Piano Forum



The Relaunch of Pleyel in France Ė Produced Far Away
Last year, the completely new Pleyel instruments from the Algam company, which bought the brand in 2007, was presented to distributors. For the first time since Pleyel was founded in 1807, its pianos are made outside Europe. Read more >>

Topic: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner  (Read 376 times)

Offline rolvetheprotogen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 5
Hello all! Ive lurked these forums for about a week now, but I made an account for this. I first took interest in the piano last october and self taught, but never had much practice time. Ive learned bits and pieces of many classical songs (Liebestruam, Ballade 1, Gymnopedie/Gnossienne, etc.), but I only actually finished the 1st mov of moonlight sonata, which I played in front of my school. Ive recently been blessed with much more time for practice (maybe abt 2-3 hours a week), and Im currently working on Rachs prelude in c# minor (its a big jump ik but i feel confident). My current method of practice is learning small pieces at a time (a bar or less), and practicing it over and over again until I can make the jumps/chord transitions in the section perfectly, then move on. Its rather slow, however, and im considering instead simply memorizing the entire first Lento section and then replaying that until ive got it good, before doing the same with the Agitato, then ofc Tempo Primo. What method would you guys say is best? Or any other methods you guys personally use?

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 7367
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #1 on: August 28, 2023, 03:20:21 PM
You are playing repertoire far beyond the vast majority of 1st year students. I'd suggest you go back to easier repertoire to develop your practice method.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.pianovision.com

Offline rolvetheprotogen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 5
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #2 on: August 28, 2023, 03:27:08 PM
You are playing repertoire far beyond the vast majority of 1st year students. I'd suggest you go back to easier repertoire to develop your practice method.
Trust me, I know its beyond what I should be doing. This piece is, however, my sole focus for the piano until I finish. Im just learning for my own personal enjoyment, developing technical skills isnt something that matters to me. My plan is to brute force it until I can play it, even if it takes months.

Offline palmtree

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 12
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #3 on: August 28, 2023, 03:59:21 PM
...developing technical skills isnt something that matters to me. My plan is to brute force it until I can play it, even if it takes months.

That sounds like an excellent way to end up hurting yourself. Of course it's funner to play exciting pieces, but people don't tell you to start with easier stuff because they want you to be bored.

Offline rolvetheprotogen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 5
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #4 on: August 28, 2023, 04:52:17 PM
That sounds like an excellent way to end up hurting yourself. Of course it's funner to play exciting pieces, but people don't tell you to start with easier stuff because they want you to be bored.
When thinking of what piece to learn, my choices were the overplayed Howls Moving Castle theme, chopins Waltz in C# Minor op 64 no2, or this Rach. I knew all 3 would pose challenging, and I knew the prelude would be the most so by quite a margin. I originally decided it would be too hard due solely to the agitato, and had decided on option A. But further analysis led me to find that the section has an actual order that makes sense to me, and not just a bunch of wild note pressing that someone who doesnt understand music theory wouldnt see the connections in (lookin at you, Fantasie-Impromptu). A 1-2-3 RH arpeggio pattern, with the left playing a note on every 3rd. Well at least at the beginning, that changes as the section develops, but it still makes sense to me. That led me to reconsider. Of course, its only been a week, so im far from feeling too deep to change my mind. But tbh ive been making what I consider decent progress. If I were to change, id be more inclined toward the waltz. And for the record, I tried things that beginners "should" be doing (Satie's stuff, Chopins E minor prelude, etc). I found them too easy and boring. I want a challenge and to have fun. And to sound like a virtuoso, of course. I feel like I can manage this piece by the end of the year, which is my goal. If I didnt, I wouldnt pursue it...

Offline ranjit

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1361
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #5 on: August 28, 2023, 05:19:24 PM
Look it up on YouTube. You tend to find some good tutorials, and try to follow them well. Isolate difficult passages and really think about how you would approach them. Focus on it feeling easy and smooth.

Offline palmtree

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 12
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #6 on: August 28, 2023, 11:32:49 PM
If you think you really can tackle it, I absolutely applaud your pursuit! I've played things, or at least parts of things, which are well above my 'level', but then I found my technique was horribly lopsided, and I lacked a well-rounded pianism, so I've dropped back to easier pieces (I was getting through Chopin op. 25 no. 10 simply because I'm good at octaves but I ultimately decided a bit of Clementi would do me good).

Offline rolvetheprotogen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 5
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #7 on: August 29, 2023, 12:11:55 AM
If you think you really can tackle it, I absolutely applaud your pursuit! I've played things, or at least parts of things, which are well above my 'level', but then I found my technique was horribly lopsided, and I lacked a well-rounded pianism, so I've dropped back to easier pieces (I was getting through Chopin op. 25 no. 10 simply because I'm good at octaves but I ultimately decided a bit of Clementi would do me good).
Thank you for sharing your experience, and while I do believe I can manage to squeak the prelude under my belt with gross amounts of practice... I'm most likely going to be switching to Chopins Op. 69 (;3) No. 2. As I said in the post, a secondary option would have been his Op.64 No.2, and this piece has a similar character to it and its easier to play. I think ill be holding off on c# minor...

for now. >:3

Offline geopianoincanada

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #8 on: August 29, 2023, 03:49:33 AM
I read and re-read your initial post and I didn't see any mention about having a piano teacher.

Long ago I too tried the DIY approach about 20 years ago and it wasn't long before I encountered many roadblocks due to poor, clumsy and undeveloped technique. I didn't know how much I didn't know.

In 2018 I was able to restart piano lessons after a very long break and when I restarted I realized that I needed the guidance of a teacher more than ever because.some of my old habits were creeping back into my efforts.

My advice is to seek out a competent and reputable piano teacher in your area to help guide you so you learn the proper fundamental techniques, avoid joint injury and master the skills needed to manage the complexity of piano music.

I suggest you ask at your local music centre/store about hiring a good piano teacher or check local ads in your area to see if any teachers are accepting new students. Work with devotion and discipline every day to stay within the lesson structure from your teacher to develop the many skills needed to play well. Avoid the temptation to fall into old practice habits which will prove counterproductive and maybe even harmful to your development.

Offline ego0720

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #9 on: August 29, 2023, 07:21:54 PM
There is no actual method per se. Just an approach that can involve decoding, sight reading, listening, or fingering.. and other dimensions (tone, harmony, rhythm, etc). They work in parallel arrays and sometimes we focus on only one skill during the developmental cycle. Ultimately one has to achieve a oneness with all skills involved in music (audiation).  Itís too frustrating getting it right initially.. itís very complex.. so it becomes more of stage development .. not unlike the 5 stages of civilization (Kardashev scale as in astrophysics). We all started wrong somewhere as a beginner but sooner or later we add and weave all the right skills together into a fabric.

What I like to do is 50-50 ratio of learning. 50% things I have to do and 50% I want to do. You can play but u also have to play seriously. You can modify that ratio too depending on your preference but if you have a lopsided ratio (too much method or too much fun) itís not the middle way to keep you going for the long haul. You donít want to be burned out with too much structure but if you donít do your diligence randomly playing with no focus keeps you all over the place. You will reach the same road as everyone else. But we are not all at the same point so the best way is to acknowledge you will make mistakes, it will be fine, you fix it, and then proceed forward. As long as you have the critical thoughts to even realize you made a mistake (donít let ego get in the way), you improve as you go.

Most important is to have fun and rekindle that passion when you lost it. Music is awesome for all ages and the world can use more musicians. I happen to believe piano is the best instrument.

Offline lelle

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2022
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #10 on: August 29, 2023, 10:59:25 PM
Trust me, I know its beyond what I should be doing. This piece is, however, my sole focus for the piano until I finish. Im just learning for my own personal enjoyment, developing technical skills isnt something that matters to me. My plan is to brute force it until I can play it, even if it takes months.

Be warned that you can injure yourself in very nasty ways if you brute force music that is beyond your technique. Think not being able to turn door knobs without burning pain for months. If you are going to do this despite our warnings, take absolute care that you feel no physical discomfort, tension, pain, or fatigue when you play any part of the piece. Both the fast parts and the loud chords should feel comfortable and effortless to play from a physical point of view. Discomfort is your body warning you that you are doing damage to your tissue.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 7367
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #11 on: August 30, 2023, 12:25:30 AM
Also learning 10 pieces well vs 1 piece mediocre is pretty much always better for the developing pianist.

Nothing wrong with studying "difficult" works you enjoy but put them in a less focused part of your study regime. That is easier said than done as it is very tempting to work on these pieces obsessively.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.pianovision.com

Offline ego0720

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #12 on: August 31, 2023, 10:51:39 AM
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=70198.0

Read this user. Not shaming anyone. It offers a perspective.

Offline geopianoincanada

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
Re: Practice methods for an intermediate-advanced beginner
Reply #13 on: August 31, 2023, 03:34:27 PM
While much on social media and YouTube can be absolute rubbish, there is one young piano teacher who has posted some wonderfully informative videos. She posts under the Youtube handle "PianoTV". I'd recommend watching some of her material and glean what you need from what she says.
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert