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Re: Hands Separate versus Hands Together practice

Postby MindenBlues » Thu Sep 07, 2006 7:28 am

With almost absolute certainty, I am convinced that you do not need to practice with hands separately as your beginning piano student colleague will require.

For learning the Fantaisie Impromptus from Chopin, I forced myself to practise (AND memorize!!) the piece (beside the middle part) hands separated. My experience was that I learned and memorized it this way faster as if I did on comparable pieces hands together. The FI is maybe not the most demanding piece, but I would not call it a beginner piece.

Even now, if I like to perform this piece, I play it from memory hands separated and slowely. This gives me confidence, to be able to keep the track even if one hand would fail during a performance.

Maybe practising hands separated, has advantages even beyond beginner stadium. Just now, I am practising the g minor ballade from Chopin. The presto con fuoco part, I believe, get faster in the brain and faster in the fingers with hand separated practising. Just personal opinion.


Postby Anonymous » Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:23 pm

I wont be able to get a teacher for a few months, so i was wondering if anyone has any advice on a practice schedule and what exactly to practice.

I am familar with the treble clef so just need to put both the bass clef and were the notes are actually situated on the piano, i have started a few simple pieces (ode to joy 8) ) and the czerny etudes.

I think i just need some direction in my practice really.

EDIT: and once again thanks to everyone who has posted your advice has been so much help.

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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:34 pm

Postby PJF » Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:42 am

Age matters. How much it matters depends on your lifetime goals. Do you want to simply have fun and make music for yourself or family? Perhaps you have greater aspirations. In the latter, age matters very much. The window of greatest opportunity begins to open at about the age of two, is fully open between the ages of seven and fifteen and is nearly closed by age twenty-five, this window is never fully shut, however.

Is there a best age to begin?

Here's my personal experience.

I learned to read music when I was 7 (I played the trumpet and the recorder for a couple years, just kid's stuff). Until the age of 13, I simply lacked the desire to learn piano. Now, 14 years later, I've learned 29 Beethoven Sonatas, most of Mozart's Sonatas and about half of what Chopin wrote, lots of Bach too, only recently adding piano concertos to my repertoire. At the age of 27, I'm improving very rapidly, both technically and artistically. This success came at a price; a nine year period of seemingly endless work and gradual improvement. All of a sudden, at age 22, I began to improve by leaps and bounds. Patience had carried me through.

Had I started at the age of seven, I believe I would have reached my current level at around 18 and with less work. Had I started at a later age, I would have reached my current level at a later age. A pianist's full potential can only sometimes be realized starting at a late age. This thought mustn't dominate the beginner's mind. Dwelling on unchangeable factors (like age or height) is the most destructive thing a pianist can do. Your main task is to identify and correct the problems that can be changed. (A good teacher is indispensible, here!)

The artist who starts late, should be very careful not to confuse artistry with virtuosity. Artistry is the goal, or (unfortunately) in many cases, it should be. If your neophyte technique prevents you from playing a certain piece, pick an easier one. Don't overreach. Just move at your own pace, trust your teachers and have faith in yourself. The only thing that needs to be done, is the next step. Be realistic, don't assign limits to your potential and most of all, have fun!

The piano will give joy to anyone who enjoys it.


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