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Why work on exercises? #2770433
10/08/18 12:32 AM
10/08/18 12:32 AM
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brassplyer Offline OP
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What do you gain by working on method books and exercises as opposed to working on pieces/literature?

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Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770445
10/08/18 02:20 AM
10/08/18 02:20 AM
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Posts: 550
Kitsap County, WA
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According to my teacher, we use exercises and scales as they are easy to learn and memorize so that we can focus completely on the mechanics of the exercise .I can’t speak to method books as I’m learning only repertoire otherwise.



Currently learning: Beethoven "Easy" Sonata Op 49 No 2, JS Bach WTC Prelude No 2 in C minor
Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770446
10/08/18 02:23 AM
10/08/18 02:23 AM
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Michael P Walsh Online content
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Well I suppose it's an efficient method of developing and advancing your techinque. Personally I don't bother with exercises or standard scales (I'm too old !). Instead I'll take a few bars from a piece well above my grade and play one of the hands, could be a little scale like run or arpeggio. Very much like turning it into an exercise. I'm not suggesting that others follow my approach though.

Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770453
10/08/18 03:13 AM
10/08/18 03:13 AM
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Groove On Offline
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I think exercises work best when inspired by repertoire. General exercises like scales/arpeggios are even better when they are focused on particular challenges in my repertoire. I've made significant progress when I took a problem in repertoire, turned it into an exercise and then expanded the exercise into a small "study/etude".


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Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770458
10/08/18 04:03 AM
10/08/18 04:03 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,324
England
LarryShone Offline
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To improve technique and build up muscle memory

Last edited by LarryShone; 10/08/18 04:04 AM.

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Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770477
10/08/18 06:27 AM
10/08/18 06:27 AM
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Posts: 4,887
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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Skill development.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770490
10/08/18 07:44 AM
10/08/18 07:44 AM
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Posts: 71
Tennessee
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Tennessee
I'm probably an outlier but I enjoy method books. The pieces increase gradually in difficulty as you go through a book and reinforces whatever new skill is being introduced while reinforcing prior skills aquited. It's just a fun process for me,. I learned to play the bass via method books self taught and am using the piano method books with a teacher (should have hired a bass teacher!). Method books just give me a sense of accomplishment and measurable success.


Started Playing October 1, 2017. First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Accelerated Piano Adventures Book 2 For The Older Beginner. Yamaha P-115.
Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: LarryShone] #2770548
10/08/18 11:18 AM
10/08/18 11:18 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 743
Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Online content
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Originally Posted by LarryShone
To improve technique and build up muscle memory

+1.

Exercises are the fastest way to obtain technical skills because unlike etudes and other pieces they contain no technically undemanding measures and almost no time is required to memorize notes.

And generally exercises are very helpful because they build up "muscle memory" quicker than anything. When many elements of piano technique are imprinted in th muscle memory, they no longer consume cognitive resources of the mind, and it allows these resources to be spent on more valuable things like phrasing and intonation.

Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770565
10/08/18 12:03 PM
10/08/18 12:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,578
Warsaw, Poland
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Besides what has already been mentioned above, knowing all your scales, chords, and arpeggios means you can learn pieces much faster. You can tell at a glance that this is, say, a scale passage in G major, and here we have a I-IV-V-I chord progression, etc. It's not the same when you have to figure it out. If you practice your exercises you don't need to figure out stuff; at some point you simply know these things like you know the meaning of a word in your native language without having to translate it.


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Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770659
10/08/18 05:40 PM
10/08/18 05:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,643
Reseda, California
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JohnSprung Offline
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Reseda, California

I always look at things from the fundamental principle of greed: I reject the choice of repertoire versus exercises, I want both. ;-)

Start with repertoire. Trying a few pieces will identify the things that you find difficult. Then select and do exercises for those specific problems. (BTW, here's where it helps to have a teacher to observe and advise....) There are bazillions of exercises in Hanon, Czerny, etc. Do the ones you need, and only the ones you need.

Doing every exercise in the book is sort of like taking every pill in the drug store. ;-)


-- J.S.

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Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2770731
10/09/18 12:23 AM
10/09/18 12:23 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 3,910
Finland
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outo Offline
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Finland
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by LarryShone
To improve technique and build up muscle memory

+1.

Exercises are the fastest way to obtain technical skills because unlike etudes and other pieces they contain no technically undemanding measures and almost no time is required to memorize notes.

And generally exercises are very helpful because they build up "muscle memory" quicker than anything. When many elements of piano technique are imprinted in th muscle memory, they no longer consume cognitive resources of the mind, and it allows these resources to be spent on more valuable things like phrasing and intonation.



I wish!

I never had anything against playing exercises, but my inability to memorize them or build muscle memory for simple things just made me unable to benefit from them the way they are designed for... It took me a week to memorice a couple of Hanons only to forget them in a few days...Almost the same with scales, I learned how to build any scale but not able to play them securely without conscious brain effort even after years of practicing some of them. Playing exercises is so tireing for my brain that I never got much done in a practice session. So for most people probably true but for some students will only lead into frustration, no progress and eventually quitting. My teacher understood my handicap after a while and has not insisted. When I have a very good day I may spend a little time with such things, but I feel my playing ability and touch has greatly improved even without them. And now I am going to eat my earlier words about Bach: The best thing for my finger ability ever has been to practice the a minor prelude from wtc 2 smile

Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: outo] #2770744
10/09/18 03:20 AM
10/09/18 03:20 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 114
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Michael P Walsh Online content
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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by LarryShone
To improve technique and build up muscle memory

+1.

Exercises are the fastest way to obtain technical skills because unlike etudes and other pieces they contain no technically undemanding measures and almost no time is required to memorize notes.

And generally exercises are very helpful because they build up "muscle memory" quicker than anything. When many elements of piano technique are imprinted in th muscle memory, they no longer consume cognitive resources of the mind, and it allows these resources to be spent on more valuable things like phrasing and intonation.



I wish!

I never had anything against playing exercises, but my inability to memorize them or build muscle memory for simple things just made me unable to benefit from them the way they are designed for... It took me a week to memorice a couple of Hanons only to forget them in a few days...Almost the same with scales, I learned how to build any scale but not able to play them securely without conscious brain effort even after years of practicing some of them. Playing exercises is so tireing for my brain that I never got much done in a practice session. So for most people probably true but for some students will only lead into frustration, no progress and eventually quitting. My teacher understood my handicap after a while and has not insisted. When I have a very good day I may spend a little time with such things, but I feel my playing ability and touch has greatly improved even without them. And now I am going to eat my earlier words about Bach: The best thing for my finger ability ever has been to practice the a minor prelude from wtc 2 smile


Which is basically what happened to me. Maybe your heart wasn't fully into playing these exercises and therefore the will to memorise them wasn't quite there. I know I had the same problem with scales. I was going through the motions but that was about it. Which does go to show that not all of us are suited to the standard way of learning piano.

Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2770800
10/09/18 10:27 AM
10/09/18 10:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,252
Canada
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I don't know how much this fits with the question. Some years ago when I had violin lessons, I kept getting pieces and pieces, and I was also not really moving forward on one particular piece after several weeks. One day I turned my back on the music quite literally, and I started inventing exercises that addressed the particular difficulties. Then I flipped through the etudes books I had, and looked for the repetitive type of etudes that allowed you to practice a particular motion or concept. I did that for a week, totally ignoring the piece (which I was sick of, tbh - i.e. of going in circles). When I returned to the piece, I played it a lot better. The things I had been missing before was now there, and I could apply them to the piece.

Thinking about this: First there was a need, and then the exercises addressed the need, in that order. I'm thinking that this is different than doing exercises because we're supposed to do them, because they're in a book or a list of things to do in that grade level. Perhaps one is also more mindful when addressing an actual issue or need - you focus on particular things while practising that exercise.

Btw, I remember a teacher somewhere talking about etudes and exercises, and which to do. He said something like "Is this helping you with anything? If not, don't do the exercise." If you are already proficient in what it is teaching, don't waste your time. (Something like that). And then, to do it for the period where it is effective and gives you some kind of growth. (My memory is fuzzy.)

Re: Why work on exercises? [Re: brassplyer] #2772050
10/13/18 05:15 AM
10/13/18 05:15 AM
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wouter79 Offline
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I think exercises, etudes etc are' because professional pianists need to be able to learn material quickly. They must have the required scales, skills, etc already in the bag as they won't have the time to practice eg a scale they didn't learn yet

But for beginners, they may be useful also as mentioned already : easy to learn the notes and then you can focus on the thing you really want to learn, eg the tone, the technique, relaxation, etc.

I'm not a fan of exercises but for some things it might work best.


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