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Making practice of piece more interesting
#2897973 10/07/19 03:34 PM
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Do you people have tricks how to make practicing boring piece more interesting? Or making practicing interesting piece even more interesting? Please give your insight so others could too learn to make their practice more pleasant and interesting.

While back I had a piece in training that was just boring for me. I struggled through it and learned it to decent level, but before I got it to good level, I had to toss it, because I couldn't find any interest to practice it anymore.

I now gave this another thought, and maybe I would been able to finish that piece if there were something to make it more interesting.

Some tricks that came to my mind that could be tried in this kind of situation:
* Messing up with dynamics: switching P with F and reverse. Or just playing with "random" dynamics
* Messing up with tempo: playing with half tempo or with double tempo, or changing tempo randomly
* Switching keys from major to minor or reverse (this might be too hard, at least for me, for more difficult pieces)


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Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2897990 10/07/19 04:19 PM
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Choose pieces you really want to learn because of their great appeal and the problem is solved. If you have a teacher ask them for a different piece or a choice of pieces when they assign a new piece. Then listen to the piece on YouTube and decide.

I don't think your suggestions about changing things in the pieces are helpful or make sense.

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2897997 10/07/19 04:53 PM
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Not every student has a choice of which pieces to learn. As a child-student, I never had a choice;; my teacher decided what I needed to learn and handed it to me. End of discussion . As an adult student, those still in method books may not have a choice, either. (Even those outside of method books may not)

I do not agree with doing things that will mean it will affect the original learning. Therefore, I would never change from major to minor. You want your fingers to learn where to go’ so don’t confuse the poor little guys.

I would experiment with the volume: try it at pp vs p. Change how you play the decrescendo. Can you voice the left hand a little softer or a little louder?

Have a section where you are not playing the notes evenly? Practice in dotted rhythms.
Left hand too loud? Practice by ghosting the notes.

Experiment with fingering and evaluate how it feels and sounds.

In ofher words, view pieces you don’t like as a school assignment: identify problems and use creative ways to work on the problem. FWIW

Last edited by dogperson; 10/07/19 04:54 PM.

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Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898019 10/07/19 06:04 PM
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It is an interesting topic. You can change how you practice. It can make a hard part more interesting and more useful than just playing over and over. I often would often practice only parts of the piece. Practice slower. Practice faster. Sometimes practice in rhythms in a faster passage to get it secure and even. Practice hands separately but only more rarely now. I would not change the score like you describe. I do believe some advanced pianists can do the third option where they are able to transpose the music to different keys. I have absolutely no idea how they do this! That’s I think crazy hard to do, can you do that? I used to have a czery exercise book and it was so boring I used to play the exercise in different keys so it might be possible for very simple music.

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898021 10/07/19 06:09 PM
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Ha, I found it. Nightmare. I could play the first and second exercise in the book one in different major keys. I think it’s a way of making it more interesting so maybe try ot with these see if it help you. I think with a piece it’ll be too hard to do.

https://youtu.be/E3lDcnlyhJo

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898025 10/07/19 06:17 PM
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My teacher once suggested I take all the arpeggios in a piece and play them as chords and vice versa.

so, if there are 3 measures where the notes are C-E=G-C-E-G--Bb- C, take the first 3 notes of the phrase and place CEG as a chord., then EGC as a chord, and so forth (within the beat if possible). It works in some pieces where the notes in an arpeggio may seem completely random but when played as a chord, sounds much simpler.

Also, other things I have experimented with include playing legato v. staccato. Adding "jazzy" rhythms to certain phrases... playing notes in doubles and thirds...so if there is a section where the notes are "C-D-E-F-G--C-D-C-D", I take that passage and add a double note so its played "CC- DD- EE-GG-CC-DD-CC" and so forth..This makes my brain focus more on the notes..

Lots of different ways to mentally approach practicing a piece..

Last edited by AssociateX; 10/07/19 06:22 PM.

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Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898030 10/07/19 06:25 PM
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Yes I remember this. Scales and arpeggios it’s a great idea to mix it up. In the piano exam board I did I remember having to play scales with a different dynamics. loud or soft. staccato or legato. Crescendo or diminuendo. Rather than up and down there was some you start on one note and you go in opposite directions with the hands. I never practiced scales in rhythms but that’s a good idea also.

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898031 10/07/19 06:31 PM
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I would say always practice multiple pieces at a time, so you won't get bored by just that one piece over and over.


Lately i'v been playing around with piano accompanied by strings (as in violin) when im on my digital, depending on the pieces played it can sound pretty nice and make for a pleasant practicing session.

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Moo :) #2898041 10/07/19 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I do believe some advanced pianists can do the third option where they are able to transpose the music to different keys. I have absolutely no idea how they do this!
I think it was Nadia Boulanger(?) who assigned her students a new Bach P&F for every lesson(at least weekly) and the student had to be able to play it in any key.

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898054 10/07/19 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Juke
Do you people have tricks how to make practicing boring piece more interesting? Or making practicing interesting piece even more interesting? Please give your insight so others could too learn to make their practice more pleasant and interesting.

While back I had a piece in training that was just boring for me. I struggled through it and learned it to decent level, but before I got it to good level, I had to toss it, because I couldn't find any interest to practice it anymore.

I now gave this another thought, and maybe I would been able to finish that piece if there were something to make it more interesting.

Some tricks that came to my mind that could be tried in this kind of situation:
* Messing up with dynamics: switching P with F and reverse. Or just playing with "random" dynamics
* Messing up with tempo: playing with half tempo or with double tempo, or changing tempo randomly
* Switching keys from major to minor or reverse (this might be too hard, at least for me, for more difficult pieces)

Honestly, I try to take a day off from each piece I work on every 4 days or so. That helps a ton.

Also, I work on detailed technical stuff most of the time, and every few days just play straight through. This helps too, because the tech work will get the piece to performance level with quickest, but the play throughs are satisfying.

I will do some of the things you mention (like do opposite dynamics or tempos), but only if I'm trying to address a specific problem like tension or coming up with different musical ideas.

Lastly, I will take long breaks off from a piece that I'm working on. I might be 4-6 weeks on for learning, then take 3-4 weeks off, then come back at it for another 3-4 weeks, then take another 2 weeks off, then revisit to polish. Each time I come back after a break, I do have to "relearn" it, but the time to do that is very short, and it keeps the music interesting.


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Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898085 10/08/19 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Juke
Do you people have tricks how to make practicing boring piece more interesting?

I don't know if this make practising more interesting, but more bearable: Divide the piece into short but overlapping sections. Practise them in random order, three minutes each, once or twice a day. Or, if it is hard for you to keep track of which sections you have practised, practise them from the bottom up.
This helps me to disconnect a bit from the feelings that the piece gives me, for instance, an ugly piece.


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Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898153 10/08/19 08:15 AM
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We don't know if the age of the OP or their level or which piece(s) they dislike. All that information would be useful.

I think all adults should have some say in the selection of their pieces. Even teenagers should have some say since the teacher/pupil relationship is different from what it was 20 or 50 years ago. If a beginner is using a method book, surely the teacher can find a different piece with the same pedagogical value to replace a piece a student dislikes so the student doesn't have to do the "next piece" all the time.

Learning piano should be enjoyable. I can't think of anything more motivating then the prospect of learning pieces one likes a lot.

Re: Making practice of piece more interesting
Juke #2898168 10/08/19 08:55 AM
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From my learning years of piano, what made the pieces interesting for me was if the given piece contains elements that help me make progress, in my technique, interpretation or some other aspects. If I learned something, then it was enjoyable and fruitful, also including discovering new music, even if I did no liked it. Of course I have preferences, and it is always possible to make arrangements with the teacher to switch. For me a boring piece is one that does not teach me anything or not much.


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