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#2017029 - 01/19/13 01:16 AM How much practice time and another question.
BillTheSlink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/12
Posts: 108
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
First: I thought since I was disabled and had nothing else to do I could sit in front of the piano and practice for hours on end and speed up my learning. BIG TIME MISTAKE. I am finding there is a certain point where my fingers will just no longer do what I want and blame it on my sedate lifestyle but that time is no where near what I expected. I start running into problems of hitting wrong notes in Ode to Joy which I know well, my fingers start "dropping" and pressing down keys next to what I want to strike, I start overlapping notes (I can really detect this even when I think I am doing fine by switching to an organ tone and discover I am playing two notes at once), and just getting my finger numbers confused. So, about how long should I practice each day. I warm up with scales, currently just C hands separate but I have this down and will soon be moving on and adding D hands separate and then move on to my weekly lesson in U.S. School of Music. I like it better than Alfred's so I am going to drop that. As I learn some more I will add on working on a piece (I have Scarborough Fair picked out as my first since I know all the words to the oldest known version of the song and want to play it). U.S. School of Music Piano Course say to set aside 30 min. a day for practice, but they don't do scale work and I use this as a finger warm up like in Alfred's. Do you think two 30 min sessions per day will be too much. I sorta need a ball park estimate of how much to start with, as I plan the lessons. How about two 45 min. ?

Secondly, when first starting out, until you learn a piece in a method book is it ok to just read the finger numbers, assuming a five note song which I will only have those for a while, until you learn it and then read the notes as you play or will this hurt you in the long run? What about those note charts too? OK to use them for the first couple of weeks? I am speaking of the ones that fit behind the keys and name the note and show it on the staff.
_________________________
Currently I am without a piano, but when I get mine back I will be working on "The Complete Piano Player", as well as Neely's "How to Play from a Fake Book. I am spending my time working on theory and learning how to construct chords currently.


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#2017046 - 01/19/13 02:16 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Hi. I have read that students just starting out should practice 20-30 minutes per day, every day. As one advances you will need more than one session, one being 45 minutes or longer.

When I first started playing I found my hands got tired fairly easily and really had to pace myself. But I was playing lots on some days.

Now I try to have at least one hour a day of a good strong focused session where I work on very specific things. After that I may play more but it is of things I am not learning per se but just playing for fun. I am more relaxed when I am not struggling to do something new.

I think you can pace yourself and do several sessions a day. Just make sure to take breaks and do other stuff. Pay close attention to any aches and pains and do less if the pain persists.

Just listen to your body. And your mind. If you start to lose focus, practice should stop.

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#2017047 - 01/19/13 02:18 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 899
It's slightly different for each person. I'd say find out when that time is that you lose focus and that's the max for you. It's usually no more than 45 minutes, but there will be days when you're on a roll and getting a lot accomplished. You don't really even have to time it. Just know when that starts to happen and take a break for a little bit. Smaller, more frequent practice sessions will yield better results than one big long session.

As for the numbers, I think it's a bad idea to rely on numbers in the beginning. I don't even teach that way to kids unless they are VERY little, like 5 or under. The reason is, you start looking at the number first. So when you see a 1, you will instinctively go for your thumb and potentially ignore the note. Right note, wrong finger is better than right finger, wrong note. smile Even in advanced pieces, the fingers are merely suggestions, and most often an afterthought.
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BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
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#2017059 - 01/19/13 02:55 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Basia C. Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
Sorry, but you simply will have to memorise which note is which. smile It takes time, much time, but all beginners go through this phase. Practice by playing many different pieces. Flashcards away from the piano are also useful.

By the way, some teachers emphasize intervallic reading instead of identifying every single note.

As for practise time, experiment to find something that suits you. Don't expect long practice times as a beginner. Maybe 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon is quite enough. As you get to more complex pieces practice time will automatically grow. The trick with practicing for long times is practicing different types of material, and to take frequent short breaks before you start loosing concentration. For example, practicing for 20 minutes and then go and empty the dishwasher, come back for 15 minutes and then go to make yourself a cup of coffee. After an hour or two it might be time for a longer break. But as I said, don't worry about practice time too much yet. You will feel when you need more time to cover the material of the week.
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#2017104 - 01/19/13 06:47 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
I did three hours last night and feel i acomplished less than my usual hour :-(

Scales, sight reading, playing known stuff from memory and working on all aspects of new pieces can give natural breaks.... say 20 mins on one section.... atleast 5 mins with your mind on something else before another section.... didnt do it last night and wasted it...
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#2017130 - 01/19/13 08:41 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2230
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I don't practise by the clock. I have a list of daily objectives. When I've met them my time's my own for playing, sight reading, improvising, exploring new music, mucking about...anything to get out of housework! smile
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#2017138 - 01/19/13 09:02 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: UK Paul UK]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Habit of mine too.

Looking up at the mountain of 10,000 it is easy to think ah if I just do 3 hours a day thats 21 a week! + 1 for my lesson!

= 1144 or 1/10th of an expert.

I used to play for hours and hours, just playing and not deliberate practice type playing, and I improved very little.


BUt as said it varies.

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#2017158 - 01/19/13 09:59 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2230
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Mr. Ericsson has a lot to answer for. It's not 10000 hours, it's deliberate, and usually well coached, practise usually over 10000 hours.

And it's to world class expert level, not a high degree of competence.

Well over 90% of the piano repertoire is accessible to anyone making a dedicated, targetted and efficient effort over 10 years at about one hour a day.

5 years and two hours a day is a good deal harder and requires a very efficient team on top of that.
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#2017185 - 01/19/13 10:52 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Sand Tiger Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 912
Loc: Southern California
As many others have said, take breaks. If the mind is starting to wander, take a short break, even a minute or two of stretching or massaging the hands and wrists will often do wonders for concentration. I would suggest three 15 minute sessions to start.

An hour a day is plenty for most hobbyists, though many on the forum do more than that. Keep in mind that the forum is mostly enthusiasts. I tend to think that many of the regulars are in the top 10% of pianists for their given experience level. Certainly in the top 10% in terms of passion, who else would practice for an hour or more a day and then spend yet more free time writing and reading about it?

Listen to your mind and body, if attention is wandering, or the body is complaining (especially hands, wrists, or neck), pay close attention. I've read many posts from beginners that injure themselves with long practices at the start and are forced on the sidelines.

I was one of them. I started with two hours a day and due to chronic long term use problems from computer, whistle and flute, was forced to rest. Now I limit myself to an hour a day or less, and take extra precautions to protect the hands and wrists. I wear fingerless gloves, and also use a cold pack after practicing.

There have been any number of threads on learning the notes and sight reading. Some favor apps and computer programs as aids. These will speed the learning curve away from the piano without risking physical injury due to over practice. I prefer index cards or a laminated sheet as aids vs. writing the notes in the book.

One of the most valuable tips I got from the forum is the concept of slow practice. Keep slowing down until mistakes go away. If there are still mistakes, a person needs to slow down more, perhaps study more, perhaps plotting out the fingering in advance before actually playing.

/edit to add: for a person with a lot of time, something like this free classical music appreciation course can help keep the fires burning and give the music more context. It is not for everyone, but I got a lot out of it.

http://oyc.yale.edu/music/musi-112


Edited by Sand Tiger (01/19/13 10:57 AM)
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#2017215 - 01/19/13 11:47 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
fizikisto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 214
Loc: Hernando, MS
Bill,
I think the advice given here has been really good. It's really amazing what we are asking of our brains when we play piano. We have to look at and interpret all those little black dots on the page, figure out how to make the corresponding motions of our fingers, keep (and count out loud) the appropriate rhythm, play the notes with the right force, and for the proper duration. That's a lot of different skills that you're asking your brain to do all at once, and it just takes time for your brain to sort it all out. And as a beginner, you're brain is going to get tired faster than you would like. The main thing is not to let frustration discourage you. I can promise that if you keep at it, you will learn and get better. As your brain and your body get used to the demands you're making of them, you'll get to where you can effectively practice for longer durations of time.

As for how long should you be practicing? Some days it will be more than others. But I completely agree with the posters who suggest that it's better to practice for shorter durations of time where you're practicing effectively. We can't tell you how long YOU should be practicing. Set a goal, make a schedule, and then honestly evaluate it. If you set a goal for twice a day for 30 minutes, and you find that after 20 minutes you're playing is falling apart, then maybe you should adjust to two 20 minute sessions, or maybe three 20 minute session...find what works best for you. And on the days when everything is clicking and you want to go longer, feel free. Have fun with it man. smile

If you really want to get more time in practicing, you might try to find some ways to practice away from the piano. Find some ways to add some extra variety. For example, you can get a book with rhythm drills (or find some on the web, or write out your own on blank scores) and practice clapping and counting out rhythms. You can spend some time listening to recordings of your playing and trying to honestly evaluate it (wow, my rhythm really fell apart in that section, I need to focus on it more the next time I practice....that sort of thing). Try to find things you can work on besides playing.

And finally, the biggest impediment to excellent playing is tension. It shows up everywhere when you're not looking. I suggest that it is worthwhile to spend some time practicing super slowly and really focus on cultivating an awareness of tension in your body. Does your index finger involuntarily lift up when you play a note with your pinky? or vice verse? Are your shoulders rising up when you play? Is your elbow rising up or spreading outwards? Is there tension in your wrist?

If you're using, or even just tensing, the wrong muscles then you are wasting energy. Not only does it make you tire more quickly, it can actually interfere with your body being able to do what you want it to do. Indeed, it can even lead to injury in some cases. Since you don't have a teacher to evaluate your playing in person, you should try to be very careful about developing habits where you play with excess tension. Play a note, focus on relaxing everything (check your posture, shoulders relaxed, elbow down and relaxed, wrist straight and not tensed, hands with good structure, all fingers not being used relaxed, play the next note ARGH! my pinky raised up. try again... smile Melody lines, chord changes, scales, arpeggios -- you can apply this kind of practice to everything. If you're making mistakes you're going too fast. Give it a try, you might find it worthwhile.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Warm Regards
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Yamaha P-250

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#2017226 - 01/19/13 12:14 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Teodor Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 939
Loc: Bulgaria
I don't know how much of this you already know. You can read up on the subject. Many people have written amazing works on this. I will just summarize a little bit of my experience with you in the hopes that it will provide to be a shortcut to avoiding many future frustrations that I had and still have to go through (because I did not follow my own intuition and knowledge from early on and engraved bad learning habits and habit is hard to beat out of your system). I realize you might be too new for all this but here are some things to keep in the back of your mind, they will become useful to you pretty soon when you start working on harder pieces. It's all very easy in the beginning but it's important to learn how to study pieces. It will save you time that you can use to enjoy your music more and work on other things.

As you've found out yourself, time spent in front of the piano does not equal good lasting progress. Mindlessly repeating a piece or parts of it will not get it in a presentable shape, at least not quick enough. What you will find later on as you get to more complex pieces is that your current approach does not work. Before you learn to smoothly play the piece you will have lost months on it and you will be discouraged. By repeating mistakes you learn them and then it's hard to learn to play a piece properly. That's why you need concentration and a targeted approach. Make every repetition count, don't just repeat 10 times for the sake of it. Know what went wrong each time and each time work on improving it.

So work out things that work best for you and follow some sort of routine. What I found works best to keep it organized is to have a little journal. Separate the piece you are studying in sections that make sense to you and write down which bars/measures those sections belong to. Analyze the piece in the simplest manner, no theory knowledge needed. See which bars repeat, see if you have anything in the dynamics and other markings that is unknown to you and look it up.

Start memorizing the piece right from the start. Work on small sections (2 bars is good, 1 if it's hard). Learn Left Hand then learn Right hand and be able to play it by heart each hand. This will take 5 minutes, no more for each little section. Then put them slowly together. Then go to the next section. When you are done with it go back and connect the two sections and work that way till the end.

Each new day you will have forgotten a little bit here and there. That's ok, go as often as you need back to the sheet music. After a few days like these with proper revision those sections will be concrete in your mind. You will have no more trouble ever with them. Build up the piece that way.

Always try to memorize as much as you can, not just the notes but also the dynamic markings. It's easier than if you try to put them on later because you'd have to unlearn the manner in which you played so far and add expression. Play musically from the beginning. It's not just "I'll play the notes now and when I can play them then I will make music". No savor every sound and listen. By listening to the quality of tone you produce you will gradually train your mind into controlling your hands so that you more often than not produce the desired sound. Over the years it will become second nature and you will no longer be playing just notes, there will be depth and people will like listening to you and will want to hear more.

Memorize fingering. If you are a beginner look for editions of your piece that includes fingering. Follow it best you can but if something is terribly uncomfortable make adjustments. Write down fingerings for sections where it can be confusing and every time you play follow the exact same fingering. If you don't you will confuse your memory because you will play in a slightly different way each time, making it harder to properly memorize the piece.


Even after you are playing it smoothly hands together don't rush with the tempo. Play at a comfortable tempo. But from time to time challenge yourself and play as fast as you think you can (up to the performance speed not over). Just when you do that don't repeat a section too long with that tempo unless you are playing with no mistakes each time. If mistakes start to pop up, relax, it's normal. It's good that you tested with higher tempo. This will help weed out trouble spots and is good. Do it often so you can always know where things go wrong and fix them.

Slow down those sections and work your way by gradually increasing the tempo.

After you get a piece up to speed, invest some time each week or every few days if possible and take your time and go through the piece slowly and listen, really listen. Refer to the sheet music to make sure everything is properly played and you are not hitting wrong notes or skipping something or playing with fingering that is making it hard to play smoothly.

If you don't revisit pieces in such a manner it's very easy to start making mistakes in spots that you played flawlessly. This is because when you play fast your brain doesn't have time to think much, you are on autopilot and over time your knowledge of the piece can deteriorate slightly.


There is more but I think that's enough information. I wish my first teacher knew how to explain these things so that I wouldn't have to find out the hard way. I would have made tremendous progress by now.


Just as an example I will tell you what happened to me over the past 6 months.

I have been assigned a dozen pieces probably and I spent hours upon hours every day. I woke up at 8, went to the conservatory, spent till 2 PM there in classes. Then I go back home and I play with lots of 10 min breaks till 9 PM.

That's every single day (minus weekends when I only get 2 hours each day).

Let me tell you that despite all my effort I never mastered any of the pieces because my practice was not organized.

I have good scores on my exams because my teacher counted in all the hard work and dedication and not so much the degree of mastery of each piece. But I know it was my fault and I know I did a ton of work but did it the wrong way.

So I was discouraged and I stopped playing for about 20 days. I just picked up again two days ago because I have to return to classes in 20 days from now.

So I have been practicing 10 times less. However, now I follow this little system I briefly described. I've played a total of 6 hours the last 3 days.

I picked up my last piece which I never got past page 1 during my study. It's Debussy - Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum. Amazing piece. It can be played extremely fast or at moderate tempo and is still adequate. I am aiming for something in between. Try as I might I spent a month and a bit over it before and I failed to play it smoothly in any tempo. The last 3 days I've been working it in sections and been concentrated and started memorizing right away. The piece is 50% memorized by day 3. So imagine what you can do in 1 month of such good practice. This piece will be done and over with by then and I can enjoy playing it. In comparison this piece would have taken me 3 months just to get going smoothly by practicing 7 hours a day the wrong way.


Good luck!

Quote:
Secondly, when first starting out, until you learn a piece in a method book is it ok to just read the finger numbers, assuming a five note song which I will only have those for a while, until you learn it and then read the notes as you play or will this hurt you in the long run? What about those note charts too? OK to use them for the first couple of weeks? I am speaking of the ones that fit behind the keys and name the note and show it on the staff.


Best to learn all the notes and their positions. It's easier than you think and takes about a week to learn them and be able to quickly identify. A month of dedicated work on it and you will never again wonder "what's this note and which key on the piano you press to produce it".

I made flashcards for myself when I started. They had the note on a staff and the name of it in the back. I'd shuffle them and try to guess. I became able to identify them really fast in no time. Also try to imagine where it will be on the piano. It's not hard, just takes time to sink in, you can't cram that much info in your head at once. Take it a step at a time.

I also learned an online application on a website to learn the positions of all the notes on the keyboard, took a couple of days and a few weeks to translate it to a real piano.


Scales... Scales will be extremely useful to you in developing your technique but only if someone shows you how to play them properly. It's too long to explain here, once you get a teacher and when the time has come for that ask about it. Scales will be of no use if you don't know what you are doing. I can get into the theoretical side of it and their importance in building up your ability to play everything else, however it will be of no use to you as it does not directly translate to practical knowledge. You need to down to business and do it before that but before you start make sure you are doing it right. A good teacher will be able to help you and show you how scales are used. How your hands should behave when playing scales and what to look for in playing scales. If you are already playing scales then why not try putting the hands together by playing the scale of C in contrary motion? (Start on C with the first finger of either hand, not both though, then use the usual fingering, left hand will go down to the left and right will go to the right and the fingering in both hands will be completely the same, they will mirror each other, much easier than the other ways of playing them. This will get you acquainted in playing with both hands).

Just so you know, C is harder than some of the other scales it might not be the best starting one. E is better and actually much easier. D is also good.



Edited by Teodor (01/19/13 04:31 PM)
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#2017315 - 01/19/13 02:35 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Very nice post, Teodor. Welcome back to playing and good luck in your upcoming classes.

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#2017349 - 01/19/13 03:22 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Teodor Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 939
Loc: Bulgaria
Thank you. I needed some time off badly. Now I'm eager to play again and enjoy it. I took the theory part of my piano teaching exam with 100%, the professor had high praise for me after giving me back my paper. I think this year I am the only one who got a perfect score with the exception of maybe 1 other person, not sure. Which is a good motivation to keep going.

The practical exam is in 2 and a half years, problem is those kids at the music school, some of them are crazy good, wouldn't feel comfortable teaching one for the practical. Maybe they'll give me some struggling student, which will be even better then I can really try to figure out how to help someone advance quickly and do good. In the school in my town we have 4 kids, extremely young, all showing signs as if they were prodigies. They did a recital at the conservatory for us and they are actually better than 70% of our piano majors and they are only around 10!

One of the little girls is also a lion tamer and works at the circus with her father who is the owner and they travel a lot. She did this with 2 hours of daily practice and she can play some of the hardest pieces with ease and great insight. She gives such a performance at such an age! You can feel the music in everything she does at the piano.

I will see if I can find a recording of this little recital they made for us so you can see what I mean. They were amazing and I really felt their music, it was better than a lot of the concerts I've been to lately. They got spirit smile


Edited by Teodor (01/19/13 03:26 PM)
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#2017357 - 01/19/13 03:30 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
BillTheSlink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/12
Posts: 108
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
OK, there were some really good answers here and even more than what I asked (I forgot to look at your screen name but thank you especially to the poster who mentioned repetition. I have begun recording each little drill and replaying it while I look at the score). I have noticed now about when things fall apart. For instance today's lesson, after the scale of C repeated ten times each hand, was Merrily We Roll Along (Marry Had a Little Lamb) and America. I'll be working on these two for about a week, or until near perfect every time if sooner. I mastered Merrily We Roll along very quickly as it was first in the lesson, and the first half of America also quickly. Then though in America there is two places where you have hand position changes. I got frustrated at the first position change, but worked through it but got it down, but by the time it was at the second fingering change too much stress had built up to be fruitful to continue. I just couldn't think straight anymore to figure it out. I took a break for a while and then took out my keyboard chart and pretended I was playing the piano and I think I'll have it down for when when I play again tonight. I guess a lot depends on stress, difficulty, and your attention span from day to day. Right now I will plan on a morning 30 min and evening 30 min. If my second session isn't going so well I will call it a night or play stuff I have mastered like my scales or Ode To Joy or Love Me Tender (well the part of it that's in Alfred's and is called something else.) No use getting frazzled before bed but I want to try as I have discovered you can be trying something before bed, not get it, and the next morning PUFF! it's there magically. I have spoke to other players about this and they have noticed too and our band teacher used to tell us this. Anyway I am going to be dedicated but have fun. I have a competitive nature and want to be the best at everything I do the quickest way. That isn't going to work here and I need to cut myself some slack, especially at this stag of the game. I have the rest of my life to enjoy piano (actually I want to move to organ eventually but that's another story.)
_________________________
Currently I am without a piano, but when I get mine back I will be working on "The Complete Piano Player", as well as Neely's "How to Play from a Fake Book. I am spending my time working on theory and learning how to construct chords currently.


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#2017359 - 01/19/13 03:35 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
BillTheSlink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/12
Posts: 108
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Quote:


Sales... Scales will be extremely useful to you in developing your technique but only if someone shows you how to play them properly. It's too long to explain here, once you get a teacher and when the time has come for that ask about it. Scales will be of no use if you don't know what you are doing. I can get into the theoretical side of it and their importance in building up your ability to play everything else, however it will be of no use to you as it does not directly translate to practical knowledge. You need to down to business and do it before that but before you start make sure you are doing it right. A good teacher will be able to help you and show you how scales are used. How your hands should behave when playing scales and what to look for in playing scales. If you are already playing scales then why not try putting the hands together by playing the scale of C in contrary motion? (Start on C with the first finger of either hand, not both though, then use the usual fingering, left hand will go down to the left and right will go to the right and the fingering in both hands will be completely the same, they will mirror each other, much easier than the other ways of playing them. This will get you acquainted in playing with both hands).


Actually an internet teacher did "show me" the scales in an internet video. She's a pro so I am sure it was done correctly; however, I will take your advise on which one to start with. To be honest I am using them more as a warm up than anything. Today I didn't devote that much time to them at all.
_________________________
Currently I am without a piano, but when I get mine back I will be working on "The Complete Piano Player", as well as Neely's "How to Play from a Fake Book. I am spending my time working on theory and learning how to construct chords currently.


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#2017397 - 01/19/13 04:34 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Teodor Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 939
Loc: Bulgaria
Originally Posted By: BillTheSlink

Actually an internet teacher did "show me" the scales in an internet video. She's a pro so I am sure it was done correctly; however, I will take your advise on which one to start with. To be honest I am using them more as a warm up than anything. Today I didn't devote that much time to them at all.


OK smile
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Currently 2nd Year: Music & Piano Teaching Major


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#2043371 - 03/05/13 01:20 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
grandview Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 9
Originally Posted By: BillTheSlink
I need to cut myself some slack, especially at this stag of the game. I have the rest of my life to enjoy piano


Well said! I learned to play piano as an adult and my biggest challenges came a year or two after I started learning, because I thought I should be a lot better than I was. The key for me was recognizing that learning to play piano well takes a lot of time and patience, and to recognize that it's just a hobby and not a job so it's okay if I don't progress as quickly as I would like. There are times when I push hard and play more difficult material, and there are times when I back off and just play the songs I have mastered. Some days are rough and others are great, just like with anything else in life. But I stuck with it and am now at a point where my musical abilities are a great source of satisfaction. The journey was difficult, but worth it smile


Edited by grandview (03/05/13 01:21 PM)

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#2043576 - 03/05/13 08:44 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: Teodor]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2202
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Teodor

...One of the little girls is also a lion tamer and works at the circus...


Wow!
I wasn't expecting that!!
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2044030 - 03/06/13 04:51 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
cmajornine Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/12
Posts: 14
Visit http://practisingthepiano.com the author of this site seems very knowledgeable in the art of practicing. I am so impressed, I am considering purchasing his practice guides eBooks.

Anyone on here got any stuff from him? BTW I do an hour a day
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cmajornine

http://www.cmajornine.webspace.virginmedia.com/

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#2044044 - 03/06/13 05:22 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
I am not going to be terribly long-winded on this one because I think I can nail the essence succinctly. I believe you must practice more than 0 minutes, and stop before you lose your focus on what it is you're doing. Whatever that number happens to be (which may vary from day-to-day), that is your "magic number".

You see, it's not so much the time spent, but what you do with that time, that really makes the difference.
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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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#2044321 - 03/07/13 03:06 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: cmajornine]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: cmajornine
Visit http://practisingthepiano.com the author of this site seems very knowledgeable in the art of practicing. I am so impressed, I am considering purchasing his practice guides eBooks.

Anyone on here got any stuff from him?


His writing and advice is of a very good quality. I would recommend checking the ebook out as you're not going to find such a text (certainly not new and physical) for that fair a price. Now mind you there are likely other, more comprehensive (the oft-mentioned Seymour Bernstein's With Your Own Two Hands and Madeline Bruser's The Art of Practicing come to mind) resources, but likely not quite as approachable as Graham Fitch's.

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#2044509 - 03/07/13 12:39 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: cmajornine]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 365
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: cmajornine
Visit http://practisingthepiano.com the author of this site seems very knowledgeable in the art of practicing. I am so impressed, I am considering purchasing his practice guides eBooks.

Anyone on here got any stuff from him? BTW I do an hour a day


I bought both the ebooks and have been using the feedback loop and quarantine examples extensively. This was a difficult transition for this old dog (54) as I have many years of going about practicing in a different manner - one that led to pain and didn't work very well to begin with.

As with any method, actually applying the instruction is the key. Buying the books won't do anything unless you use the methods.

Mr. Fitch is the real deal. I am regularly sending him a few coins not because I feel I have to, but because I feel rewarding good work is a good thing to do.

His youtube videos on chord technique are WONDERFUL technical advice, just search for 'Graham Fitch Chord'

but to echo Derulux's sage advice above... when the hands stop doing what the mind tells them to, it's time to stop.

Forrest
_________________________
Graham Fitch's Piano Pedagogy Site
(A WORTHY RESOURCE!)

--------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque, Prelude & Menuet
Beethoven Op. 78
Bach WTC 1, C# Major (#3)

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#2044585 - 03/07/13 03:57 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3244
Many good advice above.

I usually do 2 hours of practice a day, with half an hour break between 2 sessions. But many can't keep working concentrated for that long. Nothing wrong with messing a bit but it does not really help the progress.
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#2044818 - 03/07/13 10:24 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Tom518 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 5
Loc: New York, U.S.A.
Newbie here for piano.
I picked up a yamaha psr e423 to try and learn piano. I always liked plinking away on my uncle's organ just to see what usable tunes, tones I could get out of the instrument.
I'm 66 yrs old and need something to occupy my mind, hence the piano.
I found a guy that is willing to help me start out, but I now find him boring. He plays drums, has a working knowledge of piano and guitar. He took up piano theory in college so I guess I'm way behind in learning what to do and what not to do.
I bought four EZ Play Music books. That's where the notes are marked what they are and have the chords marked above the measure[s]
I can play most of the melodies out of the books and improvise some songs I hear on the radio so it sounds like something. I'm convinced to try to master the right hand before I even attempt the chords, or should I be playing chords and melodies together? I do find that my music slows way down when I'm searching for chords.

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#2044826 - 03/07/13 10:58 PM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: Tom518]
Sand Tiger Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 912
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Tom518
...
I can play most of the melodies out of the books and improvise some songs I hear on the radio so it sounds like something. I'm convinced to try to master the right hand before I even attempt the chords, or should I be playing chords and melodies together? I do find that my music slows way down when I'm searching for chords.


I suggest working with each hand separately, perhaps emphasizing the left hand because that is the weakness. Then do hands together at a slow speed. The tempo will pick up after a person gets used to playing hands together. One goal for the left hand, is to get to a point where you can find the chords without looking at the keys. That may seem far away, but if a person works on it, it will come.
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#2044905 - 03/08/13 05:12 AM Re: How much practice time and another question. [Re: Sand Tiger]
Tom518 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 5
Loc: New York, U.S.A.
Thank You! That is very helpful information. But I will try to master song melodies with the right hand first.
I can do the root chords pretty easy. The hard part comes when I'm searching for a Dm7 chord and my fingers cant reach the flat or sharps.
My teacher says to move up my fingers and play the keys, between the black keys.
It's still difficult.

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