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#2581280 10/24/16 11:00 AM
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Just wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I love playing the piano and practicing but after playing a piece for weeks and somewhat "getting it" I get tired of it and after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten. Do people actually keep playing songs to keep them fresh.

Also for me the length of time from "learning" a song to "perfecting" the song is very long and difficult, and that is frustrating.


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It's always good to have a goal practising or perfecting a piece. It can be a skill, or you can prepare for some recital.
For me the point is that I can play music for others if they want to listen. And if I can play a piece which has been hard with a lot of work in practising put in, I can get very excited.
That is why I love the recitals here on pianoworld and I'm a member of a piano group where we play the pieces for eachother once every 6 weeks.


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HI pianoplayingpig,

For me it can also take a very long time to perfect a song but I still find great joy in it. It is therapeutic in my everyday life to be able to sit down and work on something challenging and sort of be in my own bubble.

As for the second part of your question, yes I keep playing my favorite pieces because it gives my pleasure to be able to make music and also because I enjoy changing them up a bit once I've mastered them.

I went to a piano store this weekend and the owner was a Berklee trained pianist who played beautifully both classical and jazz pieces. I asked him if he still had to practice the pieces he plays so he doesn't lose them and he said yes he's just like any other person where if he doesn't regularly play the songs then they go away.

I think it's the same for everyone, we all have to practice and work at keeping our repertoire under our fingers. I set aside a little time each day to play pieces I've already learned to keep them fresh and also as a reward for practicing technique or other things that my teacher has assigned.


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Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
Just wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I love playing the piano and practicing but after playing a piece for weeks and somewhat "getting it" I get tired of it and after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten. Do people actually keep playing songs to keep them fresh.

Also for me the length of time from "learning" a song to "perfecting" the song is very long and difficult, and that is frustrating.




Let me guess ...

You do not have a teacher.

You do not read music while you play it.

If you read, at all ... You only read it to determine which keys to press and then you do not read the music anymore.

You just memorize which keys to press.

You can do that but as you have learned ... it gets "old".

Learning to play while reading the music is much more difficult but the results are much more satisfying.

Good Luck





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For me the point is to get a more intimate relationship with music I love. Even if I cannot keep them all it's different to hear recordings or recitals with music I have studied enough to have deeper understanding of. And if needed, I can relearn the piece much faster after initially learned. The polishing state is not frustrating to me as long as *I* want to make the piece sound better and feel I can. If I feel I cannot (and it's not just a temporary issue) we break up. Hopefully not forever. This is why it's important for me to choose pieces that have enough appeal to me.

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Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
and after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten. Do people actually keep playing songs to keep them fresh.

That's why learning to play from sheet music (often mislabeled as sight reading) is a good idea. Once you can play from the sheet, there won't be a "poof it's gone" effect anymore once you stop playing a piece for a few weeks or even months. Just get out the sheet and play again. Sure, it won't be recital-polished anymore, but still good enough to enjoy, and if necessary can be polished back up in a short time.


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Hi, Can you explain your post a little more for me, what do you mean by "reading" music. Can you explain your last sentence
"
Learning to play while reading the music is much more difficult but the results are much more satisfying."

Thanks!
You are correct I do not have a teacher. I consider myself intermediate level. In the past 1-2 years I have learned the Clementi OP 36-1 to 36-6, fur elise, easier bach inventions, K545, Alla turca, Le coucou.


Let me guess ...

You do not have a teacher.

You do not read music while you play it.

If you read, at all ... You only read it to determine which keys to press and then you do not read the music anymore.

You just memorize which keys to press.

You can do that but as you have learned ... it gets "old".

Learning to play while reading the music is much more difficult but the results are much more satisfying.

Good Luck



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dmd,
So, are you suggesting that you never play from memory, and you always read along the score as you are playing? I can see how that would be beneficial, but after a lot of practice sessions don't you have it memorized anyway, and do you still use read the music that's memorized as you play?

Once I feel that I've perfected a piece, I play it both ways...sometimes from memory and sometimes reading the score as I play. I have actually found mistakes that I was making in a piece that I thought I had perfected. That experience taught me to always take a second look and that my memory can fail me at times even when I believed it to be perfectly accurate. I would like other opinions on this.

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I cannot enjoy playing with the score due to my visual impairments. For me memorizing is usually happening while polishing. The worst time for me with the pieces is when they are playable but not fully memorized. That is when I am most likely to toss them...There are some pieces I really like but kept practicing them too long with the score and never got them memorized...I feel they are ruined now frown

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Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
Hi, Can you explain your post a little more for me, what do you mean by "reading" music. Can you explain your last sentence
"
Learning to play while reading the music is much more difficult but the results are much more satisfying."

Thanks!


I mean are you looking at the keyboard as you play or are you looking at the music ?

If you are looking at the keyboard, you are playing by memorizing which keys to press. If you do that, it is more difficult to "remember" a piece of music unless you keep playing it frequently.

If you are looking at the music, you are "reminding" yourself of what comes next by looking at the notes on the sheet of music. That makes it easier to "remember" what to play next.

Of course, it is more difficult to press the correct keys on the piano because you are not looking at the keyboard. But it becomes easier the more you do it. A teacher would be helpful with that.



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Originally Posted by Theory Grl
dmd,
So, are you suggesting that you never play from memory, and you always read along the score as you are playing?


Absolutely not. In fact, I never play (at performance speed) while looking at the notation. And, I suffer from the same problem as the OP. Pieces of music disappear from memory if I do not keep playing them. That is probably one reason I play mostly jazz music now. I utilize lead sheets and play from chord progressions. I find it easier to remember where I am going with it.

Quote
Once I feel that I've perfected a piece, I play it both ways...sometimes from memory and sometimes reading the score as I play.


Yes, very natural.

However, having the ability to play while looking at the music is a tremendous aid when the piece gets a little "fuzzy" in your head.





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No I am definitely looking at the music while I play, not looking at my fingers.

I guess the point of my post was if other people felt the same way about practicing a song for a long time, only to "forget it" after not playing it. (although I agree with the other poster that re-learning the song is much easier the second time around)



Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
Hi, Can you explain your post a little more for me, what do you mean by "reading" music. Can you explain your last sentence
"
Learning to play while reading the music is much more difficult but the results are much more satisfying."

Thanks!


I mean are you looking at the keyboard as you play or are you looking at the music ?

If you are looking at the keyboard, you are playing by memorizing which keys to press. If you do that, it is more difficult to "remember" a piece of music unless you keep playing it frequently.

If you are looking at the music, you are "reminding" yourself of what comes next by looking at the notes on the sheet of music. That makes it easier to "remember" what to play next.

Of course, it is more difficult to press the correct keys on the piano because you are not looking at the keyboard. But it becomes easier the more you do it. A teacher would be helpful with that.


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Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
... after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten.


Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
No I am definitely looking at the music while I play, not looking at my fingers.


Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
In the past 1-2 years I have learned the Clementi OP 36-1 to 36-6, fur elise, easier bach inventions, K545, Alla turca, Le coucou.


Well, I have to say ... these 3 comments do not sound possible to me.

The point of learning to play while reading the music is so you do not have to "remember" the piece. You just look at the music at play what you "see", not what you remember.



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Originally Posted by Theory Grl
dmd,
So, are you suggesting that you never play from memory, and you always read along the score as you are playing? I can see how that would be beneficial, but after a lot of practice sessions don't you have it memorized anyway, and do you still use read the music that's memorized as you play?

You asked dmd but you also asked for other opinions, so I'm going to answer too.

Personally, yes, I always play from score. I'm not a natural memorizer and it has almost never happened to me that I memorized a piece "accidentally" just from playing it a lot. For me it requires additional effort to memorize a piece. And since I never play in public settings where memorization would be desirable (recitals, performances, exams) I see no reason to spend this effort. In the time I would need to spend to memorize one piece, I can learn a second piece from scratch (from score). Plus of course the additional continuous effort I would have to spend to keep the piece in memory.

Mind you, I'm not saying that this is "better" than memorization. To each what suits her/him best. But I also don't feel that I'm missing out on anything, not memorizing. The only times I wish I had a few pieces memorized are when I'm in a piano shop, so that I could test the pianos better. smile


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It`s dared nice just playing what you can when you can and on whatever is available wherever you are. Sorting out a new piece can be frustrating even getting it started, getting the right fingers around those notes. But as you know, you do get there. And that`s the great thing. To see it through . . . .Yay!!!!!!

THEN you can record it, forget about it. Forever, if you wish!

Next one comin` up . . . .

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Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
... after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten.


I think this is a misperception resulting from the frustration of not being able to do what you could a couple weeks ago. Memories don't suddenly disappear, but they fade, and need to be refreshed.

If you want to maintain stuff, play through your whole book once a week. After a while when your book gets big and that gets to be a lot of time and effort, the memories will be stronger, and you can do it every other week.



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Yes,if I neglect a score for a while (either reading or memorized), I do lose some of it.... but it does not take nearly the original time to regain as it did to learn. I play mainly with the score, but I am trying to retain a few pieces so if I am ever asked to play, I am not completely hopeless.

And it does take me a long time to get to where I feel the music is 'performance ready'.... but that is actually my favorite part of learning. I negotiate what I learn with my piano teacher, so I only learn what I love--- and could work on improving it every day for the rest of my life without tiring. The more I work on polishing it (whatever that means to each of you) the more I understand it, and think (?) it is improving.

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Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
Just wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I love playing the piano and practicing but after playing a piece for weeks and somewhat "getting it" I get tired of it and after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten. Do people actually keep playing songs to keep them fresh.

Also for me the length of time from "learning" a song to "perfecting" the song is very long and difficult, and that is frustrating.



Although I get (and somewhat relate to) the general drift of your post, it is not clear to me which point your subject line is intended to question; the frustration of continuing to practice something you have not yet mastered BUT have already grown tired of? The answer may be, what is the point /your point of having taken up piano?

As a 2.5 year beginner, yes, there have been times that a song wore out for me before I could get it to desired polish. However, the pieces that I really connect with do not wear out for me and these are the ones I keep fresh, play and polish often after first getting them "mastered".

If you have pieces which you tried to perfect ( in literal sense) your frustration is not a surprise. There is another thread of recent discussing "perfecting" along with "mastery", "polishing/polished" and "perfomance level". I realize that in a figurative sense people like to refer to their efforts of polishing to perfection but in the practical/literal sense, there is no such thing as perfect ..... but people do like to chase it like a grail. Mastery, polish, polished, these are more realistic endeavors. Best of luck to you and hang in there.


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My advice is only conjecture given that I don't know your background, your learning process, your approach to learning pieces, and just how well you've learned the pieces you know (just some of the more important reasons why getting started with a quality teacher earlier rather than later is so beneficial).


Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
Just wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I love playing the piano and practicing but after playing a piece for weeks and somewhat "getting it" I get tired of it and after a couple of weeks of not playing it, Poof it's gone and forgotten. Do people actually keep playing songs to keep them fresh.


As someone who hasn't been playing very long, it generally doesn't behoove you to spend so long a time learning any one piece because of the reasons you're describing. Think of the ability to work on and learn more difficult - by difficult, I mean the length of time a piece takes to learn - and all the while maintain focus and fervor for that music as something that has to be trained and developed no different than how technique does. My advice is to work on easier material that you can absorb quicker. What "quicker" means for you depends on that aforementioned ability to maintain focus on a piece as well as how much you love it.

Furthermore, your post also alludes to difficulty keeping pieces memorized (and possibly memorizing them in the first place). I learned a piece of music a couple of years ago that I'll only break out and play on rare occasion - always without the score - and yet I can still remember it quite well. The reason for this is because I approached learning the music with a very specific and deliberate method to facilitate memorization. Memorizing music at its weakest means, as dmd alluded to, means staring at where your fingers go and using sound as a cue for where they should go next in a performance; it's also the weakest form of memorization. Having to stare at the music to be able to play, while not the weakest form of memorization, still isn't strong nor is it doing yourself any favors as a musician that perhaps strives to attain a fraction of the 1500+ piece repertoires previously boasted by musicians like Sviatoslav Richter and Claudio Arrau. There are countless better musicians' inputs and posts on these forums and elsewhere online than I with strategies on memorizing music and so I'll simply direct you to their advice:




Originally Posted by pianoplayingpig
Also for me the length of time from "learning" a song to "perfecting" the song is very long and difficult, and that is frustrating.


You should be perfecting a piece of music as your learn it. If, for instance, when you're first learning to play a musical phrase of say 3-4 bars, you can't play them flawlessly (and touching on the former topic, from memory) and at-or-near performance tempo after say 15-20 minutes of practice at the most, then you're working on too large a section and need to make it smaller. Work on a whole piece this way, connecting and then practicing two sections as if they were one after each has been perfected separately and then "learning" and "perfecting" a work of music are no longer separate tasks. Read here for a more detailed example: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=4710.0


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