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I am not sure if this is the best section to have my practice log but I like the idea of keeping track of my progress very much. Thank you Ankee for inspiration.

A little bit about me: I am 22, currently studying at university. I played flute a bit as a child but gave up soon, then I learned a couple of "songs" on ukulele but didn´t stick with it either. In January this year, I bought myself a Yamaha P-45 and wasted roughly 5 months trying to teach myself from the internet (with very poor results). Then I found a teacher whose schedule was already pretty much full and she used to cancel the lessons often so I found another one (in mid September).

The previous teacher did not want to work with method books so I started working on the Adult piano adventures 1 book myself. I am now working towards the end of the book with my current teacher. I learned some bad habits during the period when I didn´t have a teacher and this is the reason I am still working on the first book (already bought the second one and looking forward to working on it) - relearning some things.

I practice for an hour and a half every day except for 3 days in a month.
My typical practice session consists of 20 - 30 minutes of technique (scales, chords, broken chords, etudes), 10 minutes of reading (generated random notes, at 40 BPM) and the rest is spent on pieces.
I get assigned approx. 3 pieces a week from the method book and usually I also work on a long-term piece simultaneously.
Except my digital piano, I also practice on an acoustic one which is freely available in our dorms smile

I´d like to focus mainly on classical piano. I love Chopin very much and I also understand how technically challenging his pieces are - so first must come the CORRECT technique.

I won´t post every day as it seems pointless to me (and time consuming). I´d like to give a brief update every weekend.
Any constructive criticism is highly appreciated.

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Before you get into the technically challenging pieces, there are books you can buy with easy arrangements of Classical music to get you started. The last book my teacher recommended is "Easy Piano Easy Classics". There is a common piece in the book "Meditation from Thais" by Jules Massenet you hear all the time. There pieces are in large print from 1 to 3 pages. I'm not a fan of Chopin but I did play a few pieces from easy arrangements before getting the sheet music for the full version.

In the beginning a teacher would recommend minuets & other similar pieces out of the Notebook for Anna M Bach like "Minuet in G". The focus is playing the right notes in a regular beat than playing with different dynamics & phrasing. You'd play pieces from the 17th & 18th century starting with pieces by Bach, Handel & Scarlatti and then moving on to Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, etc. and finally Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc.

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Good luck. Your teacher is the best person to advice you on practice. It seems a long time to be spending 30 minutes on what you call technique. Some of what you describe seem me to be very odd and random. you play random generated notes for 10 minutes. you pratice playing the same chords. I was more interested in why you are doing it. If it were recommended by a teacher and you were given a good reason then fine. If it was something Josh Wright recommended, mr piano superman or something that you read online online then it is not fine. You should never listen to online advice. Especially from online forums, they are the worst wink. Good luck.

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
if it was something Josh Wright recommended, mr piano superman or something that you read online online then it is not fine. You should never listen to online advice. Especially from online forums, they are the worst wink. Good luck.

It's still fine if that is what the OP wants to learn from smile


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I think many piano teachers would disagree. I don’t think many would advise people to be getting advice from YouTube. My experience is YouTube is generally unhelpful as a teaching resource. I am not adverse to anything so long as people teachers recommend it. I won’t post again as I don’t want another teacher versus self learning hijack.

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I think many piano teachers would disagree. I don’t think many would advise people to be getting advice from YouTube. My experience is YouTube is generally unhelpful as a teaching resource. I am not adverse to anything so long as people teachers recommend it. I won’t post again as I don’t want another teacher versus self learning hijack.

While I am personally in agreement with you about how useful teachers are, I also don't think we should ping on relatively new members on the teacher vs. self-learning debate - especially as the OP does have a teacher.


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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
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Hi Tom! I have been hanging around here for a while, and I think a log is a good idea for some. I have learned a lot from the more experienced player logs, and also happy to chip in with beginners like me cool

One thing I learned is we each have to find our own way. Good Luck!


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Sounds like you're off to a great start. Good luck! My advice is to record yourself and put some videos on youtube. It's great to look back on down the track, and both playing under pressure and listening to yourself critically are important skills to develop.

A modern-ish smartphone is all you need.

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Originally Posted by Tom97
I am not sure if this is the best section to have my practice log but I like the idea of keeping track of my progress very much. ..........I won´t post every day as it seems pointless to me (and time consuming). I´d like to give a brief update every weekend.
Any constructive criticism is highly appreciated.
Another place to record and get feedback on what you're working on is to post in the FOYD thread, which hasn't been resurrected for some time, but should be!

FOYD--Focus On Your Domain


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thepianoplayer416: I will look into it, thank you for the suggestions

Moo smile : Thank you for the advice. I´ve noticed you are not a fan of Josh. I watch his videos from time to time and I like them. I am not saying I am actively learning from the videos, there are more like extra little pieces of information.

Progman, AndrewJCW - thank you!

--------------------------------------------------

I´ve uploaded a few videos from my practice session today - E major scale in different tempos, broken and blocked chords in the same key, right hand from one exercise by Czerny ( I am in the process of learning the left hand now which is pretty easy), 3 pieces from my method book and one piece that I used to play a lot a few months ago (as an absolute beginner) - I don´t play it anymore because the habits I developed while playing it are just so bad, the fingerings are weird and it´s just mess overall...but it is probably the most "musical" thing I can play smile I was advised by my teacher not to play it for the reasons above - I also tense a lot during the ascending scale at 0:44. There was no sheet music when I was learning it - I was simply listening to piano covers on youtube, watching the hands and trying to figure out how to play it myself. I used to play it better and without the mistakes (mostly) - I am not going to polish it up again just for the sake of a good recording.

Sorry for the poor quality in some of the videos - I´ll try to fix it until next time.
I´ll also try to record my wrists as well.

Videos:

















Thank you in advance for any feedback!

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I think Tom that you are doing things correctly. Learning with a teacher and from a method book is how I learnt and i think the best way. I will not provide feedback as I think you doing are very well and this should be from your teacher. I'm intrigued about chord practice. I was never taught to do this. Was it recommended ? I am too not sure if it is a useful thing to learn. It is more common to play broken chords or arpeggios rather than blocked chords. I think thumb on black notes was that may be a bit confusing for a relative beginner and not something I would have been taught to practice. Not sure. My only query is about the piano. I think with the last piece it sounded like a keyboard problem to me. There is a banging sound when you tried to play loud. Is the keyboards not weighted keys?

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Moo: Yeah the clicking sounds are very annoying. When I play I don´t hear it - doesn´t matter if I use headphones or not.
It does have weighted keys and feels pretty much like a real piano. For some reason the annoying sounds stick out on the recording, I´ll try to fix it somehow. One option is to use the MIDI cable but then it would be hard to have to video as well.

About the chord practice - I was told to do it. One reason might be that I struggled to press all the keys evenly when playing a chord. Every 14 days a learn a new scale and also chords (both broken and blocked) for that key. I don´t spend too much time just playing chords though.

I´ve noticed the way piano is taught in my country is quite different from what I´ve seen in many youtube videos... (and I´ve seen a lot of them + I´ve also tried more teacher, not just the two I mentioned).

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Great recordings, thanks for sharing. If you want advice on technique you might want to post some from a lower angle, where people can see your wrist and hand posture better. It does look nice and relaxed for a beginner from overhead imo though (just from another beginner).

Learning chords like that is very typical for anyone wanting to get into pop and jazz. If your focus is just classical I'm not sure it's a great use of time at this early stage.

I can understand why your teacher doesn't want you playing Ray Charles. Looks like you were having a dangerous amount of fun. You better promise not to play that anymore and do 2 hours of czerny exercises today to make up for it.

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Hi Tom, are you playing the broken chords as written down in a book? They indicate fingering.

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Originally Posted by Tom97
I´ve noticed the way piano is taught in my country is quite different from what I´ve seen in many youtube videos... (and I´ve seen a lot of them + I´ve also tried more teacher, not just the two I mentioned).


I actually learnt exactly as you have done. In UK as children almost everyone start with a method book and the difference may be afterwards where we go onto an exam system. Every one I knew who played as children do grade exams. I am not sure what is the alternative system but I do not think youtube is a good example as all. Perhaps I am in an abnormality because it appears to be only one poster bennevis who was from uk and said he has done this and not memorised until recently. I also have never memorised a piece of music. i think americans have different system that do not have grades and there may be a requirement for memorisation by teachers. Perhaps a cultural difference. So if you are confused by youtube system this is only a good thing. This is full of a lot of rubbish and only some gems and it is not possilbe for a beginner to know the difference. Interestingly I joined a local piano group last year and play music there. Whereas as a child even the beginner in UK would have the music out and be able to follow it even if the playing is bad, I was very shocked that half of the adults could not read music or said they have memorised as they could not follow the music. As someone who has reached somewhat between grade 8 and diploma level now and managed to get this far without ever never memorised a thing I cannot and still cannot understand it at all. I have never heard anyone as children saying they could not follow music. Maybe it is a cultural difference as you say or a difference from when you learn as an adult it can be easier to remember music. The chord practice dies sound fine and there is a logical reaason was given from your teacher. I would try not to doubt your system too much. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
Maybe it is a cultural difference as you say.

The North American RCM system, promoted by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto Canada, makes memorization mandatory at the higher levels and diploma levels.

We also heard from Sam S that at the college/university/conservatory level in the US, memorization is also required unless it is certain 20th-21st century pieces.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"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
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Moo :)
Maybe it is a cultural difference as you say.

The North American RCM system, promoted by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto Canada, makes memorization mandatory at the higher levels and diploma levels.

We also heard from Sam S that at the college/university/conservatory level in the US, memorization is also required unless it is certain 20th-21st century pieces.


Ok I did not know this. Why is this a requirement? I think at a very high level it probably is more understandable. To be honest most of the people when I asked it was because they learnt as adults and there reason was because they cannot follow the music. It probably does not apply to the those who are playing performance diplomas levels who I'm sure can read music fluently.

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As I understand it standardised grading and exams aren’t anywhere near as popular in the United States as virtually everywhere else in the world for piano, but I don’t know if the memorisation vs sheet music has much do with that. In my experience unless you’re very purposely and deliberately ‘sight reading’ you are mainly playing from memory (unless you’re improvising...). For example I can’t play lots of pieces unless I have the sheets in front of me, but I’m definitely not sight reading them. I just get my queues from the sheet, and it’s really very similar to completely memorising a piece, just in that case you have your queues from the first note of the song or the first chord of the chorus etc.

Sight reading proper - ie playing something at first sight without ‘working it out’ and having an idea of what it should sound like is another skill entirely.

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Originally Posted by Moo :)
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Moo :)
Maybe it is a cultural difference as you say.

The North American RCM system, promoted by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto Canada, makes memorization mandatory at the higher levels and diploma levels.

We also heard from Sam S that at the college/university/conservatory level in the US, memorization is also required unless it is certain 20th-21st century pieces.


Ok I did not know this. Why is this a requirement? I think at a very high level it probably is more understandable. To be honest most of the people when I asked it was because they learnt as adults and there reason was because they cannot follow the music. It probably does not apply to the those who are playing performance diplomas levels who I'm sure can read music fluently.

Sam S is studying piano pedagogy. Maybe he or one of the other teachers can tell us why in North America, memorization seems to be "a thing."

Not that it matters to me. As long as it isn't some sort of 20th-21st century, hard-to-memorize thing (Einaudi... ugh), most memorization for me is automatic and it would be harder for me to not memorize. I am trying a new piece yesterday and before I even finished learning it properly on my first day with it, it is already memorized and I am picturing the notes on the score as I type. LOL.

At the lower RCM levels, they give bonus points for memorization. I'm expecting to pick up 6 free points that way on my exam next month! 👍


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Moo :)
Maybe it is a cultural difference as you say.

The North American RCM system, promoted by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto Canada, makes memorization mandatory at the higher levels and diploma levels.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even at Grade 1, you lose marks if you don't play from memory. Or, you "gain" marks by playing your pieces from memory.

Someone tell me the difference........ confused
Quote
We also heard from Sam S that at the college/university/conservatory level in the US, memorization is also required unless it is certain 20th-21st century pieces.

If you do a performance diploma (like I did) - but not for a teaching diploma - you also have to perform your pieces from memory. Which makes sense, because concert pianists generally perform from memory. Whereas teachers never have to play anything from memory. None of my first three teachers have ever played any classical piece from memory in their lives.

That's why I fundamentally disagree with the RCM's exam requirement for playing pieces from memory even from the lowest levels. How many students doing the RCM exams go on to become not just performers, but solo performers? Don't forget, if you accompany, or play chamber music, or play in an orchestra, you never ever have to perform from memory. Does RCM think that students doing its exams all become solo performers??


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