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#1993955 - 12/03/12 01:46 AM Should I Plod with Claude? Or...
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
I have to make some decisions about how I should go forward with my piano journey. In a nutshell, to quote myself from the post linked below:

Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Do I continue to focus on challenging stuff that I love, at the expense of a solid foundation? Or do I put the challenging stuff on the shelf (this would be very painful after the time invested so far) and essentially start over? Is there a middle ground that is actually tenable? Or would I just wind up doing both the advanced stuff and the basic stuff poorly?


For the background of my circumstances and limitations re: practice time, please see this post -- it is integral to my question, just so happens that it's in another post and another thread smile

Here are the details about what I've done so far... probably way too much, but hey, verbosity is my middle name. sleep

My journey started with "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" as a duet with my daughter, a surprise for my wife for last Christmas.

That went well, and I was bitten by the bug... hard. My daughter and I both really like Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are", so I resolved to learn it in time for my wife's birthday in March.

I started in December, learned how to use Finale, tracked down different versions, came up with my own arrangement*, and started to actually learn to play it in February. More details here (if you are curious)

* Ironically enough, I subsequently pared it down as I learned my limitations. Now that I have more experience, I am "unparing" to add back some of the complexity that adds to the depth and richness of the song -- which I never would have appreciated from the song as recoded by Billy... the electric piano (Rhodes? I'm not sure) with phaser effect muddies over some really amazing stuff.

I didn't have it ready in time though, so I set "Just The Way You Are" on ice. I subsequently picked it up again and am in the process of re-learning it as of October.

I then started working on "She's Got a Way" in June -- also as a surprise for my wife (I bit of a trend here, yes heart) because I found out that it is her favorite Billy Joel song. It's all chords though and I can't really sing along with it (check out pianojohn's YouTube tutorial in regards to the singing -- he's bad, but I'm even worse). So I need to make or buy an arrangement with the melody in the right hand. Haven't made the time to do that yet.

I also gave Satie's Gymnopédie #1 a try, because it is my wife's favorite classical piece (FWIW -- I like all these as well), but found that it is so extremely stark and sparse that it is much more difficult than I had bargained for to capture the right mood. Rhythm is essential to the piece, and I just don't have it.

What is the solution when one does not have rhythm? Rubato, of course! smile

Enter... Clair de Lune...

I've been working on Clair de Lune since July. This is a piece which is ridiculously over my level, but I love it so much. I wanted to try it as a means to really get me going with the piano, knowing that if I started with a method book with simple tunes that I would most likely want to gouge my eyes out very quickly -- it just wouldn't hold my interest.

Clair de Lune has served me well in this regard. It has been a great learning experience, mostly figuring things out on my own with the sheet music, but referring to Hugh Sung's "From Scratch" series from time to time, along with a few other tutorial sources, and a lovely church organist who gave me some tips after I helped get a Hammond CV back in running order for her (random anecdote there, sorry).

I have about 1/2 of it in "OK" shape (on the DGX-500, it is much rougher on the acoustic because the pedaling, dynamics, and expression -- little details smile -- are more challenging there), namely the first 26 measures and then from 59 through 72. Right now I'm working on 51 through 58 and can do HS on that section fairly well... sorta. I need to develop legato in the left hand and not rely on the pedal so much there.

Working with both a DP, where I can be in "brick mode" with the pedal, and an out-of-tune acoustic, where I have to use a very quick pedal to avoid an absolute cacophany, has made me realize that pedaling skills are crucial. As a result, I've focused on the pedal quite a bit... I'm no master, but measures 51 through 58 have made me realize that light pedaling is not the be-all and end-all of smooth play... I'm still over-using the pedal, BIG TIME, even when I'm releasing fairly rapidly on the acoustic. I've been using the pedal to compensate for the fact that I have not developed any legato technique whatsoever.

So... I feel good about this overall, in the sense that I am identifying issues (with not inconsiderable help from you all in this forum) and taking positive steps to resolve them. I think that my overall progress is probably reasonably OK for someone completely self-taught (since I remember virtually nothing from childhood lessons).

The problem is that I am acutely aware that I am not on a good path overall, because of my focus on just two songs and one quite advanced piece over the past 10 months. A bit of playing with scales and chords, but nothing regular and systematic. And yes, I've known throughout the year that I was putting myself on this path, but I wanted to see where I could go first.

Basically, I wanted to know: "can I be really good, for an amateur, if I put in the time over a number of years?" My verdict is that I think I can be good, or at least good enough to satisfy myself, eventually.

Now I have to figure out how to actually make that happen. I don't think what I'm doing now will work, but I don't want to give up all that I have in progress so far.

- "Just The Way You Are" I can't give up, nor would I want to. My wife knows about it and is very eager for me to perform it for her when I'm ready.

- "She's Got a Way" I would really like to do, but she doesn't know about it (AFAIK), so I could shelve it.

- Clair de Lune though, that's the painful one. Nobody would give two hoots if I stopped working on it (my older daughter would be thrilled -- she absolutely hates it because she has heard it so many times, and not even the whole thing at that!). It would be very difficult to see all that work go down the drain. I've probably put somewhere between 50-100 hours into it. For a few weeks now I've basically mothballed it. I play through what I know when I have a chance and work on a couple rough spots for a few minutes, but I'm not investing the time to move it forward in terms of additional measures. I do use it to focus on certain aspects of technique that I'd like to improve both for the piece and for their own sake.

For starting over I would plan to use Carl Humphries "Piano Handbook", which I think will hold my attention and provide more depth (in terms of background of the types of music and so on) vs. one of the traditional method books (Alfred, Adventures, etc.). Any feedback on this book is certainly welcome as well.

So, I'm looking for advice re: the quoted block at the top of this post.

help

I may post audio/video for critique, as it might provide helpful context for my overall quandary (i.e. if I'm a complete and total disaster, you all might -- in your very nice way -- be more inclined to encourage me to back off from the advanced stuff and focus on the basics). I don't have a recording setup though, so it would take some time to figure how to get something actually audible (phone cam doesn't pick up sound very well).

NB: I don't have a teacher, I can't afford a teacher, I won't have a teacher for the foreseeable future. I wish I could. I agree that I should. Move on. cool


Edited by aTallGuyNH (12/03/12 01:49 AM)
_________________________
"...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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#1993961 - 12/03/12 02:27 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Id take a look at burgmuller opus 100 , 25 progressive etudes that are lovely to play. Keep going with clair de lune but approuch it differently. Accept not to try to play it all but isolate phrases and work on the different tecniques in the piece. Therefore you'll be improving clair de lune with focus on improving your playing.... treat it as a long term goal and chip away slowly whilst making your practice time most effective.... good luck! :-)
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http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#1994003 - 12/03/12 06:53 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: UK Paul UK]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1876
Loc: Pennsylvania
I have been exactly where you are as a self-learner.

After having floundered around for several years I finally decided there was a need to be able to read musical notation "while playing". I have since done that and would highly recommend that you do that same. It opens up your world of music to many options.

I would suggest you investigate this site ...

http://fundamentalkeys.com/index.html

as a place to learn to read music and play classically.

For a modest investment for her book and videos (as you need them) you will be able to gain classical training which will serve as a base for any other type of music you wish to play.

You can then continue to work with some of these "special" projects just for fun while gaining ground with your base.

Regardless of what you do, it will take time (a lot of it) but if you keep going you will steadily improve.

I might also suggest that you do not make this complicated.
It does not have to be difficult. However, if you try to play things which are beyond your capabilities, you can make it difficult and frustrating.

You begin with simple things and learn to play them well and then move on to more difficult things but always within your capabilities. Then you experience success and you enjoy it. Otherwise, you will build frustration and may eventually quit.

Good Luck



Edited by dmd (12/03/12 04:29 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#1994064 - 12/03/12 10:35 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1417
Loc: Georgia, USA
The bottom line is, you have to put in the time to learn the fundamentals and fill in the holes in your technique and knowledge. There are no short cuts. The sooner you acknowledge the truth of this and begin, the sooner you will reach a playing level that pleases you.

Which method book to use or path to follow doesn't really matter, except to avoid those methods that are drudgery. Begin at the beginning and enjoy the journey.

By the way, Clair de Lune is not going anywhere. It's been around for a hundred years and will still be around when you are ready to really learn it.

Sam

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#1994097 - 12/03/12 11:42 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
TallGuy, if you are just thinking about hammering out the notes to Clair de Lune, then perhaps your work would be down the drain if you stopped (although even then, perhaps not, if you enjoyed working on it). But if you have been thinking about it with a broader point of view, hopefully you have been learning skills that can apply to other pieces. For example: syncopated pedaling; moving smoothly between big chords; proper voicing (often: LH softer than RH, and top RH note louder than the other notes); dynamics (not sure what's in Clair de Lune, but this can include playing at a given dynamic level, crescendo and diminuendo, sudden changes of dynamic level). Other kinds of skills to learn include expanding and contracting the hand; scalar runs; different rhythms in both hands; different rhythms in one hand (e.g. while one finger holds a note and other fingers play moving notes); expression in phrases (rising and falling in dynamics in a musically sensible way); two-note slurs; various articulations; rubato; playing in strict time; playing cross-handed; playing with the hands widely separated; playing with the hands overlapping. The list could go on.

As you get comfortable with more skills, the number of pieces you can comfortably learn increases. A typical approach would be to work on pieces from a variety of periods, at the same time. Even if you want to focus on just one piece at a time, I would suggest identifying the skills involved in the piece, and focus on making progress in those skills as you're learning the piece. This will get you more aware of what you're doing, and how those skills can transfer to other pieces.

For example, I practice a lot of Bach. This gives me good hand independence and agility. I'm learning a Clementi sonatina; this is giving me good skills for Classical period music, especially runs and sixteenth note passages; I'm also memorizing it, which I don't usually do, so I'm practicing *how* to memorize. I'm learning a Mendelssohn Song Without Words for the big themed recital; this will be the hardest piece I've ever learned and will give me practice in finding big chords in both hands quickly, and also practice in voicing a melody above a thick accompaniment, and in Romantic phrasing and exaggerated dynamics. I'm pretty good at basic syncopated pedaling already, but it will give me a challenging workout with changing pedal on almost every note, and challenge me to develop a lighter pedaling technique. I'm planning to learn the Khachaturian "Ivan" pieces; these give me practice in chromatic reading. I learned the Satie Third Gymnopedie for the most recent themed recital, and learning it was made immensely easier because I learned the First Gymnopedie last year, and had therefore mastered the LH style of low bass note on beat one followed by mid-range tenor chord on beat two. The exact notes were of course different between the two pieces, but the leaping technique along with coordinated pedaling was the important transferable skill.

So I encourage you to think in terms of skills rather than solely monster pieces, or at least at the same time as you work on your monster pieces.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1994134 - 12/03/12 12:41 PM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11710
Loc: Canada
aTallGuyNH - One thing has already been touched on, which is getting skills. I could expand on that in saying there are ways of getting those skills. For example, the one you have which involves counting or timing, there may be approaches to it which (if you're lucky enough to find one) a good teacher might give you. The other is APPROACH, period. There are ways of approaching a piece, approaching problems within the piece, which may turn your world upside down from what you presently think. They might turn your 100 hours into 20. I had several years of lessons on my first instrument before I understood this. Not all teachers teach it.

How have you been approaching Claire de Lune and what are the general types of problems that you are encountering?

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#1994214 - 12/03/12 04:15 PM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
I also gave Satie's Gymnopédie #1 a try, because it is my wife's favorite classical piece (FWIW -- I like all these as well), but found that it is so extremely stark and sparse that it is much more difficult than I had bargained for to capture the right mood. Rhythm is essential to the piece, and I just don't have it.

Do you not have rhythm, or do you not have control of your technique to be able to execute the notes in rhythm?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1994413 - 12/04/12 01:12 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Quote:
"He that knows not,
and knows not that he knows not
is a fool.
Shun him

He that knows not,
and knows that he knows not
is a pupil.
Teach him.

He that knows,
and knows not that he knows
is asleep
Wake him.

He that knows,
and knows that he knows
is a teacher.
Follow him."


You're not quite yet into the second category. Realize that it takes time and a lot of very dedicated practice to make such substantial works as "Clair de Lune" within [reasonable] reach - it always has and it always will. I was in your shoes and did learn my "Clair de Lune," but it took too long and while I enjoyed being able to play it after some 3 months (and still do) or so of unorganized practice, I would not currently attempt a piece of any such difficulty again any time soon it:

1)took far too long
2)was quite arguably time poorly spent that could've been spent much more efficiently securing a proper foundation
3)was learned partly wrong
4)still doesn't play perfectly

This was after having already completed a beginner's piano method book and learning to read music proficiently to give you some idea of competency. I'd recommend getting humble, first of all, and then proceeding to seek out a good teacher for lessons every week or two, if possible. If not, find some easy pieces to work on if you refuse a method book and watch the two videos below, and then start asking any and all questions you have about learning here and we'll help out as able.

How To Practice Efficiently
How To Learn a New Piece


Patiently wait to plod with clod, and instead, enjoy some green eggs and ham with Sam I Am laugh


Edited by Bobpickle (12/04/12 01:18 AM)

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#1994441 - 12/04/12 02:47 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
badgerops Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 9
Loc: Qld, Australia
aTallGuyNH - I am not qualified to advise on piano playing being a brand new beginner myself. Nonetheless I would like to contribute towards an aspect that has only briefly been touched on. I would start by ensuring that which allows me to pursue my interests are looked after. I don't know what I'd do without the support of my family. I do however empathise with your situation and appreciate the difficulties in focus (amongst many other shared traits) that are a hallmark of ADHD and Asperger's Sydrome (AS). I personally have been diagnosed with AS, and another family member with ADHD. I believe the deficit occurs in a wholistic fashion in the sense that I experience a heightened level of focussed focus (does that make sense) to the exclusion of all else. It certainly seems that you have a great deal of focus when it comes to the piano. The skill is in making this work for you, not against. With this level of focus I am fortunate to have done well at university and other pursuits that involve elements that are monotonous and boring, but requisite nonetheless. It sounds like the same could certainly apply to you if you had the time to persist. I am very fortunate in my wife who brings a sense of reality to my life and without whom I would not realise any of my notoriously transient ambitions (another hallmark of my AS). Ultimately, and in my hopefully not too wayward opinion, I believe it is essential that you share your focus amongst all aspects of life which will only benefit your piano ambition. As a disclaimer I am no authority on psychiatric conditions, and am only speaking from my personal experience being an AS sufferer/husband/father/beagle owner/yard keeper/bill payer/etc.etc.etc. Good luck with it all smile

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#1994852 - 12/05/12 03:26 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
Wow... so many extremely helpful and thoughtful comments, both on the personal and technical aspects of this. Thank you all!

Quick synopsis of my overall reaction is that, yes, I know I have to let Clair de Lune "go" (and as Sam wryly notes, it's not actually going anywhere after all). I have to go through a little bit of a process cry to adjust to that and have a clear plan so I don't just do random stuff thereafter, or backslide. I have a broad outline in my head based on the advice from you all here, as well some other threads I have been reading.

I'm extremely busy with holiday prep and end-of-year deadlines at work (hence posting here at 3am local time), so it might take me a bit before I can post more specific replies. I will do so though.
_________________________
"...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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#1994892 - 12/05/12 05:55 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
For me it was a good help to in general first become better literated in piano music, before snatching for my favorites.
I also have some very clear idea about certain pieces, which I want to play - and would like to play right away. But I was about to miss that there are as well other pieces around, which can be very beautiful to play and also enjoyable for my family to hear over and over again. So, I learned how to satisfy me waiting for the day that my favorite can become reachable for me.

I got the chance to hang out twice, each time for 4 hours, in a sheet music shop, where they have had thousands of sheets and maybe a 50 repertoir books for the beginner levels (Classics, Movie Themes, Songbooks of famous groups, also collections on Duets for beginners, etc...). In such a shop you will for sure find something which pleases you (and your listening family)!

I on purpose then also bought some, which to me appeared already below my level but contain very attracting pieces. This ones now serve me to learn to polish pieces. And guess what, I found that there is still a lot of work to do on those pieces, and even more important: I am learning what and how to polish in general! Fortunately for this I now do not have to stick with only the few (sometimes very boring) songs from the method book, but I have at hand my personal nice little collection with some real beauties in there. Waiting time is so much more pleasant now!
I am of course still following my high goals, like you now hunt for the Clair de Lune I hunt for my next big favorite, but since I continue to work (re-work) on the lower level pieces as well, the big ones to me appear easier to approach and quicker to advance with.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#2007630 - 01/01/13 07:10 PM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: Marco M]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
Thank you all for your considered input! I'm back from my nearly month-long hiatus from ABF (virtually 100% inactive since 12/5/12) and piano in general (less than 100%, thankfully). Ready to go.

Replies to individuals are further below, but I'll lead with where I am today re: a plan going forward.

The most fundamental, foundational advice that I rec'd on this topic actually came in the AOTW thread from Sand Tiger (thank you!), which was to have a 40/20/20/20 plan to balance out various aspects of learning. Here's my tailoring of that idea to my circumstances:

40% -- New stuff. Basically, songs for my wife.

20% -- Method. The Piano Handbook. Once I complete the new stuff I'm working on now, this will go up to 40% and "new stuff" will go down to 20%.

20% -- Old stuff. Just for pleasure and to keep these "in the fingers". There is no old stuff yet, so for right now I'll just use this time to maintain what I know of Clair de Lune.

20% -- Sightreading/exercises. This will be Bartok Mikrokosmos Vol. 1 and my daughter's "Kid Hymnal".

Due to my highly variable practice time, each of these will be 15-20 minute blocks that I will rotate to be proportional over time.

Someone had suggested in another thread to not get totally fixated on "true prima vista" sightreading, but rather to pick something like a hymnal and just go through it, then go through it again. It will be quite some time before seeing the beginning content a 2nd time, and one can mark their progress by seeing how much better it goes with further iterations -- which undoubtedly won't be directly based on having seen the music previously. I'm looking forward to seeing how this approach goes with that last 20%.

Scales, arpeggios, etc. are notably absent from the plan above, but I think they are covered in the Piano Handbook (haven't rec'd it just yet). If not, I'll work them in.

I've started a notebook where I'm writing down what I've practiced and for how long, and impressions of how it went. I hope that will be a good means to track progress and maintain perspective.

UK Paul UK: I like this idea of just focusing on certain phrases. Measures 51-58 for instance are a real challenge with the different motions between the two hands.

dmd: Yes, slow and steady wins the race, agreed.

Sam S: Your remark re: Clair de Lune "not going anywhere" still cracks me up, a month after having first read it. Thanks for that, and the simple and straightforward advice re: putting in the time, no shortcuts.

PianoStudent88: Your opening paragraph there reads like an ultra-condensed compendium of absolutely everything one needs to learn in the world of piano technique! What you describe re: building up skills is something that I realize I can't do on my own, I really need a method book to guide me. I'm really looking forward to the Piano Handbook to help with that. Once I reach a (much) higher level of skill, I'm sure I'll be coming back to this group for recommendations on pieces/composers to help me develop in particular skills and genres.

Originally Posted By: keystring
How have you been approaching Claire de Lune and what are the general types of problems that you are encountering?

I started at the beginning, just working on a couple measures at a time until I had them "OK", then moving along to the next set of measures while smoothing out and improving the previous set of measures. I then saw that many people (Josh Wright was the first I heard) recommend working through a piece backwards, so I started doing that. However, I really wanted to finish the first section, so I've been working my way towards the middle from both directions, which has been interesting. I actually like this way because it provides more variety to the practice time.

At each session I'll play the portions that I know through (at speed) just once, then work on the portion that is new (slowly, just a couple/few measures) for a while, then play it through a 2nd time and work on the rough spots (slowly) for a while. A "while" varies based on my practice time, could be 5-10 minutes or 20-30 minutes.

General types of problems...

- hands doing different things at once (measures 51-58)
- quick jumps (measures 17-18)
- glissandos sounding "just so" (smooth deceleration is what I'm aiming for) consistently (measures 25-26)
- smooth and consistent arpeggios (measure 27 and onward)
- pedaling... although this did magically and dramatically improve after I got my piano tuned thumb

Remembering to practice slowly is a constant battle. I'm perfectly aware of the need and wisdom of it on an intellectual level, but actually putting it into practice consistently is very difficult.

Also, overall lack of being able to read music quickly (not prima vista, just in general) and not being able to truly memorize. If I'm not playing it every few days, I have to grind through and re-learn the nuances that have escaped me. I don't have it truly memorized, nor am I able to read the details I've forgotten off the score and put them into my fingers as I play (even at a slow pace). This is not surprising of course, and not something that I think would be a good idea for me to address directly with this piece. I'm trusting that it will come in time, with diligence.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Do you not have rhythm, or do you not have control of your technique to be able to execute the notes in rhythm?

I'm quite sure it's both. Without the technique, it's completely impossible of course. Even with the technique though, I just don't have a regimented sense of timing as an innate skill. I'll have to force myself to use the metronome -- with Bartok most likely -- to improve in that area.

Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
I'd recommend getting humble, first of all, and then proceeding to seek out a good teacher for lessons every week or two, if possible. If not, find some easy pieces to work on if you refuse a method book and watch the two videos below, and then start asking any and all questions you have about learning here and we'll help out as able.

How To Practice Efficiently
How To Learn a New Piece

Re: humility, I will confess to having a little bit of Walter Mitty in me.

I'll have to let go of my delusions of grandeur... being on a business trip... spotting a grand in the hotel bar... having my colleagues urge me to play... me agreeing (oh so reluctantly, of course)... the first notes of Clair de Lune are coaxed out gently... the bar quiets down... "who is that?" someone is heard to say... and so on... smile ha

Re: the links, the first is newer, but Josh had a similar one earlier. That earlier video, the 2nd link, and others from Josh are really what got me started on having any clue whatsoever about what I'm doing. He's excellent.

Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Patiently wait to plod with clod, and instead, enjoy some green eggs and ham with Sam I Am laugh

LOL.. cute. I think I really will like the Piano Handbook as my method book -- not thinking of it as "green eggs and ham". Should be arriving in the mail tomorrow!

Originally Posted By: badgerops
aTallGuyNH - I am not qualified to advise on piano playing being a brand new beginner myself. Nonetheless I would like to contribute towards an aspect that has only briefly been touched on. I would start by ensuring that which allows me to pursue my interests are looked after. I don't know what I'd do without the support of my family. I do however empathise with your situation and appreciate the difficulties in focus (amongst many other shared traits) that are a hallmark of ADHD and Asperger's Sydrome (AS). I personally have been diagnosed with AS, and another family member with ADHD. I believe the deficit occurs in a wholistic fashion in the sense that I experience a heightened level of focussed focus (does that make sense) to the exclusion of all else.

Absolutely that makes sense! I have that same type of hyper-focus on whatever catches my eye at the moment.

Originally Posted By: badgerops
It certainly seems that you have a great deal of focus when it comes to the piano. The skill is in making this work for you, not against. With this level of focus I am fortunate to have done well at university and other pursuits that involve elements that are monotonous and boring, but requisite nonetheless. It sounds like the same could certainly apply to you if you had the time to persist. I am very fortunate in my wife who brings a sense of reality to my life and without whom I would not realise any of my notoriously transient ambitions (another hallmark of my AS). Ultimately, and in my hopefully not too wayward opinion, I believe it is essential that you share your focus amongst all aspects of life which will only benefit your piano ambition. As a disclaimer I am no authority on psychiatric conditions, and am only speaking from my personal experience being an AS sufferer/husband/father/beagle owner/yard keeper/bill payer/etc.etc.etc. Good luck with it all smile

Thanks for that. I don't have AS -- too many attributes just don't fit me at all -- but I do share some of the same traits for sure. What you have said above re: sharing "focus amongst all aspects of life" is easier said than done as I'm sure you know, but the advice is wise and appreciated!

Originally Posted By: Marco M
I on purpose then also bought some, which to me appeared already below my level but contain very attracting pieces. This ones now serve me to learn to polish pieces. And guess what, I found that there is still a lot of work to do on those pieces, and even more important: I am learning what and how to polish in general! Fortunately for this I now do not have to stick with only the few (sometimes very boring) songs from the method book, but I have at hand my personal nice little collection with some real beauties in there. Waiting time is so much more pleasant now!

Thanks very much for sharing your experience. I'm quite optimistic about my choice of method book to keep me engaged, but I will also follow your path of keeping things interesting with stuff that I like that isn't too hard either. This is important to having balance, definitely.
_________________________
"...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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#2007793 - 01/02/13 02:19 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 202
Loc: Boston, MA
I have found working on the "reach" stuff, in your case Claire De Lune, coupled with technical practice or lower level exercises helps immensely. I am a true believer in application or applied theory. That is learn and practice pieces that seem out of reach while plodding through exercises or piano books of your choice, ie, Alfred's. it's simply a matter of aligning the skills needed for your more advanced pieces to the learning theory in beginner to intermediate pieces. For example, if you wanted to learn The Song of India, find corresponding beginner or early intermediate pieces that use the same key signature of E flat Major or pieces with B, E, A flats. Match your practice skills to the works you're studying. I am not a piano expert at all but I do have some knowledge af applied theory and focused studying. Hope this helps...

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#2008305 - 01/03/13 12:41 AM Re: Should I Plod with Claude? Or... [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1060
Loc: Southern California
I am glad that someone else has found value in the 40/20/20/20 approach. It is the biggest nugget that that I got out of The Musician's Way book. Much of the book is over my head because the primary audience for the book is University level music majors or minors, which is well above my amateur hobbyist level. While I am here, I can plug the book author's blog
http://musiciansway.com/blog/

Good luck with your journey and your choices. Each of us has to choose what to focus on and how to allocate what often seems like scare time and energy.

As an aside, I may have mentioned a nephew who also wanted to learn Claire Du Lune. For now, he has given up the endeavor, in part because of the brick wall and lack of progress. Like the op of this thread, my nephew is a relatively inexperienced beginner. Unlike, the op here, the nephew is giving up on piano for now, his project abandoned. He has no desire to learn other pieces or more basics.
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