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Joined: Apr 2017
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Trust me... I definitely know how to practice! I know that sometimes progression will be slow and hard, many times something just clicks and you feel awesome, and sometimes progress takes a long time, which is expected.

I like the idea of recording myself at certain intervals, maybe through the recital series here...


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I think recording yourself, doing recitals, and the like are all great ways to measure progress. Another thought is what about keeping a piano journal? It could be something as simple as writing down the names of pieces you worked on and the dates started & finished , or it could have even more details. Just something you could thumb through in 6 months or a year to see how far you've come.


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I think that Tubbie's post hit on the right aspect of it. His teacher aimed for the kinds of skills he needed for piano. It was not about grades or repertoire for repertoire's sake, it was about the plan and goals behind it. A teacher's plan or goals can be direct, and easily visible, or indirect. Whether or not there is a sense of direction behind it all is what makes the difference.

Somebody wrote suggesting that some of us were saying that background in another instrument gave "nothing". If so, that was misunderstood. There was also something about coordination being there already. I play a wind instrument, had several years of violin, and ofc there is piano. The thing you'll learn in your first instrument, which transfers over (assuming you were taught decently) are things like efficient motion and use of the body, using the attributes of your instrument to create the sound you want, and of course having an idea of the sound you want because you already understand music. Other things are different. For example, on piano the same hand produces both the notes and dynamics and articulation. On other instruments the latter are produce through breath, or handling the bow or a plucked string. Reading is different because your piano can be an entire orchestra. A good teacher will help you navigate through this, and will have a plan.

What I have seen is where there isn't really a plan or awareness. The teacher gives advanced music so that a student who already plays an instrument isn't bored or insulted, or assumes that everything transfers over. When advanced music is given for those kinds of reasons, I'm uncomfortable. If there is an underlying plan, then I'm leery. Since the OP, my58vw, originally wrote in needing some kind of sense of direction, which he hoped to find in the area of grade levels, a sense of direction might be missing. Maybe the teacher actually has some kind of underlying "map" he is going after. Would it help to ask, I wonder?

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Originally Posted by my58vw
Trust me... I definitely know how to practice!


You should still expect your PIANO practice skills to get much better with time. As you progress you will learn what works for you and how to solve problems more quickly and efficiently. I have far less time to practice now than when I started piano lessons. Yet I get more out of my shorter practice sessions these days.

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Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
I was playing like an elephant!


Wish I could play like an elephant too!

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This is one of the best questions,ever, and it's something that everyone has to decide for themselves (with the help of their teacher, if they have one.)

From what you said, it seems like you have a healthy attitude towards this: you want to improve and play harder music, but at the same time you know that you'll benefit a lot from playing a lot of pieces at your current level; this will give you a stronger springboard for the future.

Why not do both? Keep playing some pieces at your current level, in a variety of styles, and at the same time, start practicing a more challenging piece, at the next level. Playing the harder piece will challenge you in a good way, and you'll still thoroughly experience playing at your "current" level, which will soon become your "easier" level.

This is what professionals do all the time. A lot of the music they play isn't really that difficult for them, but they can also play the hard stuff, of course.

It seems like you're thinking about this in a really good way. Good luck!


Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com
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