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#944386 - 07/22/08 10:03 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
A major scale in sixths is just that, regardless of what you may be thinking at the time. [/b]
I am interested in what AZN was thinking, and that is why I asked *him* that question that question, of what *he* (not you or I) was thinking. One can indeed perceive it as two modes being played side by side - in what context might a person be perceiving it that way?

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#944387 - 07/22/08 10:27 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
No, you can't perceive it as two modes at once. Isn't *he* a *she*?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944388 - 07/22/08 11:03 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Keyboard Klutz...

First of all, I agree with John that "slightly out" is a better description than "out".

Second of all...I cannot believe that you would say things like "never" or "always reach with fingers". I have really enjoyed your posts on this forum, but those "always" and "never" close a lot of doors for a pianists.

If we are discussing a primary technique for playing in general, then it is a different story. We can agree to respectfully disagree.

There is a time and place for both techniques in repertoire. In fact, repertoire will call for many techniques other than the two we are calling into question.

If you read my post, you will see that I am talking about merely one technique to be used in scale practice. When using arm weight for scales, leading with the elbow is a good supplement to the movement.

The idea is that this movement and feeling will be mastered within the safety of a technical pattern, then another can be explored...very likely your "reach with fingers" technique.

Try to shape a phrase in a delicate brahms intermezzo without using arm-weight and blended movement (leading with upper and lower arm).... or try to play a fugue with clarity without using your fingery reaching technique.

Both can be done, but both could be done more effectively through using more appropriate techniques.

We can sit and go back and forth...lead with elbow...reach with fingers.

In the end, it is like debating what is better to have...a sedan or an SUV. It really depends on what you want to do at the moment you are driving. So it's good to have both in your garage.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944389 - 07/22/08 11:21 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I'm afraid I have no use for either car or garage. The sensation of tone production is at the finger tips. That's where your consciousness resides. The body, elbows and all, takes care of itself. Sorry if find this sounds intransigent; it's supposed to be. By the way, I was born in BC. My grandad's buried in Prince George. How about that!

Steve, B Mus, DipABRSM, PGCE, BUM
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944390 - 07/22/08 11:37 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Prince George huh?

When are you going to move back to the land of mosquitos?

Actually, it's beautiful up there.

I have to say that I have found most of your posts (over the years) to be authoritative. I don't yet fully agree with your "arms will take care of themselves" comment. I am certainly willing to go spend a little time trying it out.

After all, years ago I opposed my teacher when she told me to lead with my elbow...then fell in love with the technique when it really worked when used appropriately

Then I opposed my Next teacher who told me to play with a "spark in my fingertips", then became convinced when I played with more energy and clarity than ever before.

I'll give it a shot.

I just happen to want a 10 car garage.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944391 - 07/22/08 11:42 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:

Steve, B Mus, DipABRSM, PGCE, BUM [/b]
...I love it!

Guess I'd better start practicing the scales too :rolleyes: , especially after reading pianoexcellence's excellent first post in this excellent thread! \:\)

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#944392 - 07/22/08 11:53 AM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Well, how gentlemanly of you pianoex to consider trying my suggestions. Here is Thomas B. Knott from Pianoforte Fingering (1928 - when my dad was born, also BC):
 Quote:
The sole object of 'fingering' is to obtain the best possible performance in the easiest manner. The ultimate object must always be the SOUND [sic] through the requisite key. In degree, as there is consciousness of physical means during a performance, by so much will a performance fall short of the best.
I like the 'spark' analogy. It conjures up the magic of the whole thing. I saw it with my own teacher.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944393 - 07/22/08 12:17 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi klutz ...
Couldn’t agree with you more about distancing yourself from the unhappy analogy of gas-guzzling US vehicles ... but then, who would want to own a motor car in London? (EII perhaps)

Talking of which ... I thought you might like to share a giggle with our top cartoonist Zapiro in celebrating the magic of Nelson Mandela ... here’s Z’s swing at the Buckingham Palace
passing parade ...

mandela

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#944394 - 07/22/08 12:20 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Too true. I don't think anyone's lining up for a photo op with her!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944395 - 07/22/08 12:35 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KBK - wow, this thread suddenly exploded.

You asked what I teach. What I do is watch my students very intensely to see how their body works and then work with them to achieve clean sound and velocity. Most of the time, we end up with the arm leading, but not always. And as their body grows, techniques change/adapt.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#944396 - 07/22/08 12:43 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Calm down John! The good thing about finger tips is they don't grow! I just heard - Batman's been arrested! Now that's an explosion. And already there's a cover up!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944397 - 07/22/08 12:44 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Just an analogy everyone...BTB ;\)

For the record I only have one car and one motorcycle.

...and I drive a fuel sipping Mazda 3 hatch. No Toyota Sequoia here. (the gas guzzler of choice in my area)
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944398 - 07/22/08 12:45 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Double Post
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

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Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944399 - 07/22/08 12:49 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Elise_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 81
Loc: nyc
I know this is almost inappropriate but indulge me..
I love it when piano teachers debate their "dogma" or as my teacher calls it his "religion"... It is all so scientific !!!

Back to my hole.. practicing away.. not scales today though..

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#944400 - 07/22/08 12:50 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
My sense was of John jumping, Steven Segal-like off some moving, exploding vehicle. Cripes!

edit: thanks to pianoex (double post, my arse) my sense is now nonsense. Oh well...
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944401 - 07/22/08 12:52 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Elise_B:
I know this is almost inappropriate but indulge me..
I love it when piano teachers debate their "dogma" or as my teacher calls it his "religion"... It is all so scientific !!!

Back to my hole.. practicing away.. not scales today though.. [/b]
Feel free. This staffroom's walls fell down ages ago.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944402 - 07/22/08 12:54 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
Elise_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 81
Loc: nyc
I did raise my hand!!

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#944403 - 07/22/08 12:54 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
KBK quotes Knott :

"by degree to which there is conciousness of physical means in performance, by so much will the performance fall short..."

AAHHHHGGGH...

We are talking about Technique, not performance. I don't think that anyone would say that the best thing to do in performance is to be concious of technique. I fully agree with that quote.

Nice "straw man" argument, as though I am saying to my students "when you go to perform...make sure you lead with your elbow and transfer weight, and this and that..."

That is why we practice technique. We are concious in technical practice. Each idea is exaggerated, de-emphasized, and internalized. You want to have a clear mind when you perform? Make sure your techniques are internalized.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944404 - 07/22/08 12:56 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
As long as we have our eye on the same ball.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944405 - 07/22/08 12:58 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
I really think we do. Either way, it is a fun exercise to put it into words.

It's been scenic jaunt through the semantic jungle.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944406 - 07/22/08 01:03 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I must say, even at the risk of a tumble, that there are anatomical ways that allow the performer to let go and ways that don't.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944407 - 07/22/08 01:04 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
"double post my arse"

you caught me.

I re-read what John said and found what I had misunderstood him and you.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944408 - 07/22/08 01:12 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Elise_B:
I did raise my hand!! [/b]
Reminds me of a staffroom joke: Little girl wets herself in class. Teacher asks 'Why didn't you put your hand up' Little girl 'I did but it ran through my fingers!'
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944409 - 07/22/08 01:13 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
never mind

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#944410 - 07/22/08 01:14 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
I would like to distance myself from that joke.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944411 - 07/22/08 01:16 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:
I would like to distance myself from that joke. [/b]
You've obviously never spent time in a real staffroom!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#944412 - 07/22/08 01:22 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Keystring,

Here is the problem with the internet. I cannot see what you are doing as you play at home. If you have no up-down motion on finger changes, and your sound is even and clear, then you are probably doing it right.

people may imagine a demonstrative elbow-shove based on my instruction (on that one technique). That is not the case. If you were to watch me play, usually, elbows are out 1.5-2" from my side, with a slight 1/4" nudge on the finger changes. That is not written in stone, it is written in sand. It will change.


Elise B,

You are right, Dogma is a good word to describe the way technique is sometimes taught. I do not think that there are any "infallible" techniques.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944413 - 07/22/08 01:27 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
A major scale in sixths is just that, regardless of what you may be thinking at the time. [/b]
I am interested in what AZN was thinking, and that is why I asked *him* that question that question, of what *he* (not you or I) was thinking. One can indeed perceive it as two modes being played side by side - in what context might a person be perceiving it that way? [/b]
I was merely describing a "major scale in sixths" on my terms. I do think in terms of modes, now that they have been re-added to our state's syllabus (I had to learn modes while in high school, then modes went "out of fashion" for a while, but as of 2007 they are back in our syllabus). I have zero background in jazz; all of my knowledge of modes comes from classical music. Modes are fantastic! \:\)

As for scales, I hate them (but I don't tell my students that). Must be the horrible experience from my awful teacher in middle school. I would never practice scales, unless they are written in the piece I'm working on. The only scales I assign my students are the ones listed in the state syllabus that they have to play for exams. I'd rather spend my time working on the repertoire.

If there are "schools" of scale-playing, then I guess I belong to the "lead by elbow" school.
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#944414 - 07/22/08 01:27 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
KBK

It's true.

I worked in a church for a while before starting my studio.

That kind of humor was frowned upon in the church, and now it's just my wife in the house...so my lunchroom experiences are very different from yours.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#944415 - 07/22/08 01:33 PM Re: How do I get the most out of practicing scales
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by AZNpiano:
As for scales, I hate them (but I don't tell my students that). Must be the horrible experience from my awful teacher in middle school. I would never practice scales, unless they are written in the piece I'm working on. The only scales I assign my students are the ones listed in the state syllabus that they have to play for exams. I'd rather spend my time working on the repertoire. [/b]
I'm with you there and I do tell my students. But the crucial question? *he* or *she*?
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