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Learning pieces the right way

Posted By: Fornion

Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 10:03 AM

Since the beginning of the year to 14.04.2019 I did 201 hours doing sightreading 10min. learining some theory, three pieces for about 90 min., learning to improvise, and creating some stuff. Since 14.04.2019 I gave up. I was learning three pieces at once because it is proven to be more effective and better memorised. For jazz pieces I tried just to remember the melody, try to sing them because if you can't sing a song, you don't know it. It took me so much time and I still couldn't sing a song. One of the pieces was classical so I was learning to play the piece in all keys, cause again - it's a very good exercise and I didn't make it yet. Everything was so frustrating i stopped playing. I thought I just don't enjoy playing piano at all. I even stopped listening to music.
I even didn't do the first step and it took so long (Ok I've found chords, but I didn't find them exacly how they were used, but overal shape e.g. the shape of blues) . After singing melody there was creating chords with 4ths 5ths 6ths voicings to accompany a song. Then playing these with rythmic staff, then accompany only with one hand, then playing pieces in all twelve keys, then try to play to your accompaniament, then try to learn the piece and then to review your playing. I was in the beginning and was already overwhelmed. I didn't see any significant progress. And what's funny it isn't everything.
Pieces I was learning: Freddie freeloader, Mr. P.C. and Invention nr. 8. People say these are for beginners but I bet I wouldn't be able to play them in tempo but very slowly without any satisfaction because I tried to play some fragments. And even playing slowly it wouldn't be so even, expressive and technically correct unless I play them for another chunk of time. People around see that I constantly smash the keyboard with my headphones for so long and they don't believe that I still cannot play any piece.
Overall I have something around 700 hours of playing with similar or even worse breaks, worse knowledge of techniques of learning and playing, so these hours of work weren't that effective. I've forgotten all pieces I learned that time what proves my ways of learning were wrong. Most these pieces were classical and I had no experience with playing jazz only listening.
Should I learn jazz after learning some easier staff?
Am I doing everything wrong?
How make playing piano more satisfying?
My point is I'm playing for so long and I don't even know if it isn't a waste of time if I'm doing it correctly and efficiently. I know what will give me this exercise and that, but it takes so long I'm wondering if there is something wrong with me, and my attitude.
Posted By: KevinM

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 10:26 AM

I'm not normally so black and white. But I think in your specific case, you need a teacher for direction. If you find what you believe is the right teacher, let them direct you and try and let go of the feeling that what you have done so far as wasted effort. If they are a good teacher they will recognize what they can build on from what you've done but also in other areas where you need to start from scratch. I know that sounds hard.

It sounds like you are trying to achieve too much too quickly and you are just hoping that by hard work and dedication you will get the result you want.

You are diving into multiple things at the same time, and so far have not had any rewards. Learning the piano is slow and I think you need to understand it is something you are in for the long haul. That also means you need to have wins on the way, learn to play something well enough that you enjoy hearing what you play. You need that sense of satisfaction. Or at least that is my own experience.

Good luck.
Posted By: Nahum

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 10:39 AM

https://bulletproofmusician.com/three-different-types-of-practice-strategies-which-one-works-best/
Posted By: dmd

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 11:04 AM

Originally Posted by KevinM
I'm not normally so black and white. But I think in your specific case, you need a teacher for direction. If you find what you believe is the right teacher, let them direct you and try and let go of the feeling that what you have done so far as wasted effort. If they are a good teacher they will recognize what they can build on from what you've done but also in other areas where you need to start from scratch. I know that sounds hard.

It sounds like you are trying to achieve too much too quickly and you are just hoping that by hard work and dedication you will get the result you want.

You are diving into multiple things at the same time, and so far have not had any rewards. Learning the piano is slow and I think you need to understand it is something you are in for the long haul. That also means you need to have wins on the way, learn to play something well enough that you enjoy hearing what you play. You need that sense of satisfaction. Or at least that is my own experience.

Good luck.


Read this over and over. It is right on.

The part about WINS is very important.

You need to enjoy this process or you will stop doing it.

It only happens in small steps and it takes a long time.

If you want to feel more confident you are doing the right things, you need a teacher.

Maybe a teacher once a month to direct your activities and check on your progress.

Maybe every week …. if you can afford it.

Try not to treat this as a TASK that you have to do each day.

Try to enjoy your time at the piano playing and practicing wth a belief that if you keep doing it, you will get better … slowly.

There is no finish line for this …. you never get there …. you just keep going …. so you may as well enjoy it.

Good Luck
Posted By: malkin

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 01:34 PM

I may have misunderstood, but someone who started in January 2019 is a beginner. There is no changing that. Your routine has made you miserable and you are still a beginner.

Do you feel that there is something wrong with being a beginner?
Posted By: PeegZoo

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 01:53 PM

Since Jan is no time at all.

I'm in the same position as you, it's normal. A bit frustrating.. wait, I'm lying.. VERY frustrating, but we just have to keep at it. Doesn't feel like I'm making progress but I am I guess.

Sounds like you've dove in head on and expect to whack out some advanced (for your level) stuff, improv, jazz, chord voicings etc etc. that's a long way away I think, at least if you want to learn properly. Not a few months in.

Starting at the beginning sucks, I know. When I got a teacher (best idea, even just once a week or every 2 weeks or something) she started me on the Alfreds book, basic stuff like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - doing it until it was perfect, sight reading, SLOWLY, not rushing etc. Felt stupid like A, .... E ..... D at a snails pace but doing it like that is how you learn I think, like the very very basics. It's slow as heck. Frustrating because it is slow, but you have to tell yourself that it'll be worth it and that piano is potentially a lifelong thing, it takes years to get half decent, there's no rush.

Actually here now because I had to get away from the piano before I smashed it - doing the Lullaby song in the Alfreds book is killing me. grin I hate that I suck, I hate that I make stupid mistakes, I hate that I can't count properly, I hate that my brain fries with the metronome on, I hate that I just can't do it! But I have to keep trying, even just a little bit, it will come together eventually

& I totally feel your frustrations about chords and improv etc. because I'm learning piano to make music and learn theory and whatnot and I wanna bang out jazz, improv, make chords, learn all that to help me make various types of music in a DAW, but it's insanely slow going.with piano and some days I get so annoyed, but it's just got to be done properly, there are no shortcuts. Train smarter, not harder. 700 hours trying hard stuff that is too advanced wouldn't be as helpful as 100 hours working from beginner level IMO.Start right at the beginning, Alfreds Level 1 or whatever, & just remember it's a years thing, not months. It'll come together in then end.

Posted By: cmb13

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 01:55 PM

Originally Posted by malkin
I may have misunderstood, but someone who started in January 2019 is a beginner. There is no changing that. Your routine has made you miserable and you are still a beginner.

Do you feel that there is something wrong with being a beginner?

Reminds me of the surgeon who was so good, he could do a 10 minute scrub in 2 minutes.

I know, I've used that one before (Lt), but it's applicable. There are no shortcuts!
Posted By: WeakLeftHand

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 01:59 PM

Three thoughts came to mind:

1. Unrealistic expectations will set you up for failure.
2. Learn to walk before you learn to run.
3. Patience.

If you started in January 2019 with no prior experience, learning by yourself, you should probably be in level 1 or, if you’re super duper hardworking and talented, level 2 of one of the popular method books. That method seems to work for the majority of self-learners. I don’t know what method you have chosen for yourself but just reading what you are doing was overwhelming to me. It must be overwhelming to you too since you decided to quit. How about take a step back and go slowly in a tried and tested way?
Posted By: outo

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 02:03 PM

To clear some of the confuson, the OP did not start this January, this is from his post from 2017:
Originally Posted by Fornion
I was one year in music school but now I'm learning everything on my own.


It seems to me like a teacher is needed however.

Posted By: Fornion

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 02:23 PM

Sorry for that. Since 2019 i did 200 hours. Later there was a few years in which I did overall something around 700 hours that wasn't that effective and with lots of breaks.
Posted By: Fornion

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 03:06 PM

Thanks for the answers. If it will be possible and affordable I'll try and find a good teacher. So I think that's the way it is. I just need to calm down and try to enjoy this process of learning. I'll try not to have any expectations, maybe some day I'll learn one of these pieces. Teacher can see in what areas you improved what gives a lot of motivation but for now I'll try to deal with it myself.

Nahum thanks for this study. Seems very helpful. Now I know how much I should "overlearn" and when to switch from blocked practice to random.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 03:16 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
I know, I've used that one before (Lt), but it's applicable.

I feel like people here are acclimating to my memory and I won't be able to surprise anyone any more. LOL
Posted By: Arty Movie

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 03:35 PM

Hi Fornion I looked up those Jazz pieces you mentioned and I don't think these are for beginners - they require a lot of hand independence - and attempting to site read Mr P.C and play correctly without any mistakes in tempo and note playing would be extremely difficult for all but the most gifted after only 2 years of playing. I also got frustrated with my playing after 2 years as I felt my playing was still very poor and wasn't what I expected after 2 years of playing and a year of lessons, but after I changed my teacher I realised I was being too critical of myself - my practice is much more structured and I can now honestly see the improvements from where I was 2 years ago - if you really stopped and thought on how you played when you first started the piano then of course there are obvious improvements - I agree with the posters above that you're taking on too much and that you're possibly trying to get results too quickly.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Learning pieces the right way - 05/19/19 03:55 PM

Let me just reiterate this ….

The absolute MOST IMPORTANT factors in all of this are ….

YOUR LEVEL OF ENJOYMENT

and

YOUR RESOLVE TO DO THIS


I have been at this long enough (10+ years) now to be a fantastic virtuoso pianist but alas I am just mediocre and no particular standout pieces I can play.

However, I have a high level of ENJOYMENT when I am at the piano AND …. I never consider quitting … because I enjoy it.


I am getting better and I gain a little bit here and there depending upon what I encounter to help me …. videos, teachers, courses, books ….

I just keep going.

If you keep going without judging yourself …. you will get there … (wherever that is).

Good Luck
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