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Making a plan for summer practise (Read 420 times)

Offline kittenyarn

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Making a plan for summer practise
« on: June 03, 2021, 11:59:22 AM »
Hiii everyone! I'm super excited for this summer because I plan to use the time to play lots of piano! I want to make a plan for what I can do to maximize my progress during the summer. I'm pretty much a beginner and only play simple songs, so I'm not sure if I should play a lot of scales and exercises that it seems like advanced player play quite a lot of? I'm not sure if I should do that if I struggle with steady rhythm and other things that I believe are "basic". What could a good plan for your summer practise if you are early in your piano journey and want to grow a lot look like?

Offline 2hottohandel

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #1 on: June 03, 2021, 01:59:06 PM »
Begin each practice session with some scales, arpeggios and other technical works. Then move on to some of your pieces (not songs  ;) unless you are playing pop). Work on sections that you have trouble with slowly until you get them, and then move on to others. When you are away from your piano, there are many awesome websites where you can learn things like music theory and ear training. My favorite is https://www.musictheory.net Having a solid understanding of theory is integral to being a good pianist. The best way to maximize your progress, however, is to get a good teacher.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #2 on: June 03, 2021, 07:46:40 PM »
I'll try to give this a shot.

It depends on your ambition and your goals.

First of all, here is what I did in the first few months: I took a few relatively difficult arrangements of pieces I liked, and learned them. The pieces were maybe at a grade 5-ish level, and I learned them in the first six months. They were arrangements of popular music, which basically had a melody/melody+broken chords/octaves in the right hand, and stride patterns+arpeggios in the left. Think something like Comptine d'un Autre eye from the Amelie soundtrack. Although I may not have learned them perfectly, it was good enough to wow my friends, and that gave me an incredible amount of confidence moving forward.

Now, as to what I would have done in an ideal situation:
I would have employed a teacher who was a college professor or similar, and was a great teacher who really knew their technique inside out, such as Josh Wright for example, explain that I was a very dedicated student, and would have asked them to teach me. While I did learn quite fast by most standards, I think I could have reached a grade 8 standard in 1-2 years with an excellent teacher, and progressed much further than I have already. But it's never too late to make amends, amirite?

If you do end up getting an expert teacher, however, do make sure to still attempt stuff you like on your own. Nothing is impossible -- just have that faith in yourself and intelligently apply what you know. If you think you might be able to learn something, give it a shot for a week. I think quantity matters a lot in the initial stages. I know people who go through 2-4 mini pieces each week at the start. While I didn't exactly do that, I would probably arrange a new song and improvise a lot every week, and while it's unconventional, that trained me knowledge of finger patterns to the point where I could improvise fluently (which requires you to come up with all kinds of configurations on the fly), and quickly come up with a near-optimal fingering solution.

I would also learn music theory. A lot of people I know tend to take things slow, but I tend to binge information. So I started a Coursera course on music theory, and tried to get through a week's content every day.  Although there were several days in between where I didn't get to it, I learned a lot from that course, to the point where teachers didn't really have to teach me how to analyze normal classical pieces. I would demonstrate that I knew my theory by analyzing a piece, and so that saved me all the time teachers would have to spend on theory.

ETA. One summer may also be enough time to learn how to play melodies by ear somewhat fluently. This helps you in a number of ways down the road.

EETA. Apologize for the typos. I was typing on my phone and am too lazy to fix them now.

Online lelle

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #3 on: June 04, 2021, 10:41:04 PM »
Ah, making plans. That's something I'm absolutely terrible at. I could probably learn something from people replying here :D

Offline kittenyarn

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #4 on: June 06, 2021, 09:57:22 PM »
Begin each practice session with some scales, arpeggios and other technical works. Then move on to some of your pieces (not songs  ;) unless you are playing pop). Work on sections that you have trouble with slowly until you get them, and then move on to others. When you are away from your piano, there are many awesome websites where you can learn things like music theory and ear training. My favorite is https://www.musictheory.net Having a solid understanding of theory is integral to being a good pianist. The best way to maximize your progress, however, is to get a good teacher.

I'll try to give this a shot.

It depends on your ambition and your goals.

First of all, here is what I did in the first few months: I took a few relatively difficult arrangements of pieces I liked, and learned them. The pieces were maybe at a grade 5-ish level, and I learned them in the first six months. They were arrangements of popular music, which basically had a melody/melody+broken chords/octaves in the right hand, and stride patterns+arpeggios in the left. Think something like Comptine d'un Autre eye from the Amelie soundtrack. Although I may not have learned them perfectly, it was good enough to wow my friends, and that gave me an incredible amount of confidence moving forward.

Now, as to what I would have done in an ideal situation:
I would have employed a teacher who was a college professor or similar, and was a great teacher who really knew their technique inside out, such as Josh Wright for example, explain that I was a very dedicated student, and would have asked them to teach me. While I did learn quite fast by most standards, I think I could have reached a grade 8 standard in 1-2 years with an excellent teacher, and progressed much further than I have already. But it's never too late to make amends, amirite?

If you do end up getting an expert teacher, however, do make sure to still attempt stuff you like on your own. Nothing is impossible -- just have that faith in yourself and intelligently apply what you know. If you think you might be able to learn something, give it a shot for a week. I think quantity matters a lot in the initial stages. I know people who go through 2-4 mini pieces each week at the start. While I didn't exactly do that, I would probably arrange a new song and improvise a lot every week, and while it's unconventional, that trained me knowledge of finger patterns to the point where I could improvise fluently (which requires you to come up with all kinds of configurations on the fly), and quickly come up with a near-optimal fingering solution.

I would also learn music theory. A lot of people I know tend to take things slow, but I tend to binge information. So I started a Coursera course on music theory, and tried to get through a week's content every day.  Although there were several days in between where I didn't get to it, I learned a lot from that course, to the point where teachers didn't really have to teach me how to analyze normal classical pieces. I would demonstrate that I knew my theory by analyzing a piece, and so that saved me all the time teachers would have to spend on theory.

ETA. One summer may also be enough time to learn how to play melodies by ear somewhat fluently. This helps you in a number of ways down the road.

EETA. Apologize for the typos. I was typing on my phone and am too lazy to fix them now.

Thanks so much!! That's two votes for learning music theory but I wonder... why is it important? I've heard of music theory but as a sort-of-beginner I didn't think it was for me. There's just so much to learn and I feel a bit overwhelmed already!!

I will try doing scales and arpeggios every day. I don't know all the scales yet... should I try to learn them all by the end of the summer or is it best to focus on a few of them?

Offline dogperson

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #5 on: June 06, 2021, 11:10:31 PM »
Summer:
You mentioned in another thread that you do not keep a steady pulse.  I recommend that you make that your goal for the summer:  play s lot of music AT YOUR LEVEL, using all techniques available (clapping , counting out loud and metronome) to develop internal rhythm.  Another thing you can do:  play music on a CD/radio with a clear beat and dance around the room to the beat. Concentrate on waltzes and marches, etc. Keeping a pulse is so very important as a part of your developing technique.

SCALES:  refer to one of the exam syllabi for what scales are expected at Grade 1-2. Work on those. What is important is how you practice them: rhythm even. all notes clear and evenly  heard.  You do not need to tackle all keys and variations.

Work on playing hands togetheró very, very slowly.  Spend the summer working on your reading ability and KEEP COUNTING

Added: I donít know you are currrntly learning but beginning pianists on another forum like, and are successful with Piano Marvel.  I have not personally  seen it.





Offline ranjit

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #6 on: June 11, 2021, 08:43:10 AM »
Music theory is important because it helps you make sense of the music in context. If you don't even know what scale you're playing in, you'll have a very hard time learning anything. Certain people are able to intuitively understand most of what they need, theory-wise, but for pretty much everyone else, knowing your basic theory speeds up your progress quite a bit. It's very important to try to reach a point where you can immediately think of a scale and manipulate it in your head. For example, what is the 4th note in a Bb major scale? If you can immediately imagine the note, you can see possible ways it could resolve, other scales it is a part of, arpeggio patterns, and the list goes on. You'll be able to see larger and larger patterns and underlying structures, which will improve a lot of things simultaneously.

Learning music theory early on is a way I used to force myself to get familiar with the patterns quickly, and I think it worked pretty well. It will be a challenge though, so it might not be for everyone.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #7 on: June 11, 2021, 10:40:10 AM »
Lots of good ideas already. I'd add - listen to lots of music, lots of piano music, but also lots of other music by composers whose piano pieces you enjoy. There's nothing like listening to Bach cantatas or instrumental sonatas to help you play his keyboard pieces, or listening to Mozart operas to help with his piano sonatas, or Schubert lieder for his Impromptus, or Brahms chamber music for his late piano pieces. In many places there are inexpensive concert series in the summer, so you don't have to stick to hearing recordings. The more music you listen to carefully the better.

Offline kittenyarn

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Re: Making a plan for summer practise
«Reply #8 on: June 12, 2021, 09:12:19 PM »
Thank you so much everyone!! I got a lot of good ideas about what I'm gonna do this summer  :D