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Topic: Help me organize a practice schedule.  (Read 1788 times)

Offline sinspawnammes

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Help me organize a practice schedule.
on: May 22, 2006, 10:39:25 PM
I've been self-taught for about 1.5 years and have had no teacher and very little guidance (other than a friend from school who comments on my expression every so often when he hears me).  I feel that I don't use my practice time very effectively, but I don't know what I should be doing.  Some forums say scales are good, others say Hanon is good, others say it's better to work on repertoire and let the technique build from there.  Right now, I pretty much just practice on pieces in my repertoire, making sure to correct any technical flaws.  I'm mostly focusing on Pathétique (which I have to play at a state competition in 2 weeks, yay) and a scherzo, but as the summer progresses, I would like to do some focused, coordinated technique development.

So, what do you think is a good practice schedule?  I've dabbled in Hanon, Czerny, and Donhyani, and though they're helpful, I don't think I've gotten far enough into it to reap any significant benefits.

Offline steveie986

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #1 on: May 22, 2006, 10:50:14 PM
Opinions differ with regard to Hanon & co. Regardless, I believe scales and arpeggios should be the bread and butter of a beginning, intermediate, and advanced student's practice regimen.

In my opinion, the bottom line is that if you are serious about getting better, you should get a teacher at all costs. The value of formal guidance is invaluable, especially in the initial stages.

Offline henrah

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #2 on: May 22, 2006, 11:38:35 PM
But shop around for a good teacher, and don't just settle with any teacher. You must find one that has quite the same interests as you in music, and who can be of the most help. You should find one who you can talk informally with, and so your relationship will feel less like a teacher-student and more like a mentor-subject.

You have the right mind about learning technique from repetoire, and therefore I suggest the Liszt and Chopin etudes. They each touch on various forms of technique (rapid thirds, octaves, chromatics etc) and each bring a marvelous musical sound to them, which in turn make them far more enjoyable to play than Hannon. Though I've never played any Czerny or Donhyani, so I can't comment on the musicality-over-drill-excercise ratio.

Whatever you do, I hope to hear some recordings of you in the Audition Room :)
Henrah
Currently learning:<br />Liszt- Consolation No.3<br />J.W.Hässler- Sonata No.6 in C, 2nd mvt<br />Glière- No.10 from 12 Esquisses, Op.47<br />Saint-Saens- VII Aquarium<br />Mozart- Fantasie KV397<br /

Offline dnephi

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #3 on: May 22, 2006, 11:41:02 PM
Henrah, you cannot be serious in the slightest way about suggesting Liszt and Chopin Etudes to a beginner.  ;)  They are difficult and are "concert worthy" Czerny is better than Hanon IMO, at least musically.  Your teacher will be a good judge.  Ask around for a teacher, see what they have.
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #4 on: May 22, 2006, 11:49:58 PM
maybe there's danger in not having a teacher AND a wide repertoire.  when you are an older student - the tendency is to play what you like and not what you need.  vegetables aren't necessarily hanon nowdays - but, maybe more for kiddies at the beginning.  bach is what i'm thinking.  and, some beethoven (which you already have), and a romantic and contemporary piece.  usually students work about four to five pieces at a time.  you sort of 'cook' them as you would a dinner and hope they all come out about the same time - and stay warm. 

then- as yu progress - you start doing a couple of sight reading pieces as well.  these are easy to practice pieces that turn into main course quickly because they are a level under what you are currently playing.  so you start working the memory AND sightreading.  now that i've been playing a while - i'd even challenge students to sightread some choral music and learn a few tricks to reading four part harmony.  i usually write in the alto line to the soprano and the tenor line to the bass.  somehow my eyes don't focus on four lines so well - but i'd like to know more secrets to that.  anyway -

if you are like me - you are looking to have fun and also use the time you practice wisely.  if you take lessons, you'll learn the right techniques to playing and be able to turn around and teach a few students correctly yourself.  basically just sitting down every night and playing is good practice - but when you can take lessons - it will be good because you have 'audition' material to play for the teacher.  the good ones usually require that you play 'something' for them - and if you have more than one piece, it's good.   

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #5 on: May 22, 2006, 11:59:21 PM
Rather than answer your question about forming a schedule, I would instead advise you what books to read.  I have also gone stretches without a teacher, and found lots of inspiration in these books.  They are,

Chopin: Pianist and Teacher (ed. Eigeldinger)
The Art of Piano Playing (Heinrich Neuhaus)
Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing (josef Lhevinne)
Piano Technique (Gieseking and Leimer)
Casals and the Art of Interpretation (Blum)
The Teaching of Artur Schnabel (Wolff)
Great Pianists on Piano Playing (Cooke)

I am only naming books from my personal library. There are many more, that provide hours of inspiration that go beyond any technical method.  I am sure other members of the forum could suggest more additions to the list.

Walter Ramsey

Offline kelly_kelly

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #6 on: May 23, 2006, 12:21:44 AM
Henrah, you cannot be serious in the slightest way about suggesting Liszt and Chopin Etudes to a beginner.  ;)  They are difficult and are "concert worthy" Czerny is better than Hanon IMO, at least musically.  Your teacher will be a good judge.  Ask around for a teacher, see what they have.

I agree, except that sinspawnammes says he's playing Pathetique, which isn't exactly beginner level.
It all happens on Discworld, where greed and ignorance influence human behavior... and perfectly ordinary people occasionally act like raving idiots.

A world, in short, totally unlike our own.

Offline sinspawnammes

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #7 on: May 23, 2006, 08:34:32 PM
Well, though I'm new to the forums, I am not a beginner, that was a few years ago =)

I am at about intermediate level, but I am positive that I'm not spending my practice time efficiently.  I'm currently in the process of looking for a job so I can pay for private lessons, and I've gotten some interview invitations, so that's looking good.

So, is the final verdict that I should play Etudes and work on repertoire as a method of improving technique?

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #8 on: May 24, 2006, 06:25:42 PM
Well, though I'm new to the forums, I am not a beginner, that was a few years ago =)

I am at about intermediate level, but I am positive that I'm not spending my practice time efficiently.  I'm currently in the process of looking for a job so I can pay for private lessons, and I've gotten some interview invitations, so that's looking good.

So, is the final verdict that I should play Etudes and work on repertoire as a method of improving technique?

I wouldn't play Etudes unless you have a direction on how to work on them, for instance if you don't play Chopin etudes with a good approach you could actually do more harm than good.  That is why I suggested certain books, which give hints about practicing, and also often about specific pieces.  Work on repertoire that you are able to complete, and not just play half-way.

Walter Ramsey

Offline steveie986

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #9 on: May 24, 2006, 07:03:00 PM
Trying to play the Chopin etudes as an intermediate student without proper guidance is a thoroughly stupid idea.

I think it's fairly simple: you should do scales, arpeggios, lots of Bach, and something you like (Chopin, Debussy, etc). In that order. You should listen to lots of recordings, because without a teacher recordings become your only source of instruction.

Offline dnephi

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Re: Help me organize a practice schedule.
Reply #10 on: May 25, 2006, 10:32:34 PM
If I were you, I would be afraid of killing my technique by playing advanced repertoire (ie Pathétique) without the proper technique  :-X :-X :-X.  Very afraid. :(
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)
 

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