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#2618357 - 02/26/17 11:12 PM Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.



Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 08:32 AM)

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#2618375 - 02/27/17 02:13 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Stopparde Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/16
Posts: 33
Richrf,
Is it $94 a month or for 3 months ?
Also, are the videos downloadable or just streaming ?
Thanks.

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#2618396 - 02/27/17 04:31 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
barbaram Offline

500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 796
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

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#2618434 - 02/27/17 08:16 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
bSharp[C]yclist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 508
Loc: 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?
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#2618445 - 02/27/17 08:44 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: bSharp[C]yclist]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2618457 - 02/27/17 09:34 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Montuno Offline
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Registered: 11/11/15
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!
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Working on Fundamental Keys / Alfred's Adult All-In-One Book 2

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#2618463 - 02/27/17 09:47 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Montuno]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2618466 - 02/27/17 10:08 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
ARpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/17
Posts: 38
Really interesting! I've seen many of her videos, she's really good, thanks for the info

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#2618485 - 02/27/17 10:59 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14184
Loc: 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.

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#2618491 - 02/27/17 11:07 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 12:09 PM)

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#2618504 - 02/27/17 11:47 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
bSharp[C]yclist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 508
Loc: Orange County, California
What book are you using?
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#2618507 - 02/27/17 11:52 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 11:57 AM)

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#2618510 - 02/27/17 11:55 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14184
Loc: 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.

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#2618513 - 02/27/17 12:08 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (02/27/17 12:10 PM)

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#2618519 - 02/27/17 12:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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

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#2618520 - 02/27/17 12:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
bSharp[C]yclist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/16
Posts: 508
Loc: 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
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#2618530 - 02/27/17 01:34 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2618800 - 02/28/17 06:39 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
barbaram Offline

500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 796
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.

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#2618827 - 02/28/17 08:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: barbaram]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2618925 - 02/28/17 01:38 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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!


Edited by Richrf (02/28/17 03:11 PM)

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#2619347 - 03/01/17 02:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (03/01/17 02:30 PM)

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#2619684 - 03/02/17 02:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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).


Edited by Richrf (03/02/17 05:01 PM)

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#2620064 - 03/03/17 06:49 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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!

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#2620654 - 03/05/17 07:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2622048 - 03/09/17 08:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (03/09/17 09:37 PM)

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#2622595 - 03/11/17 11:07 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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

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#2622600 - 03/11/17 11:22 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2622603 - 03/11/17 11:29 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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Loc: 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.


Edited by keystring (03/11/17 11:30 AM)

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#2622610 - 03/11/17 11:40 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14184
Loc: 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.

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#2623008 - 03/12/17 02:11 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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.

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#2623069 - 03/12/17 06:00 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2623114 - 03/12/17 09:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
Ralphiano Offline
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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?


Edited by Ralphiano (03/12/17 10:00 PM)
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#2623131 - 03/12/17 10:42 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/12/17 11:20 PM)

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#2623141 - 03/12/17 11:11 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]
keystring Offline
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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.

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#2623227 - 03/13/17 09:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
Richrf Offline
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Posts: 166
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.

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#2623251 - 03/13/17 11:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]
Alexander Borro Offline
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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.
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#2623297 - 03/13/17 01:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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.

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#2623323 - 03/13/17 02:03 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Tiger22 Offline
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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.

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#2623586 - 03/14/17 12:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Tiger22]
Richrf Offline
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Posts: 166
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.

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#2623838 - 03/15/17 01:34 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2623915 - 03/15/17 10:00 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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



Edited by Richrf (03/15/17 10:30 AM)

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#2623991 - 03/15/17 02:19 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
JohnSprung Offline
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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.
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#2624237 - 03/16/17 10:44 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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?


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 10:44 AM)

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#2624313 - 03/16/17 04:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]
fishandchips Offline
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Registered: 12/07/16
Posts: 54
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.
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#2624315 - 03/16/17 04:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Alexander Borro]
fishandchips Offline
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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.
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#2624321 - 03/16/17 04:41 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Morodiene Offline
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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?
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#2624333 - 03/16/17 05:07 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2624335 - 03/16/17 05:09 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: fishandchips]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
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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


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 05:12 PM)

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#2624340 - 03/16/17 05:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Morodiene Offline
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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.
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#2624357 - 03/16/17 06:24 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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)

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#2624362 - 03/16/17 06:33 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 06:40 PM)

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#2624365 - 03/16/17 06:43 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Morodiene Offline
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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.
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#2624367 - 03/16/17 06:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 06:51 PM)

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#2624368 - 03/16/17 06:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
dogperson Offline
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Portamento, between legato and staccato, was used as a term by

Horowitz

and Neuhaus (couldn't find the exact citation)

as well as others.

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#2624374 - 03/16/17 07:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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.




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#2624378 - 03/16/17 07:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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.

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#2624380 - 03/16/17 07:27 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
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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.

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#2624385 - 03/16/17 07:43 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Greener]
Richrf Offline
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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.



Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 07:46 PM)

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#2624388 - 03/16/17 07:48 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 07:49 PM)

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#2624393 - 03/16/17 07:54 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: dogperson]
Richrf Offline
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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


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 07:56 PM)

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#2624398 - 03/16/17 08:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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


Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 08:34 PM)

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#2624423 - 03/16/17 09:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Morodiene Offline
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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.
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#2624426 - 03/16/17 09:44 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.




Edited by Richrf (03/16/17 09:45 PM)

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#2624520 - 03/17/17 10:18 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
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For supplementary knowledge I am often watching the pianotv YouTube channel. This is an example of the instructor discussing some famous performers:


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#2624763 - 03/18/17 09:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2624765 - 03/18/17 09:28 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
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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.
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#2624767 - 03/18/17 09:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
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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!



Edited by Richrf (03/18/17 09:43 AM)

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#2624802 - 03/18/17 11:05 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
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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


Edited by dogperson (03/18/17 12:11 PM)
Edit Reason: Correct spelling to Lussy

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#2624811 - 03/18/17 11:36 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/18/17 11:39 AM)

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#2624824 - 03/18/17 12:10 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
dogperson Offline
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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

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#2624841 - 03/18/17 12:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Thanks dogperson. Got it. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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#2624861 - 03/18/17 01:37 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.



Edited by Richrf (03/18/17 04:35 PM)

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#2624905 - 03/18/17 04:13 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Montuno Offline
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The syllabus is only visible if you're logged in Richrf.
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#2624911 - 03/18/17 04:37 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Sorry about that Montuno. I updated the post with a new link that is coming from their publicly accessible FAQ. Hope this one works.

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#2625139 - 03/19/17 11:53 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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



Edited by Richrf (03/19/17 12:01 PM)

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#2625151 - 03/19/17 12:58 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
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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?
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#2625152 - 03/19/17 01:04 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Stubbie]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/19/17 01:04 PM)

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#2625155 - 03/19/17 01:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Stubbie Offline
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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?
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#2625156 - 03/19/17 01:35 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Stubbie]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2625169 - 03/19/17 03:18 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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.

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#2625174 - 03/19/17 03:46 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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).

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#2625185 - 03/19/17 04:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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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.

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#2625198 - 03/19/17 05:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
Richrf Offline
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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.




Edited by Richrf (03/19/17 06:16 PM)

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#2625478 - 03/20/17 05:12 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/20/17 05:14 PM)

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#2625758 - 03/21/17 05:28 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2625761 - 03/21/17 05:44 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Albunea Offline
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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.

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#2625764 - 03/21/17 05:50 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2625765 - 03/21/17 05:51 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Albunea]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/21/17 05:52 PM)

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#2625767 - 03/21/17 05:53 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Albunea Offline
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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?

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#2625771 - 03/21/17 06:20 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/21/17 11:30 PM)

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#2625825 - 03/21/17 11:36 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/21/17 11:38 PM)

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#2625848 - 03/22/17 03:35 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
RaggedKeyPresser Offline
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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.
_________________________
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Hoping to graduate well within two years of study. Now at #71 of Opus 599 and behind schedule.

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#2625853 - 03/22/17 05:00 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
johan d Offline
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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?

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#2625878 - 03/22/17 09:24 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: johan d]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/22/17 09:28 AM)

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#2625881 - 03/22/17 09:38 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Morodiene Offline
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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.
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#2625884 - 03/22/17 09:48 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2625895 - 03/22/17 10:21 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]
johan d Offline
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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...

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#2625896 - 03/22/17 10:23 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: johan d]
Morodiene Offline
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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.
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#2625900 - 03/22/17 10:29 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]
Richrf Offline
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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!


Edited by Richrf (03/22/17 10:29 AM)

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#2625902 - 03/22/17 10:31 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene]
johan d Offline
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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.

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#2625909 - 03/22/17 10:54 AM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: johan d]
Morodiene Offline
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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.
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#2625952 - 03/22/17 01:45 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.


Edited by Richrf (03/22/17 01:49 PM)

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#2626276 - 03/23/17 02:51 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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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.

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#2626330 - 03/23/17 06:39 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Ralphiano Offline
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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.



Edited by Ralphiano (03/23/17 07:10 PM)
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#2626361 - 03/23/17 08:57 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]
bennevis Offline
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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."

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#2626368 - 03/23/17 09:38 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano]
Richrf Offline
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Posts: 166
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!


Edited by Richrf (03/23/17 09:43 PM)

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#2626371 - 03/23/17 09:40 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: bennevis]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.

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#2626496 - 03/24/17 12:53 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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:


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#2626942 - Yesterday at 08:26 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (Yesterday at 08:28 PM)

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#2626948 - Yesterday at 08:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14184
Loc: 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.)

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#2626952 - Yesterday at 08:59 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (Yesterday at 09:04 PM)

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#2626961 - Yesterday at 09:14 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 14184
Loc: 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.

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#2626965 - Yesterday at 09:25 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
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Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.



Edited by Richrf (Yesterday at 09:32 PM)

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#2626972 - Yesterday at 10:03 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Zilthy Online   content
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Registered: 02/24/17
Posts: 20
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.

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#2626976 - Yesterday at 10:21 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Zilthy]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.


Edited by Richrf (Today at 01:14 AM)

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#2626982 - Yesterday at 10:47 PM Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf]
Richrf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 166
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.



Edited by Richrf (Today at 12:23 AM)

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