Piano Forum logo
November 22, 2017, 09:11:38 AM *
   Forum Home   Help Search  


Where is the Remote Control? and a World Record!

Alek­sey Igudes­man and Hyung-ki Joo are two clas­si­cal musi­cians who have taken the world by storm with their unique and hilar­i­ous the­atri­cal shows, which com­bine com­edy with clas­si­cal music and pop­u­lar cul­ture. Their clips on YouTube, to date, have gath­ered over 15 mil­lion hits, and they have appeared live on tele­vi­sion in sev­eral coun­tries, includ­ing an exclu­sive inter­view for CNN. Read more >>

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Best method for increasing practice time.  (Read 614 times)
bernadette60614
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 457


« on: August 25, 2017, 12:43:02 AM »

As I learn more, I know that I have more to learn and my current regimen of 90 minutes a day split between two sessions is no longer enough.

My teacher tells me that give the level of pieces I'm learning I should be practicing 3 hours a day.  How can I increase my time without losing focus?

Thank you, all!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
stevensk
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 623


« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 06:40:27 AM »

-Well, IF you are not very motivated, stay whith easier pieces or do something else
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
brogers70
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 817


« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 10:15:09 AM »

I don't think there's an ideal way to break up 3 hours into smaller intervals that will work for everybody. Some people can sit at the piano for hours on end and keep focused; some have to get up and walk around every 15 or 20 minutes. For me it's not so much time that's important for focus as having specific, realistic goals for each week and each day. If you can break up the work into a series of small, achievable goals, then working on them will help focus and succeeding at them will give you a boost to keep going on and keep concentrating. When even that doesn't keep you focused, do something else for a while and come back later.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2885


« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 10:32:00 AM »

I think the goal and the advice is wrong.  It's starting at the wrong end of the stick.  You should be seeing what things need practising in each piece, and then you might end up practising 3 hours, or any other length of time.  Finding time and dividing up one's time is a separate problem that many of us face.  You need to look at your whole day: work schedule if you're employed, amount of sleep you need, things you need to do to get ready for work, meals etc., and include practising in your time table.  You also want your practising to be as efficient as possible so that your time is used well. Often smaller time segments are more effective than large ones (i.e. 3 one-hour sessions may be more effective than one three-hour session).  I still find that organizing according to task rather than time is more effective for me.  "I will work on Item A and Item B / problem or goal A or B, in this session".  You end up with your one hour, or 20 minutes etc.  I focus better that way, and sort of feel the "point of saturation" when it's good to stop.

I freelance, with a totally unpredictable  work load so I have invented a kind of "floating schedule" for myself.  I may have several 10-hour days of work ahead of me, or 2 hours, or 6 or none, and that can change any time of the day.  If you have a regular work schedule then at least you have something predictable to plan around.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 10:57:46 AM »

 I've read your previous posts, and it seems clear that you know how to focus on small, problem segments during practice.  When you are talking about increasing total practice time as a working adult, it does get tough. I would just recommend trying to borrow time during the day: if you're waiting for the pasta to cook for dinner, take that 15 minutes and practice during it;  get up 30 minutes earlier and practice.

You can certainly add some time  this way during the day,  but you may have to accept that you really cannot practice as many hours as your teacher would like:  you may need to reduce the amount of repertoire you are  working on at one time to fit a reasonable practice schedule, or accept that   progress may be a little slower than you would like.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2017, 12:59:35 PM »

I still find that organizing according to task rather than time is more effective for me.  "I will work on Item A and Item B / problem or goal A or B, in this session".  You end up with your one hour, or 20 minutes etc.  I focus better that way, and sort of feel the "point of saturation" when it's good to stop.


I keep a spreadsheet with all the items I'm working on.  I put a check mark in the cell when I do it. 

I don't expect to get everything done every day.  I just don't have that kind of time.  This approach lets me see what I've neglected so I can focus on it before it gets too old and forgotten. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
bernadette60614
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 457


« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2017, 12:14:06 AM »

Thank you all.

I've been working on a Mozart sonata, a Shubert impromtu, a Bach fugue, Czerny exercise, and mastering the scales.  I've found that I have developed a clearer sense of what each should sound like, and as opposed to my prior method of just getting through each piece, I work on increasingly smaller and smaller sections attempting to achieve with my fingers that sound in my mind (I am probably expressing this in the worst possible way.)  Previously, I could say that I had "mastered" 4 lines of Mozart in a week...now 4 lines of Mozart can take me two to four weeks.

My teacher has told me that to achieve that sound image, I have to either increase my practice time or reduce the number of pieces on which I work. 

I think I'll just have to grapple with this.  I could never understand how someone could practice to 5 to 9 hours a day...now I can see it.  Perhaps what I need to do it to block out time during the day by "task estimate" (I also do a form of freelance so I'm accustomed to "billable hour by task" thinking") and block out my time that way.

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
louispodesta
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 960


« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 11:06:20 PM »

Thank you all.

I've been working on a Mozart sonata, a Shubert impromtu, a Bach fugue, Czerny exercise, and mastering the scales.  I've found that I have developed a clearer sense of what each should sound like, and as opposed to my prior method of just getting through each piece, I work on increasingly smaller and smaller sections attempting to achieve with my fingers that sound in my mind (I am probably expressing this in the worst possible way.)  Previously, I could say that I had "mastered" 4 lines of Mozart in a week...now 4 lines of Mozart can take me two to four weeks.

My teacher has told me that to achieve that sound image, I have to either increase my practice time or reduce the number of pieces on which I work. 

I think I'll just have to grapple with this.  I could never understand how someone could practice to 5 to 9 hours a day...now I can see it.  Perhaps what I need to do it to block out time during the day by "task estimate" (I also do a form of freelance so I'm accustomed to "billable hour by task" thinking") and block out my time that way.


Dear "Bernadette":

After many years of being blacklisted due to my video, I finally found (after two unsuccessful tries) a Concerto Coach.  The original title of my video should have been:  "Your Piano Teacher Is Ripping You Off."

The first two teachers I tried out had a combined 50 years experience and two Masters Degrees, and one with a Bachelors Degree from Eastman attained under her Royal Highness.

So, now I have a DMA Coach, who analyzes each student based on their own individual abilities.  Specifically, I have low-level Parkinson's Disease and tend to speed up.  Therefore, she is utilizing a very special two note phrase method of "hand drop and separate" slow practice.

The results have been phenomenal.

Because my goal is to memorize my entire Concerto repertoire by the end of next year, I practice no more than the Chopin/Hummel recommended two hours a day.  I do two hours in the morning, and then I cheat by doing an additional  half hour in the late afternoon.

Once again, the results have been phenomenal.

So, (per the OP) if you want to end up like 99% of the so-called talented pianists who practiced all day and night like Cliburn (who rarely practiced his Juilliard schedule at all in his later years), then go ahead.  In a word, you will "burn" yourself out just like the rest of them.

Also, your risk of injury (tendonitis, carpel tunnel, et al) will be greatly increased.

So, (per the OP) if your teacher does not agree with the two hour practice regimen of Chopin, Hummel, and the late Dalies Frantz (student of Rachmaninoff), then get yourself another teacher like mine who sizes-up/analyzes each student based on their own abilities.

Finally, and parenthetically (and I mean as a student of my technique Coach Thomas Mark), quit wasting valuable practice time "warming up" by playing useless scales, broken chords, arpeggios and exercises before you practice.  The late Earl Wild wrote extensively in his Memoir that, by and large, this was a huge waste of time.

Accordingly, per the OP, you would be surprised just how much one can accomplish (with a short break in between) in just two hours.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
beethovenfan01
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 152


« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2017, 12:09:27 AM »

I want to second louispodesta's advice of two hours. I can personally attest that even two or three hours a day of effective, focused practice can bring wonderful results. That said, two hours of music a day is not enough for me. So I do spend more like three or four hours a day practicing--but at least one hour of that is just running through my old repertoire, or playing, as it is, for fun--reviving old pieces, sight-reading new ones, and enjoying music for the sake of enjoying it. This is why, I think, so many musicians burn out: they spend so much time perfecting their art that they forget why they became artists in the first place; because they love music--playing it, and listening to it!

As a side note ...
Quote
Finally, and parenthetically (and I mean as a student of my technique Coach Thomas Mark), quit wasting valuable practice time "warming up" by playing useless scales, broken chords, arpeggios and exercises before you practice.  The late Earl Wild wrote extensively in his Memoir that, by and large, this was a huge waste of time.
I don't fully agree with this. Often ten or fifteen minutes of scales, arpeggios, and Hanon exercises is very effective at loosening up my fingers, especially when I haven't played in a while, or on days when they're just plain stiff. But no more than that!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Auditioning to U of O school of music:
Bach WTC Bk 1 No. 10
Beethoven Op. 81a (I.)
Rachmaninoff Op. 32 No. 10
Future:
Liszt Wilde Jagd, Dante, HR 6
Chopin Ballade 3
Beethoven Op. 57
Prokofiev
beethovenfan01
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 152


« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2017, 12:10:44 AM »

I want to second louispodesta's advice of two hours. I can personally attest that even two or three hours a day of effective, focused practice can bring wonderful results. That said, two hours of music a day is not enough for me. So I do spend more like three or four hours a day playing the piano--but at least one hour of that is just running through my old repertoire, or playing, as it is, for fun--reviving old pieces, sight-reading new ones, and enjoying music for the sake of enjoying it. This is why, I think, so many musicians burn out: they spend so much time perfecting their art that they forget why they became artists in the first place; because they love music--playing it, and listening to it!

As a side note ... I don't fully agree with this. Often ten or fifteen minutes of scales, arpeggios, and Hanon exercises is very effective at loosening up my fingers, especially when I haven't played in a while, or on days when they're just plain stiff. But no more than that!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Auditioning to U of O school of music:
Bach WTC Bk 1 No. 10
Beethoven Op. 81a (I.)
Rachmaninoff Op. 32 No. 10
Future:
Liszt Wilde Jagd, Dante, HR 6
Chopin Ballade 3
Beethoven Op. 57
Prokofiev
patrickbcox
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 29


« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2017, 05:23:39 PM »

I started getting up an hour earlier in the morning to practice in addition to practicing after work.  I also find that stepping away from the piano for a bit can help my playing.  I can be working on a passage and then step away from the piano for awhile and when I come back, I am a bit more solid on whatever I was working on.  Good luck.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
visitor
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4230


« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2017, 06:30:14 PM »

i have found that both making sessions longer and adding more sessions really effective at increasing my practice time. to date i have not found a method that works better.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

louispodesta
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 960


« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2017, 11:05:15 PM »

I want to second louispodesta's advice of two hours. I can personally attest that even two or three hours a day of effective, focused practice can bring wonderful results. That said, two hours of music a day is not enough for me. So I do spend more like three or four hours a day practicing--but at least one hour of that is just running through my old repertoire, or playing, as it is, for fun--reviving old pieces, sight-reading new ones, and enjoying music for the sake of enjoying it. This is why, I think, so many musicians burn out: they spend so much time perfecting their art that they forget why they became artists in the first place; because they love music--playing it, and listening to it!

As a side note ... I don't fully agree with this. Often ten or fifteen minutes of scales, arpeggios, and Hanon exercises is very effective at loosening up my fingers, especially when I haven't played in a while, or on days when they're just plain stiff. But no more than that!
Thank you for your very kind comments/analysis.  It means a lot.

So:  1) One of the first reasons Chopin recommended (along with Hummel and Frantz) is that, especially in regards Frantz (my own piano teacher's "friend"), is that the human mind is mostly not capable of concentrating for more than two hours at a time.  As an ADHD ASPY, I certainly cannot.

Accordingly, when I was at NTSU in 1971, I saw a whole lot of 8 hours a day practice pianists take "breaks" about every 30 minutes.  To tell you the truth, the only person I actually witnessed practicing 8 hours a days was a trombonist.  There was not one single piano major.  And, please remember, the now NTSU brags about being the largest music school in the world!

2)  One of the major reasons for practicing only two hours is that:  As a musician/philosopher, I realize, like most of us who immerse ourselves (hopefully body and soul) in the pursuit of any of the Fine Arts, that it is recreation of the experience of the human body and soul.

Therefore, when you spend your whole young life in a practice room you will never attain the level of musicianship associated with what "ANY" particular composer had in mind when they penned a particular work.

Because, you have not lived a normal life!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2885


« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2017, 04:04:02 AM »

I guess that what my teacher taught me was not wrong.  Wink
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
louispodesta
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 960


« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2017, 11:00:15 PM »

To modify/paraphrase my last response, the text, which read:  One of the major reasons for practicing only two hours is that: . . . , the goal, for any of us who study any of the Fine Arts, is to hopefully attain the ability to re-create through our own individual performance/experience the body and soul of what the original composer/pianist intended.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
louispodesta
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 960


« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2017, 11:32:09 PM »

My apologies for leaving out the following text:

Therefore, per the OP, the amount of "true" time spent practicing does not, in my opinion (Chopin and many others) directly co-relate to successful results at the piano.  Accordingly/specific to my own aspirations to learn and memorize my list of piano concertos, I employ the following methodology:

1)  I l read through (previously learned sections) and then I memorize, for the better part of two hours (with breaks) a couple of additional pages.  Then, I take a two hour break out of the house (mostly to the grocery store).

2)  Then, (when I return) I utilize a common memory coach technique which is to wait an hour or two and then play the same section over again trying to memorize it.  This is called committing something to "reflexive memory."

3)  Next, I start from the beginning of the piece and see how far I can go just from reflexive memory.

F.Y.I.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  


Need more info or help?


Search pianostreet.com - the web's largest resource of information about piano playing:



 
Jump to:  


Most popular classical piano composers:
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

o