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Playing piano is not for the faint hearted #2728627 04/12/18 09:02 PM
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ebonykawai Offline OP
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So Bach is driving me crazy and I have to say, it takes an awful lot of fortitude to stick with that torture long enough for my fingers and brain to kick in. I don't know what it is about Bach, most other pieces I pick up OK, some are challenging but, you know, it's doable. I'm playing some of the easiest Bach there is and I feel like such a loser!! Nothing to do, really, but just keep going! 😂

Anyone else suffering?


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
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Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728629 04/12/18 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
.........Anyone else suffering?
Oh, all the time. But right now I'm finding Bach a walk in the park compared to the Bartok Mikrokosmos pieces I'm working on. cry


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Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728630 04/12/18 09:15 PM
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I have only played very simple Bach pieces. So far, it is the hand independence required for multiple voices/melodies that makes it so difficult. If I remember correctly, my best success was on a piece with left and right hand melodies, and I learned each melody separately before combining. I think it helped me "sing" and hear the melodies while playing, making the playing and combining easier.

They are very good for your development, so, keep at it! smile

Last edited by Ralphiano; 04/12/18 09:18 PM.

Ralph

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Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728635 04/12/18 09:31 PM
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I gave up during the Anna Magdalena book (lol roll eyes). I just didn't like that kind of music (Baroque contrapunctal), had trouble with it, wasn't happy, and life is too short. I am now however studying BWV974 for the Bach Recital and have learned the WTC in C maj - both possibly un-Bach-like?

In fact it took me a while to find out what type of music I did like and would keep me interested enough to continue learning. I've settled on the Romantic era and don't feel any real loss for missing out on most of the Baroque period. From there I'm branching in other directions as well.


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Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728637 04/12/18 09:40 PM
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ebonykawai Offline OP
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Great to hear from you all! I'm moving through graded repertoire so Bach is a must and, though I wouldn't choose it on my own, I know I'm learning some very important skills. My sight reading is certainly improving, it's JUST SO PAINFUL!!! What a struggle, LOL! Thank goodness I have other pieces that make me feel more competent. 😄


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: Ralphiano] #2728642 04/12/18 09:55 PM
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I’m giving it a second try.i like Bach, but not sure he likes me😑 nonetheless I persevere. I had tried about 8months ago w/o success and my teacher suggested I put it aside for a while because I was getting so frustrated. I did that but have now decided to give it another chance. It seems to be coming a little better now. Keep tuned 😏

Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728656 04/12/18 11:24 PM
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Quote
. . . My sight reading is certainly improving, it's JUST SO PAINFUL!!! What a struggle, LOL! Thank goodness I have other pieces that make me feel more competent. 😄


I hate to offer a platitude, but here it is:

. . . It will be painful until you begin to master it.

. . . At which time, you can start to enjoy the music.


. Charles
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Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728662 04/13/18 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
So Bach is driving me crazy and I have to say, it takes an awful lot of fortitude to stick with that torture long enough for my fingers and brain to kick in. I don't know what it is about Bach, most other pieces I pick up OK, some are challenging but, you know, it's doable. I'm playing some of the easiest Bach there is and I feel like such a loser!! Nothing to do, really, but just keep going! 😂


You're probably going through too much at once. Do one to two measures a week or a fortnight or however quick or long it takes you to get those couple of measures under control. Cover up everything else with paper, sticky-notes etc. until you get those measures working. Then reward yourself with 1 to 2 more notes. And so on.


"Genius is not the sign of demigodliness, but the sign of having a profoundly practical mind" - anonymous

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTc4esj9xQG6NjLIr9an29Q
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728672 04/13/18 01:52 AM
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Baroque music is one place that I think hands separate really pays off. It is important to hear the melodies and counter melodies, and then it becomes a fun puzzle to put it all together. I find baroque music slower to absorb, because there is so much going on. It is like you need a brain for each hand, plus one in the middle for 3+ voiced pieces. I have a 3 voiced fugue Gigue that I have been working on for eight months, and I am only now getting the voices expressed the way that I want! That's Bach! However, I think it does wonders for your articulation and control.

Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: pianopi] #2728674 04/13/18 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by pianopi
You're probably going through too much at once. Do one to two measures a week or a fortnight or however quick or long it takes you to get those couple of measures under control. Cover up everything else with paper, sticky-notes etc. until you get those measures working. Then reward yourself with 1 to 2 more notes. And so on.

I accept that some people are fine with such an approach or maybe even enjoy it. Personally, I’d rather have a dentist appointment than learn piano in that fashion (if applied to a whole piece, as described here, and not just to a trouble spot - for the latter I too see the merit in this approach). I’d sell my piano and take up something more enjoyable and exciting (idk - maybe working as a tax consultant?) if that were the only way to learn piano. wink

Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728683 04/13/18 03:19 AM
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Bach needs a different approach than most other music. You have to go at it hands separate and one measure at a time, ending on the first note of the next measure. It's a bit tedious at first but you get used to working that way after a while. Then you work in larger musical phrases of a couple of measures. Give it time to sink in and resist the temptation to play the whole piece through.

Once you have learned the whole piece play it through with a metronome at an extremely slow pace. The point here is not keep accurate time (which is a given) but to force you to stay focused enough to keep going. If you stumble or hesitate and loose the beat then it means the tempo is too fast - slow it down. After playing the piece through like this you will notice that your focus gets much better and mistakes disapear.


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Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728689 04/13/18 04:08 AM
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Learning to play polyphonically is essential for the development of any classical pianist, and of course JSB is the obvious choice to learn on, as he's composed a lot of polyphonic music for all levels.

He's not the only composer to have written fugues for the keyboard/piano - for example, Mendelssohn wrote some, and in ABRSM Grade 8, in List A, you can choose to play a fugue from a Romantic or 20th century composer rather than by Bach.
So, as to whether learning Bach is essential, no, and there are many famous concert pianists (like Stephen Hough) who never play Bach, not even for their own study at home.

As long as you develop the ability to play polyphonic music, that's the important thing. Think about how often Chopin and Rachmaninov wrote intricate inner melodies in their piano music that requires the pianist to bring them out clearly....

Incidentally, talking about Prelude & Fugues, here are three of my favourites - all by Romantic/late-Romantic composers (who of course modeled them on JSB's WTC):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4-lDMv4nI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CrL1QlygIg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XOXpWnqXlQ


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728696 04/13/18 05:08 AM
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Separate hands, find the melodic line(s) in each hand before putting them together. It's quicker than trying to learn the piece hands together. Tried this many times, always work best for me when attempting Bach.

Good luck!


Be yourself

Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: Qazsedcft] #2728700 04/13/18 05:29 AM
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Blame your parents.....and your corpus collosum.

The corpus collosum is the area in your brain where the fibers cross from one side to the other. This may be particularly important in contrapuntal music.

In children who learn to play before the age of 7, there can be up to a 40% increase in the size of the corpus collosum. Adults cannot redevelop this area to anywhere near that degree. Brain plasticity, the ability to remodel your brain's architecture, is possible but significantly diminishes with age. That is partially why it takes us longer as adults to learn than as children.

#dementiaprevention

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996135/#!po=56.6176


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

YouTube

Working On
Chopin Nocturne E min
Bach Inventions

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: Stubbie] #2728705 04/13/18 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
.........Anyone else suffering?
Oh, all the time. But right now I'm finding Bach a walk in the park compared to the Bartok Mikrokosmos pieces I'm working on. cry

Which pieces are you learning? I love Mikrokosmos! I've started working on the third book two months ago myself.


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

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Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: ebonykawai] #2728720 04/13/18 07:33 AM
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at the time Bartok was putting together Mikrokosmos he was also Hungary's national direktor of children's music education (we in the u.s. can reflect how materialistic/utilitarian we are in our collective attitude by comparison), and expressed that there were only two composers he studied that understood how to write for children, Bach and Schumann.

on the 'forty pieces a year' thread admitted that my forty eight pieces for every year would remain wohltempierte klavier teil 1 indefinitely, because they would never reach performance/recital level. agree that playing left and right separately helps, disagree about going measure by measure because phrase by phrase or harmonic group by group is more musical. for me it's about music not about notes, and my inspiration is Marie Curie, how long she distilled and extracted raw ore, tonnes of it for years, before refining enough pure radium (a matter of milligrams) to demonstrate it was a distinct and unique element. ten minutes of music from 100 minutes of practice keeps me going.

Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: Charles Cohen] #2728721 04/13/18 07:36 AM
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ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Quote
. . . My sight reading is certainly improving, it's JUST SO PAINFUL!!! What a struggle, LOL! Thank goodness I have other pieces that make me feel more competent. 😄


I hate to offer a platitude, but here it is:

. . . It will be painful until you begin to master it.

. . . At which time, you can start to enjoy the music.



That's very true! I do enjoy the pieces once I finally get them. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, but it take me a good 3 weeks of daily practice to finally get each one to speed. I'm currently on 116 in the AMN, today is day 12 and last night was the first time I was able to play it through to the end at a speed that, though slow, sounds like something, lol. Most other pieces (I'm working with Kieth Snell's books, so baroque/classical, romantic/modern, and etudes) take me about 2 weeks, give or take a couple days. I'm getting a lot of benefit from Bach, but it's SO challenging! Even Avalanche is easier, and that's graded much higher than these notebook pieces, how the heck is that?! 😮


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: Qazsedcft] #2728726 04/13/18 07:42 AM
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ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Bach needs a different approach than most other music. You have to go at it hands separate and one measure at a time, ending on the first note of the next measure. It's a bit tedious at first but you get used to working that way after a while. Then you work in larger musical phrases of a couple of measures. Give it time to sink in and resist the temptation to play the whole piece through.

Once you have learned the whole piece play it through with a metronome at an extremely slow pace. The point here is not keep accurate time (which is a given) but to force you to stay focused enough to keep going. If you stumble or hesitate and loose the beat then it means the tempo is too fast - slow it down. After playing the piece through like this you will notice that your focus gets much better and mistakes disapear.


That's exactly what I've been doing and it DOES certainly work well! I'm just used to picking things up faster, I guess. Bach always make me feel like a total beginner again! Plunk....plunk....plunk, plunk.... 😂😂😂


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: cmb13] #2728728 04/13/18 07:51 AM
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ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Blame your parents.....and your corpus collosum.

The corpus collosum is the area in your brain where the fibers cross from one side to the other. This may be particularly important in contrapuntal music.

In children who learn to play before the age of 7, there can be up to a 40% increase in the size of the corpus collosum. Adults cannot redevelop this area to anywhere near that degree. Brain plasticity, the ability to remodel your brain's architecture, is possible but significantly diminishes with age. That is partially why it takes us longer as adults to learn than as children.

#dementiaprevention

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996135/#!po=56.6176


I played violin all through grammar school, so maybe there's hope for me, lol. Violin is easier because it's only one staff (though getting a good sound is hard!).

Thanks for all the encouragement, everyone! And those videos posted are great, thank you, just lovely! ❤️ And now I have to go listen to that killer Bartok piece, as well!

I get SO MUCH benefit from these forums, I can't thank you all enough! This is the best place on earth if you're a piano slave, LOL! 😂❤️


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Playing piano is not for the faint hearted [Re: huaidongxi] #2728730 04/13/18 07:55 AM
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ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by huaidongxi
my inspiration is Marie Curie, how long she distilled and extracted raw ore, tonnes of it for years, before refining enough pure radium (a matter of milligrams) to demonstrate it was a distinct and unique element. ten minutes of music from 100 minutes of practice keeps me going.


THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
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