\"\"
Piano Forum logo

The simple secret of victory over ANY "physical technical difficulty." (Read 4963 times)

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
The simple secret of victory over ANY "physical technical difficulty."

Many pianists often say that they know perfectly well what to play and how, but “they cannot do this because of physical difficulties.” I talk with my students on this topic only once, when they come to me for the first time. And afterwards we will never need to speak on this topic. This simple secret should be known to anyone who is going to play music or do any other similar  thing, but for some reason this is never taught.

Why  and how should we practice?

In our head,  two completely different brains live together and interact with  each other.  These are scientific data that people usually do not know about.

One of these two brains  is millions of years old - from the dinosaur era.  This is a wonderful, amazingly powerful "computer"  that can do wonders.  For example, we can  take a full glass of water in our hands  and  move it to another room without spilling a single drop.  No modern computer installed  into robot  can perform this task.
This  "computer" in our head allows us to run, jump, ride a bike, swim, etc. perfectly.  But in general this  brain-computer is very stupid,  it  does not know and understand  a lot of things in the world and  in our life.  And, of course, does not know anything about piano playing.

And all  our  goals and plans for this  "computer" in our head are set by another brain - the human one.  Unfortunately, this  brain is just a small layer of very new, purely human cells that animals do not have.  This human brain knows and understands a lot,  it is much smarter than a "computer from dinosaurs".  But it  is still terribly imperfect,  vulnerable and weak.  This brain gets tired very quickly, can not work for a long time and ALWAYS makes mistakes of any kind.

We can not do anything, relying only on the human brain.  This brain will definitely fail us in any job.
Therefore in any our activity,  our main task is to transfer as much as possible the work we need from human cells to the “computer from dinosaurs”.   All people do it all their lives, adapting themselves and their brains for a certain job.    All the routine work,  which is basically the same all the time,  they perform not with the human brain, but just with this "computer" in their head.  Otherwise, neither the driver of the car, nor the hockey player, nor the dancer could work.

And every pianist has the same problem and the same task.  We must give all the work we need to be done on the piano keys to the computer.  Because the human brain is fundamentally incapable of performing this work.
For this reason, many pianists  "cannot play physically as they understand and want to play".   And the secret here is only in our ability to transfer the necessary information from a smart but weak human brain to a silly but extremely powerful "computer from dinosaurs".

This transfer of information is not an easy thing,  but it is absolutely possible.  It all comes down to repeating the same action WITHOUT A SINGLE MISTAKE many times so that the “stupid dinosaur computer” understands the task correctly and remembers it for a lifetime.

By the way,  this “computer” can not remember anything  in another way  - either it remembers forever,  or it  suddenly deletes “unnecessary information" for it  without warning  and any "command  to delete"  from the human brain.

Only one question remains: how many times do we have to repeat the same action in absolutely the same way and without any slightest mistake for the “computer” to take this work on itself from the human brain?
It depends on the individual characteristics of the person. Someone will need fifty repetitions, and someone may not have enough with five hundred.  Moreover, if pianist A needed 50 repeats to master a difficult place, and pianist B needed over 500,  then in another difficult place in the same piece they can change their places. Pianist A will need more than five hundred, and pianist B will need less than fifty.

Of particular importance is the specific way of working on a piece of music.
Heinrich Neuhaus said with surprise that his best student S. Richter played  easily  sight reading from the sheet of the symphony score, but sometimes he could not cope with the trifling technical difficulty available to any first-year student.
By chance,  I happen to know the answer to this question.  Once at 7:00 PM I came to practice in the 45th class of the Moscow Conservatory, and at that time Richter was practicing already in the 44th class.  And by coincidence, he tried to play  quickly and flawlessly the same very difficult 16 bars with broken triads from Schubert's "The Wanderer" fantasy finale, which I, too, could not do.

He repeated these 16 bars again and again at an extremely fast tempo, and each time his finger slid and clung the neighboring notes. I had exactly this problem too.
From 7 to 11 pm, I repeated these 16 bars SLOWLY at least 500 times. And if you wake me up today, 50 years later after this evening and ask me to play these bars, I will definitely play them without mistakes at any tempo.
When I left the 45th class to go home to sleep, Richter continued to work on these 16 bars still with the same result. The most striking thing was that he did the same thing at 7 am, when I again came to practice in the same 45th class.  He didn’t go home to sleep at all, but worked on these 16 bars ALL NIGHT.

I realized that he would by no means wish to play these bars at least once slowly.  He did it only super fast.  I don’t know if he managed to cope with those 16 bars at  the end, and if he made the record of the "Wanderer".  But these 16 bars definitely cost him many times more because of his stubbornness.  Perhaps he simply did not want us-students to hear him playing  slowly.

If we want a dumb student to understand something perfectly, we have to explain this something  to him in very simple words and SLOWLY.  And we must repeat ABSOLUTELY THE SAME words many, many  times.  At a fast pace and each time with slightly different  or new words  our stupid student will not understand anything.
Similar, like a stupid student, we must teach our "dinosaur computer".  Patience and perseverance along with the right way of working will overcome ANY technical difficulty in music.

Please, play no one time  fast.    Set the metronome to a speed that GUARANTEES absolutely correct notes in each measure and do not play faster before you plaid 100 times WITHOUT  slightest mistake in a slow tempo.   If somewhere your finger slipped off or you accidentally played the wrong note,  you didn’t work AT ALL,  but  only wasted your time.


And the main thing in this secret is to always win, never give up and never get up after practicing being defeated by your problems.  Always difficulties must be overcome, not you.

To do this, just do not take too much work for one time. If it is difficult to do more, make only one page, one line, one measure, two consecutive notes, but do it absolutely the way you want and how you should be.

With this way of work, victory is inevitable.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
I agree only with one part: the "dinosaur brain" that lets us carry a glass of water without spilling it, and the fact of intellect vs. this "brain", there being a question about which leads when.  But I'd like you to be open to a larger view that I will try to set out.  Consider the fact that having done piano in Russia from childhood, you will also have received physical training that has become part of you which we in the west won't necessarily have, so we're working with different parameters.   Your model is to simply play slowly, repeating many times.  I want to expand this.

When I was a child I was given a piano, a relative's music (mostly sonatinas), and learned to play totally on my own, without ever even seeing a pianist.  I was totally free, nobody making me feel self-conscious, and my physical playing evolved in this way. Then for 35 years from age 20 - 55, I had no piano.  When I returned to piano, the reflexes I had built as a child were in my body and "dinosaur brain".  I began to work with a teacher - remotely - trying a first piece, and my LH repeated chords were harsh and uncontrolled.  My existing habits made it so at any speed.  Watching me, my teacher saw that I kept my hand in a kind of "chord-shaped claw" which locked up much of the arm mechanism.  By telling me "do this", "do that", he brought me into a new habit.  THEN the "dinosaur" part could be applied.  I left the lesson, held on to those sensations, those motions.  It was a very physical, "dinosaur" oriented work.

If we have engrained poor physical reflexes, then if we simply practise slowly, but automatically move in ways we have always done, nothing is solved.  We must get out of this programming into something that works in a natural way with the human body.  A young child deftly taught by a good teacher will come into these good motions unthinkingly, and then all you have to do is say "practise slowly, often enough".  But not in these cases.

I know that you have seen students who were "over-taught" in the wrong way, i.e. the "hand posture" thing, so that they come to you crippled.  You wrote about it elsewhere.  That is just as bad - in fact, maybe worse.  But I am saying that with physical difficulties, when there are underlying things such as has been in my case, then those underlying things will continue until they are turned around.  The teacher who does that turning around has to be very good.  There aren't that many who can do this.  I have been lucky to have found two such teachers.  Anyone who would deny the existence of these things, and go ONLY for "practise slowly" - such a thing makes me uncomfortable on behalf of students.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
I agree only with one part: the "dinosaur brain" that lets us carry a glass of water without spilling it, and the fact of intellect vs. this "brain", there being a question about which leads when.  But I'd like you to be open to a larger view that I will try to set out.  Consider the fact that having done piano in Russia from childhood, you will also have received physical training that has become part of you which we in the west won't necessarily have, so we're working with different parameters.   Your model is to simply play slowly, repeating many times.  I want to expand this.

When I was a child I was given a piano, a relative's music (mostly sonatinas), and learned to play totally on my own, without ever even seeing a pianist.  I was totally free, nobody making me feel self-conscious, and my physical playing evolved in this way. Then for 35 years from age 20 - 55, I had no piano.  When I returned to piano, the reflexes I had built as a child were in my body and "dinosaur brain".  I began to work with a teacher - remotely - trying a first piece, and my LH repeated chords were harsh and uncontrolled.  My existing habits made it so at any speed.  Watching me, my teacher saw that I kept my hand in a kind of "chord-shaped claw" which locked up much of the arm mechanism.  By telling me "do this", "do that", he brought me into a new habit.  THEN the "dinosaur" part could be applied.  I left the lesson, held on to those sensations, those motions.  It was a very physical, "dinosaur" oriented work.

If we have engrained poor physical reflexes, then if we simply practise slowly, but automatically move in ways we have always done, nothing is solved.  We must get out of this programming into something that works in a natural way with the human body.  A young child deftly taught by a good teacher will come into these good motions unthinkingly, and then all you have to do is say "practise slowly, often enough".  But not in these cases.

I know that you have seen students who were "over-taught" in the wrong way, i.e. the "hand posture" thing, so that they come to you crippled.  You wrote about it elsewhere.  That is just as bad - in fact, maybe worse.  But I am saying that with physical difficulties, when there are underlying things such as has been in my case, then those underlying things will continue until they are turned around.  The teacher who does that turning around has to be very good.  There aren't that many who can do this.  I have been lucky to have found two such teachers.  Anyone who would deny the existence of these things, and go ONLY for "practise slowly" - such a thing makes me uncomfortable on behalf of students.

No 1.

When I worked as a Chorus master at opera, my job was to teach "people from the street" (choir should be cheap, $$$ not for the choristers) to sing opera in 2-3 months.
And I heard objections that with my work in slow tempo I will never prepare my choir on time.

However, it is very easy to double your tempo, and then double this new tempo one more time, when you know perfectly each note in your music already from your work in slow tempo. And it is impossible just increase tempo when there is complete mess in a head.

No 2. In former USSR all artist were paid by government.  And there were strict rules on pay.  If concert was shorter than one hour, then artists had much lower pay. Therefore it was very important that no one customer could catch you on your concert shorter than these 60 minutes. It was considered a cheating on state with all unpleasant consequences.

And in spite of this fact any concert that initially was say 1 hour and 18 minutes shrunk itself and became shorter and shorter towards dangerous red line. Because we feel time and tempo differently playing the same piece the very first time and after 150 concerts with the same program.

I do not say about this phenomenon on purpose. Because this kind of tempo increase is natural and no one pianist will play the same 16 bars 500 times with the same speed. the difference will be, probably, 3-4 times.


Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
You have not addressed anything that I wrote.

Offline dogperson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1439
I am confused by  your Richter reference that the two of  you attended adjacent classes  at the Moscow conservatory.  These are the dates that I have found:

He attended ca.  1937
You graduated in 1968
Richter recorded the Wanderer in 1953

Offline thirtytwo2020

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 111
If we have engrained poor physical reflexes, then if we simply practise slowly, but automatically move in ways we have always done, nothing is solved.  We must get out of this programming into something that works in a natural way with the human body.

Anyone who would deny the existence of these things, and go ONLY for "practise slowly" - such a thing makes me uncomfortable on behalf of students.

Thanks keypeg, well put.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
I am confused by  your Richter reference that the two of  you attended adjacent classes  at the Moscow conservatory.  These are the dates that I have found:

He attended ca.  1937
You graduated in 1968
Richter recorded the Wanderer in 1953


Richter lived in an ordinary multi-storey building, on the topmost floor, half a kilometer from the Conservatory. It is unlikely that the rest of the tenants were happy with his daily 12-16 hours of practice, especially at night.

Therefore, he came to the conservatory to practice quite often.
Maybe,  he was preparing for a new recording or just a concert that evening in 1967.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
You have not addressed anything that I wrote.


"The theory is dry, my friend, but the tree of life is green". Goethe. Faust.

Honestly,  did you try at least once in your life  to repeat a difficult place slowly 500 times?

If you try - you will not argue without knowing the facts.

H. Neuhauz to the question of how he copes with technical difficulties answered: "I play and play until I get it."

There is nothing in the world that works better and more reliably.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Thanks keypeg, well put.


"The theory is dry, my friend, but the tree of life is green". Goethe. Faust.

Honestly,  did you try at least once in your life  to repeat a difficult place slowly 500 times?

If you try - you will not argue without knowing the facts.

H. Neuhauz to the question of how he copes with technical difficulties answered: "I play and play until I get it."

There is nothing in the world that works better and more reliably.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6158
What an empty post not even defining how one can practice mindfully merely using generalisations with no knowledge to elaborate. 500 repetitions is idiotic no matter how you do it. Congratulations on wasting your time and encouraging others to do the same. Strong delusions of grandeur.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16663
If i played any part of a piece 500 times, i would hate it so much i could never play it.

If i sounded like Richter, i would blow my brains out.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Online compline

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 306
Perhaps  Mr. Dounin  should go peddle  his pretentious piano prowess elsewhere and cause less confusion here on Piano Street which has more than enough  professional expertise  which  I  much prefer.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
What an empty post not even defining how one can practice mindfully merely using generalisations with no knowledge to elaborate. 500 repetitions is idiotic no matter how you do it. Congratulations on wasting your time and encouraging others to do the same. Strong delusions of grandeur.
Lostinidlewonder, thank you for the voice of sanity.  Do you want to change your name to Listinidlewonderbutnotlost?

Offline dogperson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1439

Richter lived in an ordinary multi-storey building, on the topmost floor, half a kilometer from the Conservatory. It is unlikely that the rest of the tenants were happy with his daily 12-16 hours of practice, especially at night.

Therefore, he came to the conservatory to practice quite often.
Maybe,  he was preparing for a new recording or just a concert that evening in 1967.


I call baloney response!
Your original anecdote stated you were both conservatory students at the same time.  Now, you have implicitly acknowledged that was not true.... fabricated 

In 1963. Richter produced another recording of the Wanderer.  You now claim he practiced all night because he did not know how to practice effectively?

Nothing of the  discredited original post nor reply is credible....desperate appearing attempt to make yourself look better at practicing than Richter.

Don’t you realize that what you post here either tarnishes or improves your credibility?  This was an unnecessary fabricated anecdote.  It is telling that you ignore the flaws in  your attempt to cover up rather than admit the fallacy.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338


I call baloney response!
Your original anecdote stated you were both conservatory students at the same time.  Now, you have implicitly acknowledged that was not true.... fabricated 


What can I do with you, if you are not able to read and understand: what exactly is written?

Read again (I copy this part of my post):
"By chance,  I happen to know the answer to this question.  Once at 7:00 PM I came to practice in the 45th class of the Moscow Conservatory, and at that time Richter was practicing already in the 44th class.  And by coincidence, he tried to play  quickly and flawlessly the same very difficult 16 bars with broken triads from Schubert's "The Wanderer" fantasy finale, which I, too, could not do."

Where do you see a single word that Richter was a student at that time?  He was already the most famous pianist of the country at that time. Therefore he was allowed to work in the night, when all the rest (including me - student) were ordered to leave the building.

It is much better to read carefully instead of arguing for no reason.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
If i played any part of a piece 500 times, i would hate it so much i could never play it.

If i sounded like Richter, i would blow my brains out.

Thal

However,  if you did not play these 500 times, your listeners would hate your performance so much that they never come to your concert again and never buy your recording.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
What an empty post not even defining how one can practice mindfully merely using generalisations with no knowledge to elaborate. 500 repetitions is idiotic no matter how you do it. Congratulations on wasting your time and encouraging others to do the same. Strong delusions of grandeur.

Instead of wasting time and energy in verbal battle, bring here 1 page of the most difficult piece you know (by YOUR choice) together with the recording of your performance of this page. I will learn this page in my way and post it here back for comparison. Let all the rest to decide: who's performance will be more "idiotic"?

Offline themeandvariation

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 763
 "idiotic"  ?
   :-X
4'33"

Offline dogperson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1439
Instead of wasting time and energy in verbal battle, bring here 1 page of the most difficult piece you know (by YOUR choice) together with the recording of your performance of this page. I will learn this page in my way and post it here back for comparison. Let all the rest to decide: who's performance will be more "idiotic"?


When are you planning on posting your interpretation of Rach’s ‘Elegie’, so we can decide which one, yours or Rach’s is more ‘idiotic’?

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2739
Instead of wasting time and energy in verbal battle, bring here 1 page of the most difficult piece you know (by YOUR choice) together with the recording of your performance of this page. I will learn this page in my way and post it here back for comparison. Let all the rest to decide: who's performance will be more "idiotic"?

Hi Vladimir, I will take up this offer.

I think this is a fair challenge, as my recording is assuredly imperfect, and there may well be educational elements in this. I recorded this live in 2002, and I was a worse pianist then than I am now. It is also the most difficult thing I have ever played in public ;)

But enough excuses. It is variation XVIII from Alkan's "Festin d'Esope", sheet music https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/03627/tofpg

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6158
Lostinidlewonder, thank you for the voice of sanity.  Do you want to change your name to Listinidlewonderbutnotlost?
Lol keypeg. You have given the opening poster much more respect than I could ever fathom and after reading his responses (or non-responses and talking past you) to you it made it clear what this opening poster is unfortunately all about.

Instead of wasting time and energy in verbal battle, bring here 1 page of the most difficult piece you know (by YOUR choice) together with the recording of your performance of this page. I will learn this page in my way and post it here back for comparison. Let all the rest to decide: who's performance will be more "idiotic"?
This is hilarious. You don't want to defend yourself with proper elaborations instead want to go into this? Ronde will sufficiently squash you flat thats good enough I don't think you deserve it anyway but he is quite generous. I have zero wish to educate you nor jump through any of your hoops nor provide material you could steal and use for some of your future lies pretending it is your own playing!

You cannot even respond to people who have taken your post seriously so why would I have any confidence that you will take any of this seriously? You are trying to control us with your madness and I just wont give you that, im sorry you can now shake your puny fists at me lol.

I think my objection to your madness and your inabillity to respond with adequate elaboration is sufficient to make other readers wary of your misinformation.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6158
People just have to process your numbers to understand your deceit:

From 7 to 11 pm, I repeated these 16 bars SLOWLY at least 500 times. And if you wake me up today, 50 years later after this evening and ask me to play these bars, I will definitely play them without mistakes at any tempo.
You are talking about  Schubert's "The Wanderer" fantasy. Now if people go have a look how long one bar will take at tempo your lies about taking it SLOWLY doesn't hold up.

16 bars 500 reptitions 4 hours. That is 8000 bars in 4 hours, 2000 in 1 hour, 33.33 bars a minute, 0.555 bars a second. You would have to play for 4 hours with zero rest otherwise your tempo would have to be even faster. You are proclaiming that you are doing it slowly what rubbish, this is faster than half tempo and with rests inbetween you have to go faster than this. Anyone who knows anything about mindful practice technique will know the value of taking pauses to consider and absorb information not just robotic incessant repetition again and again, all these calcuations are devoid of that, if we put that in we will have even faster tempo again. Given that you demand 100% accuracy I cannot fathom how anyone would do this with 100% accuracy for 4 hours, you can aim for this accuracy in small spurts and that is all that is necessary, anyone who knows about practice technique will understand this. So now I have helped you to construct a better lie next time, good luck lol!

Now lets consider you meant from 7am-11pm this is even more hilarious.
First of all no one will believe you can sit for 16 hours practicing. 8000 bars in 16 hours, 500 bars an hour, 8.33 bars a minute, 0.1388 bars a second. Given it is say approx 1+ second per bar at tempo, you are playing more than  7-8x slower than tempo, now anyone who knows about piano practice technique will laugh at you for going this tempo for long periods of time, your movements will not relate to playing at faster tempo.

Your lies have been exposed by your very own made up numbers.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6158
I am confused by  your Richter reference that the two of  you attended adjacent classes  at the Moscow conservatory.  These are the dates that I have found:

He attended ca.  1937
You graduated in 1968
Richter recorded the Wanderer in 1953
This is also clear evidence of the madness in the opening posters mind. Writing as if he has some close connection to Richter, this is just a comedy of errors. His feeble attempt to explain it away is not able to contend with the fact that Ricter record it in 1953, good one dog lol.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
I have hesitated in responding, since I don't want to give more voice to these things by quoting them, but I feel a sense of responsibility toward any fellow students who may be reading these threads.
Honestly,  did you try at least once in your life  to repeat a difficult place slowly 500 times?
My music studies had two periods - one when I didn't have understanding, and the other when I did and also began to have decent teachers.  Two instruments.

During the ignorant period, and another instrument, yes, I did repeat difficult places slowly, countless times.  There is one passage in particular which never worked out.  I dropped the instrument for over a decade.  I started to relearn.  In particular, I learned that if you press too heavily on the strings, your hand locks up.  So I worked on lighter pressure, random notes, short periods.  Then I picked up the music with the "impossible passage" out of curiosity.  I played it through, without having practised it, problem-free.

The "500 times" is the one that did not work, and there were reasons.

In my anecdote, I applied what I had learned from my good teachers.  1) You find the source of the problem, and address it.  2) Short practice periods so the "learning system" (body, mind, senses) stay fresh.

My "500 repetitions" did not work, because I was repeating the same bad movements, which were entrenched in my body - in this case, locking up my hand.  The purposeful, problem-oriented (solution-oriented) practise did move.  A physical retraining was needed.

If you are a student who cannot do what a teacher is telling you to do and modeling, don't keep trying and trying and trying; and don't beat yourself up because what this teacher is saying isn't working; above all, don't persuade yourself that if the teacher says it will be easier for you, and it is not easier that it must be, quashing authentic observations that it isn't.  Any solution has to match the problem.  If elevator shoes help a short person reach a desired height, they won't do the same for a tall person.  That is what good teaching is about.  And if it's via the Internet, be especially careful because some things work better, and some work worse.  And I do have a lot of experience working with teachers remotely.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
Lostinidlewonder, thank you for your posts.  Your other in the teacher forum is excellent, and it reflects what I have seen as a student when I got good and effective teaching.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
I have hesitated in responding, since I don't want to give more voice to these things by quoting them, but I feel a sense of responsibility toward any fellow students who may be reading these threads.My music studies had two periods - one when I didn't have understanding, and the other when I did and also began to have decent teachers.  Two instruments.

During the ignorant period, and another instrument, yes, I did repeat difficult places slowly, countless times.  There is one passage in particular which never worked out.  I dropped the instrument for over a decade.  I started to relearn.  In particular, I learned that if you press too heavily on the strings, your hand locks up.  So I worked on lighter pressure, random notes, short periods.  Then I picked up the music with the "impossible passage" out of curiosity.  I played it through, without having practised it, problem-free.

The "500 times" is the one that did not work, and there were reasons.

In my anecdote, I applied what I had learned from my good teachers.  1) You find the source of the problem, and address it.  2) Short practice periods so the "learning system" (body, mind, senses) stay fresh.

My "500 repetitions" did not work, because I was repeating the same bad movements, which were entrenched in my body - in this case, locking up my hand.  The purposeful, problem-oriented (solution-oriented) practise did move.  A physical retraining was needed.

If you are a student who cannot do what a teacher is telling you to do and modeling, don't keep trying and trying and trying; and don't beat yourself up because what this teacher is saying isn't working; above all, don't persuade yourself that if the teacher says it will be easier for you, and it is not easier that it must be, quashing authentic observations that it isn't.  Any solution has to match the problem.  If elevator shoes help a short person reach a desired height, they won't do the same for a tall person.  That is what good teaching is about.  And if it's via the Internet, be especially careful because some things work better, and some work worse.  And I do have a lot of experience working with teachers remotely.


I don't know much about playing strings. I play the piano. But just from  the great violin teachers I read that the most important and decisive in teaching is the "sound-making will". If the right musical image is formed in the head, then the body will inevitably create it in reality. If this musical image is not there, then no effort and methods will replace it.

Offline vladimirdounin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Hi Vladimir, I will take up this offer.

I think this is a fair challenge, as my recording is assuredly imperfect, and there may well be educational elements in this. I recorded this live in 2002, and I was a worse pianist then than I am now. It is also the most difficult thing I have ever played in public ;)

But enough excuses. It is variation XVIII from Alkan's "Festin d'Esope", sheet music https://imslp.org/wiki/Special:ImagefromIndex/03627/tofpg


Could you send a normal page instead of  this "monitoring service"?






Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2739

Could you send a normal page instead of  this "monitoring service"?

Vladimir, with respect, you have entitled this thread ".. secret of victory over ANY physical technical difficulty", recounted an anecdote which gives the impression that your practice regimen is superior to that of Richter, and asked for a sample from, quote, "the most difficult piece you know".

I have submitted precisely that, so why then ask for a "normal page"? Surely if your secret can solve all technical problems, it will be doubly impressive if applied to this example, which I do admit is at the higher extremes of difficulty. And there can be little doubt that Richter had the theoretical capacity to play the piece I quote, even if he did not in fact do so in practice.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4903
Lmao why are y’all still tryna argue with this dude he’s an idiot.  I enjoy not having tendinitis or carpal tunnel so I’m not finna play anything 500 times in a row lol

Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6158
Well he's clearly defeated by ronde, a flippant excuse not to open the sheet music that has been spoonfed to him, surely he can find another source if his paranoia about imslp scares him, surely he has an autographed copy from Richter he can use?  ;D

If we give him more benefit of the doubt than he deserves he is stalling so he can try to learn it but my guess is that he is struggling to even get one controlled repetition done lol.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline soultrap

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 46
I've been biting my tongue and reading through this guy's posts, from Traumerei to this thread. What I've noticed is:

1. This guy's ego is huge.

2. ALL of his threads are theoretical. There's barely anything you can apply. His intensity thread makes me laugh. 500 repetitions will of course get you results and tendonitis.

3. He's really cringe-worthy when he's putting a thread and countless YouTube videos out to brag that he can play Für Elise following the score 100% robotically and thinking it's the best version in the world. Especially Traumerei. There's a reason why nobody plays it at the original tempo. Because then it sounds stupid, which is exactly how it sounded when he plays it. Looking so highly on oneself is a trait commonly shared with 5 year olds, which I assume is this guy's mentality.

Hell, why don't we play all Chopin's Etudes at the original tempo as well? Or, maybe, this vlad guy can play it. No reason to play traumerei (a dreamy and lyrical piece) fast and not play technically brilliant pieces fast.

4. The amount of contradicting is insane. He acts like he's some knowitall in classical music, and asks US (who he's trying to lecture) which piece to choose for his students. He creates a thread on how we need to start using the internet for teaching and invites us to join his "masterclass" format, (which, by the way, no one's going to understand because he speaks in a non-informative way) and doesn't know how to use an imslp page.

TL;DR: Egotistic man wants attention, creates multiple threads and spends 5 hours a day replying to them in lecture format.
Pieces I'm working on:
Beethoven op. 109
Chopin Etudes op.10
Tchaikovsky Seasons June & October
Tchaikovsky Russian scherzo op. 1 no. 1
Tchaikovsky concerto 1
Mozart K 488
Rachmaninoff sonata 2

Offline vmishka

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
If vladimirdounin's objection is IMSLP and not the music itself, I have attached a PDF of variation XVIII of Alkan's music. Just looking at the pages, it seems to me that it fits "under the hand" pretty well. True, it needs to be played rather fast, but Vladimir should be jumping at the opportunity to demonstrate his technical mastery.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3568
I don't know much about playing strings. I play the piano. But just from  the great violin teachers I read that the most important and decisive in teaching is the "sound-making will". If the right musical image is formed in the head, then the body will inevitably create it in reality. If this musical image is not there, then no effort and methods will replace it.
I deleted my response because either you did not attempt to read what I wrote, or you were unable to understand it.  You had asked whether I had ever tried to play something slowly "500 times".  I responded that I had, it had not worked, and then I described what had worked.  Addressing the cause of a problem had worked.  The particular cause was physical: excessive pressing down which locked the hand.  By working specifically on this physical action, I was then able to play the passage problem-free.

You have responded to this by postulating about "will" as a solution, when I already wrote what the solution was.  WHAT WORKED was learning to not press excessively, because that locked the hand.  Were you able to understand this?

While that was violin, the same thing happened with piano.  It was when my teacher observed my physical actions, and guided me in changing them, that playing improved.  Over time the guided body knows enough to start making changes on its own, but not to start with.

It is pertinent to your endeavour because if you work with a student such as myself, and you are aiming for things such as timing or "intensity" - if the ability to produce these is compromised by a physical glitch, then this has to be addressed by you, the teacher.  If you do not at least observe the student (video) you will be missing those cues.  I would never entrust myself to an experiment with any teacher who dismisses the physical side of playing.  Any student who is tempted should be careful.