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
43 members (almo82, Calavera, cygnusdei, Anglagard44, Charles Cohen, dima5222, David B, Animisha, 14 invisible), 1,020 guests, and 723 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
#3165892 10/23/21 07:37 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 68
A
Athdara Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 68
I didn't believe I would overthink when playing or analysing a piece of music.

I didn't believe it a year or so ago when my theory teacher told me that I'm complicating matters and kept repeating, "Don't overthink!" Back then my mind would simply draw a blank because contrary to overthinking, there was nothing going on in my mind--I didn't know and didn't understand what or how I had to think; I'd freeze.

(So a few weeks after I said I'd take a break in June/July and "parted ways" with my previous teacher whom I've had the privilege of having lessons with for 4 years, I decided to look for a new teacher--one who could travel to my place so that'll save me a bit of time.)

Now my new piano teacher's echoing what the theory teacher said--"Don't overthink! You're overthinking. Just play!" He was (still is) trying to get me to keep time; I'll always come in a split second late when playing a string of notes that starts on an off beat. The first few times he said that I froze, just like before. I thought, contrary to overthinking I wasn't thinking.

But then I started to realise I was thinking about what I had to think--should I focus on listening to the notes? Or counting? Or the pause? Or playing evenly? Or the attack?

So instead of counting 1,2,3,4 he's getting me to say out loud words with 4 syllables, such as "watermelon". Now that's difficult for me because when reading aloud I wouldn't place equal stress or emphasis on each syllable, so I struggled for some time with that. But most recently, I just thought, screw it I'll just follow instructions and NOT THINK.

So I started robotically repeating "watermelon" and didn't think of anything else--not when to come in, not the pauses, not how the notes sound. And miraculously my fingers took on a life of their own and the notes came in on time.

Then when I started thinking again, the notes were late.

I guess that then is one way to stop myself from overthinking--just follow instructions like a child would and not question or doubt!

Might there be other ways? (I'm overthinking now, aren't I?)

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 187
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 187
If you count 1 2 3 4 for instant for a 4 4 rhythm and slow down at a part within a measure or between measure then it means that your brain has issue processing it.
This is where you need to slow down at that particular position and subdivide the counting: for instant going down to 1 & 2 or 1 e & a 2 e & a etc.
Once you get both hands comfortable at the subdivided counting then you can speed up back again to the original 1 2 3 4 1 2 etc.
If then you're comfortable with the whole piece then you can even the counting by skipping going to 1 2 1 2 instead of 1 2 3 4 1 2 etc.
The latter step allows you to count without having the notes being played disturbing your sense of evenness in rhythm.
Of course at the latter stage you can also start using a metronome.
Hope this help


[Kawai VPC1 / ES100 - VSTs: VSL 280VC, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Ravenscroft 275 & Pianoteq 7 - Ableton Live Lite - Presonus iOne/iTwo - Tascam US1x2/2x2- Sennheiser HD700/6xx - Presonus E5+T10, iloud micro monitors]
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,120
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,120
When I play, I think about connecting the phrases & dynamics. Playing with the metronome a few times I get the beat in my head so there is less focus on counting and more on getting a good sound.

Places in a piece with big jumps & awkward fingerings need to think ahead or will stumble.

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 217
I
Ido Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
I
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 217
Generally, there's a lot to think about. The notes, the dynamics, the connection between LH and RH parts, the phrasing and timing... But you can't process it all at the same time, at least not as a beginner. So the trick is to make some of it automatic - e.g. after repeating a phrase X times, the notes themselves are engrained in muscle memory (even if you're still reading it from the sheet). Then you explicitly work on the rhythm/dynamics of that phrase and they become somewhat engrained, etc.

Eventually when you perform the piece you try to bring out the general lines of the music rather than focusing on the little details.

So there's a lot of thinking going on, you just need to focus it on the aspect you're currently working on. If the teacher is trying to make you get the rhythm right - focus on that and forget about the rest for a moment.


Started playing piano in early 2017. My YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNyp3JmDfITneq2uSgyb-5Q/videos
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 641
R
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by Athdara
I didn't believe I would overthink when playing or analysing a piece of music.

I didn't believe it a year or so ago when my theory teacher told me that I'm complicating matters and kept repeating, "Don't overthink!" Back then my mind would simply draw a blank because contrary to overthinking, there was nothing going on in my mind--I didn't know and didn't understand what or how I had to think; I'd freeze.

(So a few weeks after I said I'd take a break in June/July and "parted ways" with my previous teacher whom I've had the privilege of having lessons with for 4 years, I decided to look for a new teacher--one who could travel to my place so that'll save me a bit of time.)

Now my new piano teacher's echoing what the theory teacher said--"Don't overthink! You're overthinking. Just play!" He was (still is) trying to get me to keep time; I'll always come in a split second late when playing a string of notes that starts on an off beat. The first few times he said that I froze, just like before. I thought, contrary to overthinking I wasn't thinking.

But then I started to realise I was thinking about what I had to think--should I focus on listening to the notes? Or counting? Or the pause? Or playing evenly? Or the attack?

So instead of counting 1,2,3,4 he's getting me to say out loud words with 4 syllables, such as "watermelon". Now that's difficult for me because when reading aloud I wouldn't place equal stress or emphasis on each syllable, so I struggled for some time with that. But most recently, I just thought, screw it I'll just follow instructions and NOT THINK.

So I started robotically repeating "watermelon" and didn't think of anything else--not when to come in, not the pauses, not how the notes sound. And miraculously my fingers took on a life of their own and the notes came in on time.

Then when I started thinking again, the notes were late.

I guess that then is one way to stop myself from overthinking--just follow instructions like a child would and not question or doubt!

Might there be other ways? (I'm overthinking now, aren't I?)
I think what he means is imagine what you're going to do, and then just do it. Don't hesitate while playing it.

Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 769
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 769
Following….I think I overthink too and hadn’t thought this was the cause of my ‘pause’ in playing a piece … any advice welcomed.. it’s what I am working on.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,120
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,120
A lot of times I don't think too much about the pieces I play. I'd take a quick sound sample with my phone. If a piece sounds about right I'd leave it. Once I was in a piano store trying a short piece I learned on a DP. Got the tempo to be slightly faster than when I was playing at home and decided to keep the faster version.

Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 43
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by Athdara
I didn't believe it a year or so ago when my theory teacher told me that I'm complicating matters and kept repeating, "Don't overthink!" Might there be other ways?

OP most teachers, not just for piano suck. Teaching is unfortunately something done by a vast amount of people who think they can, just because they've been doing whatever for a while. Teaching should only be done by those who are good teachers.
And a good teacher is hard to find, but easy to spot. Very easy.

Anyway, the above piece of your former teacher, and the new one too I guess, the part I quoted is a typical statement from someone who should not be teaching. It means absolutely nothing. It's about as useful as a genital flavored lollipop...

I think what you're experiencing is not so much to not think, or over-think.
Thinking and even analyzing is good, before you start playing.
Once you start playing, thinking becomes a whole new thing.
It's not that you shouldn't think, it's that you should relax, and let your thinking flow naturally.
It's more of a passive / recognition type thinking rather than trying to figure stuff out.

I think what you may be struggling with, is thinking vs FEELING.

When it comes to tempo, timing, rhythm, once you've thought about and analyzed a piece, you should (before you play) work on feeling the rhythm.
Work on feeling the rhythm is clapping, slapping on your legs, groovin, it is critical to groove it - meaning you gotta move your body, really get the feel of it. Once you have the feeling, the tempo and rhythm comes naturally, and you're ready to play.
That's why I always refer to Scott Joplin. It is impossible to play a Joplin piece without feeling, unless you prefer sounding like a robot.
Think about the piece, then feel the piece, and in addition sing the piece (there's a reason Glen Gould voiced music while he played) and then play the piece and you'll find thinking is not even required.

Breathing, even relaxed breathing = relaxed muscles but focus on feeling first and the rest will come...
I don't know if that makes sense to you but I think it will help you.

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,311
I
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 2,311
I think what your teacher is trying to tell you is this: try to remember well how a phrase sounds correctly, then, when you play it, focus on the mental aural image of that phrase only, feel the desire to hear the correct sound coming out of your playing hands and let your brain do all the necessary motions for you to fulfill this desire. Don't try to think about every aspect of playing in particular (dynamics, rhythm, wrist angle) but rely on your aural memory and let your "motor brain" do all the work for you. I know by now this is probably the most difficult thing for an adult beginner to do, but it's also the most important thing in all piano playing.

Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,019
2000 Post Club Member
Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,019
Originally Posted by Athdara
I guess that then is one way to stop myself from overthinking--just follow instructions like a child would and not question or doubt!

Might there be other ways? (I'm overthinking now, aren't I?)

I think that there are times to think more and times to think less. When you start with a new piece, it is a good thing to spend time to analyse it. Who wrote it, which period, what type of piece is it, what key is it in, what feeling(s) does the piece express, what is the structure of the piece, etc etc.
Also, when you get an instruction from your teacher, and it is incomprehensible to you, of course you should think and discuss. ("Why should I play this note just a bit softer? Why should I make a diminuendo here, it doesn't say so in the score", etc.)

But, once you have analysed the piece and have understood the instruction, you should try to follow the instruction, and that is the moment when you should not overthink. The teacher says "make a nice diminuendo", you have discussed this and you understand why, and now you try to make a nice diminuendo without thinking too much.

It is hard to stop yourself from thinking. So what I do sometimes is not bother by how much I think, but instead focus on hearing. I play and listen. Is this a nice diminuendo or is it not gradual enough? Thoughts still come and go, but my focus is on listening to what I am doing.


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: Mar 2010
Posts: 618
S
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 618
Don't think too much is an expression that my teacher uses with me as well. By that, she means I am concentrating so hard on pushing the right key with the correct finger, that I'm not really creating music. The result is poor rhythm, pauses, and tension.

In analyzing what I am thinking about, I realized that I'm thinking hard about what I just played. Did I hit the right notes, use the correct fingering, get the rhythm right. In other words I'm thinking about the past and then suddenly realizing that I now have to start playing the next set of notes. Don't know if this will help the OP or not, but what I am trying to do is separate practice from performance. During practice one must be evaluating the past, but for performance, that is the kiss of death. So specifically, I practice performing. Might sound odd, but it means I purposely practice looking ahead and trying to avoid evaluating what I just played. No doubt most of you will laugh at how obvious this is, but that realization is beginning to improve my playing.


[Linked Image]
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
I have recommended the book
‘ the Perfect Wrong Note’ before—- but I think it would be helpful to overthinkers

Here is a summary snd reviews. Copies, new and used, are easy to find

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27585.The_Perfect_Wrong_Note


"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: Nov 2019
Posts: 320
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 320
Originally Posted by dogperson
I have recommended the book
‘ the Perfect Wrong Note’ before—- but I think it would be helpful to overthinkers

Here is a summary snd reviews. Copies, new and used, are easy to find

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27585.The_Perfect_Wrong_Note

I'm almost done reading it (from your recommendation) and love it.


Talão

Yamaha U3 and P-125
Playing since July 2019
My piano journey
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,623
Silver Subscriber
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,623
Another book I’m reading is The Inner game of music by B. Green. It could be helpful to stay focus.



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

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
Originally Posted by Talão
Originally Posted by dogperson
I have recommended the book
‘ the Perfect Wrong Note’ before—- but I think it would be helpful to overthinkers

Here is a summary snd reviews. Copies, new and used, are easy to find

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27585.The_Perfect_Wrong_Note

I'm almost done reading it (from your recommendation) and love it.

I would love to attend one of his seminars. Maybe someday…,.


"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: Dec 2019
Posts: 25
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Dec 2019
Posts: 25
Just another thumbs up for The Perfect Wrong Note by William Westney. I mentioned the book to my "new to me" teacher and she showed me her copy in the non-technical library. There was also a copy of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart, well thumbed and loved.

Addressing the theme, my teacher's advice is to feel as well as think the beat or time, but said in a way a new learner like me could understand.

Practicing and playing a piece are two different things; practicing and counting time have helped my playing enormously. Perseverance and practicing slowly seems always to win out.

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 649
F
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
F
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 649
Maybe turning down the overthinking, is like turning down your give-a-root level?
I had a guitar student that could rip through scales like a madman. Had no concept of playing music. I asked if he ever played songs/tunes? He didn't know how. I showed him some two and thrre chord songs. Much easier than drilling scales. Now he has his own regional cover band. (8 pieces) It doesn't always work like that, but. . .


nada
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 31,251
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 31,251
One should play pieces where one can think about whatever's necessary to give a good performance. For example, if thinking about the notes and rhythm at once is too complicated for most of the piece, in general the piece may too difficult. IOW I don't the problem is usually overthinking; more likely the piece is too difficult.

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,120
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,120
The last step of playing any piece is to bring it up to a performance level. When you're in a recital / concerto with people watching, you just do the best you can. If you miss a note, just keep going and hope the audience wouldn't notice it.

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,623
Silver Subscriber
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,623
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
The last step of playing any piece is to bring it up to a performance level. When you're in a recital / concerto with people watching, you just do the best you can. If you miss a note, just keep going and hope the audience wouldn't notice it.

This is my problem, I make a second mistake when I hope the audience didn't notice the first mistake. I need to focus on the music no matter what happen.



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

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
When Mozart plays a mean trick on you
by cygnusdei - 11/28/21 02:20 AM
Thin\hollow sound - improvement possible?
by TBell - 11/28/21 01:26 AM
Es920
by Jitin - 11/27/21 10:11 PM
Shopping spree reports
by Marc345 - 11/27/21 06:24 PM
Fishy scientific experiment - needs candidates.
by ZeroZero - 11/27/21 04:09 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,282
Posts3,149,257
Members103,450
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