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#360409 - 04/10/06 08:07 AM Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
Hi there, this is my first post, so hello everybody!

I'm 17 years old, have been playing the piano for about 8 or so years but only with enthusiasm for the last two. I completed my grade 8 in December with distinction(to get some idea of my standard) playing Rach Prelude in G#, Grieg sonata in e-minor and a Debussy Prelude.

My problem is that i am almost working on my own now. I have had the same teacher all this time, but until i can know the notes and memorise them i can't really get any help from her, because only then can she teach me how to play the piece - technically i haven't come across anything i couldn't work my fingers around yet.

The thing is, i am so slow at learning. My note reading is poor, so i have to memorise the piece almost bar by bar. I'm working on Chopin etudes 10-12 and 25/11 and the Ballade in G minor. I know these are probably above my standard but i haven't really had trouble with them so far - i can play the first half of 10-12 up to speed as well as some of the harder portions of the Ballade.

Do i need a new teacher? I only have a half hour lesson every two/three weeks now- but i feel like i need to have someone hold my hand through learning the piano. I guess my note-reading will progress through learning by myself, but i find it hard sometimes to motivate myself this way.

Apologies for pouring out my piano-related heart!

George

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#360410 - 04/10/06 11:38 AM Re: Learning problems
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
What you're doing is not unusual. Concert
pianists are notoriously bad sight-readers,
since they play everything from memory
and there is therefore no need to develop
sight-reading skills. A classical pianist
with good sight-reading skills serves
a different function, for example, playing
with the sheet music as an accompanist to
a singer or a group of string players.

When a pianist such as yourself asks a
question like this, it usually has its
origin in some kind of incident with a
supposedly good sight-reader.
The good sight-reader, unable to
play from memory and jealous of your
ability as a concert pianist, makes
some kind of derisive comment about
your lack of sight-reading skill, which
then eats at you and makes you start to
question your worth as a pianist because
you can't read well. Or, a fellow concert
pianist, who doesn't play as well as you,
makes the claim that he "can work things
up real fast because of his great reading
ability," but of course this is a lie
told in malice to get you to start to
doubt yourself.

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#360411 - 04/10/06 11:47 AM Re: Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
So, what your saying is that my slow progress is ok and entirely normal? It is true that i have come across many people who can 'pick up and play,' and thats not my ambition - my performing skills are what matter to me. Once i know the notes in a piece, my work is almost done since i can perform a piece well. Its just learning it - it seems like a lifetimes worth of effort for each piece!

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#360412 - 04/10/06 12:01 PM Re: Learning problems
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
This is not unusual. For a concert pianist,
memorization is everything, it is the
only thing that counts--how you go
about the memorizing is irrelevant; it
could be fast, slow, etc.

You've come across people who APPEAR, or
CLAIM, to be able to pick up and play.
These people are notorious for their
lies and deceit and have been around since
the invention of the instrument--they are one
of the unavoidable hazards of the piano
playing profession.

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#360413 - 04/10/06 12:02 PM Re: Learning problems
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
Picking up and playing is the short part of work - for a pianist who wants to seriously undertake a work, unless they are EXTREMELY gifted, you would have to spend a lot of time digesting phrasing, articulation, etc...not to mention your interpretation. So IMO it's better to slowly go through it and do it right (I am quite a good sight reader, but when learning a new piece I always go through it at an extremely slow tempo)

Your situation with lessons is similar to mine - I go to my teacher for an hourly lesson every 2-3 weeks. I find this works nicely - as afterall, you want to have your teacher critique your playing and give suggestions for improvement (and occasionally more technical things), rather than spend a whole lesson reading through pieces. Unless you are actually unhappy with your current teacher, I would stick with her!

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#360414 - 04/10/06 12:15 PM Re: Learning problems
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
For example, one of the oldest and most
malicious tricks in the book is for someone--
who knows you are trained in the concert
pianist way and are therefore not a good
reader--to pick up a score in front of you
that he "never saw before," and play it
flawlessly. But of course he was very
familiar with the piece and is doing this
out of spite because he will never be able
to play as well as you. If you fall for
this sham, it can have a devastating effect
on your self-confidence and can make you
start to doubt your worth as a pianist.
You can begin to feel that you are taking
too long to work things up, when some
others can do it "effortlessly." Show
me the pianist who can work stuff up
fast and without much effort and I'll
show you a liar and a deceiver.

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#360415 - 04/10/06 12:36 PM Re: Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
Gyro, its not really that - my problem is not really about wanting to sight read anything i want, i think its more that my memory skills are poorer than i'd like. For instance, i said i was working on Chopin Etude 25/11 - the first run that goes down almost chromatically took me hours to learn.


I think that i'm just impatient- i know i will get there eventually with pieces but when they take a year to learn, it can be frustrating.

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#360416 - 04/10/06 12:38 PM Re: Learning problems
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
What you're doing is not unusual. Concert
pianists are notoriously bad sight-readers,
since they play everything from memory
and there is therefore no need to develop
sight-reading skills.
[/b]
On the contrary, most concert pianists are phenomenally good sight readers. They have to learn the work before it gets memorized so they have to read the notes. And often they have to learn works quickly, so they have to be excellent sight readers. Of course, there will always be a few exceptions to this, but in general sight reading skill is closely related to performing skill IMHO.

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#360417 - 04/10/06 12:47 PM Re: Learning problems
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 808
Loc: Whittier, California
Well, Op. 25 No. 11 is a real killer of a piece and is way harder than your other two pieces. Your teacher should have told you that. Anyhow, you should always memorize since you are a performer. However, you should probably try to improve your note- reading skills so you can memorize a little faster. I memorized the Op. 10 No. 12 etude in one month.(A year ago, I couldn't memorize anything.) Also, when you memorize, look for patterns or harmonies that you can remember. If you want more detail about that, just ask me. Real good concert pianists, like the kind who go to Julliard, can get pieces together in a week.
I have lessons with my teacher every week, and we go over near- completed pieces. It's hard work, but if your looking to be professional, you have to aim for something high and find your way to getting there. I think you can. You're already playing hard pieces.
_________________________
I don't know what the meaning of life is- I'm too busy to figure it out.

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#360418 - 04/10/06 01:00 PM Re: Learning problems
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
What you're doing is not unusual. Concert
pianists are notoriously bad sight-readers,
since they play everything from memory
and there is therefore no need to develop
sight-reading skills.
[/b]
On the contrary, most concert pianists are phenomenally good sight readers. They have to learn the work before it gets memorized so they have to read the notes. And often they have to learn works quickly, so they have to be excellent sight readers. Of course, there will always be a few exceptions to this, but in general sight reading skill is closely related to performing skill IMHO. [/b]
i agree! my teacher is excellent in sight-reading since he does both solo playing and accompanying. he could read almost everything i put in front of him in tempo, and he doesn't even think his sight-reading skill is that special as i think it is. my sight-reading skill is also improving because he always asks me to look at music at lessons.

my advice: sight read music even if you have memorized a piece, and always follow or glance through notes when it's possible (unless you need to look at keys sometimes), which in long run will help you.

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#360419 - 04/10/06 01:08 PM Re: Learning problems
tenuki Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 669
Loc: Seattle, Wa
Take this with a grain of salt, but...

Do something different and something different with happen.

I'm finding "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" by Chaun C. Chang to be very useful in learning how to learn. Your mileage may vary, but the key point I'm trying to get across is if you aren't happy with your progress, try changing your practice regime. This is true for a lot of different kinds of human endeavors. Memorization of anything can improve with the proper kind of practice.
_________________________
Only the humble improve.

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#360420 - 04/10/06 01:21 PM Re: Learning problems
evert Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 11
Loc: Amsterdam
Sight reading helps you to get a complete picture of a peace in an early stage.
So that you work on details only after you roughly know how you actually want to play the peace.

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#360421 - 04/10/06 01:34 PM Re: Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
Thanks for the advice everyone. General conclusion seems to be that improving my sight reading will help me to learn and memorise pieces quicker - i think thats the way forward.


Contrapunctus - my teacher seems to have confidence that i can manage it, more so than myself anyway! Still, i like a challenge and if i want to do it, i will do it \:\)

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#360422 - 04/10/06 01:43 PM Re: Learning problems
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17670
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
What you're doing is not unusual. Concert
pianists are notoriously bad sight-readers,
since they play everything from memory
and there is therefore no need to develop
sight-reading skills. [/b]
I have to wonder what purposes the above over-generalization, added to the comments about concert pianists and "memorization is everything" ... "oldest and most malicious tricks" ... "people notorious for their lies and deceit" ... "lie[s] told in malice" ... can serve to the poster who asked questions about his slow-learning skills and need for motivation.
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190 in satin ebony
Writing from Paris until 15 May, 2014

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#360423 - 04/10/06 01:44 PM Re: Learning problems
tenuki Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 669
Loc: Seattle, Wa
One of the stranger suggestions I got around memorization was to manually copy the piece you want to play to staff paper and learn/play off your copy. I bet it would work if you also sightread to keep your note recognition skills high. But I can't manage more than a few measures a day. I guess by the time I have the peice copied it will be memorized.
_________________________
Only the humble improve.

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#360424 - 04/10/06 01:47 PM Re: Learning problems
tenuki Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 669
Loc: Seattle, Wa
Gyro, the one concert lvl pianists I personally knew can sightread anything at will and sound good. So my data point of one is contradictory to your opinion. ;P
_________________________
Only the humble improve.

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#360425 - 04/10/06 01:50 PM Re: Learning problems
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Contrapunctus:
Also, when you memorize, look for patterns or harmonies that you can remember.[/b]
The majority of pieces are based around some kind of pattern (at its most basic form!). For example, if a section is modulated, like the recapitulation of a classical sonata, then it is sometimes worth familiarising yourself with the new key, and then 'approximating' the notes before you go through with a score. This might not be considered the 'best' way to learn a piece, but it is certainly one of the quickest. My teacher said to me that a great way of practising this kind of thing is by taking Bach fugues, and playing them in different keys.

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#360426 - 04/10/06 03:53 PM Re: Learning problems
Oleo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/06
Posts: 46
As far as I know there is no “fast” way to improve sight-reading. (If someone out there knows of a way, please speak up!). However complete mastery is possible with time, patience, consistency, determination and practice. Depending on the person/application/use of correct methodology, it should take anything from three months to two years to get good at sight-reading.

Sight reading (not to be confused with reading music) is in many ways similar to learning a foreign language, both in process and in the difficulties that you will encounter. You cannot learn it fast (say in two days), but you definitely can master it if you put enough effort into it.

Rather than telling you what to do, I would direct you to Howard Richman’s “Super sight-reading secrets”. Follow the book and you will get there. (I think you can get it from Amazon, and also from his website – just google search for Howard Richman)

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#360427 - 04/11/06 09:30 AM Re: Learning problems
tolovemoon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/06
Posts: 152
Loc: South Carolina
Remember the little tips like

Every Good Boy Does Fine - lines
F A C E -space
Does anyone know what the other one is?
I have bad memory too...

I will never forget having to write, count, clap, tap, chant stuff like 1 e & a, 2 & & &, 3 &, 4 &...
I thank the band director for his persistance in teaching..
Try books like this
Better Sight Reading ...through a clearer understanding of rhythm and time counting by Pat Garnett.
It seems like a ton of writing instead of playing but trust me you will get so much out of it if you are wanting to improve..
_________________________
Peace!

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#360428 - 04/11/06 09:41 AM Re: Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
Green Buses Drive Fast Always

All Cats Enjoy Greig

Are the other two!

I spent an hour on Rach's prelude in C# today, and made really, really surprising progress! Its a lower difficulty than the ones i'm trying at the moment, maybe i should focus on pieces of this kind of standard for a while.

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#360429 - 04/11/06 11:34 AM Re: Learning problems
pianoanne Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 649
Loc: Pacific NW
I agree that it is best to look for patterns in music. Don't go through trying to figure out each note without relating it to the other notes around it or in the passage. I tell my students to block passages into chords (all the notes that you can play before changing your position). For example in a B Major scale, right hand, they play the first 3 notes as a chord with correct fingering, then move the hand and play the remaining 5 notes. After that they all tell me how much more sense everything makes and they rarely still have problems learning the notes. All thats doing is organizing notes into bigger units so it seems there is less to learn. Look for things like that to add to your practicing, it really speeds up the process.

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#360430 - 04/11/06 01:37 PM Re: Learning problems
Herr_Gnome Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 83
Loc: Houston, TX
Gyro is right. All this sight-reading stuff is an elaborate hoax. For that matter, classical music in general is a lie, made up so that jazz and pop musicians feel bad about themselves. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart... never existed. You remember that 10.4 Richter video. Never happened. In fact "Richter" was a Soviet animotronic puppet designed to humiliate Capitalist pianists.

Sorry everyone, but I could no longer keep this dark and terrible knowledge a secret.




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#360431 - 04/11/06 02:39 PM Re: Learning problems
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
yeah, right! what a secret!

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#360432 - 04/11/06 06:49 PM Re: Learning problems
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1579
Loc: Helsinki, finland
concertus,

First of all, let me say that I'm very happy for you that you can play such hard pieces that you listed after having learned the notes. I'm very envious! With difficult pieces like those mentioned, I have to work for a long time until they sound good enough, BUT, I have no problems with LEARNING them. Want to trade? You'll give me your great technique, and I'll give you my learning/sight reading skills ;\)

But seriously, all pianists have different problems. I think its important to remember that the best thing one can do to become better is to find ones WEAK spots - in your case, sight reading and memorizing - and to practice THAT, instead of practicing the things that you are good at already - technique for instance. Instead of practicing Hanon or Czerny to improve your technique even more, try to improve your memorization skills as much as possible. Learning A LOT of new pieces is a good idea, but chose smaller works instead of large works. Your problem is quite common I think, but don't give up! You said that you've only played "with enthusiasm" for two years, and if you keep learning new pieces, I'm sure you'll improve your learning and sight reading skills.

I could try to help you with more ideas, but it would be great if you could tell us what other pieces you have played earlier, and I'm also wondering if you had problems with memorizing easier pieces, stuff that you worked on a few years ago for instance? Can you remember any piece you learned recently which you DIDN'T have problems with memorizing, or which didn't cause you AS MUCH trouble? Is it harder for to learn a Bach fugue than it is for you to learn a mozart sonata? If the answer is yes but you don't know why, try to find out why it is harder for you to learn certain pieces.
Also, it would be great to know HOW you learn new pieces. Since your sight reading skills are bad, maybe it would help to listen to a recording while reading the score, a few times? When learning pieces, do you learn them hands seperately, or hands together? Whatever your answer is - try to do the opposite and see if it works better. Do you just learn the notes at first or do you work out the best fingering immidiately?

I have to stop writing, but one last thing I can say is that about 8 months ago I decided to be more careful when learning new pieces. I started doing everything VERY VERY slowly, bar by bar, in order to learn AS MUCH AS I COULD at the same time - fingering, dynamics, legato etc - instead of doing one thing at the time. At first it was hard to do this because my hands weren't always doing what I was telling them to do - when I was concentrating on doing the right fingering in the right hand, the left hand forgot what to do etc. But you have to remember that when you are learning a new piece, you are never really doing everything at the same time; first, you look at the sheet music to see what your right hand is supposed to do, then you decide the fingering in the right hand, then make sure you're playing legato and doing everything else right... now, the right hand is "programmed" to do whatever its supposed to do when you want it to do it, and now you can concentrate on your left hand for a millisecond, taking a look at the score, deciding fingering etc etc... and you also have to make sure that the dynamics are right, and that you bring out whatever else is in the score. You have to understand that this is what every pianist does, with the difference that those who are experienced can do it a lot faster than those who aren't. I'm no expert on this at all, but my guess is that if you really want to improve your memorization (and sight reading/score reading) skills, try to find out HOW MUCH TIME it takes for you to do the things I just explained - seperately. That is, after seeing notes on the score, how much time does it take before you can "localize" the notes on the piano? And then, how much time it takes for you to decide the right fingering? (remember, however, that deciding the right fingering requires you to see or know what comes next in the score) How much time do you need to make sure that you are playing with the right dynamics etc?

Maybe it will make you confused! But after only a few months, you'll see a lot of improvement, I promise. After seeing and playing a passage 2-3 times I often have the fingerings memorized (unless its very awkward...), at slower speed of course. Try to learn a short passage from a piece - how many times do you have to play it before having it memorized, with fingerings? Do it hands seperately if it's too hard hands together.
Anyway, what you will learn from THINKING of all of these things when learning a piece - fingering, dynamics, phrasing - is that after having worked like that for sometime, all of those things will come MORE NATURALLY. After a year or so, you won't be thinking "fingering" or "dynamics" etc at all, because your brain will be so accustomed to it that learning the right notes will come as natural as breathing... And learning new music will become much easier for you.

One last idea from me, before I go to bed, is to study theory if you aren't doing that already! It will help you a lot.

Martin
_________________________
http://www.martinmalmgren.com/

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#360433 - 04/12/06 07:56 AM Re: Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
Martin, can you be my teacher?!! ;\)

First of all i'd like to clarify, i cannot 'play' the pieces i listed above - i'm working on them. I can play around two pages of the Revolutionary etude and around three pages of the Ballade in G Minor (dotted around the whole piece - mainly the harder parts, i like to get them over with!)

I'll describe my learning process with you. Usually, i read the notes slowly and play them, looking at my hands, then score, then hands. I then just look at my hands when it is memorised. This works well for simple structures in pieces like chromatics or arpeggio-like runs.

Unless the score is easy technically, where i will play whilst reading the music and won't necessarily 'learn' it, for instance the first page of the Ballade.

It would be hard to tell you what pieces i have played earlier because the answer is: not many! I have worked through my grades 1-8 (missing a few in between) which have included

Debussy: Le Petit Negre, Minstrels
Brahms - Intermezzo in A minor
Grieg Sonata in e minor
Bach/Beethoven (can't remember! shocking i know) - Rondo
Rachmaninov - Prelude G# minor

I have also dabbled in the following (can play around 30-70% of)

Chopin - Revolutionary etude, Valse op.64-2, the Ballade
Debussy-Golliwogs Cakewalk, Arabesque 1, Clair de Lune, Reverie.
Scott Joplin - Maple leaf Rag.

As you will probably realise by now, my knowledge of several classical composers is pretty awful. I have never (really) played Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. My musical interests are more romantic, i.e. Brahms, Rachmaninov, Chopin.

To answer your question about memorising, if something has a pattern then i find it much easier. That is why i've found the Revolutionary etude easy to memorise - its full of patterns and repeats in that left hand. The op.25 no.11 on the other hand i find almost impossible to memorise.

Lastly, i have grade 2 theory and that is it \:\) I pick up a lot of stuff from the music i work on, obviously, but i agree, it could have been a lot easier the other way round!

Thankyou for your suggestions! I've picked a smaller piece - Rach's prelude in C# and i'm concentrating on the second page, after the slow chords at the start. I'll learn it how you suggested - taking everything in at once, but slowly.

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#360434 - 04/12/06 06:39 PM Re: Learning problems
fnork Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1579
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Concertus,

hehe, you deserve a better teacher than me \:\) But I hope I can learn you something, at least. This is just a quick answer as I have to go to bed soon, but after reading your post I wanted to comment a few things:

 Quote:
Originally posted by concertus:
Unless the score is easy technically, where i will play whilst reading the music and won't necessarily 'learn' it, for instance the first page of the Ballade. [/b]
I believe you are making a big mistake here, although I know a lot of pianists do the same mistake. I think you should concentrate on LEARNING the first page of the ballade even though it doesn't present the same technical challanges as some other spots in this piece,like the coda for instance. Fewer technical challenges don't necessarily make a passage/section/piece easier, and the opening of the G minor ballade is, imo, a DIFFICULT opening. Just listen to a few different recordings, and you'll see how differently various pianists interpret it. How do YOU want to play the first page? Since you don't have any big technical challenges, focus on EXPERIMENTING, trying different ways of playing it. Are you playing the accompaniement quiet enough, without disturbing the melody? Maybe the accompaniement should be played even more quiet, or a bit louder? How about the melody, maybe it should be played louder, or with more/less nuances? Should you play with some rubato, or more strict in time? EXPERIMENT! The goal is of course to make a CONVINCING INTERPRETATION of the piece, and a good start is, as I said, to experiment as much as possible. Don't just play around with the first pages, try different things, try playing it a bit different every time.

Did you notice that I told you in the beginning, that you should concentrate on LEARNING the first page of the ballade too, but then I didn't really say how you should learn it? Because when you'll start thinking about the things I just told you about experimenting and making a convincing interpretation, learning the piece will come without that you'll even notice it. No, you shouldn't be sitting in front of the piano thinking, "I have to memorize this measure, then this measure...etc", because you won't learn a piece fast that way. Think about how you want to play it.

In other words, DON'T concentrate on memorizing the piece, and you'll learn it much faster! \:\)


 Quote:
Thankyou for your suggestions! I've picked a smaller piece - Rach's prelude in C# and i'm concentrating on the second page, after the slow chords at the start. I'll learn it how you suggested - taking everything in at once, but slowly. [/b]
Again, I think it's a mistake. Especially since what you need when learning something new is to get some kind of vision of the WHOLE piece, so you should start from measure one, not from the "fast, loud and fun" part... Now, since your sightreading skills aren't the best maybe I shouldn't recommend this to you, but it's always a good idea to sightread the piece you are about to learn a few times, to get a vision of the whole piece. That way, you won't be surprised when it turns out that the piece doesn't evolve the way you thought it would or something like that... And also, you'll understand the relationship between the introduction and the other sections of the piece.

Thats all I had to say this time... goodnight!
_________________________
http://www.martinmalmgren.com/

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#360435 - 04/12/06 07:18 PM Re: Learning problems
concertus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 41
fnork;

In regards to the C# minor, i know the piece extremely well from several recordings, so i do have an idea of the piece as a whole. I started on the second page only because it is tenchnically harder, and i have to learn specific fingerings whereas with the chords, they fall into place. I'm also treating it as a sight-reading excercise more than anything - if i finish the piece then thats a bonus. I've played through the first page, and the huge chords after the crashing run down to them, a few times, so they have not been neglected!


Its interesting you should comment on getting an overall picture of a piece though. I have been in two (relatively low-key) competitions recently, and in both, the adjudicator said that they felt as if i hadn't looked at the piece as a whole, and the architecture of the piece. I also tend to overindulge in my own interpretation of a piece and disregard dynamics etc in the score slightly - but that is not the point of our discussion.


In regards to the G-minor ballade and the points you make about focusing on that which is not just note-playing. Here, i'm in open water. I don't really get advice from my teacher about this - hence my asking if i should look around for a new one. I play a piece with influences on how i've heard it or seen it played (theres around 4 different versions i've seen here http://www.piano-e-competition.com/MIDIVIDEOFiles.htm and i've heard Rubensteins as well) but also on how i think it should be played. If you asked me about phrasing, articulation, you would receive a blank face.

I aim, for instance in the G minor ballade, to bring out the melody of the right hand whilst keeping the accompaniment distant almost. I'm having trouble pedaling as well - my teacher says not to use it at all in this section (along with the lovely section that follows it), but i think it helps to create that distant, echoey feel that i sense in the music anyway. Incidentally, because of this disagreement i have played this section over and over, with and without pedal and have learnt it by doing so, therefore proving your main point in your last post!

Do you ever feel like you could talk to someone forever about this measure, that line, this piece? ;\)

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#360436 - 04/12/06 07:43 PM Re: Learning problems
mmmmaestro007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 420
Loc: australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by tenuki:
One of the stranger suggestions I got around memorization was to manually copy the piece you want to play to staff paper and learn/play off your copy. I bet it would work if you also sightread to keep your note recognition skills high. But I can't manage more than a few measures a day. I guess by the time I have the peice copied it will be memorized. [/b]
there is a good tip to improve sightreading here-say if you have trouble reading chords-grab some staff and write maj7,min7,dom7,half dim and diminished chords starting with root position and cycling round in fifths and go through all inversions

and also try to read lots of new scores \:\)
_________________________
"musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythym and harmony find their way into the inner places of the soul" -Plato

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#360437 - 04/12/06 08:29 PM Re: Learning problems
Wandering Weezard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 369
Loc: Indiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by tenuki:
One of the stranger suggestions I got around memorization was to manually copy the piece you want to play to staff paper and learn/play off your copy. I bet it would work if you also sightread to keep your note recognition skills high. But I can't manage more than a few measures a day. I guess by the time I have the peice copied it will be memorized. [/b]
You know, around my area, they say that reading something twice and writing it once will lock it into memory. Perhaps, this could be useful to the poster?
_________________________
Dreaming of a grand...

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#360438 - 04/13/06 08:50 PM Re: Learning problems
xyz2004slc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 353
The problem that you have right now is that either
1. Your teacher doesn't know your problems and can't help you learn HOW to practice efficiently.
2. You need another teacher who is able to teach you HOW to practice.
Memorizing and learning bar-by-bar is NOT the way to go.

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