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Live Streamed Piano Recital with Murray McLachlan

A new piano recital series has been launched in Stockholm this fall. The first recital, with pianist Peter Jablonski took place on September 15 and today, you can hear British pianist Murray McLachlan play live from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Read more >>

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Author Topic: How To Better Utilise My Practise Time?  (Read 2826 times)
fuel925
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« on: October 23, 2004, 10:57:25 AM »

Firstly, a small outline of me and my situation. I am a 19 year old male, from england, uk. I first started playing the piano at around 4 years of age, having about 5 minutes from the end of my sisters lesson. Although that means I have been playing the piano for around 15 years, I don't feel my current ability reflects this whatsoever. I know this is due to lack of practise and commitment in my earlier years (practise wise, I have always had 1 lesson per week). It has only been in the last couple of months or so that I have really realised the potential ive got, and have set my heart on becoming a performer later in life. (performing in restaurants and hotels, not concert halls). I have achieved distinction in all the practical exams I have taken (1, 3, JBM, 5) and I believe I am well on the way to achieving another distinction in grade 6. The thing that is sorely lacking though is my repetoire... I hardly know any pieces to play. I really really want to build this up, and expand my musical horizons, to learn a variety of pieces by bach, chopin, beethoven, mendehlson etc. My commitment is now there, I just need to information now on how to best utilise the time I have for practise.

I have quite a busy lifestyle, juggling my time between the piano, my girlfriend and my part-time job along with other things (I recently quit my computing course at college to pursue my music dream). I have set aside the same amount of time each day in which I concentrate solely on piano. This is 10am - 11.30am, then from 12.30am til 1.30am. That makes a total of 3 hours practice each day. My usual practise session goes like this:

1) Play through scales (play any iffy scales several times)
2) Play exam pieces (with metrenome where required, also repeating weak sections)
3) Work on other pieces I am learning (current pieces I am working on are Beethovens Sonata in C Minor 2nd movement, Chopins Nocturne in C# Minor, and Chopins Nocturne in Eb Major.)


I do those 3 steps for both 1.5hr sessions each day. I dont have a time limit for each section, I just work on each thing until I am happy to move on.
I am wondering if there is room for improvement where my practise session is concerned? I particularly want to concentrate on building my repetoire as large and as quick as possible. Is it better to concentrate on these 3 pieces until they are done, then start more, or should I have 10 pieces on the go, doing a little bit on each each day?

I have done some searches in these forums and other resources before posting here, and ive picked up a few hints that I am going to try. But more help is needed, and is much appreciated!

Thanks for any replies Smiley

- Chris
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fuel925
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2004, 08:13:11 AM »

Do you think it is better that I should do small bits at a time on a lot of pieces, or concentrate on just 2 or 3 pieces at a time with larger chunks?
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bernhard
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2004, 07:30:47 PM »

Have a look here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1825.msg13858.html#msg13858
(Accommodating practice times – 10 minute sessions – some mention on mental practice)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1844.msg13949.html#msg13949
(Overpractising – stopping at the last perfect rendition).

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1867.msg14268.html#msg14268
(Getting technique from pieces – several important tricks: hand memory, dropping notes, repeated note-groups)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2255.msg19129.html#msg19129
(practising long pieces – Good discussion if one should or should not listen to CDs - Slow motion practice, comparison with walking/running)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2355.msg20277.html#msg20277
(common mistakes made by students)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2458.msg21365.html#msg21365
(Mental practice – tips for fingering)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2485.msg21499.html#msg21499
(How to keep a piece in the repertory – learn/forget/relearn)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2526.msg21829.html#msg21829
(how to organise piano practise in short/medium/long term – Principle of memory retention – Principle of 15 minute sessions – stopping when you achieve your goals. Teachers should teach how to learn)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2599.msg22431.html#msg22431
(How long does it all take? – several interesting posts: self-taught students, the cake analogy, criticism of ABRSM for expecting people to reach grade 8 in 10 years,  learning is not gradual and comparisom to reading, different ways of learning, the dispersive method of teaching, and a 15 list to “disperse” learning).

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2615.msg22522.html#msg22522
(Piece analysis – delay going to the piano and spend most time analysing – Comparison with the process of film making)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2720.msg23353.html#msg23353
(How to practice aim and accuracy – looking at the LH and giving verbal instructions to the RH – Full discussion on left and right brain).

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2864.msg25252.html#msg25252
(how everyone in the forum practises – the scientific method to decide what practice routine is good and which is not. Comments on Chang book)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2916.msg25572.html#msg25572
(Bad habits when playing/practising)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3002.msg26246.html#msg26246
(When to use the metronome)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3039.msg26525.html#msg26525
(how big are your hands, and does it matter? 7 x 20 minutes –  exercise/activities to strengthen the playing apparatus – ways to deal with wide chords – 3 stages of learning – Example: Chopin militaire Polonaise- scientific principles for testing practice methods – Example: Prelude in F#m from WTC1 – when to join hands and why HS – practice is improvement – the principle of “easy” – Example: Chopin’s ballade no. 4 – repeated groups)

Just the tip of the iceberg Tongue

Best wishes,
Bernhard
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The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)
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