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Tiempo’s Revolutionary Thirds Equals Three?

One plus one equals three? Synergy is a word most of us are familiar with, but sometimes difficult to grasp. This is Tiempo’s own two Chopin ιtudes mix-arrangement of the ”Revolutionary” and the ”Thirds”. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Practice Organization, Practice technique(s) and Technique  (Read 2535 times)
netzow
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« on: August 29, 2006, 11:07:40 PM »

I am in the process of (trying) to figure out how to (or should I ) split up my practice time. I am hoping to practice four hours a day but at minimum will be practicing three. I have the ability to arrainge practice at almost any time in the day between 10 AM. and 9 PM. I have mulitlple questions about this and a few other things:
1. Should I split up my practice time.
2. If so how or into how big segments how far apart (It would be helpful If you could go into some detail If that isn't to much to ask).
3. If I split practice up what should I warm up with at the beggining of each section. (I use Hannon I know the bad word on the forum as well as Scales)
4. What techniques Do you use for practicing. I am also seeking to become more efficient in my practice time if this ties into practice Organization for you could you expalin how?
5. What is the definition of the word Technique as it apply's to the Piano.

If anyone feels that more information is needed to answer anything just ask.
Please do not feel obligated to answer all of these If you could help with one that would be very much appreciated,
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leucippus
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2006, 12:18:06 AM »

Based on the fact that you're asking this question I take it you are a beginner, otherwise it seems that you would already have some idea of what you'd like to do.    I'm new to learning the piano myself.  But I'm not new to teaching or self-learning as I have both taught and self-learned many different subjects during the course of my life. So for whatever it's worth I'll give you my responses.

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1. Should I split up my practice time.
Personally I would and I do split up my practice time.  I find it good to take breaks and do other things.  In fact, since I practice both piano and violin I often switch back and forth between the two and find that to be quite effective actually.
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2. If so how or into how big segments how far apart (It would be helpful If you could go into some detail If that isn't to much to ask).
I'm retired, have lots of time, and no immediate time-dependent goals.  Therefore I tend to devote various amounts of time to different things.  If I feel that I'm doing well I may move on to something else.  If I feel something needs more work I may spend more time with it.   

I think the most important thing is to have a goal in mind for the particular practice session and work toward that goal.  Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of just practicing randomly or aimlessly.
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3. If I split practice up what should I warm up with at the beggining of each section. (I use Hannon I know the bad word on the forum as well as Scales)
I never warm up.  Partly because I'm still working on technique and I see warming up as having more to do with musicality which I'm not worried about at this point in time.  Although when I do warm up for musicality I usually just do it with the piece that I'm wanting to practice.

I use Hanon myself sometimes, but never for warm-up. I use it for learning, perfecting, or simply measuring my progress with various techniques.
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4. What techniques Do you use for practicing. I am also seeking to become more efficient in my practice time if this ties into practice Organization for you could you expalin how?
To many to mention.

I learn easy stuff hands together.  I learn more difficult pieces hands separate.  I use "Note Dropping" to practice and learn hand independence.  I use various different techniques to learn sight-reading.  I use "Infinite Speed" to learn to play fast note runs by playing them as chords first (infinite speed) and then rolling them down to the speed I want to reach.  I just made very good use of Gravity Drop very recently while working on a part of Fur Elise that I was having trouble with in the left hand.  That saved me a bundle of time and makes the part play much smoother.  There are many other techniques that I use as well.
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5. What is the definition of the word Technique as it apply's to the Piano.
To me it simply means the technical or mechanical approach that you use to solve a problem or reach a goal.  There are many different techniques, some work better for some people than others.  You might even come up with your own techniques to work around things as you go.

For example, I have my own technique for determining which fingerings to use.  It's a rather complex method but the bottom guiding principle is that I use whichever fingers most naturally want to play a particular note.   In other words, if I have score with fingerings on it and my fingers feel better playing it differently I'll go with what my fingers want to do.  Although, once I've made a decision I always stick to precisely the same fingering.

As a beginner I have a lot to learn. Originally I started out just learning pieces and picking up what ever information I could along the way.  I'm now getting side-tracked into actually studying sight-reading for it's own sake for example.   I'm also starting to devote time to studying music theory.  Understanding music theory can actually help you play better and learn pieces better.

So now my piano and violin practicing has become quite complex.  I also learn several pieces at a time.  Not to imply that I learn them quickly, but I've discovered that this is the best way to learn.  So I learn little bits of many pieces simultaneously (daily) and let the pieces come together as they may.

That's just me of course. Grin

I think your practice agenda should ultimately depend on your specific goals.
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bernhard
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2006, 03:45:10 AM »

Quote
1.   Should I split up my practice time.

Yes.

Quote
2. If so how or into how big segments how far apart (It would be helpful If you could go into some detail If that isn't to much to ask).

Depends on you and on the piece. As a general guideline 15 – 30 minutes segments. If they are consecutive make sure there is 5 – 10 minutes free time in between them.

For the details, read 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,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,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,4244.msg39203.html#msg39203
(How long to practice – having an aim, achieving it and moving on – How to define aim)

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,7872.msg79188.html#msg79188
(How to plan your work for the next five years)

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

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3561.msg31700.html#msg31700
(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
(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
(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 – the usual places where students go wrong – Ht x HS)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4858.msg46087.html#msg46087
(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)

Quote
3. If I split practice up what should I warm up with at the beggining of each section. (I use Hannon I know the bad word on the forum as well as Scales)

Warm up is not really necessary (I doubt you will have a heart attack frtom the physical exertion of playing the piano). However, if you want to get in the mood, so to speak I recommend scale free improvisation on the scales of the pieces you intend to tackle later on.

Quote
4. What techniques Do you use for practicing. I am also seeking to become more efficient in my practice time if this ties into practice Organization for you could you expalin how?

It will depend on the piece/passage and what your aim is (fingering? Motion? Expressivity?)

Have a look here:

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,2053.msg16886.html#msg16886
(How should an adult beginner practice? Chang and practice spot)

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,2611.msg22637.html#msg22637
(Slow practice – Glenn Gould’s finger tapping)

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,2802.msg24467.html#msg24467
(When to join hands)

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,3085.msg27140.html#msg27140
(Hands together: when and how – dropping notes)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3371.msg30141.html#msg30141
(zoom-zoom – all about speed playing – example: 3rd movt of Moonlight)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3625.msg32673.html#msg32673
(PPI –  comparison with body building – brief mention of movement and intellectual centre – comparison with babies walking and coma patients- muscle tension and nerve inhibition – how to investigate and test practice ideas – How to teach by using progressively difficult repertory)

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)

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)


Quote
5. What is the definition of the word Technique as it apply's to the Piano.

Technique is a way of doing things. Therefore everything is technique, but some techniques (ways of doing) are better and more appropriate to the task at hand than others. It also means that you will need different techniques for different passages/pieces. Hence the fallacy of “absolute” technique – that is pure technique divorced from musical passages (only the musical context can tell you which technique to use).

Read more here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/board,4/topic,4880.3.html#msg46319
(discusses how to acquire technique and what technique actually is)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4385.msg41226.html#msg41226
(technique is personal and relative to the piece – Fosberry flop – the best books on technique)

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4880.msg46339.html#msg46339
(definition of technique: quote from Fink, Sandor and Pires – Example of the A-E-A arpeggio)

Tip of the melting 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)
overcast_32
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2006, 08:45:48 PM »

New here too - check this out though - http://members.aol.com/chang8828/contents.htm

Hey - it's 'free'. I plan on sending the guy a paypal donation though, I'm sure you'll find some good info in there after you get done with all the info in the forums - or well, at least read some of it anyway...

Think I have lots to read too  Shocked
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netzow
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2006, 01:17:24 AM »

Bernard, could you either point me to or outline the differences between your method and Chang's? I have been reading your post's as well as Chang's book, the only differences that  I can find so far are Chang doesn't put the emphasis (In fact I haven't found anything about it yet) on the 15-20 min. sections and you don't put the emphasis on hand's seperate practice. If this is a dumb question that will become obvious as I continue to look at bolth of your method's please do not waist your valuble time thinking out the answer. Thank's!
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