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what are the most common problems in piano playing
#3024858 09/14/20 04:40 AM
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Hello everyone,

I would really appreciate if you could help me to list at least one major problem or an area you need to improve in piano practice/playing/performing as an advanced or intermediate pianist.

many thanks!

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3024877 09/14/20 07:20 AM
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Using time wisely, mindful practice and concentration on your weak points. Spend time addressing proper fingering to facilitate the results you are looking for in passage work. Also, spend time learning the harmonic structure of the work which greatly enhances the ability to understand and memorize .

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3024887 09/14/20 08:17 AM
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the major issue is how to produce at least a self satisfied music

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3024917 09/14/20 09:57 AM
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Hello Piano Journal
Would you mind providing a little information about the purpose for getting this information. Will you be writing s blog? A book? Will your advice be shared here?


"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: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3024954 09/14/20 12:06 PM
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Hi Piano Journal. Can you tell me, are you an account for the actual Piano Journal magazine?

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3024993 09/14/20 01:27 PM
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I think everybody will have a different set of problems.

When I was going through that stage, tension was the biggest problem. I also changed teachers. The second teacher tried to change my technique completely and quickly, and that actually led to more problems.

My other problem is integrating music theory with performance practice. The theory classes were totally separate from the lessons, so even though I aced all the theory tests, there was very little connection between theory and playing. This is actually not an uncommon occurrence. All the ABRSM people I talked to told me their theory component had absolutely nothing to do with the playing. And some of them actually went to different teachers: one for theory and one for piano. Never the twain shall meet.


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Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3025202 09/14/20 11:58 PM
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Learning to read more proficiently and playing more expressively (not mechanical).

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
AZNpiano #3025229 09/15/20 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
My other problem is integrating music theory with performance practice. The theory classes were totally separate from the lessons, so even though I aced all the theory tests, there was very little connection between theory and playing. This is actually not an uncommon occurrence. All the ABRSM people I talked to told me their theory component had absolutely nothing to do with the playing. And some of them actually went to different teachers: one for theory and one for piano. Never the twain shall meet.
You raise an interesting point which I have been pondering for a while. I learnt most of my theory between the ages of 7 and 11 and have forgotten most of it. Now, nearly 70 years later I wonder to what extent does theory actually help with performance? I look at a piece of music and see that they key signature is 3 sharps and that is enough for me. I don't need to know what the name is maybe because I learnt the scales a long time ago and it is all there ready to be called on when I play. Just musing.


Roland LX706

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Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
Colin Miles #3025232 09/15/20 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
You raise an interesting point which I have been pondering for a while. I learnt most of my theory between the ages of 7 and 11 and have forgotten most of it. Now, nearly 70 years later I wonder to what extent does theory actually help with performance? I look at a piece of music and see that they key signature is 3 sharps and that is enough for me. I don't need to know what the name is maybe because I learnt the scales a long time ago and it is all there ready to be called on when I play. Just musing.

Just this afternoon I revisited a piece I learned on my own during my gap year between high school and college: Chopin's Scherzo No. 2. I was shocked how awful my fingering was--the ones I dutifully wrote out years ago. But I was also surprised how quickly I can come up with better sets of fingerings. I credit my teaching experience, which combines theory and performance. I was literally analyzing the chords on the fly. The most shocking thing is that I had played a bunch of wrong notes and those were still stuck in my hands decades later.

It's hard to explain. My mind is uber-analytical now, because I do it all the time with the other big pieces I teach. Now I see voices, I see non-chord tones, I hear resolutions, etc. None of this stuff I was doing after high school. I had the ability to do that, theoretically, but the theory was never applied. Really, the theory alone would have caused me to learn the notes correctly instead of all the misreadings, especially the L.H. inner ledger line notes. I missed a bunch of those.


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Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
AZNpiano #3025284 09/15/20 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
You raise an interesting point which I have been pondering for a while. I learnt most of my theory between the ages of 7 and 11 and have forgotten most of it. Now, nearly 70 years later I wonder to what extent does theory actually help with performance? I look at a piece of music and see that they key signature is 3 sharps and that is enough for me. I don't need to know what the name is maybe because I learnt the scales a long time ago and it is all there ready to be called on when I play. Just musing.

Just this afternoon I revisited a piece I learned on my own during my gap year between high school and college: Chopin's Scherzo No. 2. I was shocked how awful my fingering was--the ones I dutifully wrote out years ago. But I was also surprised how quickly I can come up with better sets of fingerings. I credit my teaching experience, which combines theory and performance. I was literally analyzing the chords on the fly. The most shocking thing is that I had played a bunch of wrong notes and those were still stuck in my hands decades later.

It's hard to explain. My mind is uber-analytical now, because I do it all the time with the other big pieces I teach. Now I see voices, I see non-chord tones, I hear resolutions, etc. None of this stuff I was doing after high school. I had the ability to do that, theoretically, but the theory was never applied. Really, the theory alone would have caused me to learn the notes correctly instead of all the misreadings, especially the L.H. inner ledger line notes. I missed a bunch of those.
I don't think this is anything to do with theory but merely the way the brain works. It never actually sleeps and needs time to work things out at the subconscious level and that sometimes takes decades. When I was young I could never swing on a swing. But 40 years late I just sat on a swing and hey presto, no problem. And with the piano the more experience you have, the more pieces you have played and more patterns you have learnt, the easier it is to 'finger' things out, especially if you already have the scales and arpeggios stored away in the brain.

Last edited by Colin Miles; 09/15/20 09:36 AM. Reason: corrections

Roland LX706

South Wales, UK
Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3025355 09/15/20 01:39 PM
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My biggest problem is that the right keys push wrong keys in the way when my fingers are coming down.


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Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3025462 09/15/20 08:13 PM
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Tension here as well.

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3025524 09/16/20 07:20 AM
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It's impossible

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3025549 09/16/20 09:39 AM
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Yes, I think tension is one of my biggest recurring problems.

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3026235 09/18/20 03:52 AM
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Here is a possibly incomplete list of skills you need with playing piano

* to find the pieces you really want to learn to play
* To determine what it takes and whether you are ready to start on a piece
* To find the piano that you like
* To read the notes (learning the notation)
* To learn the theory behind the notes (understanding the music structure)
* To read the notes fast enough ('sight reading'). So that the reading does not interfere too much with the other processes here.
* to learn a piece effectively
* to spot trouble points
* Memorization, or how to effectively get the piece in your brain
* Fixing issues in the memorization, or how to effectively change a incorrect memorization
* to find the right notes without looking at the keyboard
* Technique - how to have correct posture and movements to play the notes, without tension or even hurting yourself, or creating brickwalls etc
* to listen to yourself even when doing all these other things
* to detect issues with the piano and maybe fix them yourself
* to set up your recording equipment to make a recording

For many of these, a teacher can be very helpful and speed it all up

Last edited by wouter79; 09/18/20 03:54 AM.

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Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3026925 09/19/20 08:55 PM
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Tension is the biggest problem. It is typically ingrained for years before a pianist realizes they must undo their tense technique. Ingrained habits are a nightmare.


With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.
Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3027241 09/20/20 05:01 PM
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Interesting question and responses. I’ve returned to playing after 40 yrs and am a middle to advanced intermediate. Over the last several weeks, I’ve noticed something that parallel’s my other endeavors over the last 4 decades. I was a ‘scratch’ golfer, until an injury caused me to give that up. I then competed in rifle and archery competitions, at the state, national and world level, and ‘practice’ was critical.....but, during my competitive years, one thing became very, VERY apparent: if I wasn’t totally focused, 100% concentrated on what I was doing, I was wasting my time. The piano is different, in that there is ‘practice’ time and ‘play’ time, and they are totally different. So, if my mind is elsewhere, I won’t practice/attempt to learn a new piece/etc. I might tinker and diddle, but ‘practice’.

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
piano journal #3027298 09/20/20 08:48 PM
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Getting myself into learning a new / unfamiliar piece. I tend to repeat the pieces I worked on before and know very well for weeks after I'm supposedly done with them.

Re: what are the most common problems in piano playing
BDB #3027356 09/21/20 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
My biggest problem is that the right keys push wrong keys in the way when my fingers are coming down.

. . .yes, I have a similar problem, described well by Eric Morecambe at 1'50" in this video:




smautf


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