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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2712264
02/07/18 09:39 AM
02/07/18 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
keystring, I will try to respond later. I did not mean to imply that we should be driven by risk or fear though.

I didn't imagine you meant anything so draconian. wink What I did want to sort out is what we're talking about in this subtopic because it becomes nonsensical if I'm replying to one central idea, and that is not the central idea. It started to become fuzzy and multiple.

For this sub-idea, what I saw was that if you are preparing for an event, such as performing in front of people or playing in church, there will be consequences. If you haven't prepared properly, you'll have egg on your face. This will ensure that you practice because you don't want to flub the event and you'd even like to shine if possible. This is how I see your central view, which comes from your own experiences. It is also not unreasonable - I mean it makes sense.

In the same sub-idea, my impression is that you may think that when people are not preparing for an event, such as when they play only for themselves, this may cause them to practise less, with less quality, because that pressure is not there.

Those are the ideas I'm picking up from you. It is nonsensical for me to respond to them, if they are not your ideas. That is why I hoped to have this clarified - whether I got it in the main, or if that is not at all what you are thinking.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2712319
02/07/18 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
In the same sub-idea, my impression is that you may think that when people are not preparing for an event, such as when they play only for themselves, this may cause them to practise less, with less quality, because that pressure is not there.


I'm sure we are all different in this respect. For my part, I am certain that I need the threat of public humiliation to motivate me fully. I try to give my best attention to everything that I learn or practice, but deep down I know that I reserve my most intense effort for stuff I have to play in public.

I normally practice for the limited time I think I have available. But if I have to play in public, I will practice until it's ready, avoiding food, sleep, family responsibilities, personal hygiene, etc.

I don't particularly enjoy playing in public (but, like beating your head against a wall, if feels good when it's over) but I see it as a crucial part of my learning process. YMMV, of course.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2712340
02/07/18 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by keystring
I also experienced something I dubbed "recital season" - 2 months before the biannual recitals when the focus was on the recital piece where everything else seemed put on the back burner, so that 1/3 of the year's lessons were mostly eaten up by preparing the recital piece.

This is common.

It's not the way I teach.

My students "polish" as we review. We pick things that are easier than the hardest things they are working on. Then we spend a few weeks, usually a maximum of one month, getting things ready to be played.

To me it is counter-productive to spend more time while students are still in the development stage. This leads to over-memorization and muscle memory, and it's not good for moving forward.

Gary, I have highlighted in italics the part that I find important, and that I felt then. I'll extrapolate from what you wrote, if you don't mind - the things you mentioned such as "over-memorization" matter because of other things that don't happen in terms of learning (growth). As an example, one skill you want to foster is reading. If two pieces are being polished for 8 weeks during "recital season", virtually excluding everything else, then the skill of reading dies, due to the over-memorization. Thus " it's not good for moving forward." Am I reflecting this correctly?

I think this common way is done for these kinds of reasons:
- the idea that you induce students to practise by hanging recitals over their head
- maybe an idea that lessons are about producing series of polished pieces over grade levels, perhaps because that's what the teacher's teacher did, and less thought to skills and how to get at them
- the fact that in recitals and exams, the students' performance gives people ideas about how good the teacher is, so we'd better polish this for the sake of the impression the teacher will give --- also not wanting the student to have a bad experience

Once in a gym, a personal trainer asked me, "What are you doing, and why are you doing it?" i'd like to see a poster made of those words.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2712369
02/07/18 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by keystring
I also experienced something I dubbed "recital season" - 2 months before the biannual recitals when the focus was on the recital piece where everything else seemed put on the back burner, so that 1/3 of the year's lessons were mostly eaten up by preparing the recital piece.

This is common.

It's not the way I teach.

My students "polish" as we review. We pick things that are easier than the hardest things they are working on. Then we spend a few weeks, usually a maximum of one month, getting things ready to be played.

To me it is counter-productive to spend more time while students are still in the development stage. This leads to over-memorization and muscle memory, and it's not good for moving forward.

Gary, I have highlighted in italics the part that I find important, and that I felt then. I'll extrapolate from what you wrote, if you don't mind - the things you mentioned such as "over-memorization" matter because of other things that don't happen in terms of learning (growth). As an example, one skill you want to foster is reading. If two pieces are being polished for 8 weeks during "recital season", virtually excluding everything else, then the skill of reading dies, due to the over-memorization. Thus " it's not good for moving forward." Am I reflecting this correctly?

Yes. Why that is not clear to everyone is beyond me.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2712371
02/07/18 03:27 PM
02/07/18 03:27 PM
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Hi Gary
Your position was quite clear to me.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: dogperson] #2712385
02/07/18 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Gary
Your position was quite clear to me.

Well, that apparently makes two people.

Seems pretty obvious to me that pushing for polish in the first couple years is going to stop reading from increasing fast, and that an emphasis on memorization, which most teachers push at the beginning, fights with reading.

But hey, what do I know, right?


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2712398
02/07/18 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Gary
Your position was quite clear to me.

Well, that apparently makes two people.

Seems pretty obvious to me that pushing for polish in the first couple years is going to stop reading from increasing fast, and that an emphasis on memorization, which most teachers push at the beginning, fights with reading.

Three, actually.

But it can't be universally clear, even though it seems extremely obvious, because otherwise why would those actions that hurt learning be so prevalent? These things are coming from teachers, and as you said, they are all too common. I used reading as an example, because it is a simple idea that people can relate to. But really, it is sad that these things have to be stated at all.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2712405
02/07/18 05:04 PM
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I want to get back to the idea of "practising for performances" and another kind of practising. This goes to Tim's original question, which I think was trying to point at something different. But it brought that thought up for me.

As a student I want to build skills. In this context, the pieces I work on are tools toward getting those skills. This affects the nature of my practise. The skill of reading was already mentioned. Perhaps I want to go through lots of pieces without polishing them, to strengthen my reading. I would not practise that way for performing. While I'm building basic skills, I may only be able to go after pressing the right piano keys to go with the score, without worrying yet about expression or dynamics. After doing a number of pieces at that level, I may revisit some of those pieces, build on what has been done, and add a new skill. It is a particular way of practising.

If I'm working toward a performance, and if performance of pieces is my main goal, I won't work that way. I will want to polish a piece as much as possible, and work on less pieces. I may put skills I don't yet have "on hold" and use what I've got at present. I might woodshed.

I can practise either way, and have done both. To me they are different in nature. I suspect that if you manage to get solid technique, maybe under a competent teacher, that this distinction disappears, because then you no longer need to acquire technique - you've got it.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2712445
02/07/18 07:01 PM
02/07/18 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Seems pretty obvious to me that pushing for polish in the first couple years is going to stop reading from increasing fast, and that an emphasis on memorization, which most teachers push at the beginning, fights with reading.

Made it bold just so it won't get lost. smile Another *agree* here.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2712708
02/08/18 05:16 PM
02/08/18 05:16 PM
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Why does polishing/performing vs. reading have to be exclusive? Can't both be done? Take one piece and polish it. The rest of lessons/practice is for everything else.

I recall that's how I was taught, and it seems that's how my kids piano teachers are doing it too.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2712887
02/09/18 11:33 AM
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MoB, it was "pushing for polish". In the example I gave, once "recital season" rolled around, attention tended to go only to the recital piece, work on other things stopped. With recitals being held twice a year, if this went on for 2 months each time, then 1/3 of a year's lessons went that way. This is "push for polish". I don't think anyone is against spending some portion of time polishing a piece, as you're also saying. smile

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: MomOfBeginners] #2713044
02/10/18 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MomOfBeginners
Why does polishing/performing vs. reading have to be exclusive? Can't both be done? Take one piece and polish it. The rest of lessons/practice is for everything else.

I recall that's how I was taught, and it seems that's how my kids piano teachers are doing it too.

Because every moment you spend polishing means playing the same thing or couple of things over and over and over and over and over and over.

The result is always memory, even if a student is still supposedly looking at the music.

For the first year or two, If you do this for short periods, no problem.

This is not what most teachers do. They spend much too much time on too little music, and reading stops.

That's what I'm talking about.

If you teacher(s) are not doing that, then there is no problem.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713052
02/10/18 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by MomOfBeginners
Why does polishing/performing vs. reading have to be exclusive? Can't both be done? Take one piece and polish it. The rest of lessons/practice is for everything else.

I recall that's how I was taught, and it seems that's how my kids piano teachers are doing it too.

Because every moment you spend polishing means playing the same thing or couple of things over and over and over and over and over and over.

The result is always memory, even if a student is still supposedly looking at the music.

For the first year or two, If you do this for short periods, no problem.

This is not what most teachers do. They spend much too much time on too little music, and reading stops.

That's what I'm talking about.

If you teacher(s) are not doing that, then there is no problem.


Not disagreeing just adding:
Memorizing music is a skill in itself, but it seems it's not often taught but expected to happen just by sheer repetition in an ineffective manner which is slow and the results are inconsistent.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713083
02/10/18 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
This is not what most teachers do. They spend much too much time on too little music, and reading stops.


I have to blame the ABRSM, et al., to some extent for this, at least in the UK. Our early musical training is very exam-focused, and even teachers that cater to the isn't-little-jemima-clever crowd are expect to prepare kids for exams.

The bulk of the marks on ABRSM exams, at all grades, come from playing three pieces. It's almost -- but not quite -- possible to pass on the strength of those pieces alone. The sight-reading requirements are not strenuous, even at the higher grades, and it's possible to score zero in this section and still get a good pass overall.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713117
02/10/18 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
[quote=NobleHouse]


...This is why I call recitals "rectals". For many of my favorite students, that is about as pleasant as their recital experiences were. I've lost track of how many adults quit lessons, as young people, because of being forced into playing in recitals.

I encourage all players to perform, but only when they want to, and in a setting where they feel safe.


One of the chief reasons I left my first teacher was her expectation that all students memorize and play, at an over-produced, end-of-year recital, a suite of pieces at the edge of their current ability levels.

Learning stopped for the last three months of the year (replaced by "polishing"), reading was consciously tossed aside for rote memorization, and lots of crash-and-burn bad experiences ensued.

My current teacher is affiliated with a good music school where semi-annual juries and performance opportunities are much more naturally integrated into the routine course of learning.

It's a big change for the better.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2713119
02/10/18 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by outo
Memorizing music is a skill in itself, but it seems it's not often taught but expected to happen just by sheer repetition in an ineffective manner which is slow and the results are inconsistent.

Wow, that's just about the opposite of what happens in my studio.

Most students--especially the very young ones--memorize music without prompting. After playing through their 8-bar exercises from method books 10-15 times, the music is almost automatically memorized. And after that they just stare at their hands without looking at the book. Only those who don't practice piano at home will come to lessons without having at least some of their exercises memorized.

I have to come up with clever solutions to get kids NOT to memorize music. Kids are memorizing music in lieu of reading the notes.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: AZNpiano] #2713122
02/10/18 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by outo
Memorizing music is a skill in itself, but it seems it's not often taught but expected to happen just by sheer repetition in an ineffective manner which is slow and the results are inconsistent.

Wow, that's just about the opposite of what happens in my studio.

Most students--especially the very young ones--memorize music without prompting. After playing through their 8-bar exercises from method books 10-15 times, the music is almost automatically memorized. And after that they just stare at their hands without looking at the book. Only those who don't practice piano at home will come to lessons without having at least some of their exercises memorized.

I have to come up with clever solutions to get kids NOT to memorize music. Kids are memorizing music in lieu of reading the notes.


I was thinking of adding that most kids memorize simple music easily and I was referring to us older folks and memorizing longer and more complex pieces, but kind of thought it was obvious smile

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2713237
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Originally Posted by outo

I was thinking of adding that most kids memorize simple music easily and I was referring to us older folks and memorizing longer and more complex pieces, but kind of thought it was obvious smile

Memorization is linked to repetition. If you don't repeat, you don't memorize.

The number of times repeating the same passage, the same way, is what leads to memorization.

None of my students - and I do mean NONE of them - memorize anything until I ask them to do so, later, as an extra step. I call this "icing on the cake".

Everything I teach revolves around the idea, "Get it right the first time."


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713270
02/10/18 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

I was thinking of adding that most kids memorize simple music easily and I was referring to us older folks and memorizing longer and more complex pieces, but kind of thought it was obvious smile

Memorization is linked to repetition. If you don't repeat, you don't memorize.

The number of times repeating the same passage, the same way, is what leads to memorization.



It's not quite that simple. There are memorization techniques that do not rely on repetition. I think you are mainly thinking of building muscle memory here.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2713287
02/10/18 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by outo

It's not quite that simple. There are memorization techniques that do not rely on repetition. I think you are mainly thinking of building muscle memory here.

There are memory techniques that cut down on repetition.

We are simply not talking about the same thing here.

What I am talking about IS that simple. Get it right the first time. If it is already right the first time, with a score, then you can immediately start memorizing.

That's not what beginning students do. They get it right the 10th time, or the 50th time.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/10/18 07:19 PM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: AZNpiano] #2713288
02/10/18 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by outo
Memorizing music is a skill in itself, but it seems it's not often taught but expected to happen just by sheer repetition in an ineffective manner which is slow and the results are inconsistent.

Wow, that's just about the opposite of what happens in my studio.

Most students--especially the very young ones--memorize music without prompting. After playing through their 8-bar exercises from method books 10-15 times, the music is almost automatically memorized. And after that they just stare at their hands without looking at the book. Only those who don't practice piano at home will come to lessons without having at least some of their exercises memorized.

I have to come up with clever solutions to get kids NOT to memorize music. Kids are memorizing music in lieu of reading the notes.


My son memorizes easily and that’s possible because he practices a lot. His teacher stresses quite a bit of doing things right the first time because of the hours he puts in which makes it hard for him to undo mistakes.


On a separate note, I personally think there is a balance between learning music and polishing. My son’s teacher has very high standards I think for passing a regular piece- but it’s really rewarding to hear a polished piece.

Last edited by pianoMom2006; 02/10/18 07:25 PM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: pianoMom2006] #2713293
02/10/18 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoMom2006

My son memorizes easily and that’s possible because he practices a lot. His teacher stresses quite a bit of doing things right the first time because of the hours he puts in which makes it hard for him to undo mistakes.

How long has he had lessons? Is he already an advanced player? Does he read quickly and easily?
Quote

On a separate note, I personally think there is a balance between learning music and polishing. My son’s teacher has very high standards I think for passing a regular piece- but it’s really rewarding to hear a polished piece.

Are we talking about a method book page, memorized and polished, or a Mozart sonata? What level are you talking about?

I'm talking mainly about the first year, if all goes well. Once reading becomes a habit and it is no problem, then memory for some is almost automatic.

I'm not sure what level we are talking about.

As an advanced student I played everything from memory that I performed. But I already read very well and could learn music very quickly.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713350
02/11/18 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

It's not quite that simple. There are memorization techniques that do not rely on repetition. I think you are mainly thinking of building muscle memory here.

There are memory techniques that cut down on repetition.

We are simply not talking about the same thing here.

What I am talking about IS that simple. Get it right the first time. If it is already right the first time, with a score, then you can immediately start memorizing.

That's not what beginning students do. They get it right the 10th time, or the 50th time.


I must take your word for it, because you know your beginners.

True, we are probably not talking about the same thing. When we advance the pieces become more complex so the idea of getting it right the first time is not quite the same. Even if you do read things like notes and rhythm right from the start, the piece and the way you play it evolves and there is no single "right" way to play it. That means also the memorization must be on a different level or you are stuck with the way you first practiced. This all applies to pieces one wants to keep for years to come, not worth it for something used just to improve playing skills in general.

BTW. I also found that playing with the score for prolonged time makes memorizing extremely hard for me (in fact I am yet to fully memorize any piece I first polished with the score). So I would want to put the score away as soon as possible even if I still return to it regularly. I have not memorized anything for almost a year now, but starting to feel I want to and will have more time for it soon with no lessons to prepare to, so lets see how it goes...I make a good lab rat for memorization techniques because I have no natural talent for it, quite the opposite...

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2713388
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Gary-

I would say that my son from the very beginning (at 6) has been good at memorizing. He played two pieces memorized at his first recital which was 8 months into lessons. I honestly think it’s harder now for him to completely memorize his pieces as they are longer and more difficult than they were then. One of the first pieces he ever memorized was Sheppard Count Your Sheep in MFPA. I don’t know why but when he’s being silly he will still play it. Even at 6/7 though- he was a good practicer.

Last edited by pianoMom2006; 02/11/18 11:47 AM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2713781
02/12/18 05:50 PM
02/12/18 05:50 PM
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by outo

True, we are probably not talking about the same thing. When we advance the pieces become more complex so the idea of getting it right the first time is not quite the same.

"Get it right the first time" is a principle, a way of working. It does not mean that you never make mistakes. It's about this:

2+2=5
2+2=3
2+2=6
2+2=1
2+2=10
2+2=4
2+2=7

This is very basic, but the idea is that if you have multiple "answers" in your head, and only one of them is correct, under any kind of pressure the wrong answers come out instead.
Quote

Even if you do read things like notes and rhythm right from the start, the piece and the way you play it evolves and there is no single "right" way to play it.

I don't mean that at all. There are certain things that are right and wrong. You have to have good fingering, so this should be worked out first. Then you have to consistently press down the right keys, in the right order. Quite obviously this is only the beginning, but trust me when I tell you that my students don't get this far unless I continually remind them not to go to the next step until these basics are in place. This is as true in a Bach fugue as in a simple method book piece.

As you very well know, fingering that is not the best for you will mean that you will always have glitches, so until these mechanics are worked out, the next layer will not work.

When you get the correct notes, with smart fingering, and you add to this the correct timing, this is the basic foundation. For advanced music there is a whole universe to be added, but most student never get those basics absolutely nailed.
Quote

BTW. I also found that playing with the score for prolonged time makes memorizing extremely hard for me (in fact I am yet to fully memorize any piece I first polished with the score).

When you say "polished", to me this means that before memorization everything already sounds as good as if you played it from memory.

Let's get that out of the way first. Because maybe you mean something different...


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713864
02/13/18 01:09 AM
02/13/18 01:09 AM
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outo Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

True, we are probably not talking about the same thing. When we advance the pieces become more complex so the idea of getting it right the first time is not quite the same.

"Get it right the first time" is a principle, a way of working. It does not mean that you never make mistakes. It's about this:

2+2=5
2+2=3
2+2=6
2+2=1
2+2=10
2+2=4
2+2=7

This is very basic, but the idea is that if you have multiple "answers" in your head, and only one of them is correct, under any kind of pressure the wrong answers come out instead.


You should know better than to present such an example to someone with dyscalculia grin

But I do get what you mean...

Originally Posted by Gary D.

Quote

Even if you do read things like notes and rhythm right from the start, the piece and the way you play it evolves and there is no single "right" way to play it.

I don't mean that at all. There are certain things that are right and wrong. You have to have good fingering, so this should be worked out first. Then you have to consistently press down the right keys, in the right order. Quite obviously this is only the beginning, but trust me when I tell you that my students don't get this far unless I continually remind them not to go to the next step until these basics are in place. This is as true in a Bach fugue as in a simple method book piece.

As you very well know, fingering that is not the best for you will mean that you will always have glitches, so until these mechanics are worked out, the next layer will not work.

When you get the correct notes, with smart fingering, and you add to this the correct timing, this is the basic foundation. For advanced music there is a whole universe to be added, but most student never get those basics absolutely nailed.


This to me is self-evident and logical. I cannot ever remember expecting to work in any other way. So why does not everyone? Maybe it is something that has stayed with me from childhood even if consciously forgotten. Or maybe it's just how I approach things in general. After all I am a child of two engineers smile

But I have also seen the kind of unwillingness to work on the basics. This is how my two adult piano friends do: The other insist on playing through the pieces endlessly without getting the rhythm right. Ignoring me when I suggest she does some counting. The other one has good ear and can play the rhythm correctly but keeps messing up a certain spot. She ignores my advice to isolate and work on that spot and just keeps practicing by playing through the whole piece. I am sure their teachers are competent enough to give the same advice but do not have any more authority than I do. In fact if they were my pupils I would probably end up whipping them or at least yelling to them. I have little patience for stupidity which is why I could never be a teacher. I have high respect for those in the profession.

Originally Posted by Gary D.

Quote

BTW. I also found that playing with the score for prolonged time makes memorizing extremely hard for me (in fact I am yet to fully memorize any piece I first polished with the score).

When you say "polished", to me this means that before memorization everything already sounds as good as if you played it from memory.


I mean that I feel ready to "perform" the piece so basically yes. But if I do not have the score in front of me I have absolutely no idea what to do. It's about association. Even if the playing and movements have become somewhat automatic all that relies in the associations with the score. If I had it memorized the association would be different. To change that means a lot more work that I have not really had the time for. But I will try because my eyes are getting worse and it would be wonderful to sometimes just play without them as I sometimes used to.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2713870
02/13/18 02:03 AM
02/13/18 02:03 AM
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by outo

This to me is self-evident and logical. I cannot ever remember expecting to work in any other way. So why does not everyone?

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.
Quote

But I have also seen the kind of unwillingness to work on the basics. This is how my two adult piano friends do: The other insist on playing through the pieces endlessly without getting the rhythm right. Ignoring me when I suggest she does some counting. The other one has good ear and can play the rhythm correctly but keeps messing up a certain spot. She ignores my advice to isolate and work on that spot and just keeps practicing by playing through the whole piece. I am sure their teachers are competent enough to give the same advice but do not have any more authority than I do.

No one, of any age, does that in lessons with me. Do they do it at home? Of course I don't know, but I think I mostly stop it. If they start to play for me, from the beginning, I immediately stop them and say, "You've been doing this at home, haven't you?" And the answer is always, "Yes."

Then I say: "Then you have been doing the one thing I've told you is most important not to do. I never do it. All the professional musicians I know don't do it. Why do you think it will work for you?"

If they argue, I show them the door. It's the one thing I will not put up with.
Quote

I mean that I feel ready to "perform" the piece so basically yes. But if I do not have the score in front of me I have absolutely no idea what to do. It's about association. Even if the playing and movements have become somewhat automatic all that relies in the associations with the score. If I had it memorized the association would be different. To change that means a lot more work that I have not really had the time for. But I will try because my eyes are getting worse and it would be wonderful to sometimes just play without them as I sometimes used to.

Here is what is happening. Essentially it is the same thing as getting "off book", in theatre. We both know that great actors can be just as convincing while reading, script in hand, so the difference is the look. It's obviously not connected with reading problems. So the question is this:

The moment you can read something smoothly, how quickly to you push yourself to the next step, getting rid of the script. And how do you do this?

I think it is the same for playing. When I was young I would get very good at playing things with music, and I would delay getting to the final step. For me, at that time, that last step was necessary. You can't get a degree in performance without performing from memory on piano. Juries are from memory. Recitals/performances are from memory. I personally think there is way too much of this, and far too little playing in ensembles, where the exact opposite is the norm.

Later I found out what my problem was, at that time. Not enough theory, not enough chord structure, not enough analysis of the music. I was experiencing a lot of it intuitively, but intuition is a lousy way to memorize. Today I think about the music much more, and the memory comes faster. Obviously my memory SHOULD have been much faster when I was young. But it was not because my way of memorizing was horribly wrong.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/13/18 02:05 AM.

Piano Teacher
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713923
02/13/18 08:59 AM
02/13/18 08:59 AM
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.


gotta go practice
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2713940
02/13/18 10:18 AM
02/13/18 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.


It was probably also good that I recorded myself first thing when I started learning. Difficult to imagine after that. It's like hearing yourself sing on tape for the first time...

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2713942
02/13/18 10:29 AM
02/13/18 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

I mean that I feel ready to "perform" the piece so basically yes. But if I do not have the score in front of me I have absolutely no idea what to do. It's about association. Even if the playing and movements have become somewhat automatic all that relies in the associations with the score. If I had it memorized the association would be different. To change that means a lot more work that I have not really had the time for. But I will try because my eyes are getting worse and it would be wonderful to sometimes just play without them as I sometimes used to.

Here is what is happening. Essentially it is the same thing as getting "off book", in theatre. We both know that great actors can be just as convincing while reading, script in hand, so the difference is the look. It's obviously not connected with reading problems. So the question is this:

The moment you can read something smoothly, how quickly to you push yourself to the next step, getting rid of the script. And how do you do this?

I think it is the same for playing. When I was young I would get very good at playing things with music, and I would delay getting to the final step. For me, at that time, that last step was necessary. You can't get a degree in performance without performing from memory on piano. Juries are from memory. Recitals/performances are from memory. I personally think there is way too much of this, and far too little playing in ensembles, where the exact opposite is the norm.

Later I found out what my problem was, at that time. Not enough theory, not enough chord structure, not enough analysis of the music. I was experiencing a lot of it intuitively, but intuition is a lousy way to memorize. Today I think about the music much more, and the memory comes faster. Obviously my memory SHOULD have been much faster when I was young. But it was not because my way of memorizing was horribly wrong.

Much food for my thoughts here, thanks. Since I won't be performing really, I will make it my goal to record from memory for one of the upcoming recitals.

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