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#500653 - 12/16/07 02:46 PM Developing Technique
slerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 320
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
While I have played very hard pieces (for a 12 year old) like Beethoven's Moonlight sonata (3rd movement), Liebestraum... I find that I drop them after only three weeks.

The reason is this: I don't have that much dexterity OR power in my fingers. I practice Scales and arpeggios every day.

For example, Turkish March (Rondo Alla turca) was VERY easy for me... when I played it slow. All the notes were down. But what I had trouble with was the Crushed notes in the A, B, C#!!! A, B, C#!!! Section.

Then after that, I could not play the fast "runs" that well either.

The split octaves killed me the most. It caused me to drop that one also.

What can I do to help with scales? Should I Start doing another group of exercises like the "school of velocity"?

Does this have to do with my piano? You may have read that I have NEVER got to practice on a real, working, acoustic piano. I have a semi-weighted keyboard.


Please help me not develop bad habits that I will regret for the rest of my life!

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#500654 - 12/16/07 03:23 PM Re: Developing Technique
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2621
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sean Lerkvikarn:

Please help me not develop bad habits that I will regret for the rest of my life! [/b]
Can you afford a teacher? Having a good teacher is one way to avoid developing bad habits.
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#500655 - 12/16/07 03:28 PM Re: Developing Technique
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
I suggest you check out my comments regarding Hanon exercises in the middle of this thread , which apply to scales an arpeggios as well - bottom line, they are not as efficient at building individual finger power (and control) as are holding exercises. [Note: I posted this before I had a full understanding of the difference between STRENGTH and POWER. Everywhere that I ust the word STRENGTH, replace it with the word POWER. Read the links below for explanation]

Also check out these two links addressing this very issue:

Conversation with body-builders about building finger power.

Recent thread on Piano World about that conversation. (Don't be put off by rubber band suggestion - ignore it, it's not necessary.)

HOWEVER - dropping something after only a few weeks will get you nowhere. Technique must be built SLOWLY over weeks, months and years. I suggest doing either Dohnanyi or Schmitt exercises, starting out SLOWLY - no more than 15 minutes each hand, 3 or 4 days a week, try playing the non-holding fingers fortissimo and staccatissimo. Read safety warnings and comments about monitoring tension in linked threads.

I believe you can achieve good results, but probably better if you had a fully weighted keyboard to work on.

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#500656 - 12/16/07 03:31 PM Re: Developing Technique
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17836
Loc: Victoria, BC
First, it seems somewhat doubtful to me that you have really "played" pieces such as the ones you mention if you do drop them "after only three weeks." Pieces like these require long-term study, not only to get the notes well into the hand, as they say, but also to get interpretive questions sorted out and decided upon so that the pieces become your own. I doubt that even fairly advanced players would have anything approaching mastery of these pieces in three weeks.

Is it possible that you are trying to attempt pieces that are too advanced for you before you have the technique ready to reasonably approach them? Your comments about scales and arpeggios doesn't address the question as to how you practice them, and how successfully you achieve such things as evenness of touch, good dynamics and clean, even articulation. Slow practice is the key to progress in developing technique, and that should be done under the guidance of a teacher who can see what you are doing, how you are doing it, and what solutions can address the problems that arise.

Certainly, if you don't have clean articulation and good dynamics when playing arpeggios, you can't expect to play the third movement of the Beethoven "Moonlight" very convincingly.

Do you have a teacher? If so, then you should be addressing these questions to your teacher. Someone who cannot see and hear how you are playing what you play would be hard pressed to come up with recommendations that are anything more than pure guess work at this stage.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#500657 - 12/16/07 05:49 PM Re: Developing Technique
thepianist2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 191
Loc: NY
As everyone has said, you should get a teacher. Watch out, though: while many people say that any teacher is better than no teacher, I've seen some pretty bad teachers. I would recommend that you ask to attend one of the teacher's recitals for his/her students (if they don't hold recitals, I would scratch that teacher off your list). You want to hear both what the teacher's students can do and what the teacher can do. Listen to recordings, so you know the difference between good pianists and bad pianists. If there's a possibility that you can get a score of a piece to follow along while hearing a performance, that'll help you evaluate them. If a teacher has one student that's really good, and the rest are mediocre, I would be wary there. The student might have gotten that technique through a past teacher or in spite of the current one. If you get lucky and the teacher is top notch and so are his/her students, get that one. I did not do the above. I deeply regret it.

Also, the pieces you're trying are too difficult. I am 17, and I wouldn't touch the Moonlight 3rd Mvmt or Liebestraum without the assistance of a teacher at a college who's being paid thousands of dollars by a reputable school to teach. (But that's partly because there are no good teachers in my area, the closest college I'm looking at is a 3.5 hour drive from home.) Try the Bach 2-part Inventions, they're good for developing technique. The Chopin Mazurkas are worth looking at, too. I'm very fond of Debussy's first Arabesque. Of course, I don't know your technical level, so verify that you can play these with someone else (I'm not sure how, maybe you could post a recording of yourself.) In the meantime, keep searching the internet. There should be some good stuff out there to help you out until you find a teacher. I found bernhard's posts at the www.pianostreet.com bulletin boards to be particularly useful, but that's just my opinion. Hope this helps!
_________________________
Piano Hero Encore Rocks the 1800s!

Current Assignments:
Bach Prelude and Fugue in Bb Maj, D min, and C Maj from Bk I
Mozart Sonata K.280
Brahms Rhapsody Op. 79 No. 2
Bartok Six Roumanian Folk Dances
Prokofieff Visions Fugitives Op. 22

I'm going to Ithaca! Yay!!!

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#500658 - 12/16/07 05:56 PM Re: Developing Technique
slerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 320
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
I already do have a teacher, yes. I will remember to read that topic.

the thing about the pieces I drop is that I can usually play them with seperate hands, at normal tempo, but I cannot play both hands together.

My piano teacher is chinese, but I am thai, so we cannot communicate well. For example, she would used to say "like arthur" and I would not understand a thing. She actually meant "Legato".

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#500659 - 12/16/07 06:07 PM Re: Developing Technique
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17836
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sean Lerkvikarn:

the thing about the pieces I drop is that I can usually play them with seperate hands, at normal tempo, but I cannot play both hands together.

My piano teacher is chinese, but I am thai, so we cannot communicate well. For example, she would used to say "like arthur" and I would not understand a thing. She actually meant "Legato". [/b]
First : The "secret" to breaking the barrier you have encountered - if, indeed, you can[/b] play the pieces you mention hands separately, is to work on them slowly - very slowly - hands together. You're not going to get anywhere by trying to work them up to tempo hands separately and then hope that they will automatically go together with both hands without stepping back the tempo considerably, and working it up gradually.

Second : The best teacher is of little use to you if there is not communication - and good commuication, at that - between the two of you. It may be wise to think about changing teachers and working with one who can communicate effectively with you.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#500660 - 12/16/07 10:12 PM Re: Developing Technique
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Good advice, Bruce.

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#500661 - 12/17/07 03:31 PM Re: Developing Technique
slerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 320
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Thanks for all your insight:

I would like to get a new teacher, but this is the same teacher I have had for seven years, and I have no idea what to do to find a new one.

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#500662 - 12/17/07 03:54 PM Re: Developing Technique
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17836
Loc: Victoria, BC
Many people would say that seven years is too long to spend with one teacher. It may well be time for a new approach, all the more so since in seven years of working together the two of you "cannot communicate well."

You said that you are twelve years old, so it may be a little difficult at your age for you to take the intiative and go hunting for a new teacher. Perhaps your parents/guardian or a teacher at school could help you. Perhaps there is another piano or music student you know who could talk to you about his/her teacher and perhaps thereby open channels to finding a new teacher for you.

I would think that a teacher at your school might be a good place to start. Is there a music teacher at your school? If not, there may well be some member of the teaching staff who is interested in music and to whom you could speak about your piano frustrations and about finding a new teacher.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#500663 - 12/17/07 03:54 PM Re: Developing Technique
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sean Lerkvikarn:
Thanks for all your insight:

I would like to get a new teacher, but this is the same teacher I have had for seven years, and I have no idea what to do to find a new one. [/b]
Hi Sean,

I PM'd you.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#500664 - 12/19/07 12:39 PM Re: Developing Technique
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Hi Sean,

Like John, I've sent you a PM.

Ralph

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