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Author Topic: How much practice a day??  (Read 25925 times)
Beet9
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« on: February 09, 2004, 05:01:31 PM »

I was wondering how much practice is too much.  I practice about 6-9 hours a day, usually about 7 hours.  Do you think this is too much?  I don't want to damage my hand, but I it takes me this long to get through my technique and pieces.  How much do you practice?  Do you have any suggestions?
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comme_le_vent
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2004, 06:14:23 PM »

well my first suggestion would be to cut the crap - forget technical exercises - and learn music that will replace them - eg forget scales and arpeggios - learn alkan's op 76 no 3, forget 3rds - learn chopin and godowsky's 3rds etudes, etc etc
your technique will end up just as good, and youll be more happy cos ur playing superb music too.
this is what im in the process of doing right now.
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IgnazPaderewski
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2004, 06:22:55 PM »

There is absolutely No need to practice 7 hours a day unless  many things need to be learnt in a very short space of time. I have never practiced more than 4 hours a day - it is not necessary. I usually spend about 3 hours a day practicing (playing for pelasure not included). And there is no need to get through your "technique" - spend the time sight reading. If you have a particular digital difficulty, learn a relevant piece. If you are spending this amount of time working on anything physically straining, you will hurt yourself. As far as muscle development is concerned, always "little and often", never try and "swat" it, or you will kill your hand.

Instead of practicing all the time, go and listen to an opera or read through a symphony, and you will find it will improve your piano playing much more.
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nad
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2004, 12:49:32 AM »

7 hrs a day is a lot. You should watch out indeed. When one practice this much for a long time (meaning years) you risk developing dystonia. And i assure you, that's the last thing you want. You don't directly damage your hand, it is like RSI (repetitive strain injury) but RSI is caused by the periphere (dont know if thats good english) nervous system but dystonia is caused by the brain. This only happens to pianists, who play and practice too much.
Pianists as Glenn Gould, Michelangeli and Fleischer for example, also suffered of this syndrome (so i'm told by another member of this forum who also suffers dystonia for the past 11 years..)
The member i just referred to told me that in the years he studied he practised like 10 hrs a day...
Be careful, i've seen how they treat (or rather, this syndrome is being suppressed) it and you don't wanna know  :-/
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chopiabin
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2004, 12:49:43 AM »

Technical excercise are nearly worthless. Why not go through a few Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin, and Racmaninov etudes? This way you can condense your "technique time" and your actual learning time. Working on purely mechanical excercises will never improve you musicianship, and you should constantly be improving you technique through the pieces you are learning.
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anda
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2004, 03:10:40 PM »

how much time? that depends on what you are (pianistically) right now, what you want to become, what you need to do in order to get there, where your limits are, etc, etc. for instance, volodos says he never practiced more than 2 hours a day; pletnev used to practice 10 to 14 hours a day(when he was a student in the conservatory); gilels was well known for being the first student to get to the practicing hall in the morning and the last to leave; martha argerich is said to have been unable to touch the piano before the second cup of coffee and the fifth cigarette Smiley

if your technique is correct, you risk nothing by practicing as much as you want, most important is the quality of the practice - you need to be focused, to be able to think straight and hear right, so i guess the head is the first to crack on to much practice (that would be my case). so, best ask your teachers, who know you best, and know better than anyone here what you should do.
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liszmaninopin
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2004, 08:44:34 PM »

That amount of practice sounds kind of excessive.  On some days I might practice up to 5 or 6, but those days are relatively uncommon.  I just can't usually concentrate much longer than 2-3 hours most days, and if I practice beyond that, I get lazy and develop bad habits.  I know it may sound odd, but sometimes a day's break from piano playing will actually help me.
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eddie92099
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2004, 09:50:36 PM »

Quote
I know it may sound odd, but sometimes a day's break from piano playing will actually help me.


Quite!
Ed
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Askenaz7
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2004, 10:23:47 PM »

The important is to study with the right manner and with different techniques (even Bach could be used), so balanced study for the prosecution terget! Smiley
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liszmaninopin
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2004, 10:25:34 PM »

So somebody else has noticed this as well?  I wonder what the best way to take advantage of that is, maybe have 1 day a week with no practice, I don't know.  It really is funny.  Some day for example I'll spend 2 hours at a piece, making some progress, but with a couple trouble spots.  Then, I don't touch the piano for a day, and all of a sudden the trouble disappears.  Is that what you've noticed?
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eddie92099
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2004, 10:36:33 PM »

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It really is funny.  Some day for example I'll spend 2 hours at a piece, making some progress, but with a couple trouble spots.  Then, I don't touch the piano for a day, and all of a sudden the trouble disappears.  Is that what you've noticed?


Exactly!
Ed
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nad
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2004, 10:48:32 PM »

Quote
So somebody else has noticed this as well?  I wonder what the best way to take advantage of that is, maybe have 1 day a week with no practice, I don't know.  It really is funny.  Some day for example I'll spend 2 hours at a piece, making some progress, but with a couple trouble spots.  Then, I don't touch the piano for a day, and all of a sudden the trouble disappears.  Is that what you've noticed?


I've noticed it too! Only the trouble spots don't entirely disapear, but i notice i can play it much better, it only needs a finishing touch then. It is quite funny indeed  Smiley
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chopiabin
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2004, 10:56:19 PM »

Yeah, I've noticed this too. It's also amazing how long finger memory lasts.
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Antnee
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2004, 11:04:55 PM »

Yes,
Maybe this is a good amount of time to let your brain maximize the growth it goes through to get your muscles to remember what to do. Maybe from now on I should practice piece A and B on day one, 3 and 4 on day 2 and then back to 1 and 2 next day!!!
Worth a try...

-Tony-
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bitus
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2004, 12:29:33 AM »

Beet9 wrote
"I practice about 6-9 hours a day, usually about 7 hours."

My question is: how much of those 6-9 hours that you say you are practicing, you are concentrated at your max? How much of that time you can say it was really worth practicing? And don't forget practicing doesn't mean to stay at the piano... or even play the piano! Somebody said in a related topic that a pianist is never trully honest about the amount of time he practices.
I saw in your profile that you are 16... where do you find time at 16 to practice 7 hours a day??? Don't you have homework, school?
The Bitus
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Beet9
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2004, 12:14:27 AM »

Bitus - It is very possible to practice 7 hours on a school day.  I practice 2 hrs before school and 4-6 hours after school.  Do ur homework in the frickin car!!  
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Rob47
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2004, 01:34:05 AM »

I think it is better to do an hour at a time.  You definitely need to take lots and lots of breaks if you want to effectively practice for long periods of time.  To concentrate entirely on one piece for an hour at one time is good I think.  take a break after and go outside...don't necessarily do homework bu relax your mind. Then come back do another hour maybe on something different. But if your not concentrating and very much into what you are practicing it is useless!

Try reading to find the interview with Horowitz "Technic, the Outgrowth of Musical Thought."

Rob47

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cellodude
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2004, 03:17:04 AM »

Quote


I've noticed it too! Only the trouble spots don't entirely disapear, but i notice i can play it much better, it only needs a finishing touch then. It is quite funny indeed  Smiley


Chuan C. Chang in his book "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" calls it PPI (post-practice improvement). And yes we can take advantage of it by learning more than one piece at a time. Let's say we are learning pieces A, B and C. On the first day we practise A and B, the second B and C, third C and A, etc. Makes sense?

dennis lee
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cellodude
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2004, 03:23:26 AM »

Quote


Chuan C. Chang in his book "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" calls it PPI (post-practice improvement). And yes we can take advantage of it by learning more than one piece at a time. Let's say we are learning pieces A, B and C. On the first day we practise A and B, the second B and C, third C and A, etc. Makes sense?

dennis lee


Oops! I hadn't notice. RondoAllaTony said something similar. Saw it only after I hit 'Return'.

dennis lee
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bernhard
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2004, 12:32:54 PM »

Quote

Try reading to find the interview with Horowitz "Technic, the Outgrowth of Musical Thought."

Rob47



Where can you find that interview?
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comme_le_vent
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2004, 10:33:36 PM »

2 very interesting interviews with horowitz can be found here :

http://w1.854.telia.com/~u85420275/articles.htm

enjoy!  Wink
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bernhard
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2004, 01:19:15 AM »

Thanks! Smiley
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comme_le_vent
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2004, 02:38:51 AM »

your welcome

theres some interesting info about horowitz ive found out on the net- apparently he occasionaly enjoyed pornography, and one of his favourite movies was 'the terminator'. very interesting!  Grin
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Askenaz7
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2004, 01:02:05 PM »

Ouuu ,so gunmachines? Grin Cool
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newsgroupeuan
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2004, 08:09:33 PM »

Quote
So somebody else has noticed this as well?  I wonder what the best way to take advantage of that is, maybe have 1 day a week with no practice, I don't know.  It really is funny.  Some day for example I'll spend 2 hours at a piece, making some progress, but with a couple trouble spots.  Then, I don't touch the piano for a day, and all of a sudden the trouble disappears.  Is that what you've noticed?


That happens with me also - I think the practicing is done in your sleep

Euan
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bitus
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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2004, 09:14:51 PM »

comme_le_vent... that's really cool web-site. Do you know if there are any sites similar to that about other pianists or composers?
The Bitus
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« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2004, 12:15:56 AM »

Practising 6-9 hours a day on top of going to school is nothing but amazing and admirable, but i would guess not the best option. Like other people have said that not practising for a day makes things better sometimes, i would suggest that there are heaps of other things that can improve ones piano playing too (though i totally agree about not practising for a day). LISTEN to music. And not just piano music, or music directly relevant to the pieces you are studying. It's inspiring and wonderful. Try to discover pieces you don't know. Talk to people who are also passionate about music and piano. Read books. Live a little. I know it all sounds cliched and pretentious but I'm convinced it's true. How can you play passionately and convincingly if it is the only thing you know. Music is about people and the power of the human spirit, so don't forget to be a person too!
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bitus
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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2004, 07:28:56 AM »

Very good point, poulenc Wink
The Bitus
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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2004, 10:18:53 PM »

no i dont know any other sites quite as detailed as that, but you can always use google......
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Chitch
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« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2004, 04:50:46 AM »

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Practising 6-9 hours a day on top of going to school is nothing but amazing and admirable

No it's not. Who spends that much time on actual practice and not just playing crap they already know? I doubt VERY much it's 6-9 hours of hardcore, intense thinking. I remember a while ago reading in a news paper that university students who went off to study music performance were told that "They should not be playing anymore" because they had overdone the number of "practice" hours. What's that? But my technique's perfect? Sure it is! Maybe for the first hour and a half, then you start slouching and getting sloppy with your technique, and you play like that for hours without knowing it. Oh well, you're different though, I know you're technique's perfect for the full 6-9 hours.
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Chitch
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« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2004, 04:55:26 AM »

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Bitus - It is very possible to practice 7 hours on a school day.  I practice 2 hrs before school and 4-6 hours after school.  Do ur homework in the frickin car!!  

Hmmm...4-6 hours after school...then 2 hours before school. Do you think your brain has had enough rest to actually comprehend what you're doing?
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dinosaurtales
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« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2004, 04:58:39 AM »

I don't know about you guys, but I have a *day job* - a.k.a. a career, and I practice in the evening.  My brain is shot after 2 hours.  Even if I have a whole day to practice, the only ihntense time I can spend is 3 or so, with a couple of hours of light refresh memory work on existing repertoire.  More than that and I get sloppy.
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Chitch
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« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2004, 05:03:16 AM »

Quote
Even if I have a whole day to practice, the only ihntense time I can spend is 3 or so, with a couple of hours of light refresh memory work on existing repertoire.  More than that and I get sloppy.

hmmmm..."I can spend 3...More than that...sloppy". Interesting.
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bitus
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« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2004, 05:34:57 AM »

I used to wake up around 9 and practice 2 hours, rest 2 hours, etc for almost 9 hours a day... but i only lasted for two weeks or so... It helped a lot, but i was sick for 3 days in bed after that Cheesy
My back is hurting be very bad because of too much practice... i couldn't control my body's position more than 2-3 hours, and after that i ceased to pay attention to it...
The Bitus
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dinosaurtales
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« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2004, 07:33:21 AM »

Could you at least control your bodily functions?
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« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2004, 07:56:53 AM »

Quote

hmmmm..."I can spend 3...More than that...sloppy". Interesting.



Etienne - you crack me up.  What do you mean?  Does my reply sound retarded or something?
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« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2004, 08:28:21 AM »

Quote

No it's not. Who spends that much time on actual practice and not just playing crap they already know? I doubt VERY much it's 6-9 hours of hardcore, intense thinking. I remember a while ago reading in a news paper that university students who went off to study music performance were told that "They should not be playing anymore" because they had overdone the number of "practice" hours. What's that? But my technique's perfect? Sure it is! Maybe for the first hour and a half, then you start slouching and getting sloppy with your technique, and you play like that for hours without knowing it. Oh well, you're different though, I know you're technique's perfect for the full 6-9 hours.


No need to get rude now.  You could have just politely said that it probably is not beneficial to practice that much.  All this unneeded sarcasm makes it sound like you're jealous that you can't go that long Etienne.  Not that I don't agree with you partly, but it could have been said it in a kinder way.
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kosjenka
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« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2004, 08:58:33 PM »

Of  course it is important to take cre of your health but, once somebody asked Emil Gilels how is it  possible to play so good and he answered  > well, if  one practice 12 hours a day  it is impossible to play bad.
I agree with this because if you are 0professional and you are preparing for the competitions, concerts or auditions it is impossible to practice less.
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bernhard
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2004, 09:52:44 PM »

Quote
Of  course it is important to take cre of your health but, once somebody asked Emil Gilels how is it  possible to play so good and he answered  > well, if  one practice 12 hours a day  it is impossible to play bad.
I agree with this because if you are 0professional and you are preparing for the competitions, concerts or auditions it is impossible to practice less.


Er... Surely you would like to qualify the word practice here.

I certainly can imagine all sorts of ways where one could practise 12 hours a day and end up playing very badly indeed.

This also reminds me of a story I would like to share with you:

An old Zen master used to work in the temple gardens every morning. And every morning he would see a young novice rush through the garden in the direction of the meditation hall. On day the old master stopped the novice and asked him: “Where are you going in such a hurry?” I am going to the meditation hall in order to sit in meditation for the next twelve hours”. The old master seemed bewildered. “Why are you meditating so much?” “So that I get enlightened” the young monk replied. “Ah!” said the old master.

The next day, as the young monk once again rushed through the garden he noticed the old Zen master sitting in the grass by a large pile of bricks. He had a piece of sand paper in one of his hands, a brick in the other, and was vigorously sanding the brick. The young monk could not contain his curiosity, and stopped to ask the old man: “What are you doing, reverend master?” I am polishing bricks. And I intend to do it for twelve hours every day.” “Yes, I can see that” said the young monk, “but why?”

The master gave the novice a sly look and said in a whisper: “So that I can make a mirror!”

(Traditional Zen story)

And here is another one:

A young man sought instruction in swordsmanship from a renowned swordsman. The master was a recluse who lived alone in a hut in the mountains. The youngster was granted an interview after much persistence and several letters of introduction from important figures in the land. When he was face to face with the master he blurted out: “Master, if I dedicate six hours everyday to the practice of the martial arts, how long will it be before I master them?”

The master thought for a moment and replied: “Ten years.”

The student looked dismayed. “Ten years! What if I practise twelve hours every day?”

The master smiled. “Ah! If you practise twelve hours everyday, it will take you thirty years to master the arts!”


(Traditional Japanese Martial Arts lore)

Best wishes, Wink
Bernhard.
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« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2004, 07:20:55 PM »

I practice 4 hours a day and I think that that's perfect if you play concentrated. I'm 14, so I'm in age in witch I have to improve my techinque very much.
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« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2004, 05:58:16 AM »

Either u live way away from school or u have like no homework! I'm also 16 and I get like 2 and a half hours! Theres no way I could do that in the car!
I usually practise 4 hours a day, 1 hour before school, 2 hours in the afternoon, one hour between 4 and 5, then I run from 5 till 5.30, then do another hour till 6.30. I also do one more hour after dinner. It really helps practising in bits and not working on the same thing for too long. Sometimes it also works to practise a certain number of hours a WEEK, say 30, and divide them up according to how much else you have to do on a particular day.
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« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2004, 12:47:25 PM »

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Theres no way I could do that in the car!



Yes, you could. It is called mental practice. Wink
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« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2004, 10:03:03 PM »

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Either u live way away from school or u have like no homework! I'm also 16 and I get like 2 and a half hours! Theres no way I could do that in the car!
I usually practise 4 hours a day, 1 hour before school, 2 hours in the afternoon, one hour between 4 and 5, then I run from 5 till 5.30, then do another hour till 6.30. I also do one more hour after dinner. It really helps practising in bits and not working on the same thing for too long. Sometimes it also works to practise a certain number of hours a WEEK, say 30, and divide them up according to how much else you have to do on a particular day.



I used to do 4 hours a day,  but I found that you learn faster if you do three to five  blocks of 15mins :

Once in the morning
A few between homeworks and study
Once before bed

4 hours is too tiring and you develop countless bad habits that you have to unlearn.

if you do it in 15min blocks,  you are more focused and can spot your bad habits easier

hope this helps

euan
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« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2004, 02:54:44 AM »

First of all it doesn't matter if you practice 15 minutes at a time or 4 hours at a time.  It is the fact that you have practiced a good amount of time.  For a pianist trying to become a professional, it is good to practice at least 4 hours a day.  I am a jazz pianist and technical exercises help very much.  They prepare your hand for extremes that might be met while playing certain pieces of music.  Although it is not good to entirely focus all your practice time towards scales and other technical exercises, it is not also good to ignore them.
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Myron J. Feltner Jr.
cellodude
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« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2004, 10:18:06 AM »

Maybe it's a personal thing, but I find 15 mins hardly enough time to warm up. I usually need about an hour at least.

However, I can only afford about 30 - 40 mins each week-day if and when I do get to practise, and so sometimes I come away from the piano feeling empty and dissatisfied with my practice (I have a full time job as a Systems/Database Administrator and I also have to compete with 2 kids for piano time).

On weekends I can usually get 2 or 3 one to two hour sessions each day (Sat. and Sun.) and I can walk away with my hands and arms feeling warm and well toned and conditioned.

dennis lee
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Cello, cello, mellow fellow!
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« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2004, 06:25:09 PM »

If you want to be a professional piano-player, you have to dedicate your life to it... You cant' imagine an athlete saying he practices 30-40 minutes a day.
I tend to agree with the idea that perfection is achieved (or tried to...) by a lot of hard and wise work.
Lazy people are looking for people to tell them: it's ok to practice 45 minutes a day.
If piano is your ultimate purpose, you have to make a lot of sacrifices. For example, eight (!!!) of my best friends are going to florida for spring-break, but i had to decide not to go with them, because i would've lost 10 days of practice... and that's very tough decision. But i had to do it, because i could put up to 2-3 sessions of practice every day during spring break.
Don't look for excuses, magic formulas, etc. Do your own share and you will be able to see results, and that is the greatest reward.
The Bitus.
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Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
cellodude
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« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2004, 03:51:48 AM »

Quote
If you want to be a professional piano-player, you have to dedicate your life to it... You cant' imagine an athlete saying he practices 30-40 minutes a day.
...
The Bitus.


You are right, Bitus. And I am glad for young(er) people to be so dedicated to achieving the best in music. I always make it a point to shake the hands of the performers at the local Academy where I send my children for their music classes and encourage them.

But don't be too hard on some of us on PF. From my reading the posts here I gather there are some older folks whose goal is just to enjoy making music on the piano. I for one would be happy to play some of the easier Chopin etudes/impromptus without mistakes and spend the next 3 years working on the musicality of the piece  Wink

Not everybody aspires to play like Meiting  Shocked. I am already in my mid-forties and so my children get priority on the piano. They have a future before them. I look back to see my future.

I am currently working on Chopin's Op. 25 #1, the posthumous Nocturne (think The Pianist) and Debussy's Clair de Lune. Wish me luck.

dennis lee

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Cello, cello, mellow fellow!
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« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2004, 04:22:20 AM »

Quote


You are right, Bitus. And I am glad for young(er) people to be so dedicated to achieving the best in music. I always make it a point to shake the hands of the performers at the local Academy where I send my children for their music classes and encourage them.

But don't be too hard on some of us on PF. From my reading the posts here I gather there are some older folks whose goal is just to enjoy making music on the piano. I for one would be happy to play some of the easier Chopin etudes/impromptus without mistakes and spend the next 3 years working on the musicality of the piece  Wink

Not everybody aspires to play like Meiting  Shocked. I am already in my mid-forties and so my children get priority on the piano. They have a future before them. I look back to see my future.

I am currently working on Chopin's Op. 25 #1, the posthumous Nocturne (think The Pianist) and Debussy's Clair de Lune. Wish me luck.

dennis lee



Thank god for cellodude!  I would LOVE to focus on music!  But then I would lose my JOB then I would lose my HOUSE and CAR and as fulfilled as I might be musically, I would be playing for folks in the rescue mission downtown.  So I live vicariously through you LUCKY devils on the board who have parents that support your passion for music.  I really hope you end up with great careers in music.
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So much music, so little time........
cellodude
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« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2004, 02:39:52 AM »

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Thank god for cellodude!  I would LOVE to focus on music!  But then I would lose my JOB then I would lose my HOUSE and CAR ...



BONK! (hammer meets nail's head). You've got it right there DT. That's why we only get to practise 45 minutes a day max.

But this is getting off-topic. I'm going to start another thread on the 'Anything but piano' section on how we can make money without spending 8 - 10 hours daily tied to a 'job' to sustain our piano addiction.

dennis lee
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Cello, cello, mellow fellow!
scriabinsmyman
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« Reply #49 on: March 12, 2004, 03:21:01 AM »

6-9 hours a day!??! scales and arpeggios are essential to the non-fit pianists...you don't need them if you're hands and arms are "piano-fit" if you know what i mean.  you have enough work-out for your hands in the pieces you practice.  i have a challenging repetoire- tons of scrianbin, chopin, rach, bach p&f (yuck), all that stuff...sometimes i don't practice for a few days at a time, and some days i sit down and practice the entire day, w/out moving from the piano.  practice when you feel the urge to- you'll get the most out of it if you're seriously into it.  the rest of the time away from the piano, i spend thinking about my music.  what do i want to do w/ it? how do i approach it, technically and artistically? when i am able to write out the music in my head and hear it, i know i'll be able to play it. think, understand, then play, and you won't need to spend of a lot of time to perfect a piece...this has always worked for me.
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