chi studies, most of what I've learned is via self-discovery via many different but related paths (e.g. Chinese medicine and Yoga).

For an understanding of skills such as rhythm, I dance to various cultural music such as Salsa, Samba, Swing, Bachata, etc. As with piano, it is the sound in my mind that is creating expression through my body. (I never understood teaching dance steps without music). Even drawing has its own rhythm that is expressing the image in the mind on paper.

It's fun learning new things on one's own, and thank you for expressing it so well.

#2627814 - 03/28/17 04:57 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi everyone,

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and expressing your thoughts concerning the value of teachers for feedback during the learning process, as well as other possible resources such as self-recording. All of the insights are always greatly appreciated.

#2627815 - 03/28/17 05:02 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Albunea Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Albunea  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,412
Spain
I'm not that different. wink


Well, we are different at something. Videos tire me very much; Reading relaxes me! I've been enjoying reading about this mission of ours.

#2627818 - 03/28/17 05:06 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Albunea
I'm not that different. wink


Well, we are different at something. Videos tire me very much; Reading relaxes me! I've been enjoying reading about this mission of ours.


I also read a lot Albunea on practically every subject you can imagine. Videos are my preferred resource for the arts since I feel I have to hear and observe it. It's great that I can study videos on YouTube and elsewhere, a resource that really wasn't available a decade ago. 馃槂

#2627829 - 03/28/17 05:36 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 270
anamnesis Offline
Full Member
anamnesis  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 270
Alabama
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Albunea
I'm not that different. wink


Well, we are different at something. Videos tire me very much; Reading relaxes me! I've been enjoying reading about this mission of ours.


I also read a lot Albunea on practically every subject you can imagine. Videos are my preferred resource for the arts since I feel I have to hear and observe it. It's great that I can study videos on YouTube and elsewhere, a resource that really wasn't available a decade ago. 馃槂


You might enjoy reading Abby Whiteside's book/s on the piano.


From premise of her first book:

For the purposes of this introductory chapter, let me reduce the business of playing the piano to its simplest terms. We begin, let us say, with a person who has feeling for music, who loves its sounds and wishes to reproduce them. The beauty of music being in the ear, the problem is this: how to transfer what is a bodiless aural image into the ultimate contact of fingers against a keyboard of black and white keys. The answer is that this transfer must somehow be all of a piece, it must be centrally controlled by the aural image, it must be cohesive. It is the body as a whole which transfers the idea of music into the actual production of music. An exciting rhythm, a unifying, all-encompassing rhythm is the only possible means by which the entire playing mechanism (which consists of the muscles of the arm, the bony structure of the hand, and the fingers) can be brought into full play. A basic rhythm is the only possible over-all coordinator, for it is not merely the instigator of beautiful musical production, but it is the sole factor that can successfully translate the image in the ear and the emotion which must be at the bottom of all beautiful music into a function of the whole body.


#2627836 - 03/28/17 06:04 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: anamnesis]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by anamnesis


You might enjoy reading Abby Whiteside's book/s on the piano.


From premise of her first book:

For the purposes of this introductory chapter, let me reduce the business of playing the piano to its simplest terms. We begin, let us say, with a person who has feeling for music, who loves its sounds and wishes to reproduce them. The beauty of music being in the ear, the problem is this: how to transfer what is a bodiless aural image into the ultimate contact of fingers against a keyboard of black and white keys. The answer is that this transfer must somehow be all of a piece, it must be centrally controlled by the aural image, it must be cohesive. It is the body as a whole which transfers the idea of music into the actual production of music. An exciting rhythm, a unifying, all-encompassing rhythm is the only possible means by which the entire playing mechanism (which consists of the muscles of the arm, the bony structure of the hand, and the fingers) can be brought into full play. A basic rhythm is the only possible over-all coordinator, for it is not merely the instigator of beautiful musical production, but it is the sole factor that can successfully translate the image in the ear and the emotion which must be at the bottom of all beautiful music into a function of the whole body.



Hi anamnesis,

Thank you for this wonderful quote. I found this in a paper about Abby Whiteside that I pulled from the Web:

"According to Whiteside, a more natural coordination occurs when the pianist responds to a rhythm. By rhythm, Whiteside does not mean a metronomic pulse or a relentless counting which can produce note-wise/vertical playing. This rhythm, or "rhythm of form" , corresponds to a large gesture initiated by the torso and upper arms to the hands. Thus the coordination occurs naturally from the center to the periphery.

Only a basic rhythm can coordinate the body as a whole. The performer feels the rhythm and listens to the tones. Feeling rhythm is one half of a beautiful performance, the other half is the aural image of the music."

I will definitely do more reading about her ideas. What is most beautiful is that they are applicable to all arts!

#2627866 - 03/28/17 08:24 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Greener Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014
Greener  Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Toronto, Canada
A potential risk is that you could spend a lot of time on these concepts, without learning the fundamental elements that are essential to your development right now.

Even though it may teach patience, the internet has an infinite amount of patience and time. Whereas your time is more precious and limited.

The instruction all seems to be well crafted and by professional accredited musicians. I've no doubt there is a place a for it in your development and agree with finding a method you can connect with. Investing wholeheartedly in a single method this early though, well, presents this risk.

#2627870 - 03/28/17 08:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 270
anamnesis Offline
Full Member
anamnesis  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 270
Alabama
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by anamnesis


You might enjoy reading Abby Whiteside's book/s on the piano.


From premise of her first book:

For the purposes of this introductory chapter, let me reduce the business of playing the piano to its simplest terms. We begin, let us say, with a person who has feeling for music, who loves its sounds and wishes to reproduce them. The beauty of music being in the ear, the problem is this: how to transfer what is a bodiless aural image into the ultimate contact of fingers against a keyboard of black and white keys. The answer is that this transfer must somehow be all of a piece, it must be centrally controlled by the aural image, it must be cohesive. It is the body as a whole which transfers the idea of music into the actual production of music. An exciting rhythm, a unifying, all-encompassing rhythm is the only possible means by which the entire playing mechanism (which consists of the muscles of the arm, the bony structure of the hand, and the fingers) can be brought into full play. A basic rhythm is the only possible over-all coordinator, for it is not merely the instigator of beautiful musical production, but it is the sole factor that can successfully translate the image in the ear and the emotion which must be at the bottom of all beautiful music into a function of the whole body.



Hi anamnesis,

Thank you for this wonderful quote. I found this in a paper about Abby Whiteside that I pulled from the Web:

"According to Whiteside, a more natural coordination occurs when the pianist responds to a rhythm. By rhythm, Whiteside does not mean a metronomic pulse or a relentless counting which can produce note-wise/vertical playing. This rhythm, or "rhythm of form" , corresponds to a large gesture initiated by the torso and upper arms to the hands. Thus the coordination occurs naturally from the center to the periphery.

Only a basic rhythm can coordinate the body as a whole. The performer feels the rhythm and listens to the tones. Feeling rhythm is one half of a beautiful performance, the other half is the aural image of the music."

I will definitely do more reading about her ideas. What is most beautiful is that they are applicable to all arts!



I had a feeling that you might enjoy reading her ideas as a lot of it tracks with your current train of thought/exploration.

If you plan to read her book/s (it's two published in one volume: Indispensables of Piano Playing/Mastering the Chopin Etudes and Other Essays), I'd recommend the kindle version. Reading it on the computer and being able to "search" for certain terms and phrases makes it much more comprehensible.

And I certainly agree that a lot of what she writes about can be applied to other arts, with those involved with movement in time being the more obvious. She writes about a lot of things that talented musicians take for granted (or even explicitly realize) and have difficulty communicating.

#2627872 - 03/28/17 08:55 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Albunea
Let's not forget some of us are not considering playing for others. Richrf has said somewhere that he's retired, so he is not planning to become Horrowitz. smile It looks to me like he is enjoying exploring the whole thing by himself, the learning of the piano. That is, not just playing the piano, but learning how to play it.

I've been aware of that. It is my situation too. However, when we work with (or play with) the ideas that someone is teaching, we are also expecting to get results from it, or we wouldn't be doing it. When I write of feedback, it has nothing to do with trying to become a professional concert pianist. It is simply to know "is what is happening the thing that I think is happening?" I know the magic of getting feedback where you end up hearing, seeing, or feeling things that you were utterly unaware of before and how that expands your world. Coincidentally it can also make you a better player and maybe one step closer to that concert pianist - but that is not in the least in my thoughts. I wrote "I" because I don't know if the others who wrote about feedback had the same ideas, but think they might have as well.

#2627874 - 03/28/17 09:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I am actually getting tons of feedback at this time. My wife explodes in wild applause after I complete each piece. 馃槏

#2627883 - 03/28/17 10:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 647
PianogrlNW Online content
500 Post Club Member
PianogrlNW  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 647
Pacific Northwest
Originally Posted by Richrf
I am actually getting tons of feedback at this time. My wife explodes in wild applause after I complete each piece. 馃槏

Do you feel comfortable in posting a recording of a piece so we can hear the benefits of this self-learning approach?



#2627886 - 03/28/17 10:56 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
What a strange question.

#2627896 - 03/28/17 11:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
What a strange question.

It is not strange at all. In the music world, whether something works, and where it does and doesn't, goes by what we hear, rather than the words we read about it.

That doesn't mean you have to do it. wink Just that it's not a strange question.

#2627897 - 03/28/17 11:49 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thank you for informing me of the ways of the music world. Still, I think it is a very strange question.

#2627899 - 03/29/17 12:06 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 92
fishandchips Offline
Full Member
fishandchips  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 92
Originally Posted by Richrf
What a strange question.


That's an extremely non-strange question. It's one of the un-strangest questions I can imagine. If somebody is singing the praises of a particular technique, people would like to see (or hear) the results of said technique. I can claim that my brilliant playing is the result of my magic socks; but don't ask me for proof, just take my word for it. They're $19.99 a pair, by the way.





Middle-aged curmudgeon, started learning on Nov. 3, 2016.

https://soundcloud.com/user-197203213
#2627903 - 03/29/17 12:13 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: fishandchips]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by fishandchips
Originally Posted by Richrf
What a strange question.


That's an extremely non-strange question. It's one of the un-strangest questions I can imagine. If somebody is singing the praises of a particular technique, people would like to see (or hear) the results of said technique. I can claim that my brilliant playing is the result of my magic socks; but don't ask me for proof, just take my word for it. They're $19.99 a pair, by the way.





So noted. Thank you.

Self-learning is very popular and I am very much enjoying my approach.

#2627981 - 03/29/17 10:07 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
bSharp(C)yclist Online content
500 Post Club Member
bSharp(C)yclist  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 755
Orange County, California
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by fishandchips
Originally Posted by Richrf
What a strange question.


That's an extremely non-strange question. It's one of the un-strangest questions I can imagine. If somebody is singing the praises of a particular technique, people would like to see (or hear) the results of said technique. I can claim that my brilliant playing is the result of my magic socks; but don't ask me for proof, just take my word for it. They're $19.99 a pair, by the way.





So noted. Thank you.

Self-learning is very popular and I am very much enjoying my approach.


I think showing how you perform would go a long way to helping others who follow this thread. Then again, I don't necessarily have hours of time to watch videos of others playing. I would rather use my non-copious amount of time to just play myself smile

#2627985 - 03/29/17 10:30 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: bSharp(C)yclist]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by bSharp[C
yclist]
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by fishandchips
Originally Posted by Richrf
What a strange question.


That's an extremely non-strange question. It's one of the un-strangest questions I can imagine. If somebody is singing the praises of a particular technique, people would like to see (or hear) the results of said technique. I can claim that my brilliant playing is the result of my magic socks; but don't ask me for proof, just take my word for it. They're $19.99 a pair, by the way.





So noted. Thank you.

Self-learning is very popular and I am very much enjoying my approach.


I think showing how you perform would go a long way to helping others who follow this thread. Then again, I don't necessarily have hours of time to watch videos of others playing. I would rather use my non-copious amount of time to just play myself smile


Normally, when someone is trying to decide whether a course of instruction is relevant, they interview the teacher, not the student. For this purpose, I'll provide a link to one of the videos. There are other videos on YouTube if someone searches for Piano Career Academy.

[video:youtube]dDdvcDlTz0k[/video]

#2627987 - 03/29/17 10:33 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Here is another very good video that demonstrates the type of music instruction that one receives in this course:

[video:youtube]__SiXXnaYOY[/video]


#2627992 - 03/29/17 10:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
After reviewing the available YouTube videos for this course, the only real question I had left was whether there individual lessons for each piece of tbe Nikoleav book. I was provided a link to a FAQ for the course which outlines all of the available video instruction, and yes there were individual videos for each lesson and each video has a time index to the subject matter on the video.

Given the cost of books and private instruction (one private lesson would cost me as much as three months of this course), for me this was a no-brainer. Of all the courses I've ever taken in any subject, no course has ever provided as much information and enjoyment for me as this course. Really loving every moment of it.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/29/17 10:49 AM.
#2628157 - 03/29/17 09:07 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I was practicing some drawing faces today and came across this short video which beautifully illustrates the similarities between drawing and music. Observe the artistic gestures and the lines. The rhythms, the legatos, the staccatos, the dynamics, the phrases and the whole piece. It is a wonderful illustration of the similarities between all arts. As with piano studies, I'll be using this short piece for repetitive study. Bravo to the artist!

[video:youtube]WvJX7bDF_eY[/video]

#2628222 - 03/30/17 04:08 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
Here is another very good video that demonstrates the type of music instruction that one receives in this course:
[video:youtube]__SiXXnaYOY[/video]

I watched this video some years ago. Is this an actual lesson and how lessons go, or is it a summary that she has put together of what she teaches?
Since you are actually in the course, perhaps you can answer some things that I have wondered about all this time. In the beginning she tells students that they must analyze the music before they start working on it. This I agree with. But does she teach how to do this analysis - does she teach theory? I have studied a fair bit of theory so I could follow what she was saying, and I could do what she said to do.
She talks about the Exposition, and says to look at the harmonic structure. It means that you must know musical form. For harmonic structure, before you can even go that far you must know key signatures, primary and secondary chords, chord progressions. Getting that far involved several years of study for me, and I'm a fast learner. Does she teach these things?

#2628239 - 03/30/17 07:01 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Greener Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014
Greener  Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Toronto, Canada
This is what I was trying to get at too. In another thread (maybe this one somewhere but I hadn't seen it) it's been referred to as Online Supplemental Resources. This would put in a better perspective for me.

If it is supplemental, then the meat and potatoes of Melody, Harmony, Rhythm and Expression, and other elements of training as Keystring is looking for, would need to come from somewhere else, or perhaps as prerequisite course material.

So far I've only seen bits of supplemental parts and why I've had a hard time understanding how I would actually learn the piano with this material, if I did not already have the other key elements well at hand, first.

So, is it intended to be comprehensive training, or supplemental resources for the person already with training?

#2628263 - 03/30/17 09:14 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Richrf
Here is another very good video that demonstrates the type of music instruction that one receives in this course:
[video:youtube]__SiXXnaYOY[/video]

I watched this video some years ago. Is this an actual lesson and how lessons go, or is it a summary that she has put together of what she teaches?
Since you are actually in the course, perhaps you can answer some things that I have wondered about all this time. In the beginning she tells students that they must analyze the music before they start working on it. This I agree with. But does she teach how to do this analysis - does she teach theory? I have studied a fair bit of theory so I could follow what she was saying, and I could do what she said to do.
She talks about the Exposition, and says to look at the harmonic structure. It means that you must know musical form. For harmonic structure, before you can even go that far you must know key signatures, primary and secondary chords, chord progressions. Getting that far involved several years of study for me, and I'm a fast learner. Does she teach these things?


Hi,

1) So far, the structure of each lesson for each piece it's demonstration and analyze. She analyzes the meaning of the piece, overall structure, phrase structure, key, articulation, dynamics, professions and different techniques that may be used to play different passages. Analysis/demonstration will usually be about 10 minutes per piece, a piece so far averages 4 to 8 bars. There are longer pieces coming up shortly.

2) I am still on Book 1 so there is some amount of theory, but not overwhelming. Her courses go to intermediate and advanced levels which have much more theory.

Hope this answers your questions.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/30/17 09:14 AM.
#2628266 - 03/30/17 09:23 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Greener]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Greener
This is what I was trying to get at too. In another thread (maybe this one somewhere but I hadn't seen it) it's been referred to as Online Supplemental Resources. This would put in a better perspective for me.

If it is supplemental, then the meat and potatoes of Melody, Harmony, Rhythm and Expression, and other elements of training as Keystring is looking for, would need to come from somewhere else, or perhaps as prerequisite course material.

So far I've only seen bits of supplemental parts and why I've had a hard time understanding how I would actually learn the piano with this material, if I did not already have the other key elements well at hand, first.

So, is it intended to be comprehensive training, or supplemental resources for the person already with training?


My experiences is that this course is an excellent way to lean piano. It is following the Nikoleav method for beginners which is a standard book used in Russia. I already had it in my possession since my A Russian teacher I had early as an adult for a few lessons purchased it for me. (She moved away before I had a chance to learn from her).

Since I had experience already, it is impossible for me to say whether it is totally sufficient. I did notice messages on the forum from a few years ago that were from students learning from scratch, and they seemed to be doing well, albeit moving ahead at a rate of about 1 lesson every 1.5 weeks.

Think of it as learning with any method book (these Nikoleav courses proceed to an advanced beginner level) with 10 -15 minutes of online video instruction that demonstrates how to play the piece and discussion of the various structure, dynamics, and articulation of the piece.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/30/17 02:23 PM.
#2628288 - 03/30/17 09:56 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This video is composed of parts of several beginning videos spliced together. What is missing is the detailed, close-up discussion of each piece. But I think it is demonstrative of what one can expect. Illinca does read the comments on the YouTube videos. You can request to see one complete Nikoleav lesson video.

[video:youtube]_So-VEyBZ3w[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 03/30/17 12:21 PM.
#2628290 - 03/30/17 10:03 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Here is a link to the FAQ:

FAQ for online course

Here is a list of all videos and tutorials:

Video course

#2628316 - 03/30/17 11:13 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 44
ThaiBlue Offline
Full Member
ThaiBlue  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 44
Thailand
Originally Posted by Richrf
Here is a link to the FAQ:

FAQ for online course

Here is a list of all videos and tutorials:

Video course


Looks very interesting. I had been thinking about this for a while but not really sure where I'd start. I am early intermediate level and don't really want to go back to the start but don't want to miss anything by jumping in later in the course.

#2628319 - 03/30/17 11:19 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
There are several students that I have communicated with on the forum who are also early intermediate. They follow the more advanced lessons and often submit videos to the monthly Q&A (for which there is a full archive) but also go back to the beginning of the course in order to gain all of the fundamental knowledge and skills.

#2628347 - 03/30/17 12:42 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 44
ThaiBlue Offline
Full Member
ThaiBlue  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 44
Thailand
Originally Posted by Richrf
There are several students that I have communicated with on the forum who are also early intermediate. They follow the more advanced lessons and often submit videos to the monthly Q&A (for which there is a full archive) but also go back to the beginning of the course in order to gain all of the fundamental knowledge and skills.


Thanks. I'm very tempted by it I must admit.

#2628368 - 03/30/17 01:19 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Any one who may have questions can contact Natalia via the contact form on their website.

#2628369 - 03/30/17 01:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf

1) So far, the structure of each lesson for each piece it's demonstration and analyze. She analyzes the meaning of the piece, overall structure, phrase structure, key, articulation, dynamics, professions and different techniques that may be used to play different passages. Analysis/demonstration will usually be about 10 minutes per piece, a piece so far averages 4 to 8 bars. There are longer pieces coming up shortly.

So she does the analyzing. I appreciate that you are at a beginner level and cannot judge this properly.
I have a fair understanding of this, including how to build the knowledge and skills to the point where you can use them effectively. In fact, I have taught part of it. I have also been in a position of being in the dark about such things, and feel they are important.

#2628393 - 03/30/17 02:16 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring

So she does the analyzing. I appreciate that you are at a beginner level and cannot judge this properly.
I have a fair understanding of this, including how to build the knowledge and skills to the point where you can use them effectively. In fact, I have taught part of it. I have also been in a position of being in the dark about such things, and feel they are important.


Students at all levels, from beginner to advanced, have commented on the forum on how much they appreciate and how helpful the analysis is for them levels at all levels of instruction. I find it quite fascinating and I personally use the concepts in all of the arts that I am studying.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/30/17 02:24 PM.
#2628397 - 03/30/17 02:22 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
Students at all levels, from beginner to advanced, have commented on the forum on how much they appreciate and how helpful the analysis is for them levels at c all levels of instruction. I find it quite fascinating and I personally use the concepts in all of the arts that I am studying.

I am not looking for value judgments and am not giving value judgments. "levels" means nothing and is beside the point.
Yes, the analysis is probably helpful to them. I was asking about the development of the ability to do analysis, which is a different thing. I was looking at concrete things, only in view of getting a sense of the course. You could not answer my longstanding question, which is perfectly fine. smile

#2628399 - 03/30/17 02:31 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Off course one learns to do their own analysis by observing how others do analysis. To this end, there are many other excellent resources on YouTube. The value in observing Illinca's approach is that it consistent, gets progressively more in depth, and one can ask questions via the forum or the monthly video Q&A.

For $30 a month this for me it's extraordinary, and I am very picky. But then again, I might particularly love this course because it harmonizes so well with my studies in the other arts. I have already begun applying some new principles to my Tai Chi practice as well as my dance and drawing (drawing most especially since I am a beginner in that also). I also apply these exact same principles when I dabble in singing to help my ability to hear music in my imagination. It is all linked together for me.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/30/17 03:32 PM.
#2628470 - 03/30/17 07:06 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Greener Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014
Greener  Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,146
Toronto, Canada
I've come to the opinion over many years of exposure to piano that the most important thing above all other things in the journey is staying interested. A holistic approach makes sense and I think is quite a widely accepted approach embraced by many teachers now. There will be other methods that are less general, but are any the best? No. The best one for you though is absolutely important. Seems, you've found it and is good for you.

#2628604 - 03/31/17 08:28 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Greener]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Greener
I've come to the opinion over many years of exposure to piano that the most important thing above all other things in the journey is staying interested. A holistic approach makes sense and I think is quite a widely accepted approach embraced by many teachers now. There will be other methods that are less general, but are any the best? No. The best one for you though is absolutely important. Seems, you've found it and is good for you.


Yes, I very much agree.

#2628772 - 03/31/17 02:30 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today, I am continuing my practice and study of playing and drawing from imagination.

With the simpler, well practiced pieces in Nickoleav's book, I am looking ahead so that I fully hear the notes and phrases in my head. I don't try to play legato or staccato, nor do I try to play loud or soft or crescendo and decrescendo. I am only trying to play the music in my head and allowing it to flow into the piano. In this way, I am minimizing willfulness and relying more on relaxed, creative flow through my body. It is a much different feeling than what I experience the first time I try playing a new piece. I can only get to this point via lots of relaxed, repetition.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/31/17 02:39 PM.
#2629318 - 04/02/17 09:06 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
As I continue my studies in piano, drawing, and singing, it becomes more and more apparent to me that what is missing so much in our cultural education is the encouragement of creativity.

Academia and pedology in general encourages copying. Tai Chi lessons, which I took for many years, encouraged exact copying. Ballroom dancing demands dancing by the rules.

It wasn't until I began Latin and Swing dancing, in my 50s, that I began to understand the nature of the creative mind, which is coming from a totally different place than the willful mind. Those who danced by trying to move their hips or feet, could never enjoy themselves. Those who allowed the music in their imagination to move them, had a totally different experience. Different cultures have a different connection with music. Observe the differences between European and American ballroom dancing, and Cubans dancing Salsa. Night and day. In my drawing and my piano playing I am learning how to let my imagination move my body and ultimately through my instruments with which I create art.

One of the enjoyments of self-teaching is that it allows me to experiment and experience at my own pace and in my own way. There is no pressure or stress to play in a particular way. I have my models, but that is all they are. Nothing is set in stone. It it all moldable as is clay. In the meantime, my creative mind continues to expand, and with that my enjoyment with life and my understanding of who I am.

Last edited by Richrf; 04/02/17 10:23 AM.
#2629398 - 04/02/17 01:59 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,055
PianoStudent88 Online content
4000 Post Club Member
PianoStudent88  Online Content
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,055
Maine
Richrf, I have been following this thread with great interest. Thanks for posting the links to the FAQ and the list of lessons. That gave me the entree to start poking around the site, watching some videos and reading Ilinca's blog. I downloaded Ilinca's book on phrasing and although I thought I knew about phrasing, already on page 4 she says things that give me a whole new view that I think will improve my playing immensely.

I find what she says about her holistic approach interesting. I dance Argentine tango, and this suggests something I've been searching for there also recently. There's a tremendous amount of technique one can study in tango, as in piano, and this is important material. Yet in tango I have started to thirst for something beyond, or orthogonal to, technique. I think letting that "beyond" into my piano playing too would help me, and I think Ilinca's teaching might be a way to access that.

My impression is that technique is also included in the lessons -- I can't imagine the Russian School of Piano Playing would neglect technique -- but I'll be looking more through the free materials to verify this before committing to sign up.


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
Musical-U - guidance for increasing musicality
Theta Music Trainer - fun ear training games
#2629438 - 04/02/17 04:09 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi Pianostudent88,

Thanks for the post. Glad to hear that I was off some help to you. I haven't read Illinca's book on phrasing, so that's going on my to do list pronto.

I danced Argentina Tango for a period of time. Such a difference in teaching methods among teachers. Some taught steps. Others taught to dance from (not to) the music and the heart. Totally different experience between the two approaches.

There is tons of technique discussions in the videos. You can imagine the innumerable questions coming from the students which evokes new videos and forum discussion.

I pray attention to technique, but I am allowing the music in my imagination to create them gesture that naturally flows through the body and instrument. I don't try to play forte, or pianissimo, rather I hear it in my mind and allow the imagination too engage the body to create the sounds. It is like basketball, where the coach instructs you to see the ball go through the hoop.

Observe this video of well know artist/teacher Glen Vilppu demonstrate drawing from imagination. The lines he draws has rhythm, phrasing, dynamics, articulation, all coming right from his imagination through the instrument, and onto the paper. This is how I practice all of the arts including dancing!

Cheers and best of luck with your continued studies in all of your chosen arts!


[video:youtube]I2yGDw1cgh8[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 04/02/17 04:11 PM.
#2629462 - 04/02/17 05:16 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,055
PianoStudent88 Online content
4000 Post Club Member
PianoStudent88  Online Content
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,055
Maine
I hear you about the different kinds of dance teachers. I have had tango teachers who taught steps (ugh -- the steps are certainly interesting, but they don't lead to anything), principles (yay-- this enables improvisation and true following and leading i.e. partner dancing), technique (a never-ending journey! although I've started to think: how can dancing tango be less like ballet and more like folk dance?), and musicality (how to hear things in the music, which for me at least, who didn't grow up with this music, has taken a long time to learn). But I don't think I've ever had a teacher who actually encouraged us in *feeling*. Hmmmm!

I've been reading Ilinca's entire FAQ, and encouraged by what she says.


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
Musical-U - guidance for increasing musicality
Theta Music Trainer - fun ear training games
#2629469 - 04/02/17 05:31 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi Pianostudent88,

With partner dancing, like Tango, it is 100% about feeling. The lead hears the music, communicates it via gestures to the partner, the two dance as one as a unified gestured. The gestures themselves are pure manifestation of the music. Some teachers teach choreographed steps, but I find that in Argentine Tango (as opposed to Ballroom Tango) it is almost all improvised according to each dancer's feeling for the music. It is quite wonderful. However, my taste is towards Salsa, Samba and Swing!

Cheers!

#2629691 - 04/03/17 10:36 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
This is one of the Youtube channels I follow. Her approach to teaching is similar to Illinca's paying particular attention to imagining and feeling the music and playing from the heart, which I believe is more than just allegorical, It's an interesting video to watch. This one in particular is how to learn a new piece quickly, something I doubt I'll ever need to do, but it does outline a general approach to learning to play the piano.

[video:youtube]hlF6FkpqJTY[/video]



#2629713 - 04/03/17 11:31 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
As I continue my studies in piano, drawing, and singing, it becomes more and more apparent to me that what is missing so much in our cultural education is the encouragement of creativity.

Academia and pedology in general encourages copying....

As I read your posts, I think even more than before, how everything is a matter of balance, and which direction you take depends on where you are and coming from. If you are west of Rome, you go east to get there; if you are east of Rome, you go west. Your background seems to be much different than mine.

"We" and "our" belongs to many cultures and time periods. My schooling began in 1960 and every year teachers were more experimental in free-think. The hippies were winding down as I reached high school; a teaching degree was a one year course after high school so our teachers were the erstwhile hippies! (some of them) I had 5 years of art: we just went in the room and did whatever we wanted with the teacher going round saying "Very good. Ve-e-e-ry good!" The only thing I learned was a slide show about the golden triangle and how to dilute oil paints.

I joined a "level 6" creative writing class. We all gathered to write for the period, and then left. No teaching - just creativity and self-expression. The other "level" 6 was where I approached the "French teacher" who mispronounced everything and asked if I could just go to the library, study on my own, but write the exams - and by the way, could she give me a book on Spanish? She let me self-teach in the library, I got high marks in the exams and tutored one of her students, and the Spanish book wasn't bad either. cool

My parents were of the generation of Germans where 14 year old boys had a choice of getting forced into the army or be hanged; after such a skewed regimented life many sought to understand freedom. We went "out into nature", became farmers - there was wool carding, weaving, freezing at night in the winter, isolation - I ONLY had creativity based on what I could teach myself. I've had several lifetimes of spontaneous, self-directed creativity. Give me skills!!!! Give me tools.

But this:
Quote
Academia and pedology in general encourages copying. Tai Chi lessons, which I took for many years, encouraged exact copying. Ballroom dancing demands dancing by the rules.

Is also not the answer. The way of skills and tools is not through the path of copying.

Good guidance by a wise and skilled person is a rare thing.

#2629721 - 04/03/17 11:42 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by keystring


Good guidance by a wise and skilled person is a rare thing.


I agree, which is why for the most part I teach myself always observing others for new tidbits I might pick up for whatever I am currently learning (Indian cooking is one of my more recent little hobbies). But everyone has a different idea of what is wise and skilled. For me, Illinca, who teaches this course is perfect for me at this time but others may be looking for something else. Each person has their own journey in life.

Last edited by Richrf; 04/03/17 11:43 AM.
#2629912 - 04/03/17 08:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
I wrote a bit more than that one line. wink

#2630011 - 04/04/17 08:41 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today I began Lesson 27 which is near the end of Book 1A. For the most part the final lessons of this part of the course are emphasizing practicing different articulation and dynamics in the RH and LH, as well as more complex rhythms and phrasing.

While at first glance, the pieces appear quite complex compared to the simple, single finger melodies that I began with a few weeks ago, I am quite comfortable playing them.

First and foremost, I listen to the demonstrations and in-depth demonstrations in order to hear and understand the piece well. In Lesson 27, Illinca spent 20 minutes analyzing a single piece so that it is well understood. Then I simply start playing and repeating phrases (or bars) until I am comfortable playing that part of the piece in a slow tempo. I'll link start speeding up after many weeks of constant repetition with a clear idea of articulations, dynamics, and phrasing.

I am having problems finding and replaying the demo of pieces on-demand, since they are embedded in the video. Even though each video is fully indexed, it is still a bit inconvenient replaying each piece over and over again as I would like. I did request as a future feature that all demos be placed individually in separate videos. Apparently others have also done so in the past and the operations support recognize the benefits of such a feature.

Illinca also announced the availability of a new sight reading course which advanced students are taking.

#2630224 - 04/04/17 09:21 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,055
PianoStudent88 Online content
4000 Post Club Member
PianoStudent88  Online Content
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,055
Maine
Richrf, I enjoyed the drawing video. I'm going to try and see if his ideas would help me to be able to draw the feel of tango.

You have me thinking about my arts. Piano, flute, voice. Argentine tango. Data analysis. From this thread, I'm starting to think in different ways about everything. I noticed in chorus the other night that I was completely unaware of my body. In tango, I went to a workshop this weekend thinking this: I've always thought of tango as being danced with the feet. But there's a whole different dance available if I think of it as being danced with the body.

No shifts yet for piano; or perhaps: I had a really stressful month at work, and when I finally got back to piano, I had found a way to be *kinder* to myself when I practice. Sort of by necessity, because I had been so stressed out that I couldn't engage in my usual approach to practice. So that's a shift.


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
Musical-U - guidance for increasing musicality
Theta Music Trainer - fun ear training games
#2630334 - 04/05/17 08:14 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi PianoStudent88,

It's interesting to listen to your journey. I believe that art with feeling can be searched for, it can be learned, but it cannot be taught. The most a teacher can do is to invite students to find it within themselves. It's a search and exploration.

Here's one Tango teacher suggesting such to his students:


[video:youtube]p3QNxm6hVYc[/video]

African-Americans dancing the Jitterbug provide good contrast in emotions but in all cases, whether it be Tango, Swing, etc. the art is a manifestation of some inner spirit that is reaching out.


[video:youtube]dSAOV6XEjXA[/video]

#2630417 - 04/05/17 01:17 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 766
Groove On Online content
500 Post Club Member
Groove On  Online Content
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 766
Richrf, you might like some of the ideas of Hal Galper and Kenny Werner. Look up some of their Master Classes on Youtube. Here's one with Hal Galper.



We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
#2630432 - 04/05/17 02:06 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Hi Groove On,

Thanks! Really love these videos. Extremely interesting ideas and insights, especially his ideas about hearing the music intuition and imagination as well as the demonstration at the end of the video.. While he is discussing specifically Jazz, his discussion applies to all forms of music (and any art for that matter).

Besides the one you linked to, I also watched this one:

[video:youtube]a2XnB5G6oSc[/video]

Here he discussed the Jazz rhythm as he knows it (syncopation) vs the "written notes". I joined in on the class group exercise. One great way to learn syncopation is by dancing, where there are no notes but just the rhythm and the body.

He discusses activating the brain and nerve connections, but I have come to understand it in a different way, through by Tai Chi and dance practice. At first, yes, the "willful mind" is conducting the whole body and teaching it how to move (create gestures) in accordance to the music it hears, but the whole body contains its own intelligence, what is sometimes called muscle or body memory.

At some point, the creative mind and the whole body becomes connected as one (what can be called holistic playing) and the body is not playing according to directions from the brain but is playing all together as a single holistic gesture. An analogy would be the class in the above video singing synchopated rhythms as a group.

For me, it is learning how to play as a holistic body as per imagination. I apply this to all arts that I am studying.

I'm looking forward to watching all of the videos but the two artists you recommended. Feel free to pay any others that you feel are relevant. Thanks again!






Last edited by Richrf; 04/05/17 02:07 PM.
#2630812 - 04/06/17 07:49 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today Ib read the monograph on Phrasing that Illinca offers to those who subscribe to her mailing list. In her forward she writes:

Quote
Piano playing has to be a lifestyle. A lifestyle that will allow you to create, to express yourself, to find your balance and your unique place in this world. A lifestyle that you will truly enjoy!


Two ideas I noted. One is the immediate recognition that piano playing is about self-expression and creation. It is an art. What I enjoy most about this online piano course is that I have complete freedom to express myself in each piece as I imagine it.

Also of note is the idea that piano is a lifestyle. I would interpret this as piano playing being an aspect of a complete lifestyle that can be beneficial if it is in harmony with what one wishes to do in one's life. Music can change someone but one must also be willing to change.

The monograph is quite lengthy, at 35 pages. She begins by stating the phrasing is the art of imagining the outline of the phrase from its beginning鈥, through is route, too the end. One must imagine the phrase in total and then translate that phrase via physical techniques - what I call gestures.

This is really the essence of the course and why I enjoy it so much. Illinca is not just talking about the art but has devoted herself to fully understanding the nature of piano playing and translating this understanding into a course that methodically and practically relates her understanding to the student. As a result, I am gradually evolving into an artist of the instrument, one who imagines and has the ability to express.

Those interested this monograph can find it here, by subscribing to the mailing list:

Phrasing Monograph

Last edited by Richrf; 04/06/17 07:59 PM.
#2631004 - 04/07/17 02:46 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Today I completed Nikoleav Book 1A, which is Lesson 28 of the course. I continue to review previous lessons daily, starting usually midway through the book but sometimes going back earlier, sometimes to the very first piece.

The last piece is somewhat longer than previous and Illinca had provided a video accompamient demonstration that I can play along with to practice correct rhythm, intonation, dynamics, and articulation. It is a nice way to finish the first book.

In total, I would estimate that so far I have watched 15 hours of instructional video (including supplemental instructional video outside of the book lessons) and have spent probably an equal number of hours reading forum discussions and other supplementary material. Given the quality and depth of instruction, this has been a remarkable purchase for me for only $30/month and I still have two months left on my initial subscription. Total cost of $90 is just a bit more than a one hour lesson where I live.

I had some time to consider Illinca's discussion of phrasing and her use of water as a metaphor for expression and playing technique. When I play, I only imagine the sound bring created in my mind and flowing effortlessly through my buddy and arms onto and through the piano. I put absolutely no thought into this, or that, or this and that, or any bio-mechanicals of this or that. I only imagine continuous, unimpeded flow. This is how I study to achieve the melodious sound of my instrument.

As an aside, I downloaded a simple version of Maple Leaf Rag which I found on YouTube and will practice it on occasion because Scott Joplin's music makes me happy and smile. 馃槂

#2631203 - 04/08/17 09:09 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Illinca prepared an article on sight-reading. Her fundamental advice on looking at your hands:

"you should look at your hands whenever you feel the need. No exceptions :P. No 'rigid rules'. The true art of piano playing is flexible, alive, always efficient."

#2631205 - 04/08/17 09:14 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
dogperson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
dogperson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,175
Florida
Originally Posted by Richrf
Illinca prepared an article on sight-reading. Her fundamental advice on looking at your hands:

"you should look at your hands whenever you feel the need. No exceptions :P. No 'rigid rules'. The true art of piano playing is flexible, alive, always efficient."


I agree with her about looking at your hands when needed.....
after you have the skill of playing without looking at your hands for most of the notes

You can never be a good sight-reader if you need to jump from looking at the score to looking at your hands consistently...you would not be able to play the score credibly and smoothly.

#2631209 - 04/08/17 09:25 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: dogperson]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Richrf
Illinca prepared an article on sight-reading. Her fundamental advice on looking at your hands:

"you should look at your hands whenever you feel the need. No exceptions :P. No 'rigid rules'. The true art of piano playing is flexible, alive, always efficient."


I agree with her about looking at your hands when needed.....
after you have the skill of playing without looking at your hands for most of the notes

You can never be a good sight-reader if you need to jump from looking at the score to looking at your hands consistently...you would not be able to play the score credibly and smoothly.


Illinca's approach is to encourage natural fluidity. Rules such as "don't look at the keyboard" interfere with the natural learning process. In time, as a student becomes comfortable with reading and playing, there will develop a natural compromise between the two. Illinca discusses reading ahead and peripheral vision as two techniques that she uses. These are skills that a student develops over time.

As for me, I do not give a second thought to looking at the keyboard. The more I practice a piece, the more I practice in general, the more comfortable and connected I become to the keyboard. I believe that it is tension that creates a wall between a natural connection to the keyboard - and that rules create tension. This is my own personal thought on the matter.

#2631263 - 04/08/17 12:34 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
I found this quote at the end of a new article that Illinca wrote as part of her course on Sight Reading and in reference specifically to looking at hands. It is very much in conformance with my own thoughts on natural learning:

".... as you improve, you will look at your hands less often. However, this will happen on its own, as a natural result of your progress (and not in a forced artificial manner). And, most importantly - it will happen without affecting the freedom and amplitude of your movements."

'I will end this article with a quote from the Buddha: "Strive on with awareness".

Awareness is fundamental and I don't believe can be taught .... however, it can be learned. The primary purpose of a teacher, in my opinion, is to not interfere with this process buy rather act as a guide as a student manifests his/her natural creativity.

In my experiences, awareness grows alongside relaxation and sensitivity

Last edited by Richrf; 04/08/17 12:47 PM.
#2631509 - 04/09/17 08:57 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Before beginning the next book, Illinca offered three, short, supplemental pieces, Handel's Water, Vivaldi's Spring, and Offenbach's Can-Can. The instruction video for these pieces was about 30 minutes with emphasis on different techniques (what I call gestures) to create different staccato articulations as well as different intonations in the RH and LH.

I decided to play some pieces in Alfred's Adult Beginners 2. I was able to sight read the first few compositions with no problems. After using Nikoleav's for about 5 weeks, I can appreciate the vast difference in teaching approaches of both methods and I have a definite preference for the Nikoleav book. I can better understand now why use to get bored with Alfred's so quickly. There is something very restricting and repetitive about Alfred's. Maybe even mechanical.

I'll be starting Book 2 pretty soon. I continue to practice on average more than 1 hour a day. It's difficult to say how much since I am going back and forth to the piano all day. Each lesson in the course continues to feel fresh and I am always looking forward to the next lesson.

Last edited by Richrf; 04/09/17 09:10 AM.
#2631539 - 04/09/17 10:58 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
In other words, you have finally accessed some of the things that a more than decent teacher will teach. I forget for a moment whether you said you had (a) piano teacher(s) before. A method book (Alfred etc.) does not teach - teachers teach. A really good teacher could even get Alfred come alive because of what that teacher can put in it, but that same teacher might also chafe at the book because of what it would not allow that teacher to do. Good on you for having accessed these things.

#2631545 - 04/09/17 11:09 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: dogperson]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Richrf
Illinca prepared an article on sight-reading. Her fundamental advice on looking at your hands:

"you should look at your hands whenever you feel the need. No exceptions :P. No 'rigid rules'. The true art of piano playing is flexible, alive, always efficient."


I agree with her about looking at your hands when needed.....
after you have the skill of playing without looking at your hands for most of the notes

You can never be a good sight-reader if you need to jump from looking at the score to looking at your hands consistently...you would not be able to play the score credibly and smoothly.


"Not looking at hands" has always been a false idea, because of a number of misunderstandings. The actual thing it's trying to avoid is a system where the student is using the hands plus memorization as a crutch. The method of acquiring "reading" itself may be faulty, and what reading piano music can entail not properly understood. For example, it is very common to memorize the names of the notes on the staff, then the names of the notes on the keyboard, and reading becomes a two-part intellectual exercise. If reading is seen as a fusion between the notes on the page and the keyboard keys, then looking back and forth may actually be a part of reading and acquiring reading, rather than a "last thing" you get to do "after" acquiring reading. That fusion is akin to your foot going to the brakes when you see a red light, while anticipating slowing down. (The red light being the symbol, like a note, foot on brake is the action like playing a piano key, slowing down like anticipating a sound.)

When I learned to play self-taught first time round, I did not look at the piano keys because I was "feeling out" the sounds by looking at the notes. At present I am bridging a serious deficit in "keyboard awareness" in the visual sense of the black and white keys, their layout, my hands on them etc. This has all kinds of consequences when playing. An F# chord or any notes mostly on black keys are best played with the hands further in on the keyboard: a G chord or notes mostly on white keys are best played with the hand further out. If you are not aware of, and if you don't ever see your hands and how they move, this in itself has consequences. Conversely, reading probably also includes the reflex to move in and out of the keyboard and other things.

#2631572 - 04/09/17 01:02 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,024
Alexander Borro Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Alexander Borro  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,024
UK
A rather interesting experiment was done in this video recently, it shows a pro and a student playing with eye tracking, including reading from scores, some may find it interesting.

Perhaps there is something to be learned from this, even for teachers for that matter, it gives a bit of perspective, in as far as how much of each activity we spend our time in. Interesting to note that even the pro was not quite aware of some of the things he was doing.

There are some stats at the end, showing how much the student and pro player spend looking at the score versus hands. Even so, the pro still spends 17% of the time looking at his hands in this case study, perhaps more than what I would have expected. smile





Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Casio AP450 & software.
[Linked Image] 10x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
#2631599 - 04/09/17 02:10 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
I saw that video. The professional pianist was looking at the keyboard, and not his hands - that is an important distinction. Some reasons why I think it's important is that the pianist is looking ahead to where he will be going. When you look at your hands, I think you are looking at where they are. (I've never quite understood the idea of "looking at hands", actually, but suspect it's a different thing).

#2631813 - 04/10/17 09:23 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Thanks everyone for sharing your insights!

Yesterday I spent the day reviewing the entire Nikoleav Book 1. What I am after is a very delicate but strong connection with my piano. I believe that the path to achieving this connection is via repetition of the simplest gestures of the simplest melodies. Repeat, repeat, repeat until I fuse myself with my instrument. This is what I learned after decades of Tai Chi and dance study. There is an entirely different feeling one there is this fusion.

At this point, it would be very handy just to have demonstrations of each piece separate from the lesson. At this time it is not available as part of the online course. Natalia, who provides customer service, had said that it will come after the new site is completed.

#2631936 - 04/10/17 03:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
Reseda, California
Originally Posted by keystring
The professional pianist was looking at the keyboard, and not his hands - that is an important distinction.


The instrumentation wasn't sufficient to conclude how large a region he was paying attention to. It could be that both hands were in his peripheral vision.



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2631938 - 04/10/17 03:24 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: dogperson]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,130
Reseda, California
Originally Posted by dogperson
You can never be a good sight-reader if you need to jump from looking at the score to looking at your hands consistently...you would not be able to play the score credibly and smoothly.


Looking to check long leaps may be worth the extra effort. The trick is to know where to jump back onto the page. It won't be where you looked away from, that's in the past. On prepared music, memorize your return points.

Prima vista reading I couldn't do that. Prima vista is just plain hard work.



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
#2631939 - 04/10/17 03:29 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: JohnSprung]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,528
Canada
Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by keystring
The professional pianist was looking at the keyboard, and not his hands - that is an important distinction.


The instrumentation wasn't sufficient to conclude how large a region he was paying attention to. It could be that both hands were in his peripheral vision.


Yes, but look at one's hands does not make much sense -- looking at the keyboard, and looking toward where you are going does. That may be helpful.

#2632076 - 04/11/17 01:43 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]  
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 641
As part of this diary, I'm including this video prepared by Illinca, the instructor for this course. I believe it encapsulates her teaching philosophy.

Playing the piano holistically

[video:youtube]Y8xF8F6mykM[/video]

Page 1 of 10 1 2 3 9 10

Moderated by  BB Player, casinitaly 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World) our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.


Free Shipping on Jansen Artist Piano Benches
(ad)
Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


(ad)
Pianoteq
Grotrian Concert
Royal
for Pianoteq out now
What's Hot!!
Why Do You Play The Piano?
-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
-------------------
Piano Classified Ads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Searching for my perfect piano
by vais4pianists. 06/22/17 10:47 AM
Used QRS midi strip /Pianodisk midi strip
by Marc NY. 06/22/17 09:42 AM
1899 Knabe Concert Grand
by Keith D Kerman. 06/22/17 09:29 AM
Returning to Piano after awhile
by acdyer23. 06/22/17 06:38 AM
(ad)
Sheet Music Plus
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Forum Statistics
Forums44
Topics180,389
Posts2,638,175
Members88,153
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Check It Out!
There's a lot more to Piano World than just the forums.
Check It Out!
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2017 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0