Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
What's Hot!!
Mr. PianoWorld - the full interview
-------------------
European Tour for Piano Lovers
JOIN US FOR THE TOUR!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2018
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


Who's Online Now
89 registered members (bsntn99, Almaviva, bennevis, Carey, brooster, anotherscott, 25 invisible), 949 guests, and 9 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Self-assessment of practice methodology #395333
06/26/07 02:43 PM
06/26/07 02:43 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Music Student Offline OP
Full Member
Music Student  Offline OP
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Greetings all,


It's been two years since I transferred into the music program at my school from the social sciences.

As I begin my senior year this fall, I've been doing some thinking about what I've accomplished and where I need improvement.

Overall, I've found that the development of my abstract or intellectual relationship with the piano repertoire has grown exponentially, but my physical command of the keyboard has lagged behind.

In other words, my musical instincts have grown so rapidly that they have substantially outpaced my physical ability to realize them.

In an effort to understand my problem, I've scrutinized my practice methodology and I've discovered that it is perhaps too simplistic an approach:

When I am first learning a new piece I begin by attempting to envision how I will ultimately want each passage to be phrased/shaped/articulated.
Next I will try to see if I can achieve this effect hands-alone at, say, 50% of the performance tempo and then gradually increase the tempo. Once I can play each part by itself at concert tempo, I turn the dial on the metronome back to you 50% and start in hands together, gradually increasing the dial until it works.

Now, this basic approach works nicely for uncluttered or slow passages, but more technical or virtuosic passagework often defies the hyper-simplistic paradigms of "hands-alone to hands-together" and "slow-to-fast".

My teacher's careful guidance through various etudes has helped me develop a rudimentary toolbox of various practice techniques/gestures that you'll hopefully recognize by my creative nicknames: stop-motion, block-chord, rhythmic permutations, compound-motion, rotation, etc.

Unfortunately, however, when I encounter a technical obstacle I can't immediately overcome, I RARELY apply the correct practice techinque/physical gesture to said passage without first being told to do so my teacher.

In other words, my inadequate ability to independently diagnose technical problems and develop strategies with which to overcome them hinders the pace at which I can digest large quantities of music.

For instance, if my assignment after a given lesson is to prepare a sonata movement for the following lesson, I might tear through two pages in one day before encountering a technical challenge that will consume me for the rest of the week because I'll blindly hammer away at the proverbial square-peg-into-round-hole, unaware that my approach will NEVER solve the problem.

I'll then arrive at my lesson consumed with guilt about my failure to complete the assignment before my teacher politely explains to me that I laboriously spent the week ineffectively practicing the RIGHT passage the WRONG way and that an entirely different practice technique (often one of I've utilized before elsewhere) is the key to overcoming said obstacle.

I'm guessing that my current frustration is nothing more than the inevitable and ever-present growing pains of the serious piano student and I should suck it up and summon the willpower to be more intellectualy-engaged, focused, and diligent while practicing more hours, more often... instead of succumbing to the awful temptation I'm feeling at the moment to throw my Dover editions about the room and flail about wildly. :p

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395334
06/26/07 03:00 PM
06/26/07 03:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,281
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Online blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Online Blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,281
Lexington, Kentucky
Matthew, it sounds to me like you're being fairly hard on yourself. Rather than rely on a blistering self-assessment, what does your teacher say? Does your teacher think you should be able to recognize the correct practice techniques without his/her guidance?


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395335
06/26/07 03:15 PM
06/26/07 03:15 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Music Student Offline OP
Full Member
Music Student  Offline OP
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Thanks for the reply, Monica.

My teacher, fortunately, is an enormous source of support and encouragement.

That having been said, she has identified for me that the next major step in my development involves increasing my self-sufficency in acquiring new repertoire.

I'm not suggesting that I ought to be able to intuitively and independently conquer the Chopin etudes! laugh
I'm just wishing that it hadn't taken me six weeks to be able to play through Op 27, 1 (E-flat major) instead of the three we'd planned on.

Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395336
06/26/07 03:21 PM
06/26/07 03:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member
signa  Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
the thing is that you're the one who plays, and cannot always depend on your teacher. if you understand your situation or your weakness, then do the same to your own playing movements and techniques, trying to experiment or judge yourself whether a movement/fingering you make would create the sound you want. teachers basically would show you the ways, but you're the one who plays and knows whether a movement is effortless, or adequte, or produce fatigure or pain on yourself physically. one has to be able to judge oneself in certain ways without a teacher around. my teacher sometimes at lessons would just say to me, "listen to yourself" or "stop, it's wrong, do you know why?" the point is that he's trying to tell me to find out my problems myself, rather than just waiting for him to tell me (unless i have no clue of course).

(ad ) MusicNotes.com
sheet music search
Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395337
06/26/07 03:26 PM
06/26/07 03:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 342
BsAs
C
Cultor Offline
Full Member
Cultor  Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 342
BsAs
Quote
I'm just wishing that it hadn't taken me six weeks to be able to play through Op 27, 1 (E-flat major) instead of the three we'd planned on.
What's three weeks in a life span? Nothing.
Take it easy. If you consider Time to be your enemy it will beat you for sure.
Take it easy and look for beauty and perfection.

Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395338
06/26/07 03:29 PM
06/26/07 03:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,281
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Online blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Online Blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,281
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by Cultor:
If you consider Time to be your enemy it will beat you for sure.
It will beat you even if you consider it to be your friend. smile

[says a person on the wrong side of middle age]


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395339
06/26/07 03:37 PM
06/26/07 03:37 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Music Student Offline OP
Full Member
Music Student  Offline OP
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Quote
Originally posted by signa:
the thing is that you're the one who plays, and cannot always depend on your teacher. if you understand your situation or your weakness, then do the same to your own playing movements and techniques, trying to experiment or judge yourself whether a movement/fingering you make would create the sound you want. teachers basically would show you the ways, but you're the one who plays and knows whether a movement is effortless, or adequte, or produce fatigure or pain on yourself physically. one has to be able to judge oneself in certain ways without a teacher around. my teacher sometimes at lessons would just say to me, "listen to yourself" or "stop, it's wrong, do you know why?" the point is that he's trying to tell me to find out my problems myself, rather than just waiting for him to tell me (unless i have no clue of course).
I agree completely. The difficult thing for me is generally figuring out whether or not my physical gestures work effectively. After all, any gesture works at a slow enough tempo! In fact, sometimes I'll get to maybe 85% of the goal tempo before I discover that a different physical gesture entirely is the only way to get to 100%. Then you waste time unlearning the 'bad habit'...

But I guess the only solution is time, diligence, and patience, yes? wink

Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395340
06/26/07 03:46 PM
06/26/07 03:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 872
Scotland
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member
drumour  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 872
Scotland
If what you say is true, then why not try simply not working at a section you can't fathom and when it comes to the lesson come clean with the teacher and work at it first. Make sure that you work up those sections which are easy for you as well as possible.

Or

At your level it's fair enough to suppose that the great onus is on the student but the teacher's role can/should be pro-active - the teacher knows you, knows the piece assigned to you, says, "by the way, you might try working at this passage in this way." And all the while you should be assimilating the principles behind what you're doing.


John


Vasa inania multum strepunt.
Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395341
06/26/07 03:51 PM
06/26/07 03:51 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Music Student Offline OP
Full Member
Music Student  Offline OP
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Quote
Originally posted by Cultor:
Quote
I'm just wishing that it hadn't taken me six weeks to be able to play through Op 27, 1 (E-flat major) instead of the three we'd planned on.
What's three weeks in a life span? Nothing.
Take it easy. If you consider Time to be your enemy it will beat you for sure.
Take it easy and look for beauty and perfection.
Yes, I suppose you're right about that! smile

The time constraint, however, is my senior recital date of November 30th.

I'll be playing:

Bach D-Major Prelude & Fugue, WTC: I
Beethoven Op 27, 1
Schumann-Liszt 'Widmung'
Bach D-Minor Prelude & Fugue, WTC: I
Chopin Polonaise-Fantaisie, Op 61
Poulenc Trois Pieces (Pastorale, Hymne, Toccata)

I've performed the Bach P&F's, the Schumann-Liszt, and the Poulenc Toccata in the past, but the Chopin, the Beethoven, and the other two of the 'Trois Pieces' will be "premieres"...

I've NEVER done such a long program, and the sheer memorization/endurance issue alone is staggeringly intimidating. (In fact, the longest program I've ever performed was the Bach Preludes & Fugues (BWV 850 & 851) back-to-back after accompanying a soprano and a violinist in an Alessandro Scarlatti cantata)

So I'll practice like the fate of the world depends on it! laugh

Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395342
06/26/07 03:58 PM
06/26/07 03:58 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Music Student Offline OP
Full Member
Music Student  Offline OP
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Quote
Originally posted by drumour:
If what you say is true, then why not try simply not working at a section you can't fathom and when it comes to the lesson come clean with the teacher and work at it first. Make sure that you work up those sections which are easy for you as well as possible.

I think this is a good idea that I don't implement often enough-- work at what works and consult the authorities about what one is unable to resolve oneself. I guess this depends on being able to recognize "what you can't fathom" early enough that you don't waste whole days of the week fighting with these passages fruitlessly.

Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395343
06/26/07 06:25 PM
06/26/07 06:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 342
BsAs
C
Cultor Offline
Full Member
Cultor  Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 342
BsAs
Quote
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Quote
Originally posted by Cultor:
[b]If you consider Time to be your enemy it will beat you for sure.
It will beat you even if you consider it to be your friend. smile

[says a person on the wrong side of middle age] [/b]
I love wrong sides.

Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395344
06/26/07 06:54 PM
06/26/07 06:54 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,161
South Jersey
DameMyra Offline
2000 Post Club Member
DameMyra  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,161
South Jersey
Matthew,

I just loved reading your initial post. I sums up so many of the things I am dealing with currently. You have obviously thought about this quite a bit.

Oh, you also write quite well. Just thought I'd let you know.

Sharon


Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA
Re: Self-assessment of practice methodology #395345
06/27/07 02:09 PM
06/27/07 02:09 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Music Student Offline OP
Full Member
Music Student  Offline OP
Full Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 33
Claremont, CA
Sharon,

Thank you very much for the kind words. I'm glad you were able to relate to my "world's smallest violin" (er... piano?)
All the best-- and may you overcome all that ails you pianistically as well! (So much for good writing! Lol...)


Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Check Out Our Newsletter!
Our August 2018 Free Newsletter for Piano Enthusiasts is here now, check it out!
Piano World Newsletter
(ad)
Jazz Piano Lessons
Jazz Piano Lessons
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
by mypianos4evr. 08/19/18 07:56 PM
Considering a Hamburg Steinway B
by James Guo. 08/19/18 06:47 PM
Thunderbolts and Lightning, Very Very Frightning
by MacMacMac. 08/19/18 02:58 PM
jazz as dance music
by iamanders. 08/19/18 02:04 PM
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Steingraeber
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Pianoforall
PianoForAll
Forum Statistics
Forums40
Topics186,962
Posts2,739,933
Members90,801
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
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 |


copyright 1997 - 2018 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1.1