practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day

Posted by: soupinmyhair

practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/15/07 06:17 PM

Ever since I got to college, I started hearing about people practicing 5-8 hours a day. On good days, I usually only get about 3-5. I'm just curious, for those of you who do practice 5 to 8 hours, how do you usually distribute your practice time? How much is for technique, solo rep, accompanying, etc?
Posted by: pianist.ame

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/15/07 06:47 PM

Well usually 5 hrs is my max. anyway here's my practise schedule for now, but i'll change in about 1 weeks time after my competition's over.

I alternate between schedule A and B, occasionally I fit C in.

Practise Schedule A
45 mins to 1hr+: J.S Bach-Partita in c minor (Sinfonia)
30 mins: Technique (1 key) plus octaves from last page of Mendelssohn's Rondo Cappriccioso
1 hr to 95 mins: Haydn Sonata in E flat major XVI/49;L/59 (1st&3rd movement)
5 mins: Octave scales
1 hr to 95 mins: Chopin Etude in F major Op.10 No.8
30 mins to 1 hr: Chopin Etude in c sharp minor Op.10 No.4 and/or Chopin Etude in G flat major Op.10 No.8

Practise Schedule B
10 mins: Technique (scales and octaves)
95 mins to 2 hrs: Beethoven Sonata in A major Op.2 No.2 (1st and 3rd movement) or (all movements)
30 mins to 1 hr: Chopin Etude in c sharp minor Op.10 No.4 and/or Chopin Etude in G flat major Op.10 No.8
35 mins to 1 hr: Rachmaninoff Prelude in g sharp minor Op.32 No.12
5 mins: Octave scales
1 hr+: Mendelssohn Rondo Cappriccioso Op.14
1 hr+: Schumann Piano Concerto in a minor Op.54

Practise Schedule C:
45 mins to 1hr+: J.S Bach-Partita in c minor (Sinfonia)
30 mins: Technique (1 key) plus octaves from last page of Mendelssohn's Rondo Cappriccioso
1 hr to 95 mins: Haydn Sonata in E flat major XVI/49;L/59 (1st&3rd movement)
1 hr to 95 mins: Chopin Etude in F major Op.10 No.8
10 mins: Technique (scales and octaves)
95 mins: Beethoven Sonata in A major Op.2 No.2 (1st and 3rd movement)
35 mins to 1 hr: Rachmaninoff Prelude in g sharp minor Op.32 No.12
+ run through all competition rep(as above)
Posted by: Max W

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/15/07 07:09 PM

Ick, I usually do about 2 hours at most. If I have pieces I want/need to learn I'll sightread through them at a snails pace, that usually takes about 2 hours depending on how many I go through. If it comes to 2 hours I usually call it a day, if not then I might go a bit more indepth and start speeding up passages. (of course there are times I just want to sit at a piano and noodle around. but that doesn't count as practise for me). Usually this method of learning is quicker for me and it avoids the bad habit of practising mistakes when trying to play music you're not familiar with.
Posted by: op30no3

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/15/07 09:29 PM

My practice is extremely sporadic; in the last three days I have practiced about an hour. A few days before that, I was averaging 7-8 hours a day. To me, just practice whatever keeps you interested and engaged in your practicing. Don't worry about planning it out. Practice something until you are no longer concentrating sufficiently on it, and then move on to something else. If you don't get to something, start with it the next day.

Some days, I will spend an hour on a single scale. Others, I will do no technique at all. I usually try to sit down and think about that at which I am the worst, and I practice whatever comes to mind.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/15/07 09:36 PM

With school and tennis I am lucky for 2-3 hours of practice per day. On the weekends it's a little different... I'm able to practice 4 hours a day (my max time that I do a day).
Posted by: Silent Thoughts

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/15/07 11:34 PM

For me, if I don't plan my practice well there's no point in practicing.

When I have 8 free hours (which is regretfully infrequent), I set very specific goals. Generally, I spend half an hour to an hour on particular passages that I haven't honestly cleaned up (30-60 minutes per passage). This may mean repeating two measures a few hundred times, but as mind-numbing as that might be, if you keep focused you'll never have to practice that section again (until the following week :p ).

For less technical work, I alternate between reading the score away from the piano and trying out phrases once or twice to make sure I can produce the desired tone or effect.

To go for 8 hours in a day, I generally do 4 after breakfast (8-12) and 4 after dinner (6-10). My practice tends to be quite lousy in the middle of the day, so I try to do more physical activity then.

If you're simply not up to practicing for 8 hours in a day, don't worry about it. Unless you have very clear goals, it's not worth doing more than 3 or 4 (in my opinion).

- Silence
Posted by: BruceD

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 12:00 AM

I think the key expression in the original question was "practicing effectively". How "effectively" can most people practice if they are doing it five to eight hours a day?

Regards,
Posted by: hopinmad

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 05:57 AM

I don't know how effective my practise is, but I think it isn't very! If I practise 8 hours I'll call it 5 or 6.
Posted by: Silent Thoughts

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 08:36 AM

Quite effectively, Mr. BruceD. If you have a lot of work that must be done, it's possible to get it done if you approach it in a systematic way. People work full time jobs 8 hours a day; I'd imagine piano practice is quite a bit more interesting and rewarding than many full time jobs.

I explained my method, and it works quite well for me.

- Silence
Posted by: DaWF

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 10:09 AM

I've always wondered how anyone can make efficient practice over 5 hours. I am more percussionist that pianist, and ready to admit that freely, but I still fail to see how productivity can continue after the 5 hour mark.
Not to say it can't be done, but I have heard pianists who play 5 a day versus those who play 7 and can't generally tell the difference. Couldn't those extra 2-3 hours be put toward a different piano skill than classical? You could work on jazz, composing, accompanying, or something similar. More marketable, ya know?

My ideal schedule with percussion would involve over 5 hours, but we're talking about at least 4 different instruments with different demands on the performer.
Posted by: Loki

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 06:03 PM

Well, most college teachers recommend their students to practice between 4-6 hours a day. Any more can put the student at risk of injury, so if you do intend to practice more than 6, be very cautious. I'm sure you would much rather "settle" for 6 hours of practice (that's still quite a bit of time) than never be able to play piano again.
Posted by: Colin Thomson

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 09:49 PM

What are the risks involved? I think Liszt would practice for 10-12 hours a day.


Colin Thomson
Posted by: Loki

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 10:26 PM

Well, from what I know, the action on the pianos in liszt's day were still not as heavy as the ones we have today and would have probably been less of a strain on the arms. I might have my facts wrong on that, though.

Tendinitis and Carpal Tunnel are two of the more common injuries to pianists. Leon Fleisher is a pretty well-known pianist who was injured (focal dystonia) and had to stop using one of his hands for a while.
Posted by: John Citron

Re: practicing effectively for 5-8 hours a day - 11/16/07 11:03 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Loki:
Well, from what I know, the action on the pianos in liszt's day were still not as heavy as the ones we have today and would have probably been less of a strain on the arms. I might have my facts wrong on that, though.

Tendinitis and Carpal Tunnel are two of the more common injuries to pianists. Leon Fleisher is a pretty well-known pianist who was injured (focal dystonia) and had to stop using one of his hands for a while. [/b]
You are absolutely right about the pianos from that period. The action is definitely lighter than what we have today. I had the opportunity to try an 1871 Streicher grand, which is real sweet. \:\)

I have found too that you can actually practice too much, and ruin any real work that was done in the beginning. This like brain overload or something. I find that after 4 hours, my mind begins to wander off the piece I'm currently working on, and I end up making more and more mistakes so anything I've tried to accomplish has been wrecked because I've practiced in the mistakes.

John