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#1054783 - 01/16/09 08:56 AM Re: Confused about my ability level
Opus45 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 920
Loc: North Carolina

I'm envious. I love listening to ragtime and wish I could play it. I have a couple ragtime books but can't seem to get off the ground with it the way I'm able to with classical music.

If my schedule permits, I may find a teacher to help me with this in the near future.

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#1054784 - 01/16/09 12:26 PM Re: Confused about my ability level
waldstein11448998 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 130
Loc: Connecticut
Those first couple of Hanon exercises really make my hands tired! As I increase the tempo, they get tired faster. My fingers seem to get heavier and they seem to want to slow down, but my brain wants to speed up at the same time. Playing these has been a real eye opener.

Another eye opener has been hands separate practice. Passages that I thought that I knew how to play well, I really don't know how to play. By practicing hands separate, I can hear the inconsistencies. Some notes are louder than others, and sometimes I'm not keeping the eight or sixteenth notes even.

I'm glad that I have a teacher now. I feel like I will progress much more quickly.

#1054785 - 01/16/09 12:45 PM Re: Confused about my ability level
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3480
One simple thing I have found to be very helpful is to spend a lot of time actually playing the piano.

I know that sounds silly, but what I mean is to play some pieces that are at your level, some slightly below your level, and a few just slightly above your level.

That way you are spending a lot of time playing, rather than slowly learning a difficult piece, or working on a technique exercise.

The playing reinforces what you know, and gets you used to playing in a comfortable and low-pressure format.

Its kind of like learning how to ski...you can read books, watch videos, but actually getting on the slopes is where the learning is...but make sure you spend your time on slopes at your competence level! That way you enjoy it, and get used to it, and thus pave the way for improvement.

This does not mean that you also do not work on a piece of music that is a bit above your level, so you are pushing the envelope, nor does it mean that you are not doing exercises.

I have personally found this very beneficial, and use it with many of my students.

One caveat: Whatever you play, try to play it well...Sometimes I find myself getting sloppy because I know a piece. I don't know why that happens, but it does.
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

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