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Help regarding practice@

Posted By: Ovidiu M

Help regarding practice@ - 12/06/18 04:20 PM

Hello guys! I have about 1 hour per day on average for practice and i dont know exactly how should i plan in order to make the most of it. I have three areas i want to constantly improve: sight reading, playing by ear and learning new pieces. How would you plan your week if you were me? Or any other idea would be great.
Thank you!
Posted By: SilentQ

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/06/18 04:28 PM

Depending on your level, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on sight reading. It will come with time.

Learn to read your pieces as you play them, perhaps, but only being played can help you sight read. The more pieces that you learn, the more keys in which you can properly play, the more hand positions that you learn will all help you naturally learn to sight read.
Posted By: Qazsedcft

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/06/18 08:11 PM

I disagree with the advice above about not needing to sight read. Regular reading of new material every day does have great benefits.

If you have only one hour and want to practice all the things you say I would split it like so (not necessarily in that order):

10 minutes sight reading something below your level
15 minutes playing by ear
30 minutes pieces
5 minutes have fun

Although one hour is really short for all those things...
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/06/18 09:18 PM

Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I disagree with the advice above about not needing to sight read. Regular reading of new material every day does have great benefits.


It all depends upon the OP's level of achievement. A relative beginner might have difficulty finding relevant material every day for 10 minutes of sight reading without having to invest in a number of books. Once read, pieces are no longer sight-read. IMSLP is great source for materials at many levels, but there may be comparatively little for some, depending upon their individual level.

Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
If you have only one hour and want to practice all the things you say I would split it like so (not necessarily in that order):

10 minutes sight reading something below your level
15 minutes playing by ear
30 minutes pieces
5 minutes have fun

Although one hour is really short for all those things...


It one has only one hour daily, it might be better use of ones time if (some of) these activities were practiced on alternate days. That should be for the OP to distribute as s/he feels best.

Regards,
Posted By: Zilthy

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/06/18 11:14 PM

I guess my question is, why specifically sight reading? Unless you're a session musician, or have a reason to be able to play by reading right away, that will get better over time. Especially with learning new material.

I probably look at things a bit fuzzily though. I don't really see any of those as actual goals themselves, but tools to reach actual goals. And without knowing the goals, it's hard to really say anything about how they would best serve.

Like the sight reading, I personally don't see or have ever had 'Playing by ear' as a goal. Or desire. I did, however, want to learn songs and the only way I could learn them was by ear. So I would pick out songs and learn them by ear. And over time, playing by ear got a lot easier.

Even learning new songs might not be the actual goal. That might even be a means to an end. For example, of all the new songs I have learned to play since starting on Piano, not one is one that I had in my list of songs I would like to play. That is not to say that I do not enjoy them, and I do like playing them, but learning those new songs were not my goal. My goal is to play other songs which require a good bit more capability than I have at the time. So, learning those new songs is not the goal itself, but becomes just a foundation to reach my goal.

That's just how I tend to look at things. *shrug*
Posted By: Osho

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/07/18 12:56 AM

Originally Posted by Ovidiu M
Hello guys! I have about 1 hour per day on average for practice and i dont know exactly how should i plan in order to make the most of it. I have three areas i want to constantly improve: sight reading, playing by ear and learning new pieces. How would you plan your week if you were me? Or any other idea would be great.
Thank you!

Don't overthink it. As long as you consistently practice for 1 hour per day - any reasonable mix of time for the above three activities is fine. Important thing is to make sure you practice 1 hour *every* day - the exact composition of time is not as important as you may think smile.

Osho
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/07/18 06:16 AM

I started getting into piano in my mid-30s after playing recorder and violin earlier in life.

In the beginning I started learning on my own and didn't really have a structured approach. I went online to look for pieces a typical student would play at various levels and get on the bandwagon on my own. I didn't a maximum time of 1h/day and divide the time into scales, work on an old piece, learn a new piece sort of thing. Instead I usually stick to a minimum of 10m/day. Depending on the repertoire I'm working on and my physical condition that day, my practice can go as long as 2h. Some of the time I'd be working my way at a piece that is at an advanced level like a movement out of Bach English or French Suite.

When it comes reading to music, I do read to a certain extent but not very proficiently. I tend to work on my pieces slowing until I get the notes into my head and rely on my memory to do the rest. My sight-reading has gotten progressively better but still not at a level I can run a piece through the first time without repeating it 10 more times to get the notes memorized.

For the first 6 months instead of getting a beginner's book and work my way up the ladder, I'd pick a piece like Minuet & Trio out of Bach French Suite #3 in Bm and work on it for a few weeks. I'd use the easier beginner pieces as warm-ups. Instead of playing 10 or 15 easy pieces one after another, I'd be working on an intermediate or more advanced piece and just focus on 1 piece for a few weeks. My logic was once I mastered a movement out of a Mozart Sonata, I'd have little difficulty with playing easier pieces like Christmas songs you hear year after year. I do believe in building a strong foundation in the first year. The day I had no energy after work I'd avoid the advanced pieces and play a few pieces below my technical level to keep my fingers going.

The last piece on my list was a piano arrangement of a waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich just over 5m. The first few months I found the piece a bit challenging with the L making big jumps. I wasn't ready for a piece at that level and started learning other pieces. After a while I learned the parts and found some of it rather repetitive. I am now able to play it reasonably well from top to bottom.

The first year and a half, I was practicing my keyboard at home practically 7 days/wk trying to catch up to my close associates who took piano lessons. After I discovered many pianos sit at home as pieces of furniture, I started taking a more leisurely approach to playing although I still play regularly at least 4 days a week. The latest drop out was the son of a family friend. The young man was on the Yamaha music program for piano for 2 years and now the piano sits at home as a piece of furniture too. I was aware even if I have a teacher, I would go out of my way to find music I enjoy than just the pieces assigned by the teacher. Otherwise playing music would become an academic exercise that I wouldn't enjoy.

Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/07/18 07:17 AM

15 minutes playing exercises
15 minutes reading/sight reading (I was taught to play every piece 3-4 times)
20 minutes working on repertoire pieces
10 minutes playing by ear

Posted By: Lillith

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/07/18 09:11 AM

I wouldn't get too fussed about structuring it all.

Main thing is to enjoy it.
If you're doing something you don't look forward to, however structured and well thought out, you'll end up packing it in smile
Posted By: Moo :)

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/07/18 11:46 AM

Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
I disagree with the advice above about not needing to sight read. Regular reading of new material every day does have great benefits.

If you have only one hour and want to practice all the things you say I would split it like so (not necessarily in that order):

10 minutes sight reading something below your level
15 minutes playing by ear
30 minutes pieces
5 minutes have fun

Although one hour is really short for all those things...


Actually you must ensure you timetable 4 minutes and 43.21 seconds per hour having fun.

Having too much time having fun is very dangerous and is what causes most people to stop.
Posted By: Ovidiu M

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/08/18 09:22 AM

Thanks you guys, alot of helpfull answers around here.
Posted By: Ovidiu M

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/10/18 05:13 PM

Eventually i found the best solution....that is 2 hours per day....a little extra effort but its worth it. One hour for repertoire and 1 hour for sight reading/ear training. Its seems like solid training so far.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/10/18 06:30 PM

We each march to our own drummer, but I think that one hour devoted to sight-reading and ear-training in a two hour practice session is too much time devoted to those two skills.

For me, I would spend more time on repertoire and more time on technique at the expense of some of your sight-reading and ear-training time. I find this somewhat an unbalanced use of time, but, if this works for you, who am I to contest it?

Regards,
Posted By: Ovidiu M

Re: Help regarding practice@ - 12/10/18 06:33 PM

Thank you for chimiming in....Giving that i didnt provide details regarding the interest in sight reading ear training i must shed some light in here. Im interested mainly for church hymn playing...So i need alot of practice for those 4 voices choral hymns.
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