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Topic: too much or bad technique?  (Read 4054 times)

Offline BoliverAllmon

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too much or bad technique?
on: July 12, 2003, 05:28:35 AM
I have just got done playing Bach's 2-part invention no. 8 for about an hour straight at 100-110 beats to the quarter. As soon as I would finish the piece I would start over again, and again, and again. The reason why I quit was because my forearm muscles began to really get tired and feel sore. Is this because of bad technique or simply too many notes in such a short period of time?

BoliverAllmon

Offline amp

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #1 on: July 13, 2003, 04:20:03 AM
Sounds like you are playing too much....take little breaks. It's not bad technique. If your arm hurt after 1 time through, that's bad technique. Playing piano is like anything else, you can get tired. Take some short breaks every 20 minutes and that will clear up that problem.
amp

Offline Hmoll

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #2 on: July 14, 2003, 06:08:36 PM
I'm not sure what you want to accomplish by playing this piece over and over from start to finish. How are you supposed to improve the sections that need work by using that method?
Of course you are going to get sore from that type of non-stop playing, in addition to the fact that it's an extremely unimaginative way to practice. What you should be doing is hands sep. practice, working on sections, possibly practicing in rhythms, playing left hand, singing right hand, etc., etc.
Playing it through over and over to the point that you're overtired is a waste of time that could lead to injury.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #3 on: July 14, 2003, 11:20:41 PM
What would hands seperately accomplish if you already know the piece? The reason for doing the piece over and over is to ingrain the piece in your memory so much  that you don't have to think about playing you just do it.

Boliverallmon

Offline amee

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #4 on: July 15, 2003, 02:16:00 AM
Playing a piece hands seperately will make sure your mind knows both the LH part and the RH part.  Usually when we learn a piece, our mind remembers the RH part and the LH just follows.  Then if a mistake occurs or a memory lapse, it's really hard to start again.

Practicing hands seperately is a good memory trick.  Its much easier if your brain knows both parts, not just one.
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frederic Chopin

Offline Hmoll

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #5 on: July 15, 2003, 06:32:32 PM
Boliverallmon,

[Edited to remove sarcastic comments]

I don't know what you mean when you say you "know" a piece. There are several levels of knowing any piece of music from having the notes under your fingers,  to having it memorized, to having it polished and performance ready. By repeating a piece over and over you may be reinforcing tactile memory, but you are not learning anything more about the structure, improving it technically, phrasing voicing, etc., which is why it is an inefficient and unimaginative method of practicing.
Also, the danger of this type of mindless practice is mistakes slowly creep in and become reinforced with added repitition.
Repetition is very important in practicing, but playing through beginning to end over and over is not the way to go.
Hands sep. practicing will improve a piece at any level. IMO, if I cannot play a piece hands seperately by memory, I don't really have it memorized. This type of practising is especially important with Bach because you have to make sure each hand is secure with contrapuntal music, and it takes continued maintenance - ie, you may never reach a level in a piece where hands sep. practice cannot improve it.

That's just one way of practicing. There are several others as well that are much more useful than simply playing through over and over.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #6 on: July 15, 2003, 07:35:40 PM
thanks for the advice, I am definately still learning. I usually don't work hands seperately once I work the hands together. I will have to try that. I do put the lid on the piano and play on top of the lid to see how good my memory and memorization is. What I meant by KNOW a piece, is I don't have to think about the notes, I simply think about the piece and the musicality of it.

BoliverAllmon

Offline Hmoll

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #7 on: July 15, 2003, 07:42:19 PM
Fair enough, and sorry about the sarcastic comment that I edited out.

My point is, in practicing the piano you have to constantly engage your mind. There is a great danger in just knowing a piece via tactile memory - finger memory - because when something goes wrong in a performance, you need a more secure memory to get you back on track.
Take it from someone with a lot of performance experience, and who believes in Murphy's Law.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

NetherMagic

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #8 on: July 16, 2003, 01:33:23 AM
boliver, stop IMMEDIATELY if your forearm/hand/whatever starts to get sore, because if you keep on playing you'll catch tendonitis, and that really really sucks (i'm a victim at the moment) so yeah and if you're bored, try to play one hand an octave higher, it's much more interesting that way and really tests your memory too

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #9 on: July 16, 2003, 06:42:19 AM
I didn't even think that it was sarcasm Hmoll. I was thinking that you were making sense. You don't want a pianist to just get up there and play notes, you need the concentration to actually play the music.

BoliverAllmon

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #10 on: August 05, 2003, 10:09:30 AM
I absolutely agree with Hmoll. And WATCH OUT with Bach's music: you have to know it ABSOLUTELY. Did you know BoliverAllmon that, even in persons whose dominant hand is the right, the left hand is the conductor? You lose it, you stop, and is the hand which determinates the tempo you'll play, so you have to play it separately even more than the right. With Bach you have to do the work of learning each voice separately without the instrument -singing or not,but singing it I think is even better- so you perfectly know them from the beginning to the end. Another way of practicing -I heard that Nadia Boulanger asked this for her piano students-: play one voice and sing the other,in your case -because you have 2 voices- alternatively.When you have more lines, always sing one and play the others. It looks like a lot of extra work, but it's absolutely necesary for Bach's music. If you don't, you will play only notes and will miss the intonation of each line, the wonderful disonances between them and the way they solve -I don't know this word in English for explaining the way the disonances lose the tension going to consonances- and the most important thing: the EAR CONTROL of the polyphonic whole tissue -can I say tissue? English is killing me :'( :'(-
"Soli Deo Gloria".
     J.S. Bach

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Murphy's law?
Reply #11 on: August 05, 2003, 10:16:59 AM
Sorry, Hmoll, maybe it's a silly question: can I ask you what is the Murphy's law? I heard the expression but I never knew exactly  . And, more important: in which way can this law apply for music performance? If it improves it, I'm interested...
"Soli Deo Gloria".
     J.S. Bach

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Murphy's law?
Reply #12 on: August 05, 2003, 06:58:57 PM
Quote
Sorry, Hmoll, maybe it's a silly question: can I ask you what is the Murphy's law? I heard the expression but I never knew exactly  . And, more important: in which way can this law apply for music performance? If it improves it, I'm interested...


Murphy's Law states "whatever can go wrong will go wrong." In life it is a reminder to prepare for anything. If you have the attitude that you will have a flat tire, you will be more apt to have a spare and a jack in your trunk. In piano playing - particularly performing - the application is similar. If you assume somehing will go wrong in a performance - distraction, memory lapse, etc. - you will be motivated to prepare for that contingency. That's why tactile memory is not sufficient. You need  back-ups for when you are in front of people, and more nervous and distracted.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Re: Murphy's law?
Reply #13 on: August 05, 2003, 08:32:16 PM
Thanks, Hmoll, interesting. I didn't know this law but always prepare for a recital in such a state of mind. I told one of my singers something alike few weeks ago indeed. We had to sing the Falla's "Siete canciones" in a recital among other things -he's a student,tenor-, but I was worried because his interpretation and even his technich varied very much from one rehearsal to the next, and this cycle is tough stuff. I forced him to cancel for preventing that his debut turned out a nasty experience for him. I told him:"there are no miracles in performing: if you're not ready now, it won't magically go well in front of the audience, I never saw something like that.The sum of a serie of unfortunate rehearsals never can be a good recital".
"Soli Deo Gloria".
     J.S. Bach

NetherMagic

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #14 on: August 06, 2003, 11:09:00 PM
carrenio i like that thing with addition, sounds neat  ;D

i'm sorry but im gonna steal that to teach my future students, that is, if i'll have any  ;D

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #15 on: August 10, 2003, 08:53:23 AM
I rereaded the initial point of this topic and was wondering that your pain maybe has also a physical reason. Maybe you're not rotating freely the wrist as this invention requires, and maybe -check this in your own body while playing-  your elbows are near from your body sides, not letting the whole arm connecting with the forearm. Remember: if you're playing in the right way, the most you play, the better you physically feel -of course, if you didn't achieve let's call it the  descending line of the daily practice's graphic, when you're near to stop for the day-. If you're playing relaxed your brain has to be the first in feeling tired, not your body.
"Soli Deo Gloria".
     J.S. Bach

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: too much or bad technique?
Reply #16 on: August 11, 2003, 12:57:39 AM
Thanks for all the advice, I went to my teacher and played the piece for her. My problem is that my wrists are collapsing and staying rigid. I have spent the last couple of weeks doing various things to help this. I have played the piece extremely slow so I can watch the wrists real carefully. So, far I haven't had too much pain at all. I have to keep a watchful eye though, because it is habit to have them collapse.

boliverallmon
 

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