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Thoughts on McChoughin-Dinsmore approach? (Read 2030 times)

Offline vladimir_gouldowsky

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Thoughts on McChoughin-Dinsmore approach?
« on: July 08, 2013, 05:42:36 AM »
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Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Thoughts on McChoughin-Dinsmore approach?
«Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 01:40:24 AM »
I don't know if people are familiar with this approach, but it was all the rage when I was cutting my teeth on the piano repertoire as a student in Manchester in the 1960s.

Here are the main principles:

1. When practicing a difficult passage, play slowly, legato, hands separately. Repeat until comfortable, aiming for complete control over the quality of tone.
2. As the passage becomes more controlled, play it once more, but this time in a ragtime rhythm.
3. Go back to 1, this time playing pianissimo.
4. Go back to 2, this time playing the ragtime rhythm pianissimo.
5. Go back to 1, this time forte
6. Go back to 2, this time forte
7. #1, non-legato, pianissimo
8. #2, non-legato, pianissimo, ragtime
9. #1, non-legato, forte.
10.#2, non-legato, forte, ragtime.
11. Finish with a fortissimo ragtime, albeit this time in a rounded portato.

This method of Prof. Stanley McChoughin and Dr. Vasely Dinsmore proved indispensable for the development of my virtuoso piano technique.  Has anyone else benefited from this method?


I can't imagine it's likely to be either any more or less effective than various other ways of varying practise. I doubt if there's any real difference if you vary the order or do different variants. also, it wouldn't be any use at all if you didn't know the right way to move in each variant. I'm not entirely shouting snake oil, but if I were going to practise in such a precise and unyielding formula, I'd want to know a good deal more about why that particular order has been presented and why it might be better than any other. there are plenty of ways to vary practise on your own, without having a rulebook to follow like some automaton.

Offline pianoman53

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Re: Thoughts on McChoughin-Dinsmore approach?
«Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 11:29:14 AM »
I heard similar ideas.. My first teacher insisted that I practiced difficult passages staccato, to make it more difficult than it is. In that way, it would feel easier when I played it normally.
It worked well for me. But now, when I changed teacher (and therefore obviously changed approach) I don't do it anymore. Now I have a more "Musical" (in lack of better words) way of practicing. I play it the way I want it to sound, all the way from the first read.

I know that there were pianists from the golden age who would agree with both of them. Busoni had ideas about picking the most difficult fingering, to later feel at ease when choosing the easy one. At the same time, there were other pianists who said "Play it as it should be played, but in a slower tempo. If something is written legato, practice it legato".


So if it works, it works...

Offline rembetissa

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Re: Thoughts on McChoughin-Dinsmore approach?
«Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 03:02:30 PM »
I learned a similar process from a violinist which varies the rhythm of a passage. It transfers over to piano or any instrument well, and is useful for fast runs.

1. LONG short LONG short LONG short LONG short
2. short LONG short LONG short LONG short LONG
3. LONG short short short LONG short short short
4. short LONG short LONG short LONG short LONG
5. short short LONG short short short LONG short
6. short short short LONG short short short LONG
7. Then play as written!

The concept is the same. Play the same notes, same fingerings, in different contexts. Make your brain focus on different pairs of notes and then it will sound smoother.