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#2114488 - 07/08/13 03:26 AM Fundamentals of piano practice
Poli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 64
I am an advance beginner...borderline intermediate...lol
I was wondering if any of you have had the chance to take a look at this website:

http://www.pianofundamentals.com/

Are the techniques discussed therein valid? Of course, a book cannot replace the advice of a good teacher, but is the material discussed on this site valid?

Thanks,

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#2114489 - 07/08/13 03:28 AM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
Poli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 64
...try this if you are having problems with the website:

http://www.pianopractice.org/book.pdf

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#2114519 - 07/08/13 06:15 AM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
There's a lot of value in what Chang has to say in his book, but it's clunky and not easy to read (though there are workarounds for this). His methods also aren't new or particularly revolutionary, but they're not often discussed and thus the reason for his book. I've personally benefited a lot more from reading PianoStreet user Bernhard's old posts as they read more easily and the user is also a teacher so he phrases (or phrased, as he no longer posts) things in a very thorough and easy-to-understand manner.

I suggest first reading over this thread here: How does Bernhard or Chang's method differ with traditional

one post within which just about sums up my feelings on the topic is:
Originally Posted By: nomis
Well, it differs from what I've been taught (then again, I haven't been taught much), particularly a set practise method in order to learn repertoire. Sure, my teacher helped me on difficult spots in pieces and artistic interpretation (her interpretation), but she never laid down a practise method
We need a routine (and preferably a good one) in place in order to make any sort of steady progress in learning to play piano and Bernhard and Chang simply offer a routine with various accompanying advice. There's nothing special, just that the routine happens to be a very effective one.


You can find a few Bernhard post link indexes with a great many number of clearly titled links here:


Also, http://www.pianofundamentals.com/book/en/chapter_1 is a bit cleaner format for reading sections/chapters of Chang's book (unless you're using a tablet, perhaps).


Edited by Bobpickle (07/08/13 06:26 AM)

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#2115160 - 07/09/13 01:39 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 402
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Bob,

Once again, you have provided pedagogical GOLD.

Thanks again, as always.

Forrest
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#2116141 - 07/11/13 01:50 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Poli,

Well, I agree with Bob about what he says about routine. However, I cannot agree that the technical precepts here are physiologically sound, because they're not. Like most things written about piano playing, this book is filled with some bits of fairly good advice padded with a lot of superstition and old-wives' tales.

If you're really looking for a resource for piano technique, why don't you get the 10-DVD set of Edna Golandsky lecturing about Dorothy Taubman's approach? It will be much more interesting and actually contain accurate physiological information. It is available in some libraries. However, you won't be able to apply any of it yourself, because you'll need some experienced hands-on help to tell you if you are even doing it correctly.

Why don't you just go find a good teacher and take some lessons?
_________________________
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)

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#2117525 - 07/14/13 02:16 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: laguna_greg]
NeilOS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/06
Posts: 617
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi Poli,

Well, I agree with Bob about what he says about routine. However, I cannot agree that the technical precepts here are physiologically sound, because they're not. Like most things written about piano playing, this book is filled with some bits of fairly good advice padded with a lot of superstition and old-wives' tales.

If you're really looking for a resource for piano technique, why don't you get the 10-DVD set of Edna Golandsky lecturing about Dorothy Taubman's approach? It will be much more interesting and actually contain accurate physiological information. It is available in some libraries. However, you won't be able to apply any of it yourself, because you'll need some experienced hands-on help to tell you if you are even doing it correctly.

Why don't you just go find a good teacher and take some lessons?


Hear, hear. Very sober advice.
_________________________
Concert Pianist, University Professor, Private Teacher in Los Angeles
Blog: http://www.pianoteacherlosangeles.com/

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#2117752 - 07/14/13 09:44 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 402
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Preface to this: the plural of anecdote isn't data.

I found Changs writings via a search on how to play piano without pain
This forum too, and through Bob pickle on ton Graham Fitch and now Bernhard's methods. I also recognize the necessity of is teacher and have one of those too. Actually a lot of teachers.

I am convinced that it is in the practice routine where abillity grows to meet desire and where musicians are made.


The reason I like Bernhard's approach is because he says... 'Dont trust me, try it out and see if it works for you.' Bernhard is firmly in the arena of science there.

So I'm trying this out, with all of the tools available via Graham Fitch, and the rest of the Internet.

I've recently decided to add the Bach WTC 1 C# prelude and Fugue. Along with the Mozart K 576, these are turning out to be quite difficult - they are really above my level - and I've been a bit aimless about routine.

So I've decided to try Bernhard's method with a 15 minute (not a second more) chunks of time on the most material I could learn in a seven repetition stretch - and then get it to a good place, memorized and at speed ( and musical!!). I decided to give the method a month - I'm at day four - and see. Does it work?

Poli, you are searching and that's good! Find the routines that work for you.

Is it working for me? Four days in and I have mm 1-5 ( no sweat there), m 48 and 51 memorized and at speed and musical and feeling at ease under the fingers of the Bach fugue. I can play the voices separately (Fitch & Bernhard) I figured the fingering out (not necessarily the score's) and stuck to it (Fitch, derulux, orange soda king) - I took it up to speed quickly to see if the fingering worked (Chang ET al) , I chose three chunks of material I could learn within 7 repetitions and under 15 minutes (Bernhard) I play hands separate WAY above speed and alternate hands every 30 seconds to build technique (Chang )....in fact, did this just a bit ago nd I'm taking a break now

And after the 10-15 (never more than 20) minutes, I stop pracicing that section and take a break to do yoga or body movement , or to cruise pianoworld and ramble on and on) I will not touch the section I just worked in until tomorrow, and when it is back to the place I had it just a moment ago (to say I'm enthused would be an understatement!!!!) ... When I have it back to that place, I'll spend the remainder of that 15 minute segment learning a new chunk (Bernhard)

YES!!!! But again, the plural of anecdote isn't data.

I'm enthused to be able to see myself playing (and well) after 20 years away from the serious (and glorious!!!!) stuff.

And you know, it *is* the Internet, so ymmv ( your mileage may vary)

Enjoy the journey. This is something you can keep till you die. :-)

Forrest

(All typos entirely the fault of iPad)
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#2118177 - 07/15/13 07:48 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: woodog]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2604
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: woodog
Preface to this: the plural of anecdote isn't data.


Good one!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2244461 - 03/10/14 08:46 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: laguna_greg]
attaboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 40
Loc: NY, USA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Hi Poli,


Why don't you just go find a good teacher and take some lessons?


Fine!! And you're going to provide the large sum of money for the lessons!!??

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#2244679 - 03/11/14 11:04 AM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
attaboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 40
Loc: NY, USA
Coming in late here, I have to say Chang is a genius. He picked a topic that one would think to be impossible to present without a teacher. Sure, many have criticized it for being disorganized and hard to understand. And I see some places that seem to me to be just plain mistakes (maybe I'm wrong here and haven't achieved the necessary understanding). But his work is probably about the best compromise weighed against other needs such a work is expected to accomplish. As a PhD chemist, but surely of much less intelligence than Chang, I have nothing but praise for this marvelous man and what he has given us - AND FREE no less.

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#2244682 - 03/11/14 11:07 AM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
attaboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 40
Loc: NY, USA
And BTW, if any of you out there hit some road blocks in reading his book, as I have, I would suggest we all get together and see if we can't mutually get a better understanding of what he has written. Please don't hesitate to send me a PM.

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#2244797 - 03/11/14 03:03 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1776
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
The author seems to believe (based on early chapters) that perfect pitch is very important to succeeding at piano (or at least in making the most of his approach). That suggestion surprised me.

Reactions?
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2244811 - 03/11/14 03:39 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: ClsscLib]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
The author seems to believe (based on early chapters) that perfect pitch is very important to succeeding at piano (or at least in making the most of his approach). That suggestion surprised me.

Reactions?


Chang does make sense on some aspects of playing the piano and has come to his conclusions based on his observations and research. People do this many times, mainly researchers and authors yet since they don't have actual experience or hands on knowledge not all of what is written should be taken to heart.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2256181 - 04/03/14 12:22 AM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: ClsscLib]
attaboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 40
Loc: NY, USA
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
The author seems to believe (based on early chapters) that perfect pitch is very important to succeeding at piano (or at least in making the most of his approach). That suggestion surprised me.

Reactions?


What I got from that is that if you have PP it gives you a big advantage over those that don't.

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#2256285 - 04/03/14 10:38 AM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: woodog]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1993
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: woodog
Preface to this: the plural of anecdote isn't data.

I found Changs writings via a search on how to play piano without pain
This forum too, and through Bob pickle on ton Graham Fitch and now Bernhard's methods. I also recognize the necessity of is teacher and have one of those too. Actually a lot of teachers.

I am convinced that it is in the practice routine where abillity grows to meet desire and where musicians are made.


The reason I like Bernhard's approach is because he says... 'Dont trust me, try it out and see if it works for you.' Bernhard is firmly in the arena of science there.

So I'm trying this out, with all of the tools available via Graham Fitch, and the rest of the Internet.

I've recently decided to add the Bach WTC 1 C# prelude and Fugue. Along with the Mozart K 576, these are turning out to be quite difficult - they are really above my level - and I've been a bit aimless about routine.

So I've decided to try Bernhard's method with a 15 minute (not a second more) chunks of time on the most material I could learn in a seven repetition stretch - and then get it to a good place, memorized and at speed ( and musical!!). I decided to give the method a month - I'm at day four - and see. Does it work?

Poli, you are searching and that's good! Find the routines that work for you.

Is it working for me? Four days in and I have mm 1-5 ( no sweat there), m 48 and 51 memorized and at speed and musical and feeling at ease under the fingers of the Bach fugue. I can play the voices separately (Fitch & Bernhard) I figured the fingering out (not necessarily the score's) and stuck to it (Fitch, derulux, orange soda king) - I took it up to speed quickly to see if the fingering worked (Chang ET al) , I chose three chunks of material I could learn within 7 repetitions and under 15 minutes (Bernhard) I play hands separate WAY above speed and alternate hands every 30 seconds to build technique (Chang )....in fact, did this just a bit ago nd I'm taking a break now

And after the 10-15 (never more than 20) minutes, I stop pracicing that section and take a break to do yoga or body movement , or to cruise pianoworld and ramble on and on) I will not touch the section I just worked in until tomorrow, and when it is back to the place I had it just a moment ago (to say I'm enthused would be an understatement!!!!) ... When I have it back to that place, I'll spend the remainder of that 15 minute segment learning a new chunk (Bernhard)

YES!!!! But again, the plural of anecdote isn't data.

I'm enthused to be able to see myself playing (and well) after 20 years away from the serious (and glorious!!!!) stuff.

And you know, it *is* the Internet, so ymmv ( your mileage may vary)

Enjoy the journey. This is something you can keep till you die. :-)

Forrest

(All typos entirely the fault of iPad)


Hi please let us know how it goes after 2 weeks or so. I'm curious. I too am struggling with Bach f minor fugue from book 1 of WTC. I started on the pair since the prelude was one of the most approachable without realizing how difficult the fugue is. I need some rigor in my practice to complete the piece.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2256370 - 04/03/14 02:10 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: FarmGirl]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 402
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Preface to this: the plural of anecdote isn't data.

(lots of snippage)

Forrest

(All typos entirely the fault of iPad)

Hi please let us know how it goes after 2 weeks or so. I'm curious. I too am struggling with Bach f minor fugue from book 1 of WTC. I started on the pair since the prelude was one of the most approachable without realizing how difficult the fugue is. I need some rigor in my practice to complete the piece.


Ha... well, here's an update. Fugues are HARD!!!

I dropped the Mozart K576 as it was WAAAAAY above my level. I memorized the Prelude and Fugue by December and then I started the REAL work of bringing it to life.

Rigor in Practice. Yes. Fugues are unforgiving but MAN do they help your technique. I picked 848 (C# major) because I heard it as a child and have always loved it. I had no idea how difficult it was (IS!!).

Here is my approach thus far:

1. Write out the fugue on staff paper, with each voice having a different staff
2. work out a fingering and stick with it.
3. Learn each voice by itself, keeping the fingering you have worked out
4. Memorize each voice by itself (smaller sections leading to larger sections)
5. Memorize hands separately (smaller sections leading to larger sections)
6. theory analysis of the entire piece (away from piano)
7. Hands together (smaller sections to larger sections)
8. patterns and other 'tricks' to bring out the voices
(singing one voice while playing the other(s)

I started the fugue in June of last year, and I'm still at it, along with the second movement of the Beethoven op. 78.

I've kept a practice journal of every step (now into its 27th page, where each page represents ~ 1 week's worth of effort).. where I write (pencil and paper)
1. sections I will work
2. how I will work them
3. what I intend to achieve
4. a time limit (no more than 15 minutes for each section... sometimes 4 sections at a sitting, but never less than one)
5. a review consisting of 'did I achieve my goal' and if not, why not?



Fugues are hard (what an understatement!!), but even being this long into it, I love every second of the frustration, and the joy I feel when a phrase comes out beautifully is worth the time.

Again, the plural of anecdote isn't data.


Forrest


Edited by woodog (04/03/14 02:13 PM)
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

Top
#2256377 - 04/03/14 02:19 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 402
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
p.s. every bit that I first wrote about the methods still rings true to me. But you have to be aware - as I'm sure you are - that the inertia to your approach is hard to overcome.

It's just this: you have to practice the art of practicing in order to become good at practicing.

I'm still learning, but I still consider the process way better than TV. grin

Forrest
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

Top
#2256380 - 04/03/14 02:23 PM Re: Fundamentals of piano practice [Re: Poli]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 402
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
according to this ranking

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...ite_id/1#import

it seems as if the Fm from Book I is of the same difficulty as the C# major.

I feel your pain! grin
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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