How many pieces can you work on at once?

Posted by: TrueMusic

How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 01:13 AM

I've noticed for me, the limit is about three. At least to do so well. Then again, a year ago the limit was two. So I guess those numbers go up as I learn to comprehend and digest music faster. how about for you guys?
Posted by: BruceD

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 01:49 AM

The answer to that question really depends on a number of variables :

- How much practice time one has
- How one makes up the practice routine time
- What the practice goals are
- How frequently lessons are scheduled
- What the short- and long-term goals are at any given moment
- Perhaps one of the biggest variables : the length and complexity of any given piece

The answer, then, is : it depends.

Regards,
Posted by: JoelW

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 04:05 AM

Always just one. One after the next.
Posted by: DanS

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 09:07 AM

Agree with all Bruce said.

I've always found it beneficial to have multiple pieces going, some short range goals (a few weeks or months) and some longer range goals.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 11:18 AM

I'm tempted to reply with a paraphrase of Wolfie's answer to Emperor Joseph II who apparently complained that Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail has 'too many notes': 'Only as many as I need, your honor.' grin

I've variously worked on up to six new pieces at once, or just one - depending on what the pieces are, how long and/or complicated or technically difficult they are, how different they are to each other etc. For instance, I couldn't work only on one piece if it's slow, even if it's also complicated: I need to work my fingers as well as my mind, and get them to face new challenges. On the other hand, working on something like Ravel's Ondine or Scarbo (Gaspard de la nuit) is so technically challenging in terms of getting my fingers (and wrists and arms) to do things they've never - or hardly ever - done before that all my mental and physical energies are fully engaged. But I couldn't single-mindedly do the same with Le gibet.
Posted by: carey

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 12:55 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
The answer to that question really depends on a number of variables :

- How much practice time one has
- How one makes up the practice routine time
- What the practice goals are
- How frequently lessons are scheduled
- What the short- and long-term goals are at any given moment
- Perhaps one of the biggest variables : the length and complexity of any given piece

The answer, then, is : it depends.

Regards,


Well stated !!!

While studying piano in grad school, in addition to taking other coursework, teaching 15 hours per week and accompanying student recitals, I was able to learn and memorize about an hour's worth of fairly difficult repertoire (practicing about 4 hours per day over an 8 month period) for my own solo recital. But, then again, everyone is different.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 01:20 PM

So far my limit seems about 2 hours worth.
Posted by: Damon

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/10/12 02:39 PM

I've tried doing two at the same time but there always seem to be a point where I have to play more than ten notes.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/11/12 04:15 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
The answer to that question really depends on a number of variables :

- How much practice time one has
- How one makes up the practice routine time
- What the practice goals are
- How frequently lessons are scheduled
- What the short- and long-term goals are at any given moment
- Perhaps one of the biggest variables : the length and complexity of any given piece

The answer, then, is : it depends.

Regards,

That's crap. The answer is 42. wink
Posted by: BruceD

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/11/12 04:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: BruceD
The answer to that question really depends on a number of variables :

- How much practice time one has
- How one makes up the practice routine time
- What the practice goals are
- How frequently lessons are scheduled
- What the short- and long-term goals are at any given moment
- Perhaps one of the biggest variables : the length and complexity of any given piece

The answer, then, is : it depends.

Regards,

That's crap. The answer is 42. wink


thumb
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/12/12 10:31 PM

My limit is 8 pieces (separate movements) of solo repertoire so far. God knows how much collaborative repertoire... I've chosen to just not count it.
Posted by: TrueMusic

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/13/12 03:00 AM

Well I've learned a lot about good piano practice this semester, and next semester I'm going to be getting real ambitious with what I'm learning and how fast I'm learning it. I decided recently I'm going to do a master in piano performance, spoke with my professor today, and we decided we are going to buckle down and make it happen. I'm going to take an extra year after I finish undergrad to get ready. So I'm going to try taking on probably 5 pieces at once, trying to be polishing two at any one time while learning notes on three. We'll see how it goes.
Posted by: Praeludium

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/13/12 01:27 PM

Originally Posted By: TrueMusic
Well I've learned a lot about good piano practice this semester, and next semester I'm going to be getting real ambitious with what I'm learning and how fast I'm learning it. I decided recently I'm going to do a master in piano performance, spoke with my professor today, and we decided we are going to buckle down and make it happen. I'm going to take an extra year after I finish undergrad to get ready. So I'm going to try taking on probably 5 pieces at once, trying to be polishing two at any one time while learning notes on three. We'll see how it goes.


But isn't learning perfectly right from the beginning one of the most important part of efficient practice ?
You'll "learn the notes" with some dynamics, articulation, and so on, even if they're not definitive. If you say "I first learn the note and then work on the music", doesn't this mean that you'll have to unlearn a part of what you've already done and relearn something else ?

This isn't only a rethorical question, I'm really asking, and I'm really curious about your answer.
I've noticed I can be really quick to learn the notes and then struggles for months with many things on one piece, and I'm wondering if taking your time, and learning everything as perfectly as possible right from the beginning isn't actually faster (much, much faster). This implies being very good at analysing both how the music is written and how you must realise it on the instrument.

At the piano, not much yet - I'm currently working one 4 relatively difficult (albeit short) pieces and two études at the piano. I'm under the impression pianists are musicians who learn tons of stuff. I guess the instrument fits this kind of approach pretty well once you're proficient enough.
Posted by: TrueMusic

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/13/12 02:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Praeludium


But isn't learning perfectly right from the beginning one of the most important part of efficient practice ?
You'll "learn the notes" with some dynamics, articulation, and so on, even if they're not definitive. If you say "I first learn the note and then work on the music", doesn't this mean that you'll have to unlearn a part of what you've already done and relearn something else ?

This isn't only a rethorical question, I'm really asking, and I'm really curious about your answer.
I've noticed I can be really quick to learn the notes and then struggles for months with many things on one piece, and I'm wondering if taking your time, and learning everything as perfectly as possible right from the beginning isn't actually faster (much, much faster). This implies being very good at analysing both how the music is written and how you must realise it on the instrument.

At the piano, not much yet - I'm currently working one 4 relatively difficult (albeit short) pieces and two études at the piano. I'm under the impression pianists are musicians who learn tons of stuff. I guess the instrument fits this kind of approach pretty well once you're proficient enough.


Yes it is! I always try to learn with dynamics. But, like with my Chopin right now, I can play every single note close to tempo and I have a "general" feel for the dynamics, but things need to get cleaner and the pianos need to be more piano and the forte more forte, etc. Also deciding how you want the piece to "feel". Like with my Beethoven, it can feel like a dance, or like two kids playing in a field [a comment from one of my friends after I played him a recording of the piece] or something else. That's all apart of polishing.

Of course, learning the notes perfectly form the start is key, but with where I'm at with my playing I still need to spend time polishing. Although, as I learn notes correct the first time, the less time I need to spend polishing. So you're right on that aspect. You will learn a piece faster if you spend the time to learn the dynamics with it, but also be sure to be practicing hands separate and then slowly hands together. As I've been exposed to more music, I learn it faster. And as I learn to practice well, I learn music faster. But I'm not at a place where I don't need to polish after I learn the notes. :].
Posted by: wr

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/13/12 06:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Praeludium


But isn't learning perfectly right from the beginning one of the most important part of efficient practice ?
You'll "learn the notes" with some dynamics, articulation, and so on, even if they're not definitive. If you say "I first learn the note and then work on the music", doesn't this mean that you'll have to unlearn a part of what you've already done and relearn something else ?



Although I understand the idea, in my experience, it doesn't really work that way. Of course, you want to absorb as much as possible from the beginning when learning a piece, but the process of being focused on the notes first, and then making them more musical, seems to me to be one of adding and refining, rather than having to unlearn something learned incorrectly. And at any rate, for me, it is simply impossible to have the same musical sense of the piece at the beginning of working on it as I will after spending time with it - there's always change in interpretation involved. Actually, that's one of my favorite parts of learning anything; it would not be interesting if I knew all there was to know about the piece at the beginning.

None of this means that I think that initial work on a piece should be deliberately mechanical and unmusical. It's just that I think that the basic work of "getting it into the fingers" does have to happen before some of the more advanced musical refinement can be addressed. That's just the way it works; at least it works that way for me, anyway.
Posted by: dolce sfogato

Re: How many pieces can you work on at once? - 11/14/12 05:28 PM

just to start where BruceD left: it depends, yes, on most issues I agree, but there is 1 tiny bit left unmentioned: the OLD REP, as one progresses in life one gathers a bit of music in the brain/fingers, one gathers some invitations to play here and there, one gathers a little experience how/when to start preparations, the biggest problem though I have is in saying 'yes' to an invitation, and thinking, well, those ballades/rhapsodies/sonatas/etudes: let's toss'm off...Suddenly there is the date in a (few) week(s), and one has to revisit Liszt's sonata, or Schumann's Fantasie or Rachmaninoff's 2nd concerto...This is my major problem: keeping all of the cherished material up to date, and learning new pieces, and have a nice life, being a musician is hard.