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Mind and technique

Discussion in 'Technique' started by richard66, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Well, in my case, I wasn't trained in either wya. But I do try to keep looking up at the score as much as possible and not look down. the thing with me suddenly forgetting where my hands are is so random...I've no idea why it happens.l
     
  2. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I was trained to do both, so as not to rely too much either on the score or on the hands. Remembering where the hands go is not always ideal. I remember when I was learning Solvejg's Song and my piano went up to the top C while the teacher's only up to A. As that A is reached in this piece, the extra two keys (or the lack of them) was distracting. The same goes for a score. Change edition and I was lost.

    I see a lot of talk here about "muscle memory" or "finger memory" on this site, which is trecherous type of memory and is to be avoided. This explains, Monica, why, after some months, you cano no longer play a piece you have even recorded. The ideal situation is that you can play it in your head, that you can play from any single point and are even able to sit down and write it down.

    Your problem is the daydreaming. Once you come back to the surface and have relied on any other type of memory, you are lost, because you cano no longer remember what went before.

    This is all big talk, but I am trying to train myself to do this too and it does keep the mind from wandering.

    Are you able to talk while you play and do you jump if someone interrupts you?
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Muscle memory is important for me. Isn't it how we practice a piece over and over until we can finally play it? Also practicing scales and arpeggios. It's how I train my fingers to know where they're going. They 'remember' how to move in certain ways. I do agree that you have to know the music backwards and forwards in order to keep a piece in your fingers. I have one Chopin piece like that. I can play it with my eyes closed.

    I think the reason I cannot play something a month later after I recorded it, is because I'm not practicing it anymore - I'm practicing new pieces. Hence, my fingers don't remember where to go anymore. But I do still know the music in my head - I just can't play it well. Currently, I have started re-learning six pieces that I've played a couple years ago. They are coming back a lot faster than I expected, which is a nice feeling. Is it because I have the notes in my head? I dunno, I'm confused now....

    Anyway, yes I do jump a lot when someone interrupts me as I'm practicing. Or something. My phone is often on the piano when I'm practicing (my watch broke and I want to see the time), and I jump if I get a notification from email or facebook. But that really doesn't have anything to do with why my hands sometimes forget where they are on the keys. And daydreaming while practicing can only happen (for me) if I know the piece well already; I'm not concentrating and just play along in my little dreamworld. My problem of forgetting where my hands are happens when I am in the middle stages of learning a piece. I know the piece, but I still have to concentrate on the score. It hasn't happened in about a week, but next time it does I will pay attention and try to figure out the cause.
     
  4. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Of course pieces get rusty if we let more than a week go by without playing them. The more time, the more rust. This is normal and no one should criticize themselves (or each other) when it happens.

    Exactly... you are just knocking off the rust, not building a new building :) You still know the pieces to a large extent. It's just a matter of getting them back in your fingers.

    Muscle memory does exist and it is helpful. Be thankful for muscle memory every time you try to walk across the room and don't have to think about which foot comes after the left foot! Muscle memory is part of kinesthetic intelligence and is not related to starting a piece only at the beginning, any more than it is related to starting your walk across the room only at one doorway.
     
  5. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Of course this is for normal, everyday activities that need little thought, but a tightrope walker would soon be dead were he to rely on muscle memory. That is why it is not a good idea to rely on it while playing, because any blackout would be fatal. I cannot think of a more uncomfortable feeling than having the fingers go right and left while I have forgotten how the music goes. It is like seeing that I am going to fall and yet not be able to stop it.

    Monica maybe remembers that when I joined I had a broken ankle. It took me about three months to walk again and then... I had to learn again how to do it and it took several weeks. And this is for something I had done every day for over 40 years. Imagine if it is a piece that you have played for a week!

    I must say I am now trying to understand the structure of the music: the scale, time signature, rhythm and all that and try to remember the music, not just let my fingers do it. An interesting esercise I have at times tried is to play something in a different octave or even in a different scale. That way you fool the muscle memory and have to rely on the more solid one to get the job done.

    I forgot to mention: i asked about jumpimg to see how much you concentrate.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I think getting a piece in your fingers is the same as muscle memory. But then there is also just plain memory. When you have memorized a piece, it's in your fingers AND your head. But in my case, even this is not sufficient regarding whether or not I can play a piece a month later. Now that I think about this more, I'm realizing that the music isn't in my long-term memory. It's more like a place between short-term and long-term. But I can sit down and still play some old pop songs that I used to play when I was a teenybopper. Guess they are REALLY in my long-term memory.

    And....? What do you conclude? Do you jump too?
     
  7. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It might be what you want, really. You want to play something and then record it, not to build a repertoire.
    I conlcude that you cut the outside world out when you play. I cannot even talk if I am playing! I am still struggling to make my wife understand that when I play I cannot be interrupted to tell her where the potatoes are!
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    The potatoes are in the pantry. :p
     
  9. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    And how many wrong notes after that? :D
     

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