2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
74 members (An Old Square, allegrettoforte, Ajax69, accordeur, Ben_NZ, Bett, 21 invisible), 1,194 guests, and 842 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,011
S
Sebs Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,011
I have been seeing a common trend when working on my pieces. They often seem to take couple months to learn and I noticed when I add up the total minutes from my journal it's nothing near the time I thought. For example, I noticed I was 6 weeks into a piece then I added up all my minutes and it was about 12 hours total so about an avg of 10 min a day. Still a little more to go on it too. I was also learning new techniques and patterns with it. Would it would be better to put more daily time and every day practice on the piece that is the main focus? I know I need to figure out what works best for me and fits in my day but I get the sense I should dedicate more daily time to the piece.

How do you really polish a piece? I have a piece I can play through pretty well but still have some random slip ups and I want to take it to a very polished/confident level but I feel stuck such as I can't get it any better. Any suggestions? Im almost thinking polishing might be take longer than learning the piece did?

I discussed with my teacher he says my progress is great for what we're learning and given that I'm still pretty new to pop. And for polishing a piece he simply said it'll just take time and to keep working on it.

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,075
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,075
Hi Sebs
It really does just take time to Polish a piece…, and often, putting it down and coming back to it later. Sometimes music is like soup, chili or gumbo: you need to put it in the refrigerator and let the spices merge before it’s the best.

You mention random mistakes. If you truly mean ‘random’ as in they occur in different places each time you play the music, don’t worry about it. If you are talking about the intermittent errors that occur in the same place each time: slow way down and force yourself just to play the measure or phrase multiple times. You want to engrain ‘right’ in your brain.

Your teacher is right: be patient with yourself.


"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

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,308
I
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,308
There must be a mistake. 12 hours = 720 minutes. Even if you've practiced the piece every day during these 6 weeks it's 17 minutes a day on average.

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
My golden rule ever since I started piano was to never spend more than 15-20 minutes on any given piece in the same day. I used to even put a timer on to force me to focus. Now I don't do that anymore but I still believe that the best progress is made by practicing a larger number of different things a little every day than practicing a single thing for a very long time.

A long time ago I made the following experiment. I took two easy pieces of about the same level. The first one I practiced maybe 10 minutes then put it to rest. The second one I practiced for an hour. I repeated the same process for 7 consecutive days. After that time I could play both pieces at about the same level. Seriously, the more heavily practiced piece wasn't any better than the first one in terms of polish. This proved to me that there is no point in practicing anything for a very long time each day if you can achieve the same effect with short focused practice. It's way better to practice 4 pieces 15 minutes each than spending the whole hour on a single piece. If you don't believe me try it yourself.

Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,019
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,019
Originally Posted by Sebs
How do you really polish a piece? I have a piece I can play through pretty well but still have some random slip ups and I want to take it to a very polished/confident level but I feel stuck such as I can't get it any better. Any suggestions? Im almost thinking polishing might be take longer than learning the piece did?

Yes, polishing can take quite some time. Something that works very well for me is to let a piece rest for a week or so, or ten days, and then relearn it. It is almost a bit magical to find how much more smoother I play the piece.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,019
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,019
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
A long time ago I made the following experiment. I took two easy pieces of about the same level. The first one I practiced maybe 10 minutes then put it to rest. The second one I practiced for an hour. I repeated the same process for 7 consecutive days. After that time I could play both pieces at about the same level. Seriously, the more heavily practiced piece wasn't any better than the first one in terms of polish. This proved to me that there is no point in practicing anything for a very long time each day if you can achieve the same effect with short focused practice. It's way better to practice 4 pieces 15 minutes each than spending the whole hour on a single piece. If you don't believe me try it yourself.

Nice idea! I'll try a variation of your experiment. Ten minutes vs twenty minutes. Now you chose easy pieces. It would be interesting to do the same type experiment with more difficult pieces, maybe fifteen minutes vs half an hour. The problem is, how to find two pieces that are equally difficult for me?


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 769
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 769
ID those slip ups, quarantine them. Isolate bars to practice. The confidence will happen once you practice the heck out of those quarantined bars. Yeah, days of ‘minimal Confidence working through those Q bars and then one day..it just clicks in. Recommend leaving a piece for a day. Crazy how much better you play it after giving your brain to rest and digest.

Last edited by Pianoperformance; 08/27/21 06:33 AM.

Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 653
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 653
Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
ID those slip ups, quarantine them. Isolate bars to practice. The confidence will happen once you practice the heck out of those quarantined bars. Yeah, days of ‘minimal Confidence working through those Q bars and then one day..it just clicks in. Recommend leaving a piece for a day. Crazy how much better you play it after giving your brain to rest and digest.

I'd also advise practising the bars that precede and follow the isolated sections so that you know how you're getting in and out of those passages.

Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 82
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 82
As far as I can tell, polishing a piece takes forever. Since we will probably always have little things we can improve upon, this is literally true, but also the polishing phase seems to take much longer than the learning phase. I notice a definite point of diminishing returns where I have to practice more for smaller improvements.

I have a friend who plays much more difficult pieces than I do. She started a very challenging piece in December and could play it quite well by March or April (we have a meeting each week where we play for each other, so I’ve heard her development of this piece all along). She is still, in August, polishing the piece, and does not yet feel comfortable enough to perform it. Watching her go through this process has been an eye-opener for me.

I think if you want to have a piece polished, especially if it is a somewhat difficult piece for you, it is necessary to have patience with the process. It may take much longer than you imagine.


Yamaha U3H
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
Originally Posted by Saan
As far as I can tell, polishing a piece takes forever. Since we will probably always have little things we can improve upon, this is literally true, but also the polishing phase seems to take much longer than the learning phase. I notice a definite point of diminishing returns where I have to practice more for smaller improvements.

I have a friend who plays much more difficult pieces than I do. She started a very challenging piece in December and could play it quite well by March or April (we have a meeting each week where we play for each other, so I’ve heard her development of this piece all along). She is still, in August, polishing the piece, and does not yet feel comfortable enough to perform it. Watching her go through this process has been an eye-opener for me.

I think if you want to have a piece polished, especially if it is a somewhat difficult piece for you, it is necessary to have patience with the process. It may take much longer than you imagine.
This.

This is also the reason you should probably not bother polishing all your pieces to a very high standard. Only keep playing those that you really like and want to keep performing for a long time. For all the rest, treat them as "throw away" learning material and move on when your teacher is satisfied.

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
Originally Posted by Animisha
Nice idea! I'll try a variation of your experiment. Ten minutes vs twenty minutes. Now you chose easy pieces. It would be interesting to do the same type experiment with more difficult pieces, maybe fifteen minutes vs half an hour. The problem is, how to find two pieces that are equally difficult for me?
I used (relatively) easy pieces so I could make some progress over a week and see the results. You can experiment to find out what works best for you. For me 20 minutes seems to be a sweet spot for optimum results. I have been doing these short bursts of focused work then switch to something else for almost 7 years now and I can say it has been very effective.

Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 769
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 769
Fatar760: 100% agree. It’s often the switch from one phrase/texture into another that often causes latency and wrong note being played.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,011
S
Sebs Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,011
This is a lot of good information, thanks everyone! I'm relieved that it seems polishing is expected to be a lot of extra work and takes a lot of additional time after learning it. As a beginner, I was simply thinking you learn it then play few mores days to polish. Really happy to know that's not the case and the polishing is slow process and like others said part of time is letting it rest too.

Also has anyone else had it where you can have a few bars with exact same rhythm in LH and RH and just slightly different notes and for some reason one set just clicks and is so much easier but the other set gives you a hard time?

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
There must be a mistake. 12 hours = 720 minutes. Even if you've practiced the piece every day during these 6 weeks it's 17 minutes a day on average.

My mistake, I meant I was 500 min at 6 weeks in. I was looking at some other entries and mixed up my numbers.

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,511
Originally Posted by Sebs
Also has anyone else had it where you can have a few bars with exact same rhythm in LH and RH and just slightly different notes and for some reason one set just clicks and is so much easier but the other set gives you a hard time?
Yes. Check your fingering.

Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 653
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 653
Originally Posted by Sebs
Also has anyone else had it where you can have a few bars with exact same rhythm in LH and RH and just slightly different notes and for some reason one set just clicks and is so much easier but the other set gives you a hard time?

Oh for sure. I'm actually looking at a piece now that looks so simple on the page but these little variations can completely alter what your mind expects.

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,778
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,778
There has been a lot of research into the optimum time for a task, no matter what it is. Studying, or writing, or practicing an instrument. About 25 minutes on a task is a good compromise, then take a short break and switch tasks. Look up "pomodoro technique" to read about one method.

How does that apply to piano practice? I am not very strict about it. But I almost never go over 25 minutes on one piece or task before I stop, break, and try something else.

How do you polish a piece? I'll let you know if I ever get one polished...

Sam

Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,011
S
Sebs Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,011
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by Sebs
Also has anyone else had it where you can have a few bars with exact same rhythm in LH and RH and just slightly different notes and for some reason one set just clicks and is so much easier but the other set gives you a hard time?
Yes. Check your fingering.

Got it! Funny thing is both those two spots are same exact fingering RH is playin octaves and LH is doing an open arpeggio. One part the RH goes up and has a sharp that helps so much for some reason and the part that I mess up sometimes it when RH is going down. I'll take the tips here and isolate it and work on it. I was just finding it interesting though some things are so bizarre.


Originally Posted by Sam S
There has been a lot of research into the optimum time for a task, no matter what it is. Studying, or writing, or practicing an instrument. About 25 minutes on a task is a good compromise, then take a short break and switch tasks. Look up "pomodoro technique" to read about one method.

How does that apply to piano practice? I am not very strict about it. But I almost never go over 25 minutes on one piece or task before I stop, break, and try something else.

How do you polish a piece? I'll let you know if I ever get one polished...

Sam

That's how I feel maybe I can let you know when I get one polished. I actually want to memorize it too as it's a basic song and fun to play and it sure would be nice to finally have at least one pieces I can sit down at a random play and play I think Im getting close though... I think... I hope...

It sounds like many agree with that time of 25 ish min max on a piece. Although do you ever come back for another session on same part or save it for next day to let it soak in and next session practice different section or piece?

It's cool to see that a lot of members here seem to have a lot of things in rotation I thought I was doing myself a disservice having a few things going at once.

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,778
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,778
I rarely come back for another session on the same piece or problem in the same session or day. I am 67, and that matters I think. I save it for the next day. I almost always do a 2-a-day. An hour in the morning, an hour in the evening. But I still don't work on the same piece or problem in the second session. I let it rest until the next day. I always have several pieces going at different levels of completion at the same time so there is never a shortage of things to work on. Getting in a rush is counter-productive for me, although it happens, when there is something coming up that I want to participate in and I am not ready.

Sam

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,308
I
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,308
Originally Posted by Sebs
This is a lot of good information, thanks everyone! I'm relieved that it seems polishing is expected to be a lot of extra work and takes a lot of additional time after learning it. As a beginner, I was simply thinking you learn it then play few mores days to polish. Really happy to know that's not the case and the polishing is slow process and like others said part of time is letting it rest too.

Also has anyone else had it where you can have a few bars with exact same rhythm in LH and RH and just slightly different notes and for some reason one set just clicks and is so much easier but the other set gives you a hard time?

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
There must be a mistake. 12 hours = 720 minutes. Even if you've practiced the piece every day during these 6 weeks it's 17 minutes a day on average.

My mistake, I meant I was 500 min at 6 weeks in. I was looking at some other entries and mixed up my numbers.
I agree with Qazsedcft that 15-20 minutes a day is a sweet spot for a piece that is not long. 500 minutes in 6 weeks is about 12 minutes every day on average, slightly less than optimum. It's important to feel progress every day. If you don't, it means you haven't done enough. When you do, it may be suboptimal to continue working after that point.

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,141

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
3000 Post Club Member
Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,141
My teacher has long contended (and I've been too stubborn to agree in general) that concentrated practice on short sections (often no more than two measures of a piece) is a more effective learning strategy than trying to struggle through the whole piece from beginning to end.

I'm now working on Bach's Invention No. 2 in C minor (BWV 773), and I'm trying it her way. Almost all of my practice time involves intense focus on two- or three-measure sections that lend themselves to isolated attention.

Lately, I've been starting with the relevant section towards the end of what I have really studied in the Invention (I haven't yet studied to the end of the piece), and I work on that section until I can tell myself that I've honestly made some progress. Then I work on the preceding short section with the same approach; then the section before that; and so on. When it makes sense, I add a new section at the end -- rinse and repeat.

Every three or four days, especially when my practice time is more focused on other pieces that I'm studying, I play the Bach through to the latest section that I've studied. It's a bit of a reality check, more than it is really "practicing" -- but the results encourage me about the productivity of the section isolation approach.

The point, regarding your question, is that my teacher seems to be right: At least for me, real progress happens when I focus, in technical detail, on short sections of a piece.

Because the hardest sections for me are usually the newest, on any practice day I can make progress on the piece with ten or fifteen minutes' work on even just one section. If it's a "Bach day" for me, I might devote a good chunk of my day's practice session to working through many sections.


[Linked Image]

"The great thing about music is if the plane goes down, everyone walks away."

-- David Bowie
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Shopping spree reports
by Marc345 - 11/27/21 06:24 PM
Fishy scientific experiment - needs candidates.
by ZeroZero - 11/27/21 04:09 PM
Happy Holidays Everyone!!
by Oniap - 11/27/21 01:56 PM
Bestselling Adult Beginner Method Books Reviewed
by scientistplayspian - 11/27/21 01:38 PM
Heartattack - how my iPad destroyed my Piano
by Senahoi - 11/27/21 12:49 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,279
Posts3,149,228
Members103,449
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5