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#368510 03/21/08 04:37 PM
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My fingers seem to be developing an affinity to rebel against me, they very often play a note too fast (as if it were a grace note) or seem to stop briefly at a note and just ... chill.
Of course, I imagine it's their revenge for me ever practicing quickly (I play the piece 2 times slow, and then very gracefully jump up to tempo, which is why my teachers are now famous for their acquired heart diseases laugh ).
Does anyone know any totaletarian practicing methods to regain control over those treacherous fingers? (I'll try my best to practice slow this time) wink

Thank you


Currently Working on:
Beethoven : Piano Conerto No.2
Mozart : Piano Sonata No.6
Schubert : Moment Musicax No.3
Chopin : Black Key Etude
#368511 03/21/08 04:45 PM
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I find practising to a metronome helps me with this. It's not recommended by some teachers, but I find it useful to force me to control my fingers at a slow speed, before moving up to correct tempo.


John
#368512 03/21/08 07:24 PM
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Slow practice. The metronome helps, as JohnEB says.

You need to resist the urge to play everything right away. By playing the music right away, you are losing the accuracy and control needed to play the music properly, and not really learning the music sufficiently to avoid errors and panic spots.

This isn't saying that you can't enjoy your efforts and play some music. After all there's nothing like practicing so much, you'll never learn how to play the music. I have heard teachers say that it's okay to play after you've practiced first.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
#368513 03/22/08 12:38 PM
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How much can I use the metronome before becoming dependent on it? After all, I don't want to lose my internal sense of rhythm.

Thank you.


Currently Working on:
Beethoven : Piano Conerto No.2
Mozart : Piano Sonata No.6
Schubert : Moment Musicax No.3
Chopin : Black Key Etude
#368514 03/22/08 12:47 PM
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I have been told to set the metronome, listen to it, internalize the beat, then play with it off. Some teachers discourage having the metronome on constantly. I will sometiimes have it on constantly to become acustomed, to observe what I am doing, but it is for that purpose. I also tried playing after having it on and then checking by giving it a flick with one hand after a couple of bars to see whether I had stayed at the same tempo. I had not. So I'm playing with that.

#368515 03/22/08 12:51 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
How much can I use the metronome before becoming dependent on it? After all, I don't want to lose my internal sense of rhythm.

Thank you.
Count your beats out loud if you have to. It may seem childish or stupid to you, but it works to help internalize the sense of rhythm.

Have you ever played any ensemble works? Piano trios, duets, and 2-piano works can really help internalize rhythm and keep the time steady because you have to listen to the beat being played by the other party or parties in the group.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
#368516 03/22/08 12:58 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by John Citron:
Quote
Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
[b] How much can I use the metronome before becoming dependent on it? After all, I don't want to lose my internal sense of rhythm.

Thank you.
Count your beats out loud if you have to. It may seem childish or stupid to you, but it works to help internalize the sense of rhythm.

Have you ever played any ensemble works? Piano trios, duets, and 2-piano works can really help internalize rhythm and keep the time steady because you have to listen to the beat being played by the other party or parties in the group.

John [/b]
I've actually never played any ensemble works, always solo. Although my friend and I are planning on giving a concert in the memory of Liszt (We'll probably have it on the day that he died) And we'll be playing some 2-piano or 4 hands works , we're trying to get our hands on a 2 piano version of his HR 2 but we can't really find it.

Could I also use my foot to keep track of the beats?

Thank you.


Currently Working on:
Beethoven : Piano Conerto No.2
Mozart : Piano Sonata No.6
Schubert : Moment Musicax No.3
Chopin : Black Key Etude
#368517 03/22/08 08:38 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
My fingers seem to be developing an affinity to rebel against me... I play the piece 2 times slow, and then very gracefully jump up to tempo ...
That explains it very clearly and you seem to know it. Unfortunately there are no miraculous ways to speed up the learning process. Treat your fingers like actors in a theater, you are the director. If you don't tell the actors precisely what to do, they will do what they like to do - scene by scene.

#368518 03/23/08 02:03 AM
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I've actually never played any ensemble works, always solo. Although my friend and I are planning on giving a concert in the memory of Liszt (We'll probably have it on the day that he died) And we'll be playing some 2-piano or 4 hands works , we're trying to get our hands on a 2 piano version of his HR 2 but we can't really find it.

Could I also use my foot to keep track of the beats?

Thank you.


Tapping the foot isn't as good as counting out loud when first learning a piece. You want to be able to internalize the rhythm and make it part of your soul. For complicated passages, try clapping and walking the rhythm so you can feel it.

Guendola is absolutely right. There's no shortcut to instant good piano playing. You need to go about this slowly and carefully so you always have control of your fingers. You don't want to have them control you.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
#368519 03/23/08 04:19 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
My fingers seem to be developing an affinity to rebel against me, they very often play a note too fast (as if it were a grace note) or seem to stop briefly at a note and just ... chill.
This sounds very dangerous to me - like the beginnings of focal dystonia. Would you describe some movements as a twitch? If so that's bad. Do something now (slow, slow down).

#368520 03/23/08 04:34 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Quote
Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
[b] My fingers seem to be developing an affinity to rebel against me, they very often play a note too fast (as if it were a grace note) or seem to stop briefly at a note and just ... chill.
This sounds very dangerous to me - like the beginnings of focal dystonia. Would you describe some movements as a twitch? If so that's bad. Do something now (slow, slow down). [/b]
Thank you for the concern, but I'm quite sure that I don't have focal dystonia, first of all , the issue does not occur randomly, if my fingers played a note too quick in a passage, when I play the passae again at the same tempo, they'll play the same note quickly , and they will the 3rd and the 4th time I play the passage, until I slow down and do it right.
Second of all, it only happens when i'm playing the piano, and hasn't affected any other parts of my life , keyboard typing, writing, eating , etc..

I've noticed that if I turn any passage into octaves and play it, I can achieve 100 % ryhtmic accuracy, my ocatves , double notes and accords are very much metronome-like. So the problem is all about those single notes.

Thank you.


Currently Working on:
Beethoven : Piano Conerto No.2
Mozart : Piano Sonata No.6
Schubert : Moment Musicax No.3
Chopin : Black Key Etude
#368521 03/23/08 04:41 AM
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Hopefully it isn't focal dystonia (could someone put this word in the dictionary?) but all pianist need to be aware of the condition. It's not random (doesn't start randomly) and will happen at exactly the same place and the more you try the worse it gets. The condition is a kind of blurring in the brain map that is responsible for your fingers. As I've said, anything resembling a twitch is bad news.

#368522 03/23/08 01:42 PM
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I am very familiar with dystonia. frown That was my first diagnosis before the Parkinson's. What happens is the brain-to-muscle connection gets overloaded and causes delayed reactions. The muscles work like pulleys. One is an agonist that moves in the direction you want to go, and the other is an antagonist, or an opposing muscles that has resistance. What has happened is the brain has told the fingers to move to in a certain manner, but the signal is not responded to right away. As a result, the fingers will then respond later to the previously received signal and get confused by the new information they have received.

Dystonia can be caused by many underlying neurological problems including MS, muscular dystrophy, stroke, Parkinson's Disease, and ALS. There is also a genetic cause stemming from particular ethnic groups originally from Eastern Europe and Russia. This is the dopamine responsive varient of dystonia (DRD). Very low vitamin B12 can also cause this as well as many other neurological systems, and Wilson's disease which is the build up of copper in the system.

Once the doctor has ruled any other underlying causes, this could then be considered focal dystonia. The test(s) will include a full neurological exam, an EMG and NCV) and usually a few MRI.

Not all forms of dystonia are painful even though they can be debilitating. Focal dystonia is an "action" dystonia that occurs due to doing certain movements. Writer's cramp, musician's cramp, are classic examples of focal dystonia. There are others including blepharospasms where the eyes can't open. The person is blind not because their eyeballs are bad, it's only because they clamp their eyes closed. Other focal dystonias affects singers, where their vocal chords go into a lock so they can't speak or sing, and wind players suffer from a form of dystonia that affects their ability to blow properly into their instruments.

The more painful forms of dystonia include Torticollis where the person's torso is twisted into a knot. Foot dystonia, which is an early sign of Parkinson's Disease, where the feet turn in and the toes curl painfully. [1]

There is no cure for dystonia, however, there has been progress made with the drugs such as the benzodiazapines (Klonipin,Valium, Xanax), anticholerigenic drugs, such as artane, and even Sinemet for dopamine-resonsive dystonia (DRD). In addition to the drugs, Botox A treatments have worked successfully, but the effects of Botox wear off after several months as the body builds up antibodies to the toxin, and the patient can only receive a certain number of total injections.

A better explanation of dystonia can be found at www.wemove.org

John

[1] Long before any other symptoms of the Parkinson's, I was getting these severe spasms in my feet usually first thing in the morning, after a lot of stress like when driving, and sometimes randomly during the day long before my diagnosis. After I've been on Sinemet and Amantadine at the current level 10-pills per day, the spasms have all but disappeared and many other things are normal again.


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
#368523 03/23/08 04:52 PM
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John,

Thank you very much for the posting of movement disorders at www.wemove.org

I am very glad to hear "the spasms have all but disappeared and many other things are normal again."

Betty

#368524 03/23/08 05:20 PM
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So do I yet shift my worries from a little rhythmic uneveness to having Parkinson's at 18?

Have you considered the brain electrodes surgey John? I've heard it's very helpful for Parkinson's disease treatment.


Currently Working on:
Beethoven : Piano Conerto No.2
Mozart : Piano Sonata No.6
Schubert : Moment Musicax No.3
Chopin : Black Key Etude
#368525 03/23/08 07:37 PM
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Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
So do I yet shift my worries from a little rhythmic uneveness to having Parkinson's at 18?

Have you considered the brain electrodes surgey John? I've heard it's very helpful for Parkinson's disease treatment.
Ah for you, no. Don't worry about PD yet. You may want to slow down, and perhaps not try so hard. Sometimes when we work too hard at something, other things break for no apparent reason.

In regards to the DBS surgery, I'm not a candidate at this time because I'm in the early stages of the disease. So far the medication regimen is working so I actually have my mobility back. I'm even playing the piano and working on pieces I haven't touched in nearly 4 years. I realize I'm in the honeymoon stage and I plane to make the most of it while I can. smile

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
#368526 03/24/08 05:41 AM
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It's really great to hear that the medication is helping you well.
The medical advance in the area of neurological diseases is very rapid. There's much research going on about stem cells which are a very promising field. 10 or 20 years from now, we hope that Parkinson's will start to become a completely treatable disease. The honeymoon stage might get a lot longer than it used to be John wink


Currently Working on:
Beethoven : Piano Conerto No.2
Mozart : Piano Sonata No.6
Schubert : Moment Musicax No.3
Chopin : Black Key Etude
#368527 03/24/08 01:39 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by virtuoso_18:
if my fingers played a note too quick in a passage, when I play the passage again at the same tempo, they'll play the same note quickly, and they will the 3rd and the 4th time I play the passage, until I slow down and do it right.
[/QB]
This indicates to me that these have become problem passages where you have learned bad habits. You need to slow them down and drill them so that they are corrected. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Every time you play it wrong you instill the wrong impression in your brain. One good thing to try is always play a problem passage slowly and correctly before moving on. That way the last impression left in your brain is a correct one.


Steve Chandler
composer/amateur pianist

stevechandler-music.com
http://www.soundcloud.com/pantonality
http://www.youtube.com/pantonality

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