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#2055272 - 03/27/13 06:55 PM How much practice is too much practice (in a day)?
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
I just started playing and I am really excited to progress but I know that sometimes, too much doesn't do you any good. What are some telling signs that you should take a break from your practice? And also, when is it a good time to practice?


Edited by pianotimo (03/27/13 06:57 PM)

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#2055275 - 03/27/13 07:06 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
hamlet cat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 103
Loc: Mojave Desert
At the very beginning you may want to limit overall time each day. Once you get past the absolute beginner stage you can practice as long as you feel comfortable doing so. But be aware there is a distinction between overall time spent per day, and time spent on a given task per day. In other words, if you are practicing 6 tasks at 15 minutes each, that is fine. If you practice 1 task for 1.5 hours, that is probably too much.

At first watch out for any physical fatigue or discomfort. If that happens, stop. Also watch to see if you are making too many mistakes or getting frustrated, stop.

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#2055276 - 03/27/13 07:09 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1120
Loc: Australia
Practice and playing are too different things so you could be at the piano all day and not achieve significant practice time. A few thoughts

Practice small frequent durations (especially if practicing sight reading)
Wait until your mind is clear and free of distractions -don't practice tired
Don't play a whole song to get to the hard bit - just practice the hard bit
Schedule practice beforehand to include things like scales, appegios, sight reading etc
Keep to the schedule
If your hands or fingers are sore it's definitely time to leave
Don't be afraid to take a day off
Sleep on any problem you can't solve
Oh make me stop I could go on and on
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIII-4-XXX

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#2055279 - 03/27/13 07:12 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
You've got great advice so far. Here's my checklist:

1. Am I still focusing on what I'm supposed to be doing?
2. Am I experiencing any pain (during or after)?
3. Is it interfering with my day-to-day responsibilities?

1. Yes. Keep going.
2. No. Keep going.
3. No. Keep going.

1. No. Stop.
2. Yes. Stop.
3. Yes. Stop.
_________________________
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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#2055280 - 03/27/13 07:12 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: earlofmar]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 539
I practice too much. I go over and over pieces until I am sick of hearing them.

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#2055287 - 03/27/13 07:22 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Wow! This forum is really amazing. When I first wanted to play piano, I would've never imagined that there was an online community that was so helpful and inspiring. Thanks for the great advice smile

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#2055394 - 03/27/13 11:19 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia
pianotimo, congrats on the new piano. i am a beginner like you though twice your age with no music background. the one thing i wish someone told me is that you cant rush this learning process beyond a certain limit.

my experience for the past 6 months since i started is that you actually need to sleep on it to improve. something about sleep wired your brain in a certain way and the next day you'll find what frustrates you yesterday, frustrates you less. this goes on day after day till finally playing a piece that you learned relaxes you instead of giving you headaches. being an eager 17 yo, i suggest you be ready for this incremental little by little improvements that you cant actually feel on some days and be patient. good luck in your learning
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

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#2055477 - 03/28/13 04:23 AM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
Mete Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/13
Posts: 45
Loc: Turkey
I can't practice more than 2 hours, I lose my focus. With clever time planning/management, I think two hours of practice time is more than enough, if you're not aiming for becoming a concert pianist. One should divide his/her to practice time between
- sight-reading,
- playing scales, arpeggios,
- memorizing pieces,
- ear training...

These are mostly non overlapping activities(physically and mentally): For example, sight-reading and playing scales force you to sit at piano, but memorizing and ear training can be off piano.

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#2055554 - 03/28/13 09:44 AM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
fizikisto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 214
Loc: Hernando, MS
Mete,
Especially for beginners, one might add rhythm training to that list. There are several good books available with rhythm exercises for you to clap out (some of them have CD's to count and clap along with), and there are some free exercises available online too I think. That somewhat overlaps with sight reading, and maybe ear training, but it's a worthwhile endeavor. I think keeping good rhythms is one place where beginners struggle (because they're trying to do it while doing so many other things at once). Beginners will often count to match how they are playing rather than play to match their counting because of that. A good teacher can help prevent that, but not everyone has access to a teacher. Either way, I think isolating the counting of various rhythms is very useful to practice. Plus it's another thing one can do away from the piano entirely.

Another point, one might subdivide some of your categories for reviewing repertoire and working on new pieces (sight reading, memorization, etc...), although I'm not sure that distinction would be useful for everyone.

Warm Regards
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Yamaha P-250

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#2055562 - 03/28/13 10:05 AM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: fizikisto]
Mete Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/13
Posts: 45
Loc: Turkey
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
Mete,
Especially for beginners, one might add rhythm training to that list. There are several good books available with rhythm exercises for you to clap out (some of them have CD's to count and clap along with), and there are some free exercises available online too I think. That somewhat overlaps with sight reading, and maybe ear training, but it's a worthwhile endeavor. I think keeping good rhythms is one place where beginners struggle (because they're trying to do it while doing so many other things at once). Beginners will often count to match how they are playing rather than play to match their counting because of that. A good teacher can help prevent that, but not everyone has access to a teacher. Either way, I think isolating the counting of various rhythms is very useful to practice. Plus it's another thing one can do away from the piano entirely.

Another point, one might subdivide some of your categories for reviewing repertoire and working on new pieces (sight reading, memorization, etc...), although I'm not sure that distinction would be useful for everyone.

Warm Regards


Definitely! Clapping exercises are very useful for a beginner that I am and one can practice rhythm when listening songs purposefully. I would add improvisation/composition many years later on to the list.

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#2055823 - 03/28/13 06:36 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: Mete]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Originally Posted By: Mete
I can't practice more than 2 hours, I lose my focus. With clever time planning/management, I think two hours of practice time is more than enough, if you're not aiming for becoming a concert pianist. One should divide his/her to practice time between
- sight-reading,
- playing scales, arpeggios,
- memorizing pieces,
- ear training...

These are mostly non overlapping activities(physically and mentally): For example, sight-reading and playing scales force you to sit at piano, but memorizing and ear training can be off piano.


where can I find info on these things?

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#2055833 - 03/28/13 06:47 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: Derulux]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1806
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: Derulux
...3. Is it interfering with my day-to-day responsibilities?


May I humbly disagree with that point? Responsibilities never got me any younger.
_________________________
Ron
Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

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#2055872 - 03/28/13 08:48 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: rnaple]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: rnaple
Originally Posted By: Derulux
...3. Is it interfering with my day-to-day responsibilities?


May I humbly disagree with that point? Responsibilities never got me any younger.

Let me try saying it this way.. would you skip a day of work to play the piano? 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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#2056025 - 03/29/13 03:19 AM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
Mete Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/13
Posts: 45
Loc: Turkey
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
Originally Posted By: Mete
I can't practice more than 2 hours, I lose my focus. With clever time planning/management, I think two hours of practice time is more than enough, if you're not aiming for becoming a concert pianist. One should divide his/her to practice time between
- sight-reading,
- playing scales, arpeggios,
- memorizing pieces,
- ear training...

These are mostly non overlapping activities(physically and mentally): For example, sight-reading and playing scales force you to sit at piano, but memorizing and ear training can be off piano.


where can I find info on these things?


If you can afford a teacher, I advise you take piano lessons. Otherwise, dig into forums and make your own research about the topics above. Quantity of information is enormous, but you'll find lots of contradictions in posts(maybe including this one).

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#2056033 - 03/29/13 03:33 AM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
Originally Posted By: Mete
I can't practice more than 2 hours, I lose my focus. With clever time planning/management, I think two hours of practice time is more than enough, if you're not aiming for becoming a concert pianist. One should divide his/her to practice time between
- sight-reading,
- playing scales, arpeggios,
- memorizing pieces,
- ear training...

These are mostly non overlapping activities(physically and mentally): For example, sight-reading and playing scales force you to sit at piano, but memorizing and ear training can be off piano.


where can I find info on these things?


I think I remember you saying you couldn't afford a teacher at the moment. If I also remember correctly, you said you were getting Alfred's Adult All-in-One method book(s); if so, then you'd learn through that a bit about sight-reading (at least enough for the series), as well as scales and arpeggios, but you wouldn't learn much on memorizing or ear training. Memorizing is something just trained with experience, and significantly enhanced with a thorough understanding of music theory (find resources for learning about music theory here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html). Ear training is also learned through experience and is, too, significantly enhanced through an understanding of music theory.

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#2056224 - 03/29/13 12:31 PM Re: How much practice is too much practice (in a day)? [Re: pianotimo]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 915
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
Originally Posted By: Mete

- sight-reading,
- playing scales, arpeggios,
- memorizing pieces,
- ear training...


where can I find info on these things?


Search is your friend (and enemy). Search the Piano World forum, the Internet for websites, YouTube for tutorials. Be aware that some information is better than others. Trying to separate the useful information from the not so good, is one of the many hazards of being without a teacher.

The other phrase that comes to mind is "There's an app for that." If a person has a tablet computer or a smart phone there are apps that might help. For sight reading apps can help, especially true beginners. For ear training, apps are a good way to go, because the app never gets tired and the student can't peek or read body language for hints.

Ear training can help with memorization, improvisation, and composition. So even if a person has little interest in learning to play pieces by ear, even some modest training will help with other valuable skills.
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