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#545967 - 02/18/09 08:20 PM Can Anyone ID this Method?
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 178
Loc: Los Angeles
I picked up a great practice method from my college days, but can't trace it to anyone. Sound familiar anyone?

Break the piece into musical sections
Put the sections in order from most difficult to easiest
Practice with the metronome according to difficulty, always beginning with the hardest and moving towards the easiest
Once you reach the designated temp, practice short-long, long-short, short-long-long-long, long-short-short-short.
Practice the landmarks for each section
Play landmarks backwards,
etc. etc.
Does anyone know who developed this method? Or if it's a combination of methods?
Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008

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#545968 - 02/19/09 12:24 AM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method?
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19040
Loc: Victoria, BC
It doesn't look necessarily like a "method" to me, but rather a collection of a few practice techniques, some of which are based on common sense.

I don't understand, on the other hand, the idea of always[/b] working from the hardest to the easiest sections. There comes a point where sections have to be put together in order and transitions have to be worked out, not only technically but artistically.

What is meant by "short-long, long-short, short-long-long-long...." etc., unless it's simply the rhythmic patterns for the practice scale-like passages. Those patterns certainly won't work for passages that are not scalar in nature.

- - - - -
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#545969 - 02/19/09 11:05 AM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method?
Phlebas Offline

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
As Bruce said, it's just fairly basic practice techniques that a lot of people use, and are familiar with. Not sure about the short, long, long, business, but sounds like practicing in rhythmns, which is also a fairly common practice technique.

#545970 - 02/19/09 11:27 AM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Question: What is meant by "short-long, long-short, short-long -

This sounds like counting dotted eighth-16th note combinations.

0000 (4 16th notes equal a quarter note)

00 (2 16th notes equal an eighth notes)

A dotted eighth note is 3/16th (tied)followed by one 16th. Or written in reverse (1/16th - 3/16ths)

The dot comes in to use because one 1/16th has been moved to add to one note, and the flag or beam subtracts.
Dots add by half the duration of the notehead
Flags/beams subtract by half the duration of the notehead.

To me, the rest of it is an accumulation of "practice strategies", I'm not sure they are attributle to a specific person, or when they came into "play".

I would ask that you consider playing the easier "practice areas" first as they will disappear from the list as finished more quickly than the really difficult "practice areas". To objective is to get them off of the list. Then perhaps one could use the gained time to increase the number of repetitions of the difficult areas.

Also when doing isolated practice of certain measures, it's a good idea to add the measures you've been working on separately, back into the content of the total phrase (or section) it comes from to make sure the small section is played accurately and naturally when placed back in the whole.

One big clue to working over your head is the number of "practice areas" that are difficult.

The fastest way to results is to understand and verbalize the concepts of the practice area. Analyze and plan better for what it contains - work it over by identifying the content, don't just blindly keep stabbing at what you are seeing, think and plan and if it's error you are dealing with, by all means do something different, make a change.


#545971 - 02/21/09 12:08 PM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method?
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 178
Loc: Los Angeles
I love this method and will try to answer your questions (and maybe sell a few of you on it).
I find that in practicing the most difficult through to the easiest sections according to tempo, that it solves the problem of most of the practice time inevitably being spent on the easier sections of a piece - usually the beginning and the end. It forces you to be comfortable with the most difficult section first, so that it gives you the appropriate time with it, rather than it always being under par in comparison to other sections.
Also, the sections are always practiced beginning at the end to the section previous, so that transitions flow. The sections are musical sections, so that also helps maintain the musicality of a piece.
Also, this method (or practice technique) requires that from the slowest/beginning tempo, all expression/dynamics/fingering, etc is worked out perfectly. In other words, from the very beginning, you're playing the piece as you always will play it, except for tempo.
The section practice has really helped me to organize my practicing. I don't get lost in a piece anymore. It also aids memory of longer pieces because you've practiced the sections in connection. You know what they come after and what they lead into.
The short-long-long, etc is another memory technique. You ignore the rhythm of the piece and apply this rhythm as you play thru the sections.
Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008

#545972 - 02/21/09 12:17 PM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method?
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 178
Loc: Los Angeles
just another note -
the short-long-long-long etc. isn't really a particular value. The "short" is beginning on a note and as quickly as possible moving to the next and then two longer notes after the second. it's muscle confusion, so you have to really know the piece in order to change the rhythm. the different combinations also help you refine your own rhythm as you hear the note combinations in a new way. It's also a great technique for working on speed b/c you're teaching your muscle to switch more quickly. but confining it one note at a time.

to betty,
what i like about this method is that the easy sections are NOT pushed out of the way at the beginning, instead they become part of the entire process. i think pushing the easy sections out of the way tends to let them become sloppy. by incorporating them into the sectional practice, you'll move a bit slower in conquering them, keeping them a bit closer in development to the more difficult sections.
the more difficult sections do get the most practice though. if i'm working thru all the sections at metronome marking X, I may have to play the difficult sections 20x before I can increase the speed, the easy sections maybe only 3x.
hope that makes it a bit more clear.
Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008

#545973 - 02/21/09 12:26 PM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method?
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2718
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
My favorite book on piano practice is Charles Cooke's "Playing the Piano for Pleasure" (1948) In it he quotes the pianist Poldi Mildner's reply to his question on her practice methods: "I learn first the hard parts, ja." I do that with some pieces but most of the time I prefer the sense of forward progress as I nibble my way measure by measure from beginning to end. I do isolate the hard parts for extra dedicated attention, a procedure Cooke describes colorfully as "setting fractures."
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

#1172212 - 03/31/09 06:14 PM Re: Can Anyone ID this Method? [Re: MrsCamels]
Klavierspielen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/09
Posts: 18
I know exactly which teacher gave you this practice method and I can tell you her name! smile Though I don't know where it came from directly. Like everybody else is saying, I think it's really just a combo of good practice techniques. I was reading this post before I realized it was you who wrote it, and thought, "that DOES sound familiar!" Wow, I think I need to start doing more of those things again.



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