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Accuracy (Read 6522 times)

Xelles

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Accuracy
« on: March 17, 2004, 09:58:43 PM »
One of the most frustrating technical skills in learning a piece with fast passages is accuracy. In your experiences, what have you found to be the most efficient way of practice a passage that requires a high level of accuracy?

Offline chopiabin

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #1 on: March 17, 2004, 10:50:59 PM »
Lots of slow practice.

Offline Dave_2004_G

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #2 on: March 17, 2004, 11:10:44 PM »
I like to use a lot of dotted rhythms to get fast passages even

Dave

Offline chopiabin

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #3 on: March 18, 2004, 12:27:01 AM »
I've also heard that staccato can sometimes work well.

Xelles

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #4 on: March 18, 2004, 12:35:00 AM »
Staccato's kinda funny though. I find it only worked with a few pieces - mind you it did work VERY well. The way I was practicing this piece was with articulation, that is, playing it stacatto at a speed where you can still play it quickly but quickly without mistakes repeating the passage 7 times. But the methods I tried don't work now :(

Offline bernhard

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #5 on: March 18, 2004, 01:43:17 AM »
You must examine the causes of the problem. What is causing the inaccuracy?

1.      Not pressing the keys right in the middle?

2.      Using the fingers to reach for the keys instead of using the arms to position the fingers?

3.      Using the arms to position the hands, but since the tiny arm movements result in large movements at the level of the hand they need to be fine tuned?

4.      Not knowing the notes?

5.      Awkward co-ordinations due to awkward note sequences?(for instance, a descending passage that has ascending notes inserted so that the fingers keep going down automatically when they should go up)?

6.      Hand span (difficult to play tenths accurately if your hand is small)

7.      Using inappropriate fingerings/movement sequences that make it almost sure that you will miss the correct notes?

8.      Other?

As you can see, it is difficult to prescribe a general remedy that will be effective for every possible situation.

I found that most of what has already been said will work for some kinds of inaccuracy, while not working for others. So try them all and if it is not working try something else.

I will add two more – a general attitude, and a specific practice procedure:

1.      Make accuracy the aim of your practice. Forget about rhythm, forget about speed, forget about musicality. Have a practice session in which you will completely concentrate in being accurate. Do not leave the piano until you not only get it right, but cannot possibly get it wrong. If you are pressed for time work on small sections. If you have the whole day, work on the whole piece.

2.      If you have a digital piano, switch it off, and play without sound. This works wonders for accuracy (and also memory – since you cannot use sound to guide you anymore: you must know the notes/keys). Without sound to distract you, you will be able to play attention to finger placement in the keys, movement patterns, fingering and so on. Needless to say, this is to complement other practice strategies, not a substitute for them.

I hope this helps,
Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Xelles

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #6 on: March 18, 2004, 01:59:50 AM »
You're right on your fifth point, Bernhard, I'm talking about the Winter Wind Etude btw :P. The fingering (Chopin's original) they have written in the book is 5, 2, 4, and 1 with the notes "A, D, G Bb". I can't seem to nail that Bb! It's as if the "Wind Gods" don't want me to play this piece.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #7 on: March 18, 2004, 02:18:38 AM »
Ok, try this:

Select a sequence of ten notes that are giving you trouble. Break them in groups according to the pattern below and repeat each group for as long as it takes to never ever get that particular group wrong (as opposed to just get it right):

1. Notes 12 - 23 - 34 - 45 - 56 - 67 - 78 - 89 - 910
2. Notes 123 - 234 - 345 - 456 - 567 - 678 - 8910
3. Notes 1234 - 2345 - 3456 - 4567 - 5678 - 6789 - 78910
4. Notes 12345 - 23456 - 34567 - 45678 - 56789 - 678910
5. 123456 - 234567 - 345678 - 456789 - 5678910
6. 1234567 - 2345678 - 3456789 - 45678910
7. 12345678 - 23456789 - 345678910
8. 123456789 - 2345678910
9. 12345678910 (the whole sequence).

This may take from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, so make sure you have the time, since you must complete the full sequence or it will not work.

Some groups will be more difficult then others, so you will automatically practise them more (which is as it should be).

Repeat this for a whole week (or more if you need to).

Do it only once a day.

Then move on to the next trick passage.

Do not do more then ten notes (it will take forever to complete the sequence).

Make sure the first two notes of the next passage are the last two notes of the previous passage (so that you overlap).

There is great mental resistance to this kind of work, but it works like magic!

You may do the whole etude like this, but I would reserve it only for the more difficult passages.

Have a look ath the Cortot's "Work Edition" of the etudes, he supplies some alternative fingering (although Chopin's is usually best - his fingering forces you to move the hand the correct way in order to accomodate it).

Good luck,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline allchopin

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #8 on: March 18, 2004, 02:36:20 AM »
Chopin's Etude #4 Op. 25
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Xelles

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #9 on: March 18, 2004, 07:33:04 PM »
That's a very clever method, Bernhard, I'll practice it "religously" (ALOT!  ;D)

Shagdac

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #10 on: March 29, 2004, 12:27:36 PM »
Just wanted to give a special thanks to Bernhard for his advise on practicing w/ the 10 note sequencing. WOW...
what a difference this has made in practicing many of the pieces I have been working on. I've had some parts that were just really giving me a hard time...and after using this technique, I have almost all of them conquered. This is the most helpful practice technique I have learned in sometime. Thanks Berhard!

Shag :)

Offline erak

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #11 on: March 29, 2004, 02:08:09 PM »
The method Bernhard uses is actually the same "concept" as using rhythmic variations. It's an amazingly good method, it takes time, but you will never loose the run :). Of course it can take a long ass time if you want to learn the complete winter wind like that :p.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #12 on: March 31, 2004, 02:31:00 AM »
Quote
Just wanted to give a special thanks to Bernhard for his advise on practicing w/ the 10 note sequencing. WOW...
what a difference this has made in practicing many of the pieces I have been working on. I've had some parts that were just really giving me a hard time...and after using this technique, I have almost all of them conquered. This is the most helpful practice technique I have learned in sometime. Thanks Berhard!

Shag :)


Now try this: intead of choosing ten notes, chose ten bars and do the same thing.

You see, the basic unit does not to be as small as one note. It can be a four note set, or a bar or a passage. Of course the notes on the "chunk" you are repeating must have been completely mastered.

If you are familiar with programming this is the same concept as subroutines.

I also call it clustering. This is the equivalent of changinc gears in a car. You will never achieve ultra fast speeds unless you change gears and start working on "chunks" rathera then single notes. But one always starts at the single note level.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #13 on: March 31, 2004, 02:32:54 AM »
Quote
The method Bernhard uses is actually the same "concept" as using rhythmic variations. It's an amazingly good method, it takes time, but you will never loose the run :). Of course it can take a long ass time if you want to learn the complete winter wind like that :p.


You are right.

It would take all eternity to learn any piece like that.

But one does not. See the post above and you will see that the key is to cluster as soon as the notes in the difficult bits are mastered.

Best wishes,
Bernnard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline glamfolk

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #14 on: March 31, 2004, 09:00:33 PM »
I've used the clustering method with my students as well, and it works.  It serves to focus your attention on the tiniest detail, while expanding  the scope of your focus so that  you can work on the passages that need the most work.  You don't necessarily need to learn the whole piece that way.  Its works wonders for those troubling passages.  

Offline trunks

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Re: Accuracy
«Reply #15 on: April 10, 2004, 12:17:35 AM »
VERY slow practice using all touches - non-legato, finger staccato, double-staccato (playing the note twice, the first time by finger-staccato, the second time by the natural fall of the same finger), legato  . . .etc. Allow a short pause to relax your fingers every time after a note is played while preparing for the next finger.

Gradually increase speed until the desired speed is attained. It is advisable to practise until the required speed is slightly exceeded - ie, demand for more than you will actually play.
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist



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