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#996211 - 11/12/04 07:40 AM Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 21
Kris10 Offline
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Kris10  Offline
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Ohio
Anyone else experience this?

I generally try to warm up with scales and and exercises, then I do a little sight reading and then dive into a solo type piece. After a week or so, I can play the solo really well and feel pretty darned good about myself and I think, "Yes, I can do this! I will be a piano player!" Then, I pull out a new solo and it's like starting all over again!! It's so darned frustrating! Plunk, plunk, wrong note, ugh-what is that bass clef note-G-ok, plunk, plunk, crash! Once I work up a piece and feel good about it, I think to myself that I am improving. Then I face a new piece, and BAM, reality hits!

I am not at all used to breaking music down measure by measure! Is that just normal with piano playing?

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#996212 - 11/12/04 08:41 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
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Rodney Offline
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Rodney  Offline
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Caledon ON, Canada
Kris10,

Welcome to the very non-exlusive club of the piano frustrated. I feel your pain, (I really mean it). The exact same thing happens to me. Every new piece is a struggle until it finally starts to come together. Then when it's time to move on to a new piece, BAM!!! It's like starting over. :-(

I think this is normal and you just have to remind yourself that it will evenetually take less and less time to learn a new piece.

Don't get discouraged.

Rodney

#996213 - 11/12/04 08:43 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Jul 2004
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Lightnin Offline
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Lightnin  Offline
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I feel that too, but I'm mixed both ways.

Each new piece is like starting over, in that I cant play the new piece at all, and I have that feeling of not knowing how to play anything at all (which is much more true than not). Its even worse, because my diabolical teacher makes sure each new piece is noticeably harder than the last one. smile But yes, after a year, it still takes weeks to be able to play a new piece, and that is frustrating. Yet it is getting easier, and things that used to be big problems are not even noticable now, so it must be progress.

I hear the stories of "I've only played two months and can do a few pieces every week" that makes me want to give it up. One of us simply doesnt understand, but I'm not sure which. smile

But yet, I am happiest when wading into a new piece, in that the progress is very visible with each passing minute, and todays difficulty is easy tomorrow. I dont even notice that an hour has gone by in the beginning. Instead, its after the few weeks, when I am able to play it, but really not very well, then it starts seeming hopeless, because more work doesnt seem to help much. Then a 5 minute session seems like a long time.

#996214 - 11/12/04 08:52 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Feb 2004
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jdsher Offline
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Plano, Texas
Kris, just relax, I'm sure most beginners do this. I know I do. But, what's different is the pieces your attempting to learn are probably a step or two harder each time you choose a new one. If I looked at the stuff I'm plodding through right now 6 months ago, I would have freaked out. So, don't worry so much about it and just concentrate on learning that new piece. By the time you've done this process for several years, you'll be able to play something new almost at speed.
I think a great recommendation for building your confidence is to find an easy book to sight read from. Remember, it should be at least 1-2 steps below what you are doing now.
Jon


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
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#996215 - 11/12/04 09:02 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Jan 2004
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plays88skeys Offline
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Richmond, VA
It helps to keep in mind that when you hear recordings of sonatas and concertos by the great virtuosos that they, too had to learn them. Some of them work on single pieces for years or even decades.


There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills
#996216 - 11/12/04 09:28 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Oct 2004
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markb Offline
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markb  Offline
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Maryland
I'm sure this is very typical for beginners. What I find more frustrating, though, is that I seem to be experiencing a learning bump before reaching that learning curve. The first few times through a new piece are pretty mechanical and error-prone. The next few times I tend to get better. Then, for some reason, I tend to regress and make mistakes I hadn't made before. Then, usually, after frustration and lots of muttering under my breath, I resume progress. It's often during these times that I'll only run through the piece briefly and move on to something else so I don't get overly frustrated.

I think my frustration is compounded by this being a very different experience than playing clarinet (for very obvious reasons). Even as a beginning clarinet player (which was a looooong time ago), I was a decent sight reader, so reading and learning subsequent pieces at the same level of difficulty was really no problem. Still one note at a time, different order and rhythm, but still not that challenging. As a beginning piano player, I'm reading between one and four notes at a time (I know it gets worse) in many different combinations. It's closer to my experience as a drummer, although popular music, and excluding solos or fills, contains very similar patterns. For example, most of the time there's a backbeat (snare drum on two and four), right handing "riding" on the ride cymbal or hi-hat in eighth notes, and bass drum in one of several common patterns. Reading jazz or swing charts was another story.


markb--The Count of Casio
#996217 - 11/12/04 11:19 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 7
Clayton Fraser Offline
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Clayton Fraser  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 7
S.F. California
I just started playing the piano in February and I feel the pain everyone else hear has mentioned. It is good to know we are all feeling it. The worst was four months after just starting, I learned a Chopin peice. Entirely to many chords for both hands jumping all over the place. It was crazy.

Clayton

#996218 - 11/12/04 11:20 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
SAnnM AB 2001 Offline
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SAnnM AB 2001  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
Hi,

I also feel the pain of struggling with each new piece. I'm 47 and have been taking lessons for 3 years (never played anything before). Although I'm not taking exams, my teacher tells me that I'm at a grade 4ish level. Currently studying Clementi Sonatina op 36. No. 1. and a Beethoven Minuet from op 42 No. 2, a Bach Fugue as well as a few short study pieces. My pieces are increasingly more difficult and I like the challenge. My problem is that learning new pieces causes me to forget my old ones (that I worked soooo hard on - sometimes for months) and therefore my repertoire is limited to the most recent pieces (4 or 5) however I must have learned over 50 short pieces in these three years. If I review all my old pieces each practice session....well It'd take HOURS!! I guess this is where "sightreading" over "memorizing" would be better......


It's the journey not the destination..
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#996219 - 11/12/04 11:27 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,192
RKVS1 Offline
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RKVS1  Offline
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Posts: 3,192
Topeka, Kansas
I enjloy leaning new pieces and may say more about it later, but mainly I just want to find out if I rate one of them Golden Radio Buttons under my avatar.

Bob


( *who usually sight-reads a piece better the 6th or 7th time. ) smile

#996220 - 11/12/04 11:56 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Jul 2001
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RKVS1 Offline
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RKVS1  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,192
Topeka, Kansas
hmmm, must be some type of monetary symbol, rather than just a personality thing, eh?

Looks like I'll have to go do a search on "Jones, keeping up with".

Bob

#996221 - 11/12/04 12:07 PM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Nov 2003
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Bob Muir Offline
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Bob Muir  Offline
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Lakewood, WA, USA

#996222 - 11/13/04 06:33 PM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,288
mikhailoh Offline
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mikhailoh  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,288
Cincinnati
I'm 49 and at 3 years too.. also working on the Clementi Op 36 1.. I can play it fine but am having trouble getting up to tempo. I would value any suggestions, lest I be relegated to slow beautiful tunes (which I love, mind you) forever.

Playing is cumulative for sure.. if you look at how far you come in three years, then you need to look at how much farther you are likely to come in three more. It is a long term thing. Very few people learn to play at the rate Clayton is.

Hang in there!


Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'
#996223 - 11/15/04 05:19 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
SAnnM AB 2001 Offline
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SAnnM AB 2001  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
I've only fully completed the second movement and haven't even started the third. I'm also much better at the slower pieces and am currently working on increasing speed with arpeggios, thirds, and scale studies. I have an awesome teacher who seems to know exactly when (and what) to push and when not to. Right now mostly working on the Beethoven Minuet which is my first 4-page piece consisting of principal and subordinate themes in different keys - I'm having a great time, although I expect this will be a few months... It's rather fast and speed is still a struggle for me.


It's the journey not the destination..
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#996224 - 11/15/04 08:23 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Aug 2001
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Nina Offline
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Nina  Offline
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Posts: 6,467
Phoenix, AZ
The key to speed (and perhaps the "learning bump" mentioned earlier?) is to slow down!

Before you can play something fast, you really have to have it locked into your muscle memory. When I mess up with something fast (and I'm no virtuoso, so "fast" is relative! smile ), it's because I don't really know the piece that well. There is a limit to how quickly you can play if you have to think much, or sightread parts.

Once you have the piece "in place," where you don't need to think (much) or read (much), you can start to slowly bring it up to speed. The key is to relax and trust that your fingers know what to do. It's hard. I think the hardest part of playing something fast isn't the technique as much as it is just letting it happen without freaking out when it does.

My 2c!

Nina

#996225 - 11/15/04 09:24 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Nov 2003
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Bob Muir Offline
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Bob Muir  Offline
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Lakewood, WA, USA
Great points Nina! I also try to make sure I practice the same movements I'm going to make at tempo. Bernhard's "chord attack" method is good for determining this.

Even knowing this, I still play too fast and start making mistakes far too often. I lie to myself that "I can get this, just one more time". :-/ Of course I'm just making it worse by playing mistakes, which helps to embed the mistakes into my finger memory. frown

#996226 - 11/15/04 03:29 PM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Jul 2004
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mikhailoh Offline
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mikhailoh  Offline
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Cincinnati
Thanks, Nina!

Actually that is exactly what I am finding this week. I have all three movements down pretty well, and the tempo is just kind of natuarally coming up, almost by itself.


Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'
#996227 - 11/15/04 08:02 PM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 159
David Kirkham Offline
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David Kirkham  Offline
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Posts: 159
Provo, Utah
Kris,

This happens to everyone. I just have to learn to enjoy the fight.

David smile smile smile


David Kirkham
Kirkham Motorsports
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I bought my piano from www.pianocraft.net
#996228 - 11/17/04 01:36 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 12
Bassistonkeys Offline
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Bassistonkeys  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 12
Zug, Switzerland
I just started playing too...

From what i gather in this thread i am gonna try concentrating on Sight-Reading as apposed to memorizing... although memorizing is SOOO much easier!

I need to get a book or too.. As i am self taught.. Seems like Classical music is pretty big on this forum.. Need to get into it.. Problem now is i cant find any good CD's where i could have a listen to solo piano.. Im sure that would help..

But i hear you Kris 10. It takes me ages trying to find the notes! On the Bass key its no problem cause im a Bassist. But damn! that treble clef!

FACE and EGBDF! : - ) <-- Hey its a start!

Peace

M


"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
#996229 - 11/17/04 10:40 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
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Bob Muir Offline
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Bob Muir  Offline
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Lakewood, WA, USA
M, Paul turned me onto a site: Listen.com . For $9.95 a month, I have my own radio station where I can look up nearly any song or album that I want. It doesn't have everything, but they have a LOT!

One of the pieces I'm working on is "Christmas Time is Here" from Charlie Brown Christmas and Listen.com had 48 different versions.

When someone refers to a particular piece in the forum, it's great to be able to zip over to Rhapsody (Listen.com's player) and hear what they're talking about.

Alternatively, there's ClassicalArchives which has free midi files and MP3 files of classical pieces that you can download. You're limited to 5 pieces, but if you pay a small annual fee, that limit is boosted considerably. Listen.com seems to have a lot more works than ClassicalArchives though.

#996230 - 11/22/04 05:18 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
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SAnnM AB 2001 Offline
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SAnnM AB 2001  Offline
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Posts: 2,024
Canada
<Before you can play something fast, you really have to have it locked into your muscle memory>

I recognize this all the time. The problem I have with this it once it's "locked" into muscle memory my sightreading goes out the window and when my teacher says "lets start from here" I can get lost. I'm getting better though and find that practicing pieces backwards (bar by bar) helps in fully memorizing the piece rather than depending strictly on muscle memory. I'm also encouraged to use my metronome frequently to avoid speeding up the slower parts and to hopefully (someday) develop my own internal metronome......


It's the journey not the destination..
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#996231 - 11/22/04 07:43 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
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mound Offline
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mound  Offline
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Rochester, NY
Quote
Originally posted by Bob Muir:
M, Paul turned me onto a site: Listen.com .
I did? I didn't think I posted that here.. Or, oh yeah, I posted about it on pianoforum.

Yes, Rhapsody! It's awesome isn't it?


"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer
#996232 - 11/22/04 07:56 AM Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece  
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Neus A. Offline
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Neus A.  Offline
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Spain
Quote
Originally posted by Kris10:
Anyone else experience this?

Once I work up a piece and feel good about it, I think to myself that I am improving. Then I face a new piece, and BAM, reality hits!
Don't despair! It's normal for most of us. Bear in mind that progress should be measured over longer periods of time. Do the following: Once you have learnt one of the pieces you are struggling with so hard now, write the date on the score and save it somewhere. One year later have a look at it and you will see that you will find it was very easy. wink

Neus


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