..parts of Chang's book (http://members.aol.com/chang8828/contents.htm
This is a topic I wanted to discuss a long while ago, but I doubted and didn't. But there I am, completely stuck on HOW TO PRACTISE EFFECTIVELY, and decided to write this...
II:BASIC PROCEDURES FOR PIANO TECHNIQUE: topics 1-11.
And I searched the index, but wasn't able to find a topic title such as: "The practise routine - the right way to practise" (although the first topic is about wrong routines... I still don't know what's the right) or "The whole practising process".
Chang's book has brought confusion to me. Maybe this will help after reading his COMPLETE book, but that's going to take a while and within this while I've decided to play as less as possible, applying methods described by him. And maybe he has written these methods, but I didn't understand all of his writing so I am more or less stuck.
He has described techniques as playing hands seperately, useful things as the chord attack, parallel sets (which I don't understand for 80%), etc.
But what is missing is I think a good discription of what to do with new pieces, what to do after, and how to keep concert pieces "alive" for repetoire.
I:Pratising a piece
This is what I did a while ago, the whole pratising process of learning a piece:
1) Read through a piece. Sight-read the piece and play hands seperately at a low tempo.
2) Put hands together as soon as they both can play well.
3) Bringing up the tempo, using the metronome, bit by bit.
4) Play at full speed for a couple of days. First time to play this piece musical. First time to apply pedal.
5) Difficult passages were getting difficult, so I played these very slow and especially boring (my teacher taught me that!), trying to regain technique (My teacher thinks that playing without musicalitly is the only way to gain technique, and I've dicsovered it's the opposite!).
6) Steps 4 and 5 infinitely repeated.
As you see, I still couldn't get a piece right, difficult passages were never getting good. And also step 5 was a big mistake, because by playing it boring
So that was a next step. I changed my program into more or less this, just about a few weeks ago (!):
1) Read and analyze a piece carefully, before playing it.
2) Try do memorize as much as possible RIGHT FROM THE START. I tried to play everything by heart the first time I would play that piece. And of course this is EXTREMELY difficult, but I have a good memory and I just try to memorize as much as possible by dividing it into smaller parts.
3) Slowly getting up the tempo, with help of metronome.
4) Play any passages that won't go well in the new tempo over and over in a low tempo, then steadily let the tempo rise and I can play the passage without trouble.
5) Practise a lot a low tempo, although still rising the piece to final tempo.
6) Play the piece musical for the first time. Apply pedal for the first time.
7) Keep practising at low tempos, although not permanent and not boring, sometimes I play a higher tempos again.
And this still caused problems. I tried many methods, but couldn't find the right way to practise. After reading the first part of Chang's book, my thoughts go to this:
1) Read piece. Analyze piece. Try to memorize little bits.
2) Sight-read while playing, first hands seperately at a low tempo, then together if it is really good.
3) DON'T bring up the tempo slowly using the metronome, but try to get full speed at once. Do this together with keep playing the piece slow.
4) Make music right from the start. Apply pedal quite early, but not right from the start.
5) Keep practising the piece slowly, etc.
Hmm... I wrote so much, but still don't have my point... how to explain...
So here are just a few questions...maybe that'll make it easier:
1) What is right order of learning, those as I tried to post 3 of them above?
2) How to bring up tempo? Use metronome or not? Steadily bring up, or sudden full tempo in the way Chang discribed?
3) How to deal with difficult passages? I just can't get them right while bringing up the tempo (as the tempo changes, my passages must do as well, and the practising seemed useless..)
4) What if you have a piece at full speed? I'm stuck then because if I continue playing that piece at full speed it becomes a mess.
5) An example:
"I started Mozart's KV 570 Sonata just 2 weeks ago. I haven't had any lessons on that since then. At start I played slowly, brought up the tempo, and added musical effects. Now I'm a such a state that I don't know what to do, because I got this piece at full tempo a while ago, the difficult passages are no longer a problem, but I still make loads of RANDOM mistakes, I don't know how to keep a piece "Fit"".
6) How to deal with old pieces? They are extremely nasty. When you have finished a piece, you automatically go on with the next. But I want repetoire, so I have to keep the pieces "alive". The question is HOW? I can play the piece infinite slow and fast again, but still things are going wrong and I'm facing new mistakes again and again.
7) How to pratise the most effectively using the least time for the most work?
Some of these questions might overlap quite a lot, but I just try to make my point clear.
I hope you get my point. It's hard to explain. What I mean is just a good explanation of how to deal with pieces.
According to Chang, a session like this is wrong:
(1) First, practice scales or technical exercises until the fingers are limbered up. Continue this for 30 minutes or longer, if you have time, to improve technique, especially by using exercises such as the Hanon series.
(2) Then take a new piece of music and slowly read it for a page or two, carefully playing both hands together, starting from the beginning. This slow play is repeated until it can be performed reasonably well and then it is gradually speeded up until the final speed is attained. A metronome might be used for this gradual speed-up.
(3) At the end of a two hour practice, the fingers are flying, so the students can play as fast as they want and enjoy the experience before quitting. After all, they are tired of practicing so that they can relax, play their hearts out at full speed; this is the time to enjoy the music!
(4) On the day of the recital or lesson, they practice the piece at correct speed (or faster!) as many times as possible in order to make sure that they know it inside out and to keep it in top condition. This is the last chance; obviously, the more practice, the better.
1) Then what is the right order (I know there is a thread about practising sessions somewhere, but I want to hear new comments and... bleh..)?
2) Scales and appergios... Should I follow Chang's advice and don't spend much time practising these and practising this only with MUSICAL pieces in which they are present, or should I always pratise them?
Sorry for a lot of nonsens in such a long text! I hope you know something about this topic and I would like to hear comments.
Yes it's hard to explain what I mean. But my biggest problem is not the start, but the ending. I don't know how to get a piece good enough. Continuous mistakes come and go all the time... infinite if there is no solution to my problem.