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Topic: What do you think would be the best way to learn piano if you could start over?  (Read 3764 times)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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For anyone else reading this, who want further information about what Ive been referring to, you could search "Music- hearing a score on your head". 
You will find various techniques for developing such a skill.  It is a thing.  Not a super human feat, really.  Musical dictation, (as in the scene I described in the last post) 
sight singing, theory, sight reading skills, all play a part in doing this.
I said it is a super human feat to read an unknown score and hear a recording in your head playing that music back to you exactly as it would be if someone was performing it. Are you still trying to make people believe that it is a possibility? Could you suggest any music schools which actually have a program which aims for such things and reveal the syllabus which develops this? The reason why I am so specific about this EXACTLY as I have desribed it is because with sight READING skills you can do such things, you can play something you have never seen and produce the sound exactly as it should be. You suggest one can do this simply as a mental exercise keeping it all in the head, this is a fantasy, no one hears a recording in their head EXACTLY representing the score in front of them as if it was a recording of the work.
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Offline themeandvariation

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" You suggest one can do this simply as a mental exercise keeping it all in the head, this is a fantasy, ..."
It is not a fantasy as I have described it this whole way.  You have set parameters/ goal posts as to how it must be.  That is your problem, not mine. You are gas lighting this perspective because it somehow to your mind does't measure up - EVEN though you refuse to try a simple experiment.  Because, if you can't do it, you simply believe it cannot be done.
 You evidently were short changed in your education w regard to all this.
Many can do it, and I would propose even yourself, if you cared to do the gradual work that brings such a skill. 
Your pejorative,. 'fantasy' - allows you to not take it seriously, not to mention the slight
of tin foil hat- directed at me.  I teach this stuff.  Done here.
4'33"

Offline lostinidlewonder

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" You suggest one can do this simply as a mental exercise keeping it all in the head, this is a fantasy, ..."
It is not a fantasy as I have described it this whole way.  You have set parameters/ goal posts as to how it must be.  That is your problem, not mine. You are gas lighting this perspective because it somehow to your mind does't measure up - EVEN though you refuse to try a simple experiment.  Because, if you can't do it, you simply believe it cannot be done.
 You evidently were short changed in your education w regard to all this.
Many can do it, and I would propose even yourself, if you cared to do the gradual work that brings such a skill.
Ok dude you can live in your fantasy world I am not here to burst your bubble. Please post the syllabus of any school which teaches sight singing in such a way that you can look at any UNKNOWN SCORE and hear it in your head just like a recorded performance.

Your experiment is TOTALLY ignoring what I am asking, LISTEN TO AN UNKNOWN PIECE AND HEAR A RECORDING IN YOUR HEAD. You are taking KNOWN sounds in your pathetic exercise, it is useless and misses the point, do you not realize that?
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Offline themeandvariation

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"recorded performance."  This is Your goal post.  I took the class at CAL ARTs.  If you are interested, look it up yourself - . This would be under Music dictation..  Been around for decades, DUDE.
4'33"

Offline themeandvariation

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You talk a lot about something about which you know nothing.
4'33"

Offline lostinidlewonder

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"recorded performance."  This is Your goal post.  I took the class at CAL ARTs.  If you are interested, look it up yourself - .
Lol just throw down a school without reveaing its syllabus on sight singing? You are hilarious. Why not just throw down Juilliard while you are at it? I have been very clear what I am on about, sight READING will allow you to play something with mastery immediately and hear what it sounds like, you are assuing that you could do such things in your head with sight singing which is just ridiculous.

This would be under Music dictation..  Been around for decades, DUDE.
When we then look at how that is used where does it say you can hear recording in your head of complicated works you have never heard? They usually start with a few tones lol itís never implying you can develop to a point where you can process thousands of notes rofl!!!l Why do these people bother with recordings then just imagine sounds all day!! Funny beyond belief.

You talk a lot about something about which you know nothing.
I think you are just hurt and triggered that I have burst your bubble and called you up on fantasy thinking. Oh wait Ligeti and orchestral scores are too difficult right? lol
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Offline themeandvariation

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hahaha have fun w aLL that
4'33"

Offline lostinidlewonder

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hahaha have fun w aLL that
I will and already have. You just tussling with the wrong person.
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Offline flanker27

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As someone who has learnt the basics from videos and written tutorials since the beginning of the pandemic, I'd have enjoyed learning with someone who's both knowledgeable and patient, so that I could ask all of the questions I want.

Offline keypeg

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 To the idea that hearing a score you see is related to a feeling in the fingers:

That would only by true for a pianist.  You will not feel what a pianist feels, if you are not playing the piano.

As I wrote before, I DO hear what I see, and that was what I had originally.  That said, not having the association of things in the fingers is actually a handicap for me in terms of the piano.

Meanwhile - this thread is about best way of learning the piano if you could start over. This discussion seems to be an argument between advanced pianists, who probably do not want to have learned differently than they did - or am I mistaken?

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Yeah you are mistaken.
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Offline brogers70

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" You suggest one can do this simply as a mental exercise keeping it all in the head, this is a fantasy, ..."
It is not a fantasy as I have described it this whole way.  You have set parameters/ goal posts as to how it must be.  That is your problem, not mine. You are gas lighting this perspective because it somehow to your mind does't measure up - EVEN though you refuse to try a simple experiment.  Because, if you can't do it, you simply believe it cannot be done.
 You evidently were short changed in your education w regard to all this.
Many can do it, and I would propose even yourself, if you cared to do the gradual work that brings such a skill. 
Your pejorative,. 'fantasy' - allows you to not take it seriously, not to mention the slight
of tin foil hat- directed at me.  I teach this stuff.  Done here.

I have no doubt that people can learn how to do this. I suspect it's not a case of identifying each individual note as a pitch and putting them all together, but of grouping them, knowing what a cadential 64 sounds like, etc., how lots of common progressions and accompaniment figures sound like, recognizing them at sight and imagining the sound, and then learning how to add details to what you are hearing in your head. Certainly conductors and composers had that skill before recordings were available. I suspect it is easier for some people than others to learn, but it just looks like a matter of learning gradually, where each step is relatively simple, even if the finished product looks horribly complex. Also, people's ability to form mental imagery varies a lot from aphantasia, where there's pretty much no mental imagery at all, to people who basically see a whole movie while they read a book. So it doesn't surprise me that some people think reading a score and hearing it in your head is a fantasy.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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I have no doubt that people can learn how to do this. I suspect it's not a case of identifying each individual note as a pitch and putting them all together, but of grouping them, knowing what a cadential 64 sounds like, etc., how lots of common progressions and accompaniment figures sound like, recognizing them at sight and imagining the sound, and then learning how to add details to what you are hearing in your head.
The thing is although you can read groups and attach a generic idea that you have heard often what about if there are subtle changes? When I sight read works yes I can read chunks but I also have to be aware of the subtle differences and they are not always obvious until I actually play them. These subtle changes tax your mental observation capability and with sight reading you have many tools to deal with it, with sight singing you are left bare, you cannot solve it with your fingers you need to do it all completely mentally which leave you no escape at all. I am wondering how on earth can anyone do that as a mental exercise seeing the subtle changes, I would bet that they can't do that effectively at all and it is all estimated the amount of specific observation required just does not allow you to listen to the work in real time like a recorded performance. You cannot think fast enough, seeing a subtle change, realizing the tone, applying it to the entire group that you are hearing, move on, keep the tempo going. You need like a computer brain. You need to be able to read ahead while still hearing what you read previously, you would have to do it many bars ahead and take mental note of all the tones that are not so usual, this splitting of the mind seems inhuman.

Take for example a Liszt rapid speed improvisational type flourish I would be astounded if someone could hear it on first reading exactly as written like a recording in their head at tempo and I've lowered the bar considerably here and still i would bet that hardly anyone could manage it exactly as written and like a recorded performance no matter how much they train themselves.

We have real examples however the incredible level at which sight reading skills can go to, just witness John Ogdon for instance. This magical thinking that someone can read any score and hear the music in their head is not something you can easily prove and show thus you will have many people claiming they can do it at a ridiculous level which doens't stand up to scrutiny if you measure the mental energy required from a sight reading perspective. Sight reading training helps make your thoughts limited because you take it over with physical manifestations and efficient thought binding those physical movements thus being able to create many sounds with a single idea. You cannot produce many sounds in your head with a single thought, you actually need to think all those notes and hear them.

Certainly conductors and composers had that skill before recordings were available.
I am sure many of them would actually play scores on an instrument to actually appreciate the details. You can read a work and get a general idea but you never fully understand it until it is actually produced either completely in your mindseye (as the composer of the work, one who already hears the work from within before it is put on page) or produced in reality through some musical medium.

I suspect it is easier for some people than others to learn, but it just looks like a matter of learning gradually, where each step is relatively simple, even if the finished product looks horribly complex.
I don't believe it is the case unlike other skills which many people develop, this idea of sight singing to such a high degree that you can hear the entire score in your head like a recording is not reasonable. Sight singing is used for much smaller amounts of information and certainly never has approached being able to read entire scores and hearing it exactly as written as if someone is performing it, I fail to see any course, school, university that teachs sight singing in such a way or claims that it is so powerful. Yet on the internet of course you will have people claim they can do all sorts of things especially if you cannot prove or refute it online.
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Offline keypeg

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Yeah you are mistaken.
This comes under my post. Is it in response to me?  If so, what in particular am I mistaken about?

Offline lostinidlewonder

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This comes under my post. Is it in response to me?  If so, what in particular am I mistaken about?
The way you simplified our debate as an " agrument between advanced pianists, who probably do not want to have learned differently than they did"  - or am I mistaken?

No one has said they don't want to learn differently like they did, your attempt at criticism at a heated debate is mistaken.
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Offline keypeg

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Since this side topic won't go away (it really should be a separate thread)

 First, if the contention is that to play the piano, being able to hear the score off the page is a good idea, I'd not agree with that.   It's what I had originally for decades by accident of life, and there are definite downsides.

That said, I keep reading about "mental process" (Liiw) - there was nothing mental about it for me.  I just simply heard melody that was "there" when I looked at the page.  It is like when you hear a recording, or you have music in your head, and as an ear-player you play what you heard.  I played what I "heard from the page" and it was instant. ...... We also have to factor in how an individual processes music, and their background.  I've found that anyone with "perfect pitch" (they year A as A) vs. my relative pitch, is in a much different reality than I am.  If in addition they were trained to do what I do naturally, it also seems to be along different angles and may indeed be a mental process.  And again, going by my own experience, I would not recommend "hearing off the page" as a means to get better at piano playing / reading.  I'll explain later.

Meanwhile as a STUDENT, still learning PIANO-things (in the student corner - not the advanced pianists & teachers corner), how you process and experience things interest me.  I have had conversations with my teacher: when he reviews music mentally while out walking, he sees the piano keys and his hands - and the hands or fingers are first. While for me this is a blank: I merely hear.  At best, I may see some piano keys.  To get better at piano; faster, esp. with more complex music, I need to get a connection going with both fingers and a visual-proprioception pic of the keyboard.  I must develop this deliberately, since what I do naturally takes over.  It as on this level that the thread interests me. The "debate" thing - not that useful.

--------
So why do I say being able to hear what you see is not that useful (wasn't for me).  Because the piano has an uneven (but regular) array of black and white keys. If it were a smooth surface, like the strings of a violin for example, then you could just reach for the sound.  For example, I have sight read new music in the old ear-led way (Unless I deliberately do otherwise, it can take over) --- I'm somewhere high up on the piano and suddenly there's a chromatic descent. But I don't know where the key beside the white key I just played is white or black.  (If I'm on C, the next one is B, so white: If I'm on B, the next one is Bb-A#, so black).  Up to now I've been playing all the right notes, which I'm hearing in relative pitch - but that geographic location of a white key on the flat plane, of the black key which is a raised bump and further back, will catch me out.

Take some simple things.  A major chord has a different feel if it's C, F, or G (all whites), or D, E, A (whites with a black in the middle), Eb, Db, Ab (reverse of that), etc.  Your hand goes in more when there are black keys (or should).  If you don't have a keyboard map / hand relationship, you will be more clumsy.  That is what I'm contending with. If I "hear" a major chord, but don't associate it that way, I may play it awkwardly.  Even though self-taught, I played looking at the page, or into space, as a child.

I do see some use of hearing. For example, if you play a wrong note and can't hear it's a wrong note, that is a definite disadvantage.   But that's a different kettle of fish.

Offline keypeg

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The way you simplified our debate as an " agrument between advanced pianists, who probably do not want to have learned differently than they did"  - or am I mistaken?

No one has said they don't want to learn differently like they did, your attempt at criticism at a heated debate is mistaken.
I think it was a moment of frustration, as we learners are here trying to learn. So does this debate you guys were having actually reflect ways you wished to have learned differently? (Interested)

Offline keypeg

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For anyone else reading this, who want further information about what Ive been referring to, you could search "Music- hearing a score on your head". 
You will find various techniques for developing such a skill.  It is a thing.  Not a super human feat, really.  Musical dictation, (as in the scene I described in the last post) 
sight singing, theory, sight reading skills, all play a part in doing this.
Any thoughts on what I wrote?  (the recent long one)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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I think it was a moment of frustration, as we learners are here trying to learn.
Maybe you have nothing to learn from it but that's just you I don't think you can speak for more than yourself.

So does this debate you guys were having actually reflect ways you wished to have learned differently?
*sigh* yes because someone asked if sight singing is something that would be necessary or even useful for piano, it is obviously not. Discussion will often take different directions, if you don't like it just ignore it and read what you like.
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Offline keypeg

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Another side topic that came up in the recent discussions was "reading" or "sight reading".   I've been thinking about this in recent years.  We should actually distinguish "reading piano music", because the act will be different on different instruments.   For example, what violinists do is still similar to piano in the sense that this note = that location you press with a finger.  But any note other than the lowest ones will have several locations.  Plus you're relating adjacent strings which are a 5th apart while you have 4 operating fingers.  What about the trumpeter or trombonist?  I understand that they must be able to picture the sound in their head to a great degree.  Except not, since you also have the problem with the transposing instruments and what reading means there.   So is reading a different process depending on the instrument?

(just a thought I find interesting)

Offline keypeg

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[quote author=lostinidlewonder link=topic=67476.msg706686#msg706686  yes because someone asked if sight reading is something that would be necessary or even useful for piano, it is obviously not. [/quote]
I addressed this part.  I don't know if you had a chance to read it.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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That said, I keep reading about "mental process" (Liiw) - there was nothing mental about it for me.  I just simply heard melody that was "there" when I looked at the page.
So you can glance over the page and a recording goes on in your head playing exactly what you are reading? No need for mental processing one iota?? Super human. Are you talking about a single note line or actual music with some density? You say melody, but we were talking about more than just a single line. You claim this requires no mental energy?

It is like when you hear a recording, or you have music in your head, and as an ear-player you play what you heard.  I played what I "heard from the page" and it was instant. ......
So you can look at an unknown score and REALLY hear a recording in your head playing it back exactly like a performance? What do you mean "like" do you mean it is 1% like it? What propensity? What degree of accuracy? What type of music are you talking about? I have been specific about what I was talking about, an unknown piece which is not simple.

We also have to factor in how an individual processes music, and their background.  I've found that anyone with "perfect pitch" (they year A as A) vs. my relative pitch, is in a much different reality than I am.  If in addition they were trained to do what I do naturally, it also seems to be along different angles and may indeed be a mental process.  And again, going by my own experience, I would not recommend "hearing off the page" as a means to get better at piano playing / reading.
This all sounds like you need some kind of exclusive skill a type of musical upbringing that will magically give you insights into being able to hear musc in your head playing a recording of a work you have never seen that is not simple. If it is a real skill there should be known courses which aim to do such things. Sight singing courses do not suggest you can hear a recording in your head of an unknown score, they do allow you to do it with strings of single notes at a high degree since it is a singers skill.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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I addressed this part.  I don't know if you had a chance to read it.
You asked me why I brought it up, it has nothing to do with your own perspective about it.
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Offline roncesvalles

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I'm an adult learner, who has had very few lessons (in the Taubman technique).  I guess I have two answers to this.  I really wish I could have learned as a child--it was always a dream of mine, but we never had the means.  But if I could skip back to when I started as an adult, I would want to focus a lot more simply than I did, focusing on tension and tone color, working through easy versions of a variety of different techniques, rather than the hodge podge of late intermediate pieces I learned by force and have had to unlearn in order to pursue refinement.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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I'm an adult learner, who has had very few lessons (in the Taubman technique).  I guess I have two answers to this.  I really wish I could have learned as a child--it was always a dream of mine, but we never had the means.  But if I could skip back to when I started as an adult, I would want to focus a lot more simply than I did, focusing on tension and tone color, working through easy versions of a variety of different techniques, rather than the hodge podge of late intermediate pieces I learned by force and have had to unlearn in order to pursue refinement.
I wish I could imprint your realisation from your experience upon countless students I've come across.
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Offline roncesvalles

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It's been a long road for me.  I've always wanted to play supervirtuosic music like Feinberg, Busoni, and some Sorabji.  I started off trying to force my way through things way out of my league.  I never learned anything, had nothing to show for all the time I put in the piano.  Since last year I've simplified things considerably.  Last year I "fixed" my left hand's tension, and worked on easier pieces like Field Nocturnes and Bach Inventions.  Now I'm working on my right hand and for the most part working on easier pieces (I'm 1/4 the way through Scriabin's Op. 11, which are mostly of slower tempos and coincidentally often have more a more active left hand that suits my strengths).  I'm working on tension relief on the right hand (mostly in active fourth finger and faster playing) with basically every tip I've found, focusing on tone control, hand motion, and finger placement.  I'm on the cusp of being able to play Chopin's posthumous nocturnes but am proceeding very slowly to ensure that I have command over nuances of sound and can play the runs and flourishes without tension--in the past I would have plowed through and learned them (my second piece to ever learn was Bach's WTC 1 C minor prelude, which I learned, even though playing through it was a tense flying finger affair).  Now I am learning patience, knowing that I'll get there, but having to work to make sure I get there the right way.
A teacher would help considerably, but it's not feasible in my living situation (I'm a PhD student living in shared quarters with others).  It's ironic that I practiced so intensely (and arcanely,straining through things like Emile-Robert Blanchet's transcendental preludes ) for so long, but it's really been humbleness and patience that has allowed me to advance and grow.  Through that shift my aspirations feel a lot more attainable, and I'm becoming more adept more quickly than I ever have before.

Offline keypeg

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So far in this discussion on hearing music, my input has been totally ignored.  An emotional reaction popped up to what was seen as "criticism" but what I'm actually looking at are real things such as this hearing topic.

Offline keypeg

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I wish I could imprint your realisation from your experience upon countless students I've come across.
Add teachers to that who rush students ahead.

Offline brogers70

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*sigh* yes because someone asked if sight singing is something that would be necessary or even useful for piano, it is obviously not. Discussion will often take different directions, if you don't like it just ignore it and read what you like.

I certainly think sight singing is useful for piano. Even though I cannot look at a piano score and imagine the sound in my head, I can certainly, when sight reading, imagine the sound of the next chord or the next interval I need to play, because I've had experience sight singing. That helps both because I can recognize mistakes, and because I can play that little bit by ear. I'm sure I could get by without that skill, but it definitely helps.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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I certainly think sight singing is useful for piano. Even though I cannot look at a piano score and imagine the sound in my head, I can certainly, when sight reading, imagine the sound of the next chord or the next interval I need to play, because I've had experience sight singing. That helps both because I can recognize mistakes, and because I can play that little bit by ear. I'm sure I could get by without that skill, but it definitely helps.
Sight singing specifically requires that you look at a note and sing it, whether that is in your head or out loud. For pianists it is not necessary because we produce the notes with our fingers. Then you can anticiptate the correct sound or future sounds based on your experience of the musical language and play by ear but this is not considered sight singing.

I am so vocal about sight singing being disconnected from piano studies since I have taught a number of singers who are trained sight singers and it has not helped them in a noticable way with sight reading skills on the piano, the reaction of the fingers the to score is of course the challenge and one doesn't necessarily need sight singing skill to know if you have gone wrong. I also sight read at a high level and find no need to sight sing at all because we use physical manipulations with our fingers to produce a react to the notes we read. There is no remarkable sight singing connection to piano sight reading, no courses develop it to such an extreme point that you hear recordings in your head while reading an unknown score, that is not what sight singing is designed for.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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It's been a long road for me. I've always wanted to play supervirtuosic music ... I started off trying to force my way through things way out of my league.  ....  Now I am learning patience, knowing that I'll get there, but having to work to make sure I get there the right way.
Although I think that pushing ourselves with more difficult works is not necessarily a bad idea it should avoid taking the majority of your time in practice sessions. That is of course much easier said than done since the lure of these pieces can be great. A number of pianists I've taught do have a large challenge to be patient, modest, humble themselves. Forget about competiting with other people or proving yourself.

I have taught students who constantly choose pieces far too demanding for their current skills. Some actually do well in this format and gain a lot of skills but they still need to eventualy simplify so they can feel what it is like when learning your music efficiently. It is no good thinking that everything you play is an uphill battle which takes an unknown time to complete. Practice method does become more important and people eventualy have enough of spending hours and hours to completely master a small segment of difficult music.

A teacher would help considerably, but it's not feasible in my living situation (I'm a PhD student living in shared quarters with others).  It's ironic that I practiced so intensely (and arcanely,straining through things like Emile-Robert Blanchet's transcendental preludes ) for so long, but it's really been humbleness and patience that has allowed me to advance and grow.  Through that shift my aspirations feel a lot more attainable, and I'm becoming more adept more quickly than I ever have before.
You can always make friends with a piano teacher or other experienced pianists online, you may never know what comes out of one on one interactions like that. This can certainly feel useless and a waste of time but you do get unexpected surprises the more you do it if you have the time to spare. I have interacted with many pianists online over the years and just having a chat one on one often brings about lots of interesting results for me at least. If you are predominantly a self learner I think these kind of interactions can be valuable and cost you nothing at all but time.
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Offline brogers70

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Here's an even wider digression from the OP. This thread has got me thinking about how easy it is to think that our own mental life is typical or even universal, when it really is not. A simple example is that there are people who say they memorize music, in part, by keeping a mental image of the score in their mind's eye, and referring to it when in doubt. I have no reason to disbelieve them, but I could not create that kind of detailed mental image in my mind to save my life. Others who play chess without a board, or remember scores of chess games move by move - again I couldn't do that to save my life.

A weirder one, to me, was learning that a significant minority of people have no inner monologue at all, no running commentary on their life, no internally verbalized decision making process. I thought this must be a rare abnormality, until I asked a few people I know and found that my wife of 35 years and one of my close college friends have no internal monologue. I had always assumed that being a conscious human being implied having an internal monologue and was totally gobsmacked to find that some people get by fine without it. My wife, on the other hand, was incredulous to find that I had a voice running in my head most of the time and couldn't imagine how anyone could live with all that distraction going on. We had each thought that our own experience was universal and were quite wrong about it. I expect that what goes on in different people's heads as they read or play music is similarly diverse.

Offline keypeg

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So you can glance over the page and a recording goes on in your head playing exactly what you are reading? No need for mental processing one iota?? Super human. (etc.)
This is not a conversation.  This is sarcasm, with no effort to understand or meet minds.  I've been following the sparring in this thread and I want nothing to do with it.

I described my own personal journey.  I did not claim anything about advanced music.  I described how I experienced written music, because I had no chanced to learn normally - I was on my own.  I also wrote about the disadvantages of this - it's somewhere in what I wrote.

I'm done.

Offline keypeg

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Here's an even wider digression from the OP. This thread has got me thinking about how easy it is to think that our own mental life is typical or even universal, when it really is not. A simple example is that there are people who say they memorize music, in part, by keeping a mental image of the score in their mind's eye, and referring to it when in doubt. I have no reason to disbelieve them, but I could not create that kind of detailed mental image in my mind to save my life. Others who play chess without a board, or remember scores of chess games move by move - again I couldn't do that to save my life.
Yes, exactly.

Years ago when I brought music to my then-teacher, showing him that this is a song I loved, I thought he would read it off the page and hear it, as I did.  I did not know why he took it to the piano - I was truly puzzled.  A couple of years later I asked somebody, "When you have a score, is it telling you where to put your fingers, and when you put your fingers there, you hear the sound, and  once you hear the sound, you know what the music sounds like?"  This is how most people do it.  But I had not imagined such a thing.  As I wrote, what developed with me because I had no education whatsoever and was in relative isolation is NOT a good way of relating to music.  It has some advantages, but a lot of disadvantages.

Meanwhile I was also a "mystery" to my first teacher (his words, in fact) because he could not figure out how I was processing music.  And I didn't know either. Fortunately I have an open minded, resourceful, and experienced teacher helping me sort things out for my own journey.  Per the title: Yes there are a number of things I would have liked to do differently.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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This is not a conversation.  This is sarcasm, with no effort to understand or meet minds.  I've been following the sparring in this thread and I want nothing to do with it.etc *tears*
Oh dear keypeg! You actually mentioned me in your response saying what I was talking about mental effort does not occur. So you ignored actually what context I am talking in and now you are called up on that you pretend to be a victim of sarcasm, that it is a situation where no effort to meet minds is occurring and I am sparring with you. GTFO! Don't quote me then ramble on about something that has ZERO to do with what I was saying then attempt to be a victim because I called you up on it. Haven't you had enough trying to criticise my writing or are you a masochist?

Here is your reminder:
That said, I keep reading about "mental process" (Liiw) - there was nothing mental about it for me.

I described my own personal journey.  I did not claim anything about advanced music.  I described how I experienced written music, because I had no chanced to learn normally - I was on my own.  I also wrote about the disadvantages of this - it's somewhere in what I wrote.
You made zero clarification as to what level of music you are talking about, you merely say what occurs without any mention of it. So I pressed you to see if you are actually talking about the same thing as I was which you obviously are not. You should clarify exactly what kind of music you believe you can read off the sheets and hear a recording in your head. If you are not clear people will beleive you can do it with all music even the most complicated. Let's be clear.
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Offline keypeg

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Here is your reminder: You made zero clarification as to what level of music you are talking about, you merely say what occurs without any mention of it. So I pressed you to see if you are actually talking about the same thing as I was which you obviously are not. You should clarify exactly what kind of music you believe you can read off the sheets and hear a recording in your head. If you are not clear people will beleive you can do it with all music even the most complicated. Let's be clear.
I wrote that I was a student coming out of a major mess.  I also made it clear that there are major handicaps to how I came to relate to written music.  I was not talking about "the same thing" as you were. I was talking about my reality.  When I looked at music, I heard music.  The flip side of this was that when I looked at music I did not know note names: I did not relate a note to a place on the piano: I did not see hands on keys. It was relative pitch.  I stressed that this is NOT a thing you want to have for getting ahead in piano ---- which is the same point you're making.  It was also not intellectual in any way, which is what I was trying to stress.  For me it was not intellectual.  This was also not a "criticism". I was saying what my reality had been.

Offline keypeg

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It was not intellectual precisely because I had no overt knowledge.  Later when I learned about the neume writing that the monks used, the feel was something like that.  You cannot intellectually think C, D, E if you don't know those notes. You can't "think" half step, if you don't know what a half step is, and never heard of it.

I had to go back and learn how to read in a normal way, catching up to all the things I didn't have, that little kids get, and it has not been an easy journey.

If you are a person who related to music by ear and looking at your hands, then you simply stop looking at the keyboard and your hands, to acquire reading skills.  But if you hear what you see, but in relative pitch, and it stops you from relating to the keyboard and specific notes, there is nothing to look away from.  It has been difficult.  I thank my teacher for helping me with this.  I don't "claim" to have this situation: I lived it and worked my way through it, and the journey is not done.

This COULD have been in interesting conversation.  I was very interested in reading how a pianist experiences the piano and reading as a pianist.

Offline keypeg

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Going back to the original topic:

If I could start over, I wish I could have had a teacher, or at least someone I could see and hear playing.  I've liked to have been aware that seeking physical comfort together with a good sound is a thing to do: that if you get the sound you want but you're awkward, later it will hang you up.  Learn to read music in a normal way.  Get a variety of music, incl. outside of a mostly diatonic world.

The first lessons I ever had was as an adult, on a new instrument.  I did not know how adults are often taught.  I'd be preemptive these days.  Stress that I want to get the tools for real; that I don't want to be rushed under the assumption that I'm in a hurry to learn ever more music -  I'd take a teacher who knows that it takes time for an adult's body and nervous system to acquire skills, just like it does a child, regardless of what our intellect and abstract thinking might enable us to do at an older age.  I wanted, from the onset, to get the skills and found the idea exciting.  But I didn't know you actually had to say so.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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I wrote that I was a student coming out of a major mess.  I also made it clear that there are major handicaps to how I came to relate to written music.  I was not talking about "the same thing" as you were.
Then there was no need to write this if it has NOTHING to do with what I was talking about:

"I keep reading about "mental process" (Liiw) - there was nothing mental about it for me."

If there is no mental process it is because you are not talking about the same thing as I was. So logically there was no need to even mention what I am writing about since it is "not the same thing" as what you want to mention. I am only probing since you are the one who suggests a connection between the mental processes I am talking about and what you want to contribute.
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Offline keypeg

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I'd like to move this forward.
This section is basically student to student, but there are also teachers on board.  So far I have not met anyone who ended up in my situation, so I don't know if you'll ever run into my kind of case.  But if you do, it might be useful to know it exists.  The first teacher I was with as an adult was not aware, and at that point I didn't know how reading music on an instrument is usually experienced, or even that I was missing anything.  That teacher did not catch it, and therefore couldn't help me.  The problem was less severe than later with piano, since that was violin where, if you follow the sound you hear on the page, you're not bumping into black keys in awkward places.

If a student's world is substantially different than your own, it might be good to know of it in order to help.  Outside of music I once helped a student go from a gr. 1 to a gr. 8 reading level because we broke through the particular strange approach this student had adopted, and it blew the problem wide open.  It is also a thing that fascinates me.  I am inordinately curious about how people do things, and sometimes it helps me help them.  At other times, I'm the one who needs the help, and that is what happened here.

It doesn't matter much here, since I do have a teacher who understands and helps me.  However I wanted to signal maybe that there are some other ways of perceiving out there.

Offline keypeg

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Offline 1piano4joe

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Hi all,

When I read  posts (not out loud) or anything for that matter, silently, quietly to myself, there is some kind of "inner voice" going on in my head that only I hear. It's just like my thoughts except these aren't my thoughts but a visual stimulus that my mind is interpreting and making sense out of. There is no "external" sound being produced as I am not speaking but only an "internal sound" of some kind. That's the best I can describe in words what is going on in my head.

In addition, I can speak in a very high voice or like a child in my head and with that being the case, different pitches must be available for my "inner voice". Logically, it follows other people must be able to do this is as well. I might be unique but certainly not in this regard.

So, I could be in the same room with someone and/or having a conversation with them and my mind is talking to me while simultaneously listening to them and I wait for them to finish talking (so as not to interrupt and be rude) to respond to what their saying which is sometimes so much I can't even remember half of what they said. So much, for lengthy soliloquys.

Anyway, when I sit on the couch perusing a score it's very much the same thing. So, maybe there are people who can't do this at all. But I think this is a skill (just like reading a language) that people can develop to various levels. I will just name the names of some notes and try to see if you can hear this in your "minds eye" Or should I say (minds ear)?.

EDCD, E E E, D D D, E G G.... So, can you name that tune? Can you hear it? Well, maybe some can and some can't. But I will tell you now that it's, "Mary had a little lamb" Look back over those letters and see if you hear anything in your head. Some might even be able to sing the words in their head and/or even "silently hum" it in their "minds ear". If you identified this tune immediately from just looking at the letters and/or heard it in your head then you have this ability. It just might not be very well developed.

Well, that's all for now, Joe.

P.S. I just tried hearing "Mary had a little lamb" as various instrumentals: banjo, harpsichord, violin, flute, trumpet or saxophone. I could transpose (imagine(hear) in my head) what "Mary"  would sound like performed by any of those instruments.

Hmmm... interesting, I never did that before, Joe.




Offline 1piano4joe

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Hi all,

I have "started over" multiple times. Yes, I have reexamined my hand shape, bench height and distance from piano. That is really starting over!

I learned so much from doing this. I could see how sitting too close was too restrictive on my movements and I found sitting too low not efficient for more demanding repertoire.

Also, I started with pieces way too difficult. Eventually, I decided there were no shortcuts and must start from the very beginning.

To this end, I made myself familiar with Piano Adventures, RCM, Bastien and Alfred to name but a few and later devised some of my own methods. 

The "Best" way, a well known Pianostreet member would say, "It depends"!

It would depend on your goals. That's why I often have to invent my own methods as my goals keep evolving/changing/growing!

Personally, I have gaps. Lots and lots of them. Therefore, this is something I feel I must do. For me, this is more of a going back a bit process than starting over from scratch.

I have strengths and weaknesses to be sure. I don't always find out about them until I do or after I see some improvement. For example, I only just recently learned a piece that required a "legatissimo" touch. I found this nearly impossible to do. So, that was a gap I didn't know I had.

The piece was called, "Spooks" by Clifford Poole. It is a RCM Grade 1 repertoire piece from List B. This touch, which I deliberately exaggerated, adds significantly to the character of this piece. And in measures 21 & 22 where the score is marked with tenuto, I play those 2 measures, legatissimo as well. It sounds scarier, haunted and suggests spooky like the title.

So, it occurred to me to play some scales legatissimo which I did. This touch can sound like, "Phantom of the Opera" organ music, when done to excess.

Just an example, Joe.

Offline ranjit

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Anyway, when I sit on the couch perusing a score it's very much the same thing. So, maybe there are people who can't do this at all. But I think this is a skill (just like reading a language) that people can develop to various levels. I will just name the names of some notes and try to see if you can hear this in your "minds eye" Or should I say (minds ear)?.
The discussion concerns hearing something in your mind's ear which you have never heard previously. For text, it's true in a sense that you hear it in your mind's ear, but you have heard all of those words, all of those syllables and their configurations, hundreds or even thousands of times, and are reproducing those. When attempting to hear a piece of any complexity, with score in hand, you are trying to conjure up sound imagery in your head which is complex and has a ton of moving parts which interact with each other, in real time.

EDCD, E E E, D D D, E G G.... So, can you name that tune? Can you hear it? Well, maybe some can and some can't.
If you identified this tune immediately from just looking at the letters and/or heard it in your head then you have this ability. It just might not be very well developed.
I was able to recognize it, though I have no clue if I heard it in the right key. But although they might seem similar at face value, I'm not quite sure that actually imagining a piece in your head which you've never heard before is the same ability. This here is recall. But instead, suppose I wrote: C E G F A F E C, G F A B Bb C, F Db Ab G B C -- could you hear that as clearly as you could hear "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in your head? I think what happens in the case you mention is that you recognize the tune and then play the auditory clip you remember in your head over the notes. And that ability generalizes, so if you read a score of your favorite Beethoven sonata, you can "hear" the notes. But if the music is completely unfamiliar, I'm not quite so sure one can do that in their head.

Offline nw746

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The first piano lessons I had were when I was around seven years old. What I would want done differently is:

- I would want my parents and teachers to force me to practice at least two hours a day starting from that age;
- I would want by the age of 12 or 13 to be made to practice at least four hours a day;
- I would want a completely different personality, one that is very self-disciplined and self-controlled, loves hard work, and avoids all self-indulgence;
- I would want my parents to have had more money, so that I would have been able to afford more scores & better quality teachers (luckily we did always have a piano).

I think that just about covers it.

Offline ranjit

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Haha nice answer! Just about sums it up, doesn't it?

Offline getsiegs

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- I would want a completely different personality, one that is very self-disciplined and self-controlled, loves hard work, and avoids all self-indulgence;

This!!! I remember being somewhere around 10-11 years old and always wishing that I enjoyed practice so then I'd actually be motivated to do it... spoiler alert the wishing didn't get me anywhere ;D

Offline keypeg

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But instead, suppose I wrote: C E G F A F E C, G F A B Bb C, F Db Ab G B C -- could you hear that as clearly as you could hear "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in your head?
It made the same amount of sense when I brought it to the piano as when I sang it off the page.  You gave no kind of spacing for clues for note values - rhythms, and nothing like arrows to show whether F jumps up to Db or down to Db. If this were in a score, we would have a pictural representation like the old neumes.  That is what my old "reading" was largely like.

Can you reveal what music this is meant to be?

Offline ranjit

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It made the same amount of sense when I brought it to the piano as when I sang it off the page.
Did you physically sing it off the page, or in your head?

Can you reveal what music this is meant to be?
Nothing as such, it's something I just made up for the sake of the post. The Db an octave higher makes more sense melodically, but as I said, I did not hear the melody when I wrote it. I just wrote something paying attention to the contour and harmony. I can not sing it in my head. However if I hear a recording or even me just playing it on the piano, I can reproduce it in my head later on.

Offline keypeg

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Did you physically sing it off the page, or in your head?
Both. It's automatic for me, though letter names are more foreign to me.  I played music for 40+ years without knowing letter names.  And it's a picture on the page. I sort of had to move to a more familiar place.
     
Quote
Nothing as such, it's something I just made up for the sake of the post. The Db an octave higher makes more sense melodically, but as I said, I did not hear the melody when I wrote it. I just wrote something paying attention to the contour and harmony. I can not sing it in my head. However if I hear a recording or even me just playing it on the piano, I can reproduce it in my head later on.
I guess that's why it didn't make sense as music.  I can't find a melody in there.
 

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