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#3103678 04/08/21 10:36 AM
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How many pieces do you work with at the same time for best progression.
I'm quite new to notation and sheet music.
Right now I do sight reading 10-15 min and then I work with one piece at a time.
I play it real slow until I'm familiar with the notation as I play and then I try to use the sheet more as support, is that right?
Maybe it would be better to work with several pieces?
I've also started to write music through notation software which I hope will speed up my progress.
I read sheet music (different pieces) about 10 min before I go to bed.
What do you think will get best progression?
One or several pieces?


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I usually work with three pieces at the time, two pieces for my piano teacher, and one just for me. Preferably the pieces are a bit different. For instance, a cheerful piece with a lot of staccato, a sad piece with legato etc. When working with a piece, I get to the point where I don't progress any more - for now - and need to switch, but I still have enough energy to keep on practising. So I switch to a different piece. So yes, I think it is good to work with more than one piece at the time.

Writing music through notation software hasn't done anything for my progress.


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"Best progression" needs definition. Progress with what?

If progress with improving one's understanding of music generally, more is better.

If progress with making one thing your own musical expression, one is better.

My most musical efforts come after intense focus on one piece of music, and then drilling down into individual notes and the microdecisions that come from how to treat each moment of music.

On the other hand, my overall musical awareness benefits most from when I zoom way out and can absorb the bigger picture--comparing how different works do what they do.


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. -Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
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I usually have three in three different stages:
- one very early, where I'm just starting off
- one in the middle that I can play slowly but needs work to get better
- one that I'm polishing because I want it to become part of my repertoire

The third one will change more often then the other two. I have a bunch of pieces in my repertoire that I pick up on a regular basis to refresh them or polish them.

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Way too many.

Seems like I'm trying to "get good at" a whole bunch of the stuff I knew when I was 17 and had taken 9 years of piano lessons.
50 years later, some of that stuff is so far out of reach for me it may take me another year to even attempt it.
But I am constantly going through old music trying to recreate the skills I once had and now have to work on again.

Last edited by trooplewis; 04/08/21 01:10 PM.

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Forget about transcribing pieces, unless you want to compose.

I think it's good to have both "difficult" pieces that you work on for a long time and easier pieces that you rotate more frequently. I think 3-4 active pieces is a good number. Within those pieces you can have one easier that you change every 2 weeks, one challenge piece that you like very much but will take you several months to get to sound good, and one piece in between that would take you max 2 months to performance level. You can also work on an etude but it's best to do those with a teacher.

It's best not to have too many active pieces or you will spread yourself too thin. By "active" I mean those that you practice every day, not just play through once or twice. You can have other repertoire pieces if you really enjoy them but don't worry too much about keeping a large repertoire.

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Originally Posted by Relaxing_Music
How many pieces do you work with at the same time for best progression.
[...]

There are many variables that would prompt the answer: "it depends."

It depends upon
- how much daily practice time one has
- how long and/or how complex the piece(s) may be
- immediate or long-term goals (up-coming performance, examination or long-term repertoire-building)
- one's ability to focus or one's need for variety
- one's familiarity - or lack - with a composer's style
- one's learning style

Regards,


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Thank you all! :-)
Interesting, yes I might try with around 3 pieces too and see how that works.
What I feel is a big gap between my overall playing skills and to play to notation sheet music/sight-reading.


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One easy, one at my current level, and one above my level. 3 is my max or I get overwhelmed. 😊👍


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This comes closest to how I manage pieces:
Originally Posted by FloRi89
I usually have three in three different stages:
- one very early, where I'm just starting off
- one in the middle that I can play slowly but needs work to get better
- one that I'm polishing because I want it to become part of my repertoire....
- -and one that is a long-term project.

I might alternate the polishing and long-term pieces from day to day.


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Originally Posted by Relaxing_Music
What I feel is a big gap between my overall playing skills and to play to notation sheet music/sight-reading.
It's good that you are sight reading every day but I highly recommend working on some quick "throw away" pieces that you practice for 1-2 weeks without intending to really polish them. For me that has really helped my reading/learning/memorisation skills.

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I do 2. I don't start them at the same time but with 10 or 14 days of separation. And i stay one month with each of them. These pieces are beyond my level but not too much, just enough to force me to improve. Usually it's a fugue from Bach's WTC and a dance from French Suites. I've been practicing piano on a daily basis for the last 6 or 7 years.

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Think I played 16 yesterday- all at varying levels including some I keep in the repertoire

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Originally Posted by FloRi89
I usually have three in three different stages:
- one very early, where I'm just starting off
- one in the middle that I can play slowly but needs work to get better
- one that I'm polishing

This is also my ideal, but I find that it doesn't always work that way. Some pieces take forever to polish, so I may suddenly have two pieces to polish. Then within a couple of days, both are finished and I have two new pieces at the same time...
crazy smile


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Ideally, I want to work on two pieces at a time. In reality things look rather different right now for me: I have four pieces that I am working to memorize (one of these I haven't worked on for a week or so, and realistically three is probably my limit). In addition I have two works that I am polishing (implying: playing them through each time), and one piece which I have technical difficulties with (getting it up to speed in a few specific places), so I work with a few short sections of it.

Finally, I am also keeping my repertoire alive by playing each work through, twice a week.

Even though it is going quite well, this programme is overstretching me, and I will avoid such a load in the future. It is the memorization which poses the most difficulty.


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Hi Quasi
Polishing a piece does not require playing it completely from the beginning each time. Think about working in small chunks, maybe even just scattered measures. Instead of focusing on notes and rhythm, think about the articulation, phrasing, dynamics, flow. It is my favorite part of learning a new piece!


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by FloRi89
I usually have three in three different stages:
- one very early, where I'm just starting off
- one in the middle that I can play slowly but needs work to get better
- one that I'm polishing

This is also my ideal, but I find that it doesn't always work that way. Some pieces take forever to polish, so I may suddenly have two pieces to polish. Then within a couple of days, both are finished and I have two new pieces at the same time...
crazy smile

Actually I have ususally a bunch I might want to polish, usually I try to rotate them, sometimes daily. In my experience so far it sometimes doesn't hurt to let a piece just marinate for a while. But I'm just doing this for the stuff I really like.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Quasi
Polishing a piece does not require playing it completely from the beginning each time.

It may be that my interpretation of the word "polishing" is slightly excentric. What I am aiming for here is getting all the parts to flow nicely into one another without any "hiccups". The working in chunks, which you are mentioning, happens for me mostly concurrently with the memorization, since I memorize in chunks.

By the time I have memorized, my playing will still be quite shaky, particularly where one chunk ends and another begins, and therefore I tend to play through these pieces a lot. Sometimes, however, I will focus on certain parts of the piece, and leave others out. It varies.


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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Quasi
Polishing a piece does not require playing it completely from the beginning each time.

It may be that my interpretation of the word "polishing" is slightly excentric. What I am aiming for here is getting all the parts to flow nicely into one another without any "hiccups". The working in chunks, which you are mentioning, happens for me mostly concurrently with the memorization, since I memorize in chunks.

By the time I have memorized, my playing will still be quite shaky, particularly where one chunk ends and another begins, and therefore I tend to play through these pieces a lot. Sometimes, however, I will focus on certain parts of the piece, and leave others out. It varies.
I got much better results with fluency by actively avoiding playing through. The problem I had is that I often played through too many times without paying enough attention to why the "hiccups" were happening. Most of the time it happens because you are not mentally prepared for the next part. You have to practice the moment when you switch context from one section to another and always have a mental picture of the bars ahead while playing. That's something you have to practice specifically. Just playing through will not fix it.

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Repetition of a bar or phrase

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