is it too much? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

First off excuse my english and overall grammer I'm 16 and my english isn't too good :)

Hi I've been playing piano for about a year and a half maybe a little closer to 2 years now. I'm pretty much self taught... I basically wanted to learn to play after I heard one of my friends play Fantasie Impromptu by Chopin... haha anyways... I just went and got myself a teacher last week (finally)... I'm already working on 4 pretty difficult what I consider to be "advanced" pieces. Fantasie Impromptu :) 3rd movement of moonlight sonata the 6th movement of Rachmoninoffs moment musicaux (I think thats what it's called) and then the 3rd movement of Bach's Italian Concerto... anyways... im a pretty competent sight reader and I was actually expecting my new found piano teacher to take me off this more difficult stuff that I was expermenting with before and put me on some easier peices, because I've never really perfected a peice... But she told me to practice all 4 of these pieces and have like 1 or 2 pages for all of them down slowly by next week... And I've never actually played scales much before... But she told me to have all my major scales down 4 octaves 16th notes at about 90 bpm by next week too... I practice a pretty steady 4-6 hours a day, and was able to finish everything she wanted me to finish that last week... But she got excited that I finished it all and assigned more then the last week!! Haha I don't know if I can keep up. I found that having so much to do kept me very busy I want to say... But also gave me something that I needed to work towards. So I always had something to do and I pushed myself very hard. But with all this new stuff I was wondering if maybe it was getting to be too much? She told me if it's too much we can tone it down. But I'm wondering if I should go with what I got because it motivates me to get it done. However another con is that it gets really stressful (at least last week ^^) if I'm going to get everything done or not and like I think most people I don't like stress every day of my life! hehe... anyways thanks and any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

-- Brian Jenkins (, April 08, 2003


4th movement of the Rachmoninoff piece I meant, although it doesnt really matter ^^ just thought I would correct myself :)

-- Brian Jenkins (, April 08, 2003.

the pieces you are working on are not easy!!! All your teacher is doing now is testing you, she is trying to find your limit, and capacity. I would push through it, and continue to practice 4-6 hours a DAY. One hour of this can be nothing more than scale practice and technical practice. If you get stressed, take a break. Learning 2 pieces at once makes it nice because if one piece gets old, you can just transfer to the next and vicea versa. I hope that this works

-- Chris Pillsbury (, April 09, 2003.

It is very difficult to answer your question without actually watching and hearing you play, but I would say you need to develop some skills in your playing that would be impossible to develop well after only a two-year period. Slogging your way through repertoire that is too difficult for you (and spending 4-6 hours every day to get one or two pages of each piece down slowly is an indication that it is too difficult for you) will not help you develop these skills. I'm talking about rhythmic security, voicing, pedaling, articulation, competent, relaxed technique that won't cause strain and injury when pieces are played up to tempo, understanding stylistic differences and nuances, and the list could go on. Do yourself a favor and get your teacher to help you with the basic skills that take time to develop, using simpler, shorter repertoire pieces. Make sure your technical development is carefully guided to avoid physical strain or bad habits. Backing up and using appropriate repertoire will allow you to develop much more secure skills, and your long-term progress and results will be much better!

-- Jon Ensminger (, April 09, 2003.

Ok thanks for the input but just outta curiosity when would you give students peices like the ones I said? How long would it usually take someone to learn a peice like that, a week 2 weeks? I do have a lot of technique stuff I know I need to work on, the thing is the more intermediate peices that I probably should be playing I can sight read pretty well... Like for example... My friend let me borrow a sonatina book the other day with stuff like the popular mozart sonata in C (don't know the op.#) and I could read most of the pieces pretty well... But I don't play it PERFECTLY like I'm not doing everything maybe like I should be but It's not usually too hard to fix... After she tells me to do this differently or this or that I can usually do it... Yeah... so should I just being doing technique excercises a lot more or what? The problem with getting everything done is managing my time right really... I just play until I get it done so if theres a more difficult passage in one piece and I set a goal to finish it by that day then I take as long as it takes to finish it. But then I still have to work on the other 3 peices. And yeah I spend the first hour or so working on scales and arpeggios and such... Anyways anymore feedback you could give me would be very helpful! :)

-- Brian Jenkins (, April 10, 2003.

The best thing to do is practice 3 or 4 hours a day. Get your technique level up before attempting pieces that are too difficult to do. An efficient way of increasing technique level is by practicing Hands Separate at full speed and getting it up to twice normal speed. With your technique level high, you must increase your mental capacity. I increase my capacity by reading 4 hours daily. Just before switching hands, practice slow ( at about 50% normal speed ) to make sure that you know the segment, with NO errors and with the SAME motion as during fast play. If you practice only slow, and ramp up your speed slowly, you will gain bad habits. Some of these bad slow play motions include raising the hand between keypresses where the weight is not needed. If you change into fast motions, the raise- up will coincide with the next key drop, resulting in a missed note.

-- Donnie Robinson (, May 07, 2003.

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