Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece

Posted by: Kris10

Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 06:40 AM

Anyone else experience this?

I generally try to warm up with scales and and exercises, then I do a little sight reading and then dive into a solo type piece. After a week or so, I can play the solo really well and feel pretty darned good about myself and I think, "Yes, I can do this! I will be a piano player!" Then, I pull out a new solo and it's like starting all over again!! It's so darned frustrating! Plunk, plunk, wrong note, ugh-what is that bass clef note-G-ok, plunk, plunk, crash! Once I work up a piece and feel good about it, I think to myself that I am improving. Then I face a new piece, and BAM, reality hits!

I am not at all used to breaking music down measure by measure! Is that just normal with piano playing?
Posted by: Rodney

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 07:41 AM

Kris10,

Welcome to the very non-exlusive club of the piano frustrated. I feel your pain, (I really mean it). The exact same thing happens to me. Every new piece is a struggle until it finally starts to come together. Then when it's time to move on to a new piece, BAM!!! It's like starting over. :-(

I think this is normal and you just have to remind yourself that it will evenetually take less and less time to learn a new piece.

Don't get discouraged.

Rodney
Posted by: Lightnin

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 07:43 AM

I feel that too, but I'm mixed both ways.

Each new piece is like starting over, in that I cant play the new piece at all, and I have that feeling of not knowing how to play anything at all (which is much more true than not). Its even worse, because my diabolical teacher makes sure each new piece is noticeably harder than the last one. \:\) But yes, after a year, it still takes weeks to be able to play a new piece, and that is frustrating. Yet it is getting easier, and things that used to be big problems are not even noticable now, so it must be progress.

I hear the stories of "I've only played two months and can do a few pieces every week" that makes me want to give it up. One of us simply doesnt understand, but I'm not sure which. \:\)

But yet, I am happiest when wading into a new piece, in that the progress is very visible with each passing minute, and todays difficulty is easy tomorrow. I dont even notice that an hour has gone by in the beginning. Instead, its after the few weeks, when I am able to play it, but really not very well, then it starts seeming hopeless, because more work doesnt seem to help much. Then a 5 minute session seems like a long time.
Posted by: jdsher

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 07:52 AM

Kris, just relax, I'm sure most beginners do this. I know I do. But, what's different is the pieces your attempting to learn are probably a step or two harder each time you choose a new one. If I looked at the stuff I'm plodding through right now 6 months ago, I would have freaked out. So, don't worry so much about it and just concentrate on learning that new piece. By the time you've done this process for several years, you'll be able to play something new almost at speed.
I think a great recommendation for building your confidence is to find an easy book to sight read from. Remember, it should be at least 1-2 steps below what you are doing now.
Jon
Posted by: plays88skeys

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 08:02 AM

It helps to keep in mind that when you hear recordings of sonatas and concertos by the great virtuosos that they, too had to learn them. Some of them work on single pieces for years or even decades.
Posted by: markb

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 08:28 AM

I'm sure this is very typical for beginners. What I find more frustrating, though, is that I seem to be experiencing a learning bump before reaching that learning curve. The first few times through a new piece are pretty mechanical and error-prone. The next few times I tend to get better. Then, for some reason, I tend to regress and make mistakes I hadn't made before. Then, usually, after frustration and lots of muttering under my breath, I resume progress. It's often during these times that I'll only run through the piece briefly and move on to something else so I don't get overly frustrated.

I think my frustration is compounded by this being a very different experience than playing clarinet (for very obvious reasons). Even as a beginning clarinet player (which was a looooong time ago), I was a decent sight reader, so reading and learning subsequent pieces at the same level of difficulty was really no problem. Still one note at a time, different order and rhythm, but still not that challenging. As a beginning piano player, I'm reading between one and four notes at a time (I know it gets worse) in many different combinations. It's closer to my experience as a drummer, although popular music, and excluding solos or fills, contains very similar patterns. For example, most of the time there's a backbeat (snare drum on two and four), right handing "riding" on the ride cymbal or hi-hat in eighth notes, and bass drum in one of several common patterns. Reading jazz or swing charts was another story.
Posted by: Clayton Fraser

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 10:19 AM

I just started playing the piano in February and I feel the pain everyone else hear has mentioned. It is good to know we are all feeling it. The worst was four months after just starting, I learned a Chopin peice. Entirely to many chords for both hands jumping all over the place. It was crazy.

Clayton
Posted by: SAnnM AB-2001

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 10:20 AM

Hi,

I also feel the pain of struggling with each new piece. I'm 47 and have been taking lessons for 3 years (never played anything before). Although I'm not taking exams, my teacher tells me that I'm at a grade 4ish level. Currently studying Clementi Sonatina op 36. No. 1. and a Beethoven Minuet from op 42 No. 2, a Bach Fugue as well as a few short study pieces. My pieces are increasingly more difficult and I like the challenge. My problem is that learning new pieces causes me to forget my old ones (that I worked soooo hard on - sometimes for months) and therefore my repertoire is limited to the most recent pieces (4 or 5) however I must have learned over 50 short pieces in these three years. If I review all my old pieces each practice session....well It'd take HOURS!! I guess this is where "sightreading" over "memorizing" would be better......
Posted by: RKVS1

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 10:27 AM

I enjloy leaning new pieces and may say more about it later, but mainly I just want to find out if I rate one of them Golden Radio Buttons under my avatar.

Bob


( *who usually sight-reads a piece better the 6th or 7th time. ) \:\)
Posted by: RKVS1

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 10:56 AM

hmmm, must be some type of monetary symbol, rather than just a personality thing, eh?

Looks like I'll have to go do a search on "Jones, keeping up with".

Bob
Posted by: Bob Muir

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/12/04 11:07 AM

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/23/29.html
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/13/04 05:33 PM

I'm 49 and at 3 years too.. also working on the Clementi Op 36 1.. I can play it fine but am having trouble getting up to tempo. I would value any suggestions, lest I be relegated to slow beautiful tunes (which I love, mind you) forever.

Playing is cumulative for sure.. if you look at how far you come in three years, then you need to look at how much farther you are likely to come in three more. It is a long term thing. Very few people learn to play at the rate Clayton is.

Hang in there!
Posted by: SAnnM AB-2001

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/15/04 04:19 AM

I've only fully completed the second movement and haven't even started the third. I'm also much better at the slower pieces and am currently working on increasing speed with arpeggios, thirds, and scale studies. I have an awesome teacher who seems to know exactly when (and what) to push and when not to. Right now mostly working on the Beethoven Minuet which is my first 4-page piece consisting of principal and subordinate themes in different keys - I'm having a great time, although I expect this will be a few months... It's rather fast and speed is still a struggle for me.
Posted by: Nina

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/15/04 07:23 AM

The key to speed (and perhaps the "learning bump" mentioned earlier?) is to slow down!

Before you can play something fast, you really have to have it locked into your muscle memory. When I mess up with something fast (and I'm no virtuoso, so "fast" is relative! \:\) ), it's because I don't really know the piece that well. There is a limit to how quickly you can play if you have to think much, or sightread parts.

Once you have the piece "in place," where you don't need to think (much) or read (much), you can start to slowly bring it up to speed. The key is to relax and trust that your fingers know what to do. It's hard. I think the hardest part of playing something fast isn't the technique as much as it is just letting it happen without freaking out when it does.

My 2c!

Nina
Posted by: Bob Muir

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/15/04 08:24 AM

Great points Nina! I also try to make sure I practice the same movements I'm going to make at tempo. Bernhard's "chord attack" method is good for determining this.

Even knowing this, I still play too fast and start making mistakes far too often. I lie to myself that "I can get this, just one more time". :-/ Of course I'm just making it worse by playing mistakes, which helps to embed the mistakes into my finger memory. \:\(
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/15/04 02:29 PM

Thanks, Nina!

Actually that is exactly what I am finding this week. I have all three movements down pretty well, and the tempo is just kind of natuarally coming up, almost by itself.
Posted by: David Kirkham

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/15/04 07:02 PM

Kris,

This happens to everyone. I just have to learn to enjoy the fight.

David \:\) \:\) \:\)
Posted by: Bassistonkeys

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/17/04 12:36 AM

I just started playing too...

From what i gather in this thread i am gonna try concentrating on Sight-Reading as apposed to memorizing... although memorizing is SOOO much easier!

I need to get a book or too.. As i am self taught.. Seems like Classical music is pretty big on this forum.. Need to get into it.. Problem now is i cant find any good CD's where i could have a listen to solo piano.. Im sure that would help..

But i hear you Kris 10. It takes me ages trying to find the notes! On the Bass key its no problem cause im a Bassist. But damn! that treble clef!

FACE and EGBDF! : - ) <-- Hey its a start!

Peace

M
Posted by: Bob Muir

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/17/04 09:40 AM

M, Paul turned me onto a site: Listen.com . For $9.95 a month, I have my own radio station where I can look up nearly any song or album that I want. It doesn't have everything, but they have a LOT!

One of the pieces I'm working on is "Christmas Time is Here" from Charlie Brown Christmas and Listen.com had 48 different versions.

When someone refers to a particular piece in the forum, it's great to be able to zip over to Rhapsody (Listen.com's player) and hear what they're talking about.

Alternatively, there's ClassicalArchives which has free midi files and MP3 files of classical pieces that you can download. You're limited to 5 pieces, but if you pay a small annual fee, that limit is boosted considerably. Listen.com seems to have a lot more works than ClassicalArchives though.
Posted by: SAnnM AB-2001

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/22/04 04:18 AM



I recognize this all the time. The problem I have with this it once it's "locked" into muscle memory my sightreading goes out the window and when my teacher says "lets start from here" I can get lost. I'm getting better though and find that practicing pieces backwards (bar by bar) helps in fully memorizing the piece rather than depending strictly on muscle memory. I'm also encouraged to use my metronome frequently to avoid speeding up the slower parts and to hopefully (someday) develop my own internal metronome......
Posted by: mound

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/22/04 06:43 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Muir:
M, Paul turned me onto a site: Listen.com . [/b]
I did? I didn't think I posted that here.. Or, oh yeah, I posted about it on pianoforum.

Yes, Rhapsody! It's awesome isn't it?
Posted by: Neus A.

Re: Feel frustrated everytime I face new piece - 11/22/04 06:56 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kris10:
Anyone else experience this?

Once I work up a piece and feel good about it, I think to myself that I am improving. Then I face a new piece, and BAM, reality hits!
[/b]
Don't despair! It's normal for most of us. Bear in mind that progress should be measured over longer periods of time. Do the following: Once you have learnt one of the pieces you are struggling with so hard now, write the date on the score and save it somewhere. One year later have a look at it and you will see that you will find it was very easy. ;\)

Neus