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#1624776 02/20/11 11:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 794
jnod Offline OP
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So, I practice daily but I feel like there's a real plateau effect with everything I learn to play. Wondering whether is something worth reading out there that might help me overcome this?

Any suggestions?


Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
jnod #1624794 02/21/11 12:04 AM
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How do you usually practice?

Here are a couple of books I've found useful:
Improve Your Piano Playing, by John Meffen
Fundamentals of Piano Practice, by C.C. Chang




"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
jnod #1624899 02/21/11 04:08 AM
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start with 6 hours a day of scales and passages in both direction, parallel and asymmetrical in all keys.
Then remaining 6 hours of the day play different tunes covering different techniques and styles. At least 2 hours a day play blindfolded, this will strengthen your hearing.
After 10 years or so you'll be a virtuoso, good luck.

jnod #1624902 02/21/11 04:11 AM
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You need the appropriate teacher. I've read more or less all there is to read - it don't amount to no hill of beans!

jnod #1624923 02/21/11 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jnod
So, I practice daily but I feel like there's a real plateau effect with everything I learn to play. Wondering whether is something worth reading out there that might help me overcome this?

Any suggestions?


I don't know if reading anything will help as much as simply messing around with your practice routine.

I can hit a plateau at almost any time, and what often works to break it up is to change in a big way the way I practice the piece (but not necessarily for a long time). One effective ploy is to slow down enormously for a few times through. Another is: if you have been using a metronome, stop; if you haven't been, start. Another thing I am finding useful is to practice at two different speeds (or more), but which are not pushing me very hard. Practicing just bits and pieces of the piece rather than going through it from start to finish each time helps, too. Getting deliberately silly with the music, and playing it a manner opposed to how you think it is supposed to go or with wildly and comically exaggerated expression can help. The old stand-by of practicing in rhythms is an old stand-by for a reason - it works. Another method is to practice just from one beat to the next beat, and getting that single beat's worth of music completely under control at around the speed you are aiming for. The do the same on the next beat. Don't put them together until you are utterly confident in each one separately. Then do the next beat. Etc. And another thing I have found that can help is instead of practicing the same things each day, set up an alternating schedule, so that you practice stuff every other day instead of every day.

Anyway, I'm sure you get the idea - if you feel you've hit a plateau, I think the thing to do is to somehow derail what you've been doing, and do something else, even if it seems like you are moving backwards for a while, or feels a bit alien.




wr #1625080 02/21/11 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by wr
The old stand-by of practicing in rhythms is an old stand-by for a reason - it works.


Can you tell me what you mean by this?

jnod #1625081 02/21/11 12:05 PM
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I'd suggest practicing little and often. So for about 15 - 20 mins per day so things are fresh in your mind. And don't learn too many different things. Stick to say a couple of scales and one piece, so you can focus properly on them.

Also alternate the way you practice, so one night do your piece, another do your scales another night do a theory recap and then maybe so short bursts of scales and your piece.

jnod #1625104 02/21/11 12:30 PM
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I play for 30-60 minutes a day. Yes, wr - I think breaking things up as you suggest would help a lot. The rhythms thing is something my 10 year old's teacher suggested for his scales. He's a little young to do this yet but I still get him to mess around a bit like this. I guess what it does is increase familiarity with elements that are hidden when you do everything the same way every time.

I play mostly Bach, Mozart and Beethoven (I've been accused of lacking imagination but hey - hard to improve on BMB!). I've been playing since 1971 (started when I was 7) so I think I'm kind of set in my says.

I don't have a teacher at the moment KBK - I've considered taking some lessons and this might also be something I need. Someone to kick my arse when I get lazy. The thing is, I just enjoy playing too much to practice sometimes. I don't *want* to break out those little tricky passages so I just kind of gloss them over to get to the part I know better. Then I can get back to pretending I'm Vladimir Ashkenazy or Glenn Gould or whoever....

The one thing I've instituted in recent years that has made a difference is more memorizing. I didn't used to think this was important but, when you are girding your loins for that page turn, you think about parts of pieces differently: less interruption - leaves your brain to think about the parts that need special attention and your hands and muscle memory can do the rest. The problem is that given the amount of time I have to practice, I don't often have enough time to really memorize things properly. More time would help wouldn't it? Maybe I should win a lottery? Then maybe I could take motif's suggestions and act on them...

Anyway, thanks for the input folks - happy to continue the chat.



Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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