Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#582956 - 10/18/04 03:57 PM anyone else ever experience this??
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1367
Loc: New York City
Have you ever been in the middle of learning a piece, leave it for some time (days or weeks) then you try and play what you know from memory and the execution is perfect..beyond what you originally achieved with that piece???
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

Top
Ad 800 (Pearl River)
Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#582957 - 10/18/04 06:25 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
Pieces mature in your head even when not practicing. If you have reached a certain point in their learning, stepping away for a short while may do more in helping it mature.

It is a little like when I go back to my parents' home where I grew up. It's still the same house I knew but I notice so many things I never paid attention to when I lived there all the time.

Elena
http://www.pianofourhands.com
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

Top
#582958 - 10/18/04 07:11 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1367
Loc: New York City
I guess it makes sense...I've been using this condition to learn almost all my pieces over the past few years, although its odd knowing that it will happen, i find it very useful.

BTW.. Elena you're Puerto Rican?
What part?
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

Top
#582959 - 10/18/04 07:19 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
I found that my memorization and technical accuracy, not to mention my phrasing and musicality improves on a piece if I practice in short sessions with relaxing breaks.

Top
#582960 - 10/19/04 12:44 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
ycul Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 1402
Loc: U.K.
 Quote:
Originally posted by ChopinLives81:
Have you ever been in the middle of learning a piece, leave it for some time (days or weeks) then you try and play what you know from memory and the execution is perfect..beyond what you originally achieved with that piece??? [/b]
Yes. It's happened to me on a number of occasions.
\:\)

I find it very difficult to leave a piece that I haven't got (in my mind), exactly right but if I force myself to leave it for a few days it's way improved on what it was when I come back to it.
_________________________
How now, brown cow.

Top
#582961 - 10/19/04 04:15 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Freedom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 1192
Loc: Scotland
Elena, are you back from London now?
Nice to see you again. \:\)
_________________________
"A print of the score has everything you need to know about the music, except the essential."

Top
#582962 - 10/19/04 07:05 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Yes, this is a well documented phenomena in psychology.. That C. Chang book talks at length about it as well (look at the chapter on Post Practice Learning) - and you can make use of it every day to make your practices more efficient.

Pick a new passage you have never seen before. Try to play it 7 times in a row. If you can't do it correctly 7 times in a row, chop it in half and try again.. Do this until you have a chunk that you can play correctly 7 times in a row (yes, even if that brings you down to only two notes, and 7 is not arbitrary, you may have heard various areas of psychology of learning that talk about the number of unique things the conscious brain can retain at once.. it goes to that..)

Now that you've defined the appropriate size of the chunk to practice, continue to practice this chunk for no longer than 20 minutes. If it's a fast passage or something, alternate between a right hand and left hand passage (from the same piece or a different piece all together, work both hands equally) but then walk away (or take a break and move on to something all together different, don't repeat that work today)

Come back tomorrow and it may in fact seem you've forgotten it entirely. So repeat exactly what you did to learn that chunk yesterday, you will get it back to the point you had it at the end of yesterdays session, in a fraction of that time. Again, practice no longer than 20 minutes because anything more isn't going to have any additional effect.. Tomorrow come back to it, you might have it perfectly on the first try. If not, repeat the exact steps you took to learn it the first day and again, leave it. After 3 or 4 days, you will have that passage mastered forever.

In contrast, you could spend 3 hours on the first day practicing this chunk over and over and over again and tomorrow, you will likely be at the same point you were on the 2nd day in the above scenario, only you've wasted close to 2.5 hours.

Your subconscious takes care of an enormous amount of processing while you sleep. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Pick two passages of comparable complexity and go about learning one the way you normally do (read the notes, pick them out on the keyboard, practice an arbitrary length passage, regardless if you can do it correctly after 7 tries and repeat it over and over for half hour, an hour, two hours, whatever you would normally do.) Use the "7/20" rule for the other passage and after 3 or 4 days, see which one you know cold and which one has seen only marginal improvement.

Anyway - check out posts by Bernhard on the forums at www.pianoform.net, search for "7 20" by him, he goes to much better length to explain why and how this works than I can, I'm only talking about stuff I learned from him anyway \:\)

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582963 - 10/19/04 07:25 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
Thanks, Paul. I found that 7/20 thread from Bernhard and bookmarked it. (It took a bit of searching to locate.)
_________________________
Support our troops!

Top
#582964 - 10/19/04 10:48 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
cdbob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/04
Posts: 24
Loc: Canada
Yes this has happened to me but sometimes I sight read a piece really well and it takes four months of practing to play it that well which is weird
_________________________
cdbob

Top
#582965 - 10/20/04 03:27 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Alvin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/19/04
Posts: 29
Loc: Hong Kong
The simplest question: Why do you have to leave the piece in the middle?

Top
#582966 - 10/20/04 03:57 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Freedom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 1192
Loc: Scotland
Yes, I let pieces mature. Usually after I think I've perfected it, then I go back and it's better than ever.
_________________________
"A print of the score has everything you need to know about the music, except the essential."

Top
#582967 - 10/20/04 06:04 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
 Quote:
Originally posted by mound:

Your subconscious takes care of an enormous amount of processing while you sleep.

Anyway - check out posts by Bernhard on the forums at www.pianoform.net, search for "7 20" by him, he goes to much better length to explain why and how this works than I can, I'm only talking about stuff I learned from him anyway \:\)

-Paul [/b]
I couldn't find Bernhard's post on the other forum. But ... what happens if you are an insomniac? \:\( . Does he mention anything about it?

Neus

Top
#582968 - 10/20/04 06:43 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
just do a search on posts by Bernhard on that forum.. I think he's up to like 2300+ posts or something, and everything he says is meaningful. Unfortunately, he uses alot of links in responses to other responses of his on the site, and they just changed software, so many of the links don't work.. But search works.

Here Specifically is a conversation I engaged him, where I outlined a plan for taking on the methods he proposes, but the plan was flawed, the conversation ensued, and ultimately the right way was cleared up.. Hopefully reading that thread alone will inspire you to read more of his work.. (Reply #7 and Reply #8 really get to the heart of the matter)

 Quote:
what happens if you are an insomniac?
Well, I'm not sure.. I imagine you do get some sleep sometimes? If you never sleep, piano is the least of your worries
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582969 - 10/20/04 07:40 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
Mound,

Thanks a lot for your link. I've just printed it to read on my way back home. This is a completly new approach to learning for me. You have to be very organized, isn't it a bit stressing though?

I actually manage to get a few hours sleep at nights. ;\)

Top
#582970 - 10/20/04 09:47 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Neus - it is a very new approach to learning for me too, new to me only within the last month or so. I read and read about it for almost a month, then started asking questions, experimenting and asking more questions. That thread I pointed you to kinda gives the overview of that whole process of learning the method for me. Organization is the KEY, and yes, in the first few days it is a bit stressing, but once you get into the flow of it and really understand how and why it works, and how to best make it work for you, you begin to see MASSIVE leaps in your efficiency and learning rate.. I'm memorizing and taking to speed whole pages in a week vs. a month or more and actually spending less time per day doing it. There is absolutely NOTHING "magical or mystical" about this and any "lazy slob" can do it. Most people will go from day to day, opening up their scores to something they have been working on, pick a section at random, or maybe something they worked on yesterday, go through it in whatever fashion suits them today for whatever amount of time they feel like doing it and move on to something else.. Easilly spending, 1, 2, 3 or more hours a day doing this sort of thing. And while you might be 100% focused on the task at hand during any given moment of practice (or you may not be), what this approach completely lacks is a well defined PLAN for reaching the end goal in the most efficient manner possible.

I've practiced 2-3 hours a day every day for the last year. I prided myself on being so very dedicated to practice. Every day, 2 hours in the morning, another at night, no interruptions. My playing is very pretty, my family and friends love to hear me play. But what I had no idea of, what is so clear now, is just how highly inefficient my use of that time was! Yes, I was focused. I didn't dilly-dally or skrew around, I was practicing, but with no method or plan, I wasn't accomplishing things at nearly the rate I (anybody) is really capable of. My teacher commended me on being a fast learner and like I said, my playing can be beautiful, but I don't think he's prepared to see the rate of improvement that's soon coming (has come this past month.) In hindsight, my practice time is now literally, 95% more efficient than it it was, and give me another month or so of exploring this method of learning, and my practice time will be almost 100% more efficient than it ever was. That's a disconcerting prospect, but I have to accept that I can only move forward from where I am right now, and so can you.

I don't feel I am any different than anybody else who is dedicated and excited about learning piano who consistently puts in the time. It's how you use that time that is most important. And determining specifically how to use every minute of your practice time is not at all intuitive to most (it certainly wasn't to me, and if you're reading this with interest, it probably isn't to you either), and this is the heart of the method Bernhard presents on pianoforum.net. Most teachers simply don't teach this stuff, they only teach the musical stuff and leave you to your own devices for the most part as far as how you practice. Only the best teachers would teach you this; Bernhard on pianoforum.net is one such teacher. This is why so many people spend so much time[/b] developing so little repertoir[/b].

When it all comes down to it, it makes perfect sense. Before you get to "musical" stuff, you have a score full of passages which you need to:
1) develop the technique to execute
2) memorize

Those tasks are "non musical", the non-artistic side of it.. The "grunt work" if you will before you can really play. It's a very well defined amount of work presented in a score to get where you need to be to begin "performing" it - so why not take every opportunity you can to plan for, organize and then execute with discipline that work to complete this non-musical work in the fastest time possible? Yes, you can learn a piece going about it without a specific plan, but it will take much longer than it otherwise has to unless you have a photographic memory and perfect sight reading skills. This isn't some crazy method that requires tons of work from you, it actually lets you do less. The only hard part is learning how to apply the method.

Picture this analogy (I'm making this up on the spot, hopefully it works ;-)

You are a painter/artist, and you are going to build a gallery. The "artistic stuff" that you can't wait to get to is with decorating the interior of the art gallery and putting your works up throughout the space ("the performance") But before you do this though, you need a building that will "become the gallery". You hire an architect to design this building (the composer). Before you can actually make the architects plan (the score) into a "gallery" (the musical performance) you have to actually construct the building from the architects blueprints (develop required technique, learning and memorizing the score).

There is alot of work involved in that, but it's all represented in clear detail by the blueprint. Which is going to get you a gallery rather than a sterile building faster?

You could do either of the following:

Approach 1
----------
Dig right in! Begin halphazardly putting down pieces of foundation and wall there, chunks of roof over there, maybe a shingle or two here and some pipes and wiring over there. Take a day off if you feel like it. Maybe next week go back and pour more foundation somewhere else and the next week going back and re-do some shingles 'cause the roof didn't quite fit? Maybe spend a week on another building project all together. Sure, you could do it this way and you may in fact eventually end up with a building into which you can put your gallery.

But how long would that take? Using this analogy it's pretty clear how wasteful trying to accomplish this set of well defined tasks in this manner is.

Approach 2
----------
Ok, you have a blueprint in hand, take some time to first analyze it, determine what will be involved in putting this building together keeping in mind what tools you already have (your level of technique today) and what additional tools will be necessary (the technique that doing this will develop.) Make a schedule, a project plan if you will. Everyday, you come back to the site knowing exactly what you accomplished yesterday and how you accomplished it, and also knowing exactly what you've planned to accomplish today. You also have a "test plan" for ensuring that every detail you did yesterday is in fact properly completed, and you have a plan for fixing it if it is not. Each day you show up on the construction site there is a well defined task at hand, and you know that they will come together in 28 days (or whatever) so that you can get to the good stuff - putting your gallery into this building (ie. your musical performance)

A score is nothing but a model for a musical performance. The model has lots of little pieces, some of which will come easilly (because you already have the necessary technique), some of which will be much harder (because you don't yet have the necessary technique, but you will develop it learning this piece.) Now you can't necessarilly plan exactly "X days to completion" because the method requires a certain level of adaptation as you proceed (especially in the beginning, as is very clear in the thread I pointed you to earlier, where I initially thought I could plan the entire schedule), but you still execute a specifically defined set of tasks today, and then plan a specific set of tasks for tomorrow, based on the mastery of tasks you completed today.

The "7/20" stuff Bernhard talks about in that other forum is the "psychology of learning" stuff that allows you to make sure that each planned session will be successful so you don't spin your wheels too long on something that could be simplified (the number 7 is not arbitrary, various psychology studies have determined the average brain can retain 7 things (+/- 2), and the 20 minutes is the length of time repeating something will cause the subconsicous to retain it later, after which point further work that day , while not harmful, has no meaningful effect on recollection tomorrow, so why waste the time?)

Bernhard has his students learning in this fashion 10 or more pieces PER MONTH (learning that is, memorizing and being able to play the score. Of course musicality and expression mature with time, but this process is for learning, your teacher will guide you in performance.) Sometimes you're even working the left hand from one piece and the right hand from another piece if that's what's necessary to keep both hands working efficiently w/o wasting any of your time. (What?!@#$ you say?? Yes - this goes directly to the initial theme of this thread on subconscious learning.. as I said, it's a very real phenomenon that is a part of everybody who isn't brain dead, so take advantage of it!)

That said, I shouldn't agree that "it's a bit stressing in the beginning though" - it's not so much stressing as it is exciting, and only frustrating as you struggle to learn the method. Especially when after a couple days you've mastered a passage that you know would otherwise take you 2 weeks (and you can, and I have, done comparisons for myself, don't believe me or anybody else.) The only stressing thing in the beginning is that once you've realized how far the benefits of this method can take you, you realize that it's going to take a while for you to work out the process of making the appropriate plan based on your own skillset, and you might get frustrated and revert to the old ways. Stick with it, learn the method for learning, and you will amaze yourself. This process needs to be learned, because it's not entirely intuitive (but if you compare it to something obvious like construction of a building with no project plan, it's pretty obvious)

Anyway, definitely peruse Bernhard's wisdom over on pianoforum.net! None of what I've described above are my own thoughts (except the gallery analogy, which by the way only serves to cover the "plan" part of this method, nothing about how to actually create the plan based on the psychology of learning and technique factors, which is equally important.) I've learned this from him.

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582971 - 10/20/04 01:26 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Below are some clips I had taken off that site and saved as files on my computer.. they go into more detail.. I'd show links to exactly those threads, but I lost them.. These are not my writings, they are from Bernhard on pianoforum.net

oh, also while you're there, search "repeated note groups" - a technique of breaking hard passages into their smallest subdivisions (like 2 notes), mastering each tiny block and the connecting blocks (ie. 12 23 34 45 123 234 345 1234 2345 12345 for a 5 note run as a short example) through the entire passage, repeating with the next higher number of units per group until you've done the whole thing.. the exercise can take close to an hour depending on how it's broken up, and must be completed in one sitting, but it's incredible how it lets you quickly learn to play very fast passages. It's good to work on a set in the right hand, and a different set in the left hand at the same time, alternating between groups so your hands don't get injured. I was struggling with a very fast descending set of 3 quintuplets for weeks, not getting it at speed and having bad gaps when the hand shifted to the left. I learned of this practice tecnhique, spent 65 minutes relentlessly completing a full repeated note group set exercise on this passage (it almost becomes hypnotic), and the next day, I sat down and first thing I did was try this passage, and executed it flawlessly at speed.. brilliant!

------------------------------------------

In piano playing you must repeat something several hundred times. But you must also alternate repetition with time for the unconscious to work it out. This means ultimately a nightís sleep. It is when you start dreaming with your piece that you know you are starting to learn it. Dreaming is a consequence of this integrative work of the unconscious.

This has the following awesome practical consequence: In order to learn anything in the most efficient way, work on it with full concentration for a period of time (15 - 20 minutes is more then enough) and then forget about it until the next day. The next day repeat the same procedure for the same amount of time and again forget it until the next day. Repeat this as many days as necessary to be able to play the passage in question is such a way that you cannot get it wrong even if you try. I assure you that you will get to this point in a maximum of seven days, usually much less. This demands incredible discipline and consistency. But it works like magic.

Now consider this extreme example. You decide to practise 5 hours every day. These five hours can be divided in 12 practise sessions of 20 minutes each plus 5 minutes break in between each practice session.

The worst thing you can do is this: "Today I am going to practise bars 12- 24 of piece x.". Then you do that in each of the 12 practice sessions. For 5 hours solid. It does not work. It is a waste of time.

The brilliant thing you can do is to use each of these 12 practice sessions to practise something completely different in each.

You see, it does not matter if you work on a passage for 20 minutes or for five hours. Whatever you accomplished in 20 minutes is all you are going to accomplish that day. You need a nightís sleep in between. It is far better to work twelve days for 20 minutes everyday in a passage than to work on that passage for 12 consecutive sessions in a day. (You do not need to believe me. Just try it out!). Instead use the other eleven daily sessions to learn eleven new things. At the end of a week you will be amazed at the fantastic amount that you have learned.

But you must have a plan. You must make sure that everything that you are practising in these sessions add up to something at the end of a week. This is the simple secret of all those pianists who were able to learn massive repertories in no time at all.

This also means that you do not need to practise 10 - 12 hours a day. 20 minutes is plenty. But the amount you will be able to learn in 20 minutes will be 1/12 of what you could learn in 5 hours. Do you understand what I am getting at? Do not think in terms of hours of practise per day, but in terms of number of 20 minute sessions per day and stick to whatever you are doing for seven days (or until you master it - usually less than seven days).

I wish someone had told this to me in my teenager years (then again, would I have listened?). So I tell it now to all of you. Enjoy and profit from it!

-------------(another post)-----------------


Now let me say a few more words about 15 - 20 minutes, so that it is perfectly clear what I mean.

The important aspect is that you should have a passage perfect at the end of 15 - 20 minutes.

If it is taking more than that, then the passage you chose to work on is too big.

Cut it in half.

Most people select bits that are bigger than they can chew. This leads to practising for hours on end without visible improvement, which leads to fatigue, discouragement and actually burn out in relation to the passage/piece in question.

Here is another approach to be combined with the 15-20 minutes one. I probably already said that in one of the threads, but I cannot remember where.

It takes 7 repetitions for the human brain to learn anything. So, choose a passage and repeat it seven times. If after seven times you have not learnt it, it is because it is too large a chunk of information.

So instead of doing what everyone who does not know this piece of information do, namely keep repeating endlessly the passage hundreds of times, do the clever thing and make the passage smaller.

Try again seven times. If you still have not got it, make it smaller again. Certain passages will require that you par it down to only two notes. But I assure you that anyone can learn two notes after repeating them seven times. Then you go to the next bit (make sure you overlap to avoid stuttering on the links later on).

So you must organise your 15 - 20 minutes in seven time repetition blocks that add up to the passage you have to master in that session. Or make the passage smaller so that it will fit in the 15 - 20 minute session.

In the beginning this will be sort of overwhelming, but as you keep at it, very soon you will be able to look at a score and immediately know how long it will take you to learn it. You will know exactly how to break it down and the size of passage you can manage.

I cannot tell you much more than that because ultimately these are very personal things, you will have to discover how it works for you by experience.

-------------(another post to a specific Prelude)-----------------

Let us say that you decide to practise the piano 5 hours everyday. You have several options on how to go about allocating this time. You could for instance, sit at the piano and stay there practising for five hours solid. This is not a good idea. A much better way is to divide this five hour period into practice sessions lasting 20 minutes plus 5 minutes rest. If you do that, you will have 12 practice sessions (25 mins x 12 = 5 hours). Are you with me so far?

[if you decide to practise the piano for one hour everyday, you can still follow the same scheme, but this time you will have only 3 practise sessions, instead of twelve. Or you can practise ten hours a day, in which case you will have 24 practice sessions.]

Now what should you practise in each of these 20 minutes practice sessions? I will use as an example the Prelude in F#m (WTC1). Let us say that your aim is to master this prelude (I will not deal with the fugue, just the prelude). How should you go about it? Let us also see how you should not go about it.

1. I will assume that before getting even near to the piano, you will have:

i. Listened to a CD of this piece with the score in front of you. In fact I would suggest that you listen to several different pianists (and some harpsichordists as well) interpretations of it.

ii. Made a motif analysis of the prelude.

iii. Made a harmonic reduction.

iv. Made a copy of the score where the three voices (bars 1- 2, 12 - 16, 18 - 19 and 22 - 24) have been isolated, the fingering written out and the distribution between hands been sorted out (in this prelude this is straightforward: the RH plays the treble clef, the LH plays the bass clef).

v. Sight read through it to identify the most difficult (for you) bars/passages.

[why not ignore all this and simply jump straight away into playing it? Very simple: It is almost impossible to memorise something that is meaningless. Meaning is what allows associations and memory is based on associations. The analysis above will show you the meaning of this prelude. After you finished this preparatory work, give a lecture to willing friends/family on this prelude. This will guarantee that you never forget what you found out about it in your analysis].

2. Having done the above work (mostly) away from the piano, you are ready to spend 5 hours a day working on mastering this prelude.

[One way, is of course to plunge into it for five hours solid. Start on bar 1 and read through to bar 24. Then start again and repeat as many times as you can fit in 5 hours. Do not get away from the piano during these five hours. Needless to say this is the worse thing you can do. First you will not learn the prelude this way in one hundred years. Second you will get so many bad habits that you will probably be unable to master it even if you change your way of practising later on. Thirdly you get burn out. Fourthly you most likely get injured].

So, as I said divide your five hours into 12 sessions of 20 minutes with a five minute break in between (if you are going to do all 12 sessions consecutively - but you can also do 4 sessions in the morning, 4 in the afternoon and 4 at night, or any other distribution that fits your schedule).

Now what you are going to do in your first 20 minute practice session? You are going to work on a section of the prelude. Which section? And how large should this section be? Only one bar? Two or three bars? 12 bars?

This will depend ultimately on you. How much technique you have under your belt, how much facility you have with playing counterpoint, how much of the technique needed to play this piece you must acquire.

The important principle is this: whatever section you choose, it must be completely mastered and memorised at the end of the 20 minute practice session.. This means that if you decide to work on bars 1 - 4, at the end of 20 minutes, these 4 bars must be perfect.

It takes about 1 min. 30 sec. to play this prelude. So if you are to play the whole prelude, which means that you will probably be able to fit about 10 repeats of it in 20 minutes. Obviously 10 repetitions will barely be enough to master this prelude. So the full 24 bars is obviously too large. On the other hand it may be a waste of time to spend 20 minutes on the first bar.

Thatís where the "seven repetition principle" comes in. Choose a chunk of the prelude with separate hands, say the first four bars. Can you master each hand separately after seven repeats? Can you play each hand perfectly with the correct fingering, the correct rhythm, and memorise it after seven repetitions? Let us suppose you cannot. After seven repeats the whole section is still falling apart. Your fingers keep going to the wrong notes, or you keep using the wrong fingering with the consequence that your fingers are tying themselves in knots and you have to compensate by using all the wrong movements. Moreover you keep forgetting how the passage goes, so that you are still having to read it. If this is happening, do not keep repeating after the seventh time. It will be not only a waste of time, as you will be learning all the mistakes you are making.

You have chosen a far too large passage to master, and insisting on repeating it will not make any difference. So cut it in half. You must be ruthless here. So now you are going to try two bars only. Another seven times, and the same thing happens again. So cut it in half again.

Now you repeat just the first bar (hands separate still) and this time after the fifth repeat you experience that magical moment when your fingers start to do everything right and you have actually memorised the whole bar. Excellent. You have found the passage you are going to be working on. Chances are that by now your first twenty minute session is over. So stop, get out of the piano, go out, stretch, drink a glass of water, watch the latest news, in short anything to take your mind of what you have just done. Take a five minute break!

3. Now go back for another 20 minutes. This time you know exactly what you have to do: master completely that first bar. As you sit at the piano, you may experience a very common occurrence, so get used to it, it is no big deal. It will feel as you have never seen the passage you just practised before. Most students who are not told to expect this to happen get really discouraged at this point. But as I said it is no big deal. Just go back to hands separate and work on it again. It will come back very, very quickly.

It is now when everything is perfect that you can actually start to practise. So you see, the 7 times repetition you did do not really count as practice. It is just a practical way to figure out the size of the passage you will be working on. This is also the reason why you must always do it with separate hands. If you go for it hands together, all the mistakes you are making while investigating the best way to play the passage will get ingrained in your hand memory form where it will be almost impossible to dislodge them. If you do it with hands separate nothing gets into your hand memory, so hands separate is a very safe way to try different things that you may discard later as inappropriate.

So spend the next five minutes or so playing that first bar with hands separate. Since this is pretty unchallenging you will be able to fit in hundreds of repetitions. You can play in rhythm variations, in chords (particularly useful on the RH), you can play utlrafast, ultra slowly.

Now spend the remaining of the practice session working on hands together. Since hands together are 37 times more difficult then hands separate, even though you completely mastered HS, it will take much more time to master and memorise HT than it took HS. Also you want to be extra careful with not making any mistake whatsoever at this stage, since it when you play HT that hand memory is formed. In any case, by the end of the practise session this first bar should be completely mastered, memorised and pretty much ready for performance.

4. At this point comes the 20 minute principle. Do not play this first bar anymore today! Nothing bad will happen if in your next 20 minute practice session you work on this first bar again. But nothing good will happen either: It will be a total waste of time. Instead take your break, and on the next session work on a different passage of the prelude.

5. It is very important that you understand that although you apparently mastered the first bar on your 20 minute practice session, this is far from the truth. Learning is done by the unconscious mind. So you need a nightís sleep to integrate whatever you learned today. This means that your mastery of the first bar is temporary and it will remain so until it is incorporated by your unconscious mind. One consequence of this, is that the next day, when you play through the first bar you had completely mastered the day before it will be as if you have never seen it before. Learn to expect this. Accept it. Although it will feel at the moment that you will have to start form scratch again and go through all the drudgery of the previous day, this is far form the truth. Typically, it may have taken you 20 minutes to master the first bar on the first day. On the second day - even if it feels just like when you first set eyes on the passage - you will master it again at a fraction of the time it took you the first day. Maybe five minutes. So master it again.And again do not touch it until the next day.

6. Come the next day, the whole story repeats itself. But again you will remaster the first bar in a fraction of the time, maybe one minute this time. And then by the forth day, you will go to the piano and play it perfectly first time. When this happens the passage is yours forever. You will never forget again (pretty much like you will never forget your mother tongue, or how to ride a bicycle). However for this to happen you must go through exactly the same steps every day you did o n the very first day. Most people cut corners and that is why they are forever struggling with the same piece.

7. Now, do not forget that you are not working only on the first bar. You have another 11 sessions during the day. If in each you were working on a different bar, this means that over the first day you worked on 12 bars of this prelude. On the second day, because it is taking much less than 20 minutes to relearn the 12 bars you have learnt on the first day, you will probably be able to start another six bars. On the third day, you will be able to easily fit the remaining six bars and start using the practice sessions to join bars, so now on your practise session you may be working on passages that are 2 or 3 bars long. I estimate that it should take 4 - 5 days to completely master and memorise this prelude for someone with no technique (the technique being acquired as one works on each section - for the Hanon lovers amongst you, check out bar 20: repeat it 30 times and you have a Hanon exercise right there, staring you in the face). This of course is subjective some people will take more time, some people less time. But the point is, which approach will deliver the goods in less time? There is only one way to know. Select another prelude of similar difficulty. Learn one using the approach I am suggesting. Learn the other using whatever is your favourite way. See which method is best. Then tell us the results. If your method is better, describe it in detail, so we can use it as well.

8. To sum it all up: There is no point is spending more then 20 minutes (make it 30 if want - but I have got away with as little as 10 minutes practice sessions) in any passage. As soon as you master it, drop it until next day. If you cannot master a passage in 20 minutes, it means that the passage you chose to work on is too large. Cut it in half. Now it would be silly to spend 20 minutes practising something only to discover at the end of 20 minutes that it was too large. So investigate the size of the passage by repeating it 7 times. If you can learn it (which is very different from mastering it) with 7 repeats, I guarantee that you will be able to master it in 20 minutes. Always do your investigation with hands separate in order not to ingrain mistakes and inappropriate movements/fingerings in your hand memory.

-------------(The last post on organization)-----------------

At some stage you will have to get really organised. The way you are practising is the way beginners go about it. This is how the pros go about it:

1. Consider three completely different levels of practising/learning: short term (what you do day-to-day), middle term (monthly), long term (1- 5 years).

2. Start with the long term: Which pieces would you like to be playing in one yearís time? In five yearís time? Do not worry about being over ambitious. At the end of the year you can review your goals. Sit down and make a list of them. For the purposes of illustration, say that your list of desirable pieces at the end of 5 years is 100 pieces.

3. Plan your monthly work. Using the 1-5 year list, distribute these pieces over twelve months. Again do not worry too much about being able to do it, as you go along you can reevaluate your goals. However try to work on at least 5 pieces a month, but no more than 30 pieces. For the purposes of illustration, say that you are going to work on 10 pieces a month. Now make a table with these ten pieces ocuppying the first row and 30 columns (or 31 depending on the month). Everyday you are going to work on these ten pieces, and tick in the corresponding column if you did it or not.

4. Plan your daily work. You are going to work 10 - 15 mins daily on each of your 10 pieces. After you finish your 10 - 15 minutes, forget about it until the next day. Move on and do another 10-15 minutes on the next piece. These 10 15 minutes do not need to be consecutive. They can be any 10-15 minutes anytime of the day. This is the beauty of this system, you do not need a block of 2hs 30mins (you can do it if you want though), but you can spread it in ten blocks of 15 minutes.

5. The most important requirement for this method to work is consistency. You must do it every day.

6. The second most important requirement is that you have a specific goal that can be achieved in 15 minutes. So if you are learning a new piece, this may mean that you will be working on the first two bars. If you cannot master two bars in 15 minutes, next day do just one bar. Next day do the next bar, and so on.

7. Do not work on scales /arpeggios separately. Practise the scale of your piece, and do it as part of the 15 minutes. Imagine your piece is in A minor. That is the scale you will practise. First day, just play the notes, one octave only: your aim is to learn the notes, not to play the scale. This should take only a couple of minutes. Then move on to the piece an do a single bar, or two bars hands separate.

8. Next day, do the scale again. Do you know the notes now? Then work on it hands separate two octaves, your aim is to master the fingering. Do your pieceís two bars. Have they been mastered? If not repeat the previous day work, if yes, move on to learn it hands together.

9. Next day practise the scale in hands separate, but in clusters of notes. Then your piece.

10. Keep a music journal where you write briefly where you are at, and what your next steps are, so the next day you know what to do.

11. Since you are doing ten pieces, chances are that you will be covering a lot of scales everyday this way. You may choose your pieces so that they cover certain specific scales.

12. At the end of the month you will have learned certain pieces, and others you will be still learning. The learned pieces are replaced by new pieces. The others go on to the next month. You must wait until the end of the month to replace pieces, even if you have learned them in the first week.

13. If you choose your pieces so that they cover different techniques, you will not need to do technical exercises (drop Hanon - waste of time - if you want to do Czerny, just treat it as a piece. But why not do Scarlatti instead? It will give you exactly the same benefits of Czerny, but it will be a beautiful addition to your repertory). Scales and arpeggios however are very necessary (not as technical exercises, but as foundation to musical understanding).

14. After 2 or 3 months you will be able to review your goals and adjust them. You will also be able to plan better your middle and short term work.

15. This practise does not involve only work at the piano. You may spend your 15 minutes listening to CDs of the piece you intend to learn, analysing the score in order to decide how to break it down in 15 minute sections, memorising the piece from the score, etc. (in short, mental practice).

16. The key word here is discipline. Never practise by sitting at the piano to play whatever you feel like. It is perfectly all right to do so, but it does not count as your 15 minutes practice. And if you do it, make sure you share it with someone else, this way you will be practising performance.

This is the tip of the iceberg, but it should get you started.

---- END BERNHARD QUOTES------

(NEUS- if you've just returned to view this thread, and scrolled all the way to the bottom and are reading this, note that I responded to your last post with two lengthy posts of my own, this being the 2nd

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582972 - 10/21/04 07:38 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
Thanks Paul for your 2 posts, which I just finished reading.

Iíll will try to apply the 7/20 rule on the unlearned bars of the ďRondinoĒ Iím working on at the moment. Iíll get a completely new assignment on Monday and I will definitely try this new method with it.

I can play only 45 min. a day which means 3 sessions of 15 min. 5 minutes breaks in between wonít be a problem since I have two young girls interrupting me regularly. I have only to tell them to call on my door only each 15 min. \:D

Iíve been playing only for one year. I hope all this works for me and that I may able to make progress with the little time available I have. Playing is one of the things I like most.

Berhnard mentions some techniques I have never heard before such as ďdropping notesĒ etc. Iíll do a search on the other forum.

 Quote:
Your 15. point. "memorizing the piece form the score, etc."
Do you think it is worth to start memorizing a piece from the score away from the piano?

Again, thanks a lot for your patience in posting and sharing all this valuable information with us.

PS: Are you going to attend the NY piano party? You donít know how much I envy all those of you that have a chance to get together and share the same passion!!

Neus

Top
#582973 - 10/21/04 10:03 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Hi Neus -
 Quote:
I can play only 45 min. a day which means 3 sessions of 15 min. 5 minutes breaks in between wonít be a problem since I have two young girls interrupting me regularly. I have only to tell them to call on my door only each 15 min.
The better you get at using this method, the easier it will be to excel and progress quickly in light of just that situation.. 3 sessions a day, with a 5 minute break (or even totally seperated) is enough to make good progress.. Of course the more the better, but as long as you do the best you can and are making progress it's OK!

The most important things are to be really honest and ruthless with yourself when applying the "7 rule" - if you can't learn to play your passage correctly after 7 tries (at speed, correct notes and rhythm), then the passage is too big. chop it in half and try again.. if this means you are practicing two notes, so be it, so what! Psychology studies have shown that it takes the human brain 7 repetitions of something to learn it (+/- 2) - so if you can't learn your passage after 7 tries, it's too big and you're just wasting your time.

In fact, here's something you can try away from the piano that will prove to you that this method works. Don't believe me, try it for yourself, you can do this at night when the kids are at bed, or on your lunch break, whatever.. Find yourself two similar poems. Something like 200 words in length. Of course since you can already read and speak perfectly, you already posess all of the "technique" required to master these poems, so all this analogy will prove is the method of learning.

The first poem you are going to try to memorize the old fashioned way. The 2nd one you are going to apply this method of learning.

Read the first one outloud in its entirety 7 times in a row.. Maybe that took you 35 minutes. You surely didn't memorize it by then, it's too long to have, but leave it for tomorrow. Then use the 7 rule to determine how many words of the 2nd poem you can learn to recite from memory after 7 tries. Lets say for this discussion the "rule of 7" produced 10 words. Recite those 10 words from memory for 3 minutes, you'll get several tens or more of repetitions in. There, you're done practicing that passage for today.

Tomorrow, try to recite those 10 words from the 2nd poem sight unseen. You might be shocked that you have absolutely no idea how they go. This is perfectly natural. Go read it again, you'll probably only have to look at the paper once for 1 minute before you are again able to recite those 10 words from memory. Then practice that for another 3 minutes.

Next, try to recite the full length of the first poem as you did yesterday. You won't be able to, it'll be just as foreign to you as the first 10 words of the 2nd poem were a minute ago. So look at the paper and read the whole poem outloud a few more times. Maybe it took 5 minutes to get through the whole poem, so be a "dedicated practicer" and continue reading aloud the poem in its entirety for another half hour, look how good you can practice!

Tommorrow, repeat the above again with each poem, only as soon as you realize that you can recite the 10 words from the first poem perfectly w/o looking (this will probably happen on day 3 if not day 2) stop working on words 1-10 and begin working on words 9-20 (starting on 9 for continuity) You memorized 1-10 already, so no need to practice them. Just work on 9-20 for 5 minutes, and then go back and spend X number of minutes reading aloud the other poem in its entirety. an hour if you like to be a dedicated practicing student ;-)

I GUARANTEE YOU, that after a week or so (depending on how big these poems are!) that you will have the 2nd poem completely memorized and you will be able to recite it w/o looking. At that same moment in time, you'll probably struggle to recite the first two lines of the first poem from memory. Each day while you're doing this, jot down how much time you spent on each one. You'll be SHOCKED to see how much more time you spent on the one that isn't memorized. We're talking orders of magnitude more time.

You see how you can spend SO MUCH LESS TIME to accomplish SO MUCH MORE by understanding how the brain works and planning your practice accordingly?

This is exactly how your learning a score will proceed on the piano only it's "harder" because you are developing piano technique in the process and as such, the need for the "investigative practice."


Also remember that the time you spend figuring out what size passage is appropriate is not a part of this 15 minutes of practice (unfortunately, so see if perhaps when the kids are in bed you can spend some time not practicing, but investigating what your next pracice sessions should consist of.) That's "investigative work" you do to determine what your practice session will consist of.. Also it's very important that you keep a log of your activity. "tomorrow" you should begin by going back to the passage you mastered "today" - it is likely it will look foreign to you which is completely natural. The *key* point is that you then follow exactly[/b] the same steps you followed the day before to master the passage (keep a log of each step if you have to) - since you mastered your passage following those steps "yesterday", clearly you will be able to do the same thing "today", only it will[/b] take a fraction of the time. It's also important that you do this every day[/b] - even if it were just one session for 15 minutes a day - if you learned something on day 1, your brain will have a 90% retention on day 2. If you skip a day, the brains retention is down to like 40% or something, and by 3 days passed, it's lost.

Another thing to keep in mind is that one of the benefits of this method is that you ALWAYS have a specific plan waiting for you for the next time you sit down at the piano. Knowing that you have a plan for accomplishing a specific goal, and that goal can be accomplished in 15-20 minutes, will probably help you "find" a few more sessions each day.. Have you ever found yourself with 15-30 minutes and briefly thought "I should go practice" but dismissed it as "not enough time to accomplish anything?" - I've consistently worked a solid 45 minutes extra each day becuase of this phenomena alone.

 Quote:
Berhnard mentions some techniques I have never heard before such as ďdropping notesĒ etc. Iíll do a search on the other forum.
Yup, search around, it's all there. "dropped notes" specifically relates to getting hands together. If you have the RH and LH of a passage mastered, of course the thing to work on next is coordination. So this involves repeating the RH passage over and over, and "dropping in" (ie. playing) the first note of the left hand.. whatever happens, don't let the RH lose tempo or mess up, just drop in one note.. Keep doing this, then drop the 2nd note in on the left hand.. again, don't let the right hand mess up.. Keep doing this until you've got them both together.. Then reverse it -play the left hand alone and "drop in" the first note of the right hand without letting the left hand mess up.. repeat until you've got both going together again, at which point you've solved the coordination problem.


 Quote:
Do you think it is worth to start memorizing a piece from the score away from the piano?
ABSOLUTELY! The more work you put into your piece before you ever touch the piano the better. Here are some related threads on that:

Mental Practice

Mental Preperation

This involves score analysis, re-writing the score as harmonic outline, for counterpoint type stuff, rewriting it each voice seperated.. listening and listening some more to recordings etc..

 Quote:
Again, thanks a lot for your patience in posting and sharing all this valuable information with us.
Your welcome. I'm only hoping to help open other folks eyes the way mine have been. Again, I'm only rehashing big details of what I've learned from Bernhard, it's important that you spend some time digging through that forum and really reading and thinking about what he's saying, stay up late at night or something if you need to, because this isn't "my" method and I am glossing over some things.


 Quote:
PS: Are you going to attend the NY piano party?
I hadn't planned on it, I'm not even aware of it actually. Is there a thread about it?

 Quote:
You donít know how much I envy all those of you that have a chance to get together and share the same passion!!
That's the beauty of these forums \:\)

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582974 - 10/22/04 06:09 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Neus A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 83
Loc: Spain
Hi mound,

There is so much to be learnt ...

The piano party is http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8139.html

If the link doesn't work (I'm bit slow with computers :rolleyes: ) it is in the Piano Forum / NY Piano Party / It is organized by Christopher T.

Happy Week-end.

Neus

Top
#582975 - 10/22/04 07:29 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Neus - Thanks for the link. I don't think I'll be going. I'm about 6hrs away.

Also check out Reply #4:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4901.0.html

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582976 - 10/22/04 09:44 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 559
Loc: Chicago
 Quote:
BTW.. Elena you're Puerto Rican?
What part?
I would imagine every single part of her.

Rick

Top
#582977 - 10/23/04 08:46 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Woops, I wrote earlier:

 Quote:
None of what I've described above are my own thoughts (except the gallery analogy, which by the way only serves to cover the "plan" part of this method, nothing about how to actually create the plan based on the psychology of learning and technique factors, which is equally important.) I've learned this from him.
But I was just studying more of Bernhards writings over on pianoforum.net and saw in This Thread he wrote:

 Quote:
6. Practice does not necessarily mean time spent at the piano. In fact you can drastically reduce piano time (if you want to) by practising intelligently and efficiently. Think of the process of building a house. Knowledgeable builders will spend most of the time planning it (thinking about the house, drawing plans, making models), and then building the foundations (which will have to be carefully calculated beforehand), then putting up the building properly and finally decorating its insides.
7. For the persons that are unfamiliar with building, all they see is the putting up of the building. And all that they talk about is the decoration. When they ask about how long is going to take to build a house? They are flabbergasted to learn that the planning and the foundation are far more important than the building and the decoration. And will take far longer.
d'oh! I guess I didn't invent the building analogy \:\(

\:\)
-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582978 - 10/25/04 06:06 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
mound-

Thanks a lot for the information in this thread. I've printed it out (all 23 pages) and have read through and hi-lited much of it. I am anxious to try these methods with my own practice time. I appreciate the detail that you provide in your posts, which always seem to be well thought out.
_________________________
Support our troops!

Top
#582979 - 10/25/04 06:09 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
no problem!
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582980 - 10/25/04 09:26 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Fantastic information Paul! I'm reinvigorated. Anybody know where to pick up some spare time for cheap? \:\)

Top
#582981 - 10/25/04 11:03 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by mound:
Yes, this is a well documented phenomena in psychology.. That C. Chang book talks at length about it as well (look at the chapter on Post Practice Learning) - and you can make use of it every day to make your practices more efficient.

Pick a new passage you have never seen before. Try to play it 7 times in a row. If you can't do it correctly 7 times in a row, chop it in half and try again.. Do this until you have a chunk that you can play correctly 7 times in a row (yes, even if that brings you down to only two notes, and 7 is not arbitrary, you may have heard various areas of psychology of learning that talk about the number of unique things the conscious brain can retain at once.. it goes to that..)

Now that you've defined the appropriate size of the chunk to practice, continue to practice this chunk for no longer than 20 minutes. If it's a fast passage or something, alternate between a right hand and left hand passage (from the same piece or a different piece all together, work both hands equally) but then walk away (or take a break and move on to something all together different, don't repeat that work today)

Come back tomorrow and it may in fact seem you've forgotten it entirely. So repeat exactly what you did to learn that chunk yesterday, you will get it back to the point you had it at the end of yesterdays session, in a fraction of that time. Again, practice no longer than 20 minutes because anything more isn't going to have any additional effect.. Tomorrow come back to it, you might have it perfectly on the first try. If not, repeat the exact steps you took to learn it the first day and again, leave it. After 3 or 4 days, you will have that passage mastered forever.

In contrast, you could spend 3 hours on the first day practicing this chunk over and over and over again and tomorrow, you will likely be at the same point you were on the 2nd day in the above scenario, only you've wasted close to 2.5 hours.

Your subconscious takes care of an enormous amount of processing while you sleep. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Pick two passages of comparable complexity and go about learning one the way you normally do (read the notes, pick them out on the keyboard, practice an arbitrary length passage, regardless if you can do it correctly after 7 tries and repeat it over and over for half hour, an hour, two hours, whatever you would normally do.) Use the "7/20" rule for the other passage and after 3 or 4 days, see which one you know cold and which one has seen only marginal improvement.

Anyway - check out posts by Bernhard on the forums at www.pianoform.net, search for "7 20" by him, he goes to much better length to explain why and how this works than I can, I'm only talking about stuff I learned from him anyway \:\)

-Paul [/b]
IMO that's the best way to learn a piece. Sightread it once very slowly, without stopping to practise a passage more than once, and taking as much time as possible so you get the notes right. Then the next day, do it again. And again. And again. And within a few playthroughs you will have the piece learned. You might need to practise a few passages seperately, but you will at least know all the notes. I learn't various pieces like this, and noticed that it is much harder to remember pieces with repeating sections than ones without. (For example it took 4 playthroughs to learn Debussys Jarndin son ta Pluie, but it took just over 10 to learn Beethovens op.14 no.1 1st movement)

Top
#582982 - 10/27/04 07:40 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
 Quote:
Anybody know where to pick up some spare time for cheap?
I'll sell ya 15 minute blocks for $5 a pop!

hah.. seriously, honestly, now that I've discovered all this stuff, I have "found" 30-45 extra minutes a day, totally seperate 15 minute blocks.. 15 minutes that I otherwise wouldn't have even thought to practice in because "what the hell can I do in 15 minutes?" - but now, knowing that I have a specific goal that I can accomplish in 15 minutes, a goal that is written out in my log from the end of my last practice session, an attainable goal sitting there waiting for me, it's easy to grab that otherwise unused 15 minutes and go make progress. Does that make sense? It's like these methods allow you to do more with less time and simultaneously show you how to find more time to do more with.

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582983 - 10/27/04 07:52 AM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
Max, I'm confused by your post. You first quoted what I wrote (about finding an appropriate chunk size to practice by determining what the biggest chunk is that you can learn after 7 repetitions etc..) Then you said that in your opinion, that is the best way to learn a piece. (I agree, of course, 'cause you quoted me). Then you immediately said:


 Quote:

Sightread it once very slowly, without stopping to practise a passage more than once, and taking as much time as possible so you get the notes right. Then the next day, do it again. And again. And again. And within a few playthroughs you will have the piece learned.
Which is the polar opposite of what I described. (you can much more effectively memorize small chunks and put them together than you can memorize one large thing by repeating it in its entirety over and over again day after day).

Then you went on to say doing it like this is harder for pieces that have repeating sections, which from the "emoticon" you used, is as confusing to you as it is to me!

My guess is that if you are actually able to sight read through a piece, repeatedly going through the entire piece at once, you are probably an advanced player, with advanced sight reading skills, where in fact, the "rule of 7" would produce exceptionally long passages purely because of your experience. Great! For less advanced students, myself included, your approach will surely lead to lots of effort and lots of frustration.

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

Top
#582984 - 10/27/04 02:00 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
"I have "found" 30-45 extra minutes a day"

I saw that the first time I heard Bernhard's method. Up 'til now we've been promoted to practice in times of 1+ hours. Anything less than an hour didn't seem worth lifting the fallboard for anything but playing for enjoyment. Now just the opposite is true.

Paul, I understand the 7 times in a row thing. But what I don't understand is this:

Say I have a half measure 7 times in a row without mistakes. You're saying to practice on the same half measure for up to 20 minutes when I can already play it, as I proved by playing it 7 times in a row. So what exactly is it that I'm practicing?

I'm reading through Bernhard's posts and they are brilliant! But it's a lot of material to get through. (I registered as Mycroft on that board.)

Top
#582985 - 10/27/04 02:19 PM Re: anyone else ever experience this??
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Nevermind. I think, (think possibly that is), that this post by Bernhard answered my question.

Top

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
103 registered (Atrys, Anticlock, 30 invisible), 1185 Guests and 17 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75890 Members
42 Forums
156826 Topics
2304332 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Goedkope Nike Free Run 2
by rstuvw780928
Today at 01:01 AM
Portable Power Supply for Digital Piano?
by piccione
Yesterday at 11:45 PM
on revisiting Chopin Etudes
by Lingyis
Yesterday at 11:45 PM
Molotov Cocktail Piano
by Robert W. Weber
Yesterday at 11:38 PM
20 inch tablet for sheet music?
by Sand Tiger
Yesterday at 11:04 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission