Famous pianists' daily practice routine

Posted by: Libraboy

Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/23/08 11:17 PM

I wonder what famous pianists practice everyday. One of the pianists said he goes through Carl Tausig's Daily Exercises once everyday. Horowitz said he only practices for two hours a day...I think he's just lying to come off cool. Volodos said also no more than three hours a day. Any ideas on what they practice everyday for technique?
Posted by: Cheeto717

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/23/08 11:55 PM

I know Rubinstein did Hanon. I've been reading his autobiography and it seems he was lazy and avoided practice much of his youth, with sporadic times of intense practice.

But then again, when you can sight read pretty much anything, you only need a few hours a day working out details i suppose.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 12:54 AM

Archive.org has one or two Harriette Brower books. She went around Europe in the early 1900's interviewing famous pianists about stuff like that.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 11:08 AM

Liszt had a huge collection of repetitious exercises he'd made up for himself. He did those a couple of hours every day in addition to learning and perfecting repertoire. He's alleged to have kept a novel or a newspaper on his music desk to relieve the monotony.

Chopin polished his chops with Bach before a performance. He told one of his students how he shut himself up in his room with Bach for two weeks before a concert. "I don't practice my own works."
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 12:49 PM

There's a funny story about Paderewski - he said: if I don't practice for one day, I know it; if I don't practice for two days, my friends know it. If I don't practice for three days, EVERYBODY knows it...
Posted by: bplary1300

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 01:09 PM

You can find the Liszt exercises on Sheetmusicplus.com
Posted by: Classicalist

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 01:22 PM

I know many concert pianists albeit none extremely famous to be a household name that practice around 3-4 hours a day. They say it's not the quantity of practice but the quality of it as many of you already know.
Posted by: Libraboy

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 02:19 PM

I am currently doing the Liszt exercises, the Kullak Octave Technique book, and Carl Tausig exercises. Hanon and Czerny dont appeal to me because they are too basic.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 03:58 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Classicalist:
I know many concert pianists albeit none extremely famous to be a household name that practice around 3-4 hours a day. [/b]
And I know one moderately famous one who apparently doesn't practice at all.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 04:27 PM

Sometimes when I miss a day or two, my playing seems better, refreshed, more relaxed. Has anyone else noticed this?
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 06:03 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by gooddog:
Sometimes when I miss a day or two, my playing seems better, refreshed, more relaxed. Has anyone else noticed this? [/b]
I haven't skipped a day in about three years but I do tend to alternate the pieces I practice and yes, I have noticed this effect, that sometimes giving a piece a day's rest allows the gains of the previous day's practice to solidify.
Posted by: Fraggle

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 10:52 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by gooddog:
Sometimes when I miss a day or two, my playing seems better, refreshed, more relaxed. Has anyone else noticed this? [/b]
Absolutely, I have experienced the same thing. I think it`s because I forgot my frustration and shortcomings because after an hour of playing all my problems came back. I want to know how to maintain that ability without missing a day again.
Posted by: Classicalist

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 07/24/08 11:09 PM

I've had some teachers that suggested (When I had a significant amount of time before performing said piece) that I let the piece 'rest' for a day or two. Just to take my mind (frustration) out of it. It helps to also listen to some recordings of it so you have a better idea what to work towards when you come back to it.
Posted by: Antonis Kyriazis

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/12/08 06:08 PM

I certainly noticed myself too playing easier, after giving it a miss for 1-2 days...
It is unfortunately evidence of poor cooling-down & relaxing rituals (if at all!)
Ideally, we shall mix relaxing exercices inside daily practice, and always repeating relaxing exercices at the end.
I believe further that regular physical exercise to the hands will develop all muscles equally, thus reversing what Cortot was suggesting on his 'Principes de technique pianistique'.

cheers
ak
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/13/08 12:32 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Αντώνης Κυριαζής:
I believe further that regular physical exercise to the hands will develop all muscles equally,[/b]
That will only create insensitive muscle control which is not of much use. You need to feel the action as your finger sinks into to the key.

and welcome to PW!
Posted by: analogdino

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/13/08 12:30 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by gooddog:
Sometimes when I miss a day or two, my playing seems better, refreshed, more relaxed. Has anyone else noticed this? [/b]
Yes, indeed... quite right! It's my excuse when I miss a practice or two!
Cheers,
Roger
Posted by: Neil43

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/13/08 12:47 PM

If you feel more at ease with a piece after leaving it for a day or two, it can also mean that the incorrectly used muscles have had a chance to recoup.

Consider: if you use your body as it was designed to be used, i.e., don't work against yourself, the piece should always feel "in the fingers".

Re: Physical exercise. What a pity so many teachers/students are misled into thinking that pianists need to train the way athletes do, that is, develop physical strength. It actually takes very little strength to play the piano (small children can do it). We train for refined movements, physical coordination. Lifting, pulling, stretching and mindless repetition are a waste of valuable time and are potentially harmful.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/13/08 02:25 PM

I have a theory that a lot of the pianists who say they only practice 1-4 hours a day had a much different regimen earlier in life.

I think there was a period of time - probably in their teens and early 20's - when they spent more like 7-10 hours a day.

People are always quick to ask what great pianists do now. I find what they did when they were young to be a far more interesting question.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Classicalist:
I know many concert pianists albeit none extremely famous to be a household name that practice around 3-4 hours a day. They say it's not the quantity of practice but the quality of it as many of you already know. [/b]
Posted by: wr

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/14/08 03:16 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
I have a theory that a lot of the pianists who say they only practice 1-4 hours a day had a much different regimen earlier in life.

I think there was a period of time - probably in their teens and early 20's - when they spent more like 7-10 hours a day.

People are always quick to ask what great pianists do now. I find what they did when they were young to be a far more interesting question.

[/b]
Amen to that. Maintaining a technique is different that developing it. Many years ago, I once knew a pianist with very good technique who, to warm up a bit in the morning before really settling in to practice whatever it was for the next concert, would rattle off a few scales in double sixths. I was simply agog that anyone could rattle off scales in double sixths at all, much less first thing of the day while still cold. But this person's technique was already totally solid and, basically, technical work was not part of the picture any more other than to get the hands moving in the morning. And that lasted for maybe five minutes, max.

Also, I think some famous pianists have, because of their particular image, had a tendency to downplay or deny how hard they worked even after they had a developed technique. It is as if they thought that admitting they actually had to work at anything was some sort of flaw. Although I'm not a big fan of his, I was always sort of charmed by Lipatti going in the opposite direction, and saying it took him a minimum of three years of hard work to learn a new concerto.
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/15/08 07:11 AM

 Quote:
Also, I think some famous pianists have, because of their particular image, had a tendency to downplay or deny how hard they worked even after they had a developed technique. It is as if they thought that admitting they actually had to work at anything was some sort of flaw. Although I'm not a big fan of his, I was always sort of charmed by Lipatti going in the opposite direction, and saying it took him a minimum of three years of hard work to learn a new concerto. [/QB]
I'm not so sure this is true.
I have a friend, a "jobbing pianist" like myself who sight reads fluently (he once stepped in and sight-read Rach.2 when the engaged soloist fell ill on the day of the concert), has an enormous repertoire (all the Beethoven and Mozart Sonatas and concertos for starters) and who rarely sits down to practise...but then, there's not much time left for doing so in between playing flute, oboe, bassoon, viola and cello in various orchestras and groups as well as composing educational music, playing tennis and umpiring at Wimbledon!
Sometimes I play duet recitals with him and feel sure that he would rather watch TV or chat than practise for the event if I, lacking his confidence, didn't insist on it.
I don't know how hard he practised in his youth, but I don't think you develop this sort of facility by sitting down in front of a piano for ten hours a day.
My point is that if someone like my friend, who is hardly a household name even where he lives, has this sort of natural facility then it would come as no surprise to me to learn that many well-known concert artists also possess it.
Posted by: ChristinaW

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/15/08 06:03 PM

I don't think Horowitz was lying to come off cool, it seems nrmal for someone to say that who has been concertizing for many years and is a brilliant pianist. You shouldn't be practicing for 6 hours a day when older if you were very good when young and learned your technique. Also, for the really great pianists, there is something there that is not a matter of practice, but just their natural talent that makes them special. I know those kind of pianists could probably sight read something better than many others who have practiced for hours.

Someone might practice more right before a particular concert, I suppose, or one piece in partcular, but I would find it strange if someone at the level that Horowitz was was continually spending many hours a day practicing his entire life (he did suffer from depressions during some years, also, when I don't think he played much). Also, some professionals get injuries if they practice too much, so that's not a good idea, anyway. If someone just starting out and hoping to have a career practices 4-5 hours a day, and is no Horowitz, Rubinstein, Perahia, Richter, etc., than I think it very natural that those great pianists would not be spending that number of hours practicing later on in life. I have a lot of pianist biographies at home, maybe I'll see if they say.

Now what I do have trouble believing (and think they are lying to sound cool) is the pop musicians who claim they write and play but cannot read music. It's not that hard, I just don't know how you could get by in the music world without doing that (or why you would want to). Maybe some rock musicians, etc., but even Billy Joel made that claim once and I don't really believe him because he studied classical piano when young for quite a few years (he claimed). In fact, I heard an interview where he said he was sort of a child prodigy or virtuoso or whatever by the age of 13 (in classical piano). Then, he claimed that because he didn't play that type of music and got into pop stuff that after some years, he could not read music any more. This was an interview when he came out with some album with some pieces that were not songs, but were some hommage to classical music, suppposedly. I heard him say that.

I don't believe that because I am not a professional musician and wasn't any child prodigy, but I stopped played the piano when I went to college pretty much and didn't take up lessons again until around age 32 (when I got a piano). And when young, I had only had about five or six years of lessons. Yet, when I started again, my technique was nonexistent, of course, but I could read music still perfectly fine.

Paul McCartney has made that claim, also, and I do find him hard to believe (although not as much as Billy Joel who studied piano) as he has been in composing and music so many years, it seems hard to believe you wouldn't just learn how to read music from all that in a short time. AS I said, it isn't really that hard to do once you learn the basics as to what the flats, sharps and staff, etc. mean. Given he's a composer, he certainly knows how many notes in a scale, etc.

I think I've heard others make that claim, also, and I do think they are just trying to sound cool when they claim they can't read music.
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/16/08 03:55 AM

"Now what I do have trouble believing (and think they are lying to sound cool) is the pop musicians who claim they write and play but cannot read music." - ChristinaW.

Judging by the results, Christina, I have no difficulty in believing this at all.
Much more incredible to me is the fact that one of the most successful and, (IMHO)greatest popular music composers of the 20th century, Irving Berlin, was also musically illiterate. He could play the piano, but only in one key, and had a special instrument constructed which was operated with a lever in order to transpose the music into different ones.
A number of fine jazz pianists were also, reputedly, unable to read music.. Erroll Garner (the composer of "Misty") for example.
Posted by: wr

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/16/08 04:16 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wood-demon:
 Quote:
Also, I think some famous pianists have, because of their particular image, had a tendency to downplay or deny how hard they worked even after they had a developed technique. It is as if they thought that admitting they actually had to work at anything was some sort of flaw. Although I'm not a big fan of his, I was always sort of charmed by Lipatti going in the opposite direction, and saying it took him a minimum of three years of hard work to learn a new concerto. [/b]
I'm not so sure this is true.
I have a friend, a "jobbing pianist" like myself who sight reads fluently (he once stepped in and sight-read Rach.2 when the engaged soloist fell ill on the day of the concert), has an enormous repertoire (all the Beethoven and Mozart Sonatas and concertos for starters) and who rarely sits down to practise...but then, there's not much time left for doing so in between playing flute, oboe, bassoon, viola and cello in various orchestras and groups as well as composing educational music, playing tennis and umpiring at Wimbledon!
Sometimes I play duet recitals with him and feel sure that he would rather watch TV or chat than practise for the event if I, lacking his confidence, didn't insist on it.
I don't know how hard he practised in his youth, but I don't think you develop this sort of facility by sitting down in front of a piano for ten hours a day.
My point is that if someone like my friend, who is hardly a household name even where he lives, has this sort of natural facility then it would come as no surprise to me to learn that many well-known concert artists also possess it. [/QB]
Well, note that I didn't say it was true of all famous pianists, just some. I think that Richter and Gould, as a couple of examples, tended to downplay or deny how hard they worked on some things.

But I agree that there are pianists with great facility who really don't need to work all that hard, if at all.
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/16/08 07:49 AM

"Well, note that I didn't say it was true of all famous pianists, just some. I think that Richter and Gould, as a couple of examples, tended to downplay or deny how hard they worked on some things." - wr

I would be interested to hear how it was known that these two pianists worked harder than they claimed they did.
I always had a strong aversion to Gould - both his personality and his playing - and I can fully understand that "image" might have counted for a lot with him.
I never suspected, however, that Richter was at all devious about his practise methods. Indeed towards the end of his career, when he played most things using the score, he spoke of "the drudgery of memorization" which doesn't suggest a personality keen to promote an image of one to whom everything is easy.
Posted by: RichterForever

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/16/08 10:51 AM

Richter, in his desire to explore music beyond the monumental repertoire he already possessed, was of the persuasion that any time spent memorising detracted from this objective. This is despite his reputation for having a phenomenal musical memory.

I also tend to agree with Wood-Demon that Gould's reputation was cultivated around an image of controversy and eccentricity which I sometimes feel was deliberately crafted for effect. That he is one of the greats, there can be no question. But is it reasonable to speculate that his reputation and legacy is centred more around this image than it is around his playing? I realise this is a controversial view and apologise if it is offensive to any one of his legion of followers.
Posted by: Mizzle

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/16/08 12:24 PM

"But is it reasonable to speculate that his reputation and legacy is centred more around this image than it is around his playing?"

I think that this type of speculation is somewhat fruitless in regarding Gould. If anyone is to approach the world stage on that level, they will by default have a public "image". That is the way the industry, and the world work. It is a self-defeating argument to use anyone's level of public exposure to chip away at their credibility.

That being said, it is the content and manipulation of that image as guided by the artist that we can scrutinize (though at times it may be hard to distinguish from manipulation as guided by the industry). In the case of Gould, his so-called "eccentricities" were certainly highlighted as a curiosity. He was the man in hat, coat, and gloves through all seasons, and the man who hummed while playing from his rickety little chair.

I think the main thing to remember here is that this was Gould from beggining to end. He was going to be that person whether or not the world bothered to glance in his direction. In that light I find it no reason to doubt his authenticity, and in fact I find it a dubious position for detractors to cite his "eccentricities" and masquerade them as a critique of his playing. If anything, they (the "eccentricities") seem to be a larger obstacle to surmount in the course of pesruading people to actually listen, so in effect this "image" may have done more harm than good.
Posted by: signa

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/16/08 01:57 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kreisler:
I have a theory that a lot of the pianists who say they only practice 1-4 hours a day had a much different regimen earlier in life.

I think there was a period of time - probably in their teens and early 20's - when they spent more like 7-10 hours a day.

People are always quick to ask what great pianists do now. I find what they did when they were young to be a far more interesting question.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Classicalist:
I know many concert pianists albeit none extremely famous to be a household name that practice around 3-4 hours a day. They say it's not the quantity of practice but the quality of it as many of you already know. [/b]
[/b]
i believe such a theory, because my teacher told me that he could/would practice a lot longer in his early years (until mid or early 20s), but now physically he could not practice that long anymore, but at most 3-4 hours a day.
Posted by: RichterForever

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/17/08 06:46 AM

Just to set the record straight, I am an ardent admirer of Gould and have a good number of his recordings. Certainly not a detractor. I have just wondered from time to time why to this day he still has a cult following of sorts and continues to be treated like a deiety by these followers, some whom I know of are not even music fans. There were a good number of other pianists of at least equal if not greater stature who today do not enjoy the same following as he does. Pianistic giants from the past such as Hoffman, Richter, Horowitz and Rubinstein, spring to mind. Certainly they too had their idiosyncrasies also but perhaps not on the scale of Gould. Could it be that many of his fans are attracted and maybe even identify with the colour of his personality?
Posted by: wr

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/18/08 03:02 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wood-demon:
"Well, note that I didn't say it was true of all famous pianists, just some. I think that Richter and Gould, as a couple of examples, tended to downplay or deny how hard they worked on some things." - wr

I would be interested to hear how it was known that these two pianists worked harder than they claimed they did.
[/b]
What I remember is that observers reported it, and there were also a few discrepancies in their own descriptions of it. Unfortunately, I don't have the sort of card-file memory that would allow me to say exactly where I heard or read about this stuff, or to give precise examples.

Funny you should mention Richter on memorization. I remember him one time talking about his photographic memory and how he couldn't forget anything even when he wanted to; in fact, he said that this ability was troubling because it meant that his mind was constantly being deluged by minute details of useless things he remembered. And then at another time, rather contradicting that statement that he had total recall of everything, he said that he used the score later in life because no one could memorize everything that was in a score. And yet another time, he said he had to use the score because his hearing had shifted and he no longer heard the same note that was played (some sort of auto-transposing in his hearing??), which was so confusing that it meant he had to use a score.

I am not saying any of this as criticism, by the way - I try not to expect long-term consistency from humans, especially those possessed by artistic abilities.
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/18/08 04:01 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wood-demon:
"Well, note that I didn't say it was true of all famous pianists, just some. I think that Richter and Gould, as a couple of examples, tended to downplay or deny how hard they worked on some things." - wr

I would be interested to hear how it was known that these two pianists worked harder than they claimed they did.
[/b]
What I remember is that observers reported it, and there were also a few discrepancies in their own descriptions of it. Unfortunately, I don't have the sort of card-file memory that would allow me to say exactly where I heard or read about this stuff, or to give precise examples.

Funny you should mention Richter on memorization. I remember him one time talking about his photographic memory and how he couldn't forget anything even when he wanted to; in fact, he said that this ability was troubling because it meant that his mind was constantly being deluged by minute details of useless things he remembered. And then at another time, rather contradicting that statement that he had total recall of everything, he said that he used the score later in life because no one could memorize everything that was in a score. And yet another time, he said he had to use the score because his hearing had shifted and he no longer heard the same note that was played (some sort of auto-transposing in his hearing??), which was so confusing that it meant he had to use a score.

I am not saying any of this as criticism, by the way - I try not to expect long-term consistency from humans, especially those possessed by artistic abilities. [/b]
I believe that Benjamin Britten also experienced a change in his perception of pitch. I seem to remember him claiming, in the latter part of his life, that he now heard The Mastersingers Prelude in C# major.
I don't have perfect pitch so don't know if my pitch perception has changed with age but, it seems to me, that I no longer hear the bass of the piano with the clarity I used to....strange as age is supposed to reduce hearing at the upper end of the sound spectrum.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/18/08 09:29 AM

Yes, i do recall those comments from Richter himself on the Enigma DVD. He says his pitch went up a half tone, and that that was the beginning of the end of his performing career.
Earlier in the film, he s asked about his practice routine. Richter says he s set fot 3 hours a day, and that he never really played more than that except from when he needed to learn a piece on short notice. After that they ask his wife, and she says "no way!", and that she s seen him practice 6,8, 10 hours a day many many many times ...
Posted by: wr

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 09/19/08 02:35 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Wood-demon:

I don't have perfect pitch so don't know if my pitch perception has changed with age but, it seems to me, that I no longer hear the bass of the piano with the clarity I used to....strange as age is supposed to reduce hearing at the upper end of the sound spectrum. [/b]
That is happening to me, too, a bit. My theory is that it may be because some, perhaps most, of how we perceive the pitch of the lowest notes is actually through their upper harmonics, and I'm guessing that the hearing loss in that higher range affects our ability to resolve the pitch of low notes. I'm glad I don't play the contrabassoon.
Posted by: kettel

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/23/09 03:21 PM

Have anyone tried playing with gloves? open fingered of course. It does put some restrictions on the fingers and really gets them to move more independently. But fearing from my drumming experiences, more restrictions could change the entire feeling.
Posted by: Akshay

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/23/09 04:41 PM

According to http://www.musiciansgallery.com/tribute/michelangeli/arturo_benedetti.htm

"Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli had an artisan's concept of his job of pianist. To play, he used to say, means labour. It means to feel a great ache in the arms and in the shoulders. He practiced up to eight, ten hours per day, in quest for an equilibrium between the long for the sound effects that the instrument cannot yield and the sensitiveness that allows one to steal the maximum from it nonetheless, as he used to say to his disciples. He used to work on a piece until it was technically perfect, then he began to think about its interpretation. He stopped practicing just a couple of days before the last rehearsal, not to go on the stage with his hands and his mind tainted by the mechanics of exercise."
Posted by: NocturneLover

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/23/09 06:03 PM

Thanks for the link to the Brower's works keyboardklutz.
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/23/09 06:36 PM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Quote:
Originally posted by Αντώνης Κυριαζής:
I believe further that regular physical exercise to the hands will develop all muscles equally,
That will only create insensitive muscle control which is not of much use. You need to feel the action as your finger sinks into to the key.

and welcome to PW!


Nonsense. I often play much better after lifting weights in the gym. I wouldn't risk it before a concert, but the idea that exercise is always harmful is totally bogus. Such unequivocal statements are really silly. There are SOME things that will reduce sensitivity. That does not mean that all forms of exercise are bad. For example, there's a big difference between swinging a 20k dumbell about with no control and slowly lifting an 8kg with evenly aligned grip.

Arrau always insisted on carrying his own suitcases everywhere. I think he actually saw it as beneficial.
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/23/09 06:43 PM

Originally Posted By: izaldu
Yes, i do recall those comments from Richter himself on the Enigma DVD. He says his pitch went up a half tone, and that that was the beginning of the end of his performing career.
Earlier in the film, he s asked about his practice routine. Richter says he s set fot 3 hours a day, and that he never really played more than that except from when he needed to learn a piece on short notice. After that they ask his wife, and she says "no way!", and that she s seen him practice 6,8, 10 hours a day many many many times ...


I once had a similar kind of thing, with a really bad hangover. It's really odd to play a piece and hear it in different key. Fortunately it returned to normal, by the end of day.
Posted by: AJF

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/23/09 07:25 PM

quote:"But I agree that there are pianists with great facility who really don't need to work all that hard, if at all."


I could not disagree with this statement more. NO pianist gets to any level of 'greatness' without lots and lots of dedicated and focused hard work.
I think a lot of players that aren't at the level they want to be at buy into to this idea of not having a level of 'natural talent' as a justification for their shortcomings. Sure some people are definately more predisposed to certain talents but in the big picture hard work counts for 99% of ANY pianists accomplishments.

I've personally asked Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Anton Kuerti, Fred Hersch, Geoffery Keezer, and Valerie Tryon (all world class masters) what it takes to get to their level of technique and artistry and they all gave a variation of the very same answer: HARD AND CONSISTENT WORK.

Perhaps the reason that some of the more 'seasoned' pianists only need 2 hours of practice a day (as opposed to 7-10 in their youth) is
that they've learned over the years how to be far more efficient with their time and can accomplish in 1 hour what used to take 3.
Posted by: dave solazzo

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/24/09 03:36 AM

ajf,

wow, you met and got a chance to talk to all those pianists! lucky you.

where did you meet oscar? i saw him live three times, twice at the blue note in nyc and once solo in buffalo...all amazing shows.

i saw chick corea at the syracuse jazz festival in 1988 and i got a chance to meet him after the show. i remember him being the nicest guy you could ever imagine.
Posted by: AJF

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 08/24/09 04:24 AM

Thanks Dave.
I can be kind of pushy when I want to meet someone. I guess it pays off sometimes:)
I met Oscar in Mississauga Ontario which is where he lived. I had the good fortune of being in a band that opened for him at a fundraiser for Oscar Peterson Public School. He was a real gentleman and told me he liked my playing! Wow was that ever a night to remember.
I couldn't agree with you more about Chick. It's nice to see someone who's had so much success creatively and professionally still treat his fans with attentiveness and respect and gratitude. For me, a real hero.
Cheers,
Adrean
Posted by: Ogden

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 03/18/10 08:11 PM

I don;t think famous pianists are lying but I think rather that the pieces he practises are very advanced anyway so he uses scales, trills, octaves, finger runs, thirds, sixths etc. within those pieces he plays. You would only have to play for twenty minutes playing Chopin etudes to have a workout on scales, thirds, sixths, octaves at high speed to maintain both technique and artistry. Two HOURS of playing etudes or concertos or sonatas would maintain a very high level of playing - in two hours you could play three concertos, or both books of Chopin's etudes, or 8 Beethoven sonatas. I think that would be enough for anyone! My music teacher used to practise Chopin's Black Keys study everyday to keep his fingers loose and nothing else.

After hearing Paganini Liszt famously practised trills, thirds, scales, sixths, octaves ... for 5-6 hours a day.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 03/18/10 08:32 PM

Zombie thread has risen from the grave! shocked
Posted by: LaReginadellaNotte

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 03/19/10 12:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I have a theory that a lot of the pianists who say they only practice 1-4 hours a day had a much different regimen earlier in life.

That's a good point. According to the Glenn Plaskin biography, Horowitz told his pupil Byron Janis (in the 1940's) that he (Horowitz) only practices for two hours a day. However, in a 1932 interivew, Horowitz said: "I practice four hours a day and have done so for years. An artist must keep up a large repertoire, and must continually add to it. The new compositions require new technic also." http://nettheim.com/horowitz/horowitz32.html
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 03/19/10 01:15 AM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Zombie thread has risen from the grave! shocked


It is not the first time.... laugh We live in Zombieland....
Posted by: whitfit

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 10/21/11 09:25 PM

I know this is a zombie thread, but I couldn't resist commenting on this:

Originally Posted By: RichterForever

...I also tend to agree with Wood-Demon that Gould's reputation was cultivated around an image of controversy and eccentricity which I sometimes feel was deliberately crafted for effect. That he is one of the greats, there can be no question. But is it reasonable to speculate that his reputation and legacy is centred more around this image than it is around his playing? I realise this is a controversial view and apologise if it is offensive to any one of his legion of followers.


I love Gould, and though I don't find this offensive, I think it misses the point a bit. He definitely cultivated his persona, image and perception. He was also genuinely loopy, and a genius, and at the same time insightful and able to speak effectively and plainly about music. He was an ardent fan of, and user of media, believing that a recording/broadcast should be crafted, and that means manipulation. There was no subterfuge there - it is stated and plain.

What I do think is silly is when people get too wrapped up in whether Gould's output, or anything, is "authentic". A better question is, is it interesting?

The other thing I would say is that hearing him talk about music, he is one of the most accessible - and at the same time complex - commentators and broadcasters that I have ever heard discussing classical music. If you haven't seen any of that footage, I recommend watching it, and maybe that will add some insight into what he was up to.
Posted by: ecm

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 11/01/11 07:44 PM

Time is of no consequence in the creative process.
Posted by: TracyBrunei

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 01/11/12 07:35 AM

yes smile more relax and understand with ur mind when u r out from ur piano...
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Famous pianists' daily practice routine - 01/11/12 11:48 AM

Noone ever gets a virtuoso technique without lots and lots and lots of practice. I read some reliable research done a few years ago which found that the main difference between a sucessful concert pianist and a jobbing one trying to make ends meet is simply the much greater amount of hours the former puts into daily practice, especially in their childhood and teens.

One can easily see what's happening now with Asian pianists dominating the conservatoires and music colleges in USA: the Chinese have very strong work ethic drilled into them from childhood as well as respect for elders and teachers etc - this applies even to second generation immigrants. The applicants of Chinese descent for those institutions likely practise twice as much as those from other ethnic groups. They're not necessarily more innately talented than the others. Tiger mums (and dads) are common amoung Chinese families.