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#2061275 - 04/08/13 01:06 PM Fingerwork seems sloppy.
Tides Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/09
Posts: 27
Hello all.

I have been playing piano for three or four years on and off. I have really only been making real effort in the last 6 months with practicing, studying, and listening. I have been making good progress with pieces but I feel like my technique and fingerwork is lacking. I feel like I have poor control and it is never a sure thing if a piece will come out absolutely correctly, even if it is well practiced and rehearsed.

I have never learned scales or done any kind of exercises. I was wondering if you all had any advice on what I should work on or work with to improve technique and fingerwork.

To give you a frame of reference, I am working on Chopin's Etude 10 3, The Raindrop etude, Clair de Lune, Beethoven's Pathetique (2nd movement), schubert-liszt's Serenade, and a couple more of Chopin's lighter works.

I would appreciate any insight. Thanks.

I should mention I do have a teacher and have not brought this up to here. I believe I did about a year ago, mentioning hanon exercises or something, and she replied that she never felt like I really needed them. I will talk to her again next lesson, I think she is a very talented lady, but I wanted some internet advice from fellow learners or masters.


Edited by Tides (04/08/13 01:41 PM)

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#2061297 - 04/08/13 02:06 PM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2496
Loc: Virginia, USA
It's not clear whether you really mean your "fingerwork" (for which I would substitute the word "technique") is poor or if the consistency of execution is the problem.

For instance, if you have to play a fast passage of 16th notes or similar, are they accurate in timing? If they are, it would not appear that technique would be the issue.

Or is the problem that you often make "random" slips during the performance of a piece?

A teacher should, of course, be able to help with either issue but if it's not a technical issue as such, that may be why they are not suggesting technical exercises. Problems with "random" slips are many fold - concentration, insufficient rigorous practice, tendency to ignore errors during practice, etc., etc..
_________________________
  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3

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#2061330 - 04/08/13 03:34 PM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Tides
I feel like I have poor control and it is never a sure thing if a piece will come out absolutely correctly, even if it is well practiced and rehearsed.


Good results come from good practice methods while poor results come from poor practice methods. You may wish to re-evaluate how you're practicing if the results aren't what you desire. Even people with ten years or more experience on an instrument will more often than not say that they could practice better than they do (and I frankly wouldn't trust the ones that say that their methods are perfect).
_________________________
Bernhard - Always Have a Plan

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#2061806 - 04/09/13 10:34 AM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Andy Platt]
Tides Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/09
Posts: 27
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
It's not clear whether you really mean your "fingerwork" (for which I would substitute the word "technique") is poor or if the consistency of execution is the problem.

For instance, if you have to play a fast passage of 16th notes or similar, are they accurate in timing? If they are, it would not appear that technique would be the issue.

Or is the problem that you often make "random" slips during the performance of a piece?

A teacher should, of course, be able to help with either issue but if it's not a technical issue as such, that may be why they are not suggesting technical exercises. Problems with "random" slips are many fold - concentration, insufficient rigorous practice, tendency to ignore errors during practice, etc., etc..


I realized I could not really distinguish between technique and fingerwork so I just used them both.

I think your second diagnosis is correct, and I will reexamine the way I practice. I've never "structured" my practicing in any way and that's likely a problem.

Thanks for your reply.

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#2061807 - 04/09/13 10:36 AM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Bobpickle]
Tides Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/09
Posts: 27
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Originally Posted By: Tides
I feel like I have poor control and it is never a sure thing if a piece will come out absolutely correctly, even if it is well practiced and rehearsed.


Good results come from good practice methods while poor results come from poor practice methods. You may wish to re-evaluate how you're practicing if the results aren't what you desire. Even people with ten years or more experience on an instrument will more often than not say that they could practice better than they do (and I frankly wouldn't trust the ones that say that their methods are perfect).


Yes that seems exactly it. I can be lazy or careless in practice so poor playing is getting reinforced. I guess I already knew this I just needed someone to tell me it. Thanks.

One final thing I would say however is that even when learning a new piece, and practicing it with diligence and concentration, I get frustrated because my fingers don't do what I want them to do. They seem slow and interdependent and even sloppy sometimes. Do you all recommend any exercises for bettering control for someone who has never done any such exercises?


Edited by Tides (04/09/13 10:40 AM)

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#2061824 - 04/09/13 11:10 AM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3651
Originally Posted By: Tides


One final thing I would say however is that even when learning a new piece, and practicing it with diligence and concentration, I get frustrated because my fingers don't do what I want them to do. They seem slow and interdependent and even sloppy sometimes. Do you all recommend any exercises for bettering control for someone who has never done any such exercises?


Exercises can help, but only if done correctly.

However, your statement indicates that you are practicing too fast, probably way too fast. From my teaching experience, just about everyone practices too fast, and getting folks to slow down enough to be effective is very difficult.

If you practice a passage slow enough so you do not make mistakes, not one, then you are truly "practicing", rather than simply playing it over and over and over, probably too fast, hoping for the best.

Remember that practicing is like putting data into a computer...if the data is sloppy, the output will be sloppy. You get what you practice.

Here, practicing "slow" can mean a note every 5 seconds or so...slow enough to make no mistakes with notes or fingering, relaxing between each note, with each finger moving when required, and no sloppiness.

It is a discipline that, for most people, myself included, is foreign and difficult to apply, but it works.
_________________________
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

A Blues tune with my trio: https://www.box.com/s/43da5e4ca6432d021eb8

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#2061839 - 04/09/13 11:29 AM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Tides
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Originally Posted By: Tides
I feel like I have poor control and it is never a sure thing if a piece will come out absolutely correctly, even if it is well practiced and rehearsed.


Good results come from good practice methods while poor results come from poor practice methods. You may wish to re-evaluate how you're practicing if the results aren't what you desire. Even people with ten years or more experience on an instrument will more often than not say that they could practice better than they do (and I frankly wouldn't trust the ones that say that their methods are perfect).


Yes that seems exactly it. I can be lazy or careless in practice so poor playing is getting reinforced. I guess I already knew this I just needed someone to tell me it. Thanks.

One final thing I would say however is that even when learning a new piece, and practicing it with diligence and concentration, I get frustrated because my fingers don't do what I want them to do. They seem slow and interdependent and even sloppy sometimes. Do you all recommend any exercises for bettering control for someone who has never done any such exercises?

The really tough thing about this is that you probably need some retraining in technique. To do that, you really need a good teacher to make sure you're "doing it right".

If you can post some videos of you playing, we might be able to offer suggestions, but you need someone who can sit down at the keys with you and really dig deep.
_________________________
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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#2061850 - 04/09/13 11:47 AM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13948
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
In the grand scheme of things, you haven't been at this piano playing very long, and yet the pieces you are working on do require more experience at the piano to be consistent. "Three or four years on and off" in itself is a big hint here.

I agree that the problem can lie within your practice habits (plain old repetition won't cut it at this stage), but I also think that the more pieces you encounter, the better you will get.

Give it a good solid 3 years of consistent effort and good practice habits and I think you'll notice the difference.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#2062057 - 04/09/13 04:56 PM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
earlofmar Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2757
Loc: Australia
Just for my two cents worth, I am a complete beginner. I of course noticed straight away the weakness in my hands and fingers. My simple plan to fix this:
Play scales at least three times a week - both in unison and contrary motion
Hannon exercise No 1 seems to have helped me (I just can't get into the others)
Mikrokosmos book 1 has lots of unison exercises which I felt were helpful.
The link below shows an exercise which is impossible for me but I am using a basic version which I have found to be the best yet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RUrHr-9NiE
_________________________
If this life is a simulation can I not be in the easy version where Bach was a drummer

XL, XXXVIII-9-XXX

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#2062104 - 04/09/13 07:08 PM Re: Fingerwork seems sloppy. [Re: Tides]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
I have been playing on and off for 8 years... only really consistently practiced for the last year... and only now making a concerted effort to change my bad practice habbits... and i would say from my own judgments that i spend too much time playing the wrong notes, and going to fast to be concentrating..
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http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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