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#2075799 - 05/02/13 10:59 AM If you had 10 hours per day for piano...
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
I would really appreciate hearing people's answer to this hypothetical question:

If a beginner / beginner-intermediate player wanted to completely dedicate their life to piano and become the best pianist they could possibly become, what would you advise they do every day for their first year?

While answering, please presume the following:

They have 10 hours per day to spend on piano and anything piano related.
They will NOT give up. From getting tired of piano or any other reason.
They are extremely passionate and they have a lot of life experience to draw from.

I think the question could be answered in two parts:
1) Any advice and or steps to take to develop their skill as much as possible.
2) The routine (with however many hours would yield best results. The person is completely willing and happy to spend 10 hours if it would be of benefit).

I appreciate any advice you guys have as I begin my journey smile

Kindest regards, Matt


Edited by mattmorgan44 (05/02/13 11:01 AM)
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#2075800 - 05/02/13 11:00 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78

Example answer for (2).. The following to be done every day:

1 1/4 hours prac work on a classical piece learning off sheet music.
2 hours working through a theory book.
3/4 hour listening to diverse music.
1 hour playing scales and finger exercises.
1 hour practising any piece(s) of their choice (can be from sheet or by ear).

I used 6 hours of focused work but if more or less time would be beneficial please work on your own opinion.

Thanks smile
_________________________
Roland RD700NX | Roland HP-507

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#2075838 - 05/02/13 11:44 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
hujidong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 64
Loc: Hawaii
Ok so you're beginner-intermediate, awesome!!
Alright so in your off-time you could be relaxing and listening to classical music, also maybe check out some books that I have really liked: Music: An Art and a Language by Walter Raymond Spalding, Piano Mastery by Harriette Brower, Great Pianists on Piano Playing by James Francis Coooke, and Lessons in Music Form by Percy Goestschius. These are really nice books which have helped me a lot in trying to figure out what music from the piano is. It is nice to start with songs, as they grab the attention with language, and attempt to figure out the polyphony of the weaving and contributing voices to the melody. From there Bach is absolutely wonderful. Every voice is one to itself, without the rankings of 'melodies' or 'upper middle voices' etc. When you feel like the comprehension of that polyphony is becoming apparent, then you can go to reapply the rankings of voices in later music, and figure out how you really want everything to move. From there move to larger piano pieces and then symphonies and piano concertos! I've heard opera is the last step, but I still cannot manage to stay awake throughout a whole opera...oops cool Honestly, I'm probably still stuck somewhere in the whole song thing as far as music comprehension goes.

In your go-time, you should figure out a practice method that really suits you and the strenuous hours of sitting you are going to put yourself through. Although I really hate to say it, practice might soon become more technical than you would like, but it is really for the delivery of the music. You can pick as many pieces as you like based on what is coming up in the future and create sets of pieces that you try to get through in a day. If you keep a journal this way, and with your ample amount of time, you could mark down where you left off in a piece and then resume when you get back to work. With your time and a two different sets of 5 pieces, you could put two hours of work into each piece in a set a day. I usually get through from about 1 line to a page an hour.

So here's to practicing. I feel like us learners should be trying to acquire dexterity and grace upon the keyboard more than getting brute strength of the hands of fingers. With finding out about focal dystonia, that could even be dangerous. You want to develop independence in your fingers and efficiency of motion and energy in your movements. Your body should be relaxed, a conduit of what you think which goes into the piano which then projects your voice. A slow focused practice method will get you there, and build strength upon knowledge of the workings of the piano action acquired through practice.
So it is easiest to notice awkwardness in any passage working hands separately and going through slowly. It feels like my focus isn't barraged by a million things happening at once. I try to find a spot where my hand feels awkward and it seems like the movement can improve. I think I notice an inefficient usage of energy and motion when a hand flies from one key to the next, hovering there above for a split second before touching down, or if the movement itself isn't confident enough for it to be almost like a second nature.

I like to practice to try and get rid of that. So we find an awkward spot in a passage. It could be the only sloppy interval that is throwing off a whole beautiful passage. I try to realize the shape that my hand will have to acquire to deliver the sound and strike upon the notes. Then I try to remember that and push down on the key, and I want to be able to control the whole motion going down, as every bit of it sends the hammer moving towards the string. After that, I try to think about how to keep the key pushed down while using as little strength as possible, to preserve as much energy as I can. Then I want to completely control the release, and know how I am letting the hammer come off the key and what kind of sound it is creating. From there it continues, and on and on and loop de loop. It is extremely frustrating for me, but I am starting to really enjoy the benefits of this practice. I had feared losing speed and strength with this method, but in reality by learning how to use the piano to the best of my abilities, with the relativity of musical excitement required to keep an audience interested, I can start producing the sound that I want from the piano, that which I hear in my head. And through confidence of movement on the keyboard I am finding it less necessary to worry about technical motions or movements on the keyboard when all I really want to do is just hear the music, and try to share it through a piano.
If you post up some troublesome passages or anything I could say some more about how to apply this method onto those passages.

I hope you will find this useful in some way!

All the best


Edited by hujidong (05/02/13 11:46 AM)

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#2075842 - 05/02/13 11:48 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 558
Do NOT spend 10 hours a day just pounding away at the piano. You'll kill your hands for sure. Learn how to learn quickly! Spend time on technique, and practice lightly for 9 of those 10 hours.
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2075851 - 05/02/13 11:55 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
hujidong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 64
Loc: Hawaii
What was posted above is all light practice. Run your hands under warm water when you take breaks to up circulation to deliver what your hands need from your body! Try and stay away from caffeine and nicotine, they will hurt your circulation and you really need that. Water, breaks, and stretching!

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#2075855 - 05/02/13 11:58 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Just a quick comment about opera: it is meant to be watched, not just listened to, so if you're having trouble listening to the whole thing, try watching (especially with subtitles) and that will help tremendously. You can listen to arias alone and get a lot out of that.

Back OT:

I think 10 hours in a day may be too much. It really depends on the individual, and I'd much rather talk about qualitative things a student should do to practice rather than quantitative (i.e., 1 hour on technical exercises, 1 hour on sight reading, etc.). I find the latter to be very useless because for each person the time they can spend on one particular task before being "saturated" and needing to wait until the next day varies so much between individuals.

I think the most valuable things a person can do in this situation is:

1) Listen, listen, listen, especially to live performances whenever possible, and not just piano music, but anything that moves you

2) Learn how to practice well and efficiently. Time is no factor, it's about accomplishing distinct tasks.
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#2075862 - 05/02/13 12:02 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
[...]They have 10 hours per day to spend on piano and anything piano related.
[...]


To me, there are major flaws in the premise.

1) No beginner or even a "beginner-intermediate" (what does that mean? either one is a beginner or one is not) should be spending ten hours a day on piano-related study. There just is not enough material within a beginner's grasp that spending that amount of time - every day - on piano-related study would produce results, other than quick burn-out.

2) No beginner knows at the outset that s/he wants to completely dedicate his or her life to piano "and become the best pianist they could possibly become." It takes time, study and some experience to develop that sort of commitment.

Even allowing for several hours a day of listening to music away from the piano, if the beginner has no knowledge of what he is listening to and listening for, that time will be largely wasted in a wash of uncomprehended sound. Even adding the study of theory, the time span is too broad for the beginner to effectively concentrate.

Even many advanced conservatory students don't spend ten hours a day on such single-focus activity.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#2075968 - 05/02/13 03:01 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
hujidong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 64
Loc: Hawaii
Love the encouragement.

It's not all about theory. The basics to music appreciation and understanding of the fundamentals becomes the foundation for what is laid next. The books I suggested books focused much more on general ideas like themes phrases and being able to develop an individual analogy of music and literature. Both are works of art..hey what isn't? We must train our minds and bodies! Secret monks living within modern society, contributing to the welfare of all!!..in art..

Anyways, Bruce, I'm gonna guess you don't believe in love at first sight. Your Chopin must be so wonderful..guffaw..kidding!! How about love at second sight? Third? Fourth if you like to play hard to get? :p

OP: When there's a will....; p


Edited by hujidong (05/02/13 03:03 PM)

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#2075990 - 05/02/13 03:29 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: hujidong]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: hujidong
[...]
Anyways, Bruce, I'm gonna guess you don't believe in love at first sight. Your Chopin must be so wonderful..guffaw..kidding!! How about love at second sight? Third? Fourth if you like to play hard to get? :p
[...]


What does your snide remark about "[my] Chopin" have to do with what I posted or with the premise in the original post?
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2076034 - 05/02/13 04:47 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
hujidong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 64
Loc: Hawaii
The relation of the end of my post to yours was that it was just a joke at the second point in your post, something along the lines of 'what kind of romantic are you!?' I am very sorry about my comment. It was not meant to offend. It's easier to misinterpret read words than words with inflections and accents!
Apologies again friend. frown


Edited by hujidong (05/02/13 04:49 PM)

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#2076157 - 05/02/13 08:45 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
I would really appreciate hearing people's answer to this hypothetical question:

If a beginner / beginner-intermediate player wanted to completely dedicate their life to piano and become the best pianist they could possibly become, what would you advise they do every day for their first year?

While answering, please presume the following:

They have 10 hours per day to spend on piano and anything piano related.
They will NOT give up. From getting tired of piano or any other reason.
They are extremely passionate and they have a lot of life experience to draw from.

I think the question could be answered in two parts:
1) Any advice and or steps to take to develop their skill as much as possible.
2) The routine (with however many hours would yield best results. The person is completely willing and happy to spend 10 hours if it would be of benefit).

I appreciate any advice you guys have as I begin my journey smile

Kindest regards, Matt


smile Are you just beginning? Are you wanting to spend ten hours a day at the piano? If so, I think that's lovely that you're so devoted. Passion and curiosity and interest can be a sort of fuel to drive you toward your goals and it sounds like you really must love piano if you are entertaining the idea of spending so much time (unless you are asking "for a friend" as it were.)

I'd caution at the outset that practicing 10 hours per day for ~9 days(?) and then getting burnt out is a more realistic scenario than practicing devotedly half an hour every day, for your first few months or years, then ramping it up to an hour, then ramping it up to two hours, and so forth. I think you're more likely to see real, tangible gains through the latter method than the former, though I imagine it's difficult to be told to put a lid on your excitement.

If you must I'd break it down like this:
  • 30 minutes: Methodical, slow, intentional practice of repertoire that you like, maybe ten minutes or so spent on scales or whatever technique activities your teacher is recommending
  • 9 hours and 30 minutes: Listen to piano music you like, read books about piano music, noodle around a bit at the keyboard if you feel compelled.

That's the way I structure my practice time, anyway. I have 2-3 hours of "work, work" time (to quote the orcs from the computergame Warcraft II, ahem) that is pretty belabored and high intensity. Then the rest of my music time is just sort of like the frosting on top and very optional but enjoyable - like I'll listen to lots of recordings in a sort of ravenous way, or I feel like wandering over to the piano outside of my "serious business" time, I might play some things from memory or just play joyfully and tinkle around. YMMV.

If you really do have 10 hours a day, and really are able in terms of logistics and mental stamina to devote that to piano, then the conversation would look different after you'd had 5(?ish) years under your belt. Try to be a bit of a realist as dull as that is, so you don't end up setting impossible expectations for yourself.

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#2076212 - 05/02/13 09:54 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mermilylumpkin]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Hujidong, Morodiene, Mermilymumpkin and everyone else that responded, thank you so much. Some of the information you guys have provided is exactly what I was hoping for.

I could only quickly read through them right now. Unfortunately I was just with my Grandpa who died a couple of hours ago. But I will read and respond to each one properly when I have some time.

As well a thanking you, I just wanted to point out that I never said I would be spending 10 hours per day pounding away at the piano. I said I have 10 hours for any piano related activity and was after advice on how to use that time (at and off the piano), knowing that I want to dedicate my entire life to learning piano and piano music.

Also, I made it hypothetical and added the presumptions to follow to try and avoid people jumping to conclusions or writing off the idea that a beginner would or could do this. I made it hypothetical because people don't know the situation I am in, so I thought I'd have more chance of getting advice that way. I hope to become a part of this great community and may get to share some of my story in time. But for now, please take those presumptions as whole truths. I will be spending my entire life learning the piano. Also, if you really don't believe a beginner can spend 10 hours in piano related activities, that is fine. I would still love to hear your opinion on things to do in a lesser time.

Kindest regards, Matt

Originally Posted By: DanS
Do NOT spend 10 hours a day just pounding away at the piano. You'll kill your hands for sure. Learn how to learn quickly! Spend time on technique, and practice lightly for 9 of those 10 hours.


Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
[...]They have 10 hours per day to spend on piano and anything piano related.
[...]


To me, there are major flaws in the premise.

1) No beginner or even a "beginner-intermediate" (what does that mean? either one is a beginner or one is not) should be spending ten hours a day on piano-related study. There just is not enough material within a beginner's grasp that spending that amount of time - every day - on piano-related study would produce results, other than quick burn-out.

2) No beginner knows at the outset that s/he wants to completely dedicate his or her life to piano "and become the best pianist they could possibly become." It takes time, study and some experience to develop that sort of commitment.

Even allowing for several hours a day of listening to music away from the piano, if the beginner has no knowledge of what he is listening to and listening for, that time will be largely wasted in a wash of uncomprehended sound. Even adding the study of theory, the time span is too broad for the beginner to effectively concentrate.

Even many advanced conservatory students don't spend ten hours a day on such single-focus activity.

Regards,


Ps. I didn't think using "beginner-intermediate" would be confusing. If a pianist can be placed on a scale from absolute beginner (never played piano) to advanced (very competent) I would place myself somewhere between beginner and intermediate. Much like people do with any other activity. I can explain where I'm at further when I have the time to respond properly.

Thanks again
_________________________
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#2076252 - 05/02/13 10:43 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
hujidong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 64
Loc: Hawaii
Then maybe make it a 24/6 kind of schedule. :P

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#2076264 - 05/02/13 10:53 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: hujidong]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 81
This doesn't answer your original post, but is just a thought...

If you are going to be practicing quite a bit, and are not at an advanced level where you understand how technique works, then you should definitely find the time (and money) to be having at least a one hour lesson twice a week. Given the beginner/intermediate status, you are probably more likely to be practicing mistakes or incorrect technique. You don't want to be wasting your time or going backwards by practicing things incorrectly.

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#2076279 - 05/02/13 11:13 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13797
Loc: Iowa City, IA
5-7 hours of practice (and not all repertoire, do some exercises and try your hand at transcription/composition)

Spend the rest of the time listening to music and reading fiction, poetry, or talking walks in nature.

(Which is basically what Brahms and Liszt did...)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2076338 - 05/02/13 11:57 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Kreisler]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: hujidong
Then maybe make it a 24/6 kind of schedule. :P


Haha


Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC
This doesn't answer your original post, but is just a thought...

If you are going to be practicing quite a bit, and are not at an advanced level where you understand how technique works, then you should definitely find the time (and money) to be having at least a one hour lesson twice a week. Given the beginner/intermediate status, you are probably more likely to be practicing mistakes or incorrect technique. You don't want to be wasting your time or going backwards by practicing things incorrectly.


That definitely answers my post, thank you smile and I'm happy to say I have a piano teacher with whom lessons will continue later this month (a placement is opening as a student is finishing). I started a whole thread on exactly what you just said "practicing mistakes or incorrect technique" and about a choosing the right teacher and whether or not I should stay with the teacher I have. This thread sprung off of that one.

I am booked in for 1 hour per week but I was already planning to make it two smile

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
5-7 hours of practice (and not all repertoire, do some exercises and try your hand at transcription/composition)

Spend the rest of the time listening to music and reading fiction, poetry, or talking walks in nature.

(Which is basically what Brahms and Liszt did...)


Thank you for this advice

Also, I want to know the truth, but its nice to hear you say I can practice for that long. Others said 1 1/2 hours per day max or I'm wasting my time :s I do hope you are right
_________________________
Roland RD700NX | Roland HP-507

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#2076342 - 05/03/13 12:01 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13797
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think you'll find that as a beginner/intermediate, you'll need to vary the type of practice a great deal and take a lot of breaks until you build up stamina (both physical and psychological.)

I'd spend 1-2 hours on exercises and repertoire. An hour or so on reading (finding a duet partner would be awesome.) And another hour or so on improvising, composing, transcribing, or just doodling - exploring different sounds and techniques.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2076536 - 05/03/13 09:52 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Is this because you want to be a professional?

Why would you want life of a pianist??
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2076570 - 05/03/13 10:40 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
You definitely have to come back and check in in a year or so :-) I will be really interested to hear about your progress. It's an interesting experiment in what will happen if you have the optimal learning conditions and level of drive.

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#2076621 - 05/03/13 12:08 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK

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#2076713 - 05/03/13 02:58 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 848
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
FWIW: "Chopin encouraged short practice sessions. Madame Dubois (Camille O'Meara) reported: "One day he heard me say that I practiced six hours a day. He became quite angry, and forbade me to practice more than three hours." (Eigeldinger 27). Another student wrote: "He always advised the pupil not to work for too long at a stretch and to intermit between hours of work by reading a good book, by looking at masterpieces of art, or by taking an invigorating walk."

from here
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#2076745 - 05/03/13 04:18 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Kreisler]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 364
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
And another hour or so on improvising, composing, transcribing, or just doodling - exploring different sounds and techniques.


+1

An often overlooked aspect of becoming a musician. I'm dismayed to hear of pianists who are reduced to musical muteness when there is no score to read and no memorized piece ready to go.

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#2076782 - 05/03/13 05:40 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: cefinow]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: cefinow


+1

An often overlooked aspect of becoming a musician. I'm dismayed to hear of pianists who are reduced to musical muteness when there is no score to read and no memorized piece ready to go.


Well that can happen when you're booked with recitals and have massive rep to learn all the time....... Some people don't have time for this.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2076937 - 05/04/13 12:29 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: hujidong]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: hujidong
Ok so you're beginner-intermediate, awesome!!
Alright so in your off-time you could be relaxing and listening to classical music, also maybe check out some books that I have really liked: Music: An Art and a Language by Walter Raymond Spalding, Piano Mastery by Harriette Brower, Great Pianists on Piano Playing by James Francis Coooke, and Lessons in Music Form by Percy Goestschius. These are really nice books which have helped me a lot in trying to figure out what music from the piano is. ......

......So it is easiest to notice awkwardness in any passage working hands separately and going through slowly. It feels like my focus isn't barraged by a million things happening at once. I try to find a spot where my hand feels awkward and it seems like the movement can improve. I think I notice an inefficient usage of energy and motion when a hand flies from one key to the next, hovering there above for a split second before touching down, or if the movement itself isn't confident enough for it to be almost like a second nature....

....Then I try to remember that and push down on the key, and I want to be able to control the whole motion going down, as every bit of it sends the hammer moving towards the string. After that, I try to think about how to keep the key pushed down while using as little strength as possible, to preserve as much energy as I can. Then I want to completely control the release, and know how I am letting the hammer come off the key and what kind of sound it is creating...

...If you post up some troublesome passages or anything I could say some more about how to apply this method onto those passages.

I hope you will find this useful in some way!

All the best


Hujidong, Thank you for so much advice and such a detailed post.

I will definitely check out those books. I'm sure that would be time well spent.

I have also noticed that when I play a passage slowly any awkward sections become even more apparent to me. I noticed this when recording a very short piece that I am going to post here soon. The slower I played, the more difficult it was to play smoothly. I sure that will improve with practise, but I think your right about slowing a piece down to notice any awkward sections.

I love the way you think about everything that is going on as you strike a key to produce the sound you are after. And how to strike it to preserve energy and keep momentum.

Thanks for all the advice I appreciate it.

Originally Posted By: hujidong
What was posted above is all light practice. Run your hands under warm water when you take breaks to up circulation to deliver what your hands need from your body! Try and stay away from caffeine and nicotine, they will hurt your circulation and you really need that. Water, breaks, and stretching!


Oh yes I already mentioned I won't be hammering away for 10 hours smile

I will definitely try the warm water! And I am happy I don't smoke or drink coffee. Will have to watch the soda though. Thanks


Edited by mattmorgan44 (05/04/13 12:32 AM)
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#2076939 - 05/04/13 12:35 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Pogorelich.]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Originally Posted By: cefinow


+1

An often overlooked aspect of becoming a musician. I'm dismayed to hear of pianists who are reduced to musical muteness when there is no score to read and no memorized piece ready to go.


Well that can happen when you're booked with recitals and have massive rep to learn all the time....... Some people don't have time for this.

If you have a massive repertoire, you should never be in the situation cefinow describes. wink
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#2076942 - 05/04/13 12:40 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

..... for each person the time they can spend on one particular task before being "saturated" and needing to wait until the next day varies so much between individuals.

I think the most valuable things a person can do in this situation is:

1) Listen, listen, listen, especially to live performances whenever possible, and not just piano music, but anything that moves you

2) Learn how to practice well and efficiently. Time is no factor, it's about accomplishing distinct tasks.


Hi Morodiene, thanks for your reply. I am very happy with both of your suggestions. I have noticed that I seem to improve much more when my practise is focused (distinct tasks). Rather than messing around, which I tend to do a lot while I wait for my lessons - so I don't practise bad technique for hours on end.

I am now going to make a serious effort to get to some live performances. Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. I have never been to a dedicated piano performance.
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#2076947 - 05/04/13 12:51 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: BruceD]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD

1)... There just is not enough material within a beginner's grasp that spending that amount of time - every day - on piano-related study would produce results, other than quick burn-out.

2) No beginner knows at the outset that s/he wants to completely dedicate his or her life to piano "and become the best pianist they could possibly become." It takes time, study and some experience to develop that sort of commitment.


I appreciate you responding. I addressed the 10 hour issue earlier. Even though I think 10 hours on piano related activity per day would not be a problem at all. But that is your opinion.

On point (2) though, I have to strongly disagree. Although maybe the problem lies in me calling myself a beginner. I do know that I want to dedicate my life to piano. I am in a very unique position to be able to make that sort of commitment.

Thanks
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#2076948 - 05/04/13 12:53 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
mermilylumpkin Offline
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Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44

I have also noticed that when I play a passage slowly any awkward sections become even more apparent to me. I noticed this when recording a very short piece that I am going to post here soon.


One more piece of advice Mattmorgan! Be careful with that (posting your videos on internet forums). I can tell you're a hard worker and care about what you are doing. I think the internet can be a bit like the Discovery Channel, with lions running all around looking for a gazelle whose head to chew on. Anyway, maybe you have a super thick skin, but just know you'll probably get a bit of rabble and it's not always going to be about you or your performance. So don't get too upset if someone tells you you are doing a DISSERVICE to CHOPIN or anything like that. (Lots of really friendly folks in the mix too, obviously!) So yeah, you may not want to post anything too near and dear to your heart :-)

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#2076949 - 05/04/13 12:55 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Polyphonist Offline
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I think most knowledgeable posters, when replying to recordings, aim to provide both encouragement and criticism, in varying quantities according to the quality of the recording. ha
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#2076950 - 05/04/13 01:00 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
mermilylumpkin Offline
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Hehe, you're right I think. Maybe also in varying quantities according to the person who is offering the feedback! Anyway, it's great; there's obviously lots of talented people bumbling around here and willing to share their advices. Just a tip regarding inner fortitude :-)

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#2076960 - 05/04/13 01:47 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mermilylumpkin]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
smile Are you just beginning? Are you wanting to spend ten hours a day at the piano? If so, I think that's lovely that you're so devoted. Passion and curiosity and interest can be a sort of fuel to drive you toward your goals and it sounds like you really must love piano if you are entertaining the idea of spending so much time (unless you are asking "for a friend" as it were.)

I'd caution at the outset that practicing 10 hours per day for ~9 days(?) and then getting burnt out is a more realistic scenario than practicing devotedly half an hour every day, for your first few months or years, then ramping it up to an hour, then ramping it up to two hours, and so forth. I think you're more likely to see real, tangible gains through the latter method than the former, though I imagine it's difficult to be told to put a lid on your excitement.

If you must I'd break it down like this:
  • 30 minutes: Methodical, slow, intentional practice of repertoire that you like, maybe ten minutes or so spent on scales or whatever technique activities your teacher is recommending
  • 9 hours and 30 minutes: Listen to piano music you like, read books about piano music, noodle around a bit at the keyboard if you feel compelled.

That's the way I structure my practice time, anyway. I have 2-3 hours of "work, work" time (to quote the orcs from the computergame Warcraft II, ahem) that is pretty belabored and high intensity. Then the rest of my music time is just sort of like the frosting on top and very optional but enjoyable - like I'll listen to lots of recordings in a sort of ravenous way, or I feel like wandering over to the piano outside of my "serious business" time, I might play some things from memory or just play joyfully and tinkle around. YMMV.



Mermilylumpkin,

I REALLY respect that although you think 10 hours is too long, you still addressed the question and broke it up to 9.5hrs, and 30 minutes haha smile

I am only just beginning to take piano seriously. I took piano for a year and a bit when I was very young but was not interested in lessons and exams at that age. I have always loved the piano, but I didn't take it up again as I got older because I was focusing on school. Then grades 11 and 12 came up and I was studying. Then I went to university to study biomedical science as a pre med degree to study medicine. In my third year I was hit by a car on my motorbike. About a year later I bought a keyboard to start playing again but I had a lot going on so I got very little playing done and that went on for 3 or so years.

Now, I feel like everything in my life has led up to this. Piano has always been my passion. And now that passion is skyrocketing. I want to dedicate my life to learning the piano and becoming the best pianist I can. I can no longer work outside of home and I can't return to study, but I no longer want to study anything but piano. So that is what I am going to do.

There are more reasons that I can't and don't want to bring up on a forum. But that should be enough to give you an idea of my situation. I thought I should post a bit about me or I will keep getting answers like "a beginner can't dedicate his life to piano" or just a general thinking that it is naive of me to believe such a thing.

So, to be more specific with your questions, I don't want to spend 10 hours per day at the piano. I rather have 10 hours per day that I would like to spend on any piano related activity that will further my skill. At the piano or otherwise. Reading books and listening to music are suggestions that I have taken on board smile

I am sure I would most likely get burnt out if I actually spent 10 hours on playing time. But now that you know a little more, would you still suggest 30 minutes per day for the first few months to years? I really will be doing nothing but focusing on piano. As crazy as that may sound as it is not the normal thing for people to do. But it is better than watching TV for 10 hours which is what I did for quite some time.

Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
If you really do have 10 hours a day, and really are able in terms of logistics and mental stamina to devote that to piano, then the conversation would look different after you'd had 5(?ish) years under your belt. Try to be a bit of a realist as dull as that is, so you don't end up setting impossible expectations for yourself.


Ok, I really do have 10 hours and the logistics and mental stamina to devote to piano (not sitting time, but everything piano) smile and I will be happy to take more advice in 5 years. But I would like to hear people's advice for me for now, now that people know a little more about my situation. I have an idea of where I'd like to be in 5 years and as I am 25yo now (old for piano) it will take a lot of work and time. So I started this thread for advice on the best way to spend that time.

Thank you Mermily and everyone that has responded so far and if anyone else has advice please post.

Thanks, Matt.


Edited by mattmorgan44 (05/04/13 03:27 AM)
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#2076968 - 05/04/13 02:20 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
mermilylumpkin Offline
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Hi Matt,

I'm very sorry to hear about your motorbike accident. That sounds terrible. I really do admire you for wanting to spend so much time at it. To be honest, I was just giving you advice based on my own experience and my own inclinations personality-wise. For myself, I've always done better when I've started with small manageable goals and built on them in increments. I thrive on routine and when I was ramping up on practicing time, I felt like I got more results from feeling the payoff of 45m every day -> 1 hour every day after a few months -> 1.5 hours, etc. Whenever I've set excessively lofty goals for myself from the outset, I've had difficulty with the consistent routine aspect. This is all just my own experience and shouldn't dictate what you decide to do.

Anyway, if you really do have the willpower to do ten hours, I say go for it! I just think it will require a very vast amount of willpower. I think the reason that some people may have been coming at it with a bit of skepticism is that it's just really hard to put in that amount of time without much history. And you don't want to burn yourself out. But no one here but you knows you and your situation and if you think you can do it, then who is to say otherwise? In any case, I think the important part is that you love it and that you want it very much. There's really a lot that you can accomplish through determination and especially practice, which you're clearly willing to devote yourself to.

I'd say, if you're really stuck on improving as quickly as possible, put in a really really focused 1.5 hours per day in, and read and consume and love music as much as you like, whether it's 9 more hours or however many, but don't put so much pressure on yourself that you must do it for ten hours every day. Again, this is just my take, but if you "make" yourself do something for ten hours, it may well start to feel like a sort of jail however much you were excited in the first place. For example, I joined a music library at a university near my home and it's a GREAT use of an hour or so to wander around and get lost there a bit, but I think it would be less fun if I felt like it was something I had to do as part of a "regimen." Things like chance musical discoveries and the beautiful, low-pressure type things are what end up keeping me going and just making me love piano, but it might kill the joy a bit if I felt like "music appreciation" was something I had to do for X hours per day.

But yeah, I sincerely do hope you post about your progress. I'm in your corner :-)

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#2076988 - 05/04/13 03:46 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mermilylumpkin]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Ahh whats going on pianoworld! It seemed to shut down for me half way through my post

Mermilylumpkin, Thank you for the encouraging words smile

I don't believe I would burn out... However, I respect that you and other people here have a lot more experience than me, so I will always take advice seriously. I don't want to be a year down the road wishing I had listened because I'm over it. Even though I can't see that happening now!

If getting "burnt out" was a non-issue (not saying it is), are there any other reasons I shouldn't practise for say 5 hours per day (time actually playing). I know hand injury has plagued some people here. Does that only apply to people that have had issues with there hands or everyone? How much time at the piano would we be talking for injury to be a concern? And a there any other reasons to practise less, assuming I have the time spare?

Also regarding posting videos, I have pretty thick skin smile and if I'm crap, I want to know exactly why and how to improve. But don't be expecting Bach any time soon! I've had 1 lesson. But I want to post a short clip so that you guys can tell me if I'm making any mistakes technique-wise so I don't form bad habits. Because I won't have a teacher for another month, and that teacher doesn't seem to worry about technique :s That issue has been discussed and the consensus was to stay with her for the time being.


Edited by mattmorgan44 (05/04/13 03:52 AM)
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#2077092 - 05/04/13 10:05 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: RachelEDNC]
Palmpirate Offline
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Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC
This doesn't answer your original post, but is just a thought...

If you are going to be practicing quite a bit, and are not at an advanced level where you understand how technique works, then you should definitely find the time (and money) to be having at least a one hour lesson twice a week. Given the beginner/intermediate status, you are probably more likely to be practicing mistakes or incorrect technique. You don't want to be wasting your time or going backwards by practicing things incorrectly.


This I have found to be sooooo true. I started back at aged 62 having been through all those Trinity School levels and beyond enjoying periodinc busrst of play over the years and eventually letting it go.
Tthis time when I went back it was soul destroyingl I was just full of mistakes and I tried an tried by myself to no avail. So I found a teacher, just by chance and he was a concert-pianist with so much more knowledge than any of the ivory thumpers I had previously learned from. This time I was the one with grey hair and he could have been my son!
IT was a strange exchange of respect, he for his elders and me for his knowledge.
He knew the physiology of the hand etc etc, and I studied physio way back when so understood him very well. His english was limited, he of bolivian descent but because I already knew a lot I cottoned on quickly to what he meant and we were a match!
Itwas really thrilling to learn from him. Even though he had this Eastern European severe steak in his character he is so patient and concerned about the music and I overcame my fear of making mistakes and learned patience with myself to try agian and go very very slowly.
I went twice a week for half hour really focussed lessons and it was fantastic. I did Bach;s Ist prelude from the well tempered clavier which scared me to dealth at first and took a good 6th month for me to feel comfortable with. Now I find Mozart k343 quite easy though one mistake ruins this really pretty piece, and I'm doing Beethoven's Rondo and Capriccio op129. Such a fun piece! and I can't wait to have that one down.
I have to find another teacher/coach here in my summer location up in Kelowna B.C. which won't be easy. I don't want to loose my momentum even though I was assured I was ready for self development. I know I shall fall back into old habits left to myself.
Reading along this post I wish you the very very best, I would play 10 hrs if I could but life does get in the way and other things have to get done. but I'm fortunate to be retired, sort of, but able to stop by the piano anytime I want or feel like it which allows me to get may be 2 hrs good practice in on a good day . More often its half hour stints that I make really focused, then other more relaxed playing when I can.
I have no special goal, just to play beautiful music the best I can and know I'll hardly get to do concertos and am happy to find things that are within my capacity.


Edited by Palmpirate (05/04/13 10:12 AM)
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#2077169 - 05/04/13 01:54 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
riley80 Offline
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If I were you, I'd have a frank discussion with your teacher as to your talent and capabilities before you dedicate ten hours a day.

What do you foresee yourself doing with piano? Teaching? Playing professionally? This should also be part of the discussion with the teacher.

You sound driven, but that's an awful lot of time in a day's waking hours to devote to one goal. Have you actually put in a ten hour 'piano day'?

It sounds like you are lucky enough not to have to go to 40 hour a week job. Nice.

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#2077179 - 05/04/13 02:15 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
hujidong Offline
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If he is really doing 10 hours of piano a day, and he has dedicated his life to his passion which becomes his work, then doesn't he work 60 hours a week on a normal workweek? Some lucky folks..

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#2077396 - 05/04/13 09:47 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: riley80]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Palmpirate, thank you for your reply. I love hearing about other people's experience and I am very happy for you to have re-discovered that passion smile Your post makes me want to chase down the other teacher I was trying to get a trial lesson with who was also a concert pianist. But I discussed that in my other thread and am going to listen to the advice of people here and stay with my local teacher for now, while I am a beginner. Thanks again

Originally Posted By: riley80
If I were you, I'd have a frank discussion with your teacher as to your talent and capabilities before you dedicate ten hours a day.

What do you foresee yourself doing with piano? Teaching? Playing professionally? This should also be part of the discussion with the teacher.

You sound driven, but that's an awful lot of time in a day's waking hours to devote to one goal. Have you actually put in a ten hour 'piano day'?

It sounds like you are lucky enough not to have to go to 40 hour a week job. Nice.


Riley, thank you for your direct advice.

I think you are the first person to ask me what I see myself doing in the future. I would love to play professionally. I am not naive enough to think I will become a concert pianist starting at my age. But I do believe I could play at venues such as restaurants, cocktail lounges etc. Or play as an accompanist.

When I am proficient enough I would like to start teaching while I continue to learn. In my post to milylumpkin above I explained my situation a little. I really, really wish I could work a normal job. Unfortunately I can't at present so It would be nice to be able to bring in some form of income from home.

But in the end what I want to do is compose my own music. Learn learn learn the piano, develop my skill as much as I possibly can in my lifetime, and enjoy it. Working playing piano would be amazing and I hope I find that opportunity but it is not a necessity. So I don't think having a frank discussion with my teacher about my talent is necessary. I do think discussing where I would like to take my playing and what I would like to do in the future would be worthwhile. So thank you, I will do that.

You are also the fist person to ask if I have actually done a 10 hour day. Well yes I have been spending at least 10 hours every day in the last few weeks focusing on piano but I have to keep stressing I'm not spending 10 hours sitting playing the piano. I have been asking for advice on how to spend the 10 hours (basically a full day - 10 hours was a little arbitrary) on any activity that will further my skill as a pianist. So in the last few weeks I have been researching, reading, playing some, learning to read sheet music, posting here, listening to a lot of piano music and watching A LOT of piano tutorials on the net. I haven't been playing for many hours per day because I have been very worried that I will practise bad technique and form bad habits so I am waiting for my lessons to start at the end of this month. And now thanks to this thread I have much more to do with my time. Lots of books to read, some tutorials to watch and a Yale lecture to listen to smile smile

To me, 10 hours per day doesn't seem like an awful lot of time to spend on piano. It is what I want to do with my life so it makes sense I would spend the majority of my time on it.


Originally Posted By: hujidong
If he is really doing 10 hours of piano a day, and he has dedicated his life to his passion which becomes his work, then doesn't he work 60 hours a week on a normal workweek? Some lucky folks..


There is truth in that. My father always used to say if you find a job that you really enjoy you will never have to work a day in your life. It is a romantic thought that isn't realistic for most of us. But if you can do it, go for it smile
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#2077398 - 05/04/13 09:56 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
JazzyMac Offline
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I'm not sure I understand why some people find the OP's question hard to fathom. I get it; it's as if he said his new career, hobby, pasttime, and downtime will all be devoted to piano.

I can only be happy that he has found an opportunity and motivation to dedicate his life to his dreams.

It's what any of us could hope for!
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#2077400 - 05/04/13 10:04 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Found this relevant and interesting article on practicing:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/live...-musical-growth


Edited by Morodiene (05/04/13 10:05 PM)
Edit Reason: fixed link
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#2077432 - 05/05/13 12:01 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Morodiene,

Thank you so much for linking this! It is very helpful information and I have bookmarked it.

I have really taken a lot from that.

Quote:
So as important as practice is, how could less of it ever be a key to musical growth? First consider the motivational realities of practicing. Because it can be difficult solitary work focused on weaknesses, it's usually extrinsically motivated. It's like dieting or leaving your bed at 6:00am for a treadmill at the gym. Though practice is not an enjoyable task, musicians understand the value of it, and know it must be done.

Quote:
The constant struggle to find practice time can cause stress, and excessive practice can take a toll physically and motivationally


Maybe this explains people's reaction to me practising for long hours every day. Practise IS an enjoyable task for me at present. And the time is there to be used. Even focused goal oriented practise is still very enjoyable to me. It is not one bit like dieting or getting up early to get to to gym (which I do struggle with haha). I can't wait to get into practise smile

But that might not last forever. So I think I have taken from this if it does become like a chore, something not pleasant, I need to re evaluate how long I spend doing it.

Quote:
Considering the mental energy required for effective practice, it’s no wonder that so many opt instead for the ineffective approach of mindless repetition! The most focused experts are subject to mental fatigue, especially when trying to power through a marathon practice session. This is why several shorter sessions spread throughout a day (i.e., distributed practice) is a better option than a single prolonged session (massed practice).

Distributed practice is employed by many who go on to reach the highest levels of performance expertise. However, even among the most advanced musicians, who are careful to take breaks between sessions, about two hours per day is an optimal amount of practice; about four hours is the single day max. These figures are based on a landmark study by Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Römer (1993), who reported that the training practices of elite musicians were similar to those of professional athletes and chess masters.

Choosing to focus on practice quality over quantity can free up time for other music activities away from the instrument, which ultimately can make practice more effective. For example, score study is a useful exercise done by classical musicians to become familiar with compositions they are preparing for performance. And musicians can always benefit by increasing the amount of music listening they do. Listening is a primary means by which we encode into memory what “good music” sounds like. It is how we build the aural perceptual skills needed to accurately evaluate our own music production during practice.


This answers so many of my questions and many of you have already given me this advice.

Sorter sessions
Breaks between sessions.
2 hours per day optimal
4 hours per day max

And I can still use up my 10 hours on piano (last paragraph above, and below) smile

Quote:
time not practicing is not lost time in the pursuit to improve musicianship.


Awesome. Thanks Morodiene
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#2077433 - 05/05/13 12:03 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: JazzyMac]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
I'm not sure I understand why some people find the OP's question hard to fathom. I get it; it's as if he said his new career, hobby, pasttime, and downtime will all be devoted to piano.

I can only be happy that he has found an opportunity and motivation to dedicate his life to his dreams.

It's what any of us could hope for!


THANK YOU! You got it smile smile

Edit: "he has found an opportunity and motivation to dedicate his life to his dreams" Actually you really really got it. Thank you for the encouragement. That is exactly how I feel and I began to wonder if I shouldn't be doing this based on some comments. I have the opportunity and motivation so why not right? Thank you very much


Edited by mattmorgan44 (05/05/13 12:07 AM)
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#2077541 - 05/05/13 08:12 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
I'm not sure I understand why some people find the OP's question hard to fathom. I get it; it's as if he said his new career, hobby, pasttime, and downtime will all be devoted to piano.

I can only be happy that he has found an opportunity and motivation to dedicate his life to his dreams.

It's what any of us could hope for!


THANK YOU! You got it smile smile

Edit: "he has found an opportunity and motivation to dedicate his life to his dreams" Actually you really really got it. Thank you for the encouragement. That is exactly how I feel and I began to wonder if I shouldn't be doing this based on some comments. I have the opportunity and motivation so why not right? Thank you very much


It's not that we don't get it...in fact I think most of us responded are people who love piano this much as well. The point in the article that I found to be true in my experiences with my students is that if you aren't practicing efficiently, you will not progress as quickly as you should. That can lead to frustration and boredom in practice. You are in the "honeymoon" stage right now, so be sure to do as much reading up as you can on how to practice efficiently. This website has many threads on that very subject. Your teacher is another great resource. I also recommend the book "The Perfect Wrong Note" by William Westney. He also talks about performing, but there is a section in there on practice that is priceless.


edited to add: That website has some great articles. Here's another one!

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reso...-perfect-others


Edited by Morodiene (05/05/13 08:16 AM)
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#2077588 - 05/05/13 10:48 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
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(Edit: meant to address this to Morodeiene, not Mermilylumpkin)

I wasn't saying you guys didn't get it smile or I would have said "finally, someone who gets it" not "you got it!" Haha

I know I am in the honeymoon stage big time.

I really got a lot out of the last link you gave me that I bookmarked. And understood it clearly. Planned, efficient practise for reasonable lengths of time, for each sitting and per day. Rather than countless hours of repetitive practise that can lead to all sorts of problems. I am learning a lot so far.

I have to go to sleep now but will read this new one tomorrow smile

Thanks


Edited by mattmorgan44 (05/06/13 07:03 AM)
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#2077609 - 05/05/13 11:27 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
JazzyMac Offline
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Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
I guess I would equate it to anyone attempting to live their dreams. Someone who's always wanted to be a doctor, sitting through their finals in pre-med.

Someone who's always wanted to act, going to audition #240.

While piano is something that I personally have always wanted to do, I'll be working my day job, and playing with my dog, and watching TV along with practicing. I make no promises to commit every hour of my day to my dream.

But OP definitely has...so good on him.
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#2077622 - 05/05/13 12:13 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Michael_99 Offline
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Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
mattmorgan44, I have read your post, here:


I would really appreciate hearing people's answer to this hypothetical question:

If a beginner / beginner-intermediate player wanted to completely dedicate their life to piano and become the best pianist they could possibly become, what would you advise they do every day for their first year?

While answering, please presume the following:

They have 10 hours per day to spend on piano and anything piano related.
They will NOT give up. From getting tired of piano or any other reason.
They are extremely passionate and they have a lot of life experience to draw from.

I think the question could be answered in two parts:
1) Any advice and or steps to take to develop their skill as much as possible.
2) The routine (with however many hours would yield best results. The person is completely willing and happy to spend 10 hours if it would be of benefit).

I appreciate any advice you guys have as I begin my journey smile

Kindest regards, Matt

_____________________________________________


matt, millions of people around the world, own pianos/keyboards. Few of them actually play them - and there is a reason for that. I loved your subject line > Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano

Playing any instrument is a very slow process. When you play the piano you cannot make a mistake else you are going too fast. You also must review pieces you have learned so you can play them flawlessly day after day. IF you don't play them every day you will not be able to play the without mistakes.

A beginner piece is usually 4 measures, So the reality is you would play that piece everyday without mistakes until you know it well - but you have to keep playing that piece and every piece that follows. What surprises people is that it is a lot of work. I have been playing for one year and I don't think I will be able to play anything but a beginner piece for another 1 or 2 years.

Guys strumming on a guitar on the street corner for spare change have usually been playing for about 10 years.

Knowing that you have to play perfectly everytime you sit down at the piano means the reality is that you can't play for very long if it has to be perfectly played.

I disagree - with a smile - when you say someone would be happy playing the piano for 10 hours a day.

Any kid that could play the piano well never went outside and played with friends so they had a different childhood. Most artists spend their life time perfecting their art - missing out lots of stuff - but to be fair - they enjoy what they are doing.

But learning the piano is very easy. All you have to do is play each piece slowly and perfectly. Anything you play on the piano has to be played perfectly. That is all there is to learning the piano.

I love playing slowly and perfectly, but most people on the planet don't want to play it perfectly everytime and they don't want to play the same music/piece hundreds of times.

With or without a teacher, if you play the pieces that you have been given you should not have any problems as long as they are played without mistakes everytime. After you have been playing about a year, you will see how it is that you will continue to do what you have done since day one and what you will do every other day for the rest of your life.

Oh, and before I forget, you must never look at your fingers - ever - you will when you do jumps and leaps but that is very advanced so a different situation.

cheers,


Edited by Michael_99 (05/05/13 12:30 PM)

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#2077753 - 05/05/13 04:20 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Michael_99]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Originally Posted By: Michael_99


Oh, and before I forget, you must never look at your fingers - ever - you will when you do jumps and leaps but that is very advanced so a different situation.

cheers,


Were you joking about this? I cannot tell. I remember reading this when I've been looking around the internet about learning piano.

http://www.soundfeelings.com/free/piano_myths.htm
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#2077758 - 05/05/13 04:28 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Polyphonist Offline
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I doubt it was a joke - it's very good advice.
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#2077850 - 05/05/13 07:26 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: JazzyMac]
Michael_99 Offline
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Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
JazzyMac, I have read your post, here;

Oh, and before I forget, you must never look at your fingers - ever - you will when you do jumps and leaps but that is very advanced so a different situation.

cheers,


Were you joking about this? I cannot tell. I remember reading this when I've been looking around the internet about learning piano.

http://www.soundfeelings.com/free/piano_myths.htm

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_________________________________________


Let me tell the story this way. I am old, 63, have had a stoke, failed 2 grades 1 and 3 and I am dyslexic. I started playing the pieces from the Leila Fletcher piano course 1 book a year ago.

In ALL piano books - I have several I can quote what they say. They say - say the note as you read it and play the note. Do not look at your hands.

There is no reason to look at your hands. If you look at any piano player that isn't a beginner - his fingers are hard to see because they are moving quickly, so why would you look at your fingers because if you can't read the music and play the music without looking at your fingers, you are in trouble if you want play the flight of the mumblebee.


I have not had to look at my fingers in a year - except - to find hand position if it changes -

I had lots of new experiences as a beginner but this one is funny. I am playing this piece with a one note extention in the left hand.- well it drove me mad because I read the note and I knew what to do but I wanted to look.

It is in A major and home position G is for the little finger but then I had to do a one note extention shifting my little finger over to the F note. So here is how it went.

When I got to the point when I had to play the F I desperately, very desperately wanted to look at my fingers to see if I was going play the F correctly. So I would slide my little finger across the crack between F and G - play the note and then I would always laugh everytime because my brain would say to me you have to bring the finger back to G because you have to play G in the next measure. Remember, no errors are allowed.

Now after playing this piece and other pieces, I am making the transition so there is no desire to look at my hand/finger/the crack because it is like any sharp or flat that you might feel awkward at first but it gets to feel comfortable after a while.

But I politely invite you to tell me, a beginner, when anyone looks at their fingers/hands beyond leaps, jumps and hand position change.

Oh, yes, and I almost forgot. Position is everything and I was not enjoying my digital - until I solved the problem - I stuck a black manhasset music stand that has been around for ever. You see, when I look at the music on my 3 legged piano it is like looking out the front window of a vehicle but when you look at the music stand on a Clavanova/keyboard with weighted keys, it is like looking at the rear license plate of the car in front of you. With the Manhasset music stand at the same hight as the 3 legged piano - I love it - I feel at home.







Edited by Michael_99 (05/05/13 07:46 PM)

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#2078009 - 05/06/13 12:40 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
JessicaB Offline
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Registered: 12/04/09
Posts: 125
I would spend no more than 4 1/2 hours of concentrated time at the keyboard. I would spend 1 1/2 hours on technique, and 3 hours building repetoire. Lots of Bach to start.

I would spend 1 hour a day on theory and composition, including improvisation. Improvisation was important in earlier times, and has been largely underemphasized in teaching.

I would spend time understanding the history and context of each piece I was playing. What was the composer experiencing, what was the political environment at the time he or she was composing the work. What else was the composer working on. Putting pieces in historical context really helps flesh out the interpretations of the works and makes the pieces less esoteric.

I would go to as many live performances as possible. Off topic-a good opera must be experienced in a darkened hall where you can escape into the story. Tickets are more reasonable than you might expect. Back on topic: watch and listen to historic performances. Listen to all genres of music. You might find you are drawn to chamber music might prefer conducting to playing. Always listen carefully. You will learn about phrasing and breathing in your music from listening and watching singers.

Finally, I would set aside time just to good around with the instrument.

That being said, this would be my personal approach.

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#2078149 - 05/06/13 07:11 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
edited to add: That website has some great articles. Here's another one!

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reso...-perfect-others


Hi again,

I got a chance to read this second aticle. It was good also.

Thanks wink
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#2078152 - 05/06/13 07:28 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: JazzyMac]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
Originally Posted By: Michael_99


Oh, and before I forget, you must never look at your fingers - ever - you will when you do jumps and leaps but that is very advanced so a different situation.

cheers,


Were you joking about this? I cannot tell. I remember reading this when I've been looking around the internet about learning piano.

http://www.soundfeelings.com/free/piano_myths.htm


I agree with most of the things on this site, however, this I believe to be flat-out wrong:

Quote:
“I must practice every day.”

Reality: Taking two or three guilt-free days off from practicing each week will help you progress faster than if you practiced everyday! Think body building. People who work out or who lift weights are always told to rest the day after a workout. Why? Because the workout tears down the muscle tissue and the day off is when it is rejuvenated and built up stronger than before. Our brains are similar to this. The rest periods are when your brain assimilates your effort. Also, the reason it must be guilt-free is so that you get the complete benefit of the day of rest. If you intend to practice seven days a week and you miss a day, you will be inclined to be stressed about it during the inadvertent day off. So instead of relaxing from the piano on that day, you are more stressed. In fact, with this more typical approach, you may be inclined to practice more the next day with the hopes of “making up” for the missed day. This approach never works. You can’t cram the piano. All you will get is more and more errors and more and more frustrated because your poor brain is never given a rest it desperately needs. For best results, just practice only 4 days a week. This allows you to plan-in 3 days a week of guilt-free rest. (These days do not have to be in a row.) This is realistic and supportive because things often come up for us in our busy lives anyway. By making 4 days a week 100% of the requirement, if you do more, you feel great.

Our brains are note like large muscle groups as in weight lifting, nor are our fingers and hands. And while playing does involve other muscles, playing piano is more a matter of efficient arm-weight and use of the fast-twitch muscles than effort comparable to weight-lifting. Taking a day off from practicing is detrimental to progress unless you have injured yourself in the previous day's practice.

Anecdotally, I have had many students who only practice 4 days a week and they do not progress like the students who practice 6 or 7 but a long shot. I do agree there is no "cramming" in piano, you can't make up for lost days, and life does happen so there are days you may need to take off.

As far as this quote about not looking at your hands:
Quote:
“I should never look at my hands when I play.”

Reality: Concert pianists MEMORIZE the music and, of course, LOOK AT THEIR HANDS! It absolutely mystifies me why the average piano teacher indoctrinates students into not looking at their hands. It is so unprofessional and unnatural to strive to not look at one’s hands. The only time this is useful is LATER, when the student becomes a proficient sight-reader, it is certainly convenient to not need to look down at one’s hands so often because it allows one to look ahead, which enhances sight-reading. BUT... this is just a small aspect of the full world of piano playing. In striving for this “goal” of not looking down you are limiting EVERY OTHER aspect of piano playing! For example, it is very hard to develop the muscular memory, and therefore the ability to play fast, when your eyes are always glued to the page.


I sort of agree, sort of disagree. Students who constantly look at their hands while learning a piece get very accustomed to being able to see their hands move in order to play it. Their heads bob like a yoyo because they don't know the music yet, and they never will because they constantly lose the sense of flow in between looking at the music and looking at their hands. I have absolutely no problem with students looking at their hands once they've learned the piece and have it memorized, or if they are changing hand positions to accommodate a leap.
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#2078161 - 05/06/13 07:55 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Michael_99]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
Playing any instrument is a very slow process. When you play the piano you cannot make a mistake else you are going too fast. You also must review pieces you have learned so you can play them flawlessly day after day. IF you don't play them every day you will not be able to play the without mistakes.

A beginner piece is usually 4 measures, So the reality is you would play that piece everyday without mistakes until you know it well - but you have to keep playing that piece and every piece that follows. What surprises people is that it is a lot of work. I have been playing for one year and I don't think I will be able to play anything but a beginner piece for another 1 or 2 years.
Quote:

Knowing that you have to play perfectly everytime you sit down at the piano means the reality is that you can't play for very long if it has to be perfectly played.


Hi Michael,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post.

I completely agree that learning piano is a very slow process. I also agree that we must continue to review pieces we have learned if we are to play them flawlessly (I would prefer to say "well") day after day.

But am I reading the above correctly that the way you practice you will not allow yourself to hit a single incorrect key? And that you will always play slow enough so that you don't ever make a mistake? It seems that way because you mention making no mistakes and playing flawlessly etc numerous times..?

If I am making mistakes I know I have to slow it down as much as necessary to be able to play a section properly. But if I played in a way as I think you are describing, not allowing any mistakes and not progressing until it is flawless, I would never progress. Or more truthfully I would progress extremely slowly.

To paraphrase you are saying you will practice beginner pieces that are 4 measures long without making mistakes, and review the 4 measure pieces day after day for up to 3 years before moving beyond those 4 measure beginner pieces? I can not see how this is the best way to progress. However, I noticed a post below saying they agree with your advice. I don't think I would apply this part of it to my playing but it is interesting to me.


Quote:
I disagree - with a smile - when you say someone would be happy playing the piano for 10 hours a day.


You are not the first person to say this but it has been addressed a number of times. I didn't say I want to play the piano for 10 hours per day, I wanted to spend 10 hours (a full day) focusing on piano playing, studying, listening, watching, reading and whatever other suggestions people could give me. Not playing (hitting keys) for 10 hours in a day every day!

Although I could happily play 10 hours in a day but not for any extended period of time! I have had a few days spending 6-7 hours playing very happily and would have played longer if I had some guidance on what to practice. I also have bad sleeping routine so a couple hours in the morning, in the afternoon and a few hours into the late night can quickly add up. But I know my sleeping has to change because it is very important to becoming a better pianist.

Quote:
But learning the piano is very easy. All you have to do is play each piece slowly and perfectly. Anything you play on the piano has to be played perfectly. That is all there is to learning the piano.

I love playing slowly and perfectly, but most people on the planet don't want to play it perfectly everytime and they don't want to play the same music/piece hundreds of times.

With or without a teacher, if you play the pieces that you have been given you should not have any problems as long as they are played without mistakes everytime. After you have been playing about a year, you will see how it is that you will continue to do what you have done since day one and what you will do every other day for the rest of your life.


You are very serious about playing perfectly and without mistakes every time. Playing without mistakes is great, but to this extreme I would think would inhibit development. But I am just a beginner too so I would like to hear other peoples opinion on the matter smile
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#2078166 - 05/06/13 08:07 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
Oh, and before I forget, you must never look at your fingers - ever - you will when you do jumps and leaps but that is very advanced so a different situation.

cheers,

Quote:
“I should never look at my hands when I play.”

Reality: Concert pianists MEMORIZE the music and, of course, LOOK AT THEIR HANDS! It absolutely mystifies me why the average piano teacher indoctrinates students into not looking at their hands. It is so unprofessional and unnatural to strive to not look at one’s hands. The only time this is useful is LATER, when the student becomes a proficient sight-reader, it is certainly convenient to not need to look down at one’s hands so often because it allows one to look ahead, which enhances sight-reading. BUT... this is just a small aspect of the full world of piano playing. In striving for this “goal” of not looking down you are limiting EVERY OTHER aspect of piano playing! For example, it is very hard to develop the muscular memory, and therefore the ability to play fast, when your eyes are always glued to the page.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I sort of agree, sort of disagree. Students who constantly look at their hands while learning a piece get very accustomed to being able to see their hands move in order to play it. Their heads bob like a yoyo because they don't know the music yet, and they never will because they constantly lose the sense of flow in between looking at the music and looking at their hands. I have absolutely no problem with students looking at their hands once they've learned the piece and have it memorized, or if they are changing hand positions to accommodate a leap.


Thank you for addressing this Morodiene and for your advice about practicing every day.

I was going to respond to Michael but I agree with what you have said. I think if I never looked at my hands while I am a complete beginner, and practiced in a way Michael described earlier, I would give up before progressing eek

I do understand where he is coming from and I purposefully practice on my upright digital because it forces my eyes to look high up at the sheet more often than on my keyboard (plus I prefer the upright digital smile - but it was already a consideration)
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#2078169 - 05/06/13 08:11 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44


Thank you for addressing this Morodiene and for your advice about practicing every day.

I was going to respond to Michael but I agree with what you have said. I think if I never looked at my hands while I am a complete beginner, and practiced in a way Michael described earlier, I would give up before progressing eek

I do understand where he is coming from and I purposefully practice on my upright digital because it forces my eyes to look high up at the sheet more often than on my keyboard (plus I prefer the upright digital smile - but it was already a consideration)


But what is the purpose of looking at your hands? If you are playing material for a beginner, then your hands will be staying in one position an d not shifting at all.
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#2078170 - 05/06/13 08:17 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: JessicaB]
mattmorgan44 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: JessicaB
I would spend no more than 4 1/2 hours of concentrated time at the keyboard. I would spend 1 1/2 hours on technique, and 3 hours building repetoire. Lots of Bach to start.

I would spend 1 hour a day on theory and composition, including improvisation. Improvisation was important in earlier times, and has been largely underemphasized in teaching.

I would spend time understanding the history and context of each piece I was playing. What was the composer experiencing, what was the political environment at the time he or she was composing the work. What else was the composer working on. Putting pieces in historical context really helps flesh out the interpretations of the works and makes the pieces less esoteric.

I would go to as many live performances as possible. Off topic-a good opera must be experienced in a darkened hall where you can escape into the story. Tickets are more reasonable than you might expect. Back on topic: watch and listen to historic performances. Listen to all genres of music. You might find you are drawn to chamber music might prefer conducting to playing. Always listen carefully. You will learn about phrasing and breathing in your music from listening and watching singers.

Finally, I would set aside time just to good around with the instrument.

That being said, this would be my personal approach.


Wow Jessica, Thank you thank you thank you.

I have received some great advice from these threads now and I am going to go back through them and write a list of some of the points I want to go over and not forget.

I have been thinking I will do better with a routine for my practice - such as what you have said above. So I am going to go through the threads and come up with something (that will be flexible but a guide). I think it will help me stay focused and not waste practice time and the time not spent at the piano.

After all of these replies and the link that Morodiene sent I think I will aim for 2-4 hours focused practice per day and a maximum of 4 hours focused practice per day. The rest of the days will be filled up with yours and the many other fantastic suggestions from everyone here.

Thank you and thanks everyone smile
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#2078174 - 05/06/13 08:23 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
But what is the purpose of looking at your hands? If you are playing material for a beginner, then your hands will be staying in one position an d not shifting at all.


Well I guess I am not playing material for a beginner. Because my hands are doing a lot of shifting eek

I see your point. And the reason is probably because I haven't had a teacher so I have probably been practicing pieces way too difficult. Like Bohemian Rhapsody lol.

I believe my teacher is onto this because of the sheets she gave me and what she told me about moving away from playing by ear and youtube videos, and reading the sheets instead.

But she still wanted me to learn the next section of Bohemian Rhapsody too.. so who knows what her teaching method is at this stage smile
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#2078179 - 05/06/13 08:32 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
But what is the purpose of looking at your hands? If you are playing material for a beginner, then your hands will be staying in one position an d not shifting at all.


Well I guess I am not playing material for a beginner. Because my hands are doing a lot of shifting eek

I see your point. And the reason is probably because I haven't had a teacher so I have probably been practicing pieces way too difficult. Like Bohemian Rhapsody lol.

I believe my teacher is onto this because of the sheets she gave me and what she told me about moving away from playing by ear and youtube videos, and reading the sheets instead.

But she still wanted me to learn the next section of Bohemian Rhapsody too.. so who knows what her teaching method is at this stage smile



I'm sure she wouldn't have assigned Bohemian Rhapsody to begin with, but since you want to do that she is trying to accommodate you while teaching you what you need to learn. smile
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#2078211 - 05/06/13 09:35 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5263
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44


But she still wanted me to learn the next section of Bohemian Rhapsody too.. so who knows what her teaching method is at this stage smile



A good piano teacher teaching an adult student will teach not just stuff that's conducive to the student's musical and pianistic development, but also stuff that keeps the student's interest going. Therefore, even if the teacher has no interest in pop/rock music herself (and doesn't think that it helps in the student's musical development), if she sees that her student is interested in it, she will also 'teach' it alongside more technically and musically challenging music.

This may be different from the way she would teach a young child.

I started piano lessons at the very old age of 10, and my first teacher always obliged me in my obsession with the theme from 'Love Story' (by Francis Lai) by playing it for me at the end of every lesson, with the promise that she'd teach it to me once I'd acquired sufficient technique to play all those LH arpeggios. (At that time, I'd never heard any classical music, other than what I was taught at the piano). But by then, a few months down the line, I'd lost interest in sentimental movie tunes and became obsessed with Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin instead..... grin
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#2078214 - 05/06/13 09:37 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I'm sure she wouldn't have assigned Bohemian Rhapsody to begin with, but since you want to do that she is trying to accommodate you while teaching you what you need to learn. smile


That would be correct. Plus I honestly think she wanted to hear me play the next part lol. But I told her it's too hard for me and she said to just give it a shot eek
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#2078307 - 05/06/13 01:03 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
cefinow Offline
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Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 364
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I'm sure she wouldn't have assigned Bohemian Rhapsody to begin with, but since you want to do that she is trying to accommodate you while teaching you what you need to learn. smile


That would be correct. Plus I honestly think she wanted to hear me play the next part lol. But I told her it's too hard for me and she said to just give it a shot eek


You know you have to sing along with that, don't you?
How's your articulation on "Mamma mia" and "Galileo"?

Well, have fun with your new musical direction in life. Remember it's a marathon pursuit so don't knock yourself out in the first few miles. smile

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#2078349 - 05/06/13 02:27 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
omnia probans Offline
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Registered: 01/22/12
Posts: 4
Hi Matt!

I cant resist posting in this thread even though I've only been a lurker before (for 4 years!!! I'm hooked).

I played for one or two years as a child but I never practiced then. I started feeling very drawn to piano at 23 and two years later I started lessons with my current teacher. I went hypomanic and practiced, practiced, practiced. If I wasn't practicing it was because I was having a panic attack, drinking too much alcohol or falling asleep with the help of benzodiazepines or screaming and throwing stuff because I was feeling so frustrated. I've done ten to twenty hour piano days for 2.5 years now. I've practiced at the expense of my social life, my health and my university studies. Results: I'm completely isolated from the real world, the ONLY thing I feel connected to is piano. My right wrist was sore for a while even though my teacher is extra careful about playing with as little tension as possible. Also I can't feel any feelings anymore not even anxiety, I'm numb. Recently there have been days when all I could do was sit and stare at a wall (it actually felt good compared to the anxiety).. But .. my teacher is amazed at how well I'm playing for an adult beginner! laugh I've tried to act as cool as possible and hide this obsession but maybe I havent been able to she keeps saying " you're not normal". Today I met with a psychiatrist and she recommended I start taking Quetiapine, an atypical antipsychotic.

I just want to warn you piano can be a very dangerous hobby! Don't leave everything else behind, don't do ten hour days too often..

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#2078578 - 05/06/13 10:33 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: cefinow]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Originally Posted By: cefinow
You know you have to sing along with that, don't you?
How's your articulation on "Mamma mia" and "Galileo"?

Well, have fun with your new musical direction in life. Remember it's a marathon pursuit so don't knock yourself out in the first few miles. smile


smile I can't sing very well but I sing loud and proud in my head as I play Bohemian on the piano lol. But I don't play Bohemian as it is in the original - I play the "voice" as well. I'm sure there's a proper term for this. I play the piece as it was originally but add in the singing. Do you know what I mean?
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#2078584 - 05/06/13 10:44 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: omnia probans]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Hi omnia probans,

I am very sorry to hear about your situation. You said you have been doing 10 to 20 hour piano days for 2.5 years. Out of the 10-20 hours, how many hours per day do you spend at the piano practicing or playing (time actually at the piano hitting keys)?

Also, are you continuing to do this even though you recognize all of the problems arising out of this?

I sincerely hope you you get well and begin to feel emotion again and recover from all of the associated problems.

Thank you for sharing and your warning. I don't know if you also mis-read what I was asking about 10 hour piano days - that I would be playing piano for 2-4 hours and spending the rest of the time reading, studying, watching, listening, learning etc. That is why I am curious how you spent your 10-20 hour days and how long you would actually play for each day?

I wish you all the best, Matt
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#2078634 - 05/07/13 02:00 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
[...]time actually at the piano hitting keys
[...]


That is not the first time you've used that expression when referring to playing the piano or practicing material at the piano. As you get more experience, you will, I hope, realize that good pianists don't "hit" the keys.

Regards,
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#2078658 - 05/07/13 05:06 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: BruceD]
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
you will, I hope, realize that good pianists don't "hit" the keys.

Regards,


Good pianists caress the keys grin.
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#2078659 - 05/07/13 05:12 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: BruceD]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD

That is not the first time you've used that expression when referring to playing the piano or practicing material at the piano. As you get more experience, you will, I hope, realize that good pianists don't "hit" the keys.

There is, however, a language problem here. What verb do you propose? I haven't come up with any, which is why I ask. (Now to catch up to the thread. wink )

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#2078669 - 05/07/13 06:21 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: JazzyMac]
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Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
Originally Posted By: Michael_99


Oh, and before I forget, you must never look at your fingers - ever - you will when you do jumps and leaps but that is very advanced so a different situation.

cheers,


Were you joking about this? I cannot tell.

It's not a joke, but it is misunderstood advice which is too often given. The point is learning to read music. Reading in this case means to be able to look at written music and be able to play what is written. The advice aims to abolish dependence on looking at the hands as a way of orienting at the keyboard. I'd rather focus on the skill being aimed for and how to get it, rather than on a means that is supposed to bring that about, which has some flaws to it.

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#2078679 - 05/07/13 07:07 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Dave Horne Offline
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I haven't read all the posts but will offer a comment just the same.

No one practices ten hours a day let alone five. Don't believe me?

Take a stop watch and measure the amount of time you spend playing. When you stop to take a drink of coffee, tea, or water, the clock stops. When you take two minutes to walk around the room, the clock stops.

Report back and tell us if the amount of time you think you spend at the piano is close to what the stop watch tells you.
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#2078682 - 05/07/13 07:14 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
keystring Online   content
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Piano involves many things, and once you become aware of them and chasing them, your hours will naturally stretch out. It is definitely not a matter of simply playing a piece as slowly as possible, never making a mistake, until it is perfect. As a creative person who loves discovery, it's all the other things that go with it which are fascinating. Piano involves much more than producing a piece of music.

In the single act of playing a series of notes one after the other as in a melody, you already have more things to explore beyond playing the right note in the right time. Will these notes all have the same loudness, or do you want to vary that - and do you know physically how to do that? What is the timing between the notes - is there a small space (staccato), do they almost blend (legato)? You can end up on tangents from either of these.

Two or more notes played at the same time brings you into harmony, harmony theory, maybe improvisation. Here's another branch to explore and develop.

There is music history, understanding genres of music, and other similar things. Btw, combined with the Internet, music history can get quite deep and also consume a lot of time. For example, when you learn about the Renaissance, you can find period dancers and period instruments, so that you can get a sense of what practical aims the musicians had and what types of things they had to work with. I was weak in history itself since all we studied in school was a perpetual "discovery of America", so there was a side study right there.

Learning to develop a piece of music involves working in chunks, on technical issues, and involves interpretation, at which you point you are applying knowledge from what you have studied, and playing skills that you have gleaned.

A caveat if you are a late starter: in doing all this you will have to balance out with the limitations you still have. Ofc these limitations also become your map of where you need to grow and what you want to develop. For example, coming back to piano after playing it self-taught when young, I knew that in a given piece, I'd want to bring out the main melody with lots of dynamics, while playing the LH accompaniment quietly, and things could be done with that too. My physical reality was that I could not play loud in one hand and soft in the other, let alone do subtle things. So I used very simple music, started off playing the quiet hand followed by the loud hand and gradually blending them together until the coordination was there. Eventually the subtle things were possible.**

** This example leads to "how to spend your 10 hours". As you identify a goal such as "I need to learn to play different dynamics with my two hands." because of the ultimate musical goal, you also get into various exercises, simpler music, and quite specific things. This also brings you into a much different kind of practising. Playing even 8 pairs of notes where you make one loud and one soft is exhausting when you're first getting it. Your neurons have to develop and your nervous system is working overtime. If you go at it for more than 15 minutes you've probably lost concentration. In fact, 5 minutes can be long. ---- Additionally, your goals of "what to practice" develop out of this kind of thing.

There are also limitations in listening, because our ability to hear (discern?) grows.

Sorry, this has become rambly.

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#2078716 - 05/07/13 08:44 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Dave Horne]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Hey guys thanks for the responses.

I have told Keystring this but would like to let everyone know as a courtesy I won't be able to respond to every message in detail over the next few days. Just in case you ask questions or leave a long post. I will read it properly and respond when I can.

Bruce, I actually sympathize with this and will no longer refer to it as hitting keys wink

Key string, thanks for commenting on the not looking at your fingers topic. I understood what the aim was. Being able to read and play sheet music fluently is right at the top of my priorities as I develop my playing. What I didn't agree with was how to get there. If I never looked at my hands or fingers as a beginner, I would progress incredibly slowly. That wasn't to say I don't recognise the importance of being able to play eyes up at the sheet, just the process of getting there that was advised strongly eek

Dave, Aaaaarrrggghhh

I have posted about this so many times! I don't want to practice 10 hours per day (time actually at the piano gently caressing keys). I will be aiming for 2-4 hours per day and am after suggestions on how to spend the rest of my day on anything that might help develop myself as a pianist. I do completely understand your point about how time can be mis-judged. I learned this when I had to use a stop watch for working at home. A big eye opener to how many minutes are spent doing this and that and anything other than the task. Those minutes add up so fast it is unbelievable. However, I have actually used my same stop watch at the piano when I was curious. It was actually a coincidence due to the stop watch being right next to my keyboard.

Well, I don't think I have played 10 hours in a day but I have probably come very very close. I have however, done 5 hours in a day quite a few times. And 4 hours many times. That is mostly because I was practicing in long stretches with no breaks. I will no longer be doing that after what I have learned since starting these threads. Over the last few weeks though, it was not uncommon for me to text a friend and put my phone on top of the piano, play without breaks and without the phone going off, and getting interrupted by a reply 2-3 hours later. That happened numerous times and I checked the times because I was curious how long I had been playing for. I was/am very keen to play! But like I said, won't be doing that any longer.

Kind regards
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#2078746 - 05/07/13 09:57 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Hey guys thanks for the responses.

I have told Keystring this but would like to let everyone know as a courtesy I won't be able to respond to every message in detail over the next few days. Just in case you ask questions or leave a long post. I will read it properly and respond when I can.

Bruce, I actually sympathize with this and will no longer refer to it as hitting keys wink

Key string, thanks for commenting on the not looking at your fingers topic. I understood what the aim was. Being able to read and play sheet music fluently is right at the top of my priorities as I develop my playing. What I didn't agree with was how to get there. If I never looked at my hands or fingers as a beginner, I would progress incredibly slowly. That wasn't to say I don't recognise the importance of being able to play eyes up at the sheet, just the process of getting there that was advised strongly eek

Dave, Aaaaarrrggghhh

I have posted about this so many times! I don't want to practice 10 hours per day (time actually at the piano gently caressing keys). I will be aiming for 2-4 hours per day and am after suggestions on how to spend the rest of my day on anything that might help develop myself as a pianist. I do completely understand your point about how time can be mis-judged. I learned this when I had to use a stop watch for working at home. A big eye opener to how many minutes are spent doing this and that and anything other than the task. Those minutes add up so fast it is unbelievable. However, I have actually used my same stop watch at the piano when I was curious. It was actually a coincidence due to the stop watch being right next to my keyboard.

Well, I don't think I have played 10 hours in a day but I have probably come very very close. I have however, done 5 hours in a day quite a few times. And 4 hours many times. That is mostly because I was practicing in long stretches with no breaks. I will no longer be doing that after what I have learned since starting these threads. Over the last few weeks though, it was not uncommon for me to text a friend and put my phone on top of the piano, play without breaks and without the phone going off, and getting interrupted by a reply 2-3 hours later. That happened numerous times and I checked the times because I was curious how long I had been playing for. I was/am very keen to play! But like I said, won't be doing that any longer.

Kind regards


That's what happens when you post a teaser topic like that - you get people who don't bother to read the thread before responding smile
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#2079166 - 05/08/13 07:43 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Morodiene]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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I can accept that

I didn't mean for it to be a teaser at all. But now I can see how it could be taken that way wink
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#2079224 - 05/08/13 10:47 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Mwm Offline
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Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
I would really appreciate hearing people's answer to this hypothetical question:

If a beginner / beginner-intermediate player wanted to completely dedicate their life to piano and become the best pianist they could possibly become, what would you advise they do every day for their first year?

While answering, please presume the following:

They have 10 hours per day to spend on piano and anything piano related.
They will NOT give up. From getting tired of piano or any other reason.
They are extremely passionate and they have a lot of life experience to draw from.

I think the question could be answered in two parts:
1) Any advice and or steps to take to develop their skill as much as possible.
2) The routine (with however many hours would yield best results. The person is completely willing and happy to spend 10 hours if it would be of benefit).

I appreciate any advice you guys have as I begin my journey smile

Kindest regards, Matt

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#2079825 - 05/09/13 12:39 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Dave Horne Offline
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One piece of advice I can give is this, anytime you are listening to music whether in a shopping mall, on your car radio, in an elevator, analyze it. Typically music in public places is simple enough and repetitive enough (remind anyone of New Age music? smile ) to analyze. Assign scale degrees to the melody and Roman numerals (or function) to the harmony. It gives me something to do when my wife is shopping for shoes or clothes.
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#2081841 - 05/13/13 11:06 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
omnia probans Offline
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Registered: 01/22/12
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Hi omnia probans,

I am very sorry to hear about your situation. You said you have been doing 10 to 20 hour piano days for 2.5 years. Out of the 10-20 hours, how many hours per day do you spend at the piano practicing or playing (time actually at the piano hitting keys)?

Also, are you continuing to do this even though you recognize all of the problems arising out of this?

I sincerely hope you you get well and begin to feel emotion again and recover from all of the associated problems.

Thank you for sharing and your warning. I don't know if you also mis-read what I was asking about 10 hour piano days - that I would be playing piano for 2-4 hours and spending the rest of the time reading, studying, watching, listening, learning etc. That is why I am curious how you spent your 10-20 hour days and how long you would actually play for each day?

I wish you all the best, Matt


Thank you for your empathy! Lately I've been trying to do less music-related stuff and I've been feeling better.

You asked how I've spent my piano-hours.. maybe I exaggerated a little with those 10-20 hours but it IS close to the truth! I've spent maybe 1-6 hours a day actually playing. Its hard for me to tell you anything more precise. Also, a lot of my time at the piano is not time well used. Away from the piano, I've imagined playing the pieces I'm learning in slow motion. Not looking a the score I've written down names of all the notes of pieces I've memorized (in the correct order of course). I've recorded my playing and compared it to recordings of professionals or my teacher. I've studied Alexander technique and relaxation methods, I've learned a new way to stand, sit, walk and breathe. I often play in front of a mirror to check body and wrist positions. I've studied theory, some sight singing, started singing in a choir, seen tons of live performances, taken long walks listening to piano music and to recordings of my own playing, read music-related books. I've accompanied friends singing some pop songs, I've played for people so that I'd get used to doing it and I've even performed officially at two funerals. I just feel like wherever I am at least 40 % of me is constantly thinking about piano and its driving me crazy. This just feels so weird because nobody not even myself is making me do this, this is just happening.

To prevent injury and to learn to play with good precision I think mental practice is very important.

Melissa

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#2081921 - 05/13/13 01:42 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: omnia probans]
cefinow Offline
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Originally Posted By: omnia probans
I just feel like wherever I am at least 40 % of me is constantly thinking about piano and its driving me crazy. This just feels so weird because nobody not even myself is making me do this, this is just happening.


Hmm... I wonder is it really driving you "crazy" or is that just a normal mindset for a musician? I guess the key is to balance the *extreme interest* so that it does not tip over into obsessiveness, which is where it starts to have a negative impact on your daily life and sense of well-being. Anyway, it's good you are doing more non-music things and feeling better. Hope you can stay dedicated to music and enjoy it and the rest of your life at the same time!

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#2081959 - 05/13/13 03:17 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: bennevis]
mermilylumpkin Offline
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Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: BruceD
you will, I hope, realize that good pianists don't "hit" the keys.

Regards,


Good pianists caress the keys grin.


But then sometimes the piano reaches climax and it makes a huge mess. Ivory everywhere. Watch out for that.

Seems folks around here love semantics :-)

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#2082197 - 05/14/13 12:27 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
TylerNB Offline
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Ten hours a day. Sure, if you have the time go ahead. I can't give much advice concerning a practice schedule because my practice goes from 15 minutes of warmup to 1 - 3 hours of practicing whatever I am working on. I can tell you that my piano coach used to practice three hours, and yes it probably can kill your hands(my piano coach has an exercise for that though, message me if you are curious. It worked for him and his hands are fine)
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#2082271 - 05/14/13 05:06 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: omnia probans]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Originally Posted By: omnia probans
You asked how I've spent my piano-hours.. maybe I exaggerated a little with those 10-20 hours but it IS close to the truth! I've spent maybe 1-6 hours a day actually playing. Its hard for me to tell you anything more precise. Also, a lot of my time at the piano is not time well used. Away from the piano, I've imagined playing the pieces I'm learning in slow motion. Not looking a the score I've written down names of all the notes of pieces I've memorized (in the correct order of course). I've recorded my playing and compared it to recordings of professionals or my teacher. I've studied Alexander technique and relaxation methods, I've learned a new way to stand, sit, walk and breathe. I often play in front of a mirror to check body and wrist positions. I've studied theory, some sight singing, started singing in a choir, seen tons of live performances, taken long walks listening to piano music and to recordings of my own playing, read music-related books. I've accompanied friends singing some pop songs, I've played for people so that I'd get used to doing it and I've even performed officially at two funerals. I just feel like wherever I am at least 40 % of me is constantly thinking about piano and its driving me crazy. This just feels so weird because nobody not even myself is making me do this, this is just happening.

To prevent injury and to learn to play with good precision I think mental practice is very important.

Melissa


With that kind of schedule I would think you could go far with piano. You are doing many of the things people have suggested I start doing. As long as your practice was focused and goal oriented. But if it is causing you problems like you said earlier, it may be best to stop or change your schedule eek

If 40% of you is constantly thinking about piano I don't think that's crazy, that's just having a passion for something. I think anyone who has gotten very far in their field has their passion on their mind a lot of the time. For my mate its body building and fitness. For me it's piano. I don't see it as a problem unless it has negative effects on your life, as cefinow mentioned. It does sound like it is causing you problems and may need to be thought through
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#2082272 - 05/14/13 05:10 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: TylerNB]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: TylerNB
Ten hours a day. Sure, if you have the time go ahead. I can't give much advice concerning a practice schedule because my practice goes from 15 minutes of warmup to 1 - 3 hours of practicing whatever I am working on. I can tell you that my piano coach used to practice three hours, and yes it probably can kill your hands(my piano coach has an exercise for that though, message me if you are curious. It worked for him and his hands are fine)


Hi Tyler, thanks for the reply.

Yes would you please message me the exercise? I am interested in that.

I had to stop playing for a day and a half when my hands were in a lot of pain. I don't do crazy long practice days anymore but I'm still interested in hand exercises.

Thank you smile
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#2082287 - 05/14/13 06:25 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
I'm still interested in hand exercises.



Here's a great one for you!


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#2085132 - 05/19/13 10:20 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Palmpirate Offline
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OMG what a long thread!
Have you started playing yet? How long for? What does it feel like?

I stopped procrastinating about 6 months ago and manage about an hour and half on a good day. Just 20 mins on bad ones. But it feels wonderful!
Music fills up almost the rest of the ohter hours of the day anyway.
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#2085133 - 05/19/13 10:25 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
JoelW Offline
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If you practiced for 10 hours a day, you would gain so much talent.

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#2085152 - 05/19/13 11:04 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: JoelW]
Damon Online   happy
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
If you practiced for 10 hours a day, you would gain so much talent.


smirk
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#2085225 - 05/19/13 01:54 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
pianoloverus Online   content
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What if you had ten hours per day to read this thread?

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#2085226 - 05/19/13 01:55 PM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Kuanpiano Offline
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You'd gain a virtuoso technique for sure....
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#2085533 - 05/20/13 02:16 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
Immortal Beloved Offline
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Don't waste your life 10 hours per day in front of a keyboard.
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#2086068 - 05/21/13 12:24 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: Immortal Beloved]
erichlof Offline
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Originally Posted By: Immortal Beloved
Don't waste your life 10 hours per day in front of a keyboard.


+1 (yes, I know you don't intend on just playing for 10 hours, but 10 hours a day devoted religiously to anything of one subject like 'piano' or 'music' - the above quote still applies).

As you age, there's better things (sometimes more necessary things) to do with those 10 hours. Like family, having kids, friends, and of course spending time on the PianoWorld forums! laugh


Edited by erichlof (05/21/13 12:33 AM)

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#2090460 - 05/28/13 04:58 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: erichlof]
mattmorgan44 Offline
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Registered: 04/01/13
Posts: 78
Originally Posted By: erichlof
Originally Posted By: Immortal Beloved
Don't waste your life 10 hours per day in front of a keyboard.


+1 (yes, I know you don't intend on just playing for 10 hours, but 10 hours a day devoted religiously to anything of one subject like 'piano' or 'music' - the above quote still applies).

As you age, there's better things (sometimes more necessary things) to do with those 10 hours. Like family, having kids, friends, and of course spending time on the PianoWorld forums! laugh


I haven't visited these pages for a while.

Thank you for letting the above people know I never intended to sit in front of the keyboard for 10 hours.

I was ready to start hitting myself in the head with that hammer!

"Don't waste your life 10 hours per day in front of a keyboard. [/quote]

+1 (yes, I know you don't intend on just playing for 10 hours, but 10 hours a day devoted religiously to anything of one subject like 'piano' or 'music' "


I have learnt a lot over the last two months, and my views have changed on many things. But I still can't agree with that quote. Most people I know spend a good portion of their day on one subject. A lot of the time that would be studying or a persons 8 hour job. Well I want to one day study and make a career out of piano so is makes sense my day would be filled with that subject, now and if/when I do start working in music.

Also, I would have included "spending time on piano world forums" toward the 10 hours

Ps. For anyone interested I have started my lessons now and am still loving every minute of piano. I am sticking to 2 hours playing, maximum 4, per day and I think I am progressing well. I have gone through quite a bit of theory too and am sitting my first exam (grade two) very soon. These threads may have seemed stupid to some people but I can assure you they helped me so, so much. In more ways than I could have expected.

So thank you smile
_________________________
Roland RD700NX | Roland HP-507

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#2090576 - 05/28/13 10:39 AM Re: If you had 10 hours per day for piano... [Re: mattmorgan44]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 370
Hey Matt,
2 to 4 hours is great - congrats to you! I didn't mean to be negative with my above quote, and I'm certainly not tying to dash your dreams or anything. More power to you, and kudos to you for having the resolve to embark on this musical journey.

If I may I would like to rephrase what I wrote. Be flexible with your schedule and yourself because, as you know, things happen and things come up that will take time away from the piano/music. Also, learning comes both at a slow-moving pace and at other times, rapid fits. If you're not flexible with the practice schedule, you may spend days not getting any better. Then it seems when you turn around and don't even look at the piano for a while, sit back down - you're better (I mean musically, maybe not finger technique-wise!)

Be open to other things in your life that might not be related to the piano. I enjoy computer programming in C and JavaScript, but you'd be surprised at how those seemingly unrelated ways of spending my 10 hours have helped my concentration and focus at the piano. Also, the simple act of talking to friends (another form of improvisation), has helped me improvise at the piano. It seems everything is related.

Good luck in your musical (and other) endeavors!

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