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Rate my staccato techniques please #2949504 02/20/20 01:42 PM
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Nicolas J. Offline OP
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Hello everyone!

For the past month, I have been playing 3 pieces to practice and develop my wrist and forearm staccato techniques, and I would like some feedback to know how I am doing.

Just so you guys can situate my music/piano level, I have a university degree in music composition, so I have a lot of knowledge on theory and composing. During my studies, I used the piano to compose, but never really practiced the instrument (improving technique and playing, scales/arpeggios, learning pieces, etc..) Now, I would like to develop really good pianistic skills, so I started practicing seriously (approx. 2hours each day) for about 1 year.

I got myself a teacher that suggested me those 3 pieces to develop my staccato techniques. He told me that I am doing pretty well and that those skills will further develop over the next years (which I understand), but I kinda am a technique freak and I would like to know if I am doing the best I can at my level, so that's why I am asking feedback from this community.

Here is a dropbox link of videos of me performing those pieces and, for convenience, the music sheets :

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3xsqh1d49tl0u8p/AADh0tkFnP_Ei5kM8OfkUBrga?dl=0


Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!

Nicolas

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Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949550 02/20/20 04:34 PM
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Welcome Nicholas. Have you not got a teacher who will be better to advise you ? I am not very clear what you mean by wrist and forearm staccato so am definitely not going to give an comment on technique. My suggestion for staccato in generally would be to consider that each staccatos in relation to the piece. It sounds at the moment all the staccatos are all the same intensity. You need to play them of different intensities and this is true even without staccato. An example may be a piece in 2/4 with 4 quaver staccato. Most people would play the staccatos on the beat louder (in particularly the 1st quaver of the bar louder, the 3rd quaver slightly louder on the other beat of each bar). The staccatos off the beat (2nd and 4th quavers) would be quiter. e.g. DA... da.... Da..... da... ; DA... da.... Da..... da....etc.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949552 02/20/20 04:36 PM
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My comment was only a general comment. There are many pieces where you may play all the staccato the same intensity and in others where the off beat staccato are louder. It was just a general musical suggestion.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949574 02/20/20 05:40 PM
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After watching the three videos, my comment is as follow :

1. Your left hand wrist looks stiff, do you feel tired?
2. You press on the surface only, not deep enough. The sound is thin.
3. There is no shaping of the melody, all of them are just flat (no musical direction).

Ron

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949651 02/20/20 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Nicolas J.

Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!


I'm not a big fan of this game. I would rather you describe a problem that you have and that you can't seem to solve on your own. I could then give you feedback that would be far more useful to you than if I start talking about a problem that you might not even see yourself.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949701 02/21/20 04:58 AM
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May I say one thing that in my mind is more important now than the staccato? Your fingers that don't play notes at a moment look very tense. If you look closely you will notice that often when you play a note with a finger, or two notes with two fingers, your other fingers straighten out and tense up. This is something that terribly hinders good playing. You need to learn to keep fingers that don't play notes at a moment relaxed. And your wrists seem not to be relaxed enough, too. You need to work on it before proceding to other technique elements, or otherwise you may learn bad habits. There are many videos on YouTube on wrist and hand relaxation when playing.


| Taa atu uka taa aatk tuku taka tuku |
Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949707 02/21/20 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Nicolas J.


I got myself a teacher that suggested me those 3 pieces to develop my staccato techniques. He told me that I am doing pretty well and that those skills will further develop over the next years (which I understand), but I kinda am a technique freak and I would like to know if I am doing the best I can at my level, so that's why I am asking feedback from this community.

Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!

Nicolas


There are plenty of things that can be improved as is the case for all intermediate level players. I think the forum is nor really suited for a lenghtly feedback.

In terms of staccato, you forget to mention the usual and most used type of staccato which is the finger staccato, either standalone or in combination with the wrist or the forearm (the wrist participates in most cases, it is just a matter of degree). Btw you are using it in one your video which you call wrist staccato when essentially it is a lot of finger staccato. The pure wrist staccato is used for octaves. Otherwise it is mostly combined with some finger staccato. Using some wrist allows to get a more softer type of staccato or in rapid runs.

There is an issue with your forearm staccato in the sense that it is usually used for very incisive or powerfull staccato and not for the type of light, poco staccato type appropriate for the music you are playing. So for one it would not be the technique i would use for this type of music and secondly you are getting a very thin, light staccato which is not the output that this technique is supposed to produce.

You would need to better understand first what each technique is used for. There are many nuances of staccato, sweet and gentle, nearly legato, detached, short and light, short and incisive, forcefull. It can also apply to individual notes, sequences, octaves or sixth, and so on. The technique to execute octave staccato is different from the individual note staccato. The staccato to apply to a run like a scale is a different practice than 1 or 2 notes staccato.

So first you need to go back to the different effects that you can obtain and then study what would be the appropriate technique to obtain that effect. Then you can practice the appropriate technique to produce the result that is proper for the music you are playing.

Also, i am not sure if your digital piano has fully weighted keys. If that is not the case, it is not very usefull to study staccato on a light action mechanism because you will not get the sense of the weight you really need to apply.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: MichaelJK] #2949873 02/21/20 04:19 PM
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Nicolas J. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by Nicolas J.

Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!


I'm not a big fan of this game. I would rather you describe a problem that you have and that you can't seem to solve on your own. I could then give you feedback that would be far more useful to you than if I start talking about a problem that you might not even see yourself.



Well, I kinda had this impression on my own (and when reading other comments, it valids what I thought), my playing (in general, not only when playing staccatos) is really mechanic and lifeless. Again, I repeat that I have only been practicing piano for 1 year, but I'm wondering if, at my level, there is something I can do to fix that.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Sidokar] #2949878 02/21/20 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Nicolas J.


I got myself a teacher that suggested me those 3 pieces to develop my staccato techniques. He told me that I am doing pretty well and that those skills will further develop over the next years (which I understand), but I kinda am a technique freak and I would like to know if I am doing the best I can at my level, so that's why I am asking feedback from this community.

Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!

Nicolas


There are plenty of things that can be improved as is the case for all intermediate level players. I think the forum is nor really suited for a lenghtly feedback.

In terms of staccato, you forget to mention the usual and most used type of staccato which is the finger staccato, either standalone or in combination with the wrist or the forearm (the wrist participates in most cases, it is just a matter of degree). Btw you are using it in one your video which you call wrist staccato when essentially it is a lot of finger staccato. The pure wrist staccato is used for octaves. Otherwise it is mostly combined with some finger staccato. Using some wrist allows to get a more softer type of staccato or in rapid runs.

There is an issue with your forearm staccato in the sense that it is usually used for very incisive or powerfull staccato and not for the type of light, poco staccato type appropriate for the music you are playing. So for one it would not be the technique i would use for this type of music and secondly you are getting a very thin, light staccato which is not the output that this technique is supposed to produce.

You would need to better understand first what each technique is used for. There are many nuances of staccato, sweet and gentle, nearly legato, detached, short and light, short and incisive, forcefull. It can also apply to individual notes, sequences, octaves or sixth, and so on. The technique to execute octave staccato is different from the individual note staccato. The staccato to apply to a run like a scale is a different practice than 1 or 2 notes staccato.

So first you need to go back to the different effects that you can obtain and then study what would be the appropriate technique to obtain that effect. Then you can practice the appropriate technique to produce the result that is proper for the music you are playing.

Also, i am not sure if your digital piano has fully weighted keys. If that is not the case, it is not very usefull to study staccato on a light action mechanism because you will not get the sense of the weight you really need to apply.



Thank you very much for your feedback, my piano indeed has weighted keys but not FULL weighted keys, and I don't have the opportunity to buy or practice on a real piano / digital piano with full weighted keys. Would you recommend to stop practicing staccato at all until I get the chance to practice on something better?

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2949948 02/21/20 08:56 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much about your playing sounding "mechanical" at this point because you have only been playing for a year. I think some posters don't take a player's experience into account when making suggestions and can be overly critical. Comments that might be appropriate for someone with two or five years experience are not always appropriate for those with only one year of experience.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2950005 02/22/20 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Nicolas J.
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by Nicolas J.

Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!


I'm not a big fan of this game. I would rather you describe a problem that you have and that you can't seem to solve on your own. I could then give you feedback that would be far more useful to you than if I start talking about a problem that you might not even see yourself.



Well, I kinda had this impression on my own (and when reading other comments, it valids what I thought), my playing (in general, not only when playing staccatos) is really mechanic and lifeless. Again, I repeat that I have only been practicing piano for 1 year, but I'm wondering if, at my level, there is something I can do to fix that.


If you feel like your playing is lifeless, there is a simple fix for this: put life into it.

That may sound stupidly obvious, but it's not. You know when it feels lifeless, and deep down, you know what it would take to bring it to life.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you were completely bored out of your mind? Where you had absolutely no interest in what the other person was saying? And yet, I'm assuming that you wouldn't have felt comfortable saying that to them, even though it would have fixed your boredom.

Piano playing is very much like that. Sometimes you have to take a risk, and do something that's socially unacceptable, in order to make things interesting...

There's no need to wait another few years. Do it now.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2950006 02/22/20 01:01 AM
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Your playing is okay. It is a good thing that you are concerned about your touch. However, your instrument is very uneven, and that may impede your progress.


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Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2950064 02/22/20 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Nicolas J.



Thank you very much for your feedback, my piano indeed has weighted keys but not FULL weighted keys, and I don't have the opportunity to buy or practice on a real piano / digital piano with full weighted keys. Would you recommend to stop practicing staccato at all until I get the chance to practice on something better?


You can, of course continue practising. It is just that you will not feel as well the difference in the touch to get a light or a sharp staccato. If the keys are not fully weighted, you will not feel how much more strenght you need to apply to get a stronger sound and thus why using the forearm and shoulder helps. In any case, i think you can certainly study the various types of staccato , when it is appropriate to use them and how to execute them. But the sooner you get a real action keyboard the best it is because you will have to repractise again.

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: pianoloverus] #2950127 02/22/20 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I wouldn't worry too much about your playing sounding "mechanical" at this point because you have only been playing for a year. I think some posters don't take a player's experience into account when making suggestions and can be overly critical. Comments that might be appropriate for someone with two or five years experience are not always appropriate for those with only one year of experience.


Thank you for your comment, it reassures me a lot! =)

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: MichaelJK] #2950133 02/22/20 12:20 PM
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Nicolas J. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by Nicolas J.
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by Nicolas J.

Please feel free to comment on anything you think I can improve at my level, not only the staccato but my playing in general. I thank you in advance for your help!


I'm not a big fan of this game. I would rather you describe a problem that you have and that you can't seem to solve on your own. I could then give you feedback that would be far more useful to you than if I start talking about a problem that you might not even see yourself.



Well, I kinda had this impression on my own (and when reading other comments, it valids what I thought), my playing (in general, not only when playing staccatos) is really mechanic and lifeless. Again, I repeat that I have only been practicing piano for 1 year, but I'm wondering if, at my level, there is something I can do to fix that.


If you feel like your playing is lifeless, there is a simple fix for this: put life into it.

That may sound stupidly obvious, but it's not. You know when it feels lifeless, and deep down, you know what it would take to bring it to life.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you were completely bored out of your mind? Where you had absolutely no interest in what the other person was saying? And yet, I'm assuming that you wouldn't have felt comfortable saying that to them, even though it would have fixed your boredom.

Piano playing is very much like that. Sometimes you have to take a risk, and do something that's socially unacceptable, in order to make things interesting...

There's no need to wait another few years. Do it now.



Thank you for your comment Michael! I see what you mean, I'll try to put more life into it! =)

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2950145 02/22/20 12:43 PM
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Just enjoy what you have and make the best of it. Learning music should be enjoyable regardless of the instrument. If you get a different piano in a couple of years, it won't really matter what you played on before that. Have fun! 😁

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: BDB] #2950146 02/22/20 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Your playing is okay. It is a good thing that you are concerned about your touch. However, your instrument is very uneven, and that may impede your progress.


I think my piano is indeed uneven. It is supposed to be weighted: '' features a graded hammer standard (GHS) keyboard. The feel of the keyboard gradually changes according to the register, so that it feels heavier when playing bass parts and lighter when playing treble parts.'' but in my opinion it is badly calibrated, as much for the action as the velocity mapping... such a shame for a 1k piano... Anyways, thank you for your comment, it reassures me!

Last edited by Nicolas J.; 02/22/20 12:45 PM.
Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2950171 02/22/20 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Nicolas J.

Thank you for your comment Michael! I see what you mean, I'll try to put more life into it! =)


I hope you post another video. I'd be really curious to see the difference!

Re: Rate my staccato techniques please [Re: Nicolas J.] #2950189 02/22/20 02:28 PM
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It is not so much the weight of the hammers, the sampling itself does not sound good, although it could be that the sensor strips are worn. Perhaps both.


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