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Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478124 02/15/09 01:32 AM
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Originally posted by allegro_concerto:
How about this instead, your post sounds like you don't have access to piano at where you live, so I will assume you can only do piano practices at school. I assume you can play the piano anytime at music school as well. Or maybe beg the caretaker to give you a key!

First of all, how about go to bed at 9 PM.

Wake up at 4 AM. Eat breakfast, exercise and shower.

Arrive music school at 5 AM and do 4 hours of piano.

9 AM is your class.

11:00 AM-12:05 PM
Do another hour of piano.

Use the remaining time during the day to study your other subjects.

If you wish to do so, you can squeeze another hour of piano practice if you want during the day.

Also, on weekend, you can study your other subjects as you won't have classes then.

I don't know about you but your schedule won't work for me because:

1) I find it hard to do fragmentary piano practices during the day. It is like boiling water, if you cool it down too often, you don't get the full benefit of practice.

2) At the end of the day, I am usually pretty tired, and piano practice is probably the last thing I would want to do. I probably won't do an effective piano practice if I am tired and will be more prone to making mistakes.

So wherever possible I would try to squeeze my practice session into one block and preferably at a time when I can concentrate fully on my piano practice.

In any case, I think it is more important and beneficial to do an effective piano practice.

Obviously, the above is only really a suggestion and it won't necessary work for you, as we are all very different in our work habits!

Good luck with your piano studies!
Thanks.

Well, I have a keyboard, but my piano teacher prohibits me from practicing on it. The music school is only a 3 minute walk from my dorm, though, so that's not an issue.

Unfortunately, I don't think the music school opens until 7:00. The campus police lock it up at 1:00 AM, and, I don't know who opens it at 7:00 or whenever it is they open.

On the weekend, that is true I can do some studying, though I tend to try to catch up on practice. Maybe I can take a light day, and study on that day for a bit.

Still, one day of study per week, I doubt is sufficient. Maybe I can set aside an hour or so every day or two, or at least on my less busy days. Wednesdays and Fridays really aren't that busy, for instance.

So, so far we have, take fewer breaks, study on lighter days, start as early as possible, and don't sacrifice sleep.

Thankfully for my piano ensemble, I was given such an easy part that it requires minimal to no practice. One less thing to work on.

Thanks to everyone who has posted so far, though. I really appreciate it.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478125 02/15/09 02:04 AM
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What I meant by "practicing to isolate" is a bit psychological but music students (more than others I've noticed) tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to study. They feel safety in their skill and derive a great deal of self-esteem from it -- TO A POINT.

The problem is when this former source of self-esteem becomes a panic mode. They begin holding themselves to impossible standards and continually raise the bar before they are ready. Or, they drive themselves too hard by taking too many classes not being certain of their limits. There becomes no room for deep or broad study in other fields (commonly known as electives but which I refer to as a compulsory part of a well-rounded education).

I could go on, but that's what I meant.


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Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478126 02/15/09 02:09 AM
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It's important to remember that your performance track studies are a SKILL and not necessarily CREATIVE.

Creativity is getting on line and posting this thread and trying to figure out why what you are doing isn't working for you. Most people wouldn't do that. They'd just suffer in silence. Keep that creative approach to problem solving and things will improve as you start to understand yourself and your limits.

Creativity is the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts. Skill on the other hand is an ability, expertise or specialization that has been acquired by training.

If you can combine your creativity in problem solving with your skills as a pianist, you will end up light years ahead of your peers.

thumb thumb thumb


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Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478127 02/15/09 03:15 AM
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This thread will give me an epiphany, I swear. I never thought that much work was involved with studying music. Thankfully, I won't be going to a conservatory.
@ Kreisler, I don't know about the highschool hours you guys did, but I did 36hours/week, and basically all students in the last year got private lessons with the teachers, which adds to maybe 42h/week. Of course, I didn't get private lessons, and I cheated my way on tests through highschool, so I made my self easy, but some of the dudes here really are learning machines.

End of offtopic


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Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478128 02/15/09 06:15 AM
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Originally posted by U S A P T:
What I meant by "practicing to isolate" is a bit psychological but music students (more than others I've noticed) tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to study. They feel safety in their skill and derive a great deal of self-esteem from it -- TO A POINT.

The problem is when this former source of self-esteem becomes a panic mode. They begin holding themselves to impossible standards and continually raise the bar before they are ready. Or, they drive themselves too hard by taking too many classes not being certain of their limits. There becomes no room for deep or broad study in other fields (commonly known as electives but which I refer to as a compulsory part of a well-rounded education).

I could go on, but that's what I meant.
Oh OK, I see what you mean.

What I'm taking now is actually slightly easier than what the average music major would be taking this semester. I mean that since I had actually changed my major (that is, I didn't initially major in music at Duquesne), I have to wait until the fall to take many of the classes music majors would begin with, such as musicianship, etc. I've already taken quite a wide variety of classes trying to find what I actually wanted to do. Unfortunately I will probably be in college an extra year.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478129 02/15/09 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by U S A P T:
It's important to remember that your performance track studies are a SKILL and not necessarily CREATIVE.

Creativity is getting on line and posting this thread and trying to figure out why what you are doing isn't working for you. Most people wouldn't do that. They'd just suffer in silence. Keep that creative approach to problem solving and things will improve as you start to understand yourself and your limits.

Creativity is the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts. Skill on the other hand is an ability, expertise or specialization that has been acquired by training.

If you can combine your creativity in problem solving with your skills as a pianist, you will end up light years ahead of your peers.

thumb thumb thumb
Hey thanks, I appreciate that. That gives me some hope.

I really think I'm just such a structured and regimented person that I need a formal schedule to let me know when to do what. I've never been one to just wing it.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478130 02/15/09 06:50 AM
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Originally posted by galex:
This thread will give me an epiphany, I swear. I never thought that much work was involved with studying music. Thankfully, I won't be going to a conservatory.
Yeah, I knew I was in for a treat when I found a bunch of groups on Facebook to the effect of, "you know you're a music major if...," with getting no sleep, having a lot of work with few credits, and basically living in the music school being at the top of every list in one form or another. My goal in the whole thing is to keep the enjoyment, despite all of the work.

The music major I talked to about this before said, in response to my question of whether he got tired of all of the work, said he was sick of everything. That concerned me a bit. I would prefer to come through with my sanity in tact.

There's nothing else I could imagine doing, though. I tried it, even, and just couldn't do it. I even tried computer science, as i've been programming for about eight years and consider myself quite proficient at it, and while it was enjoyable, I couldn't see myself doing that for the rest of my life, effectively consigning music to a subservient position. I knew that if I wasn't a music major, I would gradually put less focus on piano until I rarely touched it at all. That seemed like such a waste, considering I have been playing for 15 years. But I knew that I didn't have enough time for a major, plus the piano.

Not to mention that the training I receive as a music major is unparalleled by anything I have received in the past. My piano teacher is the best I have ever had. There really aren't any serious pianists around my area, so I felt like I had hit a ceiling in my progress before going to college.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478131 02/15/09 07:59 AM
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well...i'm not a real performance major, i'm actually majoring in music teaching since i already have a piano performance dip. I'm sort of doing both at the same time however because I practice just as much piano or more then the majors besides that I have the same courses as them as well as extra ones pilled on for my teaching course.

I have my own extra private lessons as well as: keyboard technique, keyboard studies, choir, western percussion, aural, sight-singing, singapore arts scene-music& singapore arts scene-3d design(cross-elective) so yes, it's a ton of work but i always make sure that i practice between 4-6 hrs


Mastering:Chopin Etudes op.10 nos.8&12 and op.25 no.1, Chopin Scherzo no.4 in E major op.54, Mozart Sonata in B flat major K.333& Khachaturian Toccata
Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478132 02/15/09 09:37 AM
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A typical day for me in college:

9am - theory or music history
10am - core studies class
11am - practice or lesson
12pm - lunch
1pm - choir
2:30pm - class
3:30pm - class
4:30pm - relax/dinner
6:30pm - practice
8pm - break
8:30pm - practice
11pm - done

So basically, 4-5 hours a day regularly. There were, of course, days when I couldn't practice at all (recital attendance, my church jobs, choir concerts, etc...) And I'd try to get a good 6-8 hours of practice on the weekends and during the summers and breaks.

What helped me was taking as light a course load as possible, practicing like crazy during breaks, holidays, and summers, and taking 5 years to do my undergraduate degree. I was also very good at mental practice - getting a lot of work done singing to myself and thinking about things on the walks between classes, while eating, etc... I also practiced during finals week, after juries were over (learning the next semester's music), and during holidays.

It is true that music classes are often 0-2 hours - something I fought vigorously when I was university faculty - but here's some math that's important to realize:

In the average year, there are 28 weeks of classes. Those classes meet 5 days a week (and for some reason, more and more colleges are cramming them into 4 days.) So if we add that up - 28 weeks x 5 days = 140 days of class each year. Give yourself three weeks for holidays and vacation, and you still have 365 - 14 - 21 = 204 days with absolutely nothing going on. That's over half a year with nothing to do but practice!

In other words, if you view practice as something you try to squeeze in between classes, it becomes very difficult. But you can get a lot done when classes aren't in session.

Also, for me, it's difficult to learn notes during short practice sessions, so I'd try to do that before the semester began. I rarely started a semester not knowing the notes to what I was going to be working on. That way I could focus those short hours on preparing the week's lesson. (And not waste my teacher's time on basic stuff that I could do myself.)

I also listened to music constantly. I worked weekends in the music library, most of which I spent monitoring the listening lab where I listened to the complete Beethoven sonatas, Chopin etudes, Well-Tempered Clavier, Schubert sonatas, Brahms pieces, and every contemporary sonata the library owned. (Following the scores, of course!)

I also counted accompanying and my church job as "practice." I viewed everything related to piano that I did as pianistic preparation. I offered to accompany the choir to make the best of choir rehearsals (learned to sight read rather well, which also makes practicing more efficient.) And I'd even work on technique during choral warm-ups, concentrating on accompanying the choir's scales with the best hand position and tone I could muster.

Something I noticed when I taught college is that students tend to regard their piano lessons and piano practice as somewhat separate from the rest of their education - including accompanying!

The big moral of the story here is that if you feel your solo piano education is interrupted by the rest of your musical education, then you're always going to resent the time you don't get to spend running your fingers through Rachmaninoff. But if you allow for the fact that Rachmaninoff might be well served by the skills you can hone accompanying, singing, studying, and listening, then suddenly you'll find yourself "practicing" 14 hours a day, ever day.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478133 02/15/09 10:59 AM
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Kreisler,

Thanks for the excellent post.

I’m fearful of taking a lighter load. I’m already going to be in college for an extra year, and I think one of my more significant grants might stop after the 4th year.

I will have to try the mental practice thing, though, and see how that works.

Fortunately, since I can’t actually read the music, I have to memorize it early, usually before the semester even starts, or at least in the first week or two. So all of my practice is on either technique or musicality, never learning notes.

I do sometimes listen to recordings of pieces I’m working on, and I guess that might help to do that more frequently. It usually helps me to know how to interpret it better, except for those cases, and there are many, when my piano teacher’s suggestions differ from the pianist’s interpretation in the recording.

However, I don’t see as much of a connection between singing, listening, accompanying, etc, as you do, so could you explain?

I had heard once that it is injurious, or at least pointless, to practice more than 6 hours a day. Do you agree with this? Or if you have the extra time, would you just take advantage of it?

I like your idea about looking at the bigger picture, instead of just trying to fit it between classes. Unfortunately there aren’t many breaks, so I still have to figure out the average week-to-week schedule.

Anyway, going through my days, from about 8:00 AM-10:30 PM, and providing a little extra time on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday to study, I seem to have a little more time. However, it does not really provide any time to relax, except for from about 10:00 onward on Friday nights, which I’ve decided is my night I can go to bed whatever time I want to, and perhaps Saturday morning if I get up early enough. Maybe it’ll be enough; who knows.

I guess there’s a point where I have to stop analyzing, and have to start executing the schedule and tweaking it as I go.

Oh yes, another question, slightly off topic:

For those who practice in a music school when on campus, well, what do you do when you’re at home if you don’t have a piano?

I only have a keyboard, and my piano teacher has said to try not to practice on it too much.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478134 02/15/09 11:52 AM
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I don't think that an occasional use of a keyboard will hurt you all that much. I normally practice in the practice rooms at school, but sometimes I can't get to them, or they're full, or whatever, and I use my keyboard. The only alternative, alas, is the horrendous dorm piano that's about 1/2 tone out of tune. Bleargh.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478135 02/15/09 01:56 PM
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Get a good keyboard. Use it for learning notes. I don't know how I would survive without a good digital. Sure, you can't practice touch/feel/or even advanced repertoire on it, but they're invaluable for learning notes in the comfort of your apartment. Pretty much everyone I know here does this.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478136 02/15/09 02:28 PM
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Originally posted by pianoperformer:
However, I don’t see as much of a connection between singing, listening, accompanying, etc, as you do, so could you explain?
Singing gives you a feel for phrasing and rhythmic nuance, not to mention an opportunity to hone your aural skills, which in turn directly affects your ability to memorize music without relying solely on muscle memory.

Accompanying gives you an opportunity to practice sight reading, which means you'll be able to learn music much faster. Plus you'll learn a lot of valuable repertoire. Plus that's what you'll be doing a lot of as a professional pianist.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478137 02/15/09 03:04 PM
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And I think accompanying forces you to learn things under time constraint and pressure and you learn to accept small imperfections.

Singing, listening etc... are all valuable parts of music eucation to make you a complete musician.

It is the same thing in any other discipline, you don't just learn bookkeeping if you are an accounting major, nor do you just paint if you are fine art major.

Another important aspect that is often overlooked is music injury, from time to time, I heard stories about how piano students injured their fingers and had to rest for months and months.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478138 02/15/09 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by computerpro3:
Get a good keyboard. Use it for learning notes. I don't know how I would survive without a good digital. Sure, you can't practice touch/feel/or even advanced repertoire on it, but they're invaluable for learning notes in the comfort of your apartment. Pretty much everyone I know here does this.
I already have a good one. It was just about $1,900.

But still I can’t learn notes in my room, anyway. Since I’m blind, I hired a student to read the music to me so I can memorize it, so we just meet in the music school for about an hour at a time every few days, whenever I need to learn something.

But yeah I do have a keyboard in my dorm room, whenever it might be needed.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478139 02/15/09 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by allegro_concerto:
And I think accompanying forces you to learn things under time constraint and pressure and you learn to accept small imperfections.

Singing, listening etc... are all valuable parts of music eucation to make you a complete musician.

It is the same thing in any other discipline, you don't just learn bookkeeping if you are an accounting major, nor do you just paint if you are fine art major.
I see your point.

Quote
Another important aspect that is often overlooked is music injury, from time to time, I heard stories about how piano students injured their fingers and had to rest for months and months.
Ouch. That's one of my greatest fears. That'd do a lot to ruin a semester.

I'm trying to be careful, because sometimes my wrists start to hurt a little, and in one section of the concerto I'm working on, the area around the joint of the left thumb (the topmost one) hurts when doing octave runs.

I'm trying my best to relax more when playing those parts.

I've also been doing a bit of an exercise before I start practicing, of stretching out my arms, rotating wrists, spreading and rotating fingers, to try to get them more loosened up. I'm not sure if it helps or not. Also, I quit practicing this concerto cold, because otherwise I make a lot more mistakes and it's hard to get through the more difficult sections.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478140 02/15/09 06:21 PM
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On the other hand, you could switch your major to political science. Then you can lie, cheat, steal, pay no taxes, enhance your resume, defraud the general public, get away with it and forego all the present angst...

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478141 02/15/09 08:22 PM
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Damn, you're playing Saint-Saëns 2 blind? Amazing.

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478142 02/15/09 08:34 PM
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That's just amazing and inspirational!

If you don't mind me asking, how do you read the posts on here?

Matt

Re: Piano performance majors, please help me learn to manage my time.
#478143 02/15/09 08:38 PM
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Originally posted by Debussy20:
If you don't mind me asking, how do you read the posts on here?

Matt
I have screen reading software called JAWS for Windows from Freedom Scientific .

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