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#1625001 02/21/11 10:19 AM
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Hi everyone. I have played piano for around 2-3 years now. For the first 2 and a half years i only read the treble cleff and played on a little keyboard. I managed to get to grade 3 just by reading treble cleff. I take LCM grade exams and they have seperate books where one only uses the treble cleff with written chords above while the other uses bass cleff as well. Last year i began learning to read both cleffs. I am having real trouble sight reading, even easy stuff with the bass cleff involved. Im getting really frustrated as it takes me ages to be able to play a piece and i seem to be getting no where with any piece i learn. Im currently practising music of the night. I can sometimes play the passage i have been practising perfectly but other times I make mistakes. This happens all the time and i never feel as if im ready to move on. My teacher got me a grade 2 book. The same thing happens. I can sometimes play a piece but othr times i make mistakes. I cannot play scales well and have to look at the keys and i still make mistakes playing them slowly. It doesnt seem to matter what difficulty i play at, i still make mistakes and im getting nowhere. I wasted an entire weekend of practise and im still in the same place as i was on saturday morning. I think i should just give it up as its wasting my time and i obviously dont have the talent to progress any further.

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Go get a primer level and a level 1 book and methodically write in every letter for every note in the bass clef.

Remember to use EGBDF and FACE ... look for patterns and start memorizing various notes. Like the top space is G and the bottom space is A , so use those as guides.

You are probably trying to propel yourself too quickly and getting frustrated. Go slower and take it easy. You need start writing notes in and saying them out loud when you play the notes.

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How regularly do you practice and for how long?


Slow down and do it right.
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Originally Posted by Dustin Sanders
Go get a primer level and a level 1 book and methodically write in every letter for every note in the bass clef.

Remember to use EGBDF and FACE ... look for patterns and start memorizing various notes. Like the top space is G and the bottom space is A , so use those as guides.

You are probably trying to propel yourself too quickly and getting frustrated. Go slower and take it easy. You need start writing notes in and saying them out loud when you play the notes.


Agreed smile


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Originally Posted by -Frycek
How regularly do you practice and for how long?


Im currently learning 5 pieces, moonlight sonata, fur elise, gymnopedie no.2, music of the night and a song from pop band keane called somewhere only you know.I also do some scales and graded pieces. I practise for about 3-5 hours a day.I can read treble cleff well and sight read almost anything but when it comes to using bass cleff i begin to get confused and find it very difficult to sight read. I have to play hands seperatly learning the different rythms before putting them together and i still make mistakes.

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I agree, you should definitely quit piano.
Better sooner realize you're not up to something and not to waste time.

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I have to say, your repertoire is too advanced if you can't read very much bass cleff yet. It sounds like you could benefit from working back through some very simple books. The beginning book you describe that included only treble cleff with chord names for the LH to use sounds useful for people who just want to noodle by ear, but for someone who seems to have an interest in learning to read well, I think you need a real primer on using the LH. Jumping into more advanced repertoire, even when it sounds wonderful, it going to be too frustrating, because there are too many different bass cleff notes, and they aren't repetitive enough.

As you know from your experience studying anything, the key to learning is restricting the amount of new information you're dealing with. If you get yourself some beginner books that start off in home/C position, your left hand won't be moving from those five keys (CDEFG), and you can practice reading just them. If that's too complicated, you can even make yourself flash cards (one for each line or space of the bass cleff) and start practicing them using only two cards for two notes right next to each other. Don't move on from those two cards until you can really quickly and consistently differentiate them and play the correct note. As you begin to feel confident with those two notes, add one more card. Every time, you need to look at the card, think about which note it is, and then play it on the keyboard. Do this for 20-30 minutes per day. Certainly, you are going to want to jump ahead and study them all, but you really need to keep from overfeeding yourself with too much information. If you do this for a month or so, adding just one more card after each period where you feel like you're truly solid on the cards you're studying, my guess is that you'll be able to read all the lines and space on the bass cleff relatively well by the end of the month.

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Originally Posted by motif
I agree, you should definitely quit piano.
Better sooner realize you're not up to something and not to waste time.


very true, i really enjoyed playing and i have never enjoyed doing anything so much. ive put so much time into it, its just a shame im no good. Im a bit upset but ill find a new hobbie. Bye evryone and good luck.

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Originally Posted by MarkH
I have to say, your repertoire is too advanced if you can't read very much bass cleff yet. It sounds like you could benefit from working back through some very simple books. The beginning book you describe that included only treble cleff with chord names for the LH to use sounds useful for people who just want to noodle by ear, but for someone who seems to have an interest in learning to read well, I think you need a real primer on using the LH. Jumping into more advanced repertoire, even when it sounds wonderful, it going to be too frustrating, because there are too many different bass cleff notes, and they aren't repetitive enough.

As you know from your experience studying anything, the key to learning is restricting the amount of new information you're dealing with. If you get yourself some beginner books that start off in home/C position, your left hand won't be moving from those five keys (CDEFG), and you can practice reading just them. If that's too complicated, you can even make yourself flash cards (one for each line or space of the bass cleff) and start practicing them using only two cards for two notes right next to each other. Don't move on from those two cards until you can really quickly and consistently differentiate them and play the correct note. As you begin to feel confident with those two notes, add one more card. Every time, you need to look at the card, think about which note it is, and then play it on the keyboard. Do this for 20-30 minutes per day. Certainly, you are going to want to jump ahead and study them all, but you really need to keep from overfeeding yourself with too much information. If you do this for a month or so, adding just one more card after each period where you feel like you're truly solid on the cards you're studying, my guess is that you'll be able to read all the lines and space on the bass cleff relatively well by the end of the month.


interesting, i may just try some of these techniques before i give up all together.. I do really love playing and if i could read the bass clef as well as i do the treble i would be fine.

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Originally Posted by GradedPiano
Originally Posted by motif
I agree, you should definitely quit piano.
Better sooner realize you're not up to something and not to waste time.


very true, i really enjoyed playing and i have never enjoyed doing anything so much. ive put so much time into it, its just a shame im no good. Im a bit upset but ill find a new hobbie. Bye evryone and good luck.


I agree with Motif, you should quit or at least just don't push yourself too much.

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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

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Originally Posted by GradedPiano
Originally Posted by -Frycek
How regularly do you practice and for how long?


Im currently learning 5 pieces, moonlight sonata, fur elise, gymnopedie no.2, music of the night and a song from pop band keane called somewhere only you know.I also do some scales and graded pieces. I practise for about 3-5 hours a day.I can read treble cleff well and sight read almost anything but when it comes to using bass cleff i begin to get confused and find it very difficult to sight read. I have to play hands seperatly learning the different rythms before putting them together and i still make mistakes.

Well, you're certainly doing the work. Have you tried dedicating some time - say 15 minutes a day just to practice sight reading the bass? As for mistakes, don't worry about them so much. Mistakes are going to happen. They happen to everyone, even concert pianists. Concentrate on the important stuff, like rhythm, dynamics and interpretation. Correct your mistakes but don't beat yourself up over them. All that angst isn't helping a thing. This isn't just me talking either. I'm paraphasing the advice Beethoven gave one of his students.


AND DON'T LISTEN TO MOTIF.


Slow down and do it right.
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I practise for about 3-5 hours a day.

Do me a favor and use a stopwatch to time yourself. If you stop to take a drink of tea or coffee or water, even if the cup is on the piano, stop the clock. After you've timed yourself for one day, report back with how much actual time your fingers are pressing down the keys.

If you are in fact spending as much time as you say you are, you need to either focus more and\or speak with your teacher to learn how to better use your time.


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One of the best ways to learn to sight read is to take a very simple piece, that has single notes, and do the following:

1. Look at the note on the staff.

2. Play the note as you look at it on the staff.

3. Say the name of the note as you look at and play it.

This does 4 things. You see the note, play it, hear it, and say its name simultaneously.

Go slow, and do this in short bursts.


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Print this out, and keep it by your piano.
http://www.roamstarmusic.com/EZbassnotesflashcard.html


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My thought is that if you enjoy it then do it. Sure, try to improve, but there is nothing wrong with playing just for enjoyment.

Years ago my mom had a chord organ. She sat at that thing for hours. She wasn't very good but loved it.

You are good enough if you enjoy it and are doing it for the enjoyment.


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I don't think you should give up. but I think you should take a step back and try learning some easier pieces, with an easier bass line. Try and really learn your notes, even pick random pieces and try and get a bar at a time and get each note in a few seconds.

Also learn hands apart, really trying to look up at the music so you use other senses to find and feel for the notes.
I also think you are trying to learn to many different pieces. I would suggest finding an easier piece of music, focus on this and a couple of scales per week. So completely strip it back.
Maybe try thinking of the notes in a different way, so work in steps, so imagine you are climbing up and down ths stairs e.t.c, rather than thinking of them as notes, try and find a different method that helps you learn them.

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The only key to success is perseverance. If you want to accomplish something then never give up.


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
I practise for about 3-5 hours a day.

Do me a favor and use a stopwatch to time yourself. If you stop to take a drink of tea or coffee or water, even if the cup is on the piano, stop the clock. After you've timed yourself for one day, report back with how much actual time your fingers are pressing down the keys.

If you are in fact spending as much time as you say you are, you need to either focus more and\or speak with your teacher to learn how to better use your time.


Agreed if you are spending 3-5 hours a day and not getting better, you are definitely practicing wrong, or not really practicing that long. You need to figure out everything you know about the piano and then start from there learning your way up.

The best way to master a clef is to start small with, as said above, using only five fingers and keys(actual piano keys not things such as Bb minor). After you spend 3-5 hours doing that you should be able to move on to a larger span of keys. For scales, again start small and build up. Buy yourself a metronome and an introduction book on counting and start as slow as you have to to keep it in time and work your way up.

Good luck.

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What? Some people in this thread are really telling GradedPiano to quit?? Are they insane?

I'm not saying this only because I think GP should continue and I'm biased for loving the piano and wanting more people to play the piano, etc... I'm saying this because I once had a major meltdown early in my piano playing because of my lack of progress and that I wanted to quit, also.

And I'm glad I didn't.

Even moreso, there is no reason somebody should QUIT playing piano. Maybe some other things come up in life that take priority (like a job, school, family, military, etc.), but there's no reason anybody should NOT play piano, or any instrument, or do any sort of musical/arts recreation, or any kind of thing they would enjoy in general!

Music should never feel like a chore, in the long run. Sometimes, the practicing may be tedious. But learning and music in general are both very fascinating to me, and I often time love listening and practicing, even if it's tedious.

If you don't enjoy that kind of tedious practice, maybe you should play only to the level of what you can bear/what brings you enjoyment.

Finally, I'm just 18 years old and I could be totally wrong. I just wanted to express my feelings.

GradedPiano, please don't quit just because things seem too hard. Maybe you're pushing yourself too quickly. Play those scales and those passages slower, even if you can play them faster. Sometimes I miss notes, too. Sometimes, Martha Argerich or Evgeny Kissin or whoever else misses notes, too. Keep your head up!

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