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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2706555
01/19/18 05:19 PM
01/19/18 05:19 PM
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Originally Posted by Keselo
Satie was just very easy (though, I now realize I didn’t get from this book what I could and should’ve.


I wonder, if I may ask, which pieces and what book, you've been playing for not that long, for that time I would not classify Satie as easy unless you are are very talented, but there may be pieces I am not aware of.

I would not underestimate Satie, just because some of the notes look easy and are not quite technically demanding at a superficial level, yet I've heard plenty of renditions of Satie Gnossiennes on youtube by intermediate players I would consider that need lots of work. Getting it to that next level is difficult, not many players can actually do him justice in those pieces IHMO, unless you are pretty advanced in finer touch, dynamics and rubato.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 01/19/18 05:22 PM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Casio AP450 & software.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2706571
01/19/18 06:11 PM
01/19/18 06:11 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,258
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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I think Keselo is referring to this book here smile

https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product59346/variant59346/


Keselo - you're slacking. In the time you took to put all that together, you could have practiced something ;0


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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2706580
01/19/18 06:44 PM
01/19/18 06:44 PM
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Posts: 212
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Keselo Offline OP

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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
Originally Posted by Keselo
Satie was just very easy (though, I now realize I didn’t get from this book what I could and should’ve.


I wonder, if I may ask, which pieces and what book, you've been playing for not that long, for that time I would not classify Satie as easy unless you are are very talented, but there may be pieces I am not aware of.

I would not underestimate Satie, just because some of the notes look easy and are not quite technically demanding at a superficial level, yet I've heard plenty of renditions of Satie Gnossiennes on youtube by intermediate players I would consider that need lots of work. Getting it to that next level is difficult, not many players can actually do him justice in those pieces IHMO, unless you are pretty advanced in finer touch, dynamics and rubato.

It's the book bSharp(C)yclist linked to, his 9 Children's pieces. ABRSM puts them at a grade 1 or 2, I believe.

I definitely don't underestimate Satie. I'm staying away from the rest of his music for at least the coming year. I would love to play many of his works, but I understand I'm not yet ready for them.

Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist

Keselo - you're slacking. In the time you took to put all that together, you could have practiced something ;0


Hah! That's why I waited until after 9pm to write this post, as that's when practise time is over for the day.

I am slacking, though, you're not wrong.


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] #2706591
01/19/18 07:18 PM
01/19/18 07:18 PM
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Posts: 227
In the Ozarks of Missouri
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I am really impressed with your work ethic and progress thumb

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Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2706593
01/19/18 07:31 PM
01/19/18 07:31 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,188
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Alexander Borro Offline
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UK
Originally Posted by Keselo
Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
Originally Posted by Keselo
Satie was just very easy (though, I now realize I didn’t get from this book what I could and should’ve.


I wonder, if I may ask, which pieces and what book, you've been playing for not that long, for that time I would not classify Satie as easy unless you are are very talented, but there may be pieces I am not aware of.

I would not underestimate Satie, just because some of the notes look easy and are not quite technically demanding at a superficial level, yet I've heard plenty of renditions of Satie Gnossiennes on youtube by intermediate players I would consider that need lots of work. Getting it to that next level is difficult, not many players can actually do him justice in those pieces IHMO, unless you are pretty advanced in finer touch, dynamics and rubato.

It's the book bSharp(C)yclist linked to, his 9 Children's pieces. ABRSM puts them at a grade 1 or 2, I believe.

I definitely don't underestimate Satie. I'm staying away from the rest of his music for at least the coming year. I would love to play many of his works, but I understand I'm not yet ready for them.

Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist

Keselo - you're slacking. In the time you took to put all that together, you could have practiced something ;0


Hah! That's why I waited until after 9pm to write this post, as that's when practise time is over for the day.

I am slacking, though, you're not wrong.


Thank you, I wasn't aware of them at all, I saw a small sample of those pieces in the link, now it make sense, that looks much easier and doable.


Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Casio AP450 & software.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: NobleHouse] #2706774
01/20/18 03:59 PM
01/20/18 03:59 PM
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Keselo Offline OP

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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I am really impressed with your work ethic and progress thumb

Thank you very much! I'm quite pleased with it, myself. smile

I've just made a compilation video of my first year of piano progress. I took the piece which represented my skill level for that month and put them all together into a single video. Please don't mind my terrible editing skills, or lack thereof.



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] #2706800
01/20/18 05:07 PM
01/20/18 05:07 PM
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Posts: 227
In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by Keselo
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I am really impressed with your work ethic and progress thumb

Thank you very much! I'm quite pleased with it, myself. smile

I've just made a compilation video of my first year of piano progress. I took the piece which represented my skill level for that month and put them all together into a single video. Please don't mind my terrible editing skills, or lack thereof.



Really nice progress.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2706821
01/20/18 06:00 PM
01/20/18 06:00 PM
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Florida
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Great first year Keselo thumb I hope you are really pleased as well. You’ve worked hard and it shows

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2706828
01/20/18 06:10 PM
01/20/18 06:10 PM
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Keselo Offline OP

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Thank you, NobleHouse and dogperson! Looking back at it, I'm quite pleased with my progress. It also makes me eager for the future; there's so much more to play.


Last edited by Keselo; 01/20/18 06:22 PM. Reason: Fixed the thumbnail

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] #2706952
01/21/18 05:23 AM
01/21/18 05:23 AM
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Sydney NSW Australia
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Well, I think that's just brilliant Keselo. Great effort and outcome. Confident and gentle and precise touch.


"Study Bach: there you will find everything" - Johannes Brahms.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2706961
01/21/18 06:28 AM
01/21/18 06:28 AM
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Keselo Offline OP

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Thank you very much Maddie!


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] #2708283
01/25/18 02:12 AM
01/25/18 02:12 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
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Ido Offline
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Hi,

I've also been playing for a year now and wanted to share my experience as well, especially in the light of this
discussion of progressing step my step vs using more advanced repertoire in order to boost the technique.
I took the second path, trying to play pieces far more difficult than I can handle. I didn't do that on purpose, I just really liked them.
The results?

* VERY slow progress. Hardly noticeable over 1-3 weeks periods. The points in time where I can stop and look proudly at what I achieved are few. This is not a smooth sailing for me whatsoever.
* poor sense of timing. I have a good sense of rhythm, but the lack of metronome practice is showing in the unevenness of my playing. It is hard to play with a metronome when you cannot play the piece, even at a very slow tempo.
* dynamics are not as good as they could be because I'm struggling to actually play the notes themselves.
* I can't really sight read these pieces. Not even close. Only reading, and not in real time. My reading ability is quite poor.
* I practically have no repertoire. There are very few pieces I managed to complete.
* I encountered many techniques and situations and had to analyze hand motions to get them done and I can feel my hands can do a lot more than they could a year ago.
* I got to play pieces I really really like.

I wouldn't want to bash my method of learning, as other people may have better results with it. This is only MY experience. Perhaps at my age (mid 30's) I'm not the fast learner I used to be.
Looking back, I did try the easier pieces at the beginning, but they were extremely boring, plus my technique was a lot worse so I felt the need to focus on the motions and not on the written page.
I always record myself, so I'm aware of all the issues, and now that I know that even 'beginner' pieces can sound very musical, I'm going to try filling all the gaps.
Here's a video to illustrate what I just wrote (sorry for the poor quality). I cannot really play any piece to the level of recording, this reinforces my point.



Thanks Tim for sharing your experience. It is very inspiring.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2708302
01/25/18 04:12 AM
01/25/18 04:12 AM
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Sydney NSW Australia
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I think you are doing very well after only one year. Your hand/wrist position looks good to me and your playing flows well with a good caressing touch - you don't prod, like a lot of beginners. I still find myself prodding sometimes! I can relate to what you say about early beginner pieces being boring and childish, over-simple. I too have done the over-reach thing, but it is different in my case because I was playing at about grade 3-4 level in my early twenties and am now trying to recover to that point at age 65. If you think learning in your thirties is slow compared with children and teens, you ain't seen nothin' yet! I can recover some of the pieces I played back then quite well because I learned them when young, but new repertoire is way behind that in time taken to assimilate. i have a quick mind but my short term memory is nothing like it was and my knuckles and wrists are becoming arthritic. I want to encourage you to keep those fingers moving. Don't be discouraged and give up now then regret it in your senior years and take it up again like me! There are quite a few of us seniors and retirees on this forum returning or just beginning and it is not easy. I would like to suggest some pieces I have just discovered in a new book I bought off Amazon and some older books I got at a 2nd hand sale. These are not so demanding yet very satisfying. I feel much better since I started these new books.
The new one is a collection of original pieces by a broad range of classical composers I think might suit you. The book is called:
"Classics Alive! Compiled and edited by Jane Magrath. Late elementary to Early Intermediate works by 12 important composers of Standard Teaching Literature."
From Amazon USA.

The older books may be out of print now but one is Haydn, 15 of his easiest piano pieces, an Alfred publication. These are interesting but playable.
The other books two are Australian similar in style to the Jane Magrath and one is German, Chopin for Young People, in other words his easier preludes, mazurkas and waltzes, something we both can aspire to in 6-12 months' time perhaps.

Maybe you could look for some books aimed at the late beginner early intermediate level, stick to slower pieces with simpler key signatures for now and develop technique and dynamics and move on from there, like I am trying to do. You sounded very discouraged, please don't be.

Best wishes. Stay positive.


"Study Bach: there you will find everything" - Johannes Brahms.
Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Ido] #2708332
01/25/18 08:19 AM
01/25/18 08:19 AM
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Posts: 212
The Netherlands
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Keselo Offline OP

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Originally Posted by Ido
Hi,

I've also been playing for a year now and wanted to share my experience as well, especially in the light of this
discussion of progressing step my step vs using more advanced repertoire in order to boost the technique.
I took the second path, trying to play pieces far more difficult than I can handle. I didn't do that on purpose, I just really liked them.
The results?

* VERY slow progress. Hardly noticeable over 1-3 weeks periods. The points in time where I can stop and look proudly at what I achieved are few. This is not a smooth sailing for me whatsoever.
* poor sense of timing. I have a good sense of rhythm, but the lack of metronome practice is showing in the unevenness of my playing. It is hard to play with a metronome when you cannot play the piece, even at a very slow tempo.
* dynamics are not as good as they could be because I'm struggling to actually play the notes themselves.
* I can't really sight read these pieces. Not even close. Only reading, and not in real time. My reading ability is quite poor.
* I practically have no repertoire. There are very few pieces I managed to complete.
* I encountered many techniques and situations and had to analyze hand motions to get them done and I can feel my hands can do a lot more than they could a year ago.
* I got to play pieces I really really like.

I wouldn't want to bash my method of learning, as other people may have better results with it. This is only MY experience. Perhaps at my age (mid 30's) I'm not the fast learner I used to be.
Looking back, I did try the easier pieces at the beginning, but they were extremely boring, plus my technique was a lot worse so I felt the need to focus on the motions and not on the written page.
I always record myself, so I'm aware of all the issues, and now that I know that even 'beginner' pieces can sound very musical, I'm going to try filling all the gaps.
Here's a video to illustrate what I just wrote (sorry for the poor quality). I cannot really play any piece to the level of recording, this reinforces my point.



Thanks Tim for sharing your experience. It is very inspiring.

First of all, thank you for your kind comments both here and on YouTube.

While I do think you play very well, I also like to think that "my" method of learning to play addresses the concerns that you have regarding your own ways of learning.

There is plenty of material that is very pleasant, even though it's aimed at beginners. Some books that come to mind:

Bartók Mikrokosmos, For Children. You've probably read enough about Mikrokosmos, but his For Children is great as well, and definitely not just for children, as the title suggests.
Kabalevsky Op. 39. Very fun album.
Dunhill 'First Year Pieces / Swinstead 'Work and Play' The ABRSM has published a bundle of these two books, and they're amazing, The music is simple, but very mature and beautiful. Definitely something with which you can work on your expression.
Gurlitt. His Op. 117 is great, but kind of boring. His Op. 101 and 140 are great, and not boring. Very charming character pieces, not unlike Burgmüller Op. 100 (which I also recommend).
Boyle's In Times Past is another book for beginners which I can recommend. The pieces are very nostalgic, there's lots of room for expression.
Grechaninov is another composer who wrote great material for beginners. Check out his Op. 98 and Op. 123.
Lastly, I really like Tansman. He's written some great material for beginners which is, again, not at all childish. Happy Time (3 books) and For Children (4 books) are just great.


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] #2708334
01/25/18 08:35 AM
01/25/18 08:35 AM
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Maddie - thank you for the kind words and the music references!
I'm not really discouraged, just very critical about my playing. Several months ago I wasn't even sure I'll be able to continue playing because I kept injuring my hands, but now I have more confidence as things got more stable and I learned how to correct motions that causes pain and catch mistakes before they become injuries.

Tim - this is exactly what I thought when I read your posts. It was like "here's all the things I haven't done and should have". Bottom line is I could take all your recordings and pile them into a playlist and just sit, listen and enjoy. It doesn't make much difference if they are considered 'easy', it's how you play them that make the difference. Already got myself a copy of Mikrokosmos, let's see how that goes :-)

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2719626
03/07/18 12:07 PM
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Keselo Offline OP

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The Quantity Trap

It’s been a while since I’ve posted in this thread. The main reason for this has been my recent bout of absolute demotivation. I’ve talked about this plenty already in this thread, so I will not elaborate too much on it, though there is one point which I do think is interesting.

During these periods of demotivation I can’t even force myself to sit behind the piano. The rare moment I can force myself to sit down, whatever I get out of my piano is just not good. I’m at peace with just accepting that practicing the wrong thing is more harmful than not practicing at all, which is why I ended up with 3 weeks of barely playing. Even normal piano stuff that I usually enjoy, like listening to performances or talking about it here or at other places, just can’t hold my interest.

Now, the thing I find interesting is the final few days of my hiatus. I still can’t get myself to sit down and play, but my mind does start wandering in the direction of my 88 keys. I start analysing how I practiced before, and how I think this should change. I’ve noticed this happening every time I lose motivation; whenever I restart my playing my practice routine is vastly different from before.

I have now been back to practicing since Saturday, and the main thing that has changed is my view at quantity vs quality. Back in October, Moo here on Pianoworld warned me about not getting too focused on just the quantity of what I learn. I thought I didn’t back then, but now I’m certain Moo had a very valid point here.

My thought process was good back then; have a large quantity of pieces to expose yourself to many different concepts. Diversify. To try and explain my thought process here, I’ll use an analogy a Reddit user (Yeargdribble) often uses to demonstrate the point of diversifying your practice.

He states that, if you practice just one or two pieces every day for an hour, you end up pouring water into an already filled cup. The time that you pour into practicing has little effect, for there’s only so much information you can retain overnight (there’s only so much water that the cup can hold). Where I went wrong is that I filled lots of cups, which all could be retained overnight, but I filled most cups not even halfway. In other words, I stopped practicing a piece for the day when there was still plenty of progress to be made.

This had a few results. The progress in terms of days practiced was slower than it needed to be. There was a big stack of books I had to plough through every day, which became very hard to do on a day where things weren’t going that well. Progress through the books was slow; something that’s very motivating to me is finishing a book. And lastly, I designated 10-15 minutes per piece, which limited me when a piece needed more time.

An important thought to keep in mind when learning to play this instrument is this. ‘It takes as long as it has to take.’ This is something that I didn’t keep in mind when learning my pieces.

What has changed?

The number of books that I practice daily has been more than halved. From 12-15 books to 6 books. I practice one book from every major time period (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th Century), and two additional books from which I (re)learn a repertoire piece.

Instead of aiming for 10 minutes per piece / per book, I’m now practicing one book per 30-minute-session, and I spend as much time as I need on that certain book. This pretty much comes down to two pieces of music per book. I’ve noticed that it’s easier to stay motivated when sitting down, as I don’t have to work through a stack of 3 books every time. I check how much time I’ve left less often; I just stop practicing when my concentration starts to crumble. As said previously, this method allows me to spend the amount of time every piece needs. Be it 5 minutes for a piece I’m nearly done with or 20 minutes for a piece I’ve just started on. This feels like a much healthier approach, both mentally and for improving at the piano.

This has also lead to me practicing material that’s more suited for me right now. When I had the big old stack, I often found myself practicing material that was probably slightly too hard. Since I’ve cut most of that material, it seems to me that my practice time is better spent, even if I practice 30 minutes to an hour less each day.

I’m now practicing the following material:

Baroque: Türk 60 Pieces for the Aspiring Pianist. Yes, that’s a book from the Classical era, but it seems to me like it’s a good preparation for Baroque music. I noticed that Baroque music tripped me up more than I’d like to admit, which is why I’ve decided to give myself a bit of extra time before trying to learn it again.

Classical: Lynes Analytical Sonatinas Op. 39. Sonatinas are just so great for improving. Very structured pieces, really teaches you a thing or two about accompaniment.

Romantic: Swinstead Work & Play. A book very much on the easy side for me right now, which isn’t an issue. Helps me train my reading and expression. Since I’m rapidly working my way through this book, I’ll soon complete it (which gives a motivation boost) and pick something new (which is quite motivational as well). The next book, I’ve already decided, will be Satie’s children’s albums. I’ve played them previously, but didn’t get from it what I could.

20th Century: Bartók Mikrokosmos Book 3. Can’t live without my Bartók. The third book is just perfect in terms of difficulty for me right now. My love for his music is getting into unhealthy territory anyway, so this was an easy pick.

The last two books are two repertoire pieces. ‘Sad Autumn’ by Rybicki and ‘Song of the Knife-Grinder’ by Boyle.

I’m very keen to find out how this new way of practicing will turn out. Will it be as beneficial as I now think it will be, or does it feel so good because it’s new? I’ll keep you up to date.


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] #2720235
03/10/18 08:47 AM
03/10/18 08:47 AM
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Ido Offline
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Hi Tim,

What you describe is not uncommon. I've seen this happen with professional musicians as well. In my opinion, this is not really demotivation. It is being fed up with the same 'stuff'. It's like eating something you really like for ten days in a row. I bet that after these ten days (if not much sooner) you wouldn't really crave that food.
In your case, it is the self immersion in piano music and classical music (I could be wrong but I concluded that based on the details you provided). You love music, and if you're like me, you like it to the point that listening is not enough and you want to experience it in a deeper, more intimate way by playing it yourself and creating it. You don't suddenly cease to like it. It's your brain telling you - "I've had enough of this stuff for while. let me do some other things.". Then you kinda forget about it for a while and let go, and naturally the appetite returns.

My suggestion is the following:
1. Always remind yourself why you like music, and that you can enjoy it even if you don't play. Your affinity to music comes naturally and you don't need to actively fuel it and motivate yourself.
2. Listen to other genres - Jazz, rock, pop, whatever. Every genre has its qualities that you can enjoy and get inspiration from. After listening to other genres, classical music will sound refreshing again.
3. listen to other instruments. It is very refreshing. I've been playing guitar for ~16 years and used to mostly listen to music containing some kind of guitar. I missed out a lot that way, even though it spanned many genres. And again, the piano will sound refreshing and different after that.
4. Don't listen to music all day long. I used to have music in my ears from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep. I now pick carefully my listening time. I'd only listen when I can put enough attention into the listening. Not as a background, and not while working. As a result, my ears are not as tired, and the listening is more focused and enjoyable.

I hope this helps

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2720277
03/10/18 11:57 AM
03/10/18 11:57 AM
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I think enthusiasm and motivation goes up and down in waves naturally. I expected that as u improved you have encountered this problem as pieces take longer to learn well so a change in your practice is sensible. Tbh I actually spend a very large proportion of my practice picking up random books and playing and I gave up with scales and arpeggios years ago. I’m not sure in depth analysis and ‘quality’ practice is necessarily better, for me it can ruin the enjoyment. Gl

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2720364
03/10/18 04:13 PM
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Ido, that's very thoughtful advice and your explanation of why and how things happen in our heads makes a lot of sense. I especially like your advice to broaden my horizon a bit. I don't need to motivate myself at the moment (I'm back to practising every day!), but it's fun to listen to new music anyway,

Moo, I'm very much with you on the scales and arpeggios, those just take all the fun out for me. My teacher told me to be more mindful of my scales and use a slightly different technique. I have no problem with practising this now because there is a clear goal and reason. But just sitting down and practising scales for 30 minutes? That's not for me.


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] #2720397
03/10/18 05:52 PM
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It might be an idea to do the scale and arpeggio of the piece you are playing to try and link it in with the pieces. It helps to learn the keys and some technique, I just felt they were overdone. I had to learn all the scales as a child for a grade 6 exam and this was one reason I gave up - and the singing ! smile

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Keselo] #2720655
03/12/18 09:15 AM
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Moo, that's indeed what I've been trying. When I come across a key which is new to me, I'll work on getting its scale up to a reasonable tempo.

Reconsidering what to practise

“Well, gee, that sure didn’t take long”, I can almost hear you think. And no, it didn’t. I managed to practise the same material for a whopping nine days before I got bored of half of it. I don’t think I need to explain myself, but I still think it’s nice to have it written down. It’s something, after all, that I do struggle with quite a lot.

When I decided on picking one book from every major time-period, I think the thought process was pretty good. Cover all bases, make sure you don’t skip over any fundamentals, and slowly build from the ground up. Makes sense, right? Well, it does, but after giving it a bit more thought some significant downsides became clear.

Going through my material in such a structured way sets me up to work on every book start to finish, something which I always want to do. Finishing things, being able to close the last page and lay it aside, really speaks to me. This in itself presents oneself with some issues, though. Too much beautiful music has been written to make this a viable method of selecting material. Arguably, wanting to complete everything you start working on is just setting yourself up for failure. It’s something I know I have an unhealthy disposition for, so stepping away from it even provides me with a chance to work on myself.

It’s also quite unlikely that you find yourself liking everything a composer put into his or her book. Why spend weeks working on a piece of music that you don’t really like when there’s a multitude of pieces of the same level which do interest you? Both Swinstead and Lynes suffered from this problem. Swinstead wrote some good music, but after having played through Dunhill, well, it’s just not as good. And Lynes is boring beyond words. I’m not the biggest fan of Classical Sonatinas in the first place, so I’d rather pick some which I actually want to learn in the first place. Anything I don’t learn in 2018 will be sight-reading practice in 2020. Nothing will go to waste.

Lastly, and this was the real eye-opener, is the issue of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Mikrokosmos and I’m happily practising it every day. But right now, it takes up my 20th-century slot in a rather permanent fashion. There’s so much 20th-century material that I want to play, which I wouldn’t be able to start on for probably the remainder of 2018, that I decided to change things a tiny bit.

Things will not change too much; I’ll still aim for a healthy balance in terms of concepts learned. I’ll still work through Türk for now, as it’s good fun and good practice for Baroque. I ditched Lynes in favour of Clementi Op. 36; the concepts in both books are similar, and Clementi’s Sonatinas are just loads better. I also ditched Swinstead, which wasn’t too bad, not too bad shouldn’t be valid criteria for selecting material. Instead, I’ve replaced it with Satie’s children’s albums for now. It’s something I’ve wanted to start working on for some time now. These three books make up the variable part of my practice routine. When I’ve learned the pieces which I wanted, I’ll not be afraid to lay the book aside and pick something I’d rather work on. This should result in having a more steady stream of material that really interests me.

As said, Mikrokosmos will be somewhat of a more permanent part of my practice routine. I’ll continually monitor the difficulty of this book, but since it takes about two weeks to get a piece up to snuff, it’s quite alright in terms of difficulty.

Lastly, I will continue to work on two pieces of repertoire at a time. I very much like this; it’s a lot less overwhelming than having to work on four or more pieces of repertoire some days. Especially considering it doesn’t really matter if you wait a few more weeks before picking up a piece of music again.


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] #2728269
04/11/18 04:39 PM
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It’s been almost a month since my last update, so I thought it’d be a good time to reflect and look back on the past month and look more closely at what I do now.

Baroque

Baroque is tough. Or, more specifically, music from the Baroque is tough. I guess there was a reason Bartók recommended you first get to the fourth book of Mikrokosmos before you pick up the Anna Magdalena Notebook… I do love the music though, especially that by Bach and Scarlatti, though I’m sure there are many composers whom I haven’t discovered yet.

I am just now considering to try the Notebook again anyway; it’s been 3 months since I’ve played it, and I can tell I’ve grown as a player since then. My practice has also improved since then in the sense that I’m less inclined to crank the metronome up before I’m ready for it. I’ve gotten better at realizing when I’m in control and when I’m not in control (not hard to tell; I start guessing, playing wrong notes, playing sloppy rhythms, am not in control of my dynamics), and acting accordingly. Only when I’m in control I now turn up the metronome by 5 (I used to cheat a lot, upping it when not yet in full control, while also turning the metronome up by 10 or 20). Just adding 5 isn’t a huge difference, which makes it easier to remain in control.

Classical

Time for a confession. I don’t like Sonatinas from the Classical period. I won’t go as far to say that I hate them, but there is at least a very strong disliking going on. I’ve stopped feeling bad about not practising material from that era, and I’m sure I’ll get back to it in due time. I’d like for the material to magically become easier to learn, which probably will end up happening by improving as a player from studying other pieces.

It’s not that I dislike all music from that era, not at all. I love the big 3 (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven), and I’m sure there are many yet undiscovered by me, but that’s not material that’s suited for me right now. The Sonatinas are a bit on the hard side still, which makes it take too long to learn, and I get bored before I finish the piece. The material by Türk that I’ve practised for some months is very charming, actually. Maybe take a look at that if I’m bored…

Romantic

A superior time period for beginner’s material, though not my favourite. I’ve recently started working on two of my favourite books from the Romantic period: Burgmüller Op. 100 (25 Études) and Tchaikovsky Op. 39 (Album for the Young). I’ve gotten the green light to work on pretty much every piece from the Burgmüller, though I must confess it’s not easy to play at the indicated tempi. Again, something which will (hopefully) come with time and experience. I’m currently working on the first two pieces, La Candeur and the charming Arabesque. From the Tchaikovsky, there are only two pieces for which I’m ready now: No. 6 The Sick Doll and No. 7 The Doll’s Funeral. I really like the dark mood of these pieces, and how effective they are when played slowly also helps. No. 7 is quite hard, but I’m starting to get it down, No. 6 was surprisingly easy. I’m looking to submit these two pieces to the Quarterly Recital in November (thinking ahead!).

Burgmüller will probably stay part of my practice for some time to come, probably swapping places with Gurlitt and Streabbog every now and then. Tchaikovsky will return to the shelf in after I’m done with 7, and in its place, I’ll start looking at some Baroque material.

20th Century

My favourite time-period. Especially the case for music written east of Germany.

Right now, I’m working on the first book of Happy Time by the Polish composer Alexandre Tansman. I’ve lately fallen in love with his music, much of it I won’t be able to learn for years. To fill the black void that this leaves within, I’ve settled for his excellent beginner’s music. I’m working on some of the later pieces in the book, all ones which are very effective at a slow to moderate tempo.

Bartók doesn’t have a spot in my practice for the first time in many months. Not because I’m bored of his music, but because the second D on my piano frequently gets stuck when I play it, and Bartók really liked his lower keys. To save frustrations and the like, I’ve decided to give Bartók some rest until the piano tuner comes (early May).

Repertoire

After hardly touching the piano in February, I had a lot of catching up to do in terms of repertoire. I’ve managed to work through twelve pieces which I’d eventually like to call repertoire someday, and am as of today only three pieces behind on schedule.

I’m excited about the six pieces which only need one more revision before I get to record them. The fact that it takes seven or eight months before a piece is ‘ready’, makes the present a proverbial calm before the storm; from next month onwards, there will be one or more repertoire pieces to complete, record, and keep committed to memory every month.

I’m not quite sure about how I’ll go about the ‘keep committed to memory’ part yet. My plan right now is to use a flashcard system and use these first few months to figure out how frequently I need to play the pieces for them to stick.




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] #2728289
04/11/18 05:22 PM
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I'm glad you've returned to the piano smile. We all develop are own music tastes. These tastes do change and often do not make much sense. I had a phase of playing Joplin now I find the music style quite repetitive. I used to play baroque as a child but I cant stand baroque music on the piano and never play it, but it sounds quite nice on a harpsichord.

Re: Nothing is too easy - A Beginner's Journey [Re: Moo :)] #2728298
04/11/18 05:53 PM
04/11/18 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I had a phase of playing Joplin now I find the music style quite repetitive.


See, that just means you should play some Joseph Lamb instead.


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
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