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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Whizbang] #2650296
06/04/17 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
If you didn't see something in your teacher's playing that you wanted to emulate, why would you study with them?


Because the teacher can teach you how to express yourself based entirely on who you are.

In this case the student and teacher would be sharing a common perspective and attitude.

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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650307
06/04/17 11:22 AM
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@Richard, thank you for your insight. I always love reading your comments and I will definitely consider what you've posted. Your explanation about his teacher makes a lot of sense.

@Whizbang, I definitely see a lot in my teacher's playing that I'd like to be able to do. This is all in terms of her technique, how she strikes the keys, etc... I'm not actively looking to copy what she does, but through her teaching methods I'm still steered to her way of playing. I'm not looking to copy any phrasing that she does, though. I'd rather see what I can figure out by myself, and during the lesson have her give me pointers, or make me consider things that I hadn't thought of yet.

@Richrf, that perfectly describes my relationship with my teacher, and that's how she sees it, too. This is why I consider myself so incredibly lucky to have found her.


Tim

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Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Whizbang] #2650334
06/04/17 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
Originally Posted by Keselo
Is to play the piano the ability to replicate your teacher, or to find your own meaning in a piece of music and work on expressing that?


A high value-per-word post !

If you didn't see something in your teacher's playing that you wanted to emulate, why would you study with them?

It's pretty hard to be a perfect clone of someone. Your teacher will put their stamp on your playing, no doubt, but your fortes and foibles will still make your playing yours.

While we can certainly get pointers from listening to other's interpretations, I do find that it is not common that a teacher will help you find your own sound, rather than just have things you can imitate.

Of course, in the beginning, imitation is not a bad idea. But even then you can cultivate a person's own sense of what they want to express musically and how to execute that. If a student is just learning how to express, then I may give them a couple of options of what they might want to do, but I always encourage them to choose and experiment, and how to go about experimenting.

All too often I see this impulse get squashed by a teacher assuming the student is not musical at all, and nothing could be further from the truth: we are ALL musical because we are human beings with feelings. The problem, therefore, is learning how to express that feeling through your fingers.


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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Morodiene] #2650335
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Originally Posted by Keselo
Is to play the piano the ability to replicate your teacher, or to find your own meaning in a piece of music and work on expressing that?


A high value-per-word post !

If you didn't see something in your teacher's playing that you wanted to emulate, why would you study with them?

It's pretty hard to be a perfect clone of someone. Your teacher will put their stamp on your playing, no doubt, but your fortes and foibles will still make your playing yours.

While we can certainly get pointers from listening to other's interpretations, I do find that it is not common that a teacher will help you find your own sound, rather than just have things you can imitate.

Of course, in the beginning, imitation is not a bad idea. But even then you can cultivate a person's own sense of what they want to express musically and how to execute that. If a student is just learning how to express, then I may give them a couple of options of what they might want to do, but I always encourage them to choose and experiment, and how to go about experimenting.

All too often I see this impulse get squashed by a teacher assuming the student is not musical at all, and nothing could be further from the truth: we are ALL musical because we are human beings with feelings. The problem, therefore, is learning how to express that feeling through your fingers.


I really appreciate this type of approach. I believe it is not only healthy and enjoyable for the individual but for society at large. Unfortunately, growing up in a mega-city any attention to individual creativity was in short supply, and I wasn't able to begin cultivating my own until my 50s. It's nice to hear this approach being presented on a forum by students and teachers.

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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650340
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Originally Posted by Keselo
@Richard, thank you for your insight. I always love reading your comments and I will definitely consider what you've posted. Your explanation about his teacher makes a lot of sense.

@Whizbang, I definitely see a lot in my teacher's playing that I'd like to be able to do. This is all in terms of her technique, how she strikes the keys, etc... I'm not actively looking to copy what she does, but through her teaching methods I'm still steered to her way of playing. I'm not looking to copy any phrasing that she does, though. I'd rather see what I can figure out by myself, and during the lesson have her give me pointers, or make me consider things that I hadn't thought of yet.

@Richrf, that perfectly describes my relationship with my teacher, and that's how she sees it, too. This is why I consider myself so incredibly lucky to have found her.


Thank you. Likewise I appreciate your thoughts and the thread that you developing. Lots of very nice and interesting thoughts being shared.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: luckiest_charm] #2650343
06/04/17 02:07 PM
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I'm going back to the dialogue involving Luckiest Charm. LC, I found your description of how your teacher is working with you, helpful in getting insight into the bigger picture. It also makes sense that your teacher is working with you in a unique way, because of who you are and where you are as a student.
The ability to play music on an instrument has many components that work together, especially when you also add musicianship rather than some bland right notes/right time etc. thing. A good teacher will transmit these components but individually and working together, and get the student to know how to use them for his own music making. The student has his job in acquiring them, and working with the teacher. In turn, the teacher has to understand the material she is teaching, as well as having a feel for her student. So Kesolo may be taught one way, LC another, dmd another, myself another, each according to the makeup of his/her teacher(s) and also where that student is at.
It seems that Kesolo's teacher is building the components (skills, polyphonic hearing, etc. etc.) via the music described here which was actually written to teach, and probably stressing things in it, and giving feedback and guidance. LC is given advanced music in which his teacher demonstrates things, and LC then works with all of it, and extracts the components. The way I'm working is still another variation, and so it goes.
If it stayed at trying to imitate a teacher, that would not be a comfortable state of affairs. But if it is a teacher's way of introducing components, by getting the student to discover and become aware of them, for future guidance going who knows where, then that is fine. We cannot judge how any fellow student is learning, based on how we are learning.

I don't know whether hearing anyone's playing can give a good indication of whether they are working in a good way. At times (often) there can be signs and insights. But you don't know the teacher's whole plan. It's like taking a pie out of the oven mid-way through baking and criticizing the mushiness of the crust.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650345
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Further to my last:

A simplistic example of the danger of judging how a student is being taught/is working, based on a recording.

Teacher A: gets her student to discover, explore, and understand things. Maybe some of the interpretation is the student's, with the teacher giving feedback to further guide the student. Maybe more time is taken to hone reading skills.
Teacher B: tightly choreographs the student's playing, spends a lot of time on one piece making it perfect, doing everything for the student.

You hear a recording of A's student and B's student. It is likely that the playing of B's student will sound more impressive than A's student. Which one is being taught better, and working in a better way (in the long run)? I'd say, not the one who sounds better.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650368
06/04/17 03:03 PM
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That was very insightful, keystring, thank you.

Quote
We cannot judge how any fellow student is learning, based on how we are learning.


I must admit that I tend to do this, though I try to restrict myself to berating helping people who use stuff like Synthesia, or those feared self-taught players who start with intermediate material. I refrain from trying to teach people who are more advanced, though I welcome everyone to learn from my own experiences.

@Richrf, I agree that this thread is turning into a wealth of information. Especially the discussions started by people with different points of view spark some very interesting discussion, and there's much to be learned from both sides of the argument.


Tim

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Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650387
06/04/17 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
I don't know whether hearing anyone's playing can give a good indication of whether they are working in a good way. At times (often) there can be signs and insights. But you don't know the teacher's whole plan.
It would depend a lot on what you can hear and what else you know. Knowing the teacher's plan doesn't mean much because it's for the future and won't affect how the student's currently working and it may also change in the interim. A good teacher would be flexible on forming plans.

Originally Posted by keystring
You hear a recording of A's student and B's student. It is likely that the playing of B's student will sound more impressive than A's student. Which one is being taught better, and working in a better way (in the long run)? I'd say, not the one who sounds better.
I'd be cautious of judging the teacher or their methods by their student's ability without knowing where the student's been. It looks like you're giving the nod to Teacher A because her student sounds worse! smile

Are you including the insight into how the teachers are working with the recording?


Richard
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650404
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Why judge a player by his current ability, no matter the methods of learning? A recording is nothing more than a point on the timeline, it is what was before this recording and what comes after it that gives it significant meaning. Compare today's recording with last month's, and you got a lot more to work with. You can judge the amount of progress that's made. Maybe the 8th notes are more rhythmic or the chord progressions are smoother.. It's hard, at least for me, to judge someone's technical proficiency from a single video, but it's fairly easy to see and hear these technical improvements over a period of time.

Don't just look at how good you are today, but also look back at where you come from, and look ahead to see what you would like to do.


Tim

Started playing January 2017

Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: zrtf90] #2650407
06/04/17 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Are you including the insight into how the teachers are working with the recording?

I don't think you understood any of my post, Richard. You're missing the point and responding to I don't know what. I don't know how to fix that. Can you try rereading, maybe? smile

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650409
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Originally Posted by Keselo
Why judge a player by his current ability, no matter the methods of learning?

I don't think there should be judging, period. But if I understand correctly, dmd wants to hear Lucky Charm play, and when LC uploads his performance, I think dmd wants to judge whether LC is working in a good way / is being taught in a good way. I am trying to warn against that.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650413
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Originally Posted by Keselo
Why judge a player by his current ability, no matter the methods of learning? A recording is nothing more than a point on the timeline, it is what was before this recording and what comes after it that gives it significant meaning. Compare today's recording with last month's, and you got a lot more to work with. You can judge the amount of progress that's made. Maybe the 8th notes are more rhythmic or the chord progressions are smoother.. It's hard, at least for me, to judge someone's technical proficiency from a single video, but it's fairly easy to see and hear these technical improvements over a period of time.

Don't just look at how good you are today, but also look back at where you come from, and look ahead to see what you would like to do.



The reason they judge is because they are a bunch of bullies who like to push people around and stand in judgement of people. They are nothing more than cowardly online bullies who run people off this forum and then bemoan that so many people have left. I just received a very polite PM from yet another sweet and very well meaning member who is leaving. This is what years of their training has created. Disgusting, obnoxious, online bullies who want this forum for themselves. Something special for their decrepit lives. It feels like grade school back in Brooklyn growing up among thugs.

Last edited by Richrf; 06/04/17 05:31 PM.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Richrf] #2650433
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Originally Posted by Richrf
The reason they judge is because they are a bunch of bullies who like to push people around and stand in judgement of people. They are nothing more than cowardly online bullies who run people off this forum and then bemoan that so many people have left. I just received a very polite PM from yet another sweet and very well meaning member who is leaving. This is what years of their training has created. Disgusting, obnoxious, online bullies who want this forum for themselves. Something special for their decrepit lives. It feels like grade school back in Brooklyn growing up among thugs.

I have personally not come across anything that I'd say is bullying. People give advice, people have discussions, and when you are limited to typing your words over the internet, lots of things can be wrongly interpreted.

If someone places a reaction that sounds a bit harsh or snappy, I can't help but shrug. I remember that there's a person on the other side of the connection, they have their daily lives, and their own worries. Sometimes that slips into a reaction, often without the person even realizing it happens (I've had it happen myself).

Short story even shorter: this is the Internet, don't take things too personally.


Tim

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Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650437
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Originally Posted by Keselo
Originally Posted by Richrf
The reason they judge is because they are a bunch of bullies who like to push people around and stand in judgement of people. They are nothing more than cowardly online bullies who run people off this forum and then bemoan that so many people have left. I just received a very polite PM from yet another sweet and very well meaning member who is leaving. This is what years of their training has created. Disgusting, obnoxious, online bullies who want this forum for themselves. Something special for their decrepit lives. It feels like grade school back in Brooklyn growing up among thugs.

I have personally not come across anything that I'd say is bullying. People give advice, people have discussions, and when you are limited to typing your words over the internet, lots of things can be wrongly interpreted.

If someone places a reaction that sounds a bit harsh or snappy, I can't help but shrug. I remember that there's a person on the other side of the connection, they have their daily lives, and their own worries. Sometimes that slips into a reaction, often without the person even realizing it happens (I've had it happen myself).

Short story even shorter: this is the Internet, don't take things too personally.


At this time none if it has been directed at you. Since I've been on this forum I've seen it v directed at several members who left shortly after. Bullying doesn't affect everyone, just those who are being targeted.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650440
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Originally Posted by keystring
I don't think there should be judging, period. But if I understand correctly, dmd wants to hear Lucky Charm play, and when LC uploads his performance, I think dmd wants to judge whether LC is working in a good way / is being taught in a good way. I am trying to warn against that.
Ah, now it's making sense. You wrote this...
Originally Posted by keystring
Which one is being taught better, and working in a better way (in the long run)? [b]I'd say, not the one who sounds better.
...which I read as: Which one is being taught better? I'd say the one who sounds worse! But in fact you wouldn't say at all!

Don may not be able to judge the teaching process but he should be able to judge LC's progress by the improvement in the playing (and I know his playing has already improved!). Don posted this...
Originally Posted by dmd
You know, Lucky ... what would go a long way toward showing that your methods are working well is demonstrating how you have learned the piece you mentioned about intending to work on in your very first post ..... Minute Waltz ....
...and LC submitted a performance of the Minute Waltz to the ABF recital just gone. He has also, in his short time with us, given us a good few insights into his abilities and his relationship with his teacher through his 100+ posts, some of which Don seems to have read. That should 'go a long way toward' giving Don an idea of how LC's method is working.


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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650447
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Originally Posted by Keselo
I have personally not come across anything that I'd say is bullying.
This forum is very well moderated and I can assure you any appearance of bullying would be investigated. The 'Report' button is very accessible and the mods here are very responsive and responsible. I'd ignore intimations to the contrary.


Richard
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: zrtf90] #2650461
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by keystring
I don't think there should be judging, period. But if I understand correctly, dmd wants to hear Lucky Charm play, and when LC uploads his performance, I think dmd wants to judge whether LC is working in a good way / is being taught in a good way. I am trying to warn against that.
Ah, now it's making sense. You wrote this...
Originally Posted by keystring
Which one is being taught better, and working in a better way (in the long run)? [b]I'd say, not the one who sounds better.
...which I read as: Which one is being taught better? I'd say the one who sounds worse! But in fact you wouldn't say at all!

I write in a style that I was taught many years ago, where each idea is in a paragraph, and a set of paragraphs work together. I think it was called essay style, and used to be common. But these days people seem to grab one or two sentences and then extrapolate. I was giving an example. If Teacher A has the student working only on one piece, choreographed to the hilt, then the student will play in a way to impress others for that one piece, and also make the teacher look good - but that student has not learned much. This is the transfer student who comes in to the new teacher playing two pieces brilliantly and then can't find middle C. The bottom line is that we cannot tell how well someone is being taught, or is working, based on how they play. Teacher B's student may be developing a number of skills (in my example) so that this student will be on secure footing later on.

That was the point I was trying to make.

Quote
Don posted this...
Originally Posted by dmd
You know, Lucky ... what would go a long way toward showing that your methods are working well is demonstrating how you have learned the piece you mentioned about intending to work on in your very first post ..... Minute Waltz ....

I saw that post, and it puzzled me. He suggested that Lucky demonstrate how he worked. A performance is not how you work; it is the result of your work. I wondered how LC was supposed to demonstrate how he worked. If I did so, maybe you would see me circle things on a page, and try out some things that I circled. You might see sections played at various stages of development. I'm not sure that I could create such a demonstration, and it would be boring to watch. And even if you see how someone works, will you understand it?

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650472
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dmd did not ask lucky to "demonstrate how he worked." He asked lucky to demonstrate "that [his] methods are working well."


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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650476
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Regardless of your point, which I think I understood, the last line you wrote stood out to me as making a judgement, the 'I'd say'. But I had no idea your previous points were referring to Don's post. I had thought they might have something to do with my remark about supporting his teacher based just on his recent recital submission. But never mind. I think we're good on that now. smile

But Don wasn't asking LC to demonstrate how he worked - just whether they were working well.


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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: PianoStudent88] #2650477
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
dmd did not ask lucky to "demonstrate how he worked." He asked lucky to demonstrate "that [his] methods are working well."


Direct quote: ".... what would go a long way toward showing that your methods are working well is demonstrating how you have learned the piece."

When a teacher asks me "Show me how you learned this piece." then he expects me to show the steps or process that I took. I have been asked to do this by more than one teacher. Those times that I still teach or troubleshoot in teaching, I will ask this as well.

That is why I understood it as I did. The word "how" suggests it, I'm thinking.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650478
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Ah, I read his post as missing the 'well', as in "demonstrating how well you have learned the piece", which is a common phrase in the context.


Richard
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650547
06/04/17 10:28 PM
06/04/17 10:28 PM
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Ah, I see. So while Don wrote "What would go a long way toward showing that your methods are working well is demonstrating how you have learned the piece." you think he intended to write "What would go a long way toward showing that your methods are working well is demonstrating how well you have learned the piece."

Thinking about this:
I went by what had actually been written, and what had been written "how you learned the piece" also made sense. Because if you want to know if a method is good, you first have to understand it, and we didn't know much about that method yet. If you want to get a feel for a method being a good one, a demonstration of that method - in stages - is a good thing. So the request, as it was written, made sense - but didn't seem that easy to carry out. Then also, is the person asking for this capable of judging if the method is good, when demonstrated? I was quiet about it, because it seemed puzzling.

Now in what you both (PS88, Richard the 1st), (we now have a 2nd Richard wink ) both understand. ..... "how well you have learned the piece" ...... What does "learning a piece well" mean? If there are particular criteria in mind, are those the right criteria, and do they actually reflect whether a methodology is good or bad? For this, I would point again to my example of Teacher A and Teacher B.

I also felt uneasy about the question, because if somebody is working with a teacher and feels confident about what that teacher is doing, then is it up to members in this forum to try to judge whether that teacher's methodology is good, by judging how well the piece has been learned, according to what we think we ought to hear?

I did not respond to that post when I saw it, because there were too many doubts; writing anything would just add to the confusion.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650548
06/04/17 10:29 PM
06/04/17 10:29 PM
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I'm also thinking that if this thread is about what Kesolo is learning with his teacher, we've sort of gone adrift, and that may not be fair to K.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650556
06/04/17 10:40 PM
06/04/17 10:40 PM
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I'm waiting to see if there will be a command performance.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Richrf] #2650563
06/04/17 10:47 PM
06/04/17 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
I'm waiting to see if there will be a command performance.

Yours? wink
(Kesolo has already posted two videos from what I have seen.)

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: keystring] #2650613
06/05/17 03:42 AM
06/05/17 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
I'm also thinking that if this thread is about what Kesolo is learning with his teacher, we've sort of gone adrift, and that may not be fair to K.

I think it's also unfair how everyone spells my name wrong (though I do see plenty of unique variation!) laugh

I don't mind a discussion which sheds light on one's piano practice, as I think much can be learned from it, but I do agree with you that it has slightly drifted off-topic.


Tim

Started playing January 2017

Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650633
06/05/17 06:19 AM
06/05/17 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Keselo
1. Make every piece sound like music.
2. Don't (consciously) memorize a piece.

Making a piece sound like music is done by using the technique that she teaches; it allows me to play freely. A lot of practice is needed, both for making sure I adhere to her technique, and for getting the piece to sound just the way that I want. Using this technique is only possible when you're in control; it can't be executed without a proper balance between relaxation and tension.

Because I can't consciously memorize the piece, I'm forced to keep my eyes on the page if I want to play it. Yes, eventually I'll know the piece through sheer repetition, but by that time I've read the score 20, maybe even 30 times in about a week. I get a very good understanding of the piece that I'm playing. This is, I think, essential to becoming a better sight reader.

Ok, getting back on topic (or starting on it in my case), let me first say that I'm not attacking the method but I do have points that I'd like to draw out and discuss.

Making every piece sound like music is excellent and I have no issue with that but I would like to know more about the techniques. I don't have an issue with not consciously memorsing it, either. But being forced to keep the eye on the page is rubbing with me - the interpretation of point 2 - and the assertion that it might improve sight-reading.

When you first read a piece, what we call prima vista or reading at first sight, there is a benefit in keeping the eye on the page and the mental process is quite involved, taking a symbolic language and translating it into a sound and an action. An advanced reader is likely to hear it in his head first and then play it, while a less experienced player is more likely to not know how it sounds until it's played.

The second time through, though, it's no longer being translated into sound and action even with an attempt to "read" it because the player already knows how it sounds, has done the necessary translation and has associated the symbols with that sound and with the figuration of the hands and basic fingering. Even in this second time through there aren't the issues faced the first time. You can't stop the brain learning this just by not consciously trying to.

By the tenth time, though, most of what's being done is memory work and the score is being used as a cue. The process won't improve future reading at all but is more likley to frustrate it because the translation process hasn't been exercised for the last nine repetitions.

Not consciously memorising a piece doesn't mean don't memorise it. You will memorise it even without conscious effort and keeping your eye on the score will not improve reading. It will improve awareness of the keyboard topography a little but not to the extent that it will improve sight-reading because it is still relying on the muscular actions already learnt to assist hand placement and finger sequences.

I'd like to hear more about 'the technique that she teaches' to make it sound like music. That, I think, would be of benefit to others.

I use a systematic method to build a foundation that the music has to fit into and leave the experience of playing the piece to massage it around that framework. I'd be interested in knowing how Tim's teacher goes about it.


Richard
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: zrtf90] #2650649
06/05/17 07:38 AM
06/05/17 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90

Ok, getting back on topic (or starting on it in my case), let me first say that I'm not attacking the method but I do have points that I'd like to draw out and discuss.

Making every piece sound like music is excellent and I have no issue with that but I would like to know more about the techniques. I don't have an issue with not consciously memorsing it, either. But being forced to keep the eye on the page is rubbing with me - the interpretation of point 2 - and the assertion that it might improve sight-reading.

When you first read a piece, what we call prima vista or reading at first sight, there is a benefit in keeping the eye on the page and the mental process is quite involved, taking a symbolic language and translating it into a sound and an action. An advanced reader is likely to hear it in his head first and then play it, while a less experienced player is more likely to not know how it sounds until it's played.

The second time through, though, it's no longer being translated into sound and action even with an attempt to "read" it because the player already knows how it sounds, has done the necessary translation and has associated the symbols with that sound and with the figuration of the hands and basic fingering. Even in this second time through there aren't the issues faced the first time. You can't stop the brain learning this just by not consciously trying to.

By the tenth time, though, most of what's being done is memory work and the score is being used as a cue. The process won't improve future reading at all but is more likley to frustrate it because the translation process hasn't been exercised for the last nine repetitions.


I'll use Mikrokosmos Book 1 Nos. 32, 33, 34 as my example. These are the three pieces that currently give me the most difficulty. Why? Because it feels like both hands are kind of doing their own thing, and because I have to play notes that are further than a 2nd interval apart. So, every day when I play these pieces, I have to read these intervals. I do not know (consciously or unconsciously) what to play next without reading the sheet, which means that every time I play the piece I'm reading these intervals. I make my brain get used to reading these intervals. Because I read and then immediately play, there's also the tactile aspect of how my arms, hands, and fingers feel when I play such an interval.

I understand what you are saying, but I haven't been able to sight read a single piece on the first try, yet the material that I can get decently right on my first try keeps getting increasingly more difficult.

Originally Posted by zrtf90

Not consciously memorising a piece doesn't mean don't memorise it. You will memorise it even without conscious effort and keeping your eye on the score will not improve reading. It will improve awareness of the keyboard topography a little but not to the extent that it will improve sight-reading because it is still relying on the muscular actions already learnt to assist hand placement and finger sequences.


I definitely agree that I do memorize my pieces, even when it's not a conscious process. This becomes very clear with material that I eventually want to add to my repertoire. If it's a canon or a piece with counterpoint, it's a bit harder, but when there's some very clear patterns it takes little to no effort. I do not feel like this memorization comes from me relying on muscular actions which I've picked up (something I associate with 'muscle memory', which I do not think is a healthy or beneficial way of learning). If it were this muscle memory, I would play the piece the same every time, and if I wanted to add different dynamics to the piece, I would have to relearn parts. This is not the case. I can play any part of a piece that I can play from memory softer or louder at will. I can slow down, and I can speed up as fast as my current abilities allow me to. This does not come from memorization through muscle memory. Memorization comes from the understanding of what I'm playing.

Originally Posted by zrtf90

I'd like to hear more about 'the technique that she teaches' to make it sound like music. That, I think, would be of benefit to others.

I use a systematic method to build a foundation that the music has to fit into and leave the experience of playing the piece to massage it around that framework. I'd be interested in knowing how Tim's teacher goes about it.


I do not see myself fit to teach others the technique that she teaches me. For one, I'm barely two months in. The first month, she made me play in a very relaxed way, so if I were to tell people how I'm taught, I'd say to play from relaxation at all times. The last two lessons, however, we're moving more towards finding a balance between relaxation and tension. It helps me produce a more consistent and clear sound, but I can not explain how to achieve this, not in person, and definitely not over the internet.

What I can say is this. This method where relaxation is root of playing, where tension is held only for as long as it's needed, that is what helps me express my musicality. It's what makes me feel in control of what I'm playing, and as such, I feel in control of the music. I hear a piece of music in my head a certain way, or I have certain expectations of it, and this technique allows me to express exactly that.


Tim

Started playing January 2017

Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2650679
06/05/17 09:16 AM
06/05/17 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Keselo
...it feels like both hands are kind of doing their own thing
Yes, this will be with you for a while. Hand independence comes slowly.

Originally Posted by Keselo
...every time I play the piece I'm reading these intervals.
Yes, I see that. You're not working with diatonic music here so that helps to make hard to remember. This is why modern atonal music is still played in concert with the score.

I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to sight-read it. That will come long after hand independence. My points were aimed at the general assumption that keeping the eyes on the score would improve sight-reading. In Bartok's case it's less applicable until you're as familiar with modal music as you are with diatonic.

Originally Posted by Keselo
...something I associate with 'muscle memory', which I do not think is a healthy or beneficial way of learning
I don't want to sound like I'm nit-picking when I'm just trying to clarify but there's nothing wrong with muscle memory. It's not unhealthy at all it's just unreliable if that's all the memory there is. We actually use several kinds of memory when we're learning, there's aural, visual and tactile memory assisting the muscle (implicit or procedural) memory. If you can play be ear aural memory will sort you out in performance and knowing the start of each phrase may be enough to restore 'where you are' from muscle memory. But deliberate (explicit or cognisant) memory is almost bulletproof in performance and this is the best to have. But all forms of memory are healthy and natural.

Explicit memory comes from deliberate recall whereas implicit memory responds to cues without deliberate recall. What strengthens explicit memory is struggling to recall the memory. The struggle builds more neural pathways to the memory and makes recall very secure. When you have something in implicit memory you only have to start it off and there's no struggle to recall it. This is why when you want to memorise a recital piece it's safer to memorise it deliberately from the beginning and not wait until it's in implicit memory. It's not that implicit memory is bad or unhealthy - it's that it makes deliberate memorisation harder to achieve - by removing the struggle. smile

Originally Posted by Keselo
The first month, she made me play in a very relaxed way, so if I were to tell people how I'm taught, I'd say to play from relaxation at all times.
Ah, so it's a physical thing. That's fine, Tim. I was expecting an intellectual approach as to how to find, understand and shape a phrase and get at the music that way but it seems you're being taught a way to allow an instinctive response to the music to just come through you to the keys. I understand that and you're right, it's not something that can be discussed easily in words.

My way of getting to the music would be easier to discuss (though not so much with Bartok wink ) as it's an intellectual exercise that can be done away from the piano and that's what I thought your teacher's techniques might involve.


Richard
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