Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

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

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Who's Online Now
60 registered members (Anticlock, ando, AnnInMiami, Animisha, agraffe, Carey, alexk3954, 7uturu, 13 invisible), 825 guests, and 6 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 14 1 2 3 4 13 14
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2646052
05/22/17 02:49 PM
05/22/17 02:49 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 146
DutchTea Offline
Full Member
DutchTea  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 146
Originally Posted by Keselo
Originally Posted by PerAspera
If I perceived practice as never ending suffering and struggle and forcing myself daily to do some unpleasant activity in order to get high in the form of a recording I think I would avoid piano at all costs.

I view practice as an integral part of studying piano and, even bigger, studying music. What can be dull about that?

That route is my current routine of just playing a load of relatively easy music, learning from every piece what I can. This all while maximizing the efficiency of the time I put into it. I improve, I have fun, and I get a load of satisfaction when I manage to get a good recording of the piece.

Don't you get bored though? I mean, if I'm not playing something that is making my head really think while I'm playing, it just doesn't seem fun. Maybe I'm a masochist and don't know it. wink


~ M.P.

Learning piano on our patient Kawai baby grand who has been waiting for me to get serious for 10+ years. smile
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: DutchTea] #2646055
05/22/17 02:52 PM
05/22/17 02:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,651
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,651
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by DutchTea
What is 'later' in your opinion? When all notes are memorized and usually not missed during a go through of a piece? Or after a specific time frame? A year, two? I only ask because I just started a Sight Reading set of books by Bastien. I've been playing for about one year now. Maybe I should wait?
What repertoire are you playing? I think it should be not so much and emphasis until you get to intermediate levels.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2646061
05/22/17 03:18 PM
05/22/17 03:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 146
DutchTea Offline
Full Member
DutchTea  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 146
I'm certainly not playing intermediate pieces yet. So, hold off then? I'm fine with that; just don't want to neglect something that is helpful in learning piano in general.


~ M.P.

Learning piano on our patient Kawai baby grand who has been waiting for me to get serious for 10+ years. smile
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: DutchTea] #2646067
05/22/17 03:30 PM
05/22/17 03:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
Originally Posted by DutchTea

Don't you get bored though? I mean, if I'm not playing something that is making my head really think while I'm playing, it just doesn't seem fun. Maybe I'm a masochist and don't know it. wink

So far, every piece that I've played has had its challenges, both technically and in terms of expressing musicality. Working on the technical aspect is the first part of the puzzle, and takes anywhere from a day to a week. Once I'm more confident on a technical level, I feel ready to address the musical part. This has two levels of satisfaction.

1. The 'good enough'. I can comfortably read the piece and I can make it sound pretty close to the way I want. I don't demand perfection at this stage, as I feel that's setting yourself up for failure. The majority of what I play will be finished once at this point. This takes anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks (this is an assumption based on my current material, which has a maximum length of 32 bars, though my aim is to find a balance where this remains as stable as possible).

2. 'Repertoire'. A piece that I really like and have deemed good enough, gets added to my repertoire. Memorization comes easily, because I've read and played it for at least a week, multiple times a day. For these pieces, I demand that I learn to play the piece the way I hear it in my head and/or sing it. Can take anywhere from 1 week to, well, I don't know yet. I aim for no longer than a month, but I also want to make videos of these pieces, so that raises the bar quite a bit. My aim is, basically, getting the pieces up to performance level.

About 80% of my time is spent on getting pieces to level 1., the rest on acquiring and maintaining a repertoire. Of this time spent on 1., half of that is spent playing new (= first 3 days of playing) material. So 40% of my time behind the piano, I'm analyzing and familiarizing myself with new concepts and I'm playing new material. Every piece has its own challenges, and my fundamentals should be good enough to effectively solve the challenge in a reasonable amount of time.

I feel like this gets you the best of both worlds. You play a lot of different music, and through isolated problem-solving improve your technical abilities in an efficient way. It is more important to get a good go at 100 pieces, than to perfect 30. With the diminishing returns on quality (in terms of time invested), an optimal balance between quantity and quality must be struck. I do not yet know what it is, but I'll try my best to find out.


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: DutchTea] #2646070
05/22/17 03:34 PM
05/22/17 03:34 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,651
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,651
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by DutchTea
I'm certainly not playing intermediate pieces yet. So, hold off then? I'm fine with that; just don't want to neglect something that is helpful in learning piano in general.
I don't think you need to rush into sight reading exercises. It's not harmful, so if you enjoy it, then by all means spend a little time on it. But if not, it's OK to wait.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2646082
05/22/17 04:06 PM
05/22/17 04:06 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,751
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
1000 Post Club Member
bSharp(C)yclist  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,751
Orange County, California
I guess to me sight reading has been about practicing short pieces, e.g. pieces from the RCM sight reading books, playing through it at a somewhat reasonable tempo and not stopping, while also paying attention to the dynamics. This has certainly helped me to read and play music easier and faster. Is it prima vista reading? No way, I think I have to wait 15 years before that happens, if it ever happens. Then again, I'm not sure if I'll ever be put into a situation where a score is given to me and I need to play perfectly (or make it appear good enough) the first time around (except the sight reading excerpt I'll have to do for an exam).

So, in short, sight reading to me has been about trying to be a better/faster/more accurate reader in general, not really about prima vista reading. I still think there is part that I like to call "finger gymnastics", that needs to be practiced. Much like a gymnast or ice skater who knows their routine, but needs to train their bodies to articulate the right moves and gestures. But who knows, maybe with enough time and practice it will just happen and I'll play level 10 pieces without blinking laugh


♯ ♮ ♭ ø ° Δ ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
YouTube | SoundCloud
[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2646088
05/22/17 04:29 PM
05/22/17 04:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,578
Canada
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,578
Canada
Originally Posted by Keselo
With this method, I question some widely recommended tips for getting better as a player, these include:
- One must play relatively hard material to improve as a player.
- Separately practicing arpeggios, scales, chord progressions, and similar things is a necessity to improving as a player.
- You improve as a sight reader by playing a lot of different material that you can sight read (relatively) easily. It is important not to play the piece more than once or twice before moving on.

In regards to any specific must-do's, I would never go for such a rigid thing. There are skills we need to acquire and things we need to learn, but there is more than one way of getting there. You may have two teachers seeming to do the opposite things, and yet they are on the same path. You can have a teacher who overtly teaches each thing separately so you can tell what is being done, "Now we're working on scales.", "Now we're working on theory.", while another brings out that same knowledge / skills while "only working on pieces". How she teaches, what she asks you to do, and how - that is what makes the differences. You can even have teachers who on the surface appear very structured and skill-oriented, but it's all empty routine. If you're learning, growing, and improving, then it's probably right.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2647172
05/26/17 07:49 AM
05/26/17 07:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
I often give advice to fellow beginners. Because I’m in the same boat as them, I feel like they can benefit from my own (recent) experiences. The advice that I give, is nothing more than the advice that I have been given by better and more experienced players. However, time and time again it becomes apparent how easy it is to disregard the advice that you give others when playing yourself.

5 days ago, I started work on No. 32 from Mikrocosmos. It’s a one page piece, written in a Dorian style. It contains many of the concepts that are previously introduced in the book, and as such, when I started it I didn’t think it would be hard to learn. Because this was my mindset going into the piece, I got agitated when I just couldn’t get it right. Every day I’d try playing through start to finish, and there would just be so many hesitations, double checks, and wrong notes. It wasn’t until today, that I realized I did exactly what I always advice against. I kept beating my head against the wall, waiting for improvement to magically occur.

My tempo of playing was right (read: slow), but playing it through start to finish every time wasn’t efficient at all. That’s the change that I brought to my practice today. Instead of struggling through the entire piece, I did as little as splitting the piece into three separate sections. Starting at the last section, I played it through 5 or so times, before setting the piece aside. During my second practice slot, I did the same with the second section, before playing the two through a few times. Third slot, same story, but with the first section. In 20 minutes of practice I achieved what I couldn’t in the last 4 days, just by taking a step back and evaluating the cause of my lack of progress. It still needs some work, but at least I can play it through with a minimal amount of hesitation.

The main issue in all of this, I think, is that the method of playing it through start to finish works for most pieces that I’m learning. These pieces are not only shorter, but also easier by having more distinguishable patterns. The challenge for me at this stage is to get better and faster at recognizing the harder pieces, or at least recognize sooner when I’m not getting any further. Constant re-evaluation of both broader practice routines and specific pieces is a must, and something I should really get used to.


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2647186
05/26/17 09:28 AM
05/26/17 09:28 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 881
R
Richrf Offline
500 Post Club Member
Richrf  Offline
500 Post Club Member
R

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 881
I agree. The key is "constant reevaluation". Being nimble in learning is as valuable as being nimble in playing. One of the outcomes of learning to learn is understanding that no one approach works in all occasions and over time it is possible to develop a toolkit of knowledge that can be utilized as needed.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2647390
05/26/17 05:55 PM
05/26/17 05:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
The act of practicing in multiple shorter sessions is something that isn’t unfamiliar to most of you. I still feel like it’s valuable to tell you about my practicing ways, with the hopes of shedding some light on the thoughts behind it.

On a typical day, I practice for anywhere between 1.5 and 2 hours. This time is spread out in sessions of 20-25 minutes. I never work on one piece for more than 5 minutes in one session. If I say I practice something for 15 minutes on a day, it gets practiced three separate times, thus it gets reinforced on three separate moments. I don’t have a routine in the sense of technical exercises (scales, arpeggios). I do practice my pieces in a somewhat set order. My pieces can be sorted into one of the following categories and practiced accordingly.

1. New. Piece has been practiced for less than three days and contains technical difficulties. Anything that needs isolated practice, gets isolated practice. New concepts or recently learned ones are the most often in need of isolated practice. I might be able to sight read parts of the piece (at a low tempo, which technically isn't sight reading, but please bear with me), but not yet the whole thing. Progress is measured in terms of getting small sections, that used to give me trouble, to a point where I can play them through without hesitation. In other words, I must tackle the technical difficulties of the piece, as these form the foundation on which the rest of the piece stands.

2. Needs work. Once there are no more problematic spots, the piece gets promoted to this category. Daily practice is limited to a few playthroughs on low tempo. These playthroughs can occur in one session, though I limit myself to 3 playthroughs in one sessions. They can also be spread over multiple sessions, which is done when a piece needs more work. Progress is measured in my increasing ability to play the piece more musically. Playing with musicality can only occur when I’m in control of the piece. As such, holes in my ability to handle the technical aspects of the piece limits progress made here. Pieces take around 3-5 days to get in the right direction, this also includes pieces that I just started working on which had no technical difficulties (and 'skipped; category 1).

3. Good enough. My first point of satisfaction with a piece. I can sit down and play an okay rendition of my piece. This is the point where I start trying to record a piece. This is to hear if it sounds like I think it sounds, as in my experience it sounds so much better when I’m playing. I also like to have audio recordings of my finished pieces, as I like the ability to keep track of my progress. Recording does add some extra layer of difficulty, so it can take some days to get a good recording. After this initial recording, about 70-80% of the pieces get abandoned. I’ve learned a good amount from the piece, both in terms of technical and musical aspects, and my time is better and more efficiently spent learning new, slightly harder material.

4. Future repertoire. Up until this point, everything that I play gets actively read of the sheet. Pieces that I like enough get memorized, which is a relatively easy process, since I’ve played it daily for a week or more. I basically work on a piece until it matches my expectations of how it should sound, within the limits of my own ability. Pieces in this category get 1 or 2 playthroughs every day, and a lot more time when I’m not behind the piano. I sing, hum, and use mental play to get a better idea of exactly what the piece means to me. Mental play is also what solidifies the piece in my brain. It helps to make sure you know what to do, instead of relying on 'muscle memory'.

5. Repertoire. Once a piece is deemed good enough, I make another recording, this time including video. This is the point at which I demand perfection. No ghost notes, no hesitations, musically sound. It takes at least one week in category 4 for a piece to become eligible for recording. Once I’ve recorded a piece, I keep it in my active memory. I’m experimenting with a system of flash cards, but it’s too early to say anything about the effectiveness of this system.

My first three sessions are usually spent playing material from category 1 and 2. I limit myself to having only two new pieces. As such,15-30 minutes are spent on technical improvement, and 30 to 45 minutes on reading music, playing pieces, and improving musicality.

As I get more satisfied with the pieces in 1 and 2, pieces from category 3 get added. I play these through once or twice, and turn on my mic to record. I give myself two tries (in one recording sitting) to get a good recording. If I don’t get one, I try again the next day.

Session 5 and 6 are usually filled up with the practice of (future) repertoire. There’s very little harm done if I can’t practice these on a day, and there’s always the option of mental play, which is why these come last. Time is spent on developing musicality, and really getting to know my piano. I’ve noticed that the quality of my touch has increased since I’ve started working on repertoire pieces, as more of my attention is on the keys.

Six sessions, means at most 30 minutes for a new piece in one day (I average more like 10-15 minutes). I work on 8-10 pages of music at one time. I’m playing some pretty short beginner pieces, so that’s 15-20 pieces at one time. Adding 5-8 new pieces every week, I’m exposing myself to a lot of different music, which is exactly the point of this journey.

I shall post a detailed rundown of my current works in progress this weekend, hoping to make clear what I look for in a piece, how I look for overlap in different works, and how I look to improve.




I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2647504
05/27/17 04:37 AM
05/27/17 04:37 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
I spend my time on three different books, which all complement each other in many ways.

Bartók’s Mikrocosmos (book 1) is what my practice and progress is completely based around. My teacher uses the first two books with all her students, and students who enjoy Bartók will also work on 3 and 4. The pieces in this book are very much about introducing new concepts. Its pieces are the most complex, and my progress through this book is the bench-mark for other material that I play. My current works in progress teach playing intervals bigger than 2nds and playing separate melodies with both hands. At first glance, the pieces don’t seem very musical, but many of them are still very beautiful.

Mikrocosmos has taught me legato playing in both hands, repeated notes in one hand and legato playing in the other hand, simple counterpoint, imitation in canon form, not panicking when a piece is in a different key than C major, remaining in control when reading music and learning how to read in intervals.

Gurlitt’s The First Lessons (Op. 117) was added to my practice around 3 weeks ago. It’s a work from the Romantic period, and as such contains different elements compared to Mikrocosmos. It’s much more focussed on playing broken chords, the melody is more often in the right hand (though not exclusively), and it provides me with the practice of 8th notes and 2 note chords (dyads?). The material is quite a bit easier than Mikrocosmos; the patterns are more predictable, and it feels like both hands work towards the same goal. The pieces sound good, but oftentimes sound a bit too much like études for my liking.

The reading in intervals as learned in Mikrocosmos, carried over very well into the Gurlitt. I’ve felt in control reading broken chords, something which caused internal panic as little as a month ago. Quickly reading and recognizing chords is another thing that Gurlitt teaches me. It’s not an easy thing to do, but the way it introduces this concept is very well paced.

Kabalevsky’s 24 Little Pieces (Op. 39), I started work on just this week. It is more like the Gurlitt book than Mikrocosmos, and it’s the music that I enjoy listening to the most out of the three. It’s very heavy on staccato playing, which was a new concept, but I’m not having too many issues with it.

Kabalevsky just benefits a lot from the work I put into the other two. I’m not sure how far I can progress through it just yet, as I feel the progression curve is a bit steeper than the other two books.

My current practice pieces, as I will practice in the coming day, are as follows.

New: Mikrocosmos No. 33, Kabalevsky Op. 39 No. 3, Gurlitt Op. 117 No. 11.

Needs work: Mikrocosmos No. 32, Kabalevsky Op. 39 No. 2, Gurlitt Op. 117 Nos. 6, 9, 10.

Good enough: Mikrocosmos Nos. 29-31, Kabalevsky Op. 39 No. 1.

Future repertoire: Mikrocosmos Nos. 16, 22, 23, 26, (29, 30, 31).

It’s worth noting there’s usually more material at the ‘good enough’ tier. Over the last two days, I’ve recorded 7 pieces which were at this point, which frees up quite a bit of time for other things. That’s why I’m adding three new pieces today. The Bartók piece uses many of the same concepts of No. 32, and I had a lot of trouble with that, so it might take the full three days to get to a point where I can play it start to finish. Kabalevsky No. 3 is very similar to No. 2, and I didn't have much trouble with that, so that might get to 'needs work' within a day. I'm reserving judgement for the Gurlitt piece. It doesn't look too spectacular in terms of difficulty, but repeating chords with the left hand while right plays 16th notes might pose quite a challenge.

I’ve been using this method for a month now, and so far, the results are pretty damn excellent. Listening back to my recordings, a very steady progress is easily identified, which truly encourages me to go on like this.


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2648042
05/29/17 12:51 AM
05/29/17 12:51 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 19
AZ
D
Doc519 Offline
Junior Member
Doc519  Offline
Junior Member
D

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 19
AZ
This has been a handy read. I myself have been learning with lessons for just over a year now and will be curious to follow your progress. My teacher and I just decided to ditch the Alfred's Adult All-In-One and start working through easier Beethoven/Jazz/Classics by the Masters and introducing Bartok's Mikrocosmos for reading (volume 1/2) and technique using volume 3/4 pieces. My time is far more limited than yours so I haven't put enough focus into it but I plan to start now.

I did find however, using a similar method to yours, that I hit a wall at about 7 months using the Alfred's AIO due to its difficulty curve. I don't think it leaves enough time with easier pieces to let technique and reading become ingrained and I didn't use supplemental material soon enough to catch up. Hopefully this wall doesn't affect you!

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2648046
05/29/17 01:30 AM
05/29/17 01:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
I'm glad that you enjoy it, Doc!

I've had the same issues with Mikrocosmos that you had with Alfred's AIO. I didn't quite feel like I'd hit a wall, but the difficulty of the pieces kept on increasing while I still felt that the easier concepts needed work. There might be a wall that I hit in the future, but I do feel like one can be avoided by pacing yourself with suitable supplemental material.


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2649152
06/01/17 10:15 AM
06/01/17 10:15 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
Monthly Review – May 2017

I think it would be fun to give you a monthly progress report, in which I talk about everything that comes to mind about my practice for the previous month. I’ll review what I’ve worked on, look back at the progress that I made, and formulate what I want from the near future.

May 2017 was the month of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, book 1 to be specific. It’s what my teacher uses with all her students who are new to the piano, and I must say I can see why. It’s a very thorough introduction to playing the piano, and focuses on teaching a new student many of the concepts that are absolutely essential to playing the piano.

I did get bored of just playing Mikrokosmos, though. I did enjoy the music, I still do, but I need to be able to change things up. Luckily, I didn’t have to search in my quest for supplementary material. I’d been working from Gurlitt’s Op. 117 (The First Lessons) before, and the first four pieces looked similar in difficulty to Mikrokosmos. The book introduces new concepts like broken chords, 8th notes, and chords, and, like Bartók, introduces all these concepts in a very gradual manner.

Another thing that I gained from Gurlitt’s book, is my (growing) ability to judge the difficulty of material relative to my own ability of playing. During my initial scan of a piece I first look for concepts that I’m familiar with. I then look for any new concepts that the piece might introduce.
If a piece has no new concepts, I’ll just try sight-reading the piece. More likely than not, I’ll trip up here and there, which means that I can learn something from the piece. A piece like this usually doesn’t take very long to learn, anywhere from 5 to 10 days, start to ‘good enough’. Most of the challenge with these pieces, is the matter of expressing musicality.
If a piece does have a new concept, I’ll first tackle that, before working on the piece as a whole.
Because I’m playing so much different material, I constantly expose myself to new music, and for each piece I first judge the difficulty. This is one of the most important things that you can learn as a beginner, as the ability to pick appropriate material is the first step in continually making progress.
I always ask my teacher before I start something new, as there occasionally are new concepts which I don’t see, and that’s one of the examples where having a teacher pays off tremendously.

I added Gurlitt to my routine on 4 May, and my practice was a balance of Mikrokosmos and Gurlitt. Mikrokosmos was still my main project, and Gurlitt filled any blanks that Mikrokosmos left, reinforcing older concepts along the way.

It was three weeks before I added yet another work to my practice. I felt like I was still limiting myself by only playing the works of two composers. I bought a bundle of Kabalevsky’s works, and his Op. 39 (24 Little Pieces) was added to my routine. Where Bartók provides progress and Gurlitt provides études, Kabalevsky provides just delightful music. In terms of concepts it’s a lot like Gurlitt Op. 117, but it sounds a lot more like music than the first pieces in Gurlitt do.

On 28 May, my last new work was added: Diabelli Op. 125, The First Lessons. It’s a useful little thing, but also my least favourite. I’ll probably still complete it, as it’s giving me too hard a time to ignore, but it will take some time. The progression in this book is tremendously fast, as Diabelli doesn’t shy away from adding multiple new concepts every piece.


Repertoire

Mikrokosmos No. 16 was the first piece which really made me feel like I was making music. I can see myself playing this for a long time, for it is very beautiful despite, or maybe because of, its simplicity.



Mikrokosmos No. 22 made me realize that you can play counterpoint without remaining in a state of constant panic. Bartók wanted me to play it faster, but I liked it nice and slow.



Mikrokosmos No. 23. I liked this one, then I recorded it, and stopped liking it. I’ve learned from it what I could, but I’ll probably let it slip out of my repertoire.




Looking forward

June will bring me a lot of new music. The average difficulty will definitely increase, but I hope my average time spent on finishing a piece stays roughly the same. Time will tell.

I’m hoping to complete Mikrokosmos book 1 to the point where all pieces are at least recorded once. It doesn’t feel like an impossible task, given that there’s three pieces left to start with.

I will continue my progress through Kabalevsky Op. 39 and Gurlitt Op. 117. There’s still loads more to do with both books, and the increase of difficulty in these works suggests that they might be completed along with Mikrokosmos book 2. Luckily, the pieces in Gurlitt Op. 117 are getting better and better. I’m already starting to enjoy some of them, and I will definitely have some of the pieces in my repertoire by the time I’m done with it.

It’s unlikely that I’ll start on more than one piece out of Diabelli Op. 125, because, as mentioned, the difficulty increase is just too damn high.

New additions in June will be Kunz Op. 14 and Beethoven WoO 86 (Ecossaise in E flat). Kunz wrote an excellent bundle of 200 small canons, which seems like it’s excellent supplementary material for Bartók and even better preparatory material for Baroque music. This book will provide me with practicing material for at least the rest of the year, probably even longer.

I’ll leave you with a little segment of graphs and numbers, because those two are among my favourite things in the world.


May By The Numbers

[Linked Image]

Good enough means I’ve got an initial recording, and stopped playing the piece. Future repertoire means that I want it to become repertoire, but it’s not there yet. Repertoire is anything that I have memorized, made a second recording of and can currently play. There are pieces which are still in progress, which eventually will become repertoire.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Keselo; 06/01/17 10:29 AM.

I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2649217
06/01/17 12:48 PM
06/01/17 12:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 85
M
mel_lem Offline
Full Member
mel_lem  Offline
Full Member
M

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 85
What a detailed report! I enjoyed reading it, and also learned about new composers and their works while reading it. Thank you for sharing!

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: mel_lem] #2649230
06/01/17 01:34 PM
06/01/17 01:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
Originally Posted by mel_lem
What a detailed report! I enjoyed reading it, and also learned about new composers and their works while reading it. Thank you for sharing!

Thank you for reading, Melanie. I'm glad you enjoyed it. smile


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2649233
06/01/17 01:45 PM
06/01/17 01:45 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,308
Pennsylvania
D
dmd Offline
4000 Post Club Member
dmd  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,308
Pennsylvania
Hi Keselo ....

I enjoyed your music.

I noticed that you are playing without the music on the piano.

Do you play like that when you take your lesson ?

I would have thought your instructor would like you to play while reading the music.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: dmd] #2649237
06/01/17 02:07 PM
06/01/17 02:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
K
Keselo Offline OP
Full Member
Keselo  Offline OP
Full Member
K

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 373
The Netherlands
Originally Posted by dmd
Hi Keselo ....

I enjoyed your music.

I noticed that you are playing without the music on the piano.

Do you play like that when you take your lesson ?

I would have thought your instructor would like you to play while reading the music.


Hi Don. All the other pieces I play while reading the sheet, but these three are my repertoire pieces. I memorized them so I could fully focus on the musicality. You can't see it, but I play these pieces with my eyes closed. That way, I feel somehow more aware of exactly what my hands are doing, and I feel like I can better produce the sound that I want.

During my lessons my teacher asks me to play any new repertoire pieces, as a warm-up. She judges my technique and tone of playing from these pieces. The rest of the time, I'm playing while reading.


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

[Linked Image]
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2649474
06/02/17 07:08 AM
06/02/17 07:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 247
L
luckiest_charm Offline
Full Member
luckiest_charm  Offline
Full Member
L

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 247
Originally Posted by Keselo

- One must play relatively hard material to improve as a player.
- Separately practicing arpeggios, scales, chord progressions, and similar things is a necessity to improving as a player.


1 - I adhere to those words like bible, however, it varies from person to person and their priorities.
I intend to play piano professionally one day and I started late (At around 16) so I have already wasted quite a lot of crucial years. I feel like I need to get up there, and get up there fast. That is why, over the 2 years that I have been playing, and much longer periods of research, I've definitely concluded that the more difficult you go, the faster you'll climb the ladder up top. The simple reason is, the more you demand from your body, the more it has to provide, before it gives up. I've always kept my primary pieces way out of my league and spent hours and hours taking up their demands.

Now, there are a lot of ambiguities that I need to clear up whenever this topic arises.
- Tackling harder pieces always means a piece a few notches above your current level. Something you can imagine yourself playing.
- By the time you are done with that piece and have decided to move on to something else, you should be able to play the whole thing easily and know it like the back of your hand. Don't move on to something else if you're still sloppy with it or don't have control over the dynamics. Keep at it, even for a 15 mins a day. It'll come, eventually. The only valid reason for quitting a hard piece is that after trying it, you decide that you won't manage to master it after all, with your current level.

I honestly believe that anyone who says aiming for relatively higher pieces leads to a lot of gaps in technique probably hasn't done that right. When you dedicate yourself to a piece and make sure that every nook shines, you leave no holes in anything.
The simple answer is (competitively, of course), if we've both spent XX hours practicing on the instrument and if my technique is more advanced, i.e, I can perform more challenging pieces than you (of course, with the same finesse), then I've utilized my time more efficiently. Period.

Stretch your limits. Aim high and be dedicated enough to get there. The life is really short and there's a lot of extremely difficult music waiting for you out there. How will you advance if you stick to basics for months and years?

Exception - If you play challenging material consistently while at the same time enjoy basic easier pieces for honing your technique, then I think that's the most well rounded approach.

2 - The pieces will teach you everything you need to know if you keep at them. None the less, knowing your scales and being able to improvise arpeggios is a great skill to have. Much recommended. At least get the scales fluent, both hands, staccato and legato.
You'll learn arpeggios in your pieces. It's upto you how high you aim when it comes to arpeggios.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: luckiest_charm] #2649486
06/02/17 08:35 AM
06/02/17 08:35 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,508
B
bennevis Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,508
Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
I've definitely concluded that the more difficult you go, the faster you'll climb the ladder up top. The simple reason is, the more you demand from your body, the more it has to provide, before it gives up. I've always kept my primary pieces way out of my league and spent hours and hours taking up their demands.

Now, there are a lot of ambiguities that I need to clear up whenever this topic arises.
- Tackling harder pieces always means a piece a few notches above your current level. Something you can imagine yourself playing.
- By the time you are done with that piece and have decided to move on to something else, you should be able to play the whole thing easily and know it like the back of your hand. Don't move on to something else if you're still sloppy with it or don't have control over the dynamics. Keep at it, even for a 15 mins a day. It'll come, eventually. The only valid reason for quitting a hard piece is that after trying it, you decide that you won't manage to master it after all, with your current level.

I honestly believe that anyone who says aiming for relatively higher pieces leads to a lot of gaps in technique probably hasn't done that right. When you dedicate yourself to a piece and make sure that every nook shines, you leave no holes in anything.

Exception - If you play challenging material consistently while at the same time enjoy basic easier pieces for honing your technique, then I think that's the most well rounded approach.

A student who employs a 'stepwise approach' (with a good teacher) by learning new skills and mastering them step by step (using a judicious choice of music - pieces that push his current skill level in some aspect, but not to the extent of being insurmountable within a few weeks) will always have a more rounded technique than someone who chooses pieces well over his level and keeps plugging away at them, and nothing else. Like choosing an advanced (or even intermediate-advanced) piece when he's only just developed hand independence. There have been such students who've posted here, and they all fell by the wayside, without ever completing what they started. I remember at least one who never posted in PW again, and another who resurfaced years later admitting that he'd given up piano because of injuries.

I also know a few people personally, who have glaring technical deficiencies because they only ever learnt a few advanced pieces they liked, took years over them, and can't play anything else. Sure, they eventually could get around most of the notes, but it wasn't difficult to hear what the problems were: inadequate finger agility and fluency (difficulty with trills, and especially ornaments, poor articulation etc), poor chord technique (notes in chords not reliably sounding together, voicing all over the place, notes 'disappearing' etc), 'weak fingers' with uneven passagework.

Quote
2 - The pieces will teach you everything you need to know if you keep at them.

No single piece encompass everything. Not even a selection of ten pieces, unless (probably not even if) they vary wildly in era and style - and if a student chooses the pieces himself, it's not likely that he'll have everything from Bach to Bartók via the Classical and Romantic in his selection. (Quite a few people here have very narrow repertoire range and keep learning pieces in the same style, for example).

Quote
None the less, knowing your scales and being able to improvise arpeggios is a great skill to have. Much recommended. At least get the scales fluent, both hands, staccato and legato.
You'll learn arpeggios in your pieces. It's upto you how high you aim when it comes to arpeggios.

Definitely, scales & arpeggios are the backbone of a lot of music, especially classical (with a small 'c'). Without decent fluency in them, a student will always come up against brick walls in piano pieces that's been composed for piano/keyboard (i.e. not arranged), unless he only ever plays what he can play.


"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."
Page 2 of 14 1 2 3 4 13 14

Moderated by  BB Player 

Shop Our Online Store!
Shop Our Store Online
Shop PianoSupplies.com

Did you know Piano World has an online store, and that it's loaded with goodies pianists and music lovers want?
Check it out and place your order.

Special Purchase!
Keyboard and Roses Piano Bench Cushion Keyboard & Roses 14"x30" piano bench cushions Regularly sold for $79 to $100, now only $39. (while supplies last)

(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Exercise books - Czerny etc.
by Moo :). 03/22/19 09:56 PM
Ordering a piano vs. buying what you try
by ASR. 03/22/19 07:15 PM
Piano With Humility
by Retsacnal. 03/22/19 06:43 PM
Piano in hospital
by CharlesXX. 03/22/19 06:38 PM
What's Hot!!
PIANO TEACHERS Please read this!
-------------------
European Tour for Piano Lovers
JOIN US FOR THE TOUR!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics191,063
Posts2,809,672
Members92,847
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

Sweetwater

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.2