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Super Mario Piano Scores – The Czerny Studies of Our Time?

Are there any pianists out there who have never played studies by Czerny as part of their training? Probably not many. But why not practice video game music in order to develop a more contemporary piano technique? Read more >>

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Author Topic: Practicing Techniques (Bernhard)  (Read 42116 times)
fra ungdomsdagene
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« on: September 21, 2005, 11:44:50 AM »

Hi Bernhard and all,
I was impressed by your detailed reply to my thread so I browsed your posts and read what you have to say about piano practicing.
I find it all very interesting and I'm trying to apply it to my practice routine but because small bits of a suggestion are in different threads I find really complicated to make sense of it all.
But reading it suggested me these questions whose answers could work well as a summary of the technique you suggest.

The gist of it seems to be:

- preliminary work away from the piano or with scales
- learning correct movements for a small enough LH and RH chunk, in alternation
- joining LH and RH maintaining hands independence
- repeating the same the next days before approaching something new

So, preliminary work aside, since it is clear enough:

- What technique is suggested to choose the chunks and how many chunks to practice from the same piece daily?
- What technique is suggested to memorize the RH and LH chunks?
- What technique is suggested to learn the correct movements to play the RH and LH chunk with easy and accuracy?
- What technique is suggested to have the RH and LH chunks at feel tempo or faster?
- What technique is suggested to join the RH and LH together while maintaining hands independence (not merely this note goes with that note but independent accurate RH that match harmoniously with LH and viceversa)?

Thanks in advance
Fra
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celticqt
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2005, 01:14:45 AM »

- What technique is suggested to memorize the RH and LH chunks?
- What technique is suggested to learn the correct movements to play the RH and LH chunk with easy and accuracy?
- What technique is suggested to have the RH and LH chunks at feel tempo or faster?
- What technique is suggested to join the RH and LH together while maintaining hands independence (not merely this note goes with that note but independent accurate RH that match harmoniously with LH and viceversa)?

Well, I can't answer all of your questions, but I'll try a few.

Memorization: If you practice the way they are telling you to on this forum, you should memorize automatically.  I know it sounds crazy - I didn't believe it before I tried it - but it works.  If you go slow enough and really listen to what you're doing, the notes will stick in your head.  This only works, though, if you take small enough chunks.  Sometimes my chunk is half a measure, sometimes two measures - it depends on the degree of difficulty. 

I think the answer to many of your questions is start slowly.  You have to practice it slow enough to not make mistakes.  This lets you hear if your RH and LH are matching up correctly.  And if you are using the right movements when you play it slowly, speeding up shouldn't be too much of a problem.  Don't concentrate on speed though - let it come naturally as you begin to know the piece better.

Hope this helps a little.  Smiley
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bernhard
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2005, 07:03:12 PM »

Quote
The gist of it seems to be:

- preliminary work away from the piano or with scales
- learning correct movements for a small enough LH and RH chunk, in alternation
- joining LH and RH maintaining hands independence
- repeating the same the next days before approaching something new

I would replace the word “learning” on the second item for “practising”, since it is unlikely that you will “learn” the correct movements by working in small chunks (in fact the correct movement must take into consideration sometimes a sizeable passage). Ideally you should learn the correct movements by being shown them by a knowledgeable teacher.

Quote
So, preliminary work aside, since it is clear enough:

- What technique is suggested to choose the chunks and how many chunks to practice from the same piece daily?

Use the 7 x 20 rule:

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 – the myth that Richter was self-taught – 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)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3561.msg31700.html#msg31700
(Questions about Bernhard’s method – Bernhard’s answers – mostly about the 7 X 20 principle, how do you know when you mastered a section, when to use the methods, and when they are not necessary – investigating the reasons for difficult)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4689.msg44184.html#msg44184
(Bernhard answers questions and elucidates further about: 20 minutes – practice starts when you get it right – definition of mastery : learned – mastered – omniscience – Aim for easy – final speed in practice must be faster than performance speed – Example: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2 – outline – repeated note groups – HS x HT)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4710.msg44538.html#msg44538
(Bernhard explains once more about 7 x 20 minutes – Progress is the ultimate decider – How to break a piece in practice sessions – Example: Satie gymnopedie – importance of planning – aim at 100 pieces per year – Example: Bach Cm WTC 2 -)
http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4750.msg45125.html#msg45125
(more details: learned – mastered –omniscience – why repertory must be paramount – how to work on 20 pieces per month – a case for easy repertory – importance of discipline and of having a plan – analogy of mastering a piece and making wine – musicality is ultimately good taste – Example: Beethoven op. 49 no. 2- A list of progressive repertory to lead to Rach prelude op. 32 no. 5 – mastery is when it is easy)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4797.msg45744.html#msg45744
(No skipped steps – Bernhard enlightens further and tells the usual places where students go wrong – Ht x HS)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4858.msg46087.html#msg46087
(Paul’s report on B’s method. Feedback from Bernhard including: HS x HT – Example: Lecuona’s malaguena – 7x20 – need to adjust and adapt – repeated note-groups – importance of HS – hand memory – 7 items only in consciousness – playing in automatic pilot - )

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,5177.msg49229.html#msg49229
(more on 7x20 – what it means to master a passage)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,5298.msg50376.html#msg50376
(alternative to the chord trick – Rhythm variations  - repeated note-groups – starting with the difficult bars – how to break down a piece in sessions – ways to tackle speed that do not involve the chord trick)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4105.msg37603.html#msg37603
(Does age and practice time matter? –  Summaries of the 7 x 20 approach – averages and standard deviations are given for the several numbers – need for a practice diary – how to deal with mastering something and forgetting it next day – what exactly is mastery – the 3 stages of mastery)

Quote
- What technique is suggested to memorize the RH and LH chunks?

You don’t need to memorise hands separately (except in counterpoint music where it is a must). Instead, memorise hands together. How do you do it, is discussed in these threads:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2083.msg17227.html#msg17227
(the basic theory of memory)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3858.msg34936.html#msg34936
(the basics – includes the history of the Art of memory)

http://www.pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,7399.msg74758.html#msg74758
(the details of the process using “dozen a day” as an example)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4321.msg40373.html#msg40373
(why do you teach? – policies and teaching methods –pragmatical theory of memory)


Quote
- What technique is suggested to learn the correct movements to play the RH and LH chunk with easy and accuracy?

It depends on the passage and on your phisycality. There are no shortcuts here. If you do not have the benefit of a knowledgeable teacher to show you, then you must proceed by trial and error. “Easy and accuracy” will be your corroboration that you are in the correct path. The “technique” is basically experimentation. Have a look here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4123.msg37829.html#msg37829
(How to investigate the best movement pattern: Example Scarlatti sonata K70 – How to work out the best fingering. Example: CPE Bach Allegro in A – Slow x slow motion practice – HS x HT – practising for only 5 – 10 minutes)

http://www.pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,7810.msg80415.html#msg80415
(How to organise the breaking down of a piece over several days. Examples: CPE Bach Fantasia, Blow Sarabande, Chopin Cantabile; Chopin Scherzo no. 2)

http://www.pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,7664.msg77057.html#msg77057
(How to break a piece in sessions – Example: Invention no. 1).



Quote
- What technique is suggested to have the RH and LH chunks at feel tempo or faster?

The chord trick, repeated note-groups and rhythm variations are the most useful tricks to get to speed. However, there is more to speed than just technique, and psychology plays a big part.  Have a look here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3371.msg30141.html#msg30141
(zoom-zoom – all about speed playing)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3778.msg35061.html#msg35061
(Speed: discussion about gradually speeding up with a metronome or using Chang’s approach)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4851.msg47341.html#msg47341
(Practising for speed – Example: Beethoven Op. 49 no. 2)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,5083.msg48306.html#msg48306
(More questions on fast speed practice – the eldorado analogy - collection of links)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2313.msg19807.html#msg19807
(Speed of scales – the important factors in speed playing - an alternative fingering for scales).

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2920.msg25568.html#msg25568
(how to play superfast scales)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2076.msg17157.html#msg17157
(Speed – the 3 most important factors)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1808.msg23879.html#msg23879
(Ultra fast arpeggios – slow practice x slow motion practice – good post by Herve – Abby whiteside is also mentioned)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4282.msg39831.html#msg39831
(How to increase speed: slowly using metronome x fast with chord attack – juggling and skiping rope as examples)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4144.msg40259.html#msg40259
(improving speed of LH – move the whole LH not only fingers)

http://www.pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,8322.msg84686.html#msg84686
(speed and muscle tension – 3 important components of speed playing)

Quote
- What technique is suggested to join the RH and LH together while maintaining hands independence (not merely this note goes with that note but independent accurate RH that match harmoniously with LH and viceversa)?

Dropping notes is the basic procedure. But you must also understand about cues, triggers and how to practise in such a way as to create a system of cues and triggers between the hands. Have a look here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1651.msg14344.html#msg14344
(How to gain hand independence – dropping notes)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2173.msg18976.html#msg18976
(dropping notes by comparing it with patting head/rubbing tummy)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2802.msg24467.html#msg24467
(When to join hands)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3085.msg27140.html#msg27140
(Hands together: when and how – dropping notes)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3085.msg44855.html#msg44855
(Hands together – dropping notes – when to learn HT and when to learn HS)

http://www.pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,7682.msg77042.html#msg77042
(hand independence: how to create a cue system and what is hand memory).


These threads I am suggesting to you barely scratch the tip of the iceberg (which is getting smaller and smaller thanks to global warming Grin), so after you read them, come back and ask more (bring me your doubts and I will add a few of my own Wink).

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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fra ungdomsdagene
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2005, 11:33:15 PM »

Thanks Celticqt and thanks Bernhard !!!

and .... I'm going to scratch the tip of the iceberg Grin

Fra
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rimv2
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 02:38:28 AM »

Heheheehehehe

Bernhard's Web Cool
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countrymath
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 01:15:04 AM »

I think this deserves an up.
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  • Mozart-Sonata KV310 - A minor
alsimon
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 09:30:47 AM »

It's a pity that these links do not work anymore.

Is there a way to re activate them?
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krystellle
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 02:35:30 PM »

Who says they don't work anymore?  I got to them.
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nilsjohan
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2011, 02:40:38 PM »

The pianoforum.net links were unavailable due to a recent server move. They have now been restored.
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alsimon
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2011, 02:47:32 PM »

Great news! Thank you.

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mark737
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 06:26:05 PM »

Sorry to bring up an older thread, but I was hoping to read the Bernhard links. Then don't work at all. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Mark
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gruszynski
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 09:48:44 PM »

Can someone explain how to access Bernhards threads in this messages?
Thank you very much!
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basshoven
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2012, 02:29:13 AM »

Copy the link,

Replace pianoforum.net with pianostreet.com

ta da!
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pianowolfi
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 02:33:19 AM »

Copy the link,

Replace pianoforum.net with pianostreet.com

ta da!

Welcome back Bernhard!  Cheesy
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birba
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2012, 09:56:00 AM »

There is a wealth of info there.  really interesting.  I don't know how much of this automatic memory applies to one along in the years like me.  Cool  Cool   When I was very sick a couple of years ago, and couldn't get to the piano, I tried that memory study away from the piano with the Saint-saens - Siloti Swan thing.  I did get it and I still play it, but it took ages, and I don't know it any better then anything else I've memorized.  In fact, it's very difficult to play it without thinking about how I memorized it or only about the notes by themselves.  I was always fascinated by the Gieseking-Leimar treatise.  It sounded like some sort of utopian future where the written note wasn't needed anymore.  I really tried - and I was much younger then - but I ended up falling asleep or my mind wandering in the kitchen for something to eat.  Gieseking did it, but it doesn't mean I can.  I know he tried to explain how he did it, but he was a genius.  Now I just don't get hung up on the memory thing anymore.  Try to get it as natural as possible.
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starstruck5
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2012, 02:16:51 PM »

The links still don't work for me. Maybe it is my browser - IE
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When a search is in progress, something will be found.
bluepianogirl
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2012, 03:05:04 PM »

The links still don't work for me. Maybe it is my browser - IE
I have IE and it works for me.
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unholeee
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2012, 04:15:22 PM »

Quote
The gist of it seems to be:

- preliminary work away from the piano or with scales
- learning correct movements for a small enough LH and RH chunk, in alternation
- joining LH and RH maintaining hands independence
- repeating the same the next days before approaching something new

I would replace the word “learning” on the second item for “practising”, since it is unlikely that you will “learn” the correct movements by working in small chunks (in fact the correct movement must take into consideration sometimes a sizeable passage). Ideally you should learn the correct movements by being shown them by a knowledgeable teacher.

Quote
So, preliminary work aside, since it is clear enough:

- What technique is suggested to choose the chunks and how many chunks to practice from the same piece daily?

Use the 7 x 20 rule:

http://pianostreet.com/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 – the myth that Richter was self-taught – 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)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3561.msg31700.html#msg31700
(Questions about Bernhard’s method – Bernhard’s answers – mostly about the 7 X 20 principle, how do you know when you mastered a section, when to use the methods, and when they are not necessary – investigating the reasons for difficult)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4689.msg44184.html#msg44184
(Bernhard answers questions and elucidates further about: 20 minutes – practice starts when you get it right – definition of mastery : learned – mastered – omniscience – Aim for easy – final speed in practice must be faster than performance speed – Example: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2 – outline – repeated note groups – HS x HT)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4710.msg44538.html#msg44538
(Bernhard explains once more about 7 x 20 minutes – Progress is the ultimate decider – How to break a piece in practice sessions – Example: Satie gymnopedie – importance of planning – aim at 100 pieces per year – Example: Bach Cm WTC 2 -)
http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4750.msg45125.html#msg45125
(more details: learned – mastered –omniscience – why repertory must be paramount – how to work on 20 pieces per month – a case for easy repertory – importance of discipline and of having a plan – analogy of mastering a piece and making wine – musicality is ultimately good taste – Example: Beethoven op. 49 no. 2- A list of progressive repertory to lead to Rach prelude op. 32 no. 5 – mastery is when it is easy)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4797.msg45744.html#msg45744
(No skipped steps – Bernhard enlightens further and tells the usual places where students go wrong – Ht x HS)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4858.msg46087.html#msg46087
(Paul’s report on B’s method. Feedback from Bernhard including: HS x HT – Example: Lecuona’s malaguena – 7x20 – need to adjust and adapt – repeated note-groups – importance of HS – hand memory – 7 items only in consciousness – playing in automatic pilot - )

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,5177.msg49229.html#msg49229
(more on 7x20 – what it means to master a passage)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,5298.msg50376.html#msg50376
(alternative to the chord trick – Rhythm variations  - repeated note-groups – starting with the difficult bars – how to break down a piece in sessions – ways to tackle speed that do not involve the chord trick)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4105.msg37603.html#msg37603
(Does age and practice time matter? –  Summaries of the 7 x 20 approach – averages and standard deviations are given for the several numbers – need for a practice diary – how to deal with mastering something and forgetting it next day – what exactly is mastery – the 3 stages of mastery)

Quote
What technique is suggested to memorize the RH and LH chunks?

You don’t need to memorise hands separately (except in counterpoint music where it is a must). Instead, memorise hands together. How do you do it, is discussed in these threads:

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2083.msg17227.html#msg17227
(the basic theory of memory)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3858.msg34936.html#msg34936
(the basics – includes the history of the Art of memory)

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,7399.msg74758.html#msg74758
(the details of the process using “dozen a day” as an example)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4321.msg40373.html#msg40373
(why do you teach? – policies and teaching methods –pragmatical theory of memory)

Quote
- What technique is suggested to learn the correct movements to play the RH and LH chunk with easy and accuracy?

It depends on the passage and on your phisycality. There are no shortcuts here. If you do not have the benefit of a knowledgeable teacher to show you, then you must proceed by trial and error. “Easy and accuracy” will be your corroboration that you are in the correct path. The “technique” is basically experimentation. Have a look here:

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4123.msg37829.html#msg37829
(How to investigate the best movement pattern: Example Scarlatti sonata K70 – How to work out the best fingering. Example: CPE Bach Allegro in A – Slow x slow motion practice – HS x HT – practising for only 5 – 10 minutes)

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,7810.msg80415.html#msg80415
(How to organise the breaking down of a piece over several days. Examples: CPE Bach Fantasia, Blow Sarabande, Chopin Cantabile; Chopin Scherzo no. 2)

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,7664.msg77057.html#msg77057
(How to break a piece in sessions – Example: Invention no. 1).

Quote
What technique is suggested to have the RH and LH chunks at feel tempo or faster?

The chord trick, repeated note-groups and rhythm variations are the most useful tricks to get to speed. However, there is more to speed than just technique, and psychology plays a big part.  Have a look here:

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3371.msg30141.html#msg30141
(zoom-zoom – all about speed playing)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3778.msg35061.html#msg35061
(Speed: discussion about gradually speeding up with a metronome or using Chang’s approach)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4851.msg47341.html#msg47341
(Practising for speed – Example: Beethoven Op. 49 no. 2)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,5083.msg48306.html#msg48306
(More questions on fast speed practice – the eldorado analogy - collection of links)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2313.msg19807.html#msg19807
(Speed of scales – the important factors in speed playing - an alternative fingering for scales).

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2920.msg25568.html#msg25568
(how to play superfast scales)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2076.msg17157.html#msg17157
(Speed – the 3 most important factors)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,1808.msg23879.html#msg23879
(Ultra fast arpeggios – slow practice x slow motion practice – good post by Herve – Abby whiteside is also mentioned)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4282.msg39831.html#msg39831
(How to increase speed: slowly using metronome x fast with chord attack – juggling and skiping rope as examples)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,4144.msg40259.html#msg40259
(improving speed of LH – move the whole LH not only fingers)

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,8322.msg84686.html#msg84686
(speed and muscle tension – 3 important components of speed playing)

Quote
- What technique is suggested to join the RH and LH together while maintaining hands independence (not merely this note goes with that note but independent accurate RH that match harmoniously with LH and viceversa)?

Dropping notes is the basic procedure. But you must also understand about cues, triggers and how to practise in such a way as to create a system of cues and triggers between the hands. Have a look here:

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,1651.msg14344.html#msg14344
(How to gain hand independence – dropping notes)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2173.msg18976.html#msg18976
(dropping notes by comparing it with patting head/rubbing tummy)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2802.msg24467.html#msg24467
(When to join hands)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3085.msg27140.html#msg27140
(Hands together: when and how – dropping notes)

http://pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3085.msg44855.html#msg44855
(Hands together – dropping notes – when to learn HT and when to learn HS)

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,7682.msg77042.html#msg77042
(hand independence: how to create a cue system and what is hand memory).


These threads I am suggesting to you barely scratch the tip of the iceberg (which is getting smaller and smaller thanks to global warming Grin), so after you read them, come back and ask more (bring me your doubts and I will add a few of my own Wink).

Best wishes,
Bernhard uNhoLeee
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akasimone
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2012, 01:28:31 PM »

Welcome back Bernhard!  Cheesy

Whatwhatwhat? Is this for real? I have spent many an entire evening perusing Bernhard threads but was pretty sure he was gone from here. His return would be like the second coming of Christ. (Er, almost... I just felt my Catholic Nana glaring at that comparison.. :-p)
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countrymath
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2012, 02:26:01 PM »

Whatwhatwhat? Is this for real? I have spent many an entire evening perusing Bernhard threads but was pretty sure he was gone from here. His return would be like the second coming of Christ. (Er, almost... I just felt my Catholic Nana glaring at that comparison.. :-p)

nope, they´re not benhard Smiley
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  • Mozart-Sonata KV310 - A minor
mark737
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2012, 06:42:07 PM »

Just bumping this up. I'm using it as a resource...
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