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"Eureka" Moments?
#2906396 10/30/19 10:13 AM
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I'm curious if anyone has had an insight they might like to share that others newer to the learning process might benefit from. Maybe the "eureka" moment that made a piece "click" or enabled some sort of rapid progress to be made--or some technique to fall into place.

I had two such moments yesterday during and after a lesson.

The first was very simple: I had been struggling to play an uptempo passage. My teacher suggested a looser wristed approach. This immediately brought the part to a presentable state. I generally have a fairly light touch but was tensing up in anticipation of difficulty---Perhaps the worst thing one could do.
Simple, tangible, immediate impact.

The other was after sharing with my teacher that I thought one of the pieces I've been working on sounded poor. She disagreed and suggested I record myself. For some reason I had never done so. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she was right---and more importantly-- I was also able to make some minor tempo/dynamic tweaks to other pieces for an immediate impact. Wish I'd been doing this all along.

I realize that neither of these examples are novel or new ideas---low hanging fruit---but perhaps someone else may find this useful.

I'm curious to hear what others might have to share.

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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906403 10/30/19 10:39 AM
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This is probably really obvious to everyone but me, but...

I was practicing playing random major scales. The program would give me the key signature, and I had to play the scale, but there was a time limit to start. I was having trouble deciphering everything quickly enough to know where the sharps and flats were before starting. After a while, I realized they're really predictable. Sharps start on the left and go from the left black key in the group of 3, then the left black key in the group of two, then next from the left on the group of three, then the next from the left in the group of two, then the last in the group of three. Then you're out of black keys, so you go to the white key left of the group of 3, and then the white key to the left of the group of two. Flats are the same, but they start from the right side instead of the left side. Realizing this made it so much faster to see a key signature, count that there are x number of sharps/flats, and automatically know where they are on the keyboard without even thinking about it.

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
enw10 #2906413 10/30/19 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by enw10
This is probably really obvious to everyone but me, but...

I was practicing playing random major scales. The program would give me the key signature, and I had to play the scale, but there was a time limit to start. I was having trouble deciphering everything quickly enough to know where the sharps and flats were before starting. After a while, I realized they're really predictable. Sharps start on the left and go from the left black key in the group of 3, then the left black key in the group of two, then next from the left on the group of three, then the next from the left in the group of two, then the last in the group of three. Then you're out of black keys, so you go to the white key left of the group of 3, and then the white key to the left of the group of two. Flats are the same, but they start from the right side instead of the left side. Realizing this made it so much faster to see a key signature, count that there are x number of sharps/flats, and automatically know where they are on the keyboard without even thinking about it.


Defintely not obvious to me---and definitely useful.

Thanks for sharing

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906415 10/30/19 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Antihero
Originally Posted by enw10
This is probably really obvious to everyone but me, but...

I was practicing playing random major scales. The program would give me the key signature, and I had to play the scale, but there was a time limit to start. I was having trouble deciphering everything quickly enough to know where the sharps and flats were before starting. After a while, I realized they're really predictable. Sharps start on the left and go from the left black key in the group of 3, then the left black key in the group of two, then next from the left on the group of three, then the next from the left in the group of two, then the last in the group of three. Then you're out of black keys, so you go to the white key left of the group of 3, and then the white key to the left of the group of two. Flats are the same, but they start from the right side instead of the left side. Realizing this made it so much faster to see a key signature, count that there are x number of sharps/flats, and automatically know where they are on the keyboard without even thinking about it.


Defintely not obvious to me---and definitely useful.

Thanks for sharing


+1


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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906423 10/30/19 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Antihero
I'm curious if anyone has had an insight they might like to share that others newer to the learning process might benefit from. Maybe the "eureka" moment that made a piece "click" or enabled some sort of rapid progress to be made--or some technique to fall into place.

I had two such moments yesterday during and after a lesson.

The first was very simple: I had been struggling to play an uptempo passage. My teacher suggested a looser wristed approach. This immediately brought the part to a presentable state. I generally have a fairly light touch but was tensing up in anticipation of difficulty---Perhaps the worst thing one could do.
Simple, tangible, immediate impact.

The other was after sharing with my teacher that I thought one of the pieces I've been working on sounded poor. She disagreed and suggested I record myself. For some reason I had never done so. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she was right---and more importantly-- I was also able to make some minor tempo/dynamic tweaks to other pieces for an immediate impact. Wish I'd been doing this all along.

I realize that neither of these examples are novel or new ideas---low hanging fruit---but perhaps someone else may find this useful.

I'm curious to hear what others might have to share.


Recording yourself can be very discouraging early on, You picked a good time to start. thumb

When it seems like small pieces of advice are having a big effect, you could argue that that's because of all our previous work.

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
johnstaf #2906437 10/30/19 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Antihero
I'm curious if anyone has had an insight they might like to share that others newer to the learning process might benefit from. Maybe the "eureka" moment that made a piece "click" or enabled some sort of rapid progress to be made--or some technique to fall into place.

I had two such moments yesterday during and after a lesson.

The first was very simple: I had been struggling to play an uptempo passage. My teacher suggested a looser wristed approach. This immediately brought the part to a presentable state. I generally have a fairly light touch but was tensing up in anticipation of difficulty---Perhaps the worst thing one could do.
Simple, tangible, immediate impact.

The other was after sharing with my teacher that I thought one of the pieces I've been working on sounded poor. She disagreed and suggested I record myself. For some reason I had never done so. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she was right---and more importantly-- I was also able to make some minor tempo/dynamic tweaks to other pieces for an immediate impact. Wish I'd been doing this all along.

I realize that neither of these examples are novel or new ideas---low hanging fruit---but perhaps someone else may find this useful.

I'm curious to hear what others might have to share.


Recording yourself can be very discouraging early on, You picked a good time to start. thumb

When it seems like small pieces of advice are having a big effect, you could argue that that's because of all our previous work.



Maybe I should be glad I waited to start recording---but I am finding it extremely helpful already. Much more than anticipated.

You're probably right about the groundwork exaggerating the impact of small pieces of advice. But can't help but wonder about other low hanging fruit.

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
enw10 #2906505 10/30/19 03:55 PM
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enw10 - Thanks for sharing about the flats and sharps. I didn't know that. That's cool!
Antihero - Talking about recording yourself. When you have been working on a piece for awhile, sometimes you don't really see the improvement where your teacher can. What I do is record a new piece fairly early in the learning process and then again when I pass the piece. Sometimes I'll record it a few times in the middle of my learning it. I save all these recordings on my computer in a folder with the date that I passed it with the name of the piece. I also make a paper copy of the piece and write the dates that I started and finished it and keep it in a three ring binder by date and year. I then have all pieces I've played in one location and can go to the recording if I want to or just play from my binder. It's an encouragement to see my progress this way. In January I will be starting my third year.


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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
PatG #2906507 10/30/19 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
enw10 - Thanks for sharing about the flats and sharps. I didn't know that. That's cool!
Antihero - Talking about recording yourself. When you have been working on a piece for awhile, sometimes you don't really see the improvement where your teacher can. What I do is record a new piece fairly early in the learning process and then again when I pass the piece. Sometimes I'll record it a few times in the middle of my learning it. I save all these recordings on my computer in a folder with the date that I passed it with the name of the piece. I also make a paper copy of the piece and write the dates that I started and finished it and keep it in a three ring binder by date and year. I then have all pieces I've played in one location and can go to the recording if I want to or just play from my binder. It's an encouragement to see my progress this way. In January I will be starting my third year.


Thanks. I like the approach to recording.

Out of curiosity: Does pass mean your instructor blesses you to move on or are you officially working through grades or levels?

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906607 10/30/19 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Antihero
I'm curious if anyone has had an insight they might like to share that others newer to the learning process might benefit from. Maybe the "eureka" moment that made a piece "click" or enabled some sort of rapid progress to be made--or some technique to fall into place.



My eureka moment came years ago, but a book I bought recently, (How to Blitz Sight Reading by Samantha Coates), reminded me of it because the author had formalised what I had discovered back then. It was simply that for sight reading (and playing in general), physically understanding the rhythm is a major factor. While we are taught to count, and initially encouraged to count out loud, it is often too demanding to count, think, look ahead and play, all at the same time. So recognising various rhythms needs to become as second nature as playing in keys with accidentals.

In the aforementioned book, the student taps out the treble with the right hand and the bass with the left (while counting). Seems easy enough until you hit your own personal wall. For some of these exercises, it might take me several days of test and sleep before the rhythm becomes more natural, and only then is it any use trying to do the actual exercise as a sight reading exercise.

As a side benefit, doing tapping exercises that were a little advanced of my sight reading level, made exercises at my actual level seem much easier.

What I have found during the journey, is that my eureka moments are generally me just finally getting something my teacher has already been telling me for ages. smile


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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
earlofmar #2906705 10/31/19 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
Originally Posted by Antihero
I'm curious if anyone has had an insight they might like to share that others newer to the learning process might benefit from. Maybe the "eureka" moment that made a piece "click" or enabled some sort of rapid progress to be made--or some technique to fall into place.



My eureka moment came years ago, but a book I bought recently, (How to Blitz Sight Reading by Samantha Coates), reminded me of it because the author had formalised what I had discovered back then. It was simply that for sight reading (and playing in general), physically understanding the rhythm is a major factor. While we are taught to count, and initially encouraged to count out loud, it is often too demanding to count, think, look ahead and play, all at the same time. So recognising various rhythms needs to become as second nature as playing in keys with accidentals.

In the aforementioned book, the student taps out the treble with the right hand and the bass with the left (while counting). Seems easy enough until you hit your own personal wall. For some of these exercises, it might take me several days of test and sleep before the rhythm becomes more natural, and only then is it any use trying to do the actual exercise as a sight reading exercise.

As a side benefit, doing tapping exercises that were a little advanced of my sight reading level, made exercises at my actual level seem much easier.

What I have found during the journey, is that my eureka moments are generally me just finally getting something my teacher has already been telling me for ages. smile



The tapping exercise sounds very useful. I could have used that when learning Opening by Philip Glass!
Would have saved me some frustration.

Your last statement does make sense. Maybe it is just sometimes a matter of the right learning situationto make things "gel".

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906739 10/31/19 09:59 AM
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Thousands of these moments will combine to make you a great player!

AOTW Achievement of The Week is filled with moments like this.


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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
cmb13 #2906827 10/31/19 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Thousands of these moments will combine to make you a great player!

AOTW Achievement of The Week is filled with moments like this.


I hope you're correct!

I'm not sure what AOTW means. Could you please elaborate?

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906828 10/31/19 02:22 PM
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Slow practice.

When I practise, I slow down till I don't make mistakes. I read somewhere that a repeated mistake will take a lot of practice to get rid of it.



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906835 10/31/19 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Antihero
I'm not sure what AOTW means. Could you please elaborate?

This thread here.


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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Antihero #2906836 10/31/19 02:46 PM
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One of my Eureka moments (I've had a few, but they didn't always lead to much) was from watching a Graham Fitch video on practicing. For various reasons (which I've been into before at tedious length, but basically so as not drive those within earshot barking mad...) I often used to play a new piece through as a 'sketch' - the 'main parts,' as I recognise them (all the way through, though, which is probably a bit naughty, at tempo, with expression etc.) and then on subsequent playings add more and more in, although occasionally altering which bits were added if I needed to concentrate more on the new bit added, but always with the intention of getting it all included and working to tempo and with expression whilst going along.

From one of Graham's videos it seems that this is (in part) a valid approach
I tend not to do this so much at the moment because I can play using headphones, but in fact it is / was much more enjoyable than breaking the piece up into manageable chunks and practicing slowly. However, I'm grateful to Graham Fitch for at least a 'partial validation' of my approach - which was my 'Eureka moment.'


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Re: "Eureka" Moments?
petebfrance #2906842 10/31/19 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
One of my Eureka moments (I've had a few, but they didn't always lead to much) was from watching a Graham Fitch video on practicing.

If you found that video worthwhile, I just wanted to mention that Fitch has an entire series on practicing of multiple parts and volumes. Some are free to read for Amazon Prime members.


[Linked Image]
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: "Eureka" Moments?
Tyrone Slothrop #2906851 10/31/19 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by petebfrance
One of my Eureka moments (I've had a few, but they didn't always lead to much) was from watching a Graham Fitch video on practicing.

If you found that video worthwhile, I just wanted to mention that Fitch has an entire series on practicing of multiple parts and volumes. Some are free to read for Amazon Prime members.

Thank-you, that is very interesting. Will have a look although I don't have Amazon Prime. I have watched a number of his videos and kept links to them for later use, but so far haven't needed to go back - his approach makes things 'sink in' rather well - kind of slow absorption, but goes in quite deep (or maybe I've just forgotten what they were about. wink )


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Pete
Re: "Eureka" Moments?
petebfrance #2906853 10/31/19 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by petebfrance
One of my Eureka moments (I've had a few, but they didn't always lead to much) was from watching a Graham Fitch video on practicing.

If you found that video worthwhile, I just wanted to mention that Fitch has an entire series on practicing of multiple parts and volumes. Some are free to read for Amazon Prime members.

Thank-you, that is very interesting. Will have a look although I don't have Amazon Prime. I have watched a number of his videos and kept links to them for later use, but so far haven't needed to go back - his approach makes things 'sink in' rather well - kind of slow absorption, but goes in quite deep (or maybe I've just forgotten what they were about. wink )

Sorry, I realized it wasn't Amazon Prime, but Kindle Unlimited which I also am subscribing to. There is a 30-day free trial if you just want to subscribe, read, and cancel. This is the first in the series from Amazon.co.uk.


[Linked Image]
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: "Eureka" Moments?
Serge88 #2906893 10/31/19 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Serge88
Slow practice.

When I practise, I slow down till I don't make mistakes. I read somewhere that a repeated mistake will take a lot of practice to get rid of it.


Great insight.

I unfortunately drilled the second part of Fur Elise with bad timing before I should have been

I am still trying to undo the damage.

Re: "Eureka" Moments?
Tyrone Slothrop #2906895 10/31/19 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Antihero
I'm not sure what AOTW means. Could you please elaborate?

This thread here.


Thanks!

Seems so obvious now...

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