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#2061361 - 04/08/13 04:44 PM VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
King Cole Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Louisiana
Well here goes nothing. I will make this post knowing the inevitable backlash. As I have been reading these forums for some months now there seems like that there is no question that one can ask without people who have been here for years exclaiming "HEY YOU STUPID NEWBIE USE THE SEARCH FEATURE THAT WAS TALKED ABOUT PLENTY OF TIMES OVER THE YEARS!"

Well, I know this question has been asked plenty of times but many posts are inconclusive and drift off to irrelevant topics. Before I ask these questions some minor background info:

I am a trumpet player that started to play the trumpet since age 8. However, I have decided to pursue my favorite instrument about 5 months ago as I am taking lessons from a former white house pianist so with all this I am not a musical novice. I've played with symphonic orchestras, jazz bands, solos and done accompaniments etc. I have talked to my teacher about this subject from time to time but now I want all piano teachers, judges, accomplished pianists, professionals and whomever feels like they have valuable insights to give their thesis. Specifics are important but without further ado the questions in their simplest form.

What are the most effective ways to obtain virtuoso technique???
What is the most efficient way to improve via practice time?

To get the conversation going: It seems like a common thesis is that "slow play" will solve everything. IS SLOW TO FAST REPETITIONS THE ONLY WAY? Others suggest that exercises like Hanon, drilling scales and arpeggios is the only way while some are very critical of this path saying that an obsession of scales and exercises compromise musicality making the player very mechanical and that the best way to get technique is through building a diverse and vast repertoire. Some people say drill each hand until one is able to play both at the appropriate speed then play hands together at a slower speed. Is it best to always use a metronome when gradually increasing in speed? Does using hands separate waste time? How many hours should one expect this journey take to consider one self a virtuoso? I'm not looking for magical answers just answers with clarity backed by experience.

*Please give specifics and no "all of the above" or "its different for everybody answers*

Hopefully if a lot of good answers come we can have this as a permanent post where the most experienced people have consolidated their knowledge!
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"What is genius? To aspire to a lofty aim and to will the means to that aim" -Nietzsche

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#2061372 - 04/08/13 04:52 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
1) Talent
2) Dedication
3) Teacher

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#2061380 - 04/08/13 05:04 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: King Cole
What are the most effective ways to obtain virtuoso technique???

See Joel's reply. grin

Quote:
What is the most efficient way to improve via practice time?

depends (and I don't mean using urinary pads)

Quote:
IS SLOW TO FAST REPETITIONS THE ONLY WAY?

No, and depending on exactly what you mean by virtuoso technique (like, if you mean super virtuoso), it isn't necessarily a way. See Joel's reply. smile

Quote:
Is it best to always use a metronome when gradually increasing in speed?

No, but that's a useful thing.

Quote:
Does using hands separate waste time?

No, but IMO doing it an awful lot is bad.

Quote:
How many hours should one expect this journey take to consider one self a virtuoso?

depends (ditto from before) ha

Quote:
*Please give specifics and no "all of the above" or "its different for everybody answers*

Not possible. smile

BTW I hope that indeed nobody says the obnoxious "Do a search." Thankfully it seems we've almost eradicated that from the site.

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#2061402 - 04/08/13 05:29 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
King Cole, I could be mistaken, but didn't you write about pain or tension in your top forearm muscles in another thread?

If that's the case, you'll need to learn how to correctly use your muscles so you play with the least amount of effort.
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#2061408 - 04/08/13 05:43 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19225
Loc: New York City
You cannot control talent so in terms of doing the best with what you have it's irrelevant.

Getting the best teacher for your goals and the amount of work you're willing to put in are the two critical factors.

You didn't mention whether this is classical or non classical piano. Is the experience you mentioned on the trumpet or piano? "White house" pianist meaning? What is your present level on piano, approximate age, and why do you want to get virtuoso technique?

Many think slow practice is important but this also means many different things to different people. I don't think anyone believes slow practice solves everything.

You will probably get as many different answers to some of your questions as you get replies. The range of knowledge of people responding will be very great. Most of the issues you raised are not black or white. That is why the teacher you select is absolutely critical.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/08/13 05:45 PM)

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#2061434 - 04/08/13 06:57 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: pianoloverus]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
You cannot control talent so in terms of doing the best with what you have it's irrelevant.


Yeah, you also can't control being a mathematical genius either.

OP didn't ask about doing the best with what you have. His post specifically deals with virtuosity. To become a virtuoso, one must be born with the necessary talent. Without this talent, no matter how dedicated, it is impossible to achieve such status.

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#2061439 - 04/08/13 07:07 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7509
Loc: New York City
I think there might be some discrepancies in the way people are thinking of the word "virtuosity". Surely "virtuoso" means more than someone with technical ability, which might be what is implied by the OP's "virtuosity". Don't know whether that made any sense. grin
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#2061444 - 04/08/13 07:14 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Polyphonist]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I think there might be some discrepancies in the way people are thinking of the word "virtuosity". Surely "virtuoso" means more than someone with technical ability, which might be what is implied by the OP's "virtuosity". Don't know whether that made any sense. grin


As in musical virtuosity?

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#2061445 - 04/08/13 07:15 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19225
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
You cannot control talent so in terms of doing the best with what you have it's irrelevant.


Yeah, you also can't control being a mathematical genius either.

OP didn't ask about doing the best with what you have. His post specifically deals with virtuosity. To become a virtuoso, one must be born with the necessary talent. Without this talent, no matter how dedicated, it is impossible to achieve such status.
The OP didn't have to specifically say he meant about doing the best with what you have because this self evident from his post. He wants to get virtuoso technique and wants to know the best way for him to do this. He can't do anything about his talent so it's irrelevant in terms of what he can do.

If he had asked about his chances of succeeding in gaining a virtuoso technique many, including me, would say that talent is very important.

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#2061449 - 04/08/13 07:30 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7509
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I think there might be some discrepancies in the way people are thinking of the word "virtuosity". Surely "virtuoso" means more than someone with technical ability, which might be what is implied by the OP's "virtuosity". Don't know whether that made any sense. grin


As in musical virtuosity?


Well, it seems more like technical virtuosity from the context of the thread. smile
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Polyphonist

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#2061450 - 04/08/13 07:31 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: pianoloverus]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
You cannot control talent so in terms of doing the best with what you have it's irrelevant.


Yeah, you also can't control being a mathematical genius either.

OP didn't ask about doing the best with what you have. His post specifically deals with virtuosity. To become a virtuoso, one must be born with the necessary talent. Without this talent, no matter how dedicated, it is impossible to achieve such status.
The OP didn't have to specifically say he meant about doing the best with what you have because this self evident from his post. He wants to get virtuoso technique and wants to know the best way for him to do this. He can't do anything about his talent so it's irrelevant in terms of what he can do.

If he had asked about his chances of succeeding in gaining a virtuoso technique many, including me, would say that talent is very important.


I see. It seems you and I both would agree that the problem lies in the way the OP is asking this question. He should be asking "What is the best way to maximize my abilities?" instead of "How do I become a virtuoso?" because the second question assumes that he does in fact have the necessary talent.


Edited by JoelW (04/08/13 07:35 PM)

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#2061453 - 04/08/13 07:33 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7509
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
You cannot control talent so in terms of doing the best with what you have it's irrelevant.


Yeah, you also can't control being a mathematical genius either.

OP didn't ask about doing the best with what you have. His post specifically deals with virtuosity. To become a virtuoso, one must be born with the necessary talent. Without this talent, no matter how dedicated, it is impossible to achieve such status.
The OP didn't have to specifically say he meant about doing the best with what you have because this self evident from his post. He wants to get virtuoso technique and wants to know the best way for him to do this. He can't do anything about his talent so it's irrelevant in terms of what he can do.

If he had asked about his chances of succeeding in gaining a virtuoso technique many, including me, would say that talent is very important.


I agree.

He had better hope he has the talent for it, shouldn't he?

In fact, I think this thread is a little silly. When you combine Pianoloverus's point with mine, it makes sense that OP should be asking "What is the best way to maximize my abilities?" instead of "How do I become a virtuoso?" because the second question assumes that he does in fact have the necessary talent.


Seems logical. This thread seems to be going nowhere anyway, so it will probably be locked soon enough by some mod or other...
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Polyphonist

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#2061463 - 04/08/13 07:47 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6065
Loc: St. Louis area
Squirrel
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#2061474 - 04/08/13 08:05 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
King Cole Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Louisiana
You guys always do this. Talent is a term that has a problematic definition so we won't deal with that. Let's just assume he or she has a non-remarkable amount of talent. So the question is:


What is the best way to maximize one's piano abilities?!?

(Thank you JoelW)


Edited by King Cole (04/08/13 08:06 PM)
_________________________
"What is genius? To aspire to a lofty aim and to will the means to that aim" -Nietzsche

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#2061483 - 04/08/13 08:25 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Polyphonist]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19225
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I think there might be some discrepancies in the way people are thinking of the word "virtuosity". Surely "virtuoso" means more than someone with technical ability, which might be what is implied by the OP's "virtuosity". Don't know whether that made any sense. grin


As in musical virtuosity?


Well, it seems more like technical virtuosity from the context of the thread. smile
Virtuosity is almost exclusively used in relation to technique. The title of the thread and the OP's first post also made it clear how he was using this word.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/08/13 08:27 PM)

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#2061508 - 04/08/13 09:22 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Tak-Shing Chan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 6
According to Anders Ericsson: 10,000 hours of deliberate practice (plus genetic factors).

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#2061517 - 04/08/13 09:28 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158

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Music teacher and piano player.

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#2061526 - 04/08/13 09:45 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Damon]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7509
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Damon
Squirrel


Huh? What do rodents have to do with piano technique?
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Polyphonist

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#2061547 - 04/08/13 09:59 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
loiollin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Banned
Talent is a term that has a problematic definition so we won't deal with that.

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#2061561 - 04/08/13 10:26 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Damon]
heathermphotog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: Damon
Squirrel


grin ha
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#2061565 - 04/08/13 10:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: King Cole
You guys always do this. Talent is a term that has a problematic definition so we won't deal with that. Let's just assume he or she has a non-remarkable amount of talent. So the question is:


What is the best way to maximize one's piano abilities?!?

(Thank you JoelW)


Some random thoughts:

Practice a LOT.

(Actually, this is the same regardless of how much talent someone has.)

The real question is how people practice. And here, the answer lies less in what you do and more in how you think while practicing. When you're practicing, you have to keep an open ear and open mind. You have to invent exercises and motions for yourself. One of the most popular pieces of advice is "slow practice," and that's excellent advice, but it's very possible to practice slowly and get absolutely nothing done.

The reason slow practice works is because it affords people the opportunity to listen carefully to the sounds and feel and refine the motions they're making at the piano.

Developing one's musicianship and technique is a *CREATIVE ACTIVITY*. You have to have imagination and be observant.

Beyond that, you also need to spend time at the piano. Lots of it. You have to sit at the piano for hours and hours and hours and work on stuff. It's nice when it's efficient, but you have to do it even when you're not being efficient. Tired? Tough. Arms hurt? Figure out what you're doing wrong and fix it. Stuck? Get advice from a teacher. Just finished up a fantastic 6 hour practice session. Good for you; do it again tomorrow, the next day, and the next day.

It's also about habit. If you rely on passion or liking your repertoire to fuel your practice, you'll never make it. Nobody is 100% passionate about everything they're playing all the time. If you want to develop a great technique, then you have to be able to work *EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T WANT TO*. (This is true for most complex endeavors - I don't know a single successful lawyer, doctor, scientist, writer, visual artist, or businessman who didn't spend a significant amount of time working when they didn't want to. You work for the goal, not because it's fun every moment.

Put another way, it's easy to fall in love with a Rachmaninoff concerto and make big plans to do "whatever it takes" to learn it. It's much, much, MUCH harder to keep working when the honeymoon period is over (this is why self-taught amateurs tend to fail and one of the reasons a teacher is so important. A good teacher and weekly lessons gives you an incentive and reason to practice even when you don't want to. Contrary to popular belief, having a teacher isn't just about the advice they give, it's about inspiration and accountability.)

Hope there's something interesting in all of that. Happy practicing! laugh
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"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)

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#2061588 - 04/08/13 11:21 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
I think practice habits are important. If practicing 2 - 3 hours a day, for-real practice, is just part of your routine and it's something you do whatever else comes up and however much excited or frustrated you feel about your music, then you just end up getting stuff done in the long term.

Set aside that block of time and steel yourself for working through some challenges and you'll probably see results. Larry Bird had a great three point shot, and probably one of the reasons his shot was so good is because he spent 2 hours each day making the shot from different angles on the three point line. Like, try for shot, try again, make shot, move 2 inches, try for shot again.

I'm not an expert on virtuoso technique, but there's a reason the greats tout slow practice. And scales and arpeggios. It's not rocket science, but it is lots and lots of hours of serious work. And playing from an earnest inner place. To me, real greatness is just a big brew of hard work and a spiritual human lightness thing shining through because you have the technical tools to be able to express yourself and the humanity to have something meaningful to say and share with the world.

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#2061594 - 04/08/13 11:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
OP didn't ask about doing the best with what you have. His post specifically deals with virtuosity. To become a virtuoso, one must be born with the necessary talent. Without this talent, no matter how dedicated, it is impossible to achieve such status.

I thought the OP clearly obviously unquestionably beyond the shadow of a doubt certainly meant what you thought, not the other thing that some people are saying, and that's what I still think -- unless he didn't, and then I don't. ha

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#2061608 - 04/09/13 12:01 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Mark_C]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6095
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
He did say "virtuoso", which in itself of course is the thing that you and Joel say. However it is possible that he meant what the others said.
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Music is my best friend.


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#2061612 - 04/09/13 12:06 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: ChopinAddict]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
He did say "virtuoso", which in itself of course is the thing that you and Joel say. However it is possible that he meant what the others said.

Well then it's also possible he meant becoming a hairdresser, or dermatologist, or centerfielder.... grin

Let's take a look....

Quote:
What are the most effective ways to obtain virtuoso technique???

It's hard for me to see that as meaning anything but what Joel thought. Especially because of the triple ??? question marks and !!! exclamation marks. grin

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#2061618 - 04/09/13 12:27 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Mark_C]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6095
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I have met MANY people in real life who don't know what virtuoso really means and just think it means very good/outstanding.
(See also Polyphonist's post.)
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2061620 - 04/09/13 12:32 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: ChopinAddict]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I have met MANY people in real life who don't know what virtuoso really means and just think it means very good.....

And it even sounds like you're not kidding.... grin

Sounds pretty odd.

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#2061621 - 04/09/13 12:33 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6095
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I have just noticed that the OP later clarified what he meant:

What is the best way to maximize one's piano abilities?!?
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2061624 - 04/09/13 12:36 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: ChopinAddict]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19647
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I have just noticed that the OP later clarified what he meant:

What is the best way to maximize one's piano abilities?!?

OK!
Just goes to show that one word says it all: You never know. ha
Good job by everyone who got it right.

It's still hard for me to see how people could think "virtuoso" means that. But it is what it is. grin

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#2061642 - 04/09/13 01:13 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Ugh...every post these days seems to devolve into meta discussions and semantic sparring.

If there's one thing about virtuosi, it's that they'd rather practice than sit around thinking about what "virtuoso" means. smile
_________________________
"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)

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