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#459222 - 01/29/05 02:03 PM How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
By learning = mastering/recital/recording quality. In other words, getting it GOOD.

Usually on smaller pieces like Chopin nocturnes it takes me a month to get it to a point where I have it memorized. Then another couple of weeks to do what I call "internalizing" - really letting the piece sort of settle down in my brain.

On multi movement pieces like Bach French Suites it takes about four to six months for the whole process from start to finish. So I guess about a movement per month?

Curious how long it takes y'all here.

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#459223 - 01/29/05 02:10 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1549
Depends on how long you spend on it.

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#459224 - 01/29/05 02:13 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
iamcanadian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1893
Loc: Canada
This would depend heavily on amount of practise.

I would say that when I am practising alot(4+ hours a day) I can put away a difficult Beethoven or Schubert Sonata in 1-2 months.

When practising less, I can make a piece last 6 months, easy. ;\)
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#459225 - 01/29/05 02:36 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
Etudes take a week for me, and sonata's usually about a month. Other songs, depending in difficulty usually take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month and a half.

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#459226 - 01/29/05 02:36 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
SONGs? huh

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#459227 - 01/29/05 02:54 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
BJenkins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/03
Posts: 197
Loc: CA
I work on quite a few peices at a time. Right now I'm working on 6. I practice about 4 to 6 hours a day. Most of the time I'm getting old peices ready for competitions, auditions or recitals too soo... But to get a peice done it takes me anywhere from 3 to 6 months. I don't believe these 1 week for etude crap. If your talking Chopin Etudes then you could have every etude done in both Op.10 and 25 in 6 months. Sorry I don't really think that's feasable unless your someone like agerich.

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#459228 - 01/29/05 02:57 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
ishldbpracticing88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 103
Loc: SC
Right now I'm learning Rachmaninoff Preludes Op. 23 Nos. 6 and 7. I've been working on them for 11 weeks, and had to prepare for a recital and a competition, using completely different repertoire from the Rach. I just got them learned to a point where I was able to play them in a performance class this afternoon. I'm playing them in a competition in 2 weeks. *Yikes!* Still have lots of work to do, though!!!
_________________________
"The aim and the final reason of all music should be nothing else but the glory of God and the refreshment of the human spirit."
-Johann Sebastian Bach

P.S. Rach rocks

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#459229 - 01/29/05 02:57 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mikester:
SONGs? huh [/b]
sorry, peices?

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#459230 - 01/29/05 03:38 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
let's see here... it varies, but most things take me a month and a half to two months to get them sounding pretty good. but I have to kind of live with them a while before they sound REALLY good. I think the Beethoven sonata I'm working on will take longer. At least to get the whole thing. There's so much to think about with every movement, and I hate memorizing. I think I have about half of it memorized and am doing most of my polishing work on just one of the movements right now. Kind of disorganised, but I'll get it!
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#459231 - 01/29/05 04:07 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
How long does it take to learn to play a piece well? That depends on your standards.

I've learned 2 sonatas, and they both took me almost a year to learn. I learned all of the notes of my Chopin Etude in 1 month, but it took a year to get all of the notes pretty well at a good tempo, and I am still working out mistakes. I guess this is what happens when one is too ambitious! (I played Beethoven's Appassionata at an audition Friday morning - afterwards, one of the professors said to me, "Why did you decide to play one of the three hardest sonatas for your audition???" (I've only been playing piano for 5.5 years). Needless to say, he told me I should have learned five or six of the early sonatas plus a set of variations first. Oops... \:D )

So I guess it depends on standards, it depends on experience, it depends on technique, and it depends on the music itself. It also depends on the teacher, and the dedication of the student.
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#459232 - 01/29/05 04:11 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
definitely true! the other thing that makes a difference is how well you practice. that probably affects things even more than how long you practice. If you practice really efficiently and try to accomplish a lot mentally it goes MUCH faster. I've also heard that as you get more advanced things genearlly start coming together a little faster.
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#459233 - 01/29/05 04:18 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Quidam:
I've also heard that as you get more advanced things genearlly start coming together a little faster. [/b]
Quidam, I agree with you wholeheartedly. This afternoon, I sightread the first 3 or 4 pages of Mendelssohn's "Rondo Capriccioso", both hands together. I sightread the right hand of the next 3 or 4 pages after that.

6 months ago, I could not have possibly done that. 6 months ago, I probably couldn't have even sightread the right hand for pages 3-8. I could have skimmed through it, but not hit every note.

These things definately get easier with experience.
_________________________
Sam

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#459234 - 01/29/05 04:19 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Alan(Lost) Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 56
Loc: Dublin
I like to throw away the sheet music as soon as possible. Example; it took 2 or 3 days to learn Rach Op.3 No.2 C#m (with loads of practice!! though it's still definately one of his easiest pieces). Then I could do the technical learning, get it up to speed, and use the notes only to refer to the dynamics and things.

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#459235 - 01/29/05 04:20 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
and then you just pick harder pieces so you don't miss out on working your butt off! :p \:D
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#459236 - 01/29/05 04:27 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18846
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by PianoBeast10489:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mikester:
SONGs? huh [/b]
sorry, peices? [/b]
Can we try ' pieces ' ?

\:D
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#459237 - 01/29/05 04:30 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
LOL!

have you ever noticed that you just never truly finish a piece? there's always something...
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Raspberry liqueur, apparently. :p

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#459238 - 01/29/05 04:32 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
 Quote:
Originally posted by PianoBeast10489:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mikester:
SONGs? huh [/b]
sorry, peices? [/b]
Can we try ' pieces ' ?

\:D [/b]
i usually say peices, i just wasn't paying attention.

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#459239 - 01/29/05 05:09 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Mr. E Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 426
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alan(Lost):
I like to throw away the sheet music as soon as possible. Example; it took 2 or 3 days to learn Rach Op.3 No.2 C#m (with loads of practice!! though it's still definately one of his easiest pieces). Then I could do the technical learning, get it up to speed, and use the notes only to refer to the dynamics and things. [/b]
Another similar question. Do most of you memorize first, and then make it into music? Or do you make it into music first, and then memorize? I do the latter. The last thing I do is memorize usually.

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#459240 - 01/29/05 05:55 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
This is a very encouraging thread.. I thought I was hopelessly slow...
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love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#459241 - 01/29/05 06:02 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
The fastest I've ever worked up a song/piece that I would consider recital-worthy is maybe two months. That one was just three pages, though.

I consider this a considerable triumph over my old pace of six months.

I tend to get bored if I don't have variety, so I have a lot of irons in the fire at any one time. I don't know how fast I could get a piece ready if I only worked on one piece.

Now *that* would be a funny challenge. All the ABs pick a piece to their liking and see who can get it recital-worthy first.

Not that I'm suggesting it or anything. I just have an overactive imagination! ;\)
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#459242 - 01/29/05 06:03 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Slow...? I'm really slow...Oh well - I still love it.
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#459243 - 01/29/05 06:04 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
And how would we "prove" it, Cindy? Not that I'm encouraging your over-active imagination!
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#459244 - 01/29/05 06:19 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
\:\)

Teachum, I'm already trying to think up a way out of this 1680 hours of practice thing next month.

That's a lot of practice!
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Vote For Cindy!!

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#459245 - 01/29/05 06:50 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Cindy, I hope that's not 1680 hours in one month - that would be 60 hours/day.
_________________________
Sam

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#459246 - 01/29/05 07:15 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3553
Loc: not in Japan anymore
When I work on a piece at the outer edges of my ability, it might take me 6 months or more to get it recital-ready. If it's an easier piece, then maybe 3 months is the shortest, although if the standard is only "playable," as in, in my living room for friends (as opposed to in a recital on the big grand) then maybe the shortest would be... well, still 3 months really.
And as someone else said, I always feel like material is never finished. I have a piece that I played in a recital last year, and whenever I play I still try to work on it and improve it. Sigh....

BTW, pianojerome and Cindy, wasn't it 1680 minutes? \:\)
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#459247 - 01/29/05 07:18 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
OK, 1680 minutes... that's only an hour a day, not too shabby. \:D

I'll go for 5K. (and then some more, probably)
_________________________
Sam

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#459248 - 01/29/05 07:26 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
it all depends on pieces, difficult levels or styles. it would take me forever to learn a Chopin's etude (so far i haven't finished any), but a week for 2nd part of Fur Elise or relean Mozart's sonata in C 1st movement, a month for Bach's prelude no.2 (still not smooth yet), and would take another month to finish the fugue. also, it took me about a month to learn 2 pages of Tempest's 3rd movement which means that i could only finish learning it at best in another 2-3 months for the remaining 7 pages if i focus on it daily, not to mention polishing time. ...sounds too long already!

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#459249 - 01/29/05 08:36 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
in response to an earlier question in this thread, I usually start memorizing as soon as I start working on a piece, and I try to memorize the musical aspects along with the mechanical.

my earlier time stated of two monthish to learn a piece is basically the bare minimum for most of what I've worked on, but hopefully in the future I'll be able to have things developed more in the same amount of time. kind of makes the brain hurt at first though...
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#459250 - 01/29/05 09:00 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
Mr Zaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/04
Posts: 72
Loc: New York
Oh, it takes me tooo long to learn a piece lol. But with school and life, it's hard for me to progress as fast as i'd like to. I do czerny etudes in 2 weeks, Bach inventions in 3 or 4 weeks, Beethoven sonatas in, ooh, not sure, a month or two.

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#459251 - 01/29/05 10:08 PM Re: How long does it take for you to learn a piece?
wldrumstcs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 405
Loc: Chicago
Well, it took me about 3 months to learn Chopin's Polonaise in Ab op. 53, and it took me about 2 months to learn Chopin's Ballade no. 1 in G-minor. However, I practiced the hell out of the Ballade to get it done for a recital.
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