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Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: Nip] #2846539
05/08/19 06:17 PM
05/08/19 06:17 PM
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Posts: 4,877
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Originally Posted by Nip
. .
And like any physical exercise - when going over certain thresholds it's not efficient anymore.



3 hours a day is more than enough for most students. An hour of hard practice is enough, for me.

I wonder:

. . . Would you be better off, if you practiced less, but practiced differently ?

You don't say what your daily regimen is. I assume you're working on more than just the Clementi. Scales? Arpeggios? Technical exercises?

Have you been working on "fractures" -- the parts of the piece that you tend to make mistakes on? Or have you been playing "straight through" ? (Reading Joe80's post, what he suggests makes a lot of sense.)

As someone said already -- sometimes a piece is _just too hard_ for your current ability. There's a thin line between a "stretch piece" (one that you can _almost_ play, and practicing it improves your skill), and a "too-hard piece" (one that you _think_ you should be able to play, but it's just frustrating when you work on it).

As several people said already -- progress is usually slower than you expected, when you started this journey. But it _does_ happen.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
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Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: joe80] #2846596
05/08/19 11:23 PM
05/08/19 11:23 PM
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Finland
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outo Offline
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Originally Posted by joe80


I am almost certain that will eliminate any catastrophes you may be experiencing! Good luck!



Don't know about your students, but I have always practiced the way you describe. It has not made me consistent. There are still catastrophies. However they are not technical but either random memory failures or problems with reading familiar music. When it comes to technical playing consistency it should work the way you describe.

I think my naturally short attention span is the major cause of inconsistency. Paradoxically, the more secure the piece is technically the more difficult it is to maintain the minimum attention level required to keep playing.

Last edited by outo; 05/09/19 12:01 AM.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: earlofmar] #2846620
05/09/19 12:52 AM
05/09/19 12:52 AM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 9
Florence, MT
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PatG Offline OP
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Florence, MT
earlofmar Thank you for the reminder for slow practice and to know that 6 months isn't too long to be working on this piece.


Love learning the piano now that I am retired.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: dogperson] #2846623
05/09/19 12:58 AM
05/09/19 12:58 AM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 9
Florence, MT
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PatG Offline OP
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Florence, MT
dogperson I've written down "What works for me is to think of my lessons as being ‘problem solving’ and not ‘see how hard I’ve worked this week’ Lessons." - Good for me to remember. I do bring written questions as they come up during my practice that I need help with.
Thanks


Love learning the piano now that I am retired.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: John305] #2846627
05/09/19 01:22 AM
05/09/19 01:22 AM
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Posts: 9
Florence, MT
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PatG Offline OP
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Florence, MT
John305 To clarify my experience playing the piano. Yes I have about 2 1/2 years of lessons. After the one year of lessons 40 years ago I didn't play for many years. Then it was very random. Probably about a year before I started taking lessons again I started playing more often. I did play the flute throughout my school years so knew how to read the treble clef and knew about rhythm being in the marching and concert bands.

My teacher has over 30 years of piano teaching and a college degree in music so I trust her judgement. She picks most of the pieces I play.


Love learning the piano now that I am retired.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: Charles Cohen] #2846634
05/09/19 01:51 AM
05/09/19 01:51 AM
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Posts: 9
Florence, MT
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PatG Offline OP
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Florence, MT
Charles Cohen Thank you for your comments. Currently my daily regiment includes scales, contrary motion, parallel motion in thirds and sixths, triads, cadences, arpeggios, and dominant seventh arpeggios, sight reading, a hymn, Sonatina Op. 36, No. 3 by Clementi, Meditation "Thais" by Massenet, and Reverie by Debussy. I don't practice 2 1/2 to 3 hours all at one sitting. This is throughout the day and evening. I also try to play some of the music that I have "passed" so I won't forget what I've worked so hard on in the past. By many times I just don't have the time for that.

I work on small sections at a time mostly, but do play through the piece because that is what I do at my lesson. My hands are not as flexible as I'd like. I can barely reach an octave. For example in Reverie there is a C octave with a E flat but I can't reach it so my teacher has me doing the E flat and the high C, leaving the lower C out.


Love learning the piano now that I am retired.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2846635
05/09/19 01:56 AM
05/09/19 01:56 AM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 9
Florence, MT
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PatG Offline OP
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Florence, MT
I want to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions. Many things to consider and put into practice.


Love learning the piano now that I am retired.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2846636
05/09/19 01:57 AM
05/09/19 01:57 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 370
India
Tech-key Offline
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India
PatG, I found your dedication very inspiring. I wish you all the very best for your piano playing, and hope the issues get sorted out thumb

Originally Posted by PatG
dogperson I've written down "What works for me is to think of my lessons as being ‘problem solving’ and not ‘see how hard I’ve worked this week’ Lessons.” - Good for me to remember. I do bring written questions as they come up during my practice that I need help with.

This is such good advice. I tend to treat my playing in the lessons as some sort of performance practice. What's worse, I hardly ever ask any questions. Heck! Maybe I should write this down too. Loved your idea about bringing written questions. I'll try that this week. My teacher will be surprised by the sudden enthusiasm. Haha.


Think Twice, Play Once
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: outo] #2846639
05/09/19 02:06 AM
05/09/19 02:06 AM
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Posts: 3,091
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joe80 Offline
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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by joe80


I am almost certain that will eliminate any catastrophes you may be experiencing! Good luck!



Don't know about your students, but I have always practiced the way you describe. It has not made me consistent. There are still catastrophies. However they are not technical but either random memory failures or problems with reading familiar music. When it comes to technical playing consistency it should work the way you describe.

I think my naturally short attention span is the major cause of inconsistency. Paradoxically, the more secure the piece is technically the more difficult it is to maintain the minimum attention level required to keep playing.



Yeah accidents still happen, but if you can go from playing it right 1 time out of 10 to 5 times out of 10, that's an improvement.

Oh memory lapses? I have a way to avoid them...... I just use the score more and more. I have so much music to learn at the moment, and I'm doing so much teaching, that I have absolutely no problem performing in public with the score if I feel in any way insecure. In fact I don't know why more people don't, but that's for another thread.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2846641
05/09/19 02:09 AM
05/09/19 02:09 AM
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Posts: 3,091
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joe80 Offline
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Outo, I do suffer from the odd concentration lapse too, and that can have hilariously frustrating results.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2847554
05/12/19 01:31 PM
05/12/19 01:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 17
Houston, TX
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tkdoyle Offline
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Houston, TX
As someone in a similar situation, let me stress attention to consistent fingering. I can play by ear reasonably well but find that my "ear" often leads my hands to adopt fingering other than what I'm aiming for. As a result, I struggle with keeping the same fingering from session to session...but it is crucial NOT to change fingering constantly. Make sure you're not falling into this same trap.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2847591
05/12/19 05:10 PM
05/12/19 05:10 PM
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Posts: 3
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You'll need X amount of practice until you can get the piece right, and then the you need 10 times more practice until you cannot get it wrong anymore. At least for me a piece might be OK(ish) in practice setting after 2 weeks, but it will still takes 6 months to make it really solid.

I've found that trying to vary the practice conditions as much a possible helps to make it more consistent. Play slow and fast, quiet and loud. Play with eyes on the score, looking right hand only, looking on left hand only, eyes closed. Focusing on the melody, harmony, pedal. Bench close to piano, far from piano, sitting still, moving about, radio on the background, etc. This way your brain will learn filter out the distractions and learn the actual music independent from the practice environment. If you always practice in identical conditions you'll need to reproduce those exact conditions to be able play well and all small deviations can throw you off.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: Cocorbett] #2847593
05/12/19 05:25 PM
05/12/19 05:25 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,502
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Joined: Apr 2009
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Pennsylvania
Originally Posted by Cocorbett
If you always practice in identical conditions you'll need to reproduce those exact conditions to be able play well and all small deviations can throw you off.


This is a very important concept to understand. It is rarely mentioned as being a factor in how well you can play something.

You can find yourself moving your head in the EXACT SAME motion pattern as you play and if you vary that at all it can cause your brain to become confused and you lose your place in the music.

Other things too …. if repeated each time you play …. can become part of the picture you brain has of what to do and if you break that pattern you can get confused.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2847596
05/12/19 05:35 PM
05/12/19 05:35 PM
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Posts: 1,034
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Moo :) Offline
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Is it this piece ?



If you have been practising playing 3 hours a day for 6 months fair enough it is to be expected you are frustrated. I would have been frustrated much much much before this. I do not know know your standard but to me it looks like a piece too difficult for someone who has been learning piano for only 18 months. Is there any special reason why this piece and why you are persisting for so long. What did your teacher about it ?

I think 6 months is a bit too long for one piece especially as you are practising so much. I know everyone would like to suggest a quick fix or random method but I would have done the opposite. I would just have move on and come back to the piece in a year or so rather than getting frustrated. There is no real solution for a piece far beyond abilities I'm afraid, it effects everyone.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: dmd] #2847599
05/12/19 05:50 PM
05/12/19 05:50 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 737
South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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South Wales
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Cocorbett
If you always practice in identical conditions you'll need to reproduce those exact conditions to be able play well and all small deviations can throw you off.


This is a very important concept to understand. It is rarely mentioned as being a factor in how well you can play something.

You can find yourself moving your head in the EXACT SAME motion pattern as you play and if you vary that at all it can cause your brain to become confused and you lose your place in the music.

Other things too …. if repeated each time you play …. can become part of the picture you brain has of what to do and if you break that pattern you can get confused.




Amen to all of this. Play a piece in an many different situations as possible - different sounds as well, different pianos, different actions and so on.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: dmd] #2847601
05/12/19 06:00 PM
05/12/19 06:00 PM
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Posts: 3
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Cocorbett Offline
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Originally Posted by dmd

You can find yourself moving your head in the EXACT SAME motion pattern as you play and if you vary that at all it can cause your brain to become confused and you lose your place in the music.


Yes, this exact thing happened to me with pretty much all pieces on two first years of practice. It's funny how you think that you know a piece almost perfectly when you can play it 10 times in row without mistakes, but in reality the piece is very fragile and goes all wrong if you just look the wrong direction at the wrong time. When I realized what was going on I forced myself to break the choreography by playing through my pieces keeping my eyes on right hand only, and then on left hand only, then or the score, and randomly moving between all three. It has helped a lot.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: Cocorbett] #2847657
05/13/19 04:37 AM
05/13/19 04:37 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 572
Sweden
Animisha Offline
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Originally Posted by Cocorbett
You'll need X amount of practice until you can get the piece right, and then the you need 10 times more practice until you cannot get it wrong anymore.

I have found this to be an impossible idea, and the longer the piece, the more impossible. Also, as a beginner, I think you'll learn more when you move one once you know a piece well enough, when you can play it with good technique and dynamics. Then an occasional mistake when you play the piece is nothing to worry about. Not a consistent though, because they need working on, and not a mistake every time you play the piece, because then you do need to practise the piece some more.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2847725
05/13/19 10:49 AM
05/13/19 10:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 442
Just outside London UK
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I am still a bit nervous when playing in front of my teacher but much less so that I was. I recommend reading "The Perfect Wrong Note" by William Westney and then telling yourself that what you play in front of your teacher is not a performance, but a chance to locate mistakes so your teacher can help you.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: akc42] #2848145
05/14/19 05:31 PM
05/14/19 05:31 PM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 238
Sweden
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Originally Posted by akc42
I am still a bit nervous when playing in front of my teacher but much less so that I was. I recommend reading "The Perfect Wrong Note" by William Westney and then telling yourself that what you play in front of your teacher is not a performance, but a chance to locate mistakes so your teacher can help you.


That book is awesome and he is an awesome teacher as well. I had the pleasure to have a few lessons with him last summer and they were the best lessons I've ever had. He helped me to believe in myself as a pianist. (I am only on amateur level and I have no plans to change that, but even amateurs have their goals and dreams ...)

Frustration and self-doubt are your worst enemies if you want to develop as a pianist. After this book and these lessons I do not doubt in my methods any longer, and mistakes - well, they are necessary if you want to develop. Who would enjoy a computer game that does not contain challenges and difficulties? In the same way mistakes and difficulties can be very exciting and stimulating in piano practice, if you just allow them to.

Re: frustrated and new to forum [Re: PatG] #2848807
05/16/19 12:42 PM
05/16/19 12:42 PM
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diviajar1 Offline
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Hello. What grade is this Sonatina? I've heard it now on YouTube it sounds so difficult. And yet, it is listed as level1. Is it really level 1? Thank you.

(I mean Clementi Sonatina opus 36 no 3)

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