Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#2112503 - 07/03/13 11:41 PM What to do when something is too hard for you
evilpacman18 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/12
Posts: 152
Loc: Glendora, CA
I'm working on a pretty difficult Junior Recital program that includes Beethoven's 26th sonata (Les Adieux), Mendelssohn G minor concerto, and the apparently above-my-technique Pletnev transcriptions of movements from The Nutcracker. I can go into specific technical challenges if you're curious what in them is especially difficult for me but I'm just wondering...

what do you normally do when you hit a wall?

This will also apply to my learning Chopin's winter wind etude and Liszt's Transcendental Etude No. 2 which I don't necessarily intend to program but would be good for my technique.

I'm just curious what the wise pianists in pianist corner do when something is just out of reach technically. Do you play it slow and raise the tempo bit by bit? Do you leave it and come back in a year? Do you a different piece with a more concentrated version of that challenge to work on? Do you ever even have this problem?

Top
Ad 800 (Pearl River)
Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#2112510 - 07/03/13 11:52 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4791
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I think the best thing to do when you hit a wall is to set the piece aside for a while. Sometimes it's not the difficulty of the piece that gets in your way; it's the fact that your focus is too intense and you need a break and a fresh perspective. Sometimes you need to set it aside for 2 weeks and sometimes a year.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

Top
#2112512 - 07/03/13 11:58 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6098
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Sometimes you just have to make a bigger effort than usual but the piece is still within your reach, but if it is really too hard, set it aside for awhile, as gooddog said.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


Top
#2112537 - 07/04/13 12:56 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1337
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
HI evil,

Well, the way I feel about this when I'm under contract, with a deadline to perform or record, is to find a way to make it work. It's the only professional solution, or they simply won't ask you back.

"les adieux" 1st movement has 8 measure that are famous for their difficulty. The rest of the piece is nothing, but the last movement does fly about but not in the same league as those notorious 8 measures. The winter wind is 6 pages of nasty, pure and simple. The Mendelssohn is a handful of notes and pages and pages of text to learn, and the ensemble is not simple.

1- When is your deadline?
2- What are your priorities?
3- What can you afford to drop for the moment? So you can focus on the first approaching deadline? Sounds to me like the etudes should be the first to go. You have way more than enough "technique" on your program without them.
4- Are you willing to go outside the box for answers?
5- Do you have people you can ask for help besides your principal teacher?
6- If sheer repetition is the thing necessary to get you over the hump (it might not be), are you willing to do it? I mean, 1,000 times a day?
7- Have you made a plan from all that? Have you written your plan down on paper, and put it in a place where you see it several times per day e.g. your music desk? Does it spell out what you must do every day of the week so you don't have to think about it?
8- If your answer to more than one of these questions is "No", you can always cancel/postpone. Perhaps you should, if you really don't think you can get it done in time. It's not a professional gig, so nobody will be upset if you postpone except for your teacher, who frankly should be supporting your decision.

I had two teachers outside of school that I could go to for help when I was in school both times. One of them was Dorothy Taubman. Can you find resources like that to help you? No, it's not impossible.

Good Luck!


Edited by laguna_greg (07/04/13 01:03 AM)
Edit Reason: thought of something more
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

Top
#2112730 - 07/04/13 10:38 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13773
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Leave it and come back to it later.
_________________________
"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

Top
#2113271 - 07/05/13 01:59 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5293
Loc: Philadelphia
I think it is important to first identify the source of your difficulty, and how much time you're willing to (and should) spend trying to overcome this obstacle. Is it really worth your time, or would your time be better spent elsewhere?

Answering that question is usually how I determine to proceed..
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2113406 - 07/05/13 07:32 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1133
I'm currently trying to figure out what to do with the mozart sonata. It's kicking my butt. It was designed to be a challenge, but can't quite figure out if it's simply a bit too difficult or WAY to difficult for me, but what is certainly true is that I have gotten to the point where I just look at it, tense up, and no matter what tempo I choose, it just sounds awful. It's uneven, it's riddled with errors, and it's expressionless because I am overwhelmed with detail and can't even think reasonably about how it should sound, so it sounds like I have no idea what music should sound like. It's wince-worthy.

I think the problem is that I started it the first day I started back with piano, and just imprinted the piece with some very bad habits that I have now since corrected in various other areas, but can't walk myself back on this piece. Every time I play it, it sounds like the first day I restarted piano.

I'm thinking that perhaps I put it aside. There's a lot of progress in general going on, and lack of dedication is not my issue. I would love to play it, but maybe I need a break so I can come back to it both fresh, and as a better pianist in general.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2113416 - 07/05/13 07:55 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
I'm currently trying to figure out what to do with the mozart sonata. It's kicking my butt. It was designed to be a challenge, but can't quite figure out if it's simply a bit too difficult or WAY to difficult for me


Why not put it aside and start on an easier Mozart sonata? The obvious one is K545 in C, which has lots of scales and arpeggios, to get you back into the Mozartian style and fluency, without quite the tricky passagework of K310.

Or K332 in F (or at least, its first two movements initially), which also does the job of preparing you for the intricate passagework of K310.

Top
#2113442 - 07/05/13 09:10 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21394
Loc: Oakland
I think the key to figuring out how hard a piece is for you is to look at the entire work, and see how much of it is beyond your level. If it is only a few parts of it, then it is something that you can expect to master fairly quickly. If too much of it is beyond you, you probably should look for another piece that has some similar difficulties, but also more that fits within your existing abilities.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2113467 - 07/05/13 10:40 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: BDB]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1049
Originally Posted By: BDB
I think the key to figuring out how hard a piece is for you is to look at the entire work, and see how much of it is beyond your level. If it is only a few parts of it, then it is something that you can expect to master fairly quickly. If too much of it is beyond you, you probably should look for another piece that has some similar difficulties, but also more that fits within your existing abilities.


While that is good advice, I still find it difficult to judge what is beyond my level. Maybe part of it is that I think I should be able to do everything now with enough effort(even though I can't). One case for me was the Beethoven violin sonata #8 I played on my last recital - it was easy enough to sight read, but getting it up to tempo was a whole lot harder than it seemed at first.

In the same manner, if I find something is too difficult, I just try harder (or longer) because I am too stubborn to give up. That said, the other advice above is probably better to follow than what I do - it likely results in less "Arghhh!!!" moments blush



Edited by Arghhh (07/05/13 10:40 PM)

Top
#2113488 - 07/05/13 11:42 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: Arghhh]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 828
Originally Posted By: Arghhh


In the same manner, if I find something is too difficult, I just try harder (or longer) because I am too stubborn to give up.



I often have the same problem with stubbornness. Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes .... otherwise. For example, for my junior recital, I was working on a LOT of pieces in a short amount of time, but I kept trying against the advice of my teacher. I ended up having to cancel the recital because I bit off more than I could chew. I think if I would have used pieces I had worked on some before, and brought them back, I could have worked them up to a new level and it would have been great. I find that is the best way to overcome a plateau in a piece for me. Just taking a break from it.

However, for my senior recital, I learned the same Beethoven sonata that the OP is working on. My teacher was a little wary of letting me learn it, but I was so determined that I put in way more practice hours than usual. I had a few other pieces that were a challenge, but half of my repertoire was not too difficult. I made sure I had adequate time to commit to the hard stuff. I think it turned out pretty ok.

Top
#2113491 - 07/05/13 11:53 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
anadyr21 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/09
Posts: 35
There's a difference between being difficult and hitting a wall. If you're working on a piece and struggling to progressively get through more than a few measures at a time, you've hit a wall, and may benefit from coming back to it, in a week, a month, or even longer. With a difficult piece, there may be parts of it that are fine, but a few sections that need work. Each time you work on it, there is measurable progression.

If you even have to ask the difference, putting it off may be beneficial. Unfortunately, this does not apply to gigs, recitals, etc. That's another can of worms.

Top
#2113810 - 07/06/13 03:08 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: anadyr21]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1049
Originally Posted By: anadyr21

If you even have to ask the difference, putting it off may be beneficial. Unfortunately, this does not apply to gigs, recitals, etc. That's another can of worms.


I don't think I would put recitals and gigs in the same category here. Recitals can (almost) always be changed.

Top
#2113829 - 07/06/13 03:41 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: Arghhh]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13773
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Recitals can (almost) always be changed.


Not if you're being hired to do them professionally and want to develop an audience.
_________________________
"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

Top
#2113831 - 07/06/13 03:46 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: Kreisler]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1049
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Recitals can (almost) always be changed.


Not if you're being hired to do them professionally and want to develop an audience.

Ah, well then wouldn't that be a gig?

Top
#2115086 - 07/09/13 09:20 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Set theory people. The set of gigs may intersect with the set of recitals. That is to say, not all recitals are gigs.

Top
#2115097 - 07/09/13 10:08 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
jawhitti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/12
Posts: 235
I thought those sets were disjoint. I have been laboring under the impression that intersecting the sets "playing piano" and "earning dollars" yields a proper subset called "gigs" while intersecting "playing piano" with "earning academic credit" yields a different proper subset "recitals". I am pretty sure that the intersection of "earning academic credit" and "earning dollars" is the empty set, thus my belief that "gigs" is disjoint from "recitals".

Top
#2115138 - 07/09/13 12:40 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2306
Loc: San Jose, CA
If you have a technical problem, you have a musical problem. If you have a musical problem, you're not spending enough time trying to figure it out. Slowing down the music is just one step in the process, and not the most important one. The key thing is to listen, criticize every note, and figure out where the shortfall is. If you're not asking and answering your own questions, the practice is for naught.

Top
#2115184 - 07/09/13 02:16 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
evilpacman18 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/12
Posts: 152
Loc: Glendora, CA
Interesting to see all the responses. laguna_greg's post is possibly my favorite. I'm pretty sure everything is within my reach, I don't think I'm gonna put it aside. The recital isn't a professional responsibility so if anything, if they're not gonna be ready by the end of October I'd probably just postpone the recital. But it'll all happen.

Top
#2115228 - 07/09/13 04:00 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: bennevis]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1133
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
I'm currently trying to figure out what to do with the mozart sonata. It's kicking my butt. It was designed to be a challenge, but can't quite figure out if it's simply a bit too difficult or WAY to difficult for me


Why not put it aside and start on an easier Mozart sonata? The obvious one is K545 in C, which has lots of scales and arpeggios, to get you back into the Mozartian style and fluency, without quite the tricky passagework of K310.

Or K332 in F (or at least, its first two movements initially), which also does the job of preparing you for the intricate passagework of K310.


I don't think I can stomach the k545. Too cheery. Besides, I'm trying to get away from stuff I played as a kid, heh. Either I can still play it, at which point the piece is a parlor trick, or I can't play it, at which point I just get frustrated knowing how I used to play it.

Anyway, point is, probably best I stick with new stuff.

Do you really think the k332 is markedly easier than the k310?

I'll give it a shot. I really feel like I have to take a mental break from k310 anyway, whether or not it's too hard. I put aside the first chopin nocturne, too, and came back to it this week and it sounds ENORMOUSLY better. There's something weird going on with the pieces I started with because the next nocturne I did, which was arguably harder, came a whole lot easier. And then I could turn the page and try the other nocturne and it would just seize up on me. Weird.

But it's better now. So I'll hit the k332, if you really think it is at least a moderate step down in difficulty, overall.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2115252 - 07/09/13 04:53 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
evilpacman18, I have read your post, here:

I'm working on a pretty difficult Junior Recital program that includes Beethoven's 26th sonata (Les Adieux), Mendelssohn G minor concerto, and the apparently above-my-technique Pletnev transcriptions of movements from The Nutcracker. I can go into specific technical challenges if you're curious what in them is especially difficult for me but I'm just wondering...

what do you normally do when you hit a wall?

This will also apply to my learning Chopin's winter wind etude and Liszt's Transcendental Etude No. 2 which I don't necessarily intend to program but would be good for my technique.

I'm just curious what the wise pianists in pianist corner do when something is just out of reach technically. Do you play it slow and raise the tempo bit by bit? Do you leave it and come back in a year? Do you a different piece with a more concentrated version of that challenge to work on? Do you ever even have this problem?

___________________________________________

I think I (we) learn everyday the on going challenges of playing the piano.

I had a situation where I could the piece without mistakes except 4 measures. I isolated those measures to play them slowly which was problematic. I was frustrated because I recently started dating the pieces start and finish. It is helpful - although I never did it before. You can see immediately how long you have been working on the piece and realize you have to do something to get over the problem.

It was the situation of two treble clefs, of course, one being played by the left hand, the other played by the right hand. There were 2 chords of two notes in each measure played at the same time in both treble clefs /lefthand righthand - but when played in the next measures, the chords changed - so the fingering/fingers changed - I would freeze up everytime I tried to play it no matter how slowly I played it.

To help my brain get over this problem, I wrote out the music notes not as chords but simply to be played note by note in sequence. starting with the left hand treble clef note 1, note 2, right hand treble clef note 1, note 2. I put in the fingering and played it. Instantly I could play it without a problem. So I practiced that a few times and then went back to those notes as chords and I could play it.

Whenever I have any measures that slow me down a bit, I circle them because that indicates to me that is a sequence that i need to expand and develop exercises to smooth out practicing.

I have learned that if I can't play something after a few tries that I should rewrite the music to get over the hurdle by introducing the notes individually as opposed to chords that cause my brain to have trouble changing fingers during chords.



Edited by Michael_99 (07/09/13 04:57 PM)

Top
#2115273 - 07/09/13 05:57 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1133
Ahh, yes, the piece is easier! Still quite challenging, but I LURVE the way the first section of the first movement concludes. Just spectacular! Having a blast with those octaves and syncopation.

We'll see if I can bring this one up to speed better than the other one. I think I may have to just let go. I'm so over-consumed with detail that I get bogged down but this one hasn't been "sullied" yet by too much detail so maybe I'll have a better shot getting it into the hands before I get paralyzed by the detail that I'm sure my teacher will add. On the other hand, many of the things I struggle to do so intentionally in the other one are coming more naturally in this one. I'm going to learn it with proper phrasing that way I'm not artificially lifting up to create it later. Not that I didn't HEAR the phrasing, but I was glued to the keyboard, clinging onto it for dear life. I was literally scared to leave it, lest I lose my place putting them down again. But the truth is I know where the keys are!

Be not afraid. Thy wrist shall lead thee.

ETA: Oh, and by the way, when my teacher finds out I dumped k310 for the time being, I'm telling her you told me to. She's got the hand strength of a pianist and some serious core strength from all the pilates and ballet she does. If you hear something closing in on you with a Russian accent...run.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2115307 - 07/09/13 07:29 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
Ahh, yes, the piece is easier! Still quite challenging, but I LURVE the way the first section of the first movement concludes. Just spectacular! Having a blast with those octaves and syncopation.

Be not afraid. Thy wrist shall lead thee.

ETA: Oh, and by the way, when my teacher finds out I dumped k310 for the time being, I'm telling her you told me to. She's got the hand strength of a pianist and some serious core strength from all the pilates and ballet she does. If you hear something closing in on you with a Russian accent...run.


Don't worry, I've got a Russian pianist friend called Lazar. He works out lots, and has the build of that late Russian virtuoso Lazar Berman wink .

BTW, your teacher will be very impressed if you go on to play that brilliant K332 finale - a real workout for the RH grin.

Top
#2115354 - 07/09/13 09:07 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
Ahmediy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/13
Posts: 43
My teacher said do not run a marathon before you can easily walk it.
You can hurt yourself if you try things that are too difficult for you.
So do not always play things that are difficult.
Come back later if it is too difficult.

Top
#2115401 - 07/09/13 10:46 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: Ahmediy]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8840
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Ahmediy
My teacher said do not run a marathon before you can easily walk it.
You can hurt yourself if you try things that are too difficult for you.
So do not always play things that are difficult.
Come back later if it is too difficult.

Good advice for students. thumb
_________________________
Jason

Top
#2115406 - 07/09/13 10:59 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: Ahmediy]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
Originally Posted By: Ahmediy
My teacher said do not run a marathon before you can easily walk it.
You can hurt yourself if you try things that are too difficult for you.
So do not always play things that are difficult.
Come back later if it is too difficult.


Not true wink .

I've never even walked (or attempted to walk) further than 18 miles non-stop before I ran my first marathon in 2000 (in 3:39, if you really must know - it took 3 further attempts before I finally broke the 3 1/2 hour barrier in 2006....).

And I've always played (or attempted to play) pieces that are too difficult for me, from when I reached Grade 4 standard or so, when I could sight-read easily enough to make a stab at almost anything. My teachers never knew, because I never told them what I was learning for my own personal pleasure grin.

I've never hurt myself doing it. And I'm still doing it now........

Top
#2115447 - 07/10/13 12:03 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: bennevis]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1049
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Ahmediy
My teacher said do not run a marathon before you can easily walk it.
You can hurt yourself if you try things that are too difficult for you.
So do not always play things that are difficult.
Come back later if it is too difficult.


Not true wink .

I've never even walked (or attempted to walk) further than 18 miles non-stop before I ran my first marathon in 2000 (in 3:39, if you really must know - it took 3 further attempts before I finally broke the 3 1/2 hour barrier in 2006....).

And I've always played (or attempted to play) pieces that are too difficult for me, from when I reached Grade 4 standard or so, when I could sight-read easily enough to make a stab at almost anything. My teachers never knew, because I never told them what I was learning for my own personal pleasure grin.

I've never hurt myself doing it. And I'm still doing it now........


Not true the other way either wink I hiked a long-distance trail (2640 miles), and frequently hiked 20-25 mile days. Had I tried running a marathon I likely would have hurt myself.

And I have hurt myself playing pieces too difficult for me - or at least, being obsessive about certain difficult places and doing too many repetitions in one sitting. Eventually I got it though and the piece is no longer too difficult for me laugh

Top
#2115457 - 07/10/13 12:39 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
xphotography Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/20/10
Posts: 18
I've been trying to learn the Op 10 No 1 Etude- I have a page left- seriously for about 4 months, and I've only been playing for ~3 years. Honestly, it depends on how much you like the piece(s) and whether you have the discipline to follow the score and maintain a consistently strong technique, the latter of which is essential.

I'm also learning some of Bach's WTC on the side. If you haven't, you should definitely look into them, as they're both incredible pieces of music and excellent hand/finger/playing exercises.

Here are couple of my favorites
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p9DDclRILc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkg0aQxsKlU


Edited by xphotography (07/10/13 12:40 AM)

Top
#2115532 - 07/10/13 06:29 AM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: Arghhh]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Ahmediy
My teacher said do not run a marathon before you can easily walk it.
You can hurt yourself if you try things that are too difficult for you.
So do not always play things that are difficult.
Come back later if it is too difficult.


Not true wink .

I've never even walked (or attempted to walk) further than 18 miles non-stop before I ran my first marathon in 2000 (in 3:39, if you really must know - it took 3 further attempts before I finally broke the 3 1/2 hour barrier in 2006....).

And I've always played (or attempted to play) pieces that are too difficult for me, from when I reached Grade 4 standard or so, when I could sight-read easily enough to make a stab at almost anything. My teachers never knew, because I never told them what I was learning for my own personal pleasure grin.

I've never hurt myself doing it. And I'm still doing it now........


Not true the other way either wink I hiked a long-distance trail (2640 miles), and frequently hiked 20-25 mile days. Had I tried running a marathon I likely would have hurt myself.

And I have hurt myself playing pieces too difficult for me - or at least, being obsessive about certain difficult places and doing too many repetitions in one sitting. Eventually I got it though and the piece is no longer too difficult for me laugh


My longest hike was coast-to-coast across Scotland, taking in several Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft) along the way - a 200 mile hike which took 2 weeks. I'd thought about doing the Appalachian Trail or even the Continental Divide wink , but time constraints and all that...

But in terms of piano playing, I always knew when to back off from incessant practising of something I just wasn't ready for - like the octaves in Chopin's Op.53, or the LH finger-twisting of Op.10/12 when I was barely at intermediate standard. I'd put the pieces to one side while learning other stuff, until my technique caught up with my aspirations. Even if it took years.

Top
#2115667 - 07/10/13 12:44 PM Re: What to do when something is too hard for you [Re: evilpacman18]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1133
Well, obviously people should challenge themselves to do things they couldn't previously do. When I trained for marathons, I trained HARD even if I didn't start out running a marathon the first day. But each day I certainly pushed myself to do things that I could not previously do. Mostly I just pushed myself and it was exhausting and challenging each day in that the training each workout was not comfortably in the middle of what I was reasonably capable of doing, but at the edge of what was possible each time, so each training run was the hardest thing I'd done yet. But--and here's the rub--the challenge not firmly outside my maximum abilities. Flirting with that edge. Which meant that each day I slightly pushed the line out of what my maximum skill level was. Over a month, things that were outside my capacity were now firmly easy things to do.

So the key is simply that one can't improve if one does not always endeavor to push the line out of what's reasonably possible. The key is finding things that are appropriately challenging--not so easy that you stagnate, but not so hard that your frustration level prevents progress.

(But, of course, who HASN'T sat down with the sheet music to a cherished piece of music that is WAY out of your league, and taken a stab at it? Or tried to just learn a few wonderful measures to give yourself a taste of what it's like? This is not practicing, this is playing, and I absolutely consider it to be a great side benefit of this great endeavor of loving to make music. But that's just for fun. One can't live by bread alone, but neither can one live eating bonbons all day, either.)

So I guess what I'm trying to do is find that sweet spot: above my skill level so that I have to make myself better in order to be able to play it well, but not so far above my skill level that I either take way too long to develop the necessary skills, or is so difficult that I simply stagnate because certain fundamentals are better learned in stepping stone pieces.

the trouble here is that it's somewhat difficult to intuit what that level is for me. Certain things are like I never stopped playing. Certain other things are gone like I never was able to do them. And yet other things were learned incorrectly, or learned well but deteriorated over the years into something that is now incorrect, so they have to be programmed and built back up.

Plus, I bring my history. I am an adult with an adult's sense of musicality, i.e. I may have hated certain pieces as a kid, but now I find them enormously interesting. I think it's hard for children to understand what's so amazing about certain pieces. They have to mature into them. But on the other hand, once you have that perspective, it's hard to find interest in playing simplistic kiddie pieces. I mean, I will absolutely work on my scales and all manner of boring things that need doing, but when it comes to truly playing a piece and all the things that go into perfecting it, and bringing out its inherent structure, dynamics and expression, and doing this for the piece's own sake, rather than just as a means to improve certain technical necessities, well, I prefer to do that through music that moves me rather than not. I'm not so stupid as to pick a piece solely based on that, or I'd have a pretty Rachmaninoff-heavy list of pieces to play (or fail to play, as the case may be), but I think you get my point.

I also have preferences. Worst of all, I have preconceived notions of what I'm capable of. What I can't do well. And I often will let those thoughts determine whether or not I can do something. I had trouble with fast runs and the like as a kid. At this point, it's built up in my head as impossible. Someone else might just learn things from the get-go well. I have to overcome these...self-prejudices, I guess is one way to put it.

Anyway I do like this sonata. I do not want it to be Mt. Everest, but I would like it to be something high enough to have some sort of snow cap on it, heh, if I may murder the metaphor.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
123 registered (BarryR, beet31425, Almaviva, ajames, accordeur, 40 invisible), 1418 Guests and 16 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75890 Members
42 Forums
156821 Topics
2304258 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Need help with a piano purchase
by Freece65
08/20/14 09:55 PM
Just Tuned a Kawai 5'10" Grand Piano KG-2E
by Paul678
08/20/14 09:51 PM
Yamaha NU1 or Roland HP508
by francis0423
08/20/14 09:12 PM
How Much Can I Sell My Kawai KG-3C?
by barryman9000
08/20/14 07:38 PM
Chord changes to 'Sixty Years On'
by Visalia
08/20/14 06:43 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission