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Practicing on upright pianos #2744406
06/14/18 01:15 PM
06/14/18 01:15 PM
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Vilhelm Moqvist Offline OP
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Unfortunately, since grand pianos are very expensive I only have an upright at home. My question is: Do you think practicing on uprights affect how pianists play? And in that case, in what way? And do you think it is important to have a grand piano?

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Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744409
06/14/18 01:22 PM
06/14/18 01:22 PM
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Posts: 21,260
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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When you think of the number of advanced pianists as well as professionals who have little choice but to practice on an upright because that's all they can afford and/or have room for, I don't think that a grand is essential to developing as a pianist. More important, I think, is that the upright is well-maintained at its optimal potential as much as possible.

Yes, one should have the experience of playing on a grand and some of us are very lucky to have a good grand in our home, but many pianists have advanced without one.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: BruceD] #2744420
06/14/18 01:53 PM
06/14/18 01:53 PM
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Vilhelm Moqvist Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BruceD
When you think of the number of advanced pianists as well as professionals who have little choice but to practice on an upright because that's all they can afford and/or have room for, I don't think that a grand is essential to developing as a pianist. More important, I think, is that the upright is well-maintained at its optimal potential as much as possible.

Yes, one should have the experience of playing on a grand and some of us are very lucky to have a good grand in our home, but many pianists have advanced without one.

Regards,

Thank you for your reply! I have got the impression that an upright would slow down the learning progress as a pianist but I might be very wrong. Thanks again!

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744422
06/14/18 02:05 PM
06/14/18 02:05 PM
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bennevis Online content
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I never played on a grand for 8 years until after Grade 8 (the highest grade in ABRSM), when my new teacher had two grands in his home, where I went for my lessons while at university, after finishing high school.

But I was still practicing on uprights in the university's Music Department, and succeeded in obtaining my performance diploma two years later.


"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."
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Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: BruceD] #2744441
06/14/18 03:26 PM
06/14/18 03:26 PM
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mp15 Offline
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With very few exceptions, pianists (including most professionals) often have to deal with all sorts of unpleasant surprises when playing on pianos that aren't our own, including grands. I think that practicing on exclusively a pristine grand would turn me off to playing almost anywhere else.

I do feel that it helps my playing to use a grand occassionally, and then transfer that feeling elsewhere. There's still a good deal of sensitivity that can be squeezed out of most "lesser" instruments.



Beethoven - Piano Sonata, op. 101
Bartok - Piano Sonata
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744449
06/14/18 04:05 PM
06/14/18 04:05 PM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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Hi, Vilhelm Movquist! I agree with what has been said, but, being as good a pianist as you are, I would make judicious choices concerning the capability of your upright to withstand the repertoire. If your upright is a console, for example, I would be optimistic that it could handle the demands of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Beethoven, prokofiev, etc -- much of which is punishing when played at full tilt. If your upright is a spinet, I would be more cautious. And I would agree with BruceD that you should get to know a good tuner/regulator, one who can keep the instrument in fit repair. I myself had a Yamaha upright console for many years, and it endured my considerable poundings for many years.

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744452
06/14/18 04:17 PM
06/14/18 04:17 PM
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Rural UK
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Fareham Offline
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Dummy keyboards : After 60 years of practising, I happenstanced across a workstation with a missing power cable, which didn't make any sounds (obviously!)

I've found that this has been the best instrument I've practised on in years, as I have to imagine every single note that it makes, and I don't get much feedback from the unweighted keys as they are a bit like playing blancmange.

I'm not saying that it works for everything, but to those who have achieved a reasonable standard, it does concentrate the mind in new ways ...


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744456
06/14/18 04:23 PM
06/14/18 04:23 PM
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I think practicing on a grand makes a difference. Not so much in dynamic range or rate of repetition, but more in the tone. I think that one phrases and articulates differently when one hears the longer sustain of the grand piano. Obviously plenty of people do fine learning on an upright, but I think it would be difficult to disagree that a grand would be more optimal.

A conservatory teacher told me she could tell I practiced on an upright by my tone.

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: BruceD] #2744675
06/15/18 12:04 PM
06/15/18 12:04 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 387
Rural UK
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Fareham Offline
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Originally Posted by BruceD
When you think of the number of advanced pianists as well as professionals who have little choice but to practice on an upright because that's all they can afford and/or have room for, I don't think that a grand is essential to developing as a pianist. More important, I think, is that the upright is well-maintained at its optimal potential as much as possible.

Yes, one should have the experience of playing on a grand and some of us are very lucky to have a good grand in our home, but many pianists have advanced without one.

Regards,


That's the irony of it all. The best pianists can't afford the best pianos, and the best pianos aren't owned by the best pianists.


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: mp15] #2744681
06/15/18 12:36 PM
06/15/18 12:36 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 82
Foster City, CA, US
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Ken Iisaka Offline
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Foster City, CA, US
Originally Posted by mp15
With very few exceptions, pianists (including most professionals) often have to deal with all sorts of unpleasant surprises when playing on pianos that aren't our own, including grands. I think that practicing on exclusively a pristine grand would turn me off to playing almost anywhere else.


Yes, but playing regularly on a well-maintained, responsive instruments helps develop the ear and fingers, and the ability to adapt to different pianos and acoustic environments.

With each upgrade, going from my childhood Yamaha upright to a grand, then a Steinway grand, then a Steinway semi-concert grand, then... better pianos taught me what is possible, and expanded the gamut of expressions I seek. They certainly made me listen with more focus, and adapt better in performance.

It is indeed a "disappointment" at performances on the hall pianos, knowing so much more would have been possible with what I consider the third best piano I've encountered in my life that's in my living room.

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2744707
06/15/18 03:10 PM
06/15/18 03:10 PM
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South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka

Yes, but playing regularly on a well-maintained, responsive instruments helps develop the ear and fingers, and the ability to adapt to different pianos and acoustic environments..


No, no - playing on different pianos is what develops the ability to play on different pianos and in different environments. I had that experience when I was young but for the last 20 years or so I haven't until this week when I had the chance to play for a couple of mornings on a lot of different pianos. Result was that by the end of it I was back to playing on different pianos without being thrown by either the differences in the pianos or the actual situations.

Last edited by Colin Miles; 06/15/18 03:12 PM. Reason: corrections

Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744735
06/15/18 06:02 PM
06/15/18 06:02 PM
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New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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The main advantage of practicing on a good grand for non pros is the much greater pleasure in terms of the sound and action responsiveness.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/15/18 06:02 PM.
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2744745
06/15/18 07:30 PM
06/15/18 07:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
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New York
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
....It is indeed a "disappointment" at performances on the hall pianos, knowing so much more would have been possible with what I consider the third best piano I've encountered in my life that's in my living room.

(Hey there, Ken!) [Linked Image]

Gives a nice idea for a new thread....

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Vilhelm Moqvist] #2744780
06/15/18 11:47 PM
06/15/18 11:47 PM
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Oakland
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BDB Offline
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There have been uprights that I have enjoyed playing, and grands that were not very good.


Semipro Tech
Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: BDB] #2744834
06/16/18 08:54 AM
06/16/18 08:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 483
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by BDB
There have been uprights that I have enjoyed playing, and grands that were not very good.


So true! I have had the same experiences.

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Colin Miles] #2745862
Yesterday at 01:28 PM
Yesterday at 01:28 PM
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Foster City, CA, US
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Ken Iisaka Offline
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka

Yes, but playing regularly on a well-maintained, responsive instruments helps develop the ear and fingers, and the ability to adapt to different pianos and acoustic environments..


No, no - playing on different pianos is what develops the ability to play on different pianos and in different environments.


Sure, playing on different pianos in different environments too is important, but without developing the technical ability to compensate for different environments, one could play the same way no matter what the instrument or the acoustic environment may be, too.

Re: Practicing on upright pianos [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2745920
Yesterday at 05:53 PM
Yesterday at 05:53 PM
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka

Yes, but playing regularly on a well-maintained, responsive instruments helps develop the ear and fingers, and the ability to adapt to different pianos and acoustic environments..


No, no - playing on different pianos is what develops the ability to play on different pianos and in different environments.


Sure, playing on different pianos in different environments too is important, but without developing the technical ability to compensate for different environments, one could play the same way no matter what the instrument or the acoustic environment may be, too.


I appreciate what you are saying but I think you would find it very difficult to play the same way on different pianos, especially where the actions are quite different. Different pianos will help you develop your technique or at least show you what you need to work on.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK

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