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#1992259 - 11/29/12 04:58 AM Bad practicing
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
If anyone want to learn how to practice badly and inefficiently, you may ask me. I think I have made all possible mistakes in the process of learning how to play the piano.

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#1992261 - 11/29/12 05:06 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
Surely not ALL possible mistakes smile But then.. if you have made all of them, that means you should be able to avoid them now smile

Sounds like you might be feeling frustrated today?
Cheer up! It's almost the weekend and you'll be able to practice a lot - with or without mistakes smile
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1992276 - 11/29/12 06:18 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: casinitaly]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Surely not ALL possible mistakes smile But then.. if you have made all of them, that means you should be able to avoid them now smile

Sounds like you might be feeling frustrated today?
Cheer up! It's almost the weekend and you'll be able to practice a lot - with or without mistakes smile



Exactly! I believe I have learnt something from my mistakes. Just a pity that I have spent so much time doing things the wrong way.

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#1992277 - 11/29/12 06:29 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Immunization shots. Been there, done that. You get a free map of potholes to steer clear of. These are lemons that can give you fantastic lemonade once you get the sour taste out of your mouth. wink

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#1992280 - 11/29/12 06:45 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5281
Loc: Philadelphia
I believe my resume might give you a run for your money. wink
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1992283 - 11/29/12 07:18 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Reminds me of an old (American) football story...

Quarterback: "I think I'm making really good progress, I never make the same mistake twice."

Coach: "Sure, but the problem is that you keep dreaming up new ones!"
grin
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1992303 - 11/29/12 08:17 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
I was tortured this week by my daughter practicing a chromatic scale on the clarinet prior to an audition for the county band. Going up was reasonable, coming back down was pretty bad.

Of course, I told her to forget about practicing going up; just start from the top note and come down. Fix that first.

Of course she couldn't, wouldn't shouldn't, didn't. It was "too hard" to start at the top note. Of course she wouldn't listen to reason - that was precisely why she had the problem coming down the scale. Sigh.

Drove me bananas. Eventually I left her to it with the words, "practicing the same mistake time and time again isn't practice" but I don't think she understood.

P.S. She admitted to me that she "pretty much messed up that scale" in the audition itself. Duh, wonder why ...


Gripe over, thanks for providing a good thread for it!
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#1992317 - 11/29/12 08:58 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11420
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
But we humans tend to learn best when we screw up. Being told "you're going to want to do this here because you will most likely mess this up" rarely works. I've tried that tactic with students, knowing that they will make a particular mistake in their practice, to no avail. Now, I guide them through a piece, but let them discover the tricky spots on their own and help them learn how to practice those areas to fix them. Works better that way. smile
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1992345 - 11/29/12 10:11 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
If anyone want to learn how to practice badly and inefficiently, you may ask me. I think I have made all possible mistakes in the process of learning how to play the piano.



I assume you started without a teacher...if so, this is why its good to start with a teacher to get students in the right direction. Even then its not easy.

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#1992355 - 11/29/12 10:46 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Mark...]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Mark...

I assume you started without a teacher...if so, this is why its good to start with a teacher to get students in the right direction. Even then its not easy.

Gandalf might have. However, not all teachers guide their students in practising itself. For example, they may assign a piece, and the student comes back with mistakes, and the teacher points out the mistakes that have to be fixed, but without finding out what is causing those mistakes. That goes into "how to practice". A good teacher will get into that side of it.

Here is an example: Starting a piece in the beginning, stopping where you have a problem, and starting at the beginning again. The results: The first part of the piece will sound good, and the further along you get, the more mistakes will be there. A weaker teacher will point out the mistakes. An astute teacher will ask whether you practised in that manner (it's common) and direct you to practise differently.

Along the same lines, a teacher may ask a student to practise say 40 minutes/day. Spending that amount of time badly (as above) means the student will really entrench mistakes by repeating them that often. HOW to practice is an important element, as opposed to "how long" or "how often".


Edited by keystring (11/29/12 10:47 AM)

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#1992369 - 11/29/12 11:21 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
I started playing the pump organ when I was a kid, and then I was instructed by the local church organist who wasn't professional. At age 16 I got a piano in the house and started playing without any instruction. I had a feeling that I made really fast progress, but actually I tought myself lots of bad habits. Getting rid of them took me 40 years (possibly still some of them remain).
Of course I'm familiar with the "method" of starting at the beginning and play until problems occur. Very stupid, actually....

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#1992371 - 11/29/12 11:27 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Ganddalf

Of course I'm familiar with the "method" of starting at the beginning and play until problems occur. Very stupid, actually....

This was addressing the assumption that you never had a teacher, because not all teachers teach good practising habits. I grabbed the most obvious thing I could think of.

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#1992539 - 11/29/12 06:15 PM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Don't worry Ganddalf- I make loads of mistakes- but am learning when I am making them! I see you are Norwegian by the way- you write excellent English. It's a country I'd love to visit- looks beautiful by the photos I've seen.
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1992597 - 11/29/12 09:04 PM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
If anyone want to learn how to practice badly and inefficiently, you may ask me. I think I have made all possible mistakes in the process of learning how to play the piano.



How dare you make me smile! Piano is a serious subject matter and smiling or moving the cheeks in any way is strictly prohibited...

On another note, you must be a very learned pianist-- you learn from each of your mistakes, so the more mistakes you make, the more you learn. wink

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#1992756 - 11/30/12 10:09 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: EdwardianPiano]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Don't worry Ganddalf- I make loads of mistakes- but am learning when I am making them! I see you are Norwegian by the way- you write excellent English. It's a country I'd love to visit- looks beautiful by the photos I've seen.


You should absolutely make a trip to Norway. After all it isn't too far away from the UK. I recommend the time of the apple blossom in Hardanger. smile

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#1992769 - 11/30/12 10:33 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
One day Ganddalf I hope so! I have just had a little piano practise cos my teacher is coming at 5pm. I am quite pleased because I played the next peice in Alfdred's- Alouette which is the next one I think he will give me. I played it almost straight off. I did the left hand chords first then played left and right hands together. I know the timing isn't quite right but teacher can help me with that. I think I played the right notes, we shall see! I also found the scales of E and B major by ear ( he hasn't showed me them yet). Knowing me I will fluff it all up when he comes LOL.


Edited by EdwardianPiano (11/30/12 10:33 AM)
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1994464 - 12/04/12 04:58 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
Teodor Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 943
Loc: Bulgaria
Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
If anyone want to learn how to practice badly and inefficiently, you may ask me. I think I have made all possible mistakes in the process of learning how to play the piano.



That's good because now you now you are doing it wrong. And you are not alone. I find myself wasting time in "bad practice" almost every day. I was very frustrated last week after my lesson because I did not do what my teacher asked me to do and she said that if I continue like this I will never play good.

It was very musical and sounded ok but my hands are now like glued to the keyboard, some fingers keeping their position over the last pressed key even though I am not pressing it anymore. Problems working pieces up to tempo that come as a result from slow reactions and failure to incorporate helpful movements.

The more I play the more problems I notice I have with piano which is good because I know what they are and they can be addressed.
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#1994468 - 12/04/12 05:04 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 943
Loc: Italy
Ganddalf, it would be very useful to know exactly what you think you have done wrong, so we can avoid that wink
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1994538 - 12/04/12 09:05 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: sinophilia]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Ganddalf, it would be very useful to know exactly what you think you have done wrong, so we can avoid that wink


I can confess my sins, of course.

First of all, the underlying reason is perhaps that I had very little instruction by qualified teachers. I started very young with the pump organ, and then I was the first (and probably only) pupil of the local organist in a small country church. In spite of this I picked up some basics, particularly music theory and learnt the correct fingering of the most common scales. When I was 16 my family sold the pump organ and bought a piano. I started playing on my own, and had the impression that I developed very quickly, and somehow got a feeling I was some kind of prodigy or musical genious, not needing instruction by anyone. Unfortunately neither my family nor my friends ever critisised my playing, and therefore I kept my illusion for quite a while.

In other words, I was allowed to do a lot of bad things, and although I learnt several quite difficult pieces I never learnt to play them well, but just good enough for people to recognise them. In other words - I did a lot of inefficient practicing.

One very serious mistake was selecting pieces far too difficult. Of course it was nonsense for a person like me to practice Liszt's "La Campanella", but I did.

Another mistake I did, was playing too fast when practicing. I considered speed more important than precision, and thought that if I practiced at high speed a sufficient number of times I would eventually learn the pieces. What I actually did was to practice lots of mistakes, and getting rid of them later turned out to be very difficult.

I also was very careless about fingering, and could use different fingering every time I "played" through the music. Such a way of practicing is probably the least efficient of all.

Covering inaccuracies with the pedal was another very bad habit of mine. In this way I could run rapidly over details and fool myself (and possibly some unqualified listeners) to believe that I was mastering the music.

Gradually I realised that I was on the wrong track. I think I can say that it took be 3 - 4 years to develop the bad habits, and 30 - 40 years to get rid of at least some of them. Presently I don't have the time and capacity to visit a teacher, but if I ever have the opportunity I'll start getting some instruction. Meanwhile I try to be focused when I practice, listen to myself and be very critical about the small details.

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#1994541 - 12/04/12 09:18 AM Re: Bad practicing [Re: Ganddalf]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 943
Loc: Italy
Thank you! It looks like you were a bit too young to be able to listen to yourself and judge your own playing and practicing methods. With regard to this (and only to this!) I'm glad I started much later in life and with such a huge amount of good advice freely available on the Internet.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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