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#2031716 - 02/12/13 08:43 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: ClsscLib]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2338
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Let's take Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf, since it's a standard and I'm hoping you're at least familiar with it, even if you don't play it...
One of the best posts I've read in a good while! Thanks, Derulux.
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Richard

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#2031905 - 02/12/13 02:58 PM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1742
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Derulux
It's been mentioned a few times already, but I will offer what helped me tremendously. First, in order to read better, one must read. It falls in line with, "If you want to do anything, you have to actually do it (not think about doing it, or dream about doing it, or anything else)." Next, you have to practice it.

When thinking about reading music, there are really only a few reasons why you have difficulty:

1. You don't recognize the notes
2. You don't recognize the chords
3. You don't recognize the progressions
4. You don't recognize the musical 'line'
5. You can't find the notes on the piano itself without 'counting'
6. You can't find the notes on the piano itself without looking
7. Your technique does not include the skills necessary for that particular passage/piece (quite often due to one of the above six, but there is a separate "playing" category, into which I lump this grouping)

These are the really basic ones. Once you've identified which one(s) cause you trouble, you can attack them specifically...

The most important thing is to practice reading things you can actually read. In other words, if you're reading a book, and you have to stop every four or five words to look up the meaning of the word, you will get no satisfaction out of it, and very little practice reading for comprehension, understanding, fluency, and speed. You can't "skim" a book that has many words you don't understand. You have to read books one or two levels below your ability for this (though eventually you will 'catch up'). Same goes for music. Find something below your level that you recognize, can play, and understand and start there.


Derulux, this is wonderfully insightful -- your breakdown of the categories contributing to reading problems makes great sense. I'm afraid that I now have problems in all six reading areas you mention, and that right now -- more than anything else -- I need to start doing more reading.

I began adding reading to my nightly practice session last night, and I plan to do that routinely, while also making more of an effort to "stay in the score" on pieces I've fairly well learned.

Your comments and the other great comments on this thread have been immensely helpful and encouraging.

Thanks so much!
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2031972 - 02/12/13 04:28 PM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: ClsscLib]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
Thank you both for the kind words and flattery. To quote Victor Borge, "...it is, after all, why I do this. The rest goes to the government." wink

My two biggest problem areas are still 6 and 7. Sometimes, when I'm playing more modern stuff, 2 and 3 become an issue on quick reads. Complicated chords are always harder to figure out (for me).. when we start talking about 11ths and flat-minor-augmented-13ths-with-a-27th-thrown-in-for-fun, etc..

Actually, case in point.. I'm working on one of Steve Chandler's pieces, and items 2 and 3 are the only ones slowing me down (in some sections, not all). Certain passages I recognize readily, and memorize in a matter of minutes at speed. Other passages take me a week. And I'm sure a different pianist looking at the piece might have the opposite problem. It all depends on your strengths and weaknesses. And Steve has my weaknesses pegged pretty good.. haha laugh
_________________________
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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#2033095 - 02/14/13 03:16 PM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 758
This post had so much detailed content that it took me a couple of days to work through it--I worked through everything--and figure out how to reply without getting lost in the sheer volume.

Originally Posted By: Derulux

No worries, ragtime is one of my favorite genres. Were you part of the "ragtime" vs "stride" thread a while back? smile


I must have missed it. While piano forums are rare in and of themselves, ragtime posts on piano forums are rarer.

Originally Posted By: Derulux

Let's take Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf, since it's a standard and I'm hoping you're at least familiar with it, even if you don't play it.


I haven't heard of it before. Is it very good?












whistle

Originally Posted By: Derulux

If I'm looking to sight-read this score, I'm going to do the following


Read? Or sight-read? Because...

Originally Posted By: Derulux

1. (identify key signature)
2. (identify themes)
3. (harmonic analysis)
3a. (plan hand positions)
4. (left hand patterns)
5. (right hand patterns)
...


I'm curious to what extent you are academically deconstructing the theoretical basis versus intuiting the progressions.

For example, when you glance at the bass line of first measure on the third line of the A section, do you immediately process it as "diminished chord, tonal center A flat, I chord"? Or is it a mental sound? A mental shape?

Originally Posted By: Derulux

So, that very basic, 2 minute overview of the piece tells me what chords, and what progressions, Joplin uses in the rag.


To what extent are you aware of where you are in a chord progression? Do you know where you are about to go and the relative direction and distance? Did you learn this starting from an academic approach or was this intuitive?

Originally Posted By: Derulux

Now, I'll touch on improvisation..

...

So, if you have a technical difficulty, look at which one, and then take it over to the improv side. Don't try to solve it in the piece itself.. you'll screw yourself up.


This wasn't clear to me. Are you saying that if a particular technique proves troublesome, one should attempt to improvise using that technique in some other piece, possibly one that is already known well?

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Steer me from here.. what made sense? What didn't? More examples?


Everything was clear academically once I worked through it all.

It's one thing to decompose the harmonies and write them on the page. I've done this several times before, but during practice and performance, the written information doesn't seem to relate at all with the skill set I'm using during play.

When I work on variations, I essentially have to plan them in advance, note by note, and practice them in a more classical style.

What I'd like to be able to do is to organically know where I am and where I need to go well enough instinctively that I can instantly improvise a way to get there.

But this doesn't come to me instinctively.

So what I'm struggling with is where and how to start.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2033421 - 02/14/13 10:32 PM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 202
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: ThePianistWay
Originally Posted By: Derulux

3. You don't recognize the progressions
4. You don't recognize the musical 'line'


What dou you mean by «don't recognize the progressions» and «don't recognize the musical 'line'»?


As for counting. I'm no sure if it is the most correct way, but I use reference notes, for exemple (and this is only an example, I know more than just the F and C obvious :P), I know where the "two" F and the C are in the F clef (F - below first line; fourth line | C - the first ledger line above staff; the space above the first line). Then I think, here is the F and there is the C, then this note is...

I suppose we should add one for, "You don't recognize the rhythm."

I tried to be as general as possible, and apply these axioms to a wide variety of printed music. Some may apply less to classical music than others.

Progressions can refer to:
-chord progressions
-variation progressions
-rhythmic progressions (as separate from rhythm as a whole)
-bass line progressions
-key change progressions
-etc

Unlike 'progressions', which can apply to several ideas, the musical line is very specific. This largely refers to interpretation. One who cannot "hear" the music usually falls into this category at the very least. It basically means you can't follow the melodic line in your head as it swells and subsides, ebbs and flows, speeds up and slows down. It requires you to 'actively' interpret the melody, instead of intrinsically 'understanding' it.

Think about a piece of music you know very well by ear. Perhaps Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, mvt 1. Once you learn the notes, you basically know how to interpret it because you've heard it so many times. If you approach a piece you have never heard before, do you have the same intrinsic understanding of melody? If not, that would most-likely be this issue.


This is a such a great post! Trying to understand a less familiar piece really forces one to think on a more analytical level! I initially questioned my teacher when she told me to play piece before listening to it, if it was unfamiliar. It is really enlightening!

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#2033425 - 02/14/13 10:39 PM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 202
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: Derulux

I assume we're not talking about classical, based on the context clues in your post? It might alter the way I approach the answer.. we talking blues/jazz lead sheets? Printed ragtime? Improvisational stuff?


Printed ragtime. But realize, like Baroque music, it has an improvisational tradition as well.

No worries, ragtime is one of my favorite genres. Were you part of the "ragtime" vs "stride" thread a while back? smile

This is easiest to show if we were able to sit down at a piano and look at a piece. Let's take Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf, since it's a standard and I'm hoping you're at least familiar with it, even if you don't play it.

If I'm looking to sight-read this score, I'm going to do the following:

1. It's in Ab, except for one section in Db
2. The opening theme repeats 3 times, so I'm paying especially close attention to it
3. The opening is Ab, Eb7, repeat, Fdim, repeat, Abm, repeat, [Bm7, Ab, Fb maj (Emaj), Ab, Eb7, Ab], repeat bracket
3a. I can already see that I'm going to keep my index finger on the Ab in the bracket section, so the Bm7 to Ab change is very very small (half steps on thumb and pinky). Same thing for Fmb/Emaj and Eb7. All very small movements.
4. Look at the left hand beat.. octave, octave, chord, chord, repeat.. pretty standard stuff there
5. Now, I look at the right hand. Doesn't really change from notes actually in the chords represented. So, I look at what position. Ab is 2nd inversion, Eb7 is root. Fmb/Emaj is root, Abm is root. Bm7 is 1st inversion.

So, there really is nothing getting "throw at you" in the opening theme.

Looking at the 2nd theme, we've got some chromatic octaves and some arpeggiated stuff. But all standard, and nothing out of the ordinary.

Then, we repeat the main theme.

Then we get to Db. Not much different than Ab. In fact, the section starts in Ab7. So we're still dealing with I-V7, or in this case, V7-I. (Notice, I'm not getting overly complicated in chord names, naming every single change, etc.)

In the first 2 bars, the thumb changes position. In the next 2 bars, the 2nd finger goes up to a Db, and the thumb continues the change from the first two bars.

This whole thing repeats, then it modulates to Bb and follows the same pattern. Then, it does the same pattern in octave form (root-2nd-root that the thumb did before)

There's really only one odd measure out, with the syncopation in the LH. So, I look at that specifically and notice it's a Gdim6.

Last section goes back to Ab, but notice it starts in Db. In this section, you've got Db, Ab, Eb7. Notice it's all 1-4-5.

So, that very basic, 2 minute overview of the piece tells me what chords, and what progressions, Joplin uses in the rag.

Knowing ragtime like I do, I know that you're typically going to play a LH stride using either 1-3-5 octave, and then either root, 1st, or 2nd inversion of the chord. Typically, when you play the root octave, you won't play the root chord. The most common is root/5 with a 2nd inversion, and then probably 5/root with a root7.. so root-2nd-5-2nd.. or in a V chord, 5-root7-root7-root (octave lower). The reason for this is the octave there sets up the root of the I chord. (Look at 2nd measure of Maple Leaf for an example of this.)

Now, I'll touch on improvisation..

I actually believe the best way to learn to read ragtime is to improvise ragtime. (This probably goes for all music, but I have a real tough time improvising classical.)

You will get very comfortable with chord changes, little half-step raises and drops to get to the next chord in the progression, little ornaments that help make those changes, modulations of chords, etc.

Best part: if you don't have an ear, you can do it almost entirely academically. (Obviously I recommend some ear training, but if you just can't get the ear in line, it's not the end of the genre. It's highly academic at its root.)

To take the improv back to the music.. when I look at the rag, I see the following technical difficulties:

1. Stride bass
2. arpeggios
3. octave work
4. repeated chords
5. alternating octaves with notes/couples

That's about it. So, if you have a technical difficulty, look at which one, and then take it over to the improv side. Don't try to solve it in the piece itself.. you'll screw yourself up. (You tense up when you have to hit a "specific" note. When you improv, mentally, you accept mistakes and tend to correct them more fluidly. Then, when you go back to the piece, you weren't learning the technique while practicing the specific notes in the piece incorrectly.)

I hope this was a little helpful. Like I said, I wish we could just sit down and talk about it, but I tried to be thorough (without being long-winded) and give some examples that might help. Steer me from here.. what made sense? What didn't? More examples? Etc.


Another great post. I have found that classical training is highly academic. In other words, my kid can sit, hear, and play. I am lost without reading. I have been wanting to get lessons in improv as well, I think I just might... although, it will require having two different teachers... ugh. The dilemmas of the beginner smile

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#2033467 - 02/15/13 12:37 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Whizbang]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I haven't heard of it (Maple Leaf Rag) before. Is it very good?

My advice is this: if you're going to learn ragtime, you're going to have to learn Scott Joplin. This is arguably his most famous rag. Definitely check it out.

Quote:
Read? Or sight-read? Because...


I'm curious to what extent you are academically deconstructing the theoretical basis versus intuiting the progressions.

For example, when you glance at the bass line of first measure on the third line of the A section, do you immediately process it as "diminished chord, tonal center A flat, I chord"? Or is it a mental sound? A mental shape?

I do both. I probably haven't looked at this rag since the 90's. When you asked this question, I literally dusted off the book, opened it up, and gave it a thirty-second glance, and then started typing.

If I paused in the music to think, "diminished chord, tonal center A flat, I chord," I would not be able to continue playing. That's a mouthful. What I do now is a combination of active thought and intrinsic understanding. In other words, I see Ab. You want to make it an Abdim7, fine. We can do that. Over years of practice, my hands instinctively know what that chord feels like, both on visual and mental clues. What I mean there is, when I see the chord, my hand knows its shape. When I recognize the chord, Abdim7, my hand knows its shape. (I'm not very good aurally.. if you played it, I wouldn't know it by sound. I might get the dim7, but not necessarily that it's in Ab.)

Quote:
To what extent are you aware of where you are in a chord progression? Do you know where you are about to go and the relative direction and distance? Did you learn this starting from an academic approach or was this intuitive?

Always aware. Always. If we're talking Ab, I know my IV is a Db, and my V is Eb. Because it's ragtime, I'm almost always going to play a V7 chord. Those are the three most important chords. Sure, you can throw in some color, take half steps to get into the keys, add your 3's and 6's, but those are going to be your staples.

I know exactly where my hands are going, because while they're playing the current thematic material, I'm already thinking about the next change and where my hands are going. If I'm in Ab, I'm already thinking Db or Eb7, which position, and how my hands are going to get there.

Quote:
This wasn't clear to me. Are you saying that if a particular technique proves troublesome, one should attempt to improvise using that technique in some other piece, possibly one that is already known well?

Sorry. I'm saying make something up from scratch. Don't play anyone's music. Make it up. Play something completely arbitrary and contrived that utilizes that particular technique until you get that technique under your fingers. Then, once you know the technique, go back and apply it to the piece you're attempting.

Quote:
It's one thing to decompose the harmonies and write them on the page. I've done this several times before, but during practice and performance, the written information doesn't seem to relate at all with the skill set I'm using during play.

When I work on variations, I essentially have to plan them in advance, note by note, and practice them in a more classical style.

What I'd like to be able to do is to organically know where I am and where I need to go well enough instinctively that I can instantly improvise a way to get there.

But this doesn't come to me instinctively.

So what I'm struggling with is where and how to start.

This takes years of practice. You can cut the time down if you can identify exactly what's slowing you down. I'm going to guess technique is a major issue. Not really a wild guess, though, because it tends to be an issue for everyone. The better your technique, and the more skills you know, the easier it is to put it into practice in an improv environment.

To steer you in the right direction, I would need to see and hear you play now, discuss what areas can use the most improvement, and then work towards solutions. If you can post up a video, we may be able to accomplish part of that process. If not, it is very tough to provide meaningful advice beyond a certain point.

Focus on music theory, technique, and application. Those are the "big three". If you know the theory, chances are you're short on one of the other two.




Originally Posted By: HalfStep
Another great post. I have found that classical training is highly academic. In other words, my kid can sit, hear, and play. I am lost without reading. I have been wanting to get lessons in improv as well, I think I just might... although, it will require having two different teachers... ugh. The dilemmas of the beginner smile

Thank you. smile

I don't think you need lessons to get start at improv. All you need are ten fingers, a piano, and the mindset that it's perfectly okay to make a mistake. In fact, the more mistakes you make, the faster you'll learn. My advice would be to put your hands on the keys and do whatever comes naturally. Don't worry about how it sounds now. It will get better the more you practice it. 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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#2033474 - 02/15/13 12:56 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 758
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I haven't heard of it (Maple Leaf Rag) before. Is it very good?

My advice is this: if you're going to learn ragtime, you're going to have to learn Scott Joplin. This is arguably his most famous rag. Definitely check it out.


Someone missed the whistle smiley...

Will respond in earnest later, when I have more time.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2033485 - 02/15/13 01:31 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Whizbang]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I haven't heard of it (Maple Leaf Rag) before. Is it very good?

My advice is this: if you're going to learn ragtime, you're going to have to learn Scott Joplin. This is arguably his most famous rag. Definitely check it out.


Someone missed the whistle smiley...

Will respond in earnest later, when I have more time.

HAHAHAHA Yes, I did. I was wondering why it was separated by so many lines. Oops! laugh
_________________________
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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#2033493 - 02/15/13 01:55 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 758
Originally Posted By: Derulux

This takes years of practice. You can cut the time down if you can identify exactly what's slowing you down. I'm going to guess technique is a major issue. Not really a wild guess, though, because it tends to be an issue for everyone. The better your technique, and the more skills you know, the easier it is to put it into practice in an improv environment.

To steer you in the right direction, I would need to see and hear you play now, discuss what areas can use the most improvement, and then work towards solutions. If you can post up a video, we may be able to accomplish part of that process. If not, it is very tough to provide meaningful advice beyond a certain point.

Focus on music theory, technique, and application. Those are the "big three". If you know the theory, chances are you're short on one of the other two.


I got another brief moment at the computer before I have to turn in.

I recently tried to record a video, but the video wouldn't sync with the audio--very frustrating. So I ended up posting just the audio in the February Piano Bar.

If listening to just audio is useful at all, you could hear Joplin's "Paragon Rag" there. But my guess is that I'll have to figure out the video recording problems for a future Piano Bar or maybe even a Recital for you to make technique comments.


Edited by Whizbang (02/15/13 01:55 AM)
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2033583 - 02/15/13 08:18 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Whizbang]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: Derulux

This takes years of practice. You can cut the time down if you can identify exactly what's slowing you down. I'm going to guess technique is a major issue. Not really a wild guess, though, because it tends to be an issue for everyone. The better your technique, and the more skills you know, the easier it is to put it into practice in an improv environment.

To steer you in the right direction, I would need to see and hear you play now, discuss what areas can use the most improvement, and then work towards solutions. If you can post up a video, we may be able to accomplish part of that process. If not, it is very tough to provide meaningful advice beyond a certain point.

Focus on music theory, technique, and application. Those are the "big three". If you know the theory, chances are you're short on one of the other two.


I got another brief moment at the computer before I have to turn in.

I recently tried to record a video, but the video wouldn't sync with the audio--very frustrating. So I ended up posting just the audio in the February Piano Bar.

If listening to just audio is useful at all, you could hear Joplin's "Paragon Rag" there. But my guess is that I'll have to figure out the video recording problems for a future Piano Bar or maybe even a Recital for you to make technique comments.

Very nice performance. I enjoyed listening to that so much that I listened twice. smile

As much as I was hoping I could hear something that would give away any issues, you really played that rag well. I heard a couple accents and some really really slight unevenness, but nothing that stands out across the entire rag. With that in mind, I think you're right. We'd need a video to really assess things.

Still wanted to say nice job on the performance. You should post that up in the pianist corner's member recording area. smile
_________________________
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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#2033613 - 02/15/13 09:27 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: ClsscLib]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
I normally don't post twice in a row, but I thought you might like this old piano roll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_dI6BZt06U smile
_________________________
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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#2034522 - 02/16/13 11:14 PM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: Derulux]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 202
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I haven't heard of it (Maple Leaf Rag) before. Is it very good?

My advice is this: if you're going to learn ragtime, you're going to have to learn Scott Joplin. This is arguably his most famous rag. Definitely check it out.

Quote:
Read? Or sight-read? Because...


I'm curious to what extent you are academically deconstructing the theoretical basis versus intuiting the progressions.

For example, when you glance at the bass line of first measure on the third line of the A section, do you immediately process it as "diminished chord, tonal center A flat, I chord"? Or is it a mental sound? A mental shape?

I do both. I probably haven't looked at this rag since the 90's. When you asked this question, I literally dusted off the book, opened it up, and gave it a thirty-second glance, and then started typing.

If I paused in the music to think, "diminished chord, tonal center A flat, I chord," I would not be able to continue playing. That's a mouthful. What I do now is a combination of active thought and intrinsic understanding. In other words, I see Ab. You want to make it an Abdim7, fine. We can do that. Over years of practice, my hands instinctively know what that chord feels like, both on visual and mental clues. What I mean there is, when I see the chord, my hand knows its shape. When I recognize the chord, Abdim7, my hand knows its shape. (I'm not very good aurally.. if you played it, I wouldn't know it by sound. I might get the dim7, but not necessarily that it's in Ab.)

Quote:
To what extent are you aware of where you are in a chord progression? Do you know where you are about to go and the relative direction and distance? Did you learn this starting from an academic approach or was this intuitive?

Always aware. Always. If we're talking Ab, I know my IV is a Db, and my V is Eb. Because it's ragtime, I'm almost always going to play a V7 chord. Those are the three most important chords. Sure, you can throw in some color, take half steps to get into the keys, add your 3's and 6's, but those are going to be your staples.

I know exactly where my hands are going, because while they're playing the current thematic material, I'm already thinking about the next change and where my hands are going. If I'm in Ab, I'm already thinking Db or Eb7, which position, and how my hands are going to get there.

Quote:
This wasn't clear to me. Are you saying that if a particular technique proves troublesome, one should attempt to improvise using that technique in some other piece, possibly one that is already known well?

Sorry. I'm saying make something up from scratch. Don't play anyone's music. Make it up. Play something completely arbitrary and contrived that utilizes that particular technique until you get that technique under your fingers. Then, once you know the technique, go back and apply it to the piece you're attempting.

Quote:
It's one thing to decompose the harmonies and write them on the page. I've done this several times before, but during practice and performance, the written information doesn't seem to relate at all with the skill set I'm using during play.

When I work on variations, I essentially have to plan them in advance, note by note, and practice them in a more classical style.

What I'd like to be able to do is to organically know where I am and where I need to go well enough instinctively that I can instantly improvise a way to get there.

But this doesn't come to me instinctively.

So what I'm struggling with is where and how to start.

This takes years of practice. You can cut the time down if you can identify exactly what's slowing you down. I'm going to guess technique is a major issue. Not really a wild guess, though, because it tends to be an issue for everyone. The better your technique, and the more skills you know, the easier it is to put it into practice in an improv environment.

To steer you in the right direction, I would need to see and hear you play now, discuss what areas can use the most improvement, and then work towards solutions. If you can post up a video, we may be able to accomplish part of that process. If not, it is very tough to provide meaningful advice beyond a certain point.

Focus on music theory, technique, and application. Those are the "big three". If you know the theory, chances are you're short on one of the other two.




Originally Posted By: HalfStep
Another great post. I have found that classical training is highly academic. In other words, my kid can sit, hear, and play. I am lost without reading. I have been wanting to get lessons in improv as well, I think I just might... although, it will require having two different teachers... ugh. The dilemmas of the beginner smile

Thank you. smile

I don't think you need lessons to get start at improv. All you need are ten fingers, a piano, and the mindset that it's perfectly okay to make a mistake. In fact, the more mistakes you make, the faster you'll learn. My advice would be to put your hands on the keys and do whatever comes naturally. Don't worry about how it sounds now. It will get better the more you practice it. wink


A colleague of mine owes me some lessons and promised to focus on improv! smile Might as well monopolize. However, you're right, I should just get on the piano and set aside the music sheets and just sort of play! I need to be less technical ...



Edited by HalfStep (02/16/13 11:15 PM)
Edit Reason: to say, I am technical on a very elementary level :)

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#2034548 - 02/17/13 01:30 AM Re: Help! Relying too Much on Memorization! [Re: ClsscLib]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2055
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I have only scanned over the replies. I understand....you're worried you're becomming a parrot. That is something many people do in many ways... sadly.
To help you out.
I have two books I think you might like. I'm reading both of them right now..
"The Art of Practicing" by Maeline Bruser.....and
"The Complete Idiots Guide to Music Theory" by Michael Miller
I must admit....the art of practicing....I'm learning correct posture and such....but personally.... much of what goes into this I already know and is why I'm into music....not to down her...she has great advise....I have just learned much of that from different sources already....now apply it to and enjoy music because of it....
The Idiot's music guide....It is great....teaches you to understand music as it is written...makes it real...great author... understands music....I can't recommend it more highly!

I understand....you're wise...you fear you're becomming a parrot.... you're better than that.... !


Edited by rnaple (02/17/13 01:33 AM)
Edit Reason: Old fool didn't include author!
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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