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Distracted Learning Method
#2957505 03/15/20 09:08 PM
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Maybe I've came up with something new.

My son is often using our TV, when I want to watch something, so I've started watching a Fire Tablet. Since its mobile, I sometimes go to my piano bench and sit it on the music desk, so I can mess with the piano too.

Well, I have found that I can now read lead sheets pretty well while watching a movie!

I think my playing has improved from this odd method. I seem to be playing things more with less conscious thought. It's now much easier to play, when I actually focus on it.

Also, I get more time on the piano.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957580 03/16/20 01:09 AM
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I’m aware of how important focus is with practice but I know that I learned a lot on guitar by grabbing it while kicking back on the sofa watching tv. I just wish I had known then what I’ve learned about learning since taking up piano. I just can’t find a way to make some piano practices “informal” like with guitar. Move my DP in front of the recliner? I think you are on to something, learning is the goal so whatever it takes.


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Re: Distracted Learning Method
dobro #2957583 03/16/20 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dobro
I’m aware of how important focus is with practice but I know that I learned a lot on guitar by grabbing it while kicking back on the sofa watching tv. I just wish I had known then what I’ve learned about learning since taking up piano. I just can’t find a way to make some piano practices “informal” like with guitar. Move my DP in front of the recliner? I think you are on to something, learning is the goal so whatever it takes.


What kind of music are you playing on piano?

You are right and I hadn't realized. Everybody takes their stringed instruments to the sofa to play with while they do other things. I did this for years with a guitar or banjo.

I guess the piano seems different because I take other entertainment to it and I am reading music now.

Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957586 03/16/20 02:21 AM
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I’m doing the methods, starting with Alfreds 1 and now Faber 2. I’ve often thought of how formal every practice seems and wish there was a more portable board with weighted keys that was reasonable.


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Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957591 03/16/20 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack Moody
I think my playing has improved from this odd method. I seem to be playing things more with less conscious thought.


I sometimes do technical exercises while listening to podcasts in the hope that the mechanics of playing will recede into the subconscious. Seems like a good theory. The jury is still out for me as to whether it does any good.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957598 03/16/20 04:59 AM
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A very interesting point for discussion.

Liszt recommended to read a book when doing technical exercises. But it contradicts what is traditionally considered to be most efficient practice, that is to play with maximum focus, paying attention to every keystroke.

Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957602 03/16/20 05:55 AM
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It varies with me depending on what I am doing. Technical work on the Virgil Practice Clavier is close to 100% conscious attention, as is playing pieces. Improvisation varies widely between what amounts to intensely conscious mental arithmetic and turning it all over to the unconscious. I could read or watch television while I play but I choose not to. The same applies to listening, I prefer complete immersion in the music.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957619 03/16/20 08:06 AM
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Sounds like a really good way to 'think' music whilst listening. Whenever I get bogged down learning stuff (trying to) I end up be speaking to myself in English. I mean Language other than music. I was taught how to draw with pencil etc. and the person who taught me was quite specific ... either draw upside down or have the subject upside down. You draw the space not the subject and you must at all cost stop or find a way to quieten down the use of language, then you will draw more acculturate what you see. This too is important in our world of notes and staves, music is the language and the direct connection is with our ears.
Just sayin right ?

Hope this helps

Andy


No good but carry on regardless
Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957656 03/16/20 11:35 AM
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I got myself a Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 for this very purpose: to keep a keyboard near the TV. Inexpensive, light weight, but has decent sound and action/response for its class. I know intuitively that the I should put all of my focus on piano and turn off the damn boob tube once and for all. But, I am going to watch and that's not a habit that I will easily drop.With this light weight keyboard that runs on batteries, and I can keep on my lap or put on a coffee table, I play some Hanon's I've memorized, maybe do some chord and arpeggio exercises, run through a few blues scales, or practice some pop piano riffs (currently - the intros to "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac, and "Manic Monday" by the Bangles). I watched a great video where a piano teacher distracted himself while practicing a repetitive left handed bass line to ingrain it in his memory, so I sometimes will just work on the left hand of a piece. The whole thing keeps my fingers active and half my brain on piano while the other half is watching the news or a three hour baseball game. This idea might even help with muscle memory by sending my attention elsewhere. If I was a concert pianist would I use this method of practice? Of course not. But keeping a keyboard in a part of the house I spend a lot of time in reminds me of what I am working on and gives me a little more taste of piano every day.


“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They'd rather show the highlight of what they've become.”
― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957728 03/16/20 03:32 PM
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Depends on the repertoire. I can listen to the news while playing easy arrangements of pieces with simple melody lines & L accompaniments. I don't watch the news because the TV is behind the keyboard. A difficult piece like a Beethoven sonata or a Bach fugue you need full concentration.

Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957807 03/16/20 08:17 PM
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I have the luxury of a high gloss wooden upright. I can easily watch TV in the reflection if I want to!

But I don’t do it very often.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957815 03/16/20 09:51 PM
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Im surprised. I thought I would get some real resistance on this. 😀

I still practice like normal without the tablet. I basically just get extra practice time while I watch the tablet. So, obviously I'm practicing more. Still, I feel l like this supplies some element that normal practice doesn't cover for me.

I can see one aspect that is undeniably good. If you are willing to double up on tasks, it's harder to say that you don't have time to practice.

The comment about Liszt recommending playing while reading is very interesting. When you talk about it not being the most efficient practice, I'm fine with that.

I'm a strong believer that your goal should not be 100% efficiency, if you are in something for the long term. It just can't happen. Unrealistic expectations are a path to dissatisfaction.

Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957824 03/16/20 11:28 PM
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My TV and piano are on the same side of the room so I could listen if I wanted to but I turn it off. I don’t want to watch tv while practicing but practicing while watching tv would be a cool option.


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Re: Distracted Learning Method
Jack Moody #2957906 03/17/20 09:27 AM
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Charles Rosen in his excellent book "Piano Notes" recommended mechanical practicing while reading a trashy novel (the more trashy, the better wink ). I don't recall Liszt recommending it.

I have done this myself with stuff like one-handed trills in thirds, and all kinds of tricky figures that basically just require a mechanical fluency (akin to a swimming stroke like front crawl, where you can turn your head to breathe 'automatically' without having to consciously coordinate the movements carefully so that you don't gulp down water instead of air) so that your fingers can just do it without you having to control every precise movement, leaving your hard-pressed grey cells to process other stuff like tone and dynamics and balance and phrasing.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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