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#2165986 - 10/14/13 10:17 AM On average how long would you spend on a song?
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Please do not get me wrong. I am not looking for a prescription 30 min, 1 hour, 3 days or any other. It seems I need to spend 3 hours to 3 days to get a 2 page song (early-mid beginner).

However, have a more nuanced question?
When pianists (Pros or non Pros or music majors) are presented with a new piece are they just supposed to play it on spot just winging it or do they spend hours on practising and perfecting it and finally memorizing it?

Is an advanced player supposed to just wing it the first time he or she sees a piece or even the pros progress slowly everyday on sonatas and original pieces?

Warm regards, and thank you
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#2165992 - 10/14/13 10:33 AM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
Please do not get me wrong. I am not looking for a prescription 30 min, 1 hour, 3 days or any other. It seems I need to spend 3 hours to 3 days to get a 2 page song (early-mid beginner).

However, have a more nuanced question?
When pianists (Pros or non Pros or music majors) are presented with a new piece are they just supposed to play it on spot just winging it or do they spend hours on practising and perfecting it and finally memorizing it?

Is an advanced player supposed to just wing it the first time he or she sees a piece or even the pros progress slowly everyday on sonatas and original pieces?

Warm regards, and thank you


This is a good question. Before I answer the topic question, though, I want to address your question about "winging it". While sight reading skills aid in the initial stages of learning a piece, not much time is actually spent sight reading - or playing a piece straight through - from the get go. Too much time in this stage will actually result in little to no progress and only add to frustration.

Pros, music majors, etc., all have to spend lots of time on detailed, specific tasks. It's a slow and painstaking process, but those who are efficient will maximize their time and really get to perfect things sooner.

Now to answer you initial question, this time does depend on the individual. I do believe, however, that there is a sweet spot. I have many students who will fizzle out on their enthusiasm for a piece if they don't make considerable progress from the start. The piece then tends to drag on and without the noticeable improvement, the student wants to give up and practices less.

On the contrary, when a student is diligent and task-oriented from the beginning stages of learning a piece, they progress at the fastest rate possible and thus they are inspired to continue to progress. If something causes them to not practice for a few days or a week, then it's pretty difficult to jump-start things again, but if they can overcome this hurdle usually they'll be fine. Too many hurdles usually result in giving up on the piece, however.

Just a note: "fastest rate possible" could mean weeks or months.
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2165993 - 10/14/13 10:34 AM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Depends on the difficulty of the song.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#2166000 - 10/14/13 10:46 AM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5455
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Morodiene has the best answer, I think.

But I can say, as a player of all intermediate pieces - old 1940's tunes, old song-books tunes that are arranged much like songs in old hymnals, etc. - I can almost never put a tune in my performance rotation until I've spent at least three months on it. And sometimes much longer. One friend's teacher told her not to play a public performance of a piece she hadn't been practising for at least a year.

Playing in performance, of course, is a different kind of environment, but I think it's good to know that no one, at any level, does things without a lot of practice. So don't get impatient, or feel like you're not progressing when you can't just wing it.

I'll have to admit that I sometimes have to wing it laugh But I've never tried to wing a piece I haven't played for a long time. I have to know something really well to be able to keep going past the mistakes - wing it - in a performance laugh

Cathy
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#2166001 - 10/14/13 10:46 AM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 740
It's relative to the skill level of the pianist.

Ski resorts categorize their slopes using a standard system

* green circles are easiest
* blue squares are intermediate
* black diamonds are harder
* double black diamonds are the hardest

First timers on the mountain creep down green slopes, knees awkwardly turned in, upper body rigid as a board. The steeper pitches of the more difficult slopes aren't within reach.

To expert skiers, these green slopes are almost as exciting as pulling their car into their driveway. They literally don't have to think to navigate the terrain. Furthermore, when you see an expert on such a slope, the expert skis very differently. Nice sinuous tracks on the snow. Fluid upper body. A balance between relaxation and tension. Now, put that expert on a double black diamond and you may see them sweat a bit.

Music is the same way. For me, right now there's stuff I couldn't do given a year of study, some stuff I can pick up within a week or so, and some stuff that I don't have to even think about to play. For my teacher, the same is true--it's just that he can do some of the stuff that takes me a couple weeks at first sight and that he can get with a couple weeks some stuff that I couldn't get within months.

Generally speaking, pros are expected to deal with pieces more efficiently. My teacher picked up a Grieg lyric piece for a wedding in a few days; the same piece took me lots and lots more work. For popular music, pianists in a band or accompanists are frequently presented with stuff they have to play from sight. Part of the skill set there is not just to replicate what's on the page, but to get the gist of it while looking at it so that you can simplify chords and rhythms on the fly.
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2166009 - 10/14/13 11:08 AM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
angelsong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/13
Posts: 81
Loc: NW England
"When pianists (Pros or non Pros or music majors) are presented with a new piece are they just supposed to play it on spot just winging it or do they spend hours on practising and perfecting it and finally memorizing it?"

Thanks for this question (pianolover85) - I love it when people ask questions that I realise I would love to know the answer to, even though it hadn't actually 'formed' as a question in my head - if that make sense!

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#2166031 - 10/14/13 11:55 AM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
One other distinction I'd like to make: while pros should be able to wing it when necessary, few would choose that given a choice between more to prepare vs. a few days. Having a deadline is great, of course, but the sweet spot where the deadline pushes us to do our very best but it not too soon so that we can't produce something we are proud of is sometimes tough to find.
_________________________
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MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2166048 - 10/14/13 12:53 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Doritos Flavoured Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/12
Posts: 98
Loc: Brazil
a song? probably half an hour or so

a piano piece? could take days, yes wink
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#2166067 - 10/14/13 01:18 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: Morodiene]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Well thank you for your great answer. It made me consider things more in detail. I feel much better now.
You mentioned:

"While sight reading skills aid in the initial stages of learning a piece, not much time is actually spent sight reading - or playing a piece straight through - from the get go. Too much time in this stage will actually result in little to no progress and only add to frustration."

I am 6 month into my journey and you are completely right. sight reading especially with the piano in front of me is so frustrating. I always have a piece, review it in the bus or free time at school and get the notes and come home and then try to play it...so I always analyze a piece before before even sitting at the piano- usually at the rate of a page a day.

I always thought I am doing something wrong with this approach.
I like to be a composer in the long run so maybe that is why I am so over analytical.

"Pros, music majors, etc., all have to spend lots of time on detailed, specific tasks."

Could you elaborate on these tasks? I currently work through 4 star book level 1 by RCM. is this something similar?

Could you also elaborate on being task oriented when you say student is task oriented enough? What do you mean by that?

Thank you
It was a great answer - You really are a great teacher smile
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Peace and love and play smile

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#2166076 - 10/14/13 01:27 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: angelsong]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
You are welcome. It just shows our common experience and why I love this forum.


Edited by pianolover85 (10/14/13 01:28 PM)
_________________________
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#2166079 - 10/14/13 01:29 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: Morodiene]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7516
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
Please do not get me wrong. I am not looking for a prescription 30 min, 1 hour, 3 days or any other. It seems I need to spend 3 hours to 3 days to get a 2 page song (early-mid beginner).

However, have a more nuanced question?
When pianists (Pros or non Pros or music majors) are presented with a new piece are they just supposed to play it on spot just winging it or do they spend hours on practising and perfecting it and finally memorizing it?

Is an advanced player supposed to just wing it the first time he or she sees a piece or even the pros progress slowly everyday on sonatas and original pieces?

Warm regards, and thank you


This is a good question. Before I answer the topic question, though, I want to address your question about "winging it". While sight reading skills aid in the initial stages of learning a piece, not much time is actually spent sight reading - or playing a piece straight through - from the get go. Too much time in this stage will actually result in little to no progress and only add to frustration.

This is not true. You will find that excellent sight-readers (like myself) can learn fairly difficult pieces simply by reading them over and over again.
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Polyphonist

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#2166146 - 10/14/13 02:59 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California

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#2166147 - 10/14/13 03:00 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11448
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianolover85


"Pros, music majors, etc., all have to spend lots of time on detailed, specific tasks."

Could you elaborate on these tasks? I currently work through 4 star book level 1 by RCM. is this something similar?

Could you also elaborate on being task oriented when you say student is task oriented enough? What do you mean by that?

By task-oriented, I mean having a specific goal with a practice session or part of a session. You can do this at any level of repertoire.

For example, if you are having trouble in m.20-28, it makes little sense to practice from m. 1 every time. Go straight to the troublesome measure and work it out. How exactly you work it out depends on the specific problem you're having with that measure and what notes it contains. But some examples of detailed work can be playing block chords, playing in rhythms (swinging 8ths), playing with different accents on beats of parts of beats, playing staccato instead of legato (or vice versa), things of that nature.

Of course, once you get that problem worked, out then you will want to incorporate it back into piece so you would then play the preceding and following measures of the passage in question to see if there are any issues getting into and leaving m. 20-28.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2166222 - 10/14/13 05:24 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 993
Loc: Southern California
The replies seem to be mostly focused on classical masterworks. There are other sides to piano, piano bars, pop songs, church music, dance music, playing for a singer, studio work.

Especially for studio work, the musicians are all expected to be able to play at a recording level with only a few minutes to look over the music. My church pianist/keyboard player is that fast. The singers bring their sheet music with them at 8:30 a.m. and after one or two brief walk throughs, the pianist does a mini concert of other music from 8:45 to 9, and is ready to play live at a high level for the singer at 9:10 a.m. Not every church pianist is up to this standard. Some may request the sheet music a week or more in advance so they can learn unfamiliar songs.

For choir it is often similar. One choir pianist that I know could do similar. The choir director handed her new sheet music, and a minute later the pianist was good to go.

When working with singers, the ability to transpose up or down on the fly, to start at any measure when called out by number, are other useful skills and fairly common. Again, not every choir pianist or church pianist can sight read, ba-da-bing, and be ready to play live for an audience a minute after being handed new sheet music, but the better ones can.

As for me, I am an early beginner and often spend three or four months on relatively simple pieces with simple arrangements.
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my piano uploads

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#2166271 - 10/14/13 07:11 PM Re: On average how long would you spend on a song? [Re: pianolover85]
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 285
I only spend 10 minutes a day on a tune, out of my 30 minute practice routine, and have two tunes going on at any time, so alternate between them each time.

One is an easier jazz piece from a book with an SMP (sheetmusicplus.com) rating of 4 (Intermediate) which takes around 6 months to get up to speed.

The other is a harder intermediate piece, one of the Bach Two Part Inventions. The first one, No.14 took me about 2 years to get up to performance level.
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