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#424055 - 01/13/02 11:50 PM Practice and fingers
SnowSky Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/02
Posts: 8
Couple questions about piano practice, hope you guys can help me!
1. How do you practice a new piece? I always start slow until I can play all the notes correctly. Then do you add all the emotions at this time then increase the speed or other way around?
2. I found my little finger sometimes "curved" while I am playing scales. I don't feel my fingers tight and some people said that I don't have to worry about that. However, the other people said that it may affect my play in the long run. My question is, is it a serious problem? If it is, how to correct it?

Thanks everyone! It is a fantastic place!

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#424056 - 01/14/02 12:48 AM Re: Practice and fingers
aznxk3vi17 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/02
Posts: 701
Loc: Johns Hopkins University
Well, the way I practice, I start slowly as well. However, I try to play as accurately to the music as I can, which means, the emotions, dynamics, accents, etc. are played on the first reading. Speed comes last. However, some passages don't work well slow compared to fast, because it works a different part of your brain. On certain passages, you may have to practice slightly faster than you find comfortable.

I'm not sure about your curved finger. I have a double jointed fifth finger, so I can't say if it's good or not, because I have problems of my own I need to compensate for.

What piece is it? Just curious! \:\)

#424057 - 01/14/02 12:48 AM Re: Practice and fingers
Rodion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
there are a million different ways to learn a new piece, regarding everything from learning the notes to how or when you incorporate your musicality. i think it's a good idea to at least try and make yourself aware of the musical ideas and phrases while learning, if not actually bringing them out yet.

how you curve your fingers can depend on many things, personal preference, the style of the music, the technical aspects, etc...but when you play scales i think basically you want to keep a curve...especially on that first joint (from the tip) in each finger, you want to make sure it's bent when you press on the keys, and that it doesn't sort of collapse under the pressure. are you trying to play with flat fingers or something?
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

#424058 - 01/14/02 01:13 AM Re: Practice and fingers
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Anyone that asks how to practice will end up going a long way in learning to play very well, in my opinion. The fact that you are open to advice shows that you have given this thought, which already puts you ahead of many that stumble along!

I'm reminded of that story about Liszt, whose student asked him which fingering to use in a difficult passage. He looked at both options, and told her "master both, then choose." Well, if we all had 10 hrs. a day, maybe the advice would still be great. But, you need to do the next best thing: try everything that everyone suggests, give it time and try to understand the underlying concepts, and in time, choose what works best for yourself. Everyone is a bit different. But, there are some similarities, and you've hit on the most important: Yes, start with very slow practice, incorporating everything. Don't add emotions later, put all expression in, always. Practice slow, and. . . think! What are the notes, why the fingering, what's the harmony, think of rotation to voice to the top, balance between hands and within the hand, wrist movement, technical issues, etc. When you speed up over time, you won't have time to think these things, but they will be firmly implanted in your conscious and subconscious mind. Some of the concepts you need to always keep at the forefront of your mind, so that you can call on these to help you when necessary. For example, have you ever played wonderfully at home, then gone somewhere, sat down, and wondered why your playing sounded horrible, and you tell everyone "gee, I play it great at home!"

As for your second issue, it may not mean a thing. Horowitz was told that his curved fifth finger was incorrect, and that he would never be able to play well. I wonder if he ever went back to that teacher, and got his money back?


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