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#2222448 - 01/29/14 10:52 AM What is your practice routine?
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 174
I'm curious, do you guys have a certain routine you (by and large) fall into when practicing. Now, I play for my own leisure so I just work on pieces when I have some time. But when I was practicing growing up, I remember my practice sessions usually proceeded like so: scales/arpeggios, then Hanon, then Czerny/Moskowski type etudes, then working on pieces. I read another post about the importance of warming up and warming down, which got me thinking about adding some structure to my practice routine. What's yours?

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#2222457 - 01/29/14 11:14 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
pianorigami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 290
Loc: United States
I will frequently use sight-reading as a warm-up as it gets my fingers moving AND helps me learn. I don't usually have time to practice both scales and Hanon, so I choose one or the other (usually Hanon... I know, I'm terrible).
Then I move onto whatever piece I'm most nervous about/needs the most work and work until I'm satisfied. I don't move on unless I feel there's nothing else I can accomplish in that piece that day.


Edited by pianorigami (01/29/14 11:15 AM)
_________________________
Currently working on:
1) Chopin Etudes Op. 10; Scherzo Op. 54
2) Beethoven Sonata Op. 53
3) Prokofiev Sonata Op. 83
4) Bach Prelude and Fugue in f# minor, WTC II
5) Grieg Concerto, Op. 16
6) Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 no. 3
7) Debussy Images, Book I

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#2222461 - 01/29/14 11:18 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
Danijelcro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 69
Loc: Croatia
My piano practice routine is:
Starting with scales/chords/arpeggios and hannon exercise(in different keys). Then I start playing some piano cover that I choose to play and after that I go for some classical piece.
Sometimes I also practice blues and boogie because its so fun to play it. About 2-4h per a day(sometimes even more when I have more free time).

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#2222464 - 01/29/14 11:22 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7606
Loc: New York City
I normally just do about a 10-minute warmup (the time for this could vary based on conditions) and then get right into pieces.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2222474 - 01/29/14 11:32 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 557
Warm up: Scales and arpeggios and reading/playing through Bach. I dumped Hanon and things of that sort. They're a waste of time, at least for me.

Then into pieces, improv, or whatever it is I'm working on.
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2222535 - 01/29/14 12:44 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1766
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I do all the major and some minor scales, then run through from memory (trying to be as musical as possible) a short list of pieces in my rep; then I do a little sight-reading practice well below my playing grade. (I'm a terrible sight-reader!)

Then I do the hard work on the 3 or so pieces I'm working on with my teacher.

I cool down by trying to play from memory the couple of pieces most recently "finished" with my teacher, but not yet musically internalized and reliably memorized. When that happens, they'll move to the rep list I play earlier in my normal routine.


Edited by ClsscLib (01/29/14 04:56 PM)
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2222537 - 01/29/14 12:44 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5145
I use Mozart's K545 (I) as a warm-up. Plenty of scales and arpeggios there, and you can't go wrong with Mozart. Then I go on to other pieces like Schumann's Arabeske (good for stretching, and the 'weak' fingers), and Chopin's 'Minute' Waltz, which I play fast if I'm ready. Then his Op.10/12. Once I can play that smoothly, I know I'm warmed up and ready for anything.

Well, almost wink .
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2222542 - 01/29/14 12:53 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: bennevis]
pianorigami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 290
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I use Mozart's K545 (I) as a warm-up. Plenty of scales and arpeggios there, and you can't go wrong with Mozart. Then I go on to other pieces like Schumann's Arabeske (good for stretching, and the 'weak' fingers), and Chopin's 'Minute' Waltz, which I play fast if I'm ready. Then his Op.10/12. Once I can play that smoothly, I know I'm warmed up and ready for anything.

Well, almost wink .

This reply was wondrous.
_________________________
Currently working on:
1) Chopin Etudes Op. 10; Scherzo Op. 54
2) Beethoven Sonata Op. 53
3) Prokofiev Sonata Op. 83
4) Bach Prelude and Fugue in f# minor, WTC II
5) Grieg Concerto, Op. 16
6) Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 no. 3
7) Debussy Images, Book I

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#2222604 - 01/29/14 02:33 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4794
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I have very limited practice time because I have a full time job and a family and house to take care of. I've never had the discipline or time to practice exercises.When I practice, I have identified ahead of time where I need to work and I dive right in. I don't spend precious time playing what I know. I work and save the playing for an end-of-practice session treat.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2222641 - 01/29/14 03:30 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 174
Ah, I have not thought about sight reading as a warm up but it makes sense.

Yes, I also use Chopin's 10/12 for left hand exercise from time to time. I'm working on 10/4 as a corollary for the right hand.

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#2222645 - 01/29/14 03:40 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
ChopinLives81 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1375
Loc: New York City
I play all 12 of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes first as a warm up and that gets me pretty pumped and ready for anything. Then afterwards I remove the CD and put it back in the case grin

I used to warm up by playing through all the pieces I knew at the time one by one but at a slower pace. It helped me memorize my entire repertoire and guess what, I was warming up with the very pieces I needed to perfect. These days I improvise on the piano and see where my fingers are in terms of dexterity then I follow up with playing through some etudes or sections of some and slow stretching chords.
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2222653 - 01/29/14 03:53 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: ChopinLives81]
Dwscamel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 467
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
I play all 12 of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes first as a warm up and that gets me pretty pumped and ready for anything. Then afterwards I remove the CD and put it back in the case grin


This is the best one by far grin.

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#2222661 - 01/29/14 04:16 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
ScriabinAddict Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 335
Nowadays slow forte hannon (MM 72ish per semiquaver) on 5 exercises, slow practice on some chopin etudes, and slow metronome practice on pieces I need to memorize to warm up. Afterwards I usually take a break for an hour and come back to start doing the real work.

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#2222720 - 01/29/14 05:59 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: Dwscamel]
ChopinLives81 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1375
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Dwscamel
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
I play all 12 of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes first as a warm up and that gets me pretty pumped and ready for anything. Then afterwards I remove the CD and put it back in the case grin


This is the best one by far grin.


whistle
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2223002 - 01/30/14 08:50 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: ChopinLives81]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1030
Loc: western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
I play all 12 of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes first as a warm up and that gets me pretty pumped and ready for anything. Then afterwards I remove the CD and put it back in the case grin

laugh

Mine is usually scales/chords/arpeggios, etudes, hour of work per piece for as many working pieces as there's time for, run-through of everything else that needs to be played that day (often includes previously learned repertoire that's being prepared for performance).

Sometimes I add sight-reading (right now I'm sight-reading my way through the Bach Little Preludes and Fugues) or a play-through of one of the Suzuki books.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2223044 - 01/30/14 10:25 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 174
How do you generally use scales in your practice? I never really understood the point of scales growing up--but the Guild auditions required them. If they were meant for teaching us theory, wouldn't it make more sense to transpose Hanon or simpler pieces on the spot? If they were meant for technique exercise, there were more technically demanding technical exercises out there to work through.

I think I should start adding some sight reading to my warm ups going forward.

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#2223065 - 01/30/14 11:04 AM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11959
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
How do you generally use scales in your practice? I never really understood the point of scales growing up--but the Guild auditions required them. If they were meant for teaching us theory, wouldn't it make more sense to transpose Hanon or simpler pieces on the spot? If they were meant for technique exercise, there were more technically demanding technical exercises out there to work through.

I think I should start adding some sight reading to my warm ups going forward.


Scales, chords and arpeggios are the building blocks of much of the music we play, so practicing them make it easier to have efficient fingering when we encounter them in a piece, even if the scale isn't exactly from tonic to tonic. The principles you learn in fingering, the technical work, and the pattern recognition are all benefits of practicing these. I didn't get it when I was little either. At this point, I don't spend much time on scales these days. Probably should though.

As for what I do, usually my practice time is in between lessons or a 45-minute chunk here and there. So I usually do slow practice on passages as my "warm-up". Then I gradually increase the tempo or work elsewhere in pieces as I am able to. Once I do this in a day, I'm pretty much warmed up for the rest of the day since I do some playing throughout teaching. Not much of a routine, but I do what time I can afford to do.
_________________________
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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#2223155 - 01/30/14 01:23 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21569
Loc: Oakland
On a good day, I will listen to what I am playing and enjoy it. On a bad day, I will listen to how I am playing and quit.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2223187 - 01/30/14 02:05 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1231
Four octave Scales (major: octaves, minor: octaves in three modes), block chords, and chromatics, then parallel/contrary/parallel/contrary/parallel. If major, scales in thirds, sixths, Overlapping arpeggios, cadences.

Then etudes (right now, Schumann's Album for the Young is in there)

Then repertoire, as you see below.

Takes me between 1.5 and 2 hours.
_________________________
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

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#2223193 - 01/30/14 02:16 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1231
I like scales because they allow you to simply concentrate on mechanics. Yes, everything we play should be musical and scales are no exception, but for some reason I feel less pressure when I play scales and consequently can focus on minutiae that otherwise I might not focus on as much. I experiment more with hand shapes and movement for some reason, where in my pieces I rarely want to take the chance that I'd have to go back to the drawing board on a particular phrase.

I switch keys a week, and in March will start again with c, but this time two keys a week (a major and its relative minor).
_________________________
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

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#2223337 - 01/30/14 09:03 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1030
Loc: western MA, USA
Scales etc. are for efficiency of movement and beautiful and even sound quality, in a way where we can focus purely on those things without being distracted by other challenges. Yes, I also need efficient movement and even sound quality in order to work on Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, but it goes much better if I've played some scales first.

When I was retraining after injury my professor had me play only scales and other scale-like exercises for a whole semester before I was allowed back on repertoire.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2224273 - 02/01/14 04:14 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
albumblatter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 144
Loc: Maryland, USA
Here's my routine.
Right after I wake up, I start with an accessible suite or sinfonia by Bach to open up a day. Nowadays I play Bach's French suites, one a day.
When my fingers are warmed up, I work on Dohnanyi's finger exercises for finger independence, tremolo, trills, and scales. This takes about 30 minutes.
For phase two, I choose a random sonata movement (usually the first movement or the one with sonata-allegro) by Beethoven followed by the slow movement and the finale of a random Mozart concerto. Afterwards, I sightread two romantic pieces. I usually go for a transcription of Schubert lieder for the tone and melodies, or Chopin's Nocturnes. But last week I spent working on Schumann's Sonata No. 2. I warm it down with a shorter piece by Poulenc -- a nocturne, maybe --, one of the skazkas by Medtner, or a lyric piece by Grieg.

And then the practice on my repertoire begins! I am working on Chopin's 4th Ballade, 1st Concerto, Beethoven's Op. 90, and Feinberg's Sonata No. 2.


Edited by albumblatter (02/01/14 04:15 PM)

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#2224277 - 02/01/14 04:25 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7606
Loc: New York City
So every day, for a warmup, you play a complete Bach French Suite, a movement of a Beethoven sonata, two-thirds of a Mozart concerto, two Chopin nocturnes, a Grieg lyric piece, and 30 minutes of technical exercises? That seems to come out to, on average, an hour and a half of warmup a day, before you even get to the pieces. laugh
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Polyphonist

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#2224346 - 02/01/14 07:14 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
albumblatter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 144
Loc: Maryland, USA
Haha, it sounds like a lot more than it needs to be, when I put them all on the paper, but yes -- I skip the repeat signs, at least smile
I usually skip the Beethoven sonata and the concerto part when I don't have to worry about upcoming competitions, but I have a couple ones and a big recital that I had shared with the website not too long ago.
I was fortunate enough to attend Maestro Perahia's masterclass, and one great lesson that he shared with the rest of us is that he opens his day by studying and playing a Bach Chorale. I thought that I would do something similar to his approach.


Edited by albumblatter (02/01/14 07:16 PM)

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#2224646 - 02/02/14 01:38 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: neuralfirings]
compianist1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 121
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
I'm curious, do you guys have a certain routine you (by and large) fall into when practicing. Now, I play for my own leisure so I just work on pieces when I have some time. But when I was practicing growing up, I remember my practice sessions usually proceeded like so: scales/arpeggios, then Hanon, then Czerny/Moskowski type etudes, then working on pieces. I read another post about the importance of warming up and warming down, which got me thinking about adding some structure to my practice routine. What's yours?


it all depends of your goals. Personally I think this warming up and down thing is overrated, unless you are a concert pianist, are a professional performer or you play the Flight of the Bumblebee for fun. Also, with Hanon and scales I think there's an expiration date. I don't see the point of practicing the same scales up and down for 15 years. I don't play just classical so with me it's a lot of different stuff.

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#2224689 - 02/02/14 03:01 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: compianist1]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1422
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: compianist1
Also, with Hanon and scales I think there's an expiration date. I don't see the point of practicing the same scales up and down for 15 years. I don't play just classical so with me it's a lot of different stuff.

You practice scales because you probably can play them more quickly and smoothly than you do now.

But yeah, if you are at maximum possible smoothness and speed, I agree with you.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2224701 - 02/02/14 03:28 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: compianist1]
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1083
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: compianist1
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
I'm curious, do you guys have a certain routine you (by and large) fall into when practicing. Now, I play for my own leisure so I just work on pieces when I have some time. But when I was practicing growing up, I remember my practice sessions usually proceeded like so: scales/arpeggios, then Hanon, then Czerny/Moskowski type etudes, then working on pieces. I read another post about the importance of warming up and warming down, which got me thinking about adding some structure to my practice routine. What's yours?


it all depends of your goals. Personally I think this warming up and down thing is overrated, unless you are a concert pianist, are a professional performer or you play the Flight of the Bumblebee for fun. Also, with Hanon and scales I think there's an expiration date. I don't see the point of practicing the same scales up and down for 15 years. I don't play just classical so with me it's a lot of different stuff.


I agree on it being overrated in some circumstances. For me, I work on pieces exclusively. When I have a piece that has more technical demands than I can accomplish, I find a piece that focuses on that type of issue and work on that.

It's not that I'd recommend my system (if you could call it that) but that's what I do for the limited time I have to play. Almost all my practice time is stolen time.

But I wouldn't play something long and difficult when I first sit down at the piano. There is a certain mental and physical state that does not turn on like a light switch. But warming down? This is the first time I've heard of it. It's probably not necessary.


Edited by Pathbreaker (02/02/14 03:31 PM)

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#2224724 - 02/02/14 04:19 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: compianist1]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5145
Originally Posted By: compianist1
Personally I think this warming up and down thing is overrated, unless you are a concert pianist, are a professional performer or you play the Flight of the Bumblebee for fun. Also, with Hanon and scales I think there's an expiration date. I don't see the point of practicing the same scales up and down for 15 years. I don't play just classical so with me it's a lot of different stuff.

If you play pop or easy-listening, with no fast runs or rapid arpeggios or tricky figuration, there's no point in warming up. Anyone can sit down at a piano and start playing RH melodies with LF chords, even with stiff, cold fingers. But try playing say, Mozart's K330 (1) with cold, stiff fingers and you'll soon get unstuck. As for Chopin's Op.10/1.....

I've never heard of any concert pianist 'warming down'. What for??
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2224840 - 02/02/14 08:13 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: bennevis]
compianist1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 121
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: bennevis

If you play pop or easy-listening, with no fast runs or rapid arpeggios or tricky figuration, there's no point in warming up. Anyone can sit down at a piano and start playing RH melodies with LF chords, even with stiff, cold fingers.


You can find difficult music everywhere, even in ragtime music. You'd be very surprised.

As for 'anyone' can do this or that, the real question is, can you do it? Pop means 'popular', it doesn't mean 'dumbass music'. Pop includes anything from ragtime to progressive rock and jazz to any fusion of these styles. In many of these styles quite technical solos are improvised, especially in jazz, and many of the solos you find in jazz aren't exactly 'easy listening'. Get some scores by well known jazz pianists, you'll see for yourself.

I don't warm up when I play the Turkish Rondo', and I play it quite quickly. Often I start practicing the RH pp section at normal speed, I don't feel the need to warm up to anything, it's not like I have to prepare for a marathon. If I were a concert pianist playing a set of Beethoven sonatas, then I'd warm up, so like I said before, it depends on goals

As for 'warming down', looks like no one's got the joke yet smile

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#2224850 - 02/02/14 08:37 PM Re: What is your practice routine? [Re: compianist1]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5145
Originally Posted By: compianist1


As for 'anyone' can do this or that, the real question is, can you do it? Pop means 'popular', it doesn't mean 'dumbass music'. Pop includes anything from ragtime to progressive rock and jazz to any fusion of these styles. In many of these styles quite technical solos are improvised, especially in jazz, and many of the solos you find in jazz aren't exactly 'easy listening'. Get some scores by well known jazz pianists, you'll see for yourself.

it's not like I have to prepare for a marathon. If I were a concert pianist playing a set of Beethoven sonatas, then I'd warm up, so like I said before, it depends on goals



If you've ever run a marathon, you'd know that there's no need to warm up, unless it's very cold, or you're an elite and intent on qualifying for the Olympics. On the other hand, try sprinting 100m flat-out without warming up, and see what happens......

So, jazz is the same as pop music, eh?
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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My Kawai CA-95 does not record drum patterns
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