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What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
#2740508 05/29/18 07:06 PM
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So in July I'll be travelling for a month. I may have the occasional chance to plunk on some keys, however as we'll be on a family vacation I won't be practicing but, well, vacationing smile

I'm curious what people's experience has been being away from the keyboard for this long. Will I regress? Will I pick back up where I started quickly? Something else?


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
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Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740521 05/29/18 07:29 PM
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Back in 2014 I did an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. 2100+ miles in 5 months and 5 days. I did not carry a piano with me...

I recovered fairly quickly after I finished. It took maybe a month to get back to where I was before I left.

Sam

Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740523 05/29/18 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by squidbot
So in July I'll be travelling for a month. I may have the occasional chance to plunk on some keys, however as we'll be on a family vacation I won't be practicing but, well, vacationing smile

I'm curious what people's experience has been being away from the keyboard for this long. Will I regress? Will I pick back up where I started quickly? Something else?

Your fingers and coordination will go rusty, but as we know, surface rust can be scraped off quite easily. wink

How quickly you regain your previous level depends on how long you've been learning for (i.e. how ingrained good piano technique is in your 'fingers'). My own experience is that it takes no more than a couple of days. Slightly more if I had been away two months without touching a piano or keyboard of any sort.


"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: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740524 05/29/18 07:36 PM
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What you've memorised over a long period - no change. What you've memorised recently may need a couple of days of slow, accurate and sectional practise but will most likely be better after that from the rest and assimilation time.

Learning ability will have increased from the rest time. The longer you've been playing, the greater the benefit. If you've not been playing long you'll barely notice the difference. There will be little, if any, downside.

Sight-reading ability may have petered off but will pick up again quite rapidly and you may notice a boost in reading ability after a few days back at it.

Plunking on some keys won't be beneficial. Have you ever fasted from food? The longer you go without the easier it gets, the more good it does, the better you tend to eat when you return to eating and you find you can go a lot longer than you thought. Piano is much the same.


Richard
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740530 05/29/18 08:05 PM
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I am just recently back from two months in Europe, which was an eating holiday and not a piano holiday. Since starting piano I have had at least four periods of over six weeks without piano and find it is nothing to worry about, I usually come back with some new dedication anyway.

Two things I have noticed is that one; something I am practicing and don't feel I am making progress suddenly seems to have new clarity, and dare I say seem easier. The second thing is, on my return what seems to be the most rusty, is parts of a piece I may have been relying on muscle memory for. Relearning those sections with mindfulness seems to be just the thing I needed.


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Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740541 05/29/18 08:50 PM
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If you have a wonderful vacation it will be worth it.


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Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740565 05/29/18 10:44 PM
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The longest I have ever gone without playing in the last four years was 5 days on a trip to New York City, I believe. It took me about 3 days to get back to where I was beforehand. Seeing what others have said though, it seems that even taking a fairly lengthy break is not harmful at all. Like malkin said, if it really is a great vacation, it will certainly be worth it.


I try to be as good as possible, every single day. My YouTube Channel
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740568 05/29/18 11:20 PM
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I went seven weeks without playing while my piano was rebuilt and it had very little effect. I did have my Virgil Practice Clavier though, I suppose that would have helped.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740573 05/30/18 12:01 AM
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I've actually found some interesting effects of taking a break. I didn't play much piano last year. Took a break for almost 10 months.
After I re-started, I was rusty during the initial 3-4 days. After that, I found that I was playing a lot better than before the break. My sight reading skills (limited as they are) were more or less at the same level, but I found that I was more easily able to address many of the technical challenges that I had previously faced. Even in pieces I had previously learned, I was more easily able to get it to sound the way I wanted it to.
I can't really explain it. My skills should have deteriorated, but they didn't. I did play quite a bit of guitar during that time, maybe that had an effect. I'm not really sure.

Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740581 05/30/18 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by squidbot
I'm curious what people's experience has been being away from the keyboard for this long. Will I regress? Will I pick back up where I started quickly? Something else?


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Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740595 05/30/18 03:06 AM
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Your ears rest, and sound of the piano becomes fresh and pleasant.

Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2740721 05/30/18 01:42 PM
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I'm also curious what the difference will be, when I finally will make it back. I haven't touched the keys for I don't know how long.
Been practicing trumpet and guitar instead.
What I do notice there, compared to before, is that my ear has become a lot better from all the classical piano playing.


Czerny's Piano School Vol. 1, now at #77 and giving it a break.
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741075 05/31/18 07:04 PM
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I find that I can still play some of the pieces at the level I’m comfortable playing but at a much slower tempo for accuracy. Takes a few weeks to get the playing level back up.

A friend was out of the country during the summer and she took a roll-up piano in her suitcase. A roll-up isn’t the best type of portable keyboard. Can consider a MIDI controller type with 61 keys that plug into a tablet like the Korg Air. Portable and feels more like a real keyboard for practice sakes.

Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741209 06/01/18 08:39 AM
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Haha Whizbang!


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Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741245 06/01/18 10:23 AM
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When I return to the piano after being gone for a couple of weeks I somehow sound better. I think it’s good to take a break. Don’t worry about it and enjoy your vacation.



Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741265 06/01/18 11:40 AM
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First 10 minutes will feel very awkward but you'll play as good as you were playing only after 3-4 days of practice.


Started January 2017. Working on Alfred Level 2 and Fundamental Keys. Yamaha P-115.
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741306 06/01/18 01:55 PM
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Thanks all for the insights!

zrtf90 that's an interesting theory, so even though a few places we stay will have pianos you suggest I don't play? I will have to say though, while we are in London I'll be checking out a few of the piano stores there, and we will hopefully be taking a tour of the Phoenix Piano factory so I doubt I'll be able to resist playing then smile That's the last week of the trip though.


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741346 06/01/18 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by squidbot
...so even though a few places we stay will have pianos you suggest I don't play?
There's a difference between playing and 'plunking on some keys', which sounds a bit casual.

If you're in a piano store where people will be hearing you then you'll be on your mettle and concentrating more but if you have a quiet opportunity to just bang out a few careless bars then you'll be better off staying away. Any uncorrected mistakes you make will sit in your brain as the last thing you've done and will replace much of the hard work you'd put it in up till then.


Richard
Re: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
Chrispy #2741360 06/01/18 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by squidbot
Thanks all for the insights!

zrtf90 that's an interesting theory, so even though a few places we stay will have pianos you suggest I don't play? I will have to say though, while we are in London I'll be checking out a few of the piano stores there, and we will hopefully be taking a tour of the Phoenix Piano factory so I doubt I'll be able to resist playing then smile That's the last week of the trip though.

Take every opportunity to play whenever you can, if you enjoy it - in showrooms, any stately homes you visit, even museums.

For decades, I didn't have my own piano, and simply played on any piano I found on my travels through Europe (including a lovely Bösendorfer Imperial in its Vienna showroom, an upright in a youth hostel in Bergen, Grieg's own Steinway in Troldhaugen, Mozart's fortepiano in Salzburg......) and when moving around with my job in the UK. I managed to keep my technique from going completely to rust in this manner, such that when I landed a job where I had use of an upright in the evenings, I was able regain my skills quickly and do a lecture-recital for my colleagues there within a couple of months.


"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: What's going to happen after a month away from the piano?
bennevis #2741418 06/01/18 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by squidbot
Thanks all for the insights!

zrtf90 that's an interesting theory, so even though a few places we stay will have pianos you suggest I don't play? I will have to say though, while we are in London I'll be checking out a few of the piano stores there, and we will hopefully be taking a tour of the Phoenix Piano factory so I doubt I'll be able to resist playing then smile That's the last week of the trip though.

Take every opportunity to play whenever you can, if you enjoy it - in showrooms, any stately homes you visit, even museums.

For decades, I didn't have my own piano, and simply played on any piano I found on my travels through Europe (including a lovely Bösendorfer Imperial in its Vienna showroom, an upright in a youth hostel in Bergen, Grieg's own Steinway in Troldhaugen, Mozart's fortepiano in Salzburg......) and when moving around with my job in the UK. I managed to keep my technique from going completely to rust in this manner, such that when I landed a job where I had use of an upright in the evenings, I was able regain my skills quickly and do a lecture-recital for my colleagues there within a couple of months.


I agree with bennevis. Take every chance to play wherever it may be!



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