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#1142220 - 06/03/05 06:01 PM music above your current level
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
I've recently again been struggling with the notion of playing music significantly above my level. For the pros out there, what are your opinions about jumping in the fire so to speak and trying to tackle difficult sheet music in a bar by bar approach? I guess the heart of the question is whether or not it is worthwhile. Or would a person be better off gradually increasing the difficulty of their practice pieces?

I am becoming of the opinion that in order to play difficult music you should just grab it and try to play it the best you can...over and over again and eventually you can piece it together.

Why play mary had a little lamb type pieces (hyperbole) over and over..and stupid arrangements..when you can dive right in especially after over a year of diligent study? When are you ever ready to try to tackle advanced material?

I'm interested to hear what you all think...

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1142221 - 06/03/05 10:55 PM Re: music above your current level
gregjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 316
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by thomosh:
I've recently again been struggling with the notion of playing music significantly above my level. For the pros out there, what are your opinions about jumping in the fire so to speak and trying to tackle difficult sheet music in a bar by bar approach? I guess the heart of the question is whether or not it is worthwhile. Or would a person be better off gradually increasing the difficulty of their practice pieces?

I am becoming of the opinion that in order to play difficult music you should just grab it and try to play it the best you can...over and over again and eventually you can piece it together.

Why play mary had a little lamb type pieces (hyperbole) over and over..and stupid arrangements..when you can dive right in especially after over a year of diligent study? When are you ever ready to try to tackle advanced material?

I'm interested to hear what you all think... [/b]
I did that and it really boosted my playing. I remember I started learning the original Scott Joplin ragtime songs (Cleopha, Maple Leaf, Entertainer, Wall Street Rag, etc.) after playing piano for 4 years. They were way above my level, but I spent hours getting down one measure at a time. Finally I would know an entire song and I'd play it over and over. The next one I learned was easier. Playing songs above my level really helped me -- even though I couldn't play them amazingly well, just being able to play the notes was a good start.
_________________________
Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com

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#1142222 - 06/06/05 02:58 AM Re: music above your current level
Sweep88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Ohio
Hey Tho...

Jump right in, you wont drown. Thats how I started, and I still do. Eventually, you'll hear a phrase from one tune, realize it fits in another tune, and so on. Before you know it, you'll be making up your own phrases and playing from the heart which is what jazz is all about.
\:\)
_________________________
I try to live, love and laugh as much as I can every day, because every day may be my last

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#1142223 - 06/06/05 12:53 PM Re: music above your current level
Groggy60 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 69
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Its probably better to play music that is not too much above your level. Being successful will be much more enjoyable and probably advance your playing equally well.

What is the point in a person that plays at a grade 2 level trying to play grade 8 music? He might be successful but the time wasted and frustration would not be worth it. It would make more sense for that person to try grade 4 or 5 pieces to be adventurous. Even better, do some grade 3, them grade 4 and so on.
_________________________
George

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#1142224 - 06/06/05 03:44 PM Re: music above your current level
Sweep88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Ohio
Tho...
trust me on this... find the hardest tune you can...
_________________________
I try to live, love and laugh as much as I can every day, because every day may be my last

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#1142225 - 06/07/05 11:14 AM Re: music above your current level
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
sweep and greg it's cool to hear that it's worked for you both. that's what i'm gonna do for a while now. i'm just going to plug away at the hardest stuff i can find and keep at it until i break through. but at the same time i will also work on some easier stuff, continue busting the scales, and learning theory, and doing hanon from time to time. i have to do hanon must because my fingers aren't the most suited for piano and i find that hanon helps me. i'll keep you all posted on how it goes.

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#1142226 - 06/07/05 04:01 PM Re: music above your current level
Sweep88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Ohio
Ditto on the hannon Tho...

BUT.... I stopped after about 30 pages realizing it wasn't helping me, (years ago). I kept hammering the tough tunes (at the time), and I realized I made up my own fingering as I went along. The fingering WONT help you to play jazz.... All progressions are different, and eventually your hands will comply... easily may I add... Trust me.. the more time you spend learning tunes is = to more finger time ON the ivories... This is where I'm at right now..
I'm learning Fats Wallers "Handful of Keys". I have the transcription, lead sheet, several different recordings, and of course not enough time to work on it. 10 years ago, I would have freaked out learning this tune, but the truth is, its not THAT hard. Thats because I hammered the circle all those years, and its seriously paid off. I started this tune a week ago, and expect to nail it in about a month...

my advice... Dump the hannon. learn a tune you like... and sleep it... think it...

I'll help if I can.. Geeze.. I dont even know what style you like????
_________________________
I try to live, love and laugh as much as I can every day, because every day may be my last

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#1142227 - 06/08/05 12:46 AM Re: music above your current level
gregjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 316
Loc: CA
Well, if the Hanon is helping you, I say go for it! I really only did the first few pages of it and it helped me, too.

Here's a great exercise you can do: play the very first Hanon exercise in all 12 keys. Also play it staccato, legato, loud, and soft. That alone will help you a lot, not only with technique, but as a mental exercise (transposing it to the different keys is a great way of getting used to diatonic movement)
_________________________
Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com

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#1142228 - 06/08/05 02:44 PM Re: music above your current level
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
yes it is definitely helping me. i can see how it may be pointless to some though. my fingers are a little jacked up (to use a technical term) so i need something to really work them...for me it's hanon. i don't go too crazy with it but it does help get me going.

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#1142229 - 06/10/05 12:27 AM Re: music above your current level
NmbrNine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 288
Loc: West
thomosh;

I was 13 and my parents (and teacher) were ready to give up on my piano instruction. I was struggling and uninspired. After what could well have been my last lesson, my teacher suggested I pick up the "Maple Leaf Rag" sheet on the way home.

I remember when the man at the music store handed me that monster. I nearly died looking at how jumbled and "close-together" all those notes seemed...I surely had no business messing here.

But I took it home, and attacked it much the way one would try to play a cactus.
But note by note, and measure by measure I got through it (well, most of it!)

I guess the point is to never underestimate what you can do. I'll bet you can play anything you want. Now go see the scary man at the music store!

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#1142230 - 06/10/05 08:45 AM Re: music above your current level
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
Yeah you're probably right numbrnine, all about the part about going to see the scary man. I'll pass on that part, that's why there's amazon.com

i've been mostly working out of my fake books and really trying to voice my own stuff. i'm pretty amazed that with hard work I actually can play the stuff. and with the drum lessons i'm about to begin i can only keep improving.

the only missing component is the theory. i need to find a better way to approach it and LEARN it. everyone keeps saying hammer the circle. i think that's cool but i don't know how to do it. i suck at transposing and i barely know all my 12 major scales.

i was playing this jazz song by ear last night it was pretty fun. i can hear it in my head and can figure out the melody but the underlying chords i couldn't grasp. I couldn't find them. point is, with theory, i could probably have deduced the chords from the melody. all in due time i suppose.

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#1142231 - 06/16/05 02:48 PM Re: music above your current level
Riyoku Sakimori Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 137
Loc: Chesterfield, MO
I'm not a pro but I started piano back up at a kindergarten level two years ago and now I'm playing at a tenth grade level because I played beyond what I'm supposed to. I'm thinking that it should boost your playing techniques but not learning skills. It's a lot like cramming. You only memorize without process. But still, it does help a bit.
_________________________
I need help with composition. If you have Finale NotePad installed, please ask me to send the file somehow and rate it. Or send an Adobe Reader copy of the music.

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#1142232 - 06/29/05 10:45 AM Re: music above your current level
Ancient Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 384
I'm all for playing songs you like, even if they're above you're level. BUT...if you get frustrated with them, you might want to take a break and play easy tunes to build your confidence.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Sweep88:
I kept hammering the tough tunes (at the time), and I realized I made up my own fingering as I went along. The fingering WONT help you to play jazz.... eventually your hands will comply... [/b]
And Sweep's right, your fingers will naturally find a place on the keyboard.
_________________________
Remember, I'm pullin for you, we're all in this together
-From a TV Show

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#1142233 - 07/01/05 05:07 AM Re: music above your current level
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Inspiring stuff ...!!

I recently bought a Stride and Swing Piano book which is wrecking my head; but I'm slowely getting through Tune 1. I was wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew but these posts encourage me to stick at it a while longer.

Cheers Lads,

Rob.

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