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Have I reached my ceiling of skills at Grade 1?


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#61 michael N

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 09:38

I can't think of arpeggios in terms of note names -- they fly past too quickly for my aged brain! I just think of wbw ones as triangular, while www ones are more linear. I've just tried (never tried this before) to play D major with my eyes shut and once I got stably into pattern I could do it quite easily. (Not being modest, I would say I'm rubbish at arpeggios.)

 

I've analysed why I'm making frequent mistakes with arpeggios. It's mainly the left hand thumb under (obviously on the way back down). So with D major arpeggio the D key is obscured by the hand on the return. If I say the note D to myself just before attempting to play it the mistake is eliminated or rather the mistake occurs much less frequently. I suspect that once it's really in the fingers I won't have to say that note name.


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#62 sbhoa

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 13:22

 

I can't think of arpeggios in terms of note names -- they fly past too quickly for my aged brain! I just think of wbw ones as triangular, while www ones are more linear. I've just tried (never tried this before) to play D major with my eyes shut and once I got stably into pattern I could do it quite easily. (Not being modest, I would say I'm rubbish at arpeggios.)

 

I've analysed why I'm making frequent mistakes with arpeggios. It's mainly the left hand thumb under (obviously on the way back down). So with D major arpeggio the D key is obscured by the hand on the return. If I say the note D to myself just before attempting to play it the mistake is eliminated or rather the mistake occurs much less frequently. I suspect that once it's really in the fingers I won't have to say that note name.

 

Also don't just practice going up and down.

Do down and up and spend a little time just playing the notes around the thumb under note backwards and forwards..


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#63 becster

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 21:46

Hey YellowLemon77 glad things are looking a bit brighter and fantastic to see so much excellent advice re scales! Enjoy!

You also mention sight reading as a concern and I wonder if any of these resources might be of help?

* e music maestro online sight reading - plays a recording to you of what you should have played which can help you figure out if you got it right
* piano maestro app listens to you and can tell you how you got on with note and rhythm accuracy
* a piece a week sight reading books by Paul Harris provide lots of material to practise on
* hop down to your local charity shop and buy up any method books and any prep or pre grade 1 books and even any grade 1 books. Then start making yourself sight read a piece a day... it will get easier!

Good luck! Eventually sight reading will be your friend because it will help you pick up sheet music you like and play it - it is a useful skill :)
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#64 anacrusis

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 00:35

It's a long time since I was learning the piano, so I have no wise words about scales (that and they bring me out in hives, I cannot learn them at all! To the extent that I shifted to Trinity and did a scales-free exam after a scales fiasco with ABRSM... ) 

however, I did do preparing for exams whilst working part-time and raising a couple of kids, so do have this little nugget for you: 

 

yes, it's good to set aside time to practise when you can, but we all have times in busy lives when that's either difficult or energy seems to have run out. There is something my kids' piano teacher called "patch practice", which is done in odd little corners of time, and it's surprisingly effective. If learning a piece, mark stumbling points - I do so with pencil brackets, either side of the problem section - and focus on those. It involves just playing those bits, slowly at first, maybe up to three times, and then getting back to whatever is actually needing to be done in the rest of life, and the beauty of it is, you can do that several times a day, just when passing the instrument. I'd do that when waiting for the kettle to boil or the rice to cook, for instance. You can work on a single difficult fingering transition for instance - just the thumb-under bit of an arpeggio maybe, or a section of your piano music where the notes take a turn for the unexpected and catch you out. When you're just setting out to learn scales, there'll be bits of the scales which sound smooth, others which have lumpy hesitations in them, and they're the bits which need ironing out - the smooth bits are fine already :). Using that method, not for all my practice, of course, but when times and energy were difficult, I found I could get past some frustratingly tricky patches of music and still keep momentum and progress going.

 

The other thing to say is that the ceiling does move upwards - one level achieved and it feels as if there is still so much to learn, but the weird thing is that you can learn it. Sure, it's a slow process, it takes time to train muscles and brain up, but each little notch of achievement sets down useful footholds for the next one on the list. 


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#65 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 06:52

I'm only embarking on grade 2, but I have to close my eyes to play the two contrary motion scales for the grade (C maj & E maj).  If I look at my hands, everything goes wrong!  Is this a bad thing?
 
One practice tool I 'discovered' – i.e. no doubt has been in use by teachers for yonks! – is a half-way house between hands separately and together, 'staggering' the RH & LH notes. E.g.:
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And I try variations of this, e.g. starting on the RH note, dotted (long-short, short-long), staccato.

 

I find this variant surprisingly challenging (especially staccato), much harder than HT scales, but my brain feels like it's had a proper work out afterwards!


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