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#1054395 - 12/26/08 06:24 PM 3 questions from an amateur
nihaoma Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 1
hi all
great forum !!
I'am 25 revisiting the piano after about 15 years of absence.
I am charmed by classical music.
Now, I have downloaded tons of learning books – here in the middle east you can do this , and practice every day for about 2 hours.
I am doing this for 3 months now.

For starters , I have a Q:
I am not comfortable with reading notes and playing them simultaneously, but prefer to first memorize them, and then play.
Thus, the notes are for reference only.
Is this ok , or I have to insist with reading and playing at the same time.

One more Q:
Metronome – how important is to practice every single piece with it? – it's challenging , frustrating , boring , and sometimes exciting at the same time.

One last Q:
Is Canon variation by George Winston considered to be an intermediate level?
I am playing the first half of it quite fluently (without a metronome, and by heart).

thanx

xie xie

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#1054396 - 12/26/08 07:03 PM Re: 3 questions from an amateur
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Hi Nihaoma--

Welcome to the forums! It's exciting to get back to piano after such a long break. I bet you're making great progress.

Here are my answers/opinions on your questions:

1. I have to memorize most fast pieces in order to play them at tempo, but I always get the music out and play from it regularly to check myself. You'd be surprised how quickly you'll make changes in a piece, get a little sloppy holding notes through rests, or stop using staccato as noted. If you play slowly, you will probably be able to do this. When playing for pleasure, there are not real taboos except things that will cause arm pain, so you should do what you enjoy. Still, if you can't play at all with the music, even slowly, I'd record myself and check my playing against the music that way so you'll know you're being accurate.

2. I like practicing some with the metronome--again, to check myself--and it helps get the rhythm right when I am starting a piece or trying to get all of it up to tempo. I only play with it when I need to.

3. I have that Canon, and I'd say that parts of it are intermediate, and parts are closer to advanced. Like almost all versions of the Canon, it's simpler at the beginning and end more complex in the middle. Tempo is what makes this one especially difficult. It's a beautiful version, though, and I think it will be a favorite to play for people once you have it down and memorized.

Good luck on your studies. I am interested to hear what else you are learning as you go along!

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1054397 - 12/26/08 10:49 PM Re: 3 questions from an amateur
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
1. you're talking about 'sight reading' skill, which is hard for anyone to begin with and unless you practice it regularly, you would never be comfortable doing that. but after a few years, you'd get better with it.

2. metronome is important for regulating your playing pace and rhythms, and checking on your tempo. for beginner especially, whether you playing at even tempo or not is often not very obvious, but a teacher or someone else hearing you playing would notice. so, using metronome is a way to force yourself playing evenly. my teacher often tells me that i'm playing some part faster and some part slower, which i don't always pay attention, and then he'd suggest me practice with metronome. also, whenever you play with metronome, always wait until you hear its few clicks and get that pace in your mind, and then start to play with it. this way, it would be much easy for you to follow it.

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#1054398 - 12/28/08 01:29 PM Re: 3 questions from an amateur
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
The problem with relying on memory is
that by doing that your reading skills
deteriorate more and more. Eventually,
they become non-existent, and at the
same time you'll eventually reach
a point where the pieces are too long
and difficult to commit to memory,
and then you're at a dead end pianistically.
You can no longer memorize the more
difficult pieces, and moveover, you
can't even play them with the sheet
music because your reading has become
so bad, and so you can make no further
progress.

Therefore, one should always
try to keep his reading skills honed
as much as possible. Thus, even if
you memorize something, you should
still play with the sheet music in
front of you and constantly struggle to
read the score, even if you have it
essentially memorized. That way
you preserve your reading skills as
much as possible.

I am against using the metronome. The
reason for this is that the device
apparently was originally invented
for use by composers as an aid when
composing. But today it is apparently
being misused for keeping time when
playing.

I'm not familiar with George Winston's
work.

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#1054399 - 12/28/08 02:00 PM Re: 3 questions from an amateur
Highlander One Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 111
Loc: Texas
Memorization is for recitals
and auditions. The metronome
helps you count with an even
tempo. When you learn to do
this, you can subtly speed
up and slow dowm the tempo.

\:\)

H1
_________________________
Piano Sales since 1992
Piano study since 1969
Piano teacher since 1992
Touring musician since 1985
Studio musician since 1996
I Love the Piano

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#1054400 - 12/28/08 02:15 PM Re: 3 questions from an amateur
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
Hey, welcome to the forum!

1) A lot of people memorize before working on a piece. Some of that is from insecurity with note reading, or just a different approach to learning. I'm 100% positive the more you play, your note recognition will become much better and faster. Till then, memorizing a piece is good practice for later.

2) Rhythm can hurt a lot of people. To this day, I sometimes struggle with complex rhythm. Metronomes are a great tool in learning a piece. I just got an iTouch for christmas and uploaded the metronome feature. It goes down to 1 bpm!!! That is slooowwwwwww!

Matt

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