Practise strategies for oldies

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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dorsetpiano
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Practise strategies for oldies

Post by dorsetpiano » 18 May 2012, 10:16

I started playing piano when doing A levels in the 60's and then virtually gave it up until a couple of years ago whenI retired, I bought a baby grand and am now trying to do 2 hours a day practise to get as good as possible before dementia or general age related decline sets in. I have never had a lesson and probably have terrible bad habits but I can play some of the chopin waltzes (eg no 7 C#minor, no 1 eflat ) and schubert impromptus so I guess I am equivalent of grade 5+(?). Does anyone have any advice of practice strategies? I only play things that I like and am currently doing an hour in the morning and then a couple of 30 mins sessions later in the afternoon/ evening.

Thanks

gizzy
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Re: Practise strategies for oldies

Post by gizzy » 18 May 2012, 10:31

I'm not quite sure why you call it practice. You are Playing, which is what you want to do. I would have said practice was a preparation for something - a lesson, and exam, a performance. If you're doing it for nobody but yourself, you don't relly need a strategy as such - just enjoy!

At the other end of the age range, I gave up formal lessons at the age of ten and resumed again at 15, having taken myself from sub-grade 1 to grade 6 durng that time. I was, admittedly, doing all my theory grades, taking General Musicianship and cello exams, and doing a lot of singing, but I reckon I played the piano - anything and everything I could get my hands on - for an average of an hour and a half a day during that time. I never regarded it as practice. One of the best pupils I ever had told me that she didn't practise very much "!I just play the piano a lot" - she opnly regarded it as practice when she was working towards something.

You're not having lessons, you're not, as I read it, performing for others, and most important, you're not having to play things you'd rather not play. That's one of the great things about being retired!

So may I just wish you joy in what you obviously love doing?

Gizzy in Cambridge

Feg
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Re: Practise strategies for oldies

Post by Feg » 18 May 2012, 16:21

gizzy wrote:I'm not quite sure why you call it practice. You are Playing, which is what you want to do. I would have said practice was a preparation for something - a lesson, and exam, a performance. If you're doing it for nobody but yourself, you don't relly need a strategy as such - just enjoy!

At the other end of the age range, I gave up formal lessons at the age of ten and resumed again at 15, having taken myself from sub-grade 1 to grade 6 durng that time. I was, admittedly, doing all my theory grades, taking General Musicianship and cello exams, and doing a lot of singing, but I reckon I played the piano - anything and everything I could get my hands on - for an average of an hour and a half a day during that time. I never regarded it as practice. One of the best pupils I ever had told me that she didn't practise very much "!I just play the piano a lot" - she opnly regarded it as practice when she was working towards something.

You're not having lessons, you're not, as I read it, performing for others, and most important, you're not having to play things you'd rather not play. That's one of the great things about being retired!

So may I just wish you joy in what you obviously love doing?

Gizzy in Cambridge
Oh, for a 'LIKE' button as per FB for this post, Gizzy!

gizzy
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Re: Practise strategies for oldies

Post by gizzy » 18 May 2012, 21:58

Feg wrote:
Oh, for a 'LIKE' button as per FB for this post, Gizzy!
<curtsey> :D
G in C

dorsetpiano
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Re: Practise strategies for oldies

Post by dorsetpiano » 19 May 2012, 09:44

Thanks for your comments which are perfectly sensible and logical, however, I may not be playing for exams or performances, I have a much more important deadline. It's called getting older! I am 64, I suppose I could set myself a goal of being able to play the Rachmaninov 3rd PC by the time I am 80 but somehow I think it will never happen.

Was it Schumann who took up playing piano in later life and built a hand excercising machine that went wrong and ruined one of his hands? Perhaps there is a message here.

Thanks Incidentally I have never studied music theory either, I was taking Chemistry, Physics and Maths A levels and my only theory lessons were from chatting to a music student who used I to walk to school with, this all stopped when I went to University.

chrisw
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Re: Practise strategies for oldies

Post by chrisw » 19 May 2012, 19:54

Dear Dorsetpiano,
Like yourself, I first learned piano in early teenage years and then gave up later in my school career. (I also studied Chemistry,Physics and Maths at A level). After I finished my first degree I had forgotten how to read music but I found a piece of music and an upright piano in a hostel that I resided within and taught myself how to read again. I am two years younger than yourself and now work part time.

I have been with an inspirational teacher for about 6 years now and the newest piece I am tackling is the Schubert Impromptu nos 4. The previous piece was the Warsaw Concerto. I would have no chance of playing these pieces without the help of my teacher and I take my hat off to you if you have managed to learn the Schubert .

However I would really recommend that you find a piano teacher that understands the special difficulties of an adult learner. A good teacher will help to make new pieces much easier to learn and perhaps memorise if this is what you wish to do. Strategies for practice can also be determined.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Practise strategies for oldies

Post by Gill the Piano » 19 May 2012, 20:30

Yes, check that the teacher is used to teaching adults. Unless you want a jelly tot when you get a piece right, as happened to a customer of mine! And as a 25 year old I was told by my piano teacher to wash my hands before I played her piano - I don't think she was used to 'manual labourers'! :)
Don't try and rush the experience, enjoy it. Rach's not going anywhere - he can wait for you!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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