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Do you know how much time you take to learn music ?

yes, I can normally tell
5 (16.1%)
A very rough idea
8 (25.8%)
It's often longer than I thought
9 (29%)
It's often shorter than I thought
3 (9.7%)
Generally, I do not have a clue how long things will take
6 (19.4%)

Total Members Voted: 28

Topic: How well do you know yourself ?  (Read 1511 times)

Offline Mayla

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How well do you know yourself ?
on: February 27, 2006, 11:31:54 PM
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline Bob

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #1 on: February 28, 2006, 12:15:23 AM
Depends what I want from the piece and what I'm working on.

If I want something new, it can take a long time -- years to figure something out thoroughly.

If the new piece is similar to other pieces I have done, then I can use the older ones as reference.

If there's something unusual (key, chords, scales, etc.) then it will probably take longer.

It can really depend on the level of performance. If I want it stellar, then I will never finish it.  There will always be something else to add.  Something to think about and figure that.

If it's not a big deal for the performance for me, then I can set the deadline when I'm done.  If there are rough ends, I can take care of them and I don't care as much since the performance isn't as important.

You can take snippets from the piece and check if you have the technique.  You can tell if it's easy -- you can play it right away.  If it's got 16th runs, regarless of the exact notes, can you play 16ths runs that fast?  That's how I would check.

If it's beyond your technique, you will get to a point where you can do much more.  Then it's a matter of hacking away at it and developing technique on that piece if you want to do that.

You can always do more in terms of detail and control.  I have never found a point in a piece where I thought "that's all I can learn from it."  At some point, I decide to stop, stop after a performance, or the piece slips away on its own.

So it depends on the piece itself, how important it is to me, how important the performance is, if I want to learn anything extra or develop any other ideas from the piece, etc.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline pianoperfmajor

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #2 on: February 28, 2006, 12:19:01 AM
For me it depends on a couple of factors, including (one) the type of piece and/or composer, which is usually directly related to my interest in the piece, so (two) my level of interest in the piece.  I tend to learn Chopin more quickly because I am naturally interested in his compositions, particularly the 'bigger,' flashier pieces like the ballades and polonaises.  So my interest in the piece prompts me to practice it, and I am usually good at pieces with big, loud chords and such, because of my big hands and capable memory.

So to answer your question, if I know I will have ample practice time for any given new piece, the speed at which I learn is generally dependent on my level of interest in the piece--which like I said tends to be big, flashy pieces.  I know for me the learning time is typically a few weeks and I'll have the raw music down, at which point the long process of 'real' learning begins.  Although, lately I'm realizing I should have as complete a repertoire as possible, so I've been learning a lot of Bach, which surprisingly I've been fairly quick with as well.

However, my learning curve is not solely dependent on my interest in a piece.  If my teacher presents me with a piece I'm not particularly interested in, I can still learn it of course, just not as fast as if I was interested in it.  At that point, it is dictated by my total time spent on the piece, and whether it's the "kind" of piece I'm "good" at, or more specifically, my technical ability.

It should be noted that technical ability does indeed have a significant impact on one's learning speed, or more accurately, whether one can learn the piece at all.  Therefore, one's technical ability and how it relates to a particular piece could fall under "type of piece" below.

So in summary:

learning speed = (time spent - interest) / type of piece
(the higher my interest, the higher the interest value; the better suited the type of piece is for my learning style and technical ability, the higher the 'type of piece' value is)

Offline kriskicksass

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #3 on: February 28, 2006, 02:18:04 AM
Generally I have no clue how long something's gonna take. Obviously shorter pieces take less time than longer ones, but other than that I'm totally clueless. I never like to bite the bullet and tackle the hard parts of pieces, so I like to give myself 6-9 months to go at really 'big' repertoire. Basically, I work on a piece until I 'need' it for a competition or something. I know it's a horribly way to pace myself, but I only seem to do good work under pressure (probably because I have so much school work that I always seem to put everything on the back burner until I absolutely have to work on it).

That being said, I can put stuff together really fast and give a polished performance when I have to. I memorized the second movement of Beethoven's Pathetique in 5 weeks for an audition (and that was 2 years ago too), and I put together and memorized Gershwin's 1st prelude in matter of hours for a performance (but that doesn't really count since I'd done to sight reading ahead of time. I just worked out the few passages that needed it and stuck it in my head).

Offline mike_lang

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #4 on: February 28, 2006, 02:22:46 AM
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Offline kriskicksass

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #5 on: February 28, 2006, 02:30:53 AM
My teacher once said that if one has to learn the double thirds of Brahms concerto when playing the piece, it is already too late.

I've gotta disagree with that. Yes, it's ideal to already have the required technique for pieces when you begin learning them (especially 'big' showpieces like the Brahms concerto), but it's also perfectly possible to learn a new technique from the pieces you play. In fact, unless you find a piece so musically pleasing that you don't care about the technique that goes into it, it just isn't beneficial to learn music that can't teach you something, especially for students.

Offline rc

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #6 on: February 28, 2006, 03:39:28 AM
If I'm so inclined, I can judge how long it will take me to learn a piece... But that's more in the sense of goal-setting: if I decide I have to have a certain piece learned by a certain time, I will make it happen, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For the past few months my energy's been directed to learning sightreading and fluency in common technical skills (scales, arps, chords...). So I've just been casually eroding at repertoire, letting it finish when it will.

Thanks for reminding me Mayla, I've gone sloppy, time to get back into shape! :o

Offline pianistimo

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 03:45:06 AM
i voted 'often longer than i thought' only to find that many others find the very same thing.  thanks, mayla!  thought it was age creeping up on me. 

an interesting note.  i learn much faster in the summer.  only two things are different then.  maybe three.  more sun.  more exercise (thus more oxygen and energy levels are better).  and the kids are out of school so i don't have to drive early in the morning - thus getting sleep.

if i had unlimited time - and a hotel room with a piano - i could probably learn 3x as fast.  practice sessions of 3-4 hours several times per day.  and, a music library somewhere nearby.  this makes me just as  happy as many other things - though i'd like to travel and hear music from around the world (keeping a diary).  that would motivate me to play - taking a break - and then coming back to it. 

Offline nanabush

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #8 on: February 28, 2006, 04:43:37 AM
Some pieces take forever, Bach p/f C# bk 1 took me so damn long, i was expecting shorter.  On the other hand, I've chosen Rach etude Eb major op33 after about 2 years of searching for a good etude.  I've been playing it for about 3 weeks, and I am nearly done up to speed.  I was expecting that to take longer, w/e I don't know myself well at all
Interested in discussing:

-Prokofiev Toccata
-Scriabin Sonata 2

Offline pianogeek_cz

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Re: How well do you know yourself ?
Reply #9 on: March 01, 2006, 01:31:21 PM
When I choose pieces, I go through this procedure regarding timetable:
1) When would I like to finish it,
2) is that possible, seeing the technical/musical difficulties. This step requires trying the technically challenging part and listening to a recording with the score in hand a lot.
3) It's possible: then set a "would be cool if I learned it that fast" time, some 2/3 of the time I've estimated previously, try to finish the piece in that time and if I don't make it, nothing will happen - it should be done by the time I wanted it done in the first place.
4) It's not possible - then stretch the time period accordingly, leaving the original idea as the "would be cool" time.

The things I've noticed: There are very many stages of having the piece "finished". I've memorized the Rach op. 2 no. 3 and learnt the technique in two weeks, yet after two months, it's still not ready for performance. Also, usually it turns out that the outcome of 2) is 4)... So I guess it usually takes longer than I originally think.

But there may be exceptions, hopefully...  ::)
Be'ein Tachbulot Yipol Am Veteshua Berov Yoetz (Without cunning a nation shall fall,  Salvation Come By Many Good Counsels)
 

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