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effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude? (Read 5602 times)

Offline Derek

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effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
« on: February 09, 2011, 06:31:21 PM »
So, I've been struggling to continue studying Chopin's Ocean Etude. I enjoy it when I work on it but find difficulty summoning willpower to continue, due to how difficult it is to play this piece anywhere close to speed. I can read it slowly and accurately. Obviously, the thing that makes this piece difficult are the hand position changes that occur in the different sorts of arpeggios.

I haven't tried this yet but I wondered if other people do this and if it is effective: Practice *just* the hand position changes. In other words, move back and forth between them. Where my pinky would be replaced by a thumb, or thumb by pinky in the other hand, I might be landing on an octave (easiest for some reason), major or minor ninth, or 10th.  It seems like these movements cause the most flubs. So if I just practice those movements, should this help?

To put it another way, so far I've only been practicing by playing the piece as written, slowly, without putting a very microscopic focus on the specific technical problems.

piano sheet music of Etude


Offline stringoverstrung

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 07:19:31 PM »
Hi,

practice it in chords. when you move your hand not too high and do not land on the keys coming from the side. You should land vertically on the keys. Make sure you stay loose.

Good luck.

Offline becky8898

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 05:58:31 AM »
Hi I know this sounds dumb, but practice slowly with your eyes closed.  If your relying totally on your eyes to guide you in this piece , you have a problem.  The eyes are only a general guide.  You totally have to feel the movement. And if this sounds goofy , remember the last guy to win the Chopin competition if I remember right was Blind. So think about playing the rach 2 and being blind.  Use your eyes but not for everything.   Hope this helps

Cheers, Becky.

Offline hansscherff

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 12:29:53 PM »
Hi I know this sounds dumb, but practice slowly with your eyes closed.  If your relying totally on your eyes to guide you in this piece , you have a problem.  The eyes are only a general guide.  You totally have to feel the movement. And if this sounds goofy , remember the last guy to win the Chopin competition if I remember right was Blind. So think about playing the rach 2 and being blind.  Use your eyes but not for everything.   Hope this helps

Cheers, Becky.

You are giving out some nice advices these days Becky. They seem helpful! For some reason i doubt you are really 12.

The eyes closed thing about 25 12 is some nice advice that especially applies to this etude, but also to most other pieces. Often where people 'stutter' in their pieces are the spots where they have to start watching their hands or get back to watching the score...

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 11:07:55 PM »
Yeah... I'll say - Becky, whoever your teacher is... if you're really 12, then I'm pissed off at the fact that I didn't get a truly good, qualified teacher like yours until I was 19...

But I'm trying to make up for lost time now though   :)

Also, you could not only do it with your eyes closed, but also try block chord patterns with your eyes closed, or still the block chords with closed eyes but doing it legato by use finger substitution to get to the next chord.

eg Play first chord, then lift off everything except top note in both hand, and swap them for opposite finger (swap pinky for thumb (RH) thumb for pinky (LH) and get used to doing that to help aid when playing it normally.

Offline becky8898

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 12:13:55 AM »
Enough with the age thing.  When i registered my mom insisted i be honest about my age. I would have rather lied and pretended I was older  .   But if it floats your boat imagine im 25 or something.  Who cares.  And yes I have a great teacher, actually three teachers( Main piano teacher, a performance piano teacher, and a theory , harmony and composition teacher.  ) My background, my Mom and Dad are both professional musicans who play with our local symphony, my brother who is 16 is an incredible violinist and will enter conservatory next fall. My Great grandfather studied with Arthur Schnabel and hit the concert circuit before settling down as a college professor.  I have other Aunts and uncles, great aunts and Uncles who have all been musicans.  From the time I can remember there are always musical events going on in our life. I would have to be a moron not to know a ton about music. 

I thought about posting some stupid posts, so  maybe I would sound like what a 12 year old girl is supposed to sound like , at least in the eyes of some people. But the heck with that. Im just me and  thats that.  I will continue to post to try and help others here, and to get help if I can from others.  Sorry if a 12 year old girl  being smart bothers some people. 

Now having said that , all I want to do is to be thought of as another pianist.  Please just listen to my playing and to the things I have to say and dont worry about all the rest. 


Trying to say this in as nice away as I can.  your fellow pianist.  with much  cheer to all, Becky

Offline roger_1948

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 12:37:32 AM »
Well said Becky.  But calm down.  Its just some people remember what they where like at 12 and well , speaking for myself  I was kind of a  jerk.  However hearing about your background , it all makes sense.   And your mom was right to make you register as your actual age.

 Now back to this thread theme.   Im afraid I dont have alot to add. I only started learning to play piano when I was 59 and  will only have finished my  4 year of study  in May and am lucky to  get thru a hadyn sonata without butchering it to badly.  So the only thing I can add is patience.  No matter how slow you think your progress is give yourself a chance to grow. Relax, stop thinking about where you might want to be a year from now.  Think about today , tommorrow,  next week. If you cant make it quicker, can you make your touch better. Is your tempo nice and even and under control, can you make  your tone color better.   Thats it and keep climbing that mountain. 

Semper Fi, Roger
Roger

Offline fleetfingers

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 07:52:43 AM »
To answer the original question - yes, practicing *just* the hand changes would be beneficial. If you are having problems with accuracy, each section should be isolated and worked on one hand at a time. As was already mentioned, practicing without looking at your hands is a great strategy, because you want to have a good feel for the keyboard and where all the notes lie. Your goal should be to make those hand changes without having to look much. Rely instead on the 'feel' of playing specific intervals or the 'feel' of moving from one hand position to the next.

As far as going back and forth...yes, I do that kind of thing a lot. I'm not one of the great pianists on this forum, but I use the strategy you suggest and it helps me improve my accuracy. Good luck with your Etude! :)

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #8 on: February 11, 2011, 09:57:15 AM »
Enough with the age thing. 

Hey wait... I wasn't trying to insinuate anything... I was impressed. I think the only reason I mentioned it, is because I wish more than anything that I had been taught by professionals from the very beginning, and I was kind of jealous.

I think it's a shame that in Australia, there seems to be a real lack of professional teachers and I wish that I could relive my childhood over again.    :-\

Offline hansscherff

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #9 on: February 11, 2011, 10:48:08 AM »
Hey wait... I wasn't trying to insinuate anything... I was impressed. I think the only reason I mentioned it, is because I wish more than anything that I had been taught by professionals from the very beginning, and I was kind of jealous.

I think it's a shame that in Australia, there seems to be a real lack of professional teachers and I wish that I could relive my childhood over again.    :-\

Well i sure as hell wouldnt want to relive my childhood again to change things, i enjoyed it thoroughly, however i sure as hell wasnt that 'grown up' nor attentive at that age ;)

Therefore consider it a compliment Becky instead of thinking i'm bothered about it.

Offline becky8898

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 07:51:13 PM »
A big sorry to hansscherff and perfect_pitch. Sometimes my typing thingy engages before my brain thingy. 

And a really big sorry to Derek for hijacking this thread and ranting.   Me Bad. 

Cheers, Becky

Offline littletune

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #11 on: February 12, 2011, 01:17:09 PM »

I thought about posting some stupid posts, so  maybe I would sound like what a 12 year old girl is supposed to sound like

Like me  :-[ I always post stupid posts... :-[

Offline Mayla

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #12 on: February 12, 2011, 10:32:21 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 Derek

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #13 on: February 13, 2011, 02:51:42 AM »
Thanks for all the tips! I think it's gonna work out. I honestly think my carpel tunnel thing (mentioned in another thread) was due to using the stupid elastic straps in the wii game "EA Active" and twisting my wrist in a way that it maybe stressed it a bit. I don't think it was the Ocean Etude.

Anyway, the advice about "feeling" where my fingers should go was a really good one. when I took piano lessons in college, I remember my professor stressing that for reading music it was really important to cultivate searching for the right notes with your fingertips rather than your eyes so your eyes can stay on the page. This has the dual effect of learning to read better and also getting a feel for keyboard geography into your fingers as well as your eyes. So... I think it's working. I'll keep hammering away on this one and maybe it'll be one of the first actual classical pieces I post in the audition room instead of the droves of improvs I've already posted that nobody in this thread but mayla and littletune may have even heard at all  ;)

Offline fleetfingers

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #14 on: February 13, 2011, 04:59:23 AM »
You've posted some clavichord playing, too...right? Yeah, I've been around long enough to recognize you as the improv guy.   ;)

Offline littletune

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #15 on: February 13, 2011, 01:11:06 PM »
Littletune, the only thing you or anybody else will ever truly be the best in the world at, no matter how it may seem, is being exactly oneself.  You are not stupid and your posts are not stupid.

Thank you Mayla!!! :)  :) Your answer is just like as if you knew exactly what I was thinking about! Can you read minds?!  :o  :)  :P And you know what else? I didn't know you posted this when you posted it but the time when you posted it was just the time when I started feeling better :) Cause before I was feeling kinda bad about myself and then all of a sudden I wasn't feeling bad anymore and I thought I should better just be the goofy childish me cause that's the way I am and it's just stupid to try to pretend you're something you're not! And I really didn't know why I started feeling so differently all of a sudden... and then I saw that it was at about the time when you posted this!  :o  :P  :) Weird! and cool!!  8)

Oh Derek, I listened to a lot of your improvs too! But yes I know I don't count that much. And I'm sorry for talking about something that doesn't have anything to do with your question!  :P Have a great time practicing this Ocean Etude!  :)

Offline Derek

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #16 on: February 13, 2011, 05:13:04 PM »
littletune, of course you count...everyone does. anyway this thread has become a mess of tangential discussion  :) thanks again for the tips everyone.

Offline nystul

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #17 on: February 13, 2011, 06:02:09 PM »
this thread has become a mess of tangential discussion  :)

The ocean etude wanders up and down and all over the place and so does this discussion.

Offline Mayla

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #18 on: February 14, 2011, 02:08:24 AM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline littletune

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Re: effective way to practice hand position changes in Ocean Etude?
«Reply #19 on: February 16, 2011, 09:17:37 PM »
Thank you Mayla! :)
And thank you Derek for
...  that nobody in this thread but mayla and littletune may have even heard at all  ;)
adding me too! :) (I saw it just now) I hope your Ocean Etude is going well! :)