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Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2791186
12/14/18 09:25 AM
12/14/18 09:25 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 631
Sweden
Animisha Online content
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Originally Posted by John305
When you are working on a section, whether it’s a couple of measures, a phrase or even a line, how do you know you’ve done enough for one day? Do you do a certain number of repetitions or a certain amount of time or a combination of both?

Neither of these. I start with a piece and practice for as long as I feel that I am making reasonable progress. Sometimes that is a short time, sometimes longer. Then, if I am not yet tired, I might start practicing another piece - or another part of the same piece, if it is quite different to what I have just practiced. I rarely practice only once a day; usually I try to practice at least twice a day but on good days with lots of time I sometimes practice five times.

Originally Posted by John305
The other question I have is how do you progress from day one to day two etc? What I mean is, day one you work on the first section that you felt was manageable, how do you proceed on day two, day three, etc?

I don't play very long pieces yet, so I don't have any advice for you in this matter.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2792167
12/16/18 09:06 PM
12/16/18 09:06 PM
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I give a summary of my method in this thread if you're interested

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2791535/2.html

Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2792244
12/17/18 05:28 AM
12/17/18 05:28 AM
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I'm sorry but what are those HT and HS things?

Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: Nordomus] #2792246
12/17/18 05:39 AM
12/17/18 05:39 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 286
Denmark
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Originally Posted by Nordomus
I'm sorry but what are those HT and HS things?


HT: Hands together
HS: Hands separate.


Roland FP-30, Roland E-28, Pianoteq 6.5 (Bechstein DG, Grotrian, Steinway D, K2)
Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2792285
12/17/18 09:45 AM
12/17/18 09:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 82
Twin cities MN US
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John, I'm working on the same invention! I my case, it's more about going back to something I love. I've been in a period of forcing myself to learn to play things that aren't Bach, and I'm not having as much fun---because if I had my way, I'd ONLY play Bach, so I'm just going back to these pieces for a while. I too try to get to hands together early on, especially for the inventions. When you get to the 3-part inventions/sinphonia and fugues you really have to do hands together early on, or you get all messed up in the fingering. When I started learning it, I went to measure 11 (but broke that into smaller sections too). Then I moved from there to measure 20, and for me measures 19 and 20 are still really hard! I have tiny hands and it's really tough to do those left hand parts. Then up through measure 20, and then on to the end. Somewhere in there, I started only practicing certain scalar runs in each hand, to try to get them smooth, and now I'm trying to just get the piece up to a faster speed, which is really hard for me too. I wouldn't focus on the number of repetitions for practice, just keep going as long as you feel like you cognitively understand the piece, before it falls apart. Then try again from different sections either many hours later or on the next day. Before you know it, if you like it and it's close to being at your level of difficulty, it will really all come together and you'll feel amazing because you accomplished something that's challenging!


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Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2792289
12/17/18 09:58 AM
12/17/18 09:58 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,468
Southwestern Ontario
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Bach's Inventions are not geared to reading by beginners.


Actually, Bach wrote the Inventions because his young students complained about the boring excercises he required them to do. He simply took the exercises and expanded the same set of notes into an example of how his students could improvise. Here is the frontispiece from his autograph:

"Straightforward Instruction,
in which amateurs of the keyboard, and especially the eager ones, are shown a clear way not only (1) of learning to play cleanly in two voices, but also, after further progress, (2) of dealing correctly and satisfactorily with three obbligato parts; at the same time not only getting good inventiones, but developing the same satisfactorily, and above all arriving at a cantabile manner in playing, all the while acquiring a strong foretaste of composition.
Provided

Anno Christi 1723. by
Joh. Seb. Bach:
Capellmeister to
his Serene Highness the Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen. "

The first invention is a perfect example. It starts with a short four note scale, the same one he had written out for his students.

Incidentally, your ideas for learning these works seem well founded.

Last edited by prout; 12/17/18 10:03 AM.
Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2792295
12/17/18 10:10 AM
12/17/18 10:10 AM
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Southwestern Ontario
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The only other things I would add - before ever playing the notes, first figure out the articulation and phrasing. This will determine the fingering. Then always play the same fingering and articulation. Evetually, you can add in ornaments and passing tones and change the rhythm and all the other things Bach intended. This will take some time - for most of us - a lifetime. laugh

If you learn to play these works without understanding the articulation and phrasing conventions of the day, which are not indicated but were known to all through instruction and listening, you will not learn how important fingering is to the articulation and ease of playing.

Last edited by prout; 12/17/18 10:13 AM.
Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2794097
12/22/18 09:39 AM
12/22/18 09:39 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 458
Just outside London UK
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I learnt this piece back in the summer. At the time I was struggling with hand independence and found the following little exercise just wonderful in becoming much much better at it.

Play the following in both hands, and octave apart CDEFGFED over and over BUT. Play one hand at half the speed of the other and staccato (whilst the faster hand is legato). Swap over hands.

I initially found that one way round it was relatively easy and the other much more difficult. Concentrate on the difficult way until both can be performed with the same level of concentration and speed. Keep practicing until it becomes easy to do both ways round.

Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2794101
12/22/18 09:53 AM
12/22/18 09:53 AM
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Posts: 16,873
Boynton Beach, FL
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Playing Bach is not so much a struggle of hand independence, but vascillating between 3 states of hands together playing:

1) Parallel motion
2) Contrary motion
3) One hand holding a note while the other hand moving

This happens on a note-to-note scale, not in phrases or measures. And with Bach, he can sometimes move between all 3 in a series of 3 simultaneous notes!

In order to really grasp how this feels, one needs to play slow enough to know which state they're currently in, and possibly ignore articulations temporarily until you are comfortable with the switches made in a series of notes. Then add those articulations in.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: John305] #2794125
12/22/18 11:23 AM
12/22/18 11:23 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 342
USA
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A lot of good suggestions already.

I'll add that one way I've encouraged students to approach Invention 8 is to add an extra step between HS and HT.

Step 1. Play HS (RH alone, LH alone) to familiarize yourself with each hand's part
Step 2. Play all 8th notes, weaving from hand to hand in the order they appear; then play all 16th notes in like manner
Step 3. Play HT

I find the second step helps prepare students for the HT playing because they're getting practice following the interweaving of rhythms; IOW, their eyes aren't staying on one staff, but are moving back and forth between staves in a system, which is preparation for the eyes going from top to bottom staff, reading horizontally and vertically in the HT reading coming next. (And, of course, there is some HT involved with the second step for this invention, in the places where both hands are playing 16th notes simultaneously.)

Their ears are getting a new layering of sound progression, as well, with step 2 added in. It seems to make playing hands together a bit less overwhelming the first time it's tried.

Good luck to you! You asked very good questions.

Re: How do you go about learning a new piece? [Re: sinophilia] #2794659
12/23/18 07:02 PM
12/23/18 07:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 910
Niagara Falls NY
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
1. Bach is difficult.
2. Invention no. 8 is fast, so in the end it might be more difficult than others. In my opinion, no. 4 is by far the easiest one.
3. Hands separate practice in Bach is mandatory. Yes, in the end you have to play it all together, but you have to understand and "hear" each separate line. Hands together will have to be incredibly slow at first, but at one point it will click, it always does. Then when you have it all at 2/3 tempo or so, you will be able to speed it up very quickly. And besides, Bach always sounds good no matter what!


+1


Lisa

Currently working on Bach 2 part inventions, Chopin mazurkas, and some Keith Snell Level 5 stuffs, lol. smile
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP, Kawai KDP110

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