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Topic: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions  (Read 6091 times)

Offline Daniel_piano

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Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
on: November 02, 2004, 10:38:28 PM
It's still me
I have some other questions, but this time I'm practicing using those principles suggested by Paul, Bernhard and others so it's not "just speculation"

I'm using the 7 repeats method to see how big should be the chunk I'm going to practice
Bernhard says that the chunk should as big as to permit me to "master" it after 7 repeats

Now, it's not clear to me what he means by "master"
let's say I repeat three bars 7 times and after this seven repeats I can play those bars without errors and by heart; can be this considered mastered or do I need also it to be "full speed"
Using this approach I've noticed that I can learn by heart without errors 10 bars circa after just seven repeats
Yet even if I can "master" 10 bars after seven repeats, 10 bars is probably a chunk to large to practice?
Any thought?

There was another piece instead where I could just master 1 bars after seven repeats
Now, I'm doing 20 minutes sessions for each bar
Since the piece is 140 bars long, does that mean that I have to spend 140 session (140 days, since I have more than one piece to practice daily) to master the whole piece? (there are no repeated patterns or parts, every bar is different) 

I've noticed that Bernhard when explaing how to practice a specific piece usually start from bar 1 to last bar
Are there exceptions where you'd better practice only the hard bars and let alone the easier ones?
Could that be the case?

The problem is that when my teacher at school says that I have to "master" bar 1 to 125 HT of a piece for the next lesson, I have to do it within a week so I can't manage 20 minute sessions that doesn't allow me to complete the piece in a week
So, maybe I should practice less than 20 minutes per session

Thanks again
Daniel
"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline bernhard

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #1 on: November 02, 2004, 11:49:23 PM

Quote
Now, it's not clear to me what he means by "master"
let's say I repeat three bars 7 times and after this seven repeats I can play those bars without errors and by heart; can be this considered mastered or do I need also it to be "full speed"
Using this approach I've noticed that I can learn by heart without errors 10 bars circa after just seven repeats
Yet even if I can "master" 10 bars after seven repeats, 10 bars is probably a chunk to large to practice?
Any thought?

1.   Can you play the passage at the final speed (or near enough)?
2.   Can you play it without hesitations and stuttering?
3.   Are you playing the right notes at the right time with the correct fingers?
4.   Does it feel easy and comfortable to play?
5.   Can you play it by heart, or at least with the music in front of you without having to laboriously read it?

If you answered yes to 4 out of 5 of these questions it is mastered enough for you to consider this a good size and start working on it.

Do these questions apply to hands separate or hands together? Hands separate. Hands together is part of the work you will be doing once you decide the size. Unless of course you can do hands together straight away, then don’t bother with hands separate.

If you can master ten bars after seven repeats this is the size of chunk. It is neither too large nor too small. I have mastered 200 bar pieces (the whole piece) after seven repeats and went on to perfect the piece in the next ten minutes. It was an easy piece (for me). I have also struggled with half a bar for over a week before it “clicked”.

Surely you have experienced this “click”, this very magical moment when your fingers just seem to know what to do and everything flows effortlessly. This is what I mean by “mastered”. Of course, this is when you are ready to start learning the piece, so do not let this word “mastery” confuse you. Ultimately nothing is ever mastered and you can always improve. But there is this moment when you finally “get it”, which is of course the instant when practice really starts. Whatever you did before this moment was investigation and terrain recognition. (Which of course is very important)

Quote
There was another piece instead where I could just master 1 bars after seven repeats
Now, I'm doing 20 minutes sessions for each bar
Since the piece is 140 bars long, does that mean that I have to spend 140 session (140 days, since I have more than one piece to practice daily) to master the whole piece? (there are no repeated patterns or parts, every bar is different)

Analyse this piece. Are all of the 140 bars of the same level of difficulty? I doubt it. In fact a large amount of these 140 bars will probably be repeats, either exact repeats, or repeated patterns, so that what you learn in this one bar will very likely be easily transferred to other, similar bars in the piece. It is very important to spend time identifying patterns, so that you put a lot of time and effort on a pattern , and then wheeze through any similar patterns you may find later.

But to answer your question, yes, if you have to work on a bar at a time, then that is what you have to do. What is the alternative? If you cannot cope with one bar, surely you will not be able to cope with 20.

Quote
I've noticed that Bernhard when explaing how to practice a specific piece usually start from bar 1 to last bar
Are there exceptions where you'd better practice only the hard bars and let alone the easier ones?
Could that be the case?

Starting on the first bar and going all the way to the end is actually the exception. 99% of the pieces you must identify the most difficult bars and start with those. The most difficult bars in a piece will contain all the technique necessary to play the piece. So by working on the most difficult bars first (which are usually just a few) you will be saving a lot of time, since once you master them, the other bars will come easily.

If a piece consists of similar difficulty bars with no especially difficult bars, then it is a really good idea to start with the last bar, then add the penultimate bar and so on. This is a really powerful learning trick. If you start on bar 1, then bar 2, then bar 3 and so on, you are moving from what you know to what you don’t know. But if you start at bar 100, then add bar 99, then bar 98, you are now moving from what you do not know to something you already know. Logically, it should make no difference, but psychologically the difference is staggering. Try it!

So, no, usually you do not start at the first bar and proceed in order. Usually you start with the most difficult bars first (I call this “preliminaries”) and once these difficult bars are mastered, you proceed to learn the piece back to front.

Quote
The problem is that when my teacher at school says that I have to "master" bar 1 to 125 HT of a piece for the next lesson, I have to do it within a week so I can't manage 20 minute sessions that doesn't allow me to complete the piece in a week
So, maybe I should practice less than 20 minutes per session

I said this many times before. 20 minutes is not written in stone. If you can master a bar in 2 minutes, move on! Why keep practising what you have mastered? On the other hand if after 4 hours you have not still come to terms with a passage something is wrong (usually you are tackling a too big chunk). And then you have the obsessives who master the passage after ten minutes, but cannot stop themselves and keep at it for the next 6 hours.

On the other hand your teacher’s expectations maybe unrealistic. As a teacher, I would rather my students brought back 20 bars perfectly learned then 125 in a mess. But then this is just me. Each person has its own optimum learning rate. Some learn faster, some learn slower. But it is the end product that matters.

Alternatively you may need to make a plan: How are you going to break down these 125 bars so that they do get covered in a week?

I think you are overcomplicating matters. This is simple stuff. Really. ;)

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)

Spatula

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #2 on: November 03, 2004, 12:54:50 AM
I want to fly to the UK to meet you and see how you manage this.  This isn't rocket science, its probably a type of learning process that needs to be shown, not just written out.  The medium of writing can only communicate so many ideas until a picture/diagram/action or some sort of "movie" to suffice the ideas presented and brought forth.

Offline mosis

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #3 on: November 03, 2004, 03:12:42 AM
Bernhard, I thought learning it only involved getting the notes and playing without hesitation, and that you would do whatever you could in the next 15-20 minutes to get the passage to a point where it is easy to play at speed. If you can play something perfectly at speed after 7 repeats, then you don't really need to practice it, do you?

You're like my teacher. You say something a little bit different every time.  :-\

Offline Daniel_piano

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #4 on: November 03, 2004, 04:59:28 PM
Thanks a lot Bernhard for your detailed explanation, it's all clear to me now

Quote
n the other hand your teacher’s expectations maybe unrealistic. As a teacher, I would rather my students brought back 20 bars perfectly learned then 125 in a mess.

The problem is that my teacher prefer me to master 150 bars lower speed than 20 bars full speed. He keep saying that there's time for speed, it will come

Daniel
"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #5 on: November 03, 2004, 06:29:22 PM
and speed will eventually come. I know that alot of people here like speed practice, but there is also need for slow practice. Just read CC book he mentions it.

boliver

Offline Daniel_piano

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #6 on: November 04, 2004, 01:43:05 AM
Bernhard, I thought learning it only involved getting the notes and playing without hesitation, and that you would do whatever you could in the next 15-20 minutes to get the passage to a point where it is easy to play at speed. If you can play something perfectly at speed after 7 repeats, then you don't really need to practice it, do you?

You're like my teacher. You say something a little bit different every time.  :-\

Mosis, I hope Bernhard doesn't mind if I answer using his own words as he has explained the solution to your doubts very well in the past
Bernhard wrote:
__________________________________________________________
I think that perhaps part of the confusion here is due to a lack of discrimination between two necessary stages of practice:

1.   Stage 1 – Investigative. During this stage you are simply trying to figure out what to play: the right notes at the right time, the size of the passage you can tackle efficiently, the best movements for the sound you want to produce. If you make your passage short enough, this stage does not need to take more than a few minutes – sometimes a few seconds. The end aim of this stage is to get all the technical/musical parameters figured out, so that you can go on to stage 2.

2.   Stage 2 is real practice. A lot of students stop practising when they get it “right”. But actually real practice does not end when you get it right: it starts when you finally get it right. The aim now is to ingrain on your subconscious what you have consciously figured out on stage 1. Sometimes people ask: “Ok, the size of the practise I should learn is the passage I could learn after 7 repeats. But if I did 7 repeats and learned the passage, why practise it? After all I learned it.” This argument – although very logical – confuses stage 1 and stage 2. They are different stages with different aims. Both are necessary.
_____________________________________________________________

Daniel

 
"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline waldstein

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #7 on: November 06, 2004, 04:05:54 AM
\

Quote
I've noticed that Bernhard when explaing how to practice a specific piece usually start from bar 1 to last bar
Are there exceptions where you'd better practice only the hard bars and let alone the easier ones?
Could that be the case?
Starting on the first bar and going all the way to the end is actually the exception. 99% of the pieces you must identify the most difficult bars and start with those. The most difficult bars in a piece will contain all the technique necessary to play the piece. So by working on the most difficult bars first (which are usually just a few) you will be saving a lot of time, since once you master them, the other bars will come easily

\

Is this above concept valid for for a Fugue ?

Offline bernhard

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Re: Clarification about 7 repeats and sessions
Reply #8 on: November 08, 2004, 01:49:06 AM
\

Quote
I've noticed that Bernhard when explaing how to practice a specific piece usually start from bar 1 to last bar
Are there exceptions where you'd better practice only the hard bars and let alone the easier ones?
Could that be the case?
Starting on the first bar and going all the way to the end is actually the exception. 99% of the pieces you must identify the most difficult bars and start with those. The most difficult bars in a piece will contain all the technique necessary to play the piece. So by working on the most difficult bars first (which are usually just a few) you will be saving a lot of time, since once you master them, the other bars will come easily

\

Is this above concept valid for for a Fugue ?

Yes.
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)
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