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#3081737 02/12/21 04:48 PM
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hi, anyone is using Gieseking's method?
I am trying this method to learn Ginastera, Danzas argentinas Op.2 - 2. Danza de la moza donosa
So far in two days for a total of around 3 hours, I just finished the first page...
Anyone can tell me how fast are you progressing with this method?


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Why not explain what his method is?

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I would be quite interested in this, but could you explain what you mean by his method? Gieseking and Liemer have an entire book with ideas and philosophy on technique. What exactly is it that you're trying to apply?

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If you are referring to his visualization method, it is nothing more than slicing the piece into patterns, chords and other elements. I dont know how you memorize your pieces, there are different possibilities. The Gieseking one is a combination of visual/analytical. People have different types of memory, so what may work for one person is not necessarily the best for another. So you have to try out by yourself and see if that works for you.

Associating visuals with things to remember is a very common technique. You can use for example to remember a complex suite of numbers. Music is already visual in nature, so it makes it easier to remember patterns. If you associate that also with an analytical rationale (harmonic development, rethoric, structural skeleton, ....) it provides a good structure to memorize the piece.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Why not explain what his method is?

It is sometimes better to read the original, see pp 9-12.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Why not explain what his method is?

It is sometimes better to read the original, see pp 9-12.
Thank you Withindale for the documentation, I am sure this one explains much better.

Originally Posted by Sidokar
If you are referring to his visualization method, it is nothing more than slicing the piece into patterns, chords and other elements. I dont know how you memorize your pieces, there are different possibilities. The Gieseking one is a combination of visual/analytical. People have different types of memory, so what may work for one person is not necessarily the best for another. So you have to try out by yourself and see if that works for you.

Associating visuals with things to remember is a very common technique. You can use for example to remember a complex suite of numbers. Music is already visual in nature, so it makes it easier to remember patterns. If you associate that also with an analytical rationale (harmonic development, rethoric, structural skeleton, ....) it provides a good structure to memorize the piece.

Thank you Sidokar for a so detail explanation.
-------------------------------------------------------------


This is the third day (a weekend day) and something concerning is appearing. My brain is always repeating this music, it is hard to tell how long I am practicing including "brain practice" now.
it is difficult to tell whether it is good or bad.


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There is nothing harmful about continually ‘hearing’ music in your brain; it can happen with music you are practicing or even a pop song you hear in the radio. The slang term is ‘ear worm’


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Originally Posted by dogperson
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There is nothing harmful about continually ‘hearing’ music in your brain; it can happen with music you are practicing or even a pop song you hear in the radio. The slang term is ‘ear worm’
Thank you, it's really the first time I hear ‘ear worm’, my piano teachers never told me that.....


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I have had a short go at this method in the original language German. The gist of it is that you first memorize all the notes of a piece before playing it (!). So you read the notes, analize them as much as you need to be able memorize them. And then you play from memory.
In the first exercises the movement for pressing the keys must come only from the shoulder; the elbow, the wrist and the fingers should remain motionless (without being tensed).
I didn't go beyond the first few exercises, so I don't know if this shoulder movement thing is a general rule or if it just applies to parallel movement of intervals / chords.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
I would be quite interested in this, but could you explain what you mean by his method? Gieseking and Liemer have an entire book with ideas and philosophy on technique.

My notes on the introduction, please refer to Gieseking and Liemerl for details:

The instructions are only for concert pianists and music teachers, or serious-working dilettantes.

The training of the ear to notice the exact tone quality, tone duration and tone strength.Through minute observation of these tonal qualities, the whole performance an entirely different clearness and more definite character, a sphere of subtle expression without overly strong dynamic or rhythmical changes.

Listening with a critical ear to one's playing and keeping one's touch under continual control with utmost concentration are prerequisites of rapid progress.

By "polishing up" small parts of a composition a surprising perfection can be attained, as well as discovering possibilities for improvement.

An indispensable necessity when training the ear, is an accurate knowledge of the piece. It is essential to visualise the piece and, if done thoroughly, one will be able to play it from memory. The memory must be specially trained to do this quickly not by playing but by visualisation by silent reading.

A further development is acquire the ability to prepare the technical execution through silent reading, so that the piece can be performed in a short time.

It is only necessary to memorise pieces to be performed in public, Bach compositions and specially instructive exercises, not every piece played.

Teachers should not advise always playing from memory, but the brain should be trained to memorise short phrases.

Teachers should insist upon beginners playing one or two short measures from memory in every lesson.

To attain a natural manner of playing, with the least possible exertion, it is of the utmost importance to exert the muscles consciously, and of still greater importance, to relax them consciously.

The aim is to raise a feeling of relaxation from within, with the aid of visible movements.

All superfluous movements are injurious. Playing the piano should put the least possible strain on the muscles.


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Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
I have had a short go at this method in the original language German. The gist of it is that you first memorize all the notes of a piece before playing it (!). So you read the notes, analize them as much as you need to be able memorize them. And then you play from memory.
This may have worked for. a genius like Gieseking but l don't think it will work for most, even most professionals. How do I know this? There was a YT video of a special week long class taught by Frederic Chiu and held for a small group of young and very talented professional pianists most of whom already had serious careers by that point. He asked them to memorize the first half of a Scarlatti Sonata without playing it. If I remember correctly none of them succeeded in doing it. These pianists were not just ordinary conservatory grads; they were far better.

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According to Giesking and Liemerl the method will only work for concert pianists who have learnt how to analyse the piece in a systematic way. Memorisation is the result of that.


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Is the OP a concert pianist?

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Originally Posted by Withindale
According to Giesking and Liemerl the method will only work for concert pianists who have learnt how to analyse the piece in a systematic way. Memorisation is the result of that.
I didn’t see this part, I thought it is a very popular method...
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Is the OP a concert pianist?
No, I return play piano 1/2 year ago. I am just reading this music sheet from Ipad, and it is very uncomfortable. It seems a short piece so I thought this method, and it seems very great. The only back draw is something similar to the ‘ear worm’, in effect the brain cannot make a rest....


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Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
I have had a short go at this method in the original language German. The gist of it is that you first memorize all the notes of a piece before playing it (!). So you read the notes, analize them as much as you need to be able memorize them. And then you play from memory.
In the first exercises the movement for pressing the keys must come only from the shoulder; the elbow, the wrist and the fingers should remain motionless (without being tensed).
I didn't go beyond the first few exercises, so I don't know if this shoulder movement thing is a general rule or if it just applies to parallel movement of intervals / chords.
Thank you for your experience, I think the key part of this method is really memorising first, brain play before touch the keys.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Is the OP a concert pianist?
Correction, G&L say the instructions are for concert pianists and music teachers. That does not preclude others from following their lead. They say teachers should insist on beginners playing one or two short measures from memory.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
I have had a short go at this method in the original language German. The gist of it is that you first memorize all the notes of a piece before playing it (!). So you read the notes, analize them as much as you need to be able memorize them. And then you play from memory.
This may have worked for. a genius like Gieseking but l don't think it will work for most, even most professionals. How do I know this? There was a YT video of a special week long class taught by Frederic Chiu and held for a small group of young and very talented professional pianists most of whom already had serious careers by that point. He asked them to memorize the first half of a Scarlatti Sonata without playing it. If I remember correctly none of them succeeded in doing it. These pianists were not just ordinary conservatory grads; they were far better.

This is a skill that needs to be trained. I use this method, but not exclusively. Even the most highly-trained pianists probably have trouble with any skill that is new to them.

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Memorization a piece without playing it (assuming of course, that you don't have a photographic memory) is not too difficult if the piece is short, simple, very logical in its harmony & melody, and you can already 'hear' it in your head (and 'imagine' yourself playing it) just by looking through the score.

But I challenge Mr Chiu to memorize the first movement of Boulez's Piano Sonata No.2 this way. I'll be very generous and give him 24 hours smirk . (Of course, if he has photographic memory, all bets are off.)

I never cease to wonder at the kind of stuff that some teachers (and some performers) dream up for others (and which are pointless), as if piano playing itself isn't hard enough. Surely they, of all people, should be especially aware that there are some things that they might find easy (whether it's because they have certain 'gifts' like perfect pitch or photographic memory or fingers that can sublux or span 14ths), but which are very hard, if not impossible, for others?


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Memorization a piece without playing it (assuming of course, that you don't have a photographic memory) is not too difficult if the piece is short, simple, very logical in its harmony & melody, and you can already 'hear' it in your head (and 'imagine' yourself playing it) just by looking through the score.
Then why did the around five pianists in Chiu's class, who I think probably can hear the music in their head, have such difficulty with the Scarlatti Sonata? These were not just random conservatory students, although even that group would be far better than most pianists. They were top notch and already famous. My strong suspicion is that very few even great pianists use Gieseking's approach for learning a piece before playing it. And I think almost none use the other part of his approach mentioned in this thread, i.e. starting by first playing the piece only with the shoulders, etc.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Memorization a piece without playing it (assuming of course, that you don't have a photographic memory) is not too difficult if the piece is short, simple, very logical in its harmony & melody, and you can already 'hear' it in your head (and 'imagine' yourself playing it) just by looking through the score.
Then why did the around five pianists in Chiu's class, who I think probably can hear the music in their head, have such difficulty with the Scarlatti Sonata? These were not just random conservatory students, although even that group would be far better than most pianists. They were top notch and already famous.

My strong suspicion is that very few even great pianists use Gieseking's approach for learning a piece before playing it on the piano. Why would they when it seems clear that it is far more difficult? What is the supposed advantage of doing things that way? Studying the score to help memorize a piece after one has physically played it seems far more reasonable.


And I think almost none use the other part of his approach mentioned in this thread, i.e. starting by first playing the piece only with the shoulders, etc.

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Originally Posted by Withindale
My notes on the introduction, please refer to Gieseking and Liemerl for details:
Thank you for the nice summary!

Originally Posted by Withindale
The training of the ear to notice the exact tone quality, tone duration and tone strength.Through minute observation of these tonal qualities, the whole performance an entirely different clearness and more definite character, a sphere of subtle expression without overly strong dynamic or rhythmical changes.

Listening with a critical ear to one's playing and keeping one's touch under continual control with utmost concentration are prerequisites of rapid progress.
I would definitely agree with this. I have instinctively done something very similar when I started learning to play the piano, and it allowed me to progress very quickly.


Originally Posted by Withindale
By "polishing up" small parts of a composition a surprising perfection can be attained, as well as discovering possibilities for improvement.
Not quite sure what this means, but I have found that polishing one section of a piece of music often "sets the stage" for the rest. So, it's often a good idea to learn one section properly and then move on to the rest as opposed to letting all of them settle down in tandem. However, the opposite is also often true in a lot of cases.

Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
The gist of it is that you first memorize all the notes of a piece before playing it (!). So you read the notes, analize them as much as you need to be able memorize them. And then you play from memory.
I have tried this method, but I haven't been successful at memorizing more than 6 measures in this manner (over about a half hour session). I tend to lose track of the starting at that point. I think I could possibly do this over some 20 sessions interspersed throughout the week, but it's too tiring, and I could learn the same in possibly less time if I'm actually at the piano.

This may be easier for someone very talented, who has perfect pitch (or A-grade relative pitch), some kind of photographic memory, or insane working memory. I have a feeling this kind of working memory would go hand-in-hand with, say, being able to multiply two five-digit numbers in one's head. There is an anecdote about Glenn Gould which I read but can't seem to find the source of, where he asked an interviewer to throw some pebbles in the air, and he was immediately able to say that there were exactly 35 of them.

I think most touring concert pianists can actually do this if required, but those kinds of concert performers aren't your average Joe.

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The question is why would anyone choose to memorize the score before playing it? What advantage can this possibly have? I can see many disadvantages including the most basic one that most people, even concert artists, can't do it. But even for those who can, what's the concept behind this approach? Are there any well known pianists, even one, who regularly use this approach?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
1. The question is why would anyone choose to analyze the score before playing it?
2. What advantage can this possibly have?
3. But even for those who can, what's the concept behind this approach?

Good questions. The following notes give general answers #1 and #2 as does Johnstaf's post. Please note I have substituted "analyze" for "memorize" to focus on the key point in all this, training the ear.

Notes from my previous post

The training of the ear to notice the exact tone quality, tone duration and tone strength.Through minute observation of these tonal qualities, the whole performance an entirely different clearness and more definite character, a sphere of subtle expression without overly strong dynamic or rhythmical changes.

Listening with a critical ear to one's playing and keeping one's touch under continual control with utmost concentration are prerequisites of rapid progress.

An indispensable necessity when training the ear, is an accurate knowledge of the piece. It is essential to visualise the piece and, if done thoroughly, one will be able to play it from memory. The memory must be specially trained to do this quickly not by playing but by visualisation by silent reading.

A further development is to acquire the ability to prepare the technical execution through silent reading, so that the piece can be performed in a short time.

It is only necessary to memorise pieces to be performed in public, Bach compositions and specially instructive exercises, not every piece played.

Teachers should not advise always playing from memory, but the brain should be trained to memorise short phrases.

Teachers should insist upon beginners playing one or two short measures from memory in every lesson.


Concept
As I see it analysis and visualisation give the pianist a "mental model" of the piece as a reference during practice and performance. A type of feedback and control loop.

Comment
Martha Argerich appeared to be doing that in a lockdown recital, listening to her performance and pulling a face.


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I consider myself a "serious-working dilettantes"

for instance the particularities with this method are:
1)read the music sheet and learn the piece separately
2)memorize first
3)play in brain
4)have a "ear warm", brain is practicing all the time
5)the finger practice is much intensive: because the brain wants some kind of sound, if the ears hear different, the fingers will work like crazy to adapt which the brain wants. Consequently learn a piece from the first view to perfection much faster.

the point 4) for me is extremely important today, it is a good way to fight against the electronic distractions.


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I think there is an advantage to memorizing away from the piano. It can save you practice time repeating sections at the piano and gives you a sort of clarity of mind.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
I think there is an advantage to memorizing away from the piano. It can save you practice time repeating sections at the piano and gives you a sort of clarity of mind.

I don’t see the advantage:
- you practice at the piano for tone, touch, phrasing and articulation. How do you accelerate that process by memorizing away from the piano? You need to hear and analyze your own sound.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
1. The question is why would anyone choose to analyze the score before playing it?
2. What advantage can this possibly have?
3. But even for those who can, what's the concept behind this approach?

Good questions. The following notes give general answers #1 and #2 as does Johnstaf's post. Please note I have substituted "analyze" for "memorize" to focus on the key point in all this, training the ear.

Notes from my previous post

The training of the ear to notice the exact tone quality, tone duration and tone strength.Through minute observation of these tonal qualities, the whole performance an entirely different clearness and more definite character, a sphere of subtle expression without overly strong dynamic or rhythmical changes.

Listening with a critical ear to one's playing and keeping one's touch under continual control with utmost concentration are prerequisites of rapid progress.

An indispensable necessity when training the ear, is an accurate knowledge of the piece. It is essential to visualise the piece and, if done thoroughly, one will be able to play it from memory. The memory must be specially trained to do this quickly not by playing but by visualisation by silent reading.

A further development is to acquire the ability to prepare the technical execution through silent reading, so that the piece can be performed in a short time.

It is only necessary to memorise pieces to be performed in public, Bach compositions and specially instructive exercises, not every piece played.

Teachers should not advise always playing from memory, but the brain should be trained to memorise short phrases.

Teachers should insist upon beginners playing one or two short measures from memory in every lesson.


Concept
As I see it analysis and visualisation give the pianist a "mental model" of the piece as a reference during practice and performance. A type of feedback and control loop.

Comment
Martha Argerich appeared to be doing that in a lockdown recital, listening to her performance and pulling a face.
Sorry, but I don't see anything in your reply that answers my questions. And I think training one's ears should be done by listening to one's own playing or the playing of others.

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I think the same method will have different impact on different people. for me it doesn't make sense to discuss the impact of one method without any attempt.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
I think there is an advantage to memorizing away from the piano. It can save you practice time repeating sections at the piano and gives you a sort of clarity of mind.
I don’t see the advantage.

Gieseking and Liemerl did. See their book, see pp 9-12.

Regrettably everyone focuses on memorisation instead of analysis and visualisation.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
I think there is an advantage to memorizing away from the piano. It can save you practice time repeating sections at the piano and gives you a sort of clarity of mind.

I don’t see the advantage:
- you practice at the piano for tone, touch, phrasing and articulation. How do you accelerate that process by memorizing away from the piano? You need to hear and analyze your own sound.
And besides the fact that few can memorize away from the piano(at least exclusively as in the topic of this thread) I think that approach, even if successful, will actually take MUCH longer. I think muscle memory, only possible at the piano, is a major component of memory for pianists at all levels. I've read quite a few of those books where the author interviews and asks questions of a lot of pianists. One of the common questions is how they memorize. I can't recall a single pianist who said they use Gieseking's approach. And in the numerous threads on memorization on PW I don't remember anyone mentioning Gieseking's method.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Sorry, but I don't see anything in your reply that answers my questions.

I am sorry to hear that. You will have to look at the introduction to the book to make sense of it, see pp 9-12.

Regrettably everyone focuses on memorisation instead of analysis and visualisation. Do you already do those?


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Originally Posted by dogperson
I don’t see the advantage:
- you practice at the piano for tone, touch, phrasing and articulation. How do you accelerate that process by memorizing away from the piano? You need to hear and analyze your own sound.
You hear the sound in your mind, and have an accurate enough kinesthetic sense that you can imagine making the hand movements without actually making them. On another forum, people once challenged each other to make improvisations with no sound. The improvisations came out just as good as their normal improvisations, pretty much.

This will obviously be more effective as you master various kinds of movements and have a good idea of sound production at the piano. I find that my experience with improvisation, listening, and figuring out the notes based on pianists' hand movements from videos has helped.

I have poor reading skills. So there is a great tendency to look away from the page and do my own thing, or play the same few bars over and over again because it's easy. By trying to memorize away from the piano, I can force myself to get out of that sort of unproductive loop.

It will be more effective if the techniques are not completely new.

My greatest "success" with this method was memorizing six bars of the Revolutionary Etude away from the piano. I see no reason why anyone couldn't do the same as long as they are able to visualize themselves playing the piano in their mind. You see the groups of 4-5 notes in each hand, imagine the piano in your head and figure out logical fingering, then see the next group of notes. Then you check the transition between the two figurations to see if there is any discontinuity.

However, as I mentioned, it would possibly take a long time for me at least (I would expect at least a week for a page of music).

I certainly don't think this is only possible by concert artists. I would say anyone can do it eventually. But it might take 10x the time. And it's also strenuous mental effort.

"Mental repetitions" also work for muscle memory. The positive when it's purely mental is that your hands in your "mind's eye" do exactly what you tell them to. They don't mess up randomly like they do in real life. This is where a truly competent pianist would be able to save time, by always practicing the right movements in their head by default. I've always found that if I'm trying to prepare a piece in very little time, the ratio of the number of physical repetitions vs mental repetitions is crucial. I still need to do physical repetitions, but the mental repetitions are what help solidify a piece for me because you can't directly rely on muscle memory.

So the workflow is like this: see groups of 4-5 notes in each hand (identifying arpeggios etc. can help with this). Imagine playing them in your mind's eye and figure out the optimal fingering. Try and play both of them together in your mind -- this mental visualization can be appropriately slow as necessary. Now repeat the visualization of your hand movements in your mind's eye a few times. Move on to the next group of notes. And so on. While doing all of this, any kind of chunking or analysis will help speed up the process and with big-picture ideas.

I tend to also listen to a recording to get an instinctive idea of the notes, but I'm sure that this can be bypassed with the help of a great ear or perfect pitch, or if you have listened to the piece before and remember the audio.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
My greatest "success" with this method was memorizing six bars of the Revolutionary Etude away from the piano...

However, as I mentioned, it would possibly take a long time for me at least (I would expect at least a week for a page of music).

I certainly don't think this is only possible by concert artists. I would say anyone can do it eventually. But it might take 10x the time. And it's also strenuous mental effort.
I'm afraid every time you write about this the technique becomes less and less reasonable to me. I didn't quote your comments about muscle memory, but I think that's done with actual playing of the music and do not think it can be done by imagining hand movements in one's mind. In fact, the whole idea of imagining hand movements in one's mind does not seem reasonable to me. I also strongly disagree about figuring out fingering in one's mind.

So far no one has mentioned a single pianist other than Gieseking that uses his method to any significant degree.

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The advantage of Gieseking's approach is that it encourages the pianist to build a mental model of the piece that doesn't depend on feedback from the actual instrument.

I never feel truly secure unless I can play a piece through in my head.

Didn't Glenn Gould learn the Goldberg Variations away from the piano?

John Ogden often learnt pieces by looking at the score without touching the piano.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
The advantage of Gieseking's approach is that it encourages the pianist to build a mental model of the piece that doesn't depend on feedback from the actual instrument.

I never feel truly secure unless I can play a piece through in my head.

Didn't Glenn Gould learn the Goldberg Variations away from the piano?

John Ogden often learnt pieces by looking at the score without touching the piano.
"Building a mental model"(don't really know what you mean by that)isn't something that most would call memorization. Why would building a mental model away from the instrument be better than at the instrument?

Assuming Ogden or Gould could learn scores that way, I think that shows that one can always find some infinitesimal percentage of the population that can do something that's not possible for everyone else. My guess is that only the tiniest percent of pianists at the most prestigious conservatories choose to or even can learn music that way. So if 1 out of 10,000 of those who play piano can use Gieseking's method, I consider it a super outlier approach.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I'm afraid every time you write about this the technique becomes less and less reasonable to me. I didn't quote your comments about muscle memory, but I think that's done with actual playing of the music and do not think it can be done by imagining hand movements in one's mind. In fact, the whole idea of imagining hand movements in one's mind does not seem reasonable to me. I also strongly disagree about figuring out fingering in one's mind.
What do you mean that it doesn't sound reasonable to you?! I told you that I do it often for small sections of music, and I have used it in the past. I'm just an amateur -- a professional will presumably by able to use it much better if they decide to do so. I gave an example of where I actually did work out the fingering and hand movements in my head (and it was correct). Later on, I was able to play it correctly the first time I touched a piano because I had rehearsed it so many times in my head. That doesn't mean it was ideal in terms of technique, but it was definitely workable.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
So far no one has mentioned a single pianist other than Gieseking that uses his method to any significant degree.
There are other pianists -- Ogden and Gould are examples. And these are people who could memorize concertos by reading through them before their first performance. I have no reason to doubt that most famous concert pianists would be able to work out a page or two in their head very fast. I think pretty much all of them work on scores on their flights -- what do you suppose they're doing?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
John Ogden often learnt pieces by looking at the score without touching the piano.
"Building a mental model"(don't really know what you mean by that)isn't something that most would call memorization. Why would building a mental model away from the instrument be better than at the instrument?
[/quote]
It eventually develops the skill where you can think about music and how to play it on the piano when you aren't at the piano bench.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
. My guess is that only the tiniest percent of pianists at the most prestigious conservatories choose to or even can learn music that way. So if 1 out of 10,000 of those who play piano can use Gieseking's method, I consider it a super outlier approach.
I'm sure most of them can with adequate training. Trying to memorize with the score in hand + a recording, or perfect pitch is very common imo.

The true 1 in 10000 would be being able to learn reasonably intricate pieces away from the piano in a very short time frame. Most people wouldn't do it because the alternative is faster and more enjoyable. But if you don't think there is precedent for this approach, you're wrong -- a lot of concert pianists practice by writing out the score from memory, away from the piano, which I'd say uses a similar skill.

And I really don't see your continued skepticism that it's possible to do in the first place. Three separate forum members have already said that they do so to varying degrees.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
John Ogden often learnt pieces by looking at the score without touching the piano. "Building a mental model"(don't really know what you mean by that)isn't something that most would call memorization. Why would building a mental model away from the instrument be better than at the instrument?

Assuming Ogden or Gould could learn scores that way, I think that shows that one can always find some infinitesimal percentage of the population that can do something that's not possible for everyone else. My guess is that only the tiniest percent of pianists at the most prestigious conservatories choose to or even can learn music that way. So if 1 out of 10,000 of those who play piano can use Gieseking's method, I consider it a super outlier approach.

A mental model of a piece doesn't have to be detailed. It can be quite vague if it depends on muscle memory, for example. I know pieces that I can play from memory, but I don't know them well enough to play them through in my mind.

I find it very difficult to build a precise picture of a piece at the piano, because it is too easy to fall back on various memory cues. It's not impossible to build a precise picture of a piece at the piano, but it's much easier (for me) to do it away from the piano. It's hard to concentrate on details when you don't need to concentrate on them. Studying away from the piano forms different types of memory.

Towards the end of last year, I had a finger sprain and decided to take time away from the piano. I got some scores for Christmas and wanted to study them. I learnt the first few pages from each and then moved on to something else. I returned to the piano a little while ago, and I haven't actually played these pieces yet, but they're as clear in my mind as if I had. It was only in this discussion that it occurred to me that I hadn't actually played them.

If I can use this way or working, I'm sure more than 1 in 10,000 pianists can. I don't have any unusual aptitude for anything piano related.

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FYI

Basic Principles in Piano Playing as Taught by Josef & Rosina Lhévinne, Explained by John Browning

(I can't make the timestamp to work, "memorization" from 8:40)



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Newport
I applaud the guidance to confirm your knowledge of a piece by playing it in your head including all elements , but this is far different from replacing at the keyboard work by starting out with only mental learning.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
I applaud the guidance to confirm your knowledge of a piece by playing it in your head including all elements , but this is far different from replacing at the keyboard work by starting out with only mental learning.
I may have misunderstood you. In my previous reply, I was also replying to the other poster who isn't convinced that any kind of mental work is useful at all.

I think a combination of both works well. I think mentally working on sections is possible, and quite useful. You can reduce physical repetitions by 2-3x which I think is very effective as you are essentially playing correctly more times than not, which is great for muscle memory to set in. As johnstaf mentioned, it's definitely possible to acquire muscle memory through only mental practice. The only question remaining is whether it's more effective to practice purely mentally -- and for that, I think for most people who aren't Gieseking, the answer is a hard no.

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My reply was labeled ‘newport’ as it was in reply to the video he posted that discussed mental reinforcement AFTER the keyboard work.


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Originally Posted by newport
FYIBasic Principles in Piano Playing as Taught by Josef & Rosina Lhévinne, Explained by John Browning
(I can't make the timestamp to work, "memorization" from 8:40)
This video talks about memorizing by playing through the music in one's head after one has learned the piece. This is in itself a very vague concept IMO. What exactly does this mean? Does one hear the music, see one's finger movements, see notes/markings on a page or...?

But the bottom line is this is not what Gieseking's approach talks about which is learning a piece before one has played it by studying the score..

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by dogperson
I applaud the guidance to confirm your knowledge of a piece by playing it in your head including all elements , but this is far different from replacing at the keyboard work by starting out with only mental learning.
I may have misunderstood you. In my previous reply, I was also replying to the other poster who isn't convinced that any kind of mental work is useful at all.

I think a combination of both works well. I think mentally working on sections is possible, and quite useful. You can reduce physical repetitions by 2-3x which I think is very effective as you are essentially playing correctly more times than not, which is great for muscle memory to set in. As johnstaf mentioned, it's definitely possible to acquire muscle memory through only mental practice. The only question remaining is whether it's more effective to practice purely mentally -- and for that, I think for most people who aren't Gieseking, the answer is a hard no.
I never said or even hinted that any kind of mental work isn't useful. I think both your earlier descriptions of your own attempts with Gieseking's approach(you learned six measures) and your last sentence in this post show this is an extreme outlier method.

As far as acquiring muscle memory through mental practice(again something separate from the Gieseking, I think that depends on what one means by muscle memory and mental practice. Sitting at my laptop right now, I can play through some pieces in my mind by moving my fingers or without moving my fingers although I feel something in my fingers or there is some connection between my mind and fingers. If that's what some people mean by mental practice to memorize it could be possible, but I think actually making those movements at the piano would be infinitely more reinforcing for virtually everyone.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
There are other pianists -- Ogden and Gould are examples. And these are people who could memorize concertos by reading through them before their first performance. I have no reason to doubt that most famous concert pianists would be able to work out a page or two in their head very fast. I think pretty much all of them work on scores on their flights -- what do you suppose they're doing?
My guess is the working on scores on flights is mostly for already learned pieces or looking at scores they intend to learn but not with the goal of learning or memorizing them in their head.

That a few super pianists can learn new music entirely in their head does not convince me that this approach is useful for even most conservatory students and certainly not the other 99.9% of the population.

As far as most famous concert pianists being able to work out a page or two in their head very fast, I can only repeat what I mentioned earlier on the video of Frederich Chiu's class. The class had around five exceptional young concert pianists with experience in major competitions, and they dramatically failed to learn even the first half of a Scarlatti Sonata.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I never said or even hinted that any kind of mental work isn't useful. I think both your earlier descriptions of your own attempts with Gieseking's approach(you learned six measures) and your last sentence in this post show this is an extreme outlier method.
Well, I'm also a largely self-taught nobody at the piano who started as an adult. Someone with more experience should be able to fare much better than my measly six measures. imo.

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here is the day 5 practice (day 4 + day 5 fingers practice less than 1h)


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I had a look at John Meffen's Improve your piano playing to what he had to say.

His learning process starts with Studying the Score Away from the Keyboard

(a) No mention of Gieseking, but Meffen says Andor Foldes advised to read the score at least twice. The reason, to gain a clear mental picture of the music, "without being distracted by the physical aspects of its playing".

(b) Meffen advises dividing the work up as a "high level of concentration" is possible only for a short timespan. The objective, to make as few errors as possible.

(c) He says you must resist the temptation to try the piece through before you start serious work at the keyboard.

Are there any good reasons why I should ignore this advice and Gieseking's approach of learning a piece by studying the score before playing it?


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Originally Posted by Withindale
(c) He says you must resist the temptation to try the piece through before you start serious work at the keyboard.
I can resist anything, except temptation - Oscar

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Are there any good reasons why I should ignore this advice and Gieseking's approach of learning a piece by studying the score before playing it?
Yes. Lack of time. Lack of inclination. Inefficient in the long term, in terms of time spent (i.e. wasted).

But if you're retired and have time on your hands, why not? Better than wasting time on FB, Tik-Tok, Instagram etc.

Me, I have a full time high-stress job totally unrelated to music, and have no time to waste - and ever since I was taught how to sight-read (i.e. spending a few seconds looking through the score to note salient details, before starting to play) for my ABRSM exams, that's the way I normally start when learning new pieces. A look-through for a few seconds (sometimes a few minutes), then start playing. (But if I'm just sight-reading with no thought of learning the piece, I often just launch straight into it, delighting in discovering the piece as I play it.)

There have been a few occasions when I brought a new score with me to read (like a novel) on a long plane or train journey, which helps later on when I get to my piano to start learning it for real, because I've become familiar with the score, worked out fingerings, phrasings, articulation etc (and marked them in the score). But the end result of studying the score away from the piano for some time before learning it on the piano v learning it almost immediately on the piano is that I end up spending much more time overall just to get the piece to the same musical & technical standard using the former method. And no, it doesn't stick in my memory any better either, if I'm intending to memorise it.


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Day 5 Gieseking method personal summary:

1)The brain memorise first doesn’t accelerate the learning process, in some cases it could make it longer. In effect it takes time to memorise, especially once memorised one part before touch the keys, the brain doesn’t allow fingers to play incorrectly anymore, so the fingers will practice until the brain is satisfied.
2)to reach a reasonable level it is maybe a good approach, because fingers practice much more intensively than a normal approach. This is a method for quality not for quantity.
3)Ginastera maybe not the best piece for this method, analytically could be difficult.
4)good mental exercice.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
I had a look at John Meffen's Improve your piano playing to what he had to say.

His learning process starts with Studying the Score Away from the Keyboard

(a) No mention of Gieseking, but Meffen says Andor Foldes advised to read the score at least twice. The reason, to gain a clear mental picture of the music, "without being distracted by the physical aspects of its playing".

(b) Meffen advises dividing the work up as a "high level of concentration" is possible only for a short timespan. The objective, to make as few errors as possible.

(c) He says you must resist the temptation to try the piece through before you start serious work at the keyboard.

Are there any good reasons why I should ignore this advice and Gieseking's approach of learning a piece by studying the score playin beforeg it?
I think studying the score beforehand is perfectly reasonable, although I never do it since I've always heard the piece many times before. But I doubt what Meffen means has anything to do with what Gieseking is saying. It's probably more like what bennevis mentions in an earlier post. I also see nothing wrong with trying the piece all the way through in the beginning.

One reason for ignoring Gieseking is that very few pianists do it.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
One reason for ignoring Gieseking is that very few pianists do it.

How is that relevant?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
One reason for ignoring Gieseking is that very few pianists do it.
I think everyone is talking past each other now. Define what you mean by Gieseking's method. It appears you are only considering the extreme point of view where the entire sheet has to be memorized before even touching the instrument, while others are talking more about the general principle or "variants" of the very strict score-only method.

It also depends on context. Suppose you are extremely good at the piano and good at sight singing, and you find a pop arrangement online which has a total of six chords. Don't you think it might actually be more efficient to learn directly from the score before actually playing it on the piano? At the very least, it sounds like a reasonable supposition to me.

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I think the main point of memorizing a piece away from the keyboard is to learn to analyze music thoroughly and to learn to find more patterns in it, because obviously it would be too difficult to memorize note by note. The second point is to develop ability to imagine music more precisely. It requires ear training and solfeggio. And thirdly I think memorization away from the keyboard helps to learn to pay more attention to details in the score.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
One reason for ignoring Gieseking is that very few pianists do it.

How is that relevant?
If an approach was good more pianists would use it.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I think the main point of memorizing a piece away from the keyboard is to learn to analyze music thoroughly and to learn to find more patterns in it, because obviously it would be too difficult to memorize note by note. The second point is to develop ability to imagine music more precisely. It requires ear training and solfeggio. And thirdly I think memorization away from the keyboard helps to learn to pay more attention to details in the score.
Those reasons make sense but studying the score is usually done after/during the learning of a piece and as only a part of the overall approach to memorizing.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
One reason for ignoring Gieseking is that very few pianists do it.

How is that relevant?
If an approach was good more pianists would use it.
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
One reason for ignoring Gieseking is that very few pianists do it.
I think everyone is talking past each other now. Define what you mean by Gieseking's method. It appears you are only considering the extreme point of view where the entire sheet has to be memorized before even touching the instrument, while others are talking more about the general principle or "variants" of the very strict score-only method.

It also depends on context. Suppose you are extremely good at the piano and good at sight singing, and you find a pop arrangement online which has a total of six chords. Don't you think it might actually be more efficient to learn directly from the score before actually playing it on the piano? At the very least, it sounds like a reasonable supposition to me.
I am talking about what was described as Gieseking's method at the beginning of the thread.i.e. memorizing the whole piece from the score before playing it. As far as your context example goes, I don't think Gieseking was talking about a pop song with six chords.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I don't think Gieseking was talking about a pop song with six chords.
You don't need to look at a score - or "study" it - to play/sing a pop song.

If you can't play (& sing) it by ear, there's no point in trying to learn even a few bars of any Scarlatti sonata by staring at the score for days and weeks. Because you won't be able to 'hear' it in your mind, so is it music - or abstract art?


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I think the main point of memorizing a piece away from the keyboard is to learn to analyze music thoroughly and to learn to find more patterns in it, because obviously it would be too difficult to memorize note by note. The second point is to develop ability to imagine music more precisely. It requires ear training and solfeggio. And thirdly I think memorization away from the keyboard helps to learn to pay more attention to details in the score.
Those reasons make sense but studying the score is usually done after/during the learning of a piece and as only a part of the overall approach to memorizing.
I'm afraid I don't understand. Don't you study the score before playing a new piece?

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I think the main point of memorizing a piece away from the keyboard is to learn to analyze music thoroughly and to learn to find more patterns in it, because obviously it would be too difficult to memorize note by note. The second point is to develop ability to imagine music more precisely. It requires ear training and solfeggio. And thirdly I think memorization away from the keyboard helps to learn to pay more attention to details in the score.
Those reasons make sense but studying the score is usually done after/during the learning of a piece and as only a part of the overall approach to memorizing.
I'm afraid I don't understand. Don't you study the score before playing a new piece?
I think most pianists at all levels do most of the studying while one is learning the piano at the piano. Some do a little studying before but not what Gieseking advocates.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I'm afraid I don't understand. Don't you study the score before playing a new piece?
How much time do you spend studying a new piece without going anywhere near a piano, before you actually start trying it out at the piano?


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Quote
Another practice strategy is mental rehearsal:
a “cognitive or imaginary rehearsal of a physical
skill without overt muscular movement” (Connolly
& Williamon, 2004, p. 224). Research has shown
that mental rehearsal is an effective means of
learning (Rosenthal et al., 1988; Pace, 1992). It
can be used to enhance learning and memory,
improve the effectiveness of practice, to master
technical challenges and to intensify tonal
production (Gabrielsson, 1999). Mental practice is
particularly useful in the initial stages of learning
when an overview of the work is being constructed
and in the final stages of preparing the work for
performance (Connolly & Williamon, 2004).

The question, which is more effective, physical
or mental practice, has been investigated in
recent years. There is no doubt that physical
practice is necessary for superior psychomotor skill
improvement, but can mental practice contribute
to the development of skills? Both Coffman (1990)
and Ross (1985) examined large groups of higher
education instrumentalists using different modes
of practice: physical, mental or combination of
both. These studies found that physical practice
in combination with mental practice is more
effective than mental practice alone, and that the
use of mental practice in conjunction with physical
practice can produce many benefits for advanced
instrumentalists, such as a reduction of practice time.
In particular, performance of rhythms can be greatly
improved by mental practice and silent analysis
(Rosenthal et al., 1988). Tannhauser (1999) supported
this view by suggesting that a conceptual, analytical
approach is likely to enhance learning and practice
time in instrumental performance.

From https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ912405.pdf

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I'm afraid I don't understand. Don't you study the score before playing a new piece?
How much time do you spend studying a new piece without going anywhere near a piano, before you actually start trying it out at the piano?
Well, I don't leave the piano room particularly to study the score smile , but yes, I usually study the score for a few minutes before playing it. Sometimes I write down some fingerings before touching keys. It depends.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think most pianists at all levels do most of the studying while one is learning the piano at the piano. Some do a little studying before but not what Gieseking advocates.
Yes, probably Gieseking's method is not very widespread, but still it's universally considered a good practice to study the score, at least briefly, before playing it.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Quote
Another practice strategy is mental rehearsal:
a “cognitive or imaginary rehearsal of a physical
skill without overt muscular movement” (Connolly
& Williamon, 2004, p. 224). Research has shown
that mental rehearsal is an effective means of
learning (Rosenthal et al., 1988; Pace, 1992). It
can be used to enhance learning and memory,
improve the effectiveness of practice, to master
technical challenges and to intensify tonal
production (Gabrielsson, 1999). Mental practice is
particularly useful in the initial stages of learning
when an overview of the work is being constructed
and in the final stages of preparing the work for
performance (Connolly & Williamon, 2004).

The question, which is more effective, physical
or mental practice, has been investigated in
recent years. There is no doubt that physical
practice is necessary for superior psychomotor skill
improvement, but can mental practice contribute
to the development of skills? Both Coffman (1990)
and Ross (1985) examined large groups of higher
education instrumentalists using different modes
of practice: physical, mental or combination of
both. These studies found that physical practice
in combination with mental practice is more
effective than mental practice alone, and that the
use of mental practice in conjunction with physical
practice can produce many benefits for advanced
instrumentalists, such as a reduction of practice time.
In particular, performance of rhythms can be greatly
improved by mental practice and silent analysis
(Rosenthal et al., 1988). Tannhauser (1999) supported
this view by suggesting that a conceptual, analytical
approach is likely to enhance learning and practice
time in instrumental performance.

From https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ912405.pdf
Without knowing specifically what the writer of the article means by "mental practice" this quote means very little if anything.

The last sentence you quoted is pdt usually a problem for "advanced instrumentalists" except perhaps in contemporary music.

The part quoted below makes sense but I think has virtually nothing to do with Gieseking's approach, and I think would normally be a small part of a pianist's practice:
"Mental practice is particularly useful in the initial stages of learning when an overview of the work is being constructed and in the final stages of preparing the work for performance."

I don't think anyone on this thread has claimed no mental practice (as in studying the score) is useful, but Gieseking's method seems utterly different from what most would consider mental practice.

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thank you very much for everybody who commented and followed this post, I really learned a lot more by reading your posts.
In the beginning, I thought the Gieseking method to memory the piece first and play later is a very popular approach today because I read somewhere that many pianists, students and teachers read this book. So I suppose many of them have adapt this approach. But by reading your posts, I am thinking maybe the thing is a little bit different.


For me, the most fascinating part to learn the music is that everybody probably has his own objective, and that objective maybe changes from time to time even for the same person. It could be really anything: For example it could be someone would like to play "Fur Elise", make happy to his parents, become a pianist one day, pass some exams, it could be also something in another dimension...
Both the teachers and students working for their very personal objective. The teacher should help the student find a very personalized way to accomplish his personal objective. I think this is the greatest part to learn music, because there is no "true/false" (very objective) question and there is just "I like it" or "I don't like it" (very subjective) question.
The piano student should be focused to find his own way with different methods to prepare and interpret for a new piece.

It is very interesting to explore the Gieseking's method with so many piano study/performance objectives, and I hope everybody could come out with his best method to accomplish his objective.

I hope I can understand the discussion in this thread:
Study the plan first or start building first.
I think there are so different situations in the music world, the people should find different methods/approaches to adapt case by case.


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I think to summarize, truly using the Gieseking method in a regular basis is only feasible for people with extraordinary memory, photographic memory of some kind or extremely high working memory. Most pianists use mental practice techniques. Most pianists at a very high level such as concert artists can learn a relatively easy piece away from the piano if they have worked at the skill. However they usually don't because it's not efficient.

I think Gieseking's method can be very useful for practical reasons. Suppose you are working on a day job. How cool would it be to just keep a few scores in your tablet or desktop and learn them right there? Not every pianist has the luxury of spending the entire day at their instrument. This is one of the reasons I would like to learn the skill as well.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Most pianists at a very high level such as concert artists can learn a relatively easy piece away from the piano if they have worked at the skill. However they usually don't because it's not efficient.

It can be efficient, and the difficulty of the piece isn't necessarily a consideration.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by johnstaf
How is that relevant?
If an approach was good more pianists would use it.

I find it good. Am I wrong?

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by johnstaf
How is that relevant?
If an approach was good more pianists would use it.

I find it good. Am I wrong?
Learning and memorizing a piece before ever playing it on the piano or just studying the score? Do you think many pianists use this approach to a significant degree? What level pianist do you think this approach is useful and possible?

The image that stays in my mind is the one I've mentioned a few times on this thread where five terrific young professional pianists failed miserably at learning half a Scarlatti Sonata this way.

I can't see any advantage of learning music this way but I can see many disadvantages.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
.I think Gieseking's method can be very useful for practical reasons. Suppose you are working on a day job. How cool would it be to just keep a few scores in your tablet or desktop and learn them right there? Not every pianist has the luxury of spending the entire day at their instrument. This is one of the reasons I would like to learn the skill as well.
At one's day job one should be doing one's job and not learning music. I don't think many conservatory pianists can learn music this way, and even if they can they find it incredibly inefficient. So why would you, as (if I remember correctly) a relative beginner, even give it a second's thought?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Learning and memorizing a piece before ever playing it on the piano or just studying the score? Do you think many pianists use this approach to a significant degree? What level pianist do you think this approach is useful and possible?

The image that stays in my mind is the one I've mentioned a few times on this thread where five terrific young professional pianists failed miserably at learning half a Scarlatti Sonata this way.

I can't see any advantage of learning music this way but I can see many disadvantages.

I'm currently learning two Beethoven sonatas this way. I've never played either. They're not repertoire I was planning to learn at the moment, but I've started. For me it's much quicker than studying at the piano as I'm not constrained by real time playing i.e. I can scan a page and jump back and forward within it very easily and quickly. It's a bit like learning text without reading it aloud. It's much quicker to read through it and identify and fix problem parts than to read it out.

I'm not talking about studying a score for a piece that has already been played. It goes without saying that studying the score is always a very valuable exercise. However, the process is the same for me. I have a pen and paper ready to jot things down. I sometimes draw out a plan of a section that's causing me problems.

It's possible to interrogate and correct the memory very quickly and efficiently away from the piano.

I don't think it has anything to do with musical ability. I also don't see why such a method should only be attempted by advanced pianists, given the differences in complexity of the music studied. Even the most gifted pianists are going to have problems working in a way that's completely new to them.

I don't know why I didn't use this way of working more consistently throughout the years. I will say that the music I've learnt using it over the years has been very solid in my memory. I only started using again as I had a sprained finger and didn't want to risk playing.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
...

And I really don't see your continued skepticism that it's possible to do in the first place. Three separate forum members have already said that they do so to varying degrees.

Count me in, so there are already 4 wink
Ranjit, there are the usual sceptics here, but you can't change their lifelong eating habits.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
But I doubt what Meffen means has anything to do with what Gieseking is saying.

Both seem to have had in mind what Martha Argerich said:

Gieseking (Foreword)
The young musician almost never understands how difficult it is to play really correctly. That means not only finger-technically but also expression-technically, exactly according to the wishes of the composer. This is possible only by a complete mastery of all kinds of touches and shadings. And this possession must go so far that the musician is able to call up the visionary presentation of a tone or a phrase, in such a way that it automatically transfers itself into the necessary hand and arm movements.

Meffen (Acknowlegements)
It was the remark "what you are talking about is facilitation at the synapses", made by my friend and pupil the late Dr Mavis Taylor, which first set me thinking and reading about the workings of the mind, not just the working of the muscles, in connection with piano playing.

Argerich (Interview)
Imagination ... sound, colour... very important.

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guess correctly the effect of any never attempt method is much more difficult than Gieseking's memory without play


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Originally Posted by ranjit
....I would like to learn the skill as well.
I strongly suggest start with 3rd part invention in Gieseking's book instead of Ginastera....


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I think the most important part of Gieseking's method to emulate is to be born fantastically talented and brilliant.


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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I think the most important part of Gieseking's method to emulate is to be born fantastically talented and brilliant.
I believe Gieseking never practiced, and things just came naturally to him - memory-wise, as well as technically.

Which is probably why he made so many mistakes in his many recordings (and I'm not just talking live ones)........


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Originally Posted by johnstaf
....
I find it good. Am I wrong?

This is the most important part I learned from piano....


Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I think the most important part of Gieseking's method to emulate is to be born fantastically talented and brilliant.
I believe Gieseking never practiced, and things just came naturally to him - memory-wise, as well as technically.

Which is probably why he made so many mistakes in his many recordings (and I'm not just talking live ones)........

Do you know any pianist made so few "mistakes" in Gieseking's time?
Music "mistakes" definition has been changed over the time. Today it is more important the part of a common pianist can be accomplished. This is the reason why it is so important piano competition for pianists which was pissed off in his time.
Even "mistakes" in art doesn't make sense for me, but I don't mind it makes sense for strong majority of the audience or pianists.


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Originally Posted by NobleHouse

"Technique is the ability to produce what you want...training your muscles is a waste of time...it is not in the muscles. It is in the brain, the inner ear...You have to hear before you play"
.

QED


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by NobleHouse

"Technique is the ability to produce what you want...training your muscles is a waste of time...it is not in the muscles. It is in the brain, the inner ear...You have to hear before you play"
.

QED
Not what Gieseking was talking about.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
"Technique is the ability to produce what you want...training your muscles is a waste of time...it is not in the muscles. It is in the brain, the inner ear...You have to hear before you play".
Not what Gieseking was talking about.

Really not?

Originally Posted by Gieseking Foreword
...the musician is able to call up the visionary presentation of a tone or a phrase, in such a way that it automatically transfers itself into the necessary hand and arm movements.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
"Technique is the ability to produce what you want...training your muscles is a waste of time...it is not in the muscles. It is in the brain, the inner ear...You have to hear before you play".
Not what Gieseking was talking about.

Really not?

Originally Posted by Gieseking Foreword
...the musician is able to call up the visionary presentation of a tone or a phrase, in such a way that it automatically transfers itself into the necessary hand and arm movements.
According to the early posts on this thread, Gieseking talks about learning and memorizing music by looking only at the score and that's what most of this thread has been about. This is not IMO at all what Fleisher is talking about which is about hearing what you want after you have learned or while you are learning a piece, e.g. how a chord should be voiced or how you want to do a crescendo. Every reasonably good pianist can do what Fleisher means to at least some extent. The five young pro pianists I've mentioned a few times on this this thread can do what Fleisher talks about but not what Gieseking discusses.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
According to the early posts on this thread, Gieseking talks about learning and memorizing music by looking only at the score and that's what most of this thread has been about.

I'd say the aim is more important than the method in all of this. Gieseking stated the aim but Leimer set out the method. Fleischer agrees with Gieseking's aim

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I'm so glad to see this engaged discussion about mental practicing! As I have been cited here numerous times, I thought I would add some nuance and observations.

The first is that mental practicing is definitely something separate and distinct from physical practicing, and it needs to happen away from the keyboard, and in fact away from any physicalization of any form, including singing/intoning. This is because, as soon as you physicalize or intone the music you are studying, you are forcing yourself into a forward-directional, steady pace that is physically realizable, subject to the laws of physics. Much of the mental studying and learning one needs to do has to be multi-directional, non-time based, comparing diverse passages simultaneously, and often physically impossible. While it is possible to learn everything one learns mentally while sitting at the piano, or even while playing it, it makes it extremely inefficient.

The second is that the major point of mental practicing is not to learn something without ever practicing it at the piano. Although I have done significant pieces that way (Beethoven Opus 28 in particular, by first transcribing it for string quartet, then sitting down and playing it from memory), it is really only one of many tools that are specific in use and function. The fact that one can learn ANYTHING while not playing it at the piano is the proof that mental practicing is potentially productive.

Thirdly, this kind of mental work puts into proper place the effort one is going to spend in physical practicing. After learning a score mentally, it becomes very clear what is left that must be learned/ingrained through hours of physical practicing. While I practice very little at the piano myself (1 hour a day max?) my fitbit often logs 10,000 steps and my heartrate is between 130 and 160 bpm during that hour!! That's because I don't do my mental practicing at the piano, only the physical stuff. It is often relentless and loud.

Fourth, mental practicing through score study and analysis is only ½ of true mental practicing, the other half being meditation. The former is the act of putting things into your brain. The latter is the act of looking for it and seeing what shape it's in if you do find it. There are special meditation techniques that can be done only by pianists. It is both passive and productive.

Lastly here, knowing that you can learn both through physical practicing and through mental practicing reinforces one's emotional confidence. And now we enter into the realm of Emotional Practicing!! Let's start another thread about that...

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fredericch, I agree with you, play piano is more mental than finger movement.
In general finger movement issues are easier to resolve.

In many cases, people with some hand handicaps can still play beautiful concerts. For me, this is the evidence that the mind is more important.

I think the main issue in this thread is that the meaning for each to play piano.

-There are someones, play piano means play someone else's music, it is done once they can re-produce more or less the some melody, the quality of re-production is important. In this case, the finger practice is important because there is already built model by someone else to follow.

-There are someones has a plan and want to build his own interpretation. In this case the mind is important because one should understand the structure behind to be able to build some models that don't collapse. In this case, the mind practice is important.

After some weeks of Gieseking's method with Argentinian dance, for me, Gieseking has just showed up his way to understand the structure of a piece. With this understanding, even some notes played don't match with the author's transcription, it could still be "fixed" properly.
Another benefice from Gieseking's method is that it will self improved without finger practice.


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At 84 and maybe advanced intermediate, I have not applied visualization through mental practice. But I have had success with visualization in achieving tension release. Kinethesis is involved in much of this. I learned years ago that I had a special gift (Stereochemistry in University) for seeing the 3 dimensional layout from 2 dimensional representations. I point this out only because I believe there are probably a lot of very talented pianists who do not visualize well.
All that said, and a bit familiar with Geiseking, I've found this thread to be quite interesting. I plan to try out mental practicing for both new pieces and for those already in my repertoire.

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Originally Posted by attaboy
At 84 and maybe advanced intermediate, I have not applied visualization through mental practice. But I have had success with visualization in achieving tension release. Kinethesis is involved in much of this. I learned years ago that I had a special gift (Stereochemistry in University) for seeing the 3 dimensional layout from 2 dimensional representations. I point this out only because I believe there are probably a lot of very talented pianists who do not visualize well.
All that said, and a bit familiar with Geiseking, I've found this thread to be quite interesting. I plan to try out mental practicing for both new pieces and for those already in my repertoire.
thumb thumb


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