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Nice video on How to Practice
#2980809 05/18/20 03:48 PM
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Came across this video by Mr Estrin on how to practice a new piece.
Now all I need is a suit and 10% of those sight reading skills.



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Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980817 05/18/20 04:22 PM
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Yeah....his first-time blind read is more polished than I would EVER be able to get this piece smile


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Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980822 05/18/20 04:32 PM
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I wonder how many pianists of different levels practice the way he recommends, i.e. in such small sections and trying to bring each tiny section to performance level before going on to the next section. I especially wonder how many could work through in detail on two measure phrases "all day" without getting bored the way he said he could. I don't think I would have the patience to practice that way.

Do you practice in a similar fashion? How similar?

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980823 05/18/20 04:36 PM
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He gives a good idea of the differences between sight-reading a piece (with no intention of learning it) and reading through a piece as a preliminary to learning it properly.


"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."
Re: Nice video on How to Practice
pianoloverus #2980832 05/18/20 04:56 PM
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After watching that and comparing to how many repetitions I go through for something to stick... I need to rethink a few things
I try to break things up into small chunks and hammer those sections and then add another chunk..and connect them..and so on
It's definitely a nice streamlined process (obviously having all those tools at his disposal such as sight reading skills and playing and reading at the same time helps...not to mention hands coordination and seeing all those details makes it easier)
In my case I did notice a positive difference when breaking up a piece in that manner as opposed to what I was doing in the beginning when I was playing the piece over and over again and thinking I learned it.

Last edited by CosminX; 05/18/20 04:59 PM.

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Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980838 05/18/20 05:11 PM
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I stopped after 2 minutes, the guy sight-read the way I play after 2 months of practice ! We're not on the same level.

frown

Last edited by Serge88; 05/18/20 05:12 PM.


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Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980852 05/18/20 05:39 PM
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I like the way his hands flew off the keyboard on each of those sforzando chords with the fermate on, as if the piano had caught fire.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980879 05/18/20 06:56 PM
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The word "memorize" can get some people very frustrated. The reason why people learn to read is that they don't have to remember all the notes but can rely on the score to get them through a piece.

A piece like this is still a relatively slow piece. We're not diving into a piece with a tempo that is Allegro or faster. Otherwise we have to learn the notes, the dynamics & phrasing and still have to push the metronome up a few notches.

When playing a long piece, by the time we get to the end we need to relearn the beginning again.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980960 05/19/20 12:13 AM
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Robert Estrin: I'm just going to just sight read through this piece

Me: OK I just cleared my schedule for the next year


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Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980969 05/19/20 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Serge88
I stopped after 2 minutes, the guy sight-read the way I play after 2 months of practice ! We're not on the same level.

frown
Forgot to mention the most important factor (I did not watch the video and I do not know if Mr Estrin speaks about this). Serge 88, how many etudes , nocturnes, waltzes and mazurka of Chopin have you played so far? If not one, then this video is simply not for you (Mr Estrin should have warned about this). Studying the works of a specific composer, you also learn, it may be invisible to yourself:
Typical melodic lines with their typical fingering;
Typical phrasing;
Typical accompaniment textures;
Preferred keys (Chopin preferred keys with many black keys for anatomical reasons).

Having in hand a backstory of 10 Chopin’s works, reading from sheet the eleventh will no longer be a big problem.
Mr Estrin was supposed to make a video with his student, who would see the notes for the first time!

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980977 05/19/20 01:31 AM
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Nahum
You might want to watch the video before you make assumptions re Mr Estrin’s intent. It is not a bideo with his student but his personal style and plan. Regardless of his skill level, it is a decent explanation of sight reading vs reading for the first time music you want go learn and a good job discussing how he approaches a new score.

No matter that his skill level and experience is far above most of ours, it is the principles that matter.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2980988 05/19/20 01:54 AM
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I think the comments in this thread clearly show one of the biggest problems adult learners have (including me). Most people choose music that is way too hard for them. I have the same issue so I can relate. I have always been playing pieces that are at the edge of my technical abilities, taking a long time just to get them under my fingers and make them sound vaguely like music. I still do that.

However, recently I took a different approach. I decided to take a few pieces that are several grades easier than what I usually play. I can easily sight read these pieces just like Robert Estrin reads that Chopin Mazurka, but I approached them seriously nonetheless, practicing one phrase at a time and trying to clearly bring out every element of the music. You would be surprised how much you can pick out of a piece of music that is much below your playing level. Sure, they don't sound as nice as my usual repertoire but I don't have to strain so much just to play them and I can focus mostly on making music rather than solving technical problems. My practice looks much like what what Robert Estrin in showing in this video. I highly recommend trying this approach if you've never done it before.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
pianoloverus #2980992 05/19/20 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I wonder how many pianists of different levels practice the way he recommends, i.e. in such small sections and trying to bring each tiny section to performance level before going on to the next section. I especially wonder how many could work through in detail on two measure phrases "all day" without getting bored the way he said he could. I don't think I would have the patience to practice that way.

Do you practice in a similar fashion? How similar?

I think I practise in a similar way, although I rarely go from start to finish. I take a couple of bars at a time and spend some time at it, coordinating movements and the like until it feels comfortable. Then I'll move on.

I don't join up the bits until later on, as I prefer to spend time comparing phrases and sections to build up a mental map of the piece, so I might jump back and forth between bar 20 and bar 200. If my map is good, the bits will join themselves up as everything falls into place.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
dogperson #2981023 05/19/20 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Nahum
You might want to watch the video before you make assumptions re Mr Estrin’s intent. It is not a bideo with his student but his personal style and plan. .
I wrote that I did not watch the video? This is inaccurate - I did not listen to the video, but in a quick motion I was looking for a student who, of course, was not there. And now I looked and listened with attention; and I can say that the pianist says everything correctly, shows the exercises correctly; only there is a huge problem: what we see and hear is the work of a professional, not a student, especially independent work.
I bring you back to his statement : " That made it easy - breaking it up into two measures. I'm spoon- feeding myself , why? You know, here's the reason ,why - because I could do this all day long , because it's so darn easy ... "
Easy for whom? Judging by the reaction

Originally Posted by CosminX
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Now all I need is a suit and 10% of those sight reading skills.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Yeah....his first-time blind read is more polished than I would EVER be able to get this piece smile

Originally Posted by Serge88
I stopped after 2 minutes, the guy sight-read the way I play after 2 months of practice ! We're not on the same level.

frown


They lose themselves not in a method, but in a specific piece of music that is not for them. This is like showing to a student at the 3rd year of study the work on measures 4-5 from La Campanella by Liszt- Paganini.


Work on a musical piece is always concrete, and requires a specific piece . The methods of work will change and be invented from one piece to another and from one student to another.



Re: Nice video on How to Practice
pianoloverus #2981030 05/19/20 06:12 AM
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It's great when an OP makes an abstract of the contents of a video. I honestly have no time to watch long videos now.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2981046 05/19/20 07:15 AM
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I think I'd go to what Mortenson teaches on the subject.

Ok, the first thing he does for the longest time is to sight read through the piece, and I think he's showing here what a student might do, where a first sight reading is ok in order to get the gist of the piece, but then a student shouldn't keep sight reading as a way of practising. This assumes that the student can sight read their way through a piece. (A few here have commented that they can't.)

Were I to work on a new piece for the first time, I might read my way through the piece, not necessarily at tempo, and with a pencil nearby. I'd mark any sections that seem to be a challenge in some way.

When he finally gets to the practising part at about the 7 minute mark, all he does is "chunking" by working on two measures at a time, HS, then HT, and it seems his goal is to memorize along the way. He starts at the beginning. And that's it.

How about: When you first get the piece, analyze it in the sense of finding its main sections. For example if it's in ABA form, where the 2nd A is identical to (mostly, all) the first A, you mark out that division. That's your first subdivision to mark in for your eventual chunking. Then you can subdivide into smaller sections.

So at this point you're not just going to the first 2 measures, the next 2 measures, the next 2 measures etc. as the next step. Your score already has some divisions to it, and you have a grasp of its overall shape.

Personally, I learned to start with the hardest section. Work on that first. If there is a particular difficulty making it hard, you might want to work with that. Is there a leap? Might different fingering make it easier? Is there a technique needed that you're poorish on?

Like, there are more things that can be done in working on a new piece of music for practising it. If the only thing he's trying to show here is that you don't keep playing a piece from start to finish, and that you work on small sections, carefully, that is a very important point. I agree with that premise.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
Nahum #2981047 05/19/20 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Work on a musical piece is always concrete, and requires a specific piece . The methods of work will change and be invented from one piece to another and from one student to another.

The idea of working on sections, that he tries to show, is correct, but what you do while working on them, depends, as you say, on other factors.

Meanwhile - your link only gives me a black square. What if you gave the link just as a straight URL?

Last edited by keystring; 05/19/20 07:19 AM.
Re: Nice video on How to Practice
johnstaf #2981048 05/19/20 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I think I practise in a similar way, although I rarely go from start to finish. I take a couple of bars at a time and spend some time at it, coordinating movements and the like until it feels comfortable. Then I'll move on.

I don't join up the bits until later on, as I prefer to spend time comparing phrases and sections to build up a mental map of the piece, so I might jump back and forth between bar 20 and bar 200. If my map is good, the bits will join themselves up as everything falls into place.

I wish I'd seen this before writing mine. It says it so much better and more succinctly than my ramble.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2981065 05/19/20 08:16 AM
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Thanks to my dear keystring I now have the abstract.

It seems to me that the most important message of this video is a way to work on a piece phrase by phrase, instead of working on whole sections or playing the entire piece through. Not only it is required to memorize the piece, but firstly it's required just to minimally absorb the piece into muscle memory. Muscle memory works in such a way that only very short repeated fragments can be memorized by it, and the process of memorisation is greatly undermined if you play more than a couple of bars in one repetition.

I mentioned earlier that I usually practice in this manner:
(phrase numbers)
11111 22222 121212 33333 232323 ...
I play each phrase about 5 times (probably more the very first time when I choose fingering and make other marks in the score) and then I connect pharses. It's usually enough to minimally absorb a piece into muscle memory, then the whole process must be repeated several times next days.
But what I said doesn't concern difficult places. On each difficult place I work until I can play it with ease, and that means I sometimes repeat it hundreds of times. I may begin slowly, HS, with very articluated finger work, and then faster and faster until I reach target tempo.

Hope it may help somebody.

Re: Nice video on How to Practice
CosminX #2981091 05/19/20 10:00 AM
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Essentially, these videos often seem simplistic. I would not want to practise in the way he sets out. Were I someone who played from start to finish, over and over, then this might improve what I'm doing. That's the kind of student he seems to be addressing.

There are a lot of variables. Rather than writing out mine, I'd point to Mortenson's videos. Maybe someone has the links handy?

Thank you, Iaroslav, for your input.

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