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ShyPianist #2822645 03/04/19 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
(now if I could only find a way to motivate myself at my work just as well, then I might not be distracted into browsing PW!)


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KevinM #2822646 03/04/19 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM

you to.


I don’t know what’s got into me Kevin. Through secondary school and my time at the RCM I’m sure I put in no more than a few hours of useful practice a week, and I really sometimes found it a chore. It was generally the terror of an impending exam or recital that made me get down to it. Now, it’s like the pieces have (perhaps literally!) all fallen into place. I wake up thinking about the piano and all day long my fingers are itching to get to it (never mind the tedious reality of having to earn a living ;-) ). So much changes with maturity. I have an outlook on music now - understanding, appreciation and motivation - that I could only dream of when I was younger! What is wonderful is how much I now realise that it’s totally second nature to me, like growing up bilingual. So for all my resentment of many aspects of my childhood and my early relationship with the piano, I guess I was after all given a true gift that I’m now really appreciating at last!


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ShyPianist #2822647 03/04/19 08:37 AM
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(Cor, that was deep, sorry!)


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ShyPianist #2822653 03/04/19 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by KevinM

you to.


I don’t know what’s got into me Kevin. Through secondary school and my time at the RCM I’m sure I put in no more than a few hours of useful practice a week, and I really sometimes found it a chore. It was generally the terror of an impending exam or recital that made me get down to it. Now, it’s like the pieces have (perhaps literally!) all fallen into place. I wake up thinking about the piano and all day long my fingers are itching to get to it (never mind the tedious reality of having to earn a living ;-) ). So much changes with maturity. I have an outlook on music now - understanding, appreciation and motivation - that I could only dream of when I was younger! What is wonderful is how much I now realise that it’s totally second nature to me, like growing up bilingual. So for all my resentment of many aspects of my childhood and my early relationship with the piano, I guess I was after all given a true gift that I’m now really appreciating at last!


I stopped formal lessons much earlier than you did ShyPianist. My last lesson before December last year was 40 years ago at the age of 14 with no playing in between times. I've quickly gained back some of that skill and any future progress will be like learning from scratch. But in terms of eagerness and appreciation I am 100% get what you mean.

Kevin

ShyPianist #2822654 03/04/19 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
On the contrary I’d say there IS a one size fits all solution, and that’s to make sure that you are practising in a way that you personally find rewarding and enjoyable.

To make that truly one size fits all then, you need to replace the 2nd "and" with an "or." "Rewarding" has multiple senses but "enjoyable" doesn't really.


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dobro #2822659 03/04/19 09:46 AM
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I introduced scales and arpeggios as a 'proper practice' (my background is as a 'basher' - play through, no messing about) a long time after I started and now enjoy them quite a lot. There's no specific order in which to play them, and they'll appear on a whim at any time, sometimes when changing keys to something different or 'tricky.' The feel, watching the fingers (it's probably the only time I do that), listening to how they sound. So not a chore, but spread through a playing session (sorry, practice) they are a welcome distraction. Other finger exercises can be equally entertaining, and as with scales, I'm not reading music so they have the same appeal.
I think if 'exercises' are approached in that spirit, concentrating on, touch timing, fluidity and what have you, then they are quite absorbing. However, if they become a chore I doubt if I'd bother with them because that's not what my piano is there for.

Last edited by petebfrance; 03/04/19 09:47 AM.

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dobro #2822663 03/04/19 10:00 AM
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I will just leave this here. This man is brilliant.



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dobro #2822664 03/04/19 10:03 AM
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I think we are all different and so we have many different habits. I found being supermotivated meant I was too eager to progress and then frustrated. I have not been supermotivated like this for a long time and now dont take too much notice of how long a piece takes. Its ready when its ready.

Two things that helped me with motivation was lessons and joining a piano group so you can perform your pieces. Some people find exams a motivator, I tried it again as an adult, I did not !

I have not myself practiced scales and arpeggios for several years either. It has not been recommended by my teacher either. I generally have to go back to them if I have a scale or arpeggiated passage in a piece so I guess I always practice this skill in pieces to a lesser level. and I was brought up on too much scales practice so dont want to go back to it. Not all of us can reframe our thinking to make such things fun or motivating !

I would also counter the belief that you learn much quicker in childhood and then everything afterwards is a struggle. It is not my experience. I learnt as a child, had a 10 year break, and I think I am progressing probably at a similar rate. In any case progress is overrated. I myself now think the end result of the piece is most important now. Whatever your level you always have pieces too hard and you can chase this carrot forever being frustrated in what you cannot play. So chill and be happy with what your playing. Will likely help motivation also !

Last edited by Moo :); 03/04/19 10:06 AM.
dobro #2822674 03/04/19 10:37 AM
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I get distracted by other things much too easily. So if I didn’t have to play for my teacher every week, I’m sure I wouldn’t practice everyday. In fact, during the weeks I skip my lessons, I do not practice half as much. However, once I can get myself to sit at the keyboard, I suddenly forget the other distractions. And I also find the drive to work on the pieces I’m learning on my own.

Demotivation for me is sometimes just inertia. Having a deadline of sorts helps me get out of the slump on bad days.


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ShyPianist #2822755 03/04/19 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Through secondary school and my time at the RCM I’m sure I put in no more than a few hours of useful practice a week, and I really sometimes found it a chore. It was generally the terror of an impending exam or recital that made me get down to it. Now, it’s like the pieces have (perhaps literally!) all fallen into place. I wake up thinking about the piano and all day long my fingers are itching to get to it (never mind the tedious reality of having to earn a living ;-) ).

So much changes with maturity. I have an outlook on music now - understanding, appreciation and motivation - that I could only dream of when I was younger! What is wonderful is how much I now realise that it’s totally second nature to me, like growing up bilingual. So for all my resentment of many aspects of my childhood and my early relationship with the piano, I guess I was after all given a true gift that I’m now really appreciating at last!

I too was lucky to have had lessons as a kid, and exams were part & parcel of learning piano - after all, every subject one learnt at school had exams attached to them (apart from PE), so I took that for granted. And in my case, it was required of me by my parents, who would have no hesitation in stopping lessons if I did badly in any grade exam (as they did for my brother and one of my sisters).

While I couldn't say that I found it fun to practise scales & arpeggios, I did appreciate what they did for my technique. Some of the pieces I learnt were fun to play; others less so (my teachers choose all the pieces for me). What I actually did in my non-practising time was sight-reading through anything I could get my hands on, and occasionally sight-reading a new piece together with a violinist or pianist friend. Discovering wonderful music in this way was my greatest motivator to rush to the practise rooms as soon as the bell rang for end of school on weekdays. Of course, I didn't count that as my practise time - I wasn't practising, just having fun. Practising was working on something specific, and I knew that was necessary to progress: all play and no work makes Jack a stupid boy, as Socrates would say (or didn't say).

It never ceases to amaze me that so many posters - not just in ABF but also in Pianist Corner - ask about whether a specific piece is suitable for them, or whether they'll like it. They didn't even try to play through it, much less 'discover' the piece during the course of sight-reading through unfamiliar stuff. Are people these days entirely reliant on YT etc to 'find' new pieces to try, and then won't even acquire the scores and try them out unless they're assured by someone that the piece is "suitable" for them? Whatever happened to the joy of discovery for oneself?

During the decades when I was moving around with my jobs and had no access to a piano, I'd play on anything with a keyboard that came my way, no matter what condition it was in. It was usually just once every few years. On very rare occasions, the piano I 'found' was a decent one, and I'd be reminded - yet again - how much I missed being able to play one regularly.

If anything, my love for classical music increased with the years and with it, the urge to play the piano: I was still buying new scores of piano music on a regular basis, even though I had no piano to play it. Since I settled down and bought my piano, of course, those scores came in handy.....alongside all the music that I acquired when I was still a student: no matter how old or faded, I never threw any of it away. grin


"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."
dobro #2822811 03/04/19 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
It never ceases to amaze me that so many posters - not just in ABF but also in Pianist Corner - ask about whether a specific piece is suitable for them, or whether they'll like it.


I totally agree. There is more free sheet music out there on the likes of IMSLP than ever before, and when I was a kid there was none - you had to buy what you wanted to try unless you were lucky enough to live near a music library (I wasn’t). So there should be nothing at all stopping anyone from trying any piece they fancy, at least the ones that are out of copyright. Sure the edition might not be great, but it’s a brilliant way to “try before you buy”.

I make a point of never listening to recordings of a piece I’m thinking of learning. It can’t be helped sometimes of course, but I think it’s really important to form my own impression of a piece and develop my own initial interpretation before listening to anyone else. It’s part of the journey and a huge part of the fun!


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dobro #2822856 03/04/19 07:17 PM
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I think I read this advice on r/piano. It really stuck with me and I've been taking it to heart. I haven't gone a day without playing since I picked the piano back up in November. The advice is:

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation."

There are days when I'm too tired. There are days when I'm stressed over work or family. There are days when I don't feel well. All of these things can affect my motivation to play piano, but by adhering to this advice, motivation is no longer a factor in my practice routine. It's the discipline of practicing every day that I focus on. On a really bad day, I might practice for only 15-20 minutes. But even on bad days, those 15-20 minutes often wind up stretching out to a full hour or more. It's my understanding that practicing for only 15-20 minutes is far better than skipping practice entirely, and that has also been my experience.

Stay disciplined, and if you find yourself severely lacking motivation on a given day, tell yourself "I only have to play for 10-15 minutes" and go sit down at the bench no matter what!

ShyPianist #2822874 03/04/19 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by bennevis
It never ceases to amaze me that so many posters - not just in ABF but also in Pianist Corner - ask about whether a specific piece is suitable for them, or whether they'll like it.


I totally agree. There is more free sheet music out there on the likes of IMSLP than ever before, and when I was a kid there was none - you had to buy what you wanted to try unless you were lucky enough to live near a music library (I wasn’t). So there should be nothing at all stopping anyone from trying any piece they fancy, at least the ones that are out of copyright. Sure the edition might not be great, but it’s a brilliant way to “try before you buy”.
I don't agree even though I consider myself quite a good sight reader for an amateur pianist, and I think my reason applies even more for average or below average sight readers.

Most/many amateurs cannot sight read works that are at a level they would usually study very well so they can't get a very good idea of how the piece sounds and if they might like it. They might get some feeling about whether they like the piece but why not get a better idea by listening to a good performance?

It even takes experience to know whether some piece whose score you follow on IMSLP while listening to a YouTube performance is within one's ability.

PFDogs #2822883 03/04/19 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by PFDogs
I think I read this advice on r/piano. It really stuck with me and I've been taking it to heart. I haven't gone a day without playing since I picked the piano back up in November. The advice is:

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation."

There are days when I'm too tired. There are days when I'm stressed over work or family. There are days when I don't feel well. All of these things can affect my motivation to play piano, but by adhering to this advice, motivation is no longer a factor in my practice routine. It's the discipline of practicing every day that I focus on. On a really bad day, I might practice for only 15-20 minutes. But even on bad days, those 15-20 minutes often wind up stretching out to a full hour or more. It's my understanding that practicing for only 15-20 minutes is far better than skipping practice entirely, and that has also been my experience.

Stay disciplined, and if you find yourself severely lacking motivation on a given day, tell yourself "I only have to play for 10-15 minutes" and go sit down at the bench no matter what!

I really like this, especially the part in bold. Or said in another way by some other wise person, "Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." Meaning, you do the work, and that is what spurs you on.

I think people are far more likely to regret not practicing than to regret practicing. So just leave out the need to feel inspired or motivated, and just get to work. wink


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PFDogs #2822885 03/04/19 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by PFDogs
I think I read this advice on r/piano. It really stuck with me and I've been taking it to heart. I haven't gone a day without playing since I picked the piano back up in November. The advice is:

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation."

This is brilliant and has been what I've been doing myself, only not calling it as such! I'm stealing that for my signature! grin


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Morodiene #2822887 03/04/19 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Or said in another way by some other wise person, "Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration."

OK. Stealing this one too! grin


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
dobro #2822901 03/04/19 09:51 PM
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Practicing music is more or less like getting your regular exercise. Especially when you are overweight you need to "discipline" yourself to walk a mile a day so that you can trim your waistline. When you are learning certain techniques like scales, legato, staccato, etc. it takes discipline. When you're playing pieces you enjoy, you don't really need to push yourself. Like certain compositions or Pop songs you enjoy listening to you'd spend hours to perfect them. We're talking about "passion" for music rather than discipline. Playing music becomes an activity that is enjoyable and something you want to engage in rather than having to set a schedule you must play an hour a day sort of thing.

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The actual quote is “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration“, by Thomas Edison.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
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Motivation clearly does not mean the same thing for everyone. For me motivation is not the same as passion or inspiration. Those can fade quickly. When I am motivated I do not need discipline because motivation for me is "a drive to work". It makes me like the work even if difficult or painful. I do not give up easily. I think it is the positive side of my perfectionist nature. I want to get the problem solved and in a way that I think it is as good as it gets. If this is lacking there's no reward that can make me work. I also do not respond to discipline, never did. But even with complete lack of self discipline I still seem to get a lot done...probably partly because I know how and when to pick my battles productively instead of hitting my head to the wall or keep going even if bored. I think my quote would be: "Work smart not hard" smile

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Coming from a non-musical family all my siblings took music lessons at a young age but after a few years the playing stopped. The parents feel that none of us have the talent for music so we should be focused on more important things in life (a good education, career, etc).

In my younger days, everybody around would come up with excuses not to practice every day. The talent or the motivation isn't there. Picking up piano as an adult is a different experience. Paying for my own lessons I'm more conscious where I want to be in a few years. When we're younger, we need to be trained to sit still for hours without distractions from the TV or video games. At an adult learner we would turn off the TV when we need to practice music and we would sit for at least an hour.

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