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Metronome Madness (Read 2961 times)

Offline xdjuicebox

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Metronome Madness
« on: March 01, 2018, 12:31:14 AM »
I'm curious how you guys might improve/change my practice regimen, or if you have any insights that may be helpful, and just your thoughts in general!

This seems almost like a foreign concept to me, but recently I've been playing the piano "for fun" LOL. I must say, I enjoy it, and while I enjoy getting good at the instrument, having fun here and there is also good.

Most of my pianistic encounters recently have involved a lot of accompanying for my friends when they're at home and I want to hear their pieces with accompaniment (though I'm trash at accompanying and they get mad at me lol), attempting to improv with jazz friends, or just playing through orchestral reductions/simpler music to analyze it for composing reasons. As such, I've decided to cut down on perfecting a few pieces, and decided to once again, try to become Franz Liszt. I read he used to practice technical difficulties "to exhaustion," and read a book while doing it. So I thought I'd try the same. Except usually I'm on Facebook or something.

I've been talking to my friend who's studying jazz piano, and based on our conversations, I came up with this:

I did this two years ago in 2016; I adopted my insane "Metronome Madness" regimen. Here is a modified version of it that I am currently running through (not necessarily done in order, but each section is done in order):

====Warmup==== (20-30ish minutes)

The entire time, emphasize good technique, whatever that means.

1. Scales (major, minor; I alternate between melodic and harmonic minor each day), four octaves of it. If I have a lot of time, I'll play accenting every other note, every 3 notes, every 4, etc., but usually it's just accent every 4, and I play 4 octaves of it. Sometimes I play my jazz scales too, but holy crap there's so many. This can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how much time I want to sink into it. I usually average ~10 minutes on scales, 20 if I'm not pressed for time.

2. Arpeggios. I do all 24 triads, and then the diminished sevenths, and augmented triads. I'll pick 2-3 different 7th chords and run through every key with it. I have a surprisingly hard time with two handed arpeggios, so this is good for me.

====The Grind===== (Anywhere from 30ish minutes to a few hours)

3. Chord practice; I run through all of my basic chords real quick just to make sure I've got it all there. Triads take like 30 seconds to run through, so then I play all of my seventh chords, and some extended chords.

3a. Single handed chord practice: Every inversion of every 7th chord/triad ever, together on both hands

3b. (!!!!!!) Two handed chord practice: Voicings that I really enjoy that I use a lot in my own music, or that I see a lot in the stuff that I'm likely to encounter at the time. I run through every key with these, just so my hand knows what it feels like. If I can burn the picture of the chords into my head, even better. For example, today I did:

Dominant 13ths voiced like: (C G Bb) (E A D)
Minor Major with a bunch of stuff added on top like: (C G B) (D Eb F# A)

3c. Chord progressions: 2-5-1's in every key, with appropriate extensions/alterations depending on how I'm feeling.

(I should note, this is one of my favorite parts of the practice; just hearing the way the chords sound on my piano is so pleasurable)

4. Patterns

4a. Left hand patterns. I'll pick 2-4 (depending on how much time I have) patterns that I'll be using; like Chopin nocturne LH parts, Waltz accompaniments, cheesy asian music arpeggios, cool Rachmaninoff left hand textures, etc, and just run through it in every key, both major and minor. I'll play it a few times in each key/mode, and start making little alterations to it, so like move one of the doubled roots to a 7th or a 9th, make mini-melodies, etc.

4b. Right hand patterns. I'll pick 2-4 melodic motifs, or stuff that I'm not comfortable with, and just play through it in every key.

4c. Hands together patterns. I'll 2-4 "cool" pianistic textures (that use both hands, ofc), such as stuff from Ravel's music, or Rachmaninoff's cool hand interweaving thumb melody stuff, (or make one up that I like), and run through it in every key. Two handed runs are covered here.

5. Technical Difficulties

Pick 2-4 technical difficulties (especially ones that come up in the music I'm currently playing), and run through it in every scale.

-Thirds
-Sixths (and fourths and fifths and sevenths if you're Scriabin)
-Repeated notes
-Trills
-Little licks and stuff, mordents, turns
-Cool little run figures (I'll play these in different modes too)
-Octaves
-Octaves with notes in the middle
-Tremolos

Among numerous other things. Once again, there's a left hand section, a right hand section, and then a hands together section.

***this practice isn't braindead at all; I'm constantly thinking, at least a little bit, since I have to transpose the stuff. I've found in the past two weeks that I've become faster at thinking and sight-transposing, even.***

====Actual Music==== (Anywhere from 30ish minutes to a few hours)

6. Etudes

I'll work on whatever etudes I'm playing. Right now, Scriabin 42-5. I'll probably have drilled said technical difficulties during the technical difficulty or patterns sections (they get jumbled together sometimes)

7. Sight Reading

Pull some stuff up, blast through it with a metronome. Not gonna lie, half the time I'm just simplifying whatever is on the page because I can't play it fast enough LOL. And then I slow it down... (this routine has actually made sightreading much easier if I've covered the stuff during the patterns sections, it's kinda weird; I only have to focus on reading the music, instead of my hands)

8. Play by Ear

I'll play whatever's floating around in my head, that I heard on the radio, and practice my pitch skills and dictation. Or I'll put something on and try to play it, I'll try to play along to something I put on my speakers, etc. It's pretty fun.

9. Improvisation.

I pick a progression and kill it (fail at it).

10. Repertoire

I finally work on my repertoire. I've had to cut back on this practice a lot in order to make time for the other stuff.

=====================

So, that's that. I've been doing this for 2 weeks, and want to see how long I can keep it up, and I'll keep you guys posted about the results. I don't get to do the entire routine usually, I have to cut a few bits out (I'll just pick fewer things to work on).

What I have noticed though, is that playing my repertoire becomes slightly easier (even if the music has nothing to do with the patterns), in the sense that I just feel more of a connection to the instrument. Like it more readily responds to what I ask of it. Also, my sightreading has improved, and I can *gasp* actually somewhat improvise! When I used to compose at the piano (now I do it mainly on the computer), I used to write it down, play it, decided it sucked, and rinse/repeat. Now I can just straight up play it, decide whether it sucks or not, and THEN write it down!

It seems like this process is improving my ability to digest newer material quicker.

Because I'm playing with the metronome the whole time, accompanying people is slightly easier because I don't stop. I'm still trash at it though and they get mad sometimes haha.

What do you guys think?
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

Offline clouseau

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Re: Metronome Madness
«Reply #1 on: March 02, 2018, 08:06:55 AM »
It is quite an ambitious plan, not typical of a music aficionado.

Therefore I am guessing music is your profession or is about to be, and you have daily a lot of time for practicing. Given that, I believe that if you do this consistently, you will most certainly see results and become really good in the years to follow. Of course you will have always to modify your regimen slightly, according to what you have mastered and where your weaknesses are.

To me, the decicive question is not so much the content, but whether you will really work consistently many hours a day for a longer period of time.
"What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune." - Rameau

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Metronome Madness
«Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 05:33:40 PM »
I'm curious how you guys might improve/change my practice regimen, or if you have any insights that may be helpful, and just your thoughts in general!


Because I'm playing with the metronome the whole time, accompanying people is slightly easier because I don't stop. I'm still trash at it though and they get mad sometimes haha.

What do you guys think?

I'm a believer in metronome work but some feel if you use it exclusively, your internal pulse may decay because it's not being required. 

I was at a conference this weekend and one of the presenters recommended using metronome apps that can be set to randomly drop beats, so you have to keep time going in your brain.

Here's an example.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-trainer-metronome/id502491350?mt=8

He also recommended using the metronome on off beats rather than on, for the same reason.
Tim

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: Metronome Madness
«Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 06:02:10 PM »
Quote
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

I don't see how you can't not with a regimen like that, though! Seriously, I wish I had that much time to practice. You'll get there, you're going to have such an incredibly broad range of skills that, within a few months, sight-reading and learning repertoire will be like nothing.

How's it going at this time?
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Metronome Madness
«Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 06:53:11 PM »
I don't see how you can't not with a regimen like that, though! Seriously, I wish I had that much time to practice. You'll get there, you're going to have such an incredibly broad range of skills that, within a few months, sight-reading and learning repertoire will be like nothing.

How's it going at this time?

My playing's gotten a lot more solid in general, and the act of "playing what's in my head" is becoming a lot easier. I started playing my scales blindfolded and practicing blindfolded jumps too, but sometimes I give up because it's so frustrating haha

Blindfolded arps are near impossible :(

Yeah, I have until this fall to practice like this before grad school LOL but hopefully I get somewhere

I feel like my "brain" has sped up, instead of just my hands, which is probably the biggest noticeable difference. Thanks for believing!


I'm a believer in metronome work but some feel if you use it exclusively, your internal pulse may decay because it's not being required. 

I was at a conference this weekend and one of the presenters recommended using metronome apps that can be set to randomly drop beats, so you have to keep time going in your brain.

Here's an example.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-trainer-metronome/id502491350?mt=8

He also recommended using the metronome on off beats rather than on, for the same reason.


I'll try that!


It is quite an ambitious plan, not typical of a music aficionado.

Therefore I am guessing music is your profession or is about to be, and you have daily a lot of time for practicing. Given that, I believe that if you do this consistently, you will most certainly see results and become really good in the years to follow. Of course you will have always to modify your regimen slightly, according to what you have mastered and where your weaknesses are.

To me, the decicive question is not so much the content, but whether you will really work consistently many hours a day for a longer period of time.

I'm not going to be a professional musician haha that door closed for me not too long ago. But I really do enjoy playing, and I don't have much of a social life except on the weekends, and I currently only work part time :D

I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Metronome Madness
«Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 04:53:20 PM »
Only my opinion as a student:

I think I would consider the sequence of your practice.  If you're not getting to working on pieces until you've covered 5 other categories of practice, I wonder how much emotional energy you'll have when you actually begin to play...and as crunchy and woo-woo as it may sound...music is a language of emotion.

Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Metronome Madness
«Reply #6 on: May 21, 2018, 11:37:20 PM »
Only my opinion as a student:

I think I would consider the sequence of your practice.  If you're not getting to working on pieces until you've covered 5 other categories of practice, I wonder how much emotional energy you'll have when you actually begin to play...and as crunchy and woo-woo as it may sound...music is a language of emotion.

Hmmm...that's an interesting point. I find that for me personally, if I start with repertoire, my connection to the instrument that day isn't as solid, and I'll make mistakes and it gets in the way of producing music. If, however, I play all my scales and whatnot, I don't even have to think about playing, my hands just do what I want, and I can focus on the finer aspects...

...some people may be different though.

Also, I have an excess of emotional energy XD
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.