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Topic: How to speed up the learning of a new piece ?  (Read 5498 times)

Offline drooxy

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How to speed up the learning of a new piece ?
on: October 13, 2003, 06:57:47 PM
Hi everyone !

It usually never takes me too long to be able to
play a new piece - or at least a part of it - separated hands.

But I really have hard time when it comes to playing hands together. I need to play and play and play again in order to acquire the required L&R hands motions...  

Is there any method that could help me speed it up a little ? Should I spend more time playing separated hands before trying to play L&R hands together ? If yes, how can I figure out that I now can try to put them together ? etc.

Any suggestion is welcome !

Thanks
Drooxy
Drooxy

Offline 88_keys

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Re: How to speed up the learning of a new piece ?
Reply #1 on: October 14, 2003, 08:27:36 AM
Actually, it seems that you need to spend less time playing the hands seperately.

If you can play the hands seperately with relative ease, but have difficulty combining them together, then any additional "hands seperate" practice will probably be do you very little good. After all, why practice something you already know so well?

In fact, too much "hands seperate" practice will only increase the difficulties you experience when combining both hands. The more time you spend concentrating on each hand alone, the harder it will be for your brain to fluently play the two parts as if it was one.

So what should you do?

First and foremost, put more emphasis on practicing both hands together. Make this a habit, with every new piece you decide to learn. If you must, start as a very slow tempo - playing both hands at half speed is much more useful practice than playing the hands seperately and at tempo.

Give yourself plenty of time to get used to this new method of practice. It will seem very very slow at first, because you are still used to treating each hand seperately.

The technique may take you some time to get used to. But once you do, it will greatly speed up your learning of new pieces. And as a side effect, you'll overall playing level is likely to improve as well.

Good luck. And happy piano playing!

Offline hawa1

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Re: How to speed up the learning of a new piece ?
Reply #2 on: October 14, 2003, 10:42:39 AM
Just sharing my thoughts....

I agree with 88_keys on not to practice separate hands too much; it'll make it even harder to combine since u r so used to play them separately. I also think it takes u longer to learn each of the separate hands until fluent, than if u just learn them combined.

Why not try practicing one hand a little bit (not too much, just to get familiar) and then start on the other hand but playing them together. Eg. practice RH for a little while, then start to practice LH, but play it together with the RH. Bcoz u r quite familiar with the RH, it's like just "adding some harmony or melody" to the RH.
It can also work the other way round, I think (i.e. LH first then RH-LH combined). You can divide a piece into several parts, and practice as above for each part.

It also helps to listen a lot, from time to time, to the recording of the piece u r learning, to get familiar with the sound of the LH combined with RH.

Hope it helps. That's how I learn and I think I pick up new pieces quite OK...  ;)

Happy playing! (I certainly am!  :D)

Offline bachopoven

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Re: How to speed up the learning of a new piece ?
Reply #3 on: October 14, 2003, 08:00:29 PM
You guys are suggesting contrary to my beliefs.

"Fundamentals of piano practice" ( the website) emphasizes never practicing hands together until you have completely mastered the hands separately. It says that it's not wise to try to acquire technique hands together, unless you are completely at home with the hands separate of the piece.

So far, I have found that it's ten-fold easier to memorize a piece with hands separate. However, there is a lot of work still left to do with hands together. Putting hands together has been a nightmare if you will for me. Nothing appears hard hands separate.

So in general, I would start with hands separate to learn and memorize the separate hands motions effectively and in short time. Then practice hands together slowly to speed. But completely avoiding the hands separate practice is in my opinion time-consuming, very unwise. It's better to get the music with clefs separate in your head first then work the hands together from memory.
"In the beginning was rhythm." - Haydn.

Offline drooxy

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Re: How to speed up the learning of a new piece ?
Reply #4 on: October 16, 2003, 12:28:53 PM
Thanks guys for participating to that discussion !

And a very particular "thanks" to you, Bachopoven, for mentionning the book "Fundamentals of piano practice"...

I did not know the existence of such a book and a first glance at it give me the feeling that it is a very interesting one...

What do you guys think of it ?

Sincerely
Drooxy
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