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#2130288 - 08/09/13 09:58 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
So here's what got me discouraged. I've been reading, as usual, all over the boards, and I've been alarmed, saddened, frightened, and discouraged by the posts about injuries and the advice to study with a teacher with particular expertise in piano movement. Well, I haven't got a teacher at all. So I hang around the boards, and pick up crumbs, but how do I know if I'm really doing the right thing.

I think about the warning about the Taubman videos, for example, that you can watch them for understanding but you can't apply them to yourself on your own: you need an experienced teacher watching from outside. I came across another way of describing this, which is that the videos show the correct movement, but they don't show how to move you from your own idiosyncratically incorrect movmement to the correct movement.

I think about Richard who got shown in his first piano lesson different ways of touching and playing piano keys. I got none of that. (Though I am profoundly grateful to my teacher for the prime thing I did get, which I didn't have before, which is an awareness of flexible wrists, which for me is not just the wrists moving fluidly but everything connected to them. So I milk that one technical insight as much as I can.)

I think about something said on the Teacher's Forum about transposing into different keys being a good exercise, but trying to learn Tschaikovsky's First Piano Concerto by ear can ruin a young student for ever being able to play it well when they get to the score and the full piece. And I wonder: how do I know which apparently innocent things I'm doing are good, and which are laying down terrible pathways from which I'll never be able to escape?

Further on those same lines, I think about what's been coming up a lot recently (although I've also seen it before), which is that movements repeated a lot become ingrained, and if they're the wrong movements even after you find out about the right movements you may never be able to fully learn the right movements: the damage (to technique, even if not physically) can't be undone.

Then I think about physical damage, and how that can't always be undone.

Then I read about Bach on the Pianist's Corner and how he's very challenging to play, and I wonder by what rights I have the chutzpah to think I can be learning his music at this stage of my piano playing. And on my own, no less, with no guide to playing it the way it deserves to be played.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2130296 - 08/09/13 10:10 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Another reason I was discouraged was based on a misreading of Richard's post in which he talked about tempo and other pieces. I've reread his post and now I realize what he's really saying. Now I'm feeling better about it. I need to reflect on what he has said and look at the pieces he suggested.

I originally wrote a longer post here detailing how I felt during my time of misreading, but I've edited that all out because it was based on a misinterpretation and therefore wasn't a fair reflection of what Richard said.


Edited by PianoStudent88 (08/09/13 10:20 AM)
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2130330 - 08/09/13 11:14 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Journal 12, Thu., Aug. 8.

For focus, I think I really need to get a notebook in which I write the measures I'm working on for my 7x, an incredibly brief concise description of my goal for my 20 minutes, and possibly an evaluation of how it went. Just like woodog's journal in fact! I'm thinking this seriously now because in trying to think how last night's practice went, it's all a jumble. Plus I can tell in my practicing I could use some more conscious focus, which would be helped by writing my goal before I do it, and also by being able to quickly glance over previous days' goals and results.

Hooray, field trip to the notebook store smile .

Bach Prelude BWV 927

I've extended RH through m. 12 and LH through m. 13. I find I don't really know what memorization is. I'll think I have something down, and then when I join it with another section, I get it wrong. It can be either the old or the new part of the joined section that I get wrong. Or both or either. Maybe I'm playing too fast. I don't know how to reconcile that with Bernhard's stated idea that you learn each section up to tempo before moving on to the next. It seems like it's going to take a lot longer to get the sections I'm working on (in the Grieg's as well as the Bach) up to tempo from memory.

I can play the Bach faster and more accurately from the score than from memory. The memory work was very good though because it led to the accurate playing from the score. I don't know how to resolve all this. I'm not fanatically committed to memory playing without the score, although I find I really like having some memorized pieces. It comes in handy when I find myself randomly around the piano. But it seems to be a MUCH longer process to go from "memorized if I really think hard about it" to "memorized to the point where it allows me freedom of playing and interpretation that I wouldn't have if I were playing from the score."

Maybe it's just that the world really is divided into memory players and score players, based on our different strengths, and I'm really a score player, even though I'm enjoying my forays into the world of memory, which is all still very new territory for me. To clarify, I mean "memory without the score". I'll grant that some kind of memory, or I prefer to call it learning, is involved in becoming able to play a piece well with the score. But for me at least that kind of learning doesn't usually help me very much once the score is taken away.

Another aspect of my newness with memory, and being unsure of it, is that I'm unwilling to just drop my previous sections and only focus on my new sections. I'm afraid that I'll forget the old sections, or that I'll learn the new section too rigidly as starting at its starting point and won't be able to learn to join it to the old section unless I periodically practice them both together as I'm learning the new section. I don't know if I'm right in these concerns, or if there's a way around them, but these are some of the concerns I have when practicing.

Oh yes, and along with all those concerns, I'm reworking the RH fingering in mm. 11 and 12: using fingers 1 and 3 on the figures of three sixteenth notes, instead of 2 and 3. This involves more moving of my hand to get to the following descending arpeggio, but 2-3 was feeling stressful on my wrist. I don't know if what it really means is I need to clear up whatever underlying wrong thing I'm doing that makes 2-3 feel stressful, and I'm worried by the story of a pianist changing fingering to accomodate an injured finger, and ending up causing even worse damage. Sigh.

Grieg Lyric Piece 47.7 Elegy

Worked on LH mm. 33-34, the arpeggio. Identified that my problems start with getting the first C# -- black key -- accurately. Reduced it to just the first two notes: F# octave 51 to C# 3. Experimented with playing F octave to C -- can reach the white key quite accurately. So I can see that I need to improve my black key accuracy. It's surprisingly difficult to fly my hand from F# to C# and come down centered on the black key. Did this in v---e---r---y s---l---o---w m---o---t---i---o---n.

Continued work on mm. 21-24. Learned the first hand position of m. 25 to add on to it, for continuity. Reviewed it HS, then put it HT. At first found HT was much more successful using the score. Then made myself slow down and play it without the score. That forces different mental pathways of how I know which notes to play when. It's very good practice, and improves my playing, even if I eventually I will play this piece using the score. Put it together periodically with mm. 17-20 -- see above about my concerns about gluing sections together. Perhaps I'll discipline myself to see what happens if I try keep sections more rigidly separate into a First Master, Then Glue sequence.

Another point on memory: something that I think I know HS, when I put HT my memory fails me, and one of the 37x harder factors of HT I guess is that I have to rediscover all the notes of the passage under the influence of HT: my HS helps but HT chips away at my memory and I have to rebuild my memory for each hand HT.

Grieg Lyric Piece 57.3 Illusion

I'm working on eliminating tension, and finding ergonomic finger, hand and arm positions. Did lots of letting my hand hang at my side in a neutral position, then lift it to the keyboard and move it, in that neutral position, from note to note, using my arm to place the correct finger over the correct note instead of stretching my fingers or angling my wrist. Don't know quite what will come of this, but I felt like it was good to explore "what would playing each note feel like in a completely neutral position?" I wonder if this is in anyway related to the "walking arm" concept of the Taubman technique. (Alert: I have absolutely no idea what the walking arm technique is, apart from knowing the name of it. For that matter, I don't know what "playing with arm weight" means either. I might be doing it or I might not.)

After that, I'm rearranginge the fingering on the descending RH figures in mm. 20-21 and mm. 24-25. I was playing them 135 on the chord, then 432 on the descending sixteenth notes. For example, 135 on FBE, 432 on DBG. I've changed that to 125 on the chord, 421 on the sixteenth notes.

In doing this I got thinking about pedal. My first realization was that the pedal is holding the chord, so I can free up 1 from the chord to use it in the sixteenth notes. My second realization was to think about which notes are being mushed together -- so now I'm changing pedal after the dotted eighth note, to separate it from the harmony of the following sixteenth notes. But I have to hold the bottom two notes of the chord into the first sixteenth note to keep that part of the harmony going. Anyway, this is interesting to practice because I haven't had to carefully practice pedal recently on any of my pieces; I've been able to pedal what I wanted without much conscious deliberate slow thought and practice.

I changed this because the original fingering was stressing my wrist, although I still have worries about whether there are underlying problems with my position, motions, and relaxation that I should clear up in the original fingering. Or was the original fingering just plain awkward and it's good to change it to something that feels better?

I want to get the Thomas Marks book that people have been talking about in the Pianist's Corner (title: something like What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body. I think.). In particular I want to find out if it talks about particular ways and directions of angling the fingers for chords, which seems to be what I've particularly been noticing issues with. In addition to that single interest, I'm now interested in broadly what I can learn from it for all aspects of my playing.

Grieg Lyric Piece 65.3 Melancholy

mm. 18-20 HT. More concerned with a steady tempo and accuracy, than speed. I've made progress on these -- I'm sure about where I'm going, I'm able to coordinate both hands, and I'm able to make the LH octave jump E to G accurately.

I've been reading the debates about octaves with 51 or 41 in the Pianist's Corner, and after some more experimentation I think 51 feels better. Plus I seem to have to do just as much in and out for 41 as I do for 51, so there's no savings by using the longer ring finger. This is after originally doing 51 because switching between 51 for the white notes and 41 for the black notes felt confusing, and then finding that I could do 41 on the black notes and it didn't feel confusing and in fact I liked the variety, and now seeing what switching back to all 51 is like. I know the idea is to fix one fingering at the beginning and stick with it, but I can't particularly help the pace of discoveries happening at the same time as I'm learning the piece. I don't feel confused by these shifts though. If I felt confused I'd stick with whatever was un-confusing and save the new fingering for the next piece.

RH mm. 16-18. Gaaah, the right hand figures hurt my wrist. These are ascending in eighth notes: ADB, AEB, and AFB. Don't have any more mental resources for looking for ergonomic ways to play these. Will return to these tomorrow. I think the Marks book might give me information that would help figure out how to approach them.

I think that I tend to tense up in subtle ways during overall intense practice on limited sections. This of course is helping to cause the wrist pains I've been feeling in various places over the past few practices. I tried just playing some music I know already, and thinking about relaxation as I went into it, and that was just fine. So I need to learn how to stay relaxed while doing my Bernhard-style practice.

Other practice

I had got my Alfred's All-In-One Level 1 book out to answer some questions on another thread, so I ended practice by playing through all the minor key pieces, all the folk songs, and all the blues/jazz pieces. The jazz pieces are among my favourites in this book. They tend to be pretty universally disliked on the Alfred's AIO threads, but I don't know why. Is it because people don't like the sound? Is it because they're an unfamiliar genre so people don't know how to make them swing to bring them to life? Is it because they have lots of accidentals so they're harder to play? I don't usually think of myself as liking jazz, but I really like these pieces. I'm thinking of making an Alfred AIO 1 Jazz Medley for my Quarterly Recital piece -- we will see if people like it, or if they still hate these pieces smile .
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2130353 - 08/09/13 11:53 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Journal 12, Thu., Aug. 8.

For focus, I think I really need to get a notebook in which I write the measures I'm working on for my 7x, an incredibly brief concise description of my goal for my 20 minutes, and possibly an evaluation of how it went. Just like woodog's journal in fact! I'm thinking this seriously now because in trying to think how last night's practice went, it's all a jumble. Plus I can tell in my practicing I could use some more conscious focus, which would be helped by writing my goal before I do it, and also by being able to quickly glance over previous days' goals and results.

Hooray, field trip to the notebook store smile ...


PS88

Just visit the website in my signature and buy Graham Fitch's series of ebooks. I have no connection with him other than a very satisfied customer. They are a GREAT value, and if nothing else, just buy volume 1, and there are pdf files that you can use to print off the journal worksheets.

I do know that I COULD keep the journal 'online' or 'on the computer', but I've found that my practice time away from the 'E-World' and phone world, and everything else world is golden for me. Pencil and paper is my friend.

also, be kind to yourself. Seriously, remember that everyone has those 'jumble' days. Mine was on Tuesday after a great day of work on Monday, I went way too long trying to get to that perfect, slow, accurate and relaxed last repetition, and finally quit when I realized it wasn't going to happen. The realization that it wasn't going to happen should have happened much earlier instead of the 10 or so repeats with mistakes.

So how did I celebrate this disgusting turn of events? I said to myself (and the cat) 'eh, I'll start fresh tomorrow, it'll be okay... after all, this is for me and no-one else'

Find joy in the process.

peace!

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

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#2130369 - 08/09/13 12:23 PM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Thanks, Forrest.

I did buy Graham Fitch's ebook Vol. 1 (I couldn't find later volumes?). But my computer is having a problem playing it: I can't turn the page past the introduction. I'll have to try to do some troubleshooting to see if I can get it to work.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2130380 - 08/09/13 12:52 PM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Grieg Lyric Piece 47.7 Elegy

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Worked on LH mm. 33-34, the arpeggio. Identified that my problems start with getting the first C# -- black key -- accurately. Reduced it to just the first two notes: F# octave 51 to C# 3. Experimented with playing F octave to C -- can reach the white key quite accurately. So I can see that I need to improve my black key accuracy. It's surprisingly difficult to fly my hand from F# to C# and come down centered on the black key. Did this in v---e---r---y s---l---o---w m---o---t---i---o---n.
How can I put this without being misinterpreted? smile

Slow motion is good. Fast motion is also good.

This is a slightly longer stretch than for a normal arpeggio but play it first without the low bass octave. Just the thumb on the F# and turn the hand as you would passing your 3 over 1 in a regular arpeggio. Only when you're comfortable and familiar with hitting the C# and the E add the little finger back on the bass octave.

1. Get from 1 on F# to 3 on C# slowly.
Turn you 3 over as you would a normal slow arpeggio. Release the thumb from F# at the last possible moment because it gives you a sense of keyboard accuracy - you're still in touch with the keyboard using your thumb as an anchor.

2. Hold the F# and make the move to C# rapidly (after mental preparation).

3. When you're getting good at hitting C# continue on to the E.
Also do this rapidly (though not rushing). Hold the F# in the thumb and prepare the C# and E. Only when you're ready move to the two notes.

4. When you're getting the C# and the E accurately and regularly you can start to add the bass F# at the start. This will be a staccato note held by pedal in the final stage.

5. Continue on to the A#. Do it slowly first and then do it quickly after mental preparation.

6. You can now slowly change from holding your thumb on the F# and turning to playing the octave as a staccato pair and moving the whole hand instead of turning 3 over (if you wish).
_________________________
Richard

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#2130396 - 08/09/13 01:03 PM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Thank you Richard, I think I have understood this time without misinterpretation smile .

I had been practicing it moving my whole hand. I will practice it with the turn-over instead, and only after I have that return to exploring whole-hand movement.

There's so much I don't know. How to practice arpeggios is one of them. frown
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2131428 - 08/11/13 09:57 PM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Journal 13, Fri., Aug. 9

Bach Prelude BWV 927

Extended RH to m. 13A. Learned the end of the phrase RH: m.14.

Kept on reviewing RH mm. 8b-13a, LH mm. 8b-13. It's getting easier to remember all of this.

Grieg Lyric Piece 47.7 Elegy

Tried the idea of turning my LH over on the F# to C# at the start of the mm. 33-34 arpeggio. Can't do it: it puts my left hand and/or arm in very strange positions. I wonder if Richard has a larger hand than mine, or longer fingers, that such a move could work for him. Go back to practicing for accuracy with moving my whole hand F# to C#.

Mm. 17-24 HS, re solidifying before putting HT together again. Not much to say; it's coming along but isn't fully there yet.

Grieg Lyric Piece 57.3 Illusion

Mm. 20-25, HT. working on coordinating the new pedaling and the new fingering.

Grieg Lyric Piece 65.3 Melancholy

Mm. 16-20 HT. Feels much better than it used to.

Exploring m. 17 and m. 11 with the 2 against 3 figure, and with shifting from duplet on beat 1 to 2 against 3 on beat 2.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2131440 - 08/11/13 10:26 PM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Journal 14, Sat., Aug. 10

I experimented with moving my piano bench much further back. It gives me a different and expansive feeling of command and reach at the keyboard.

Sitting farther from the piano, my head was tilted back too much from trying to see the piano music through the bottom of my bifocals. So I got out my piano glasses (repurposed from being computer glasses) for the first time in over a year. Aaack! My prescription has changed, so everything is hard to see -- at any distance; this isn't just a side effect of sitting at a different focal distance than what I originally had them set for. But they're just barely workable for music that I'm familiar with. Will go Monday to get new lenses with my most recent prescription and the new focal length.

After a period of laxness, I'm following 7x repeat of my sections. But then I'm at a loss for what to do I'm the 20 minutes of practice. I don't have a clear idea of desired improvement beyond just getting the notes. Will reflect in this for tomorrow's practice.

Bach Prelude BWV 927

Aha! Worked out the rest of m. 13 RH, using what I had observed about mm. 13-14 previously. Practiced mm. 12b-14 RH. Learned mm. 14-15 LH.

Grieg Lyric Piece 47.7 Elegy

Started mm. 25-34 RH, mm. 25-28 LH. Work on previous mm. 17-24 HS and HT.

Played through mm. 1-16. I had these down before I started my Bernhard practice, so this is just review, verification, and enjoyment.

Grieg Lyric Piece 57.3 Illusion

Played through several times, experimenting a bit with expression, testing for accuracy at various tempos. Located the next spot that needs dedicated practice: mm. 17-18. I want the LH G octave at the end of m. 17 to lead directly into m. 18, rather than representing an ending and pause of the previous phrase. To do that I think I need to memorize the notes for both hands in m. 18, so I can move directly to them. Right now I'm reading them too slowly.

Grieg Lyric Piece 65.3 Melancholy

Experimented with playing through HT mm. 1-25.

Worked on the various 2 against 3.

The fingering and coordination on mm. 16-20 is much improved from before I started Bernhard practice, except need more work on the 2 against 3 to feel confident that the timing will come out right every time.

Will choose some new individual sections to start on tomorrow; the playing through was largely for fun; I still need lots of HS and then HT sectional practice.

Others

Practicing just in little sections so much, I'm thirsting for some outright playing. Picked up my Philip Glass book and my Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook and played various pieces. Made a decision about what I want to play for the ABF Quarterly Recital, played it through several times and dedicated some 7x practice to the troublesome section.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2131560 - 08/12/13 06:46 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
1. Get from 1 on F# to 3 on C# slowly.
Turn your 3 over as you would a normal slow arpeggio. Release the thumb from F# at the last possible moment because it gives you a sense of keyboard accuracy - you're still in touch with the keyboard using your thumb as an anchor.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Thank you Richard, I think I have understood this time without misinterpretation.
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Tried the idea of turning my LH over on the F# to C# at the start of the mm. 33-34 arpeggio. Can't do it
smile
How do you play scales and arpeggios? The last possible moment in this instance is not when your middle finger is on C# but over A# as in a normal arpeggio. In a normal arpeggio the third finger should make A# before the thumb has to leave it's base on F#. Without looking at where it is you should be able to feel (sense) where it is while your thumb is on it's F# base. This leaves a really small leap for the middle finger but it needs slow practise to do it with the centre of the finger pad on the centre of the key.

Even if you can only make G# you've reduced the size of the leap to C# thus making it easier than moving your whole hand from 5-1 (octave) on F# to 3 on C#.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
But then I'm at a loss for what to do in the 20 minutes of practice.

Some suggestions from the Dr. Brent Hugh page:
1. Section by Section Practice.
2. Hands Separate.
3. Whole-Part-Whole.
4. Stops.
5. Finger groups.
6. Staccato.
7. Soft.
8. Loud.
9. Metronome slow to fast.
10. Metronome Up/Down in Steps
11. Metronome with sudden leaps in tempo
12. Metronome.
13. Count out loud.
14. Subdivide.
15. Practice for perfection.
16. Pencil Practice.
17. Record yourself.
18. Practice without pedal.
19. Visualize.
20. Use Variety
21. Plan on Working

Some from my own "book":
1. Fingers in centre of each key (accuracy)
2. 'Zero time' (holding the last note/chord and making the sudden, rapid change as close to instantly as possible after considerable mental preparation - great for chords/leaps).
3. Heavy metric accent (strong-weak-medium-weak, etc)
4. No metric accent
5. Exaggerated dynamics
6. No dynamics
7. Reverse dynamics (higher notes getting quieter, etc)
8. Releasing previous note before playing, while playing or after playing the next one.
9. Playing with other hand in lap (or above the keys)
10. Bernhard's 'dropping notes'

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
...dedicated some 7x practice to the troublesome section...
While this is a practice technique in and of itself (building repetitions), its use here (in the Bernhard method) is simply to check that it's a small enough section for 10-20 minutes of concentrated practise.
_____________________

I've just come across a very excellent post from Morodiene covering 'Four Sacred Steps'.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene (from elsewhere)
1) Play VERY SLOWLY, paying attention to all details, with the sheet music
2) Play up to tempo, paying attention to all details, with the sheet music
3) Play VERY SLOWLY, paying attention to all details, without the sheet music
4) Play up to tempo, paying attention to all details, without the sheet music

This looks ideal, to me, for sectional practise of repertoire (memorised) pieces.

It takes a while to discover how slow you have to play to pay attention to all the details. Part of the initiative in my "book" above is to isolate the details into accuracy, timing, dynamics, articulation and phrasing so only having to focus on one at a time.

Giving attention to these details doesn't mean slowing down from 72 bpm to about 60 or 30 bpm. It's about increasing the number of seconds between each note to consciously run through the checklist. There's a huge gulf between consciously playing each note and playing automatically with finger memory and nerve impulses.

Paying attention to all details requires bucket loads of memory or bucket loads of time.
_________________________
Richard

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#2131696 - 08/12/13 11:17 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
1. Get from 1 on F# to 3 on C# slowly.
Turn your 3 over as you would a normal slow arpeggio. Release the thumb from F# at the last possible moment because it gives you a sense of keyboard accuracy - you're still in touch with the keyboard using your thumb as an anchor.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Thank you Richard, I think I have understood this time without misinterpretation.
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Tried the idea of turning my LH over on the F# to C# at the start of the mm. 33-34 arpeggio. Can't do it
smile
How do you play scales and arpeggios? The last possible moment in this instance is not when your middle finger is on C# but over A# as in a normal arpeggio.

Oh! Heads off to the Misinterpreter's Corner to face the wall and hang head in shame wink .

Thanks for the clarification -- I'll try it.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
But then I'm at a loss for what to do in the 20 minutes of practice.

Some suggestions from the Dr. Brent Hugh page:
[...]

Thanks for all the suggestions. I guess what I mean is after the 7x I feel like "that's good enough." I will do some thinking about "what could be better" after the 7x, and also just plain trying various of the 20 minutes suggestions, to see if they make things better in ways I didn't even imagine in advance.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
...dedicated some 7x practice to the troublesome section...
While this is a practice technique in and of itself (building repetitions), its use here (in the Bernhard method) is simply to check that it's a small enough section for 10-20 minutes of concentrated practise.

I know that, but I see such good improvements just from repeating a section 7x, and as I said above I was at a loss for what more to do when 7x already makes it seem so much better, that I was stopping there. Now I'll try applying others of the 20 minute techniques to it, and see what more improvement they bring.


Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I've just come across a very excellent post from Morodiene covering 'Four Sacred Steps'.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene (from elsewhere)
1) Play VERY SLOWLY, paying attention to all details, with the sheet music
2) Play up to tempo, paying attention to all details, with the sheet music
3) Play VERY SLOWLY, paying attention to all details, without the sheet music
4) Play up to tempo, paying attention to all details, without the sheet music

This looks ideal, to me, for sectional practise of repertoire (memorised) pieces.

Interesting -- it means I will have to think about what I think ALL the details are in a section. I will add this to my bag of tricks.

Thank you for all this advice, and for taking the time to write it all up.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2131726 - 08/12/13 11:59 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Thanks for the clarification -- I'll try it.
The important thing is landing accurately on the C# so practise the last part, starting with your thumb under the ring finger and holding F#, 3 somewhere over A# (or G#?) and just make that last action where the whole hand moves to land 3 on C# then move back to the starting position and try it a few more times.

When you're comfortable go from there on to the E with 2 and later on to the C# with 1.

Then from your thumb on F# but before your hand has crossed 3 over it (probably over the A# an octave below). That's a long sweep for 3 but you should know where it is all the way up to the next A# and you've practised the last inch to C# already.

Finally go on from playing the low F# octave.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I will have to think about what I think ALL the details are in a section
Here's a starter.

Is the previous note to be released before playing this next note, as soon as I play this note or should both be sounding after I play it?
Do I play this next note on the beat, slightly earlier or slightly late?
Should it be louder than the last note or quieter?
How much louder or quieter?
What finger should I use and is it ready?
Will playing the note after this next one require special consideration?
Will the finger need to play this note or is it all arm?
Will it press, squeeze, stroke, persuade, hit or just fall on the key?
Should the arm be perpendicular to the fall for this note? Where's the weight?
Is the wrist leading/guiding the hand here or backing off?
Will arm weight be enough or should I add some force into it?
Is my finger over the next note or does it have to move?
If it has to move to a black key should I lay it across the key for accuracy and if it's a white key need I aim exactly for the centre of the key?
If it's between two black keys do I need to prevent against an adjacent key sounding?
If there's a leap coming up do I need to look yet?
If I do hit a wrong note (after all this preparation) will I be able to move to the right note easily, ignore it and know what the next note is or raise the finger rapidly on contact to lessen the impact?

If you're playing hands together there's a longer list.

Isn't it great to memorise instead? smile
_________________________
Richard

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#2138733 - 08/25/13 11:41 AM Re: Practicing what Bernhard teaches: a workshop thread [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Some of the ways I work coincide with things that Bernhard teaches in the PS collection. Of course other teachers and musicians will have been doing/teaching these things. They just haven't been out there. One of the things Bernhard talks about is altering the music in order to approach it. I think his example involves simplifying the music to get at its essential element, practising it that way, and then adding the notes again later on. In other words you can manipulate the music to get at it, analyze it, and practice it different ways. I've been taught to do this too.

I ran into something like that with the Grieg. I came to understand that the rolled chords (example below) start before the next beat even if they are written in the next beat. This affected the timing of when the notes came in, and also the timing of the pedaling. The version on the right is a scribble to show what the timing actually is. The little arrows are my shorthand for "pedal up-down". Written out this way, I can clearly see that the D,E,A all are part of the motion and pedal going with the C.



Then came the question of how to practice this and get that into muscle memory, especially since I've been working on it before realizing this. So last night I tried:
- first play just those notes that belong together with the C in the RH so that they start associating with each other.
- add the note and pedal just before that
- get that whole passage together while "keeping" what was practised
- * Do this every single place where Grieg writes that figure

The recording is a kind of synopsis of that idea which I tried out last night, on two of the figures. Some magic happened, because the melodic line had never been this clear, and it never landed strongly on the beat before. It had been sort of washed out because my concept had been vague.
https://app.box.com/shared/static/2vfeppvwb3ycjwsfhd4k.mp3



Edited by keystring (08/25/13 12:45 PM)

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