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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2822679
03/04/19 10:54 AM
03/04/19 10:54 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 175
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Hi HollyBytheLake, Yes you are right I missed some parts of the thread as it was long. I am like you, I analyze a lot and make plans too. I try to limit myself though.

The difficulty with the piano is that it is a complex activity which requires the combination of many different skills. So the diagnostic is not always easy for a beginner, thats why it is important, especially if you do not have a teacher, to stick to the fundamentals. Getting right the basic components like scales and arppegios ..... I know many people find them boring and some even find them useless, but I am probably old school so for me they were not boring and proved quite usefull.

Many people consider scales as just technical exercices but in fact they are music too and are part of many great pieces. So the challenge is to make them sound like real music when practising. A great virtuoso said that you should not not practice them but play them. And there are so many ways to vary the scales, arpeggios and other technical components: staccato in one hand and legato on the other, accent one note every 2, 3, 4 or 5 in the scale, contrary motion, different rythm in each hand, .... the list is almost endless and can teach a great deal as to how coordinate your hands, and play in a fluid manner.

Progress in piano is quite slow, so comparing one day with the next can only bring up and downs. Best is to do a check once in a month. For example take what you used to play/practice 2 months ago or more and see how it goes. You will almost surely notice that you have made progress and what was difficult some time ago has become much easier (hopefully). That will fuel your motivation.

Anyway good luck.

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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2822741
03/04/19 02:29 PM
03/04/19 02:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
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Thanks again Sidokar.

I'm not actually anti-scales or arpeggios and put in some time with them every day. (Yes, Richard, I know you disapprove.)

I use the scales, chords, arpeggios and finger exercises of Faber, Snell, and RCM to get a variety of approaches. And it's a middle of the road path for me. I'm doing some keyes laid out by method teachers to be gradually learned and refined over time as opposed to trying to master all 48+ as quickly as possible. The debate on PW and every pianist I meet is somewhere between the two worlds of scales, etc. are "Everything and must be learned as quickly as possible," and the opposite of "Dear lord, leave it until you have a teacher or you'll be horrible."

They're just not my favorite. I put in some work on them anyway.


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2822768
03/04/19 03:48 PM
03/04/19 03:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,783
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
I'm not actually anti-scales or arpeggios and put in some time with them every day. (Yes, Richard, I know you disapprove.)

There should be nothing to disapprove about playing scales and arpeggios, except perhaps for starting to learn them too early or with the wrong form/technique. Name one classical piano certification program that doesn't include examinations on the playing of scales - RCM, ABRSM, and Trinity all include scales. Piano performance students are often required to play scales for music school/conservatory exams. One PW forum member told me of having to play scales still for his MMA exams in piano performance. I don't believe scales are going away in mainstream music pedagogy.

Exercises might go away, but I don't see that either. Even the most famous composers composed exercises/studies, or études as they are sometimes called. Today some of these etudes are even in the standard performance repertoire such as those from Chopin and Liszt!

I'm sure there are probably classical piano pedagogical approaches which forbid the playing of any scales, arpeggios, exercises/studies/études, even for intermediate and advanced students, but I wouldn't necessarily pay attention to those approaches myself, although I couldn't argue for or against such. They would seem too fringe for me given the preponderance of professional classical pianists and pedagogues going the other way.


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
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2822774
03/04/19 04:13 PM
03/04/19 04:13 PM
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Quote
Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
I'm not actually anti-scales or arpeggios and put in some time with them every day. (Yes, Richard, I know you disapprove.)

I don't believe scales are going away in mainstream music pedagogy.

Coincidentally, I just see now a new thread in the Piano Teachers forum on the teaching of scales, arpeggios, chords, and cadences... smile


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
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2822917
03/04/19 11:30 PM
03/04/19 11:30 PM
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Thanks for the link TS!


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2822918
03/04/19 11:31 PM
03/04/19 11:31 PM
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Im satisfied that when the end time comes there will be people arguing about scales and exercises. The Chang book says Hanon "ruined a generation of pianists" with exercises. I understand that a bunch of exercises arent music but the opinions against them are a bit overblown. I just wonder where this place is that all of these wasted pianists are laying around regretting the day they first touched that "Hanon stuff" that took them down.


Alesis Coda Pro
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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2823009
03/05/19 08:24 AM
03/05/19 08:24 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
I'm not actually anti-scales or arpeggios and put in some time with them every day. (Yes, Richard, I know you disapprove.)
I don't disapprove of scales, arpeggios or even Hanon. I did them myself for several years (only weeks for Hanon - I was never destined for the concert platform).

I disapprove of the usual methods of learning them and practising them. My teacher, for example, never gave me a scale manual. She gave me a set of principles and set me the task of finding all the major scales and their fingerings. She explained that scales and arpeggios are played with the wrist and arm more than with the fingers and that they're to support music not mechanism.

A world class athlete has to do, as Ian Hunter put it, fifty million sit-ups a day. In order to develop the very fine motor skills of a world class athlete, sportsman or pianist, yes, you need to get sufficient volume of physical training but for these people there are coaches and trainers involved who make sure the technique is being practised effectively and appropriately for the pursuit.

Our daily scale and exercise routine need only be enough to support the time we put into the piano and to ease the process of learning. They are the 'what' but it's much harder finding the 'why' let alone the 'how' - without which they're rather useless.

If someone begins daily scale or Hanon practise without having mastered weight transfer and is solely using finger action, they're more likely to end up with RSI and arthritic hands than someone who has a teacher oversee the mechanism and who has taught and shown the intent, the how.

Someone learning on their own given only the notes and fingerings and no instruction on body mechanics, such as using as little finger action as possible, spending time relaxing the hands and aligning the skeleton from the seat to the finger tip after every note before beginning to build speed, is not likely to go about it in such a way as to benefit from it and is more likely to do damage from it and give up piano sooner.These things need to be built from music long before starting scales and the like.

The requirements of these exercise are such that a more versatile technique needs to have been built first from a wide range of repertoire, a wide range of articulation styles and dynamic requirements.


Richard
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2823366
03/06/19 02:26 PM
03/06/19 02:26 PM
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That's the most coherent discussion of scales I've seen in a long time, Richard.

Thanks.

I'm enjoying the scales and finger exercises in the Snell technique book I started recently. Vaguely like Hanon, but a lot of focus on the mechanics of how the hand and fingers move through the scale.

so far the only thing that has hurt my hands is trying to do Czerny for more than 10 minutes at a time. Backed off the time of each session with those exercises and skip more days with that particular composer and my hands are happy again. The exercises are shaping up faster too, so go figure.


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2823367
03/06/19 02:33 PM
03/06/19 02:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,783
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
I'm enjoying the scales and finger exercises in the Snell technique book I started recently. Vaguely like Hanon, but a lot of focus on the mechanics of how the hand and fingers move through the scale.

Are you referring to the Snell "Scale Skills" series? My teacher just started me in workbook level 3 in this series and I've started doing the lessons from that particular wookbook this week. Looks very thorough and progressive. There are some finger exercises at the end of each workbook too.


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
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: zrtf90] #2823375
03/06/19 03:08 PM
03/06/19 03:08 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,158
New York City
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
She explained that scales and arpeggios are played with the wrist and arm more than with the fingers...
I think many would disagree especially in regard to scales.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/06/19 03:09 PM.
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2823706
03/07/19 10:19 AM
03/07/19 10:19 AM
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TS, yes that's the Snell Scales skills series. I work a key a week doing all the exercises at the back in that key. Those are the ones I said felt a little like Hanon. I especially like the scale prep exercises thought that work you back and forth through the crossovers.


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2824255
03/08/19 12:50 PM
03/08/19 12:50 PM
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Finished/Set Aside
Mikrokosmos, Vol. 1, #25


In Progress

Pachebel's Canon, arr. Faber
Musetta's Waltz - Puccini, arr. Faber
Gurlitt Op. 117


Polishing

Minuette in A - Krieger
Rainbow Connection - Paul Williams


What's new this week:

Czerny #13, Vol. 445

Not much new this week. I'm not starting things up with a trip coming up next week.

Of note:

Time in Practice Issue - Thanks everyone for the input. I did somewhat better this week, but don't expect to get back up to my usual 10hrs/week until after my trip. The enthusiasm to practice is coming back, but this week thwarted by life. Someone on here mentioned practicing after midnight to get it done. Kudos, because I not physically robust enough to pull that off and not get sick from shortened sleep. BUt kudos, seriously. Would if I could.

Much of getting my enthusiasm back was hashing it out here in the light, but a second thing I did was drop all but what I WANTED to play for the week. So theory, ear training, technique and repertoire buffing all got set aside and almost all my time went into my Faber lesson pieces, Czerny, Gurlitt and Bartok. Why those:

Pachelbel's Canon, Faber arr. in C Major.

Twenty-nine years ago I walked down the aisle to this in it's original so I'm fond of it obviously. What I noticed as I played it though was the sheer pleasure in playing something I was as familiar with as I am with an Elton John or Ray Charles song. I KNOW the Canon. I KNOW how it is supposed to sound and what my intention is for the sound of every measure. Gave me a lot to think about on how much to listen to new pieces I'm unfamiliar with and how much I might want to weight my elective pieces to ones I'm familiar with instead of always seeking new experiences.

Musetta's Waltz, Puccini - Faber arr.
Again a piece with which I am intimately familiar. Pleasure to play, pleasure to practice. Don't feel like pushing and thinking to hard? Sit down and work on the Waltz and soak up the sheer beauty of it. Lovely.

Czerny

Masochistic streak? Probably.

Gurlitt
These I kept in the rotation for the week because they are relatively easy and delightful. It met my easy enough to pass some of it off in week criterion. It's Op. 117, and I clear 3-4 exercises a week so there is a feeling of progress to counteract several weeks input necessary for the Waltz and Canon.

Mikrokosmos.
That daily multi-vitamin that's really a gummybear vitamin so you don't REALLY resent taking it. I would just feel like I was cheating if I skipped my daily Bartok.

Short this week and I'll miss next week due to travel. Before anyone gets grumpy, do know I will re-engage with my technique, theory, repertoire, etc. in due course. Promise.

Happy practice everyone. grin


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2824262
03/08/19 01:01 PM
03/08/19 01:01 PM
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Sweden
Animisha Online content
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Thank you Holly for your update. Always very interesting to read. Have a good trip!


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2824264
03/08/19 01:11 PM
03/08/19 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Someone on here mentioned practicing after midnight to get it done. Kudos, because I not physically robust enough to pull that off and not get sick from shortened sleep. BUt kudos, seriously. Would if I could.

Certainly, many people have diurnal rhythms where certain parts of the day are better than others and a certain amount of sleep they must get. Mine just tends to be more of a nocturnal rhythm than diurnal wink


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
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2824320
03/08/19 03:31 PM
03/08/19 03:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,238
In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Finished/Set Aside
Mikrokosmos, Vol. 1, #25


In Progress

Pachebel's Canon, arr. Faber
Musetta's Waltz - Puccini, arr. Faber
Gurlitt Op. 117


Polishing

Minuette in A - Krieger
Rainbow Connection - Paul Williams


What's new this week:

Czerny #13, Vol. 445

Not much new this week. I'm not starting things up with a trip coming up next week.

Of note:

Time in Practice Issue - Thanks everyone for the input. I did somewhat better this week, but don't expect to get back up to my usual 10hrs/week until after my trip. The enthusiasm to practice is coming back, but this week thwarted by life. Someone on here mentioned practicing after midnight to get it done. Kudos, because I not physically robust enough to pull that off and not get sick from shortened sleep. BUt kudos, seriously. Would if I could.

Much of getting my enthusiasm back was hashing it out here in the light, but a second thing I did was drop all but what I WANTED to play for the week. So theory, ear training, technique and repertoire buffing all got set aside and almost all my time went into my Faber lesson pieces, Czerny, Gurlitt and Bartok. Why those:

Pachelbel's Canon, Faber arr. in C Major.

Twenty-nine years ago I walked down the aisle to this in it's original so I'm fond of it obviously. What I noticed as I played it though was the sheer pleasure in playing something I was as familiar with as I am with an Elton John or Ray Charles song. I KNOW the Canon. I KNOW how it is supposed to sound and what my intention is for the sound of every measure. Gave me a lot to think about on how much to listen to new pieces I'm unfamiliar with and how much I might want to weight my elective pieces to ones I'm familiar with instead of always seeking new experiences.

Musetta's Waltz, Puccini - Faber arr.
Again a piece with which I am intimately familiar. Pleasure to play, pleasure to practice. Don't feel like pushing and thinking to hard? Sit down and work on the Waltz and soak up the sheer beauty of it. Lovely.

Czerny

Masochistic streak? Probably.

Gurlitt
These I kept in the rotation for the week because they are relatively easy and delightful. It met my easy enough to pass some of it off in week criterion. It's Op. 117, and I clear 3-4 exercises a week so there is a feeling of progress to counteract several weeks input necessary for the Waltz and Canon.

Mikrokosmos.
That daily multi-vitamin that's really a gummybear vitamin so you don't REALLY resent taking it. I would just feel like I was cheating if I skipped my daily Bartok.

Short this week and I'll miss next week due to travel. Before anyone gets grumpy, do know I will re-engage with my technique, theory, repertoire, etc. in due course. Promise.

Happy practice everyone. grin


Great update and have fun on your trip!


[Linked Image]
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2829673
03/21/19 07:51 PM
03/21/19 07:51 PM
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Back from my trip yesterday and a whole lot of new music started today! I had access to a keyboard for about 15 minutes one day of the 8 day trip. I got to play a little Pachelbel and some Puccini for my mom. Arrangements. She played me some Bach and some Chopin in the original for me. She’s 82 and arthritic, but the woman can jam.

The rest of the trip I DJ’d for my cousins (daughters of a piano teaching mother, sadly deceased) Basically used my laptop to search out pieces they remembered on my music service and listening to them along with the music from The Green Book and some of Dr. Shirley’s albums. A grand, and rejuvenating, time was had by all.

So today begins a new week with new pieces and the official start of my RCM Level 1 student status.

What I’ll be doing this week:

Faber Lesson Time (~45 minutes daily)
Page of Theory (5)
Technique pages related to my lesson pieces (10)
Sight reading related to my lesson pieces (5)
New Piece: Energico, Faber (15)
Review Piece: Driving Range, Christopher Norton (10)

Classical Time
(~60 minutes, try for daily, pleased with 3 times/week)

Snell Page of Theory (5)
Snell Scales and Skills book Key of the week: G Major (10)
Snell Piano Repertoire Etudes:
Cradle Song Op.39, No. 4, Dimitri Kabalevsky (10)
New Piece: Musette, La Couppey (10)
Czerny exercise: #13 (10)
Gurlitt Op. 117 exercises (10)
Repertoire maintenance: Rainbow Connection (5)

Modern Music Time (loose interpretation of “modern”)
(~60 minutes, try for daily, pleased with 3 times/week)

RCM Ear training: this week’s focus is intervals (5)
Etude in C Major, La Couppey (10)
RCM Technique book, Key of the Week: G Major (10)
New Piece: Red Satin Jazz, Martha Mier (10)
Mikrokosmos Exercise: #26 (10)
New piece: Four Wheel Drive, Christopher Norton (10)
Review Piece: Etude in C Major, Diabelli (5)


That’s 6 new pieces, 3 new exercises, and 3 pieces being reviewed. I was greedy today and did three hours worth. The times are an estimate. For example today I spent 3 minutes instead of 10 on the much loathed Driving Range, and 23 minutes instead of 15 on new piece Energico. I’ll usually come in around 2-2.5 hours a day when all is said and done.

So those new pieces: (NONE of these links are ME! I just want all the links in one place for easy listening for me.)

Energico in the Faber Lesson Book 3B:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LmAkyw4b8E

Yeah, so I’m not getting that fast any time soon, but it is lively and I enjoy triplets so there’s that.


Cradle Song by Kabalevsky:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FaTVOk5Lpw



Musette – La Couppey
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQLxf7trMGM

Again, I won’t be playing this to tempo any time soon, but I do love it and look forward to taking it to repertoire status.


Czerny #13 from Vol. 445

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSNe61LwBtc&t=40s

It’s the third one in if you’re really dedicated.


Etude in C Major - La Couppey
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3fUACsFS1s

I had never heard of La Couppey and here it’s two in a week. For me it’s a new composer to like.

Red Satin Jazz by Martha Mier
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZkGqcnBFQk

This is on my “to memorize”, which at the moment makes me blanch, but at least it’s catchy…


Mikrokosmos #26

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b1rya7ue2U&t=173s

It’s in there if you want to look for two lines of non-melodic multi-vitamin for the beginning piano player.


Four Wheel Drive – Christopher Norton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwOEpBHGdOg&list=RDPwOEpBHGdOg&start_radio=1&t=19

Kudos to the kid playing it, but I highly doubt I’m going to get through another practice session without picking something else from the book. Not my cup of tea.


Gurlitt Op. 117 #14 is not available to a casual search of youtube, but it’s delightful and an easy melody to figure out, so to get it up to tempo will probably only take a week or two.



Happy practicing everyone!

Last edited by HollyBytheLake; 03/21/19 07:55 PM.

but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2829684
03/21/19 08:27 PM
03/21/19 08:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,238
In the Ozarks of Missouri
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I am happy that you got to spend some quality time with your Mom!


[Linked Image]
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2832405
03/28/19 03:41 PM
03/28/19 03:41 PM
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March 28, 2019

1st week back went well. LOVING my new Faber 3B materials. They do a great job lining up technique and finger exercises with the key of the lesson pieces for the week and the theory and sight reading pages all revolving around the same concepts.

In short:

Finished/Setting aside:

Mikrokosmos Vol. 1, #26
Energico – Faber 3B
Cradle Song – Kabalevsky
Four Wheel Drive – Christopher Norton, dropped after 1 session

Continuing:
Musette – Le Couppey
Etude in C Major – Le Couppey
Red Satin Jazz – Marth Mier
Lost Toy – Christopher Norton
Cherny Vol. 445, #13
Reviewing: Mikro #24, Bourree in E Minor, L. Mozart; Russian Folk Song, Beethoven

Starting This Week:
Rage Over a Lost Penny – Beethoven, arr. Faber
Snowfall – Faber
Whistling Song - Czerny
Mikrokosmos Vol. 1, 27 & 28

Highlights:

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kesolo, for a post you once did on SUPER slow practice. Not just slow, like when everyone says go half speed, but 25% of end tempo and half of that if needed.

Starting at that 25% tempo and very slowly and systematically working up to 50% makes each new piece seem totally doable. I’m flying through some things that I know would have taken me longer trying to start right from half speed.

The Faber Lesson piece, Energico, was scheduled for 3 weeks and I set it aside after one. Dynamics, tempo, accuracy…all there in one week, but the first two days of practice I was CRAWLING, so slow it was like Dali had my piano slowly oozing down the walls. It worked though. I got it to 50% with virtually no errors in the total time spent on it instead of counting errors per section per playing. Then I did a Seven Levels of heck on it at 50%*. Then I went on up to 75% next session and to full tempo on day five. Amazing. It really would have taken a few weeks if I’d jumped right in on 50% tempo.

One thing I think really helps is at 25% your mind is a measure ahead, checking dynamics, assessing fingering…anything to not go faster and stay engaged. By the time you even hit 50% you KNOW the fingering and dynamics cold. Very handy.

The other part of my “slow mo” strategy was implemented on a much faster tempo piece that is also more technically difficult. No way would one week do it: Le Couppey’s Musette.

For this piece I started as with Energico up to the 50% and Seven Levels place and then to three accurate plays per tick up between 50-75%, where I am working now. When I get to a stage where I’m going above 75% start next session at 50% continuing the 3 times per tick up and expect to only go up one to two ticks on end tempo per session. Beginning the next sessions just start a few ticks up from 50% and the next session a few ticks up from that. So, starting practice tempo also rises slowly.

This whole thing resulted in a bunch more play throughs at slow tempos and a much shallower curve of progression, but bizarrely less total time on piece. The second major improvement is the dramatic improvement in accuracy in my playing. Happy face.

*Seven Levels of heck: I set out 7 nickels on my piano ledge and play the piece through. No errors remove a nickel. Play again. No errors, remove a nickel. Next time through have an error and put a nickel back. So theoretically play it through accurately 6 times through then make and error, then another, then another…you can end up right back at 7 nickels staring at you. The session is over when all seven go into the cup. I have NEVER gone through a seven-levels with only 1 error before. Well pleased.

Czerny is my current bane. I can play the exercise just below tempo one day then the next I can barely get past 50% with any musicality at all. Only 6 more exercises before I can put it aside. I figure there is something in it I am needing to work on or I wouldn’t be struggling with it. Lessons and exercises I am less willing to set aside from frustration than “pieces” I want in repertoire. Don’t like one of those and I’ll drop it, no problem.

This week begins with a new lesson arrangement of Rage over a Lost Penny. It went well for a first looksee, but what doesn’t go well at 25% tempo?

Happy Practice everyone!
P.S. Spell check on this cracks me up. Obviously, I didn't quite mean seven levels of "heck".

Last edited by HollyBytheLake; 03/28/19 03:43 PM.

but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2832458
03/28/19 06:49 PM
03/28/19 06:49 PM
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Keselo Offline
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Originally Posted by Holly
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kesolo, for a post you once did on SUPER slow practice. Not just slow, like when everyone says go half speed, but 25% of end tempo and half of that if needed.

Starting at that 25% tempo and very slowly and systematically working up to 50% makes each new piece seem totally doable. I’m flying through some things that I know would have taken me longer trying to start right from half speed.

You’re very welcome! Great to hear that this method works for you as well as it works for me.

Originally Posted by Holly
I got it to 50% with virtually no errors in the total time spent on it instead of counting errors per section per playing.

I find this particularly good to read, as that is how it should be. You’ve transformed your daily practice from frustration waiting to happen to something mindful with the greatest long-term benefits.

Great to hear how you managed to get it to tempo so quickly! That doesn’t happen very often for me, at least it didn’t when I was where you’re now in terms of playing, but it’s an indication that you’re growing as a player. That what you’re learning is really starting to stick and aids you in learning new material. In my experience, it is these pieces which are ideal to work on a bit of musicality. What I’d recommend, if you’re interested, is to completely let go of what it exactly says on the sheet and wildly experiment. The goal is not to get the best-sounding end-result; the goal is to teach yourself to play in such a way which you intend, if that makes sense. Making a conscious decision to play a certain way is harder than it seems, but it’s something you can get rather good at with enough practice. It also seems to me that it’s more useful to do this 1 hour for 10 different pieces, rather than 10 hours on one piece. Of course, it takes as long as it has to take, but my point is that you’ll teach yourself to approach a wide variety of music in a ‘musical’ way, and that this wide approach will aid your ability to apply it to new pieces in the future.

Originally Posted by Holly
One thing I think really helps is at 25% your mind is a measure ahead, checking dynamics, assessing fingering…anything to not go faster and stay engaged. By the time you even hit 50% you KNOW the fingering and dynamics cold. Very handy.

That’s exactly what I meant when I talked about practising being in control! This 25% is something which you’ll use for years (probably, if my own journey is any indication), but the material that you can mentally keep track of will steadily increase in complexity.

Quote
This whole thing resulted in a bunch more play throughs at slow tempos and a much shallower curve of progression, but bizarrely less total time on piece. The second major improvement is the dramatic improvement in accuracy in my playing. Happy face.

The first improvement is something both Richard and I expected from the start but I do remember you thought it would indeed be slower. It’s counter-intuitive, in a sense, how practising slower can lead to faster progress. And you nail it when you name the second improvement of accuracy. These go hand-in-hand; you start a bit slower, but then the track to the finish line is much smoother.

Originally Posted by Holly
*Seven Levels of heck: I set out 7 nickels on my piano ledge and play the piece through. No errors remove a nickel. Play again. No errors, remove a nickel. Next time through have an error and put a nickel back. So theoretically play it through accurately 6 times through then make and error, then another, then another…you can end up right back at 7 nickels staring at you. The session is over when all seven go into the cup. I have NEVER gone through a seven-levels with only 1 error before. Well pleased.

Haha, I love this! Both the idea and the name (the spellcheck to heck makes it even better, imo). One thing I want to mention and risk being a bit of a kill-joy, though you probably thought of this yourself, anyway. Be wary of those practice sessions where your playing just deteriorates out of nowhere, where you want that final correct repetition but just can’t seem to get it right. It’s a great idea and it definitely has its merits, but be flexible with it whenever you need to.

That being said, if you go about it in such a way that you slow things down once you notice your playing deteriorating, then it seems like a method which can nurture some very good habits. Mainly, the slowing-down-once-you-start-messing-up one.

Originally Posted by Holly
Czerny is my current bane. I can play the exercise just below tempo one day then the next I can barely get past 50% with any musicality at all. Only 6 more exercises before I can put it aside. I figure there is something in it I am needing to work on or I wouldn’t be struggling with it. Lessons and exercises I am less willing to set aside from frustration than “pieces” I want in repertoire. Don’t like one of those and I’ll drop it, no problem.

I’ve had the same thoughts a couple of times about exercises that I didn’t like. It’s true that there’s something to be learned from it. However, your struggle may also be because you don’t like it. Dreading practising it, thus hitting your ability to concentrate, something like that. My advice would always be to just lay it aside if you don’t like it. Sure, there’s something to be learned from it, but that Czerny will teach you nothing that you will not come across in dozens of future pieces.

Lovely update, as always, Holly! Good luck with your practice this coming week!


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2832498
03/28/19 08:17 PM
03/28/19 08:17 PM
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What a great discussion! Thanks for sharing Holly and Keselo


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
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