\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Three thousand double octaves per day? (Read 2254 times)

Offline maxim3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
Three thousand double octaves per day?
« on: October 01, 2018, 01:23:55 AM »
This post should be of interest to louispodesta! Among others of course.

Professional ragtime & stride pianist Frederick Hodges gives a 'daily minimum' 1.5 hour (once fully learned) practice routine on his blog, which you may view at:

http://frederickhodges.com/fundamentalsofpianotechniquepart1.html

The routine includes, if I have calculated correctly, playing over three THOUSAND double octaves every single day (all scales, arpeggios in all inversions, 3 and 4 octaves up and down keyboard etc.)

Of course some people must be capable of this, day after day. But for the ordinary mortal who cannot quite span the tenth from Db to F, say, isn't three thousand double octaves per day asking for a serious Lang Lang type of injury?

Offline perfect_pitch

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6567
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 02:36:06 AM »
Double octaves - I don't think is actually a worry from someone who feels very comfortable doing octaves, given my small hand size (for a guy), but the 10ths are impossible for me.

It depends on the size of the hand. Someone who can stretch a 9th maximum is going to find octaves fatiguing - someone who can reach a 12th won't even struggle. I think as long as you can play octaves without any tension or strain, it shouldn't be that big a deal.

Offline ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3843
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 03:16:05 AM »
Hodges is a very accomplished player but I, for one, couldn't stand the stupefying boredom of going through that lot of old fashioned exercises in exactly the same way, day in and day out while my musical mind went to sleep. I feel compelled to invent new exercises every day, even on my silent Virgil Practice Clavier. Actually, I wonder if he has thought of getting one of those for his finger olympics, then he would be spared listening to what he does. On the other hand, perhaps he likes the sound of it; now there is a daunting prospect.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline pianoplunker

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 792
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #3 on: October 01, 2018, 04:27:04 AM »
This post should be of interest to louispodesta! Among others of course.

Professional ragtime & stride pianist Frederick Hodges gives a 'daily minimum' 1.5 hour (once fully learned) practice routine on his blog, which you may view at:

http://frederickhodges.com/fundamentalsofpianotechniquepart1.html

The routine includes, if I have calculated correctly, playing over three THOUSAND double octaves every single day (all scales, arpeggios in all inversions, 3 and 4 octaves up and down keyboard etc.)

Of course some people must be capable of this, day after day. But for the ordinary mortal who cannot quite span the tenth from Db to F, say, isn't three thousand double octaves per day asking for a serious Lang Lang type of injury?


sorry, I am confused again. You are concerned about playing double octaves at a certain rate but then talk about tenths ? actually Db to F is way easier  than C to E.  What is a Lang Lang injury? 

Offline maxim3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #4 on: October 01, 2018, 05:35:15 AM »
This reply is mainly for pianoplunker, and anyone else who struggles with English.

1. A well-known pianist (Frederick Hodges) says that you should practice about THREE THOUSAND (3,000) double octaves every day.

2. My question: Is it dangerous to do 3,000 double octaves every day?

3. I believe that if a CORRECTLY TRAINED pianist has VERY large hands, 3000 double octaves every day is probably not dangerous.

4. Lang Lang is a world-famous concert pianist who announced in March 2017 that he had a very bad injury to his left arm. He stopped playing and he got medical treatment. Many people believe the injury happened because he played too many concerts, with too many hard pieces. So he did not get enough rest. Some people also believe that he may have been using a bad technique, which finally hurt his arm.

Lang Lang has recently started performing again. But now he does not play the kind of music which is the most stressful for the arms and hands.

Offline perfect_pitch

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6567
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #5 on: October 01, 2018, 05:50:20 AM »
...actually Db to F is way easier  than C to E.  What is a Lang Lang injury?  

You are SO wrong. I can play C to E (barely), but Db to F is impossible. I can play F# to A, but not cleanly.

C to E is far easier than Db to F... don't believe me? Try it yourself.

Offline ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3843
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 10:00:16 AM »
On a second reading of Hodges's writing I find a lot of his advice to be strange, such as passing the thumb under and not using the thumb on black keys. I find both those actions very uncomfortable, the former being unnecessary except in really slow stuff, and the second a ridiculous constraint. It must obviously work for him, at least for the sort of music he plays, but I doubt it would do me any good for what I play. I tend to wonder, with the original poster, what the point is of playing so many octaves, they're not very interesting intervals.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2732
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 10:18:52 AM »
Kalkbrenner claimed to be able to play scales in all keys in double octaves for an hour without stress. (He recommended reading a book whilst doing so.) In that context 3000 doesn't seem that much. Less than one a second.

Offline perfect_pitch

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6567
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #8 on: October 02, 2018, 12:34:46 AM »
I tend to wonder, with the original poster, what the point is of playing so many octaves, they're not very interesting intervals.

Liszt made good use of the octaves in his Hungarian Rhapsodies...

Offline pianoplunker

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 792
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #9 on: October 02, 2018, 06:26:31 AM »
You are SO wrong. I can play C to E (barely), but Db to F is impossible. I can play F# to A, but not cleanly.

C to E is far easier than Db to F... don't believe me? Try it yourself.

I have never been wronger. that is what happens when I am in front of a computer rather than a piano when I post nonsense. Please disregard my comment.

Offline ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3843
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #10 on: October 02, 2018, 10:12:38 AM »
Liszt made good use of the octaves in his Hungarian Rhapsodies...

Yes, brilliant, and so did Alkan, I love his octave study in E, the one in 10/16. I guess I played too many octaves when young and have become tired of their sound. These days I tend to avoid using a lot of them in improvisation, and never in the traditional ways. You're right though, the lack, if such exists, is mine, I've just become jaded.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline maxim3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #11 on: October 04, 2018, 11:59:35 PM »
Thank you all for your responses. It seems that none of you trained pianists are at all alarmed by the demands of a daily practice routine like that of Frederick Hodges. It's absolutely amazing what physical capacities can be developed by proper training over time.

I know there is a lot of nasty back-and-forth in this forum about Lang Lang's injury, where lpodesta seems to be usually at the center of the storm, but there is a bright side. As a result of reading all that stuff, I will NEVER AGAIN push my hands or arms too far when practicing the piano. Even before the Lang Lang debate, I should have known better, but I was still getting aches and pains now and then, which would sometimes persist for more than a day.

Now I am paying constant attention to ergonomic safety matters, thanks to this forum. I may never play like a concert pianist, but I am now confident that I'm never going to injure myself.

Offline perfect_pitch

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6567
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #12 on: October 05, 2018, 05:59:55 AM »
Yes, brilliant, and so did Alkan, I love his octave study in E, the one in 10/16.

How have I NEVER heard of this etude??? Thanks Ted - listening to it now.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6075
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #13 on: October 10, 2018, 01:44:46 AM »
This is sort of like OCD, it can ruin many peoples lives. What is described here is quite ridiculous, why is playing octaves so important that it requires so much time dedicated to it every day of your life? Mastering the circle of 4th/5ths chords, scales and progression over varying rhythmic accompaniment seems far more interesting exercises if you really must do hours of exercises a day! In terms of improvisation of stride/rag piano simply playing scales or scales in octaves all day is not going to help you a huge amount (in fact it is not going to help you anywhere an incredible amount, scales and octaves are only a small piece of the tools used in music!!).

A big danger when learning an instrument is getting overly obsessed with something, it distracts you from progress. I've had students obsess over a single piece and refuse to move on until it is an image of perfection, what a waste of time. So too I see practicing octaves in the fashion described here to be obsessive and a distraction to progress. Heck you might see some progress but it will be accompanied with a huge amount of inefficiency and long plateus of meagre improvement. Putting your tim and efforts into more effective studies is logical.




I just randomly had a read of a passage on the link in the OP:
"When playings arpeggios, the thumb is never used on a sharp key (black key) with the sole exception of the Gb major and Eb minor arpeggios, where the absence of naturals (white keys) in the triad necessitates the use of the thumb on a sharp key. Indeed, arpeggios consisting entirely of black notes (Gb major, Eb minor, and Gb major sixth), are fingered exactly as if they consisted entirely of white keys."
This kind of generalization is misleading and misinformed and a product of playing scales mindlessly and robotically. The fingering in scales can be various, the problem with simply playing scaled over and over again with the same fingering is that you will not realize how you can alter it in actual pieces. A single scale can be played so many different ways. Actually playing scales with octaves only takes away the knowledge of fingering also, so octaves scales although they may help you understand shape of the scale on the keyboard they do not help you understand your fingering options at all. 
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3843
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #14 on: October 10, 2018, 04:30:28 AM »
...In terms of improvisation of stride/rag piano simply playing scales or scales in octaves all day is not going to help you a huge amount (in fact it is not going to help you anywhere an incredible amount, scales and octaves are only a small piece of the tools used in music!!)....

Right as usual. Frankly, I am puzzled that Hodges would actually carry out all this nonsense. He isn't the ragtime player I would choose to listen to. David Thomas Roberts, Scott Kirby and Brian Keenan, to name just three, are far more interesting musically, but Hodges is technically accomplished with a huge repertoire. It baffles me why he would do it, let alone proffer advice to do it.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3843
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #15 on: October 10, 2018, 05:02:55 AM »
Hodgesís approach reminds me of that Peskanov bloke who posted videos of himself roaring up and down in unrelenting double thirds. Yes, I suppose it is a commendable physical achievement, but what do you do once youíve learned the trick ? Keep on doing it day in and day out ? I donít know about you, but once I can do something I start looking for things I canít do (in my case a relatively easy task !) The process, as with music itself is infinite and dynamic. It is this complete lack of creatively reaching out, both physically and mentally, that I find unpalatable.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline opus10no2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2157
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #16 on: October 10, 2018, 12:46:03 PM »
Walking on a treadmill. Walking in the great varied outdoors.

Which would you rather do?

Find ways of improvising and manipulating things musically so that your daily routine of technical development doesn't feel like a treadmill. That way you'll develop not only technique but ways of applying it too - plus you'll actually ENJOY it and be far more likely to sustain it as a daily pattern.
Da SDC Piano Forum :
http://www.dasdc.net/

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6075
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #17 on: October 12, 2018, 01:37:11 AM »
Right as usual. Frankly, I am puzzled that Hodges would actually carry out all this nonsense. He isn't the ragtime player I would choose to listen to. David Thomas Roberts, Scott Kirby and Brian Keenan, to name just three, are far more interesting musically, but Hodges is technically accomplished with a huge repertoire. It baffles me why he would do it, let alone proffer advice to do it.
You're expertise on this area ted far outweighs my own but I certainly share your bewilderment as to why this fellow would suggest others follow this madness!!
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline maxim3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #18 on: October 12, 2018, 02:51:06 AM »
Hodges is technically accomplished with a huge repertoire. It baffles me

Let me imagine two scenarios which might have led to Hodges' technical accomplishment (plus huge repertoire).

1. God in heaven stood over the child Frederick Hodges. God whipped out his HUGE DIVINE PENIS AND PISSED DIVINE TALENT-BEARING URINE ALL OVER THE INNOCENT CHILD. From that day forth, little Frederick was a prodigy on the piano! He drank beer, ate hamburgers, and read online piano forums during most of his waking hours, but still became, thanks to GOD'S TALENTRIFFIC PEE, a fine technically accomplished pianist with a huge repertoire!

or

2. God ignored little Frederick Hodges, who wanted more than anything else to become a professional pianist, and keep up his form once he got there. So Frederick practiced for hours every day. He developed a schedule wherein he would play a grueling, boring, comprehensive technical regime lasting 1.5 hours every day, BEFORE he practiced all his other stuff for several MORE hours. The 1.5 hour morning regime was unimaginative, stifling, a pain in the ass, unpleasant, laborious, practically forbidden by everyone on the piano forums, and all the online piano teachers sternly warned him that it would cause his children to be "unnatural." But he stubbornly refused to listen to anyone. As a result, he became a technically accomplished pianist with a huge repertoire!

Hmmm

=)

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6075
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #19 on: October 12, 2018, 05:50:48 AM »
The problem is that the vast majority of people would fail using this approach rather than gain transcendental technique/improv ability. In fact it is quite insulting to say that one can learn all you need to for improvisation/technique by just doing scales -_-.  

This fellow cannot seriously say this is all he did to get to where he was, totally neglecting studying, playing, listening to actual pieces. Ridiculous. Who expects people to be so time rich to be able to do hours of exercises on top of studying more music. Sure everyone has 4 hours a day to practice piano! Its normal??

So people will critique this approach and rightly so.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline stephenv

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 73
Re: Three thousand double octaves per day?
«Reply #20 on: December 08, 2018, 01:18:53 AM »
while I admire his tenacity and endurance.....I am not so sure all of us could withstand the practice of double octaves that he does.   SOOOOOOO   IF you'd like to get better at playing octaves...may I suggest using the approach Guy Maier has given in his book on essential technique:  Thinking Fingers:...it involves the use of "impulse practice"  and I find that my ability to play octaves ..double or otherwise improves by this practice.   Here's one of those Maier exercises.  Play using a very light staccato "touch"  in octaves the first two notes of the C major scale...C and D....then back to C and three notes...C, D, E...then back to C ...play 4 notes ..C, D, E, F.   repeat playing 5 notes, 6 notes, 7 and 8 ...then go back to C and play the octave.in one "run"...from the bottom to top...Reverse this process going the opposite direction.     when you do the group of notes...each time...rest just a bit afterwards...then start the next group....Make Sense?   ...also forgot to mention...do this exercise in "time" ..

John Browning once said that Joseph Levine ..put a book under each arm and held them there while he practiced octaves to achieve the feeling of from the wrist...Matthay always said ..that in order to run ...you must free the fingers from arm weight.....