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Topic: playing one handed while reading  (Read 2394 times)

Offline Chris_Repertoire

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playing one handed while reading
on: August 14, 2004, 01:16:30 AM
I just realized that I can play scales, do simple exercises with one hand while I sit at the piano and read.  Playing scales up and down with my left or right hand does not interfere with what I am reading .... so I can go on doing this for an hour or two more while I read, hoping that it makes my hands/fingers stronger.

Does anyone else do this?

Offline amanfang

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #1 on: August 14, 2004, 01:37:06 AM
I don't think it's ever smart to play without concentrating on what you are doing.  This could lead to injury.  Playing the piano is always about making music.  Even if it is simply playing a scale.  How can you tell if you are making music if you are attempting to do something else??  I think it is a waste of time.
When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.

Offline thierry13

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #2 on: August 14, 2004, 03:02:00 AM
I don't DO it, but i'm able, as everyone here. Anything you master, same you're hardest piece, can be played while reading music and doing something else. Why ? It's something that berhnard has allready explain. When you play a piece, or it is easy, or it is impossible. So anything you can play well, can be played while doing something else. But i do not recommend doing this, as amanfang explained. But if you want to test if you REALLY master something, well you can just try and do it without thinking of it. But this is, only to test if you've mastered your technical problems. Don't do that when you're trying to put musicality and emotion in your piece.

Offline Saturn

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #3 on: August 14, 2004, 04:03:12 PM
Quote
Playing scales up and down with my left or right hand does not interfere with what I am reading .... so I can go on doing this for an hour or two more while I read, hoping that it makes my hands/fingers stronger.


To what end?  Are you trying to become a pianistic athlete?  Going to be doing any heavy lifting with those fingers?

Shagdac

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #4 on: August 15, 2004, 06:13:40 AM
Please do not get me wrong, but I find this rather amusing  ;D! Why would someone WANT to do this? If you are playing without even thinking about playing, then personally, I can't understand what one would hope to accomplish by this. Your impovement will come from your technique used during the time you are playing...NOT the actual length of the time you play. Kinda like that saying..."its' not the quantity, but the quality".  

(I can rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time)
;) ;) ;)


S

Offline super_ardua

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #5 on: August 15, 2004, 08:14:39 PM
If I have a hard octave passage and I can't absorb the notes I do this.

Otherwise there is little benefit for other things.
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Offline in_love_with_liszt

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #6 on: August 16, 2004, 02:29:21 AM
Durring the semester I tried to save time by reading while I would do technical exercizes at the piano and read while I lifted weights at the gym. Aside from looking like a total dork at the gym, I didn't improve in finger strength or body strength, and I abandoned such a practice. If you really think it helps you, then fine, but I personally never got anything out of doing this. I find it much more satisfying to be completely aware of the feeling of fatigue in my fingers after long technical study sessions, and listen to them screem: "Please! No! No more!"  ;D.
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Offline squiggly_girl

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #7 on: August 16, 2004, 03:16:28 AM
How about listening to the radio or keeping an eye on the TV while doing technical exercises, like Hanon for instance - anything inherently wrong with that?

Offline bernhard

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #8 on: August 16, 2004, 03:19:26 AM
Quote
How about listening to the radio or keeping an eye on the TV while doing technical exercises, like Hanon for instance - anything inherently wrong with that?


Yes there is something inherently wrong:  You shouldn't be doing Hanon. ;D ;D ;D
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 in_love_with_liszt

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #9 on: August 16, 2004, 03:25:16 AM
Quote


Yes there is something inherently wrong:  You shouldn't be doing Hanon. ;D ;D ;D


These people who don't do technical studies boggle my brain! I think I need a nap now.
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Offline janice

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #10 on: August 17, 2004, 06:49:04 PM
LOL--I do Hanon while watching Martha Stewart!!
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Offline squiggly_girl

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #11 on: August 18, 2004, 01:14:44 AM
Well, I know your arguments against Hanon and the like, Bernhard, but I find them strangely therapeutic. I also have seen benefit for me in them. They have strengthened my fingers and helped me to keep from sort of collapse cascading in pieces...ie getting my fingers ahead of the beat. They don't need 100% concentration though...does anyone have a good argument for why one should turn off the TV and the radio and focus solely on what you are doing if they are technical exercises?

Offline PianoPeanutAJS

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #12 on: August 18, 2004, 01:56:30 AM
I think that it could kinda help. Then your fingers could get used to it.
-AJS

Offline Tash

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #13 on: August 18, 2004, 02:45:11 PM
oh i hate it when there's something to read in front of me whilst i'm playing it's SO annoying cos then i read it and get distracted. i don't even like having the musici'm playing in front of me let alone anything else!
like last year when playing for my final prac exams at school the girl after me was a singer and had her accompanist's music already on the piano and i didn't want to move it in case i messed it up so i was looking at that when i was playing and all i could think of was this one line from the song that i was reading and it drove me insane!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline pianiststrongbad

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #14 on: August 19, 2004, 04:30:57 AM
Well, I don't agree with this at all.  As someone mentioned earlier you are prone to injury.  Also, I played Hanon for two years straight without really thinking about (i thought it would strengthen my fingers), the entire book everyday, I don't think i gained any thing from it, other than being able to play the book from memory.  As a result of doing this, I also had very stiff technique that took me a year to get away from.  I think you could gain just as much finger strength by playing Etudes, or Czerny, or something that is not completely mindless.  Or, if you are just concerned with finger strength, just learn Erlkonig or somethin, play it slow though, otherwise you will be open to injury.  I don't think you should ever practice piano with your mind on something else, seems like a waste of time to me.  

Offline Chris_Repertoire

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #15 on: August 20, 2004, 12:40:44 AM
I'm just playing to get better at scales.  Play chord sequences whatever.   I figure two hours of playing one handed for finger strength can't hurt.  (I wouldn't spend the extra time playing piano otherwise.)

Offline squiggly_girl

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #16 on: August 20, 2004, 06:11:50 AM
I'm not convinced. There are a lot of things that we can do perfectly well without focussing on them 100%. For instance, I can wash my dishes just as well listening to music or the radio as not. I can type an email whilst also keeping an eye on the news. Why should technical exercises be inherently different from either of these things or any others I could mention?

Offline pianiststrongbad

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #17 on: August 20, 2004, 09:08:33 AM
Why not just concentrate on the scales while you are practicing them?  I learned I accomplish a lot more in twenty minutes if I am thinking about what I am doing rather than just doing the same thing over and over for two hours.  I dunno how much these scales will actually help you to keep practicing them.  I mean, it is great for beginners because it facilitates sightreading, but doing them over and over with the same technique at the same speed on the metronome seems pointless to me.  If one doesn't pay attention to what they are doing it is easy to get improper technique, which leads to tension in the hand.  Next thing you know your hands won't be able to do anything.  Not a risk I would take.  I wouldn't plactice piano with the same sorta automatic process as one uses when washing dishes.  This is not a very good example.  When you wash dishes you aren't thinking about improving your technique of washing dishes.  You are simply trying to get them clean.  If you practice with your mind on something else it won't do anything productive in my opinion.  I am impressed that you can type an email while reading the news simultaneously.  I can only do this if I do one, and then the other.  I guess if you can think about everything you are doing at the piano while watching something else then this is alright, though I have yet to learn this myself.  I haven't met anyone who can do this effectively either.  I mean it is one thing to play something through and get to the end vs. play something and think about your phrasing, technique before you get to the end.  Regarding finger strength, I think this comes over time.  Ashkenazy didn't do finger strength exercises from what I know.  Though he did get hand problems later in his life, but I don't know if these are related.  I stand by what I said earlier: If you are going to play piano, your concentration should be on nothing other than playing the piano.  Otherwise it is a waste of your time.    

Offline Egghead

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #18 on: August 20, 2004, 01:39:52 PM
Quote
oh i hate it when there's something to read in front of me whilst i'm playing it's SO annoying cos then i read it and get distracted. i don't even like having the musici'm playing in front of me let alone anything else!
this one line from the song that i was reading and it drove me insane!

I also have this occasionally: if it is what I am playing, the temptation to look at it is overwhelming, and it doesnt actually help; I find myself reading other bits than the ones I am playing and that can get confusing...

How about just closing your eyes though? I often do this, and it feels and "sounds" different (i.e. it affects the way I listen).
This is kind of the opposite of the title of this thread - block out any sensory input that is not necessary for the task at HAND. Also: a piano can sound so beautiful - why distract from this in any way?

Egghead
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Offline Egghead

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #19 on: August 20, 2004, 02:03:01 PM
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Why not just concentrate on the scales while you are practicing them?  I learned I accomplish a lot more in twenty minutes if I am thinking about what I am doing rather than just doing the same thing over and over for two hours. ...
If one doesn't pay attention to what they are doing it is easy to get improper technique, which leads to tension in the hand.  Next thing you know your hands won't be able to do anything.  Not a risk I would take.  
I wouldn't plactice piano with the same sorta automatic process as one uses when washing dishes.  This is not a very good example.  When you wash dishes you aren't thinking about improving your technique of washing dishes.  You are simply trying to get them clean.  If you practice with your mind on something else it won't do anything productive in my opinion.  

My first impulse is: I completely agree with this. Put differently, when your technique for something isn't solid and automised yet, you need to pay attention to the sound you are producing etc.
Once your technique is solid and automised, you don't need to practice it anymore.

But then again, is this perhaps a bit black-and-white?
When something is half-automised, you start paying attention to different things, you can just let the whole thing happen and "zoom" in at will on different aspects. In my experience this can lead to further improvement.

Maybe the background stuff (reading/radio/TV) could have the function of helping some people with this: it first  breaks the habit of concentrating obsessively on what you are used to concentrating on. Once you are "detached" you start looking at what you are doing from a different angle? it sort of opens the mind and might be related to relaxation in a way?

Quote

I am impressed that you can type an email while reading the news simultaneously.  I can only do this if I do one, and then the other.  

people differ with this. When it is externally presented information (watching TV while talking to someone, or listening to the radio), I think it is perfectly feasible, because information density is not that high most of the time.
Quote


If you are going to play piano, your concentration should be on nothing other than playing the piano.  Otherwise it is a waste of your time.    

Yes, I agree, adding the tentative thought I outlined above. Does that make sense?

Egghead
tell me why I only practice on days I eat

Offline pianiststrongbad

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Re: playing one handed while reading
Reply #20 on: August 20, 2004, 10:00:31 PM
I still think it is a waste of time even if you are building up your "automatic processes".  Why not do something more productive?  Learn an etude, or something that is challenging if you are concerned about technique.  I don't see the point of practicing scales just as a drill unless if you don't know them.  As long as one practices Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and any other composer that uses scales, scales will improve over time unconsciously.  Odds are when you are doing scales in these peices your other hand will be doing something as well.  So your concentration will be focused on the other hand if you are already familiar with the scale.  So you will be getting the same unconscious practice.  Back to the original topic: finger strenth, I don't think scales is the best way to improve finger strength.  In my opinion the same amount of strength if not more strength can be acquired through playing peices.  I don't think cziffra played scales for a few hours everyday.  
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