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Optimum learning time for improvement


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#1 Steven Carr

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 11:51

If it takes you a week to learn a piece of music, is it too easy for you to make much progress by learning it?

 

It if takes you a month to learn a piece of music, is it too hard for you to make much progress by learning it?

 

What is the optimum time a piece of music should take to learn so that it is at the right level of difficulty for you to improve by studying it?


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#2 corenfa

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:00

I don't believe there is an optimum time, there's only whether you feel you are getting something out of it by learning it. I have been working on the Chopin polonaise op 53 for five years and I still have plenty to learn. For me, I am still motivated to continue but I would not suggest that this is optimum for other people. It works for me and that's all I can say.
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#3 zwhe

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 12:23

Unless you are an absolute beginner, when most pieces should be fairly quick to learn, I would recommend having a mixture, so for example one really difficult piece that will take you a month or more and then a couple of pieces that can be learnt in a few hours. This enables you to build a larger repertoire and with it a sense of achievement while at the same time having something more challenging.


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#4 sbhoa

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 14:46

Most of the pieces I'm learning take me several months but I am trying to include some more shorter/easier pieces in order to cover more repertoire.


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#5 tulip21

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 15:36

The optimum time it takes to learn a piece is determined by many factors. How polished do you expect the piece to be? Performance ready? Just playing the notes fluently up to speed?
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#6 akc42

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 11:42

Grade 3 at 10 then stopped. At 66 restarted last Sept - Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement took 2 1/2 months Pathetique 2nd Mmt 4 1/2 months - then Cool (ABRSM Grade 5) 1 month - then Bach Invention No 8 so far 1 month and is fluent but error prone - expect another 2 to 3 weeks to finalise.  These would be performance ready, although I don't perform (other than to my teacher).

 

But since Mid November I have also been using Piano Marvel and have learnt over 90 pieces to a point where I score 100% in their assessment - working through their levels 1 to 5.  levels 1 and 2 were trivial and I would knock many off in a day. Level 3 and 4 got harder and I would average a piece a day, Level 5 about a week a piece, Level 6 needs the level of commitment that my main pieces need and so my progress has pretty well stopped (currently on Bach Prelude in C - but it is required that I get it to an insane speed and score 100% to progress)

 

tl;dr It depends on difficulty and level of polish


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#7 GMc

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 21:53

I don't know many/any advanced amateurs who would want to perform solo after a month of learning anything that is nearer the higher end of their capabilities.   Even if they practise a lot.   Big pieces, complex works like many of the preludes and fugues, sonatas etc don't just need note learning - they need time to embed and maybe leave a while then come back to and work on again.  Having said that, I think that is particularly true for the non single line instruments - those seem to get ready rather quicker in my experience.  If I worked  on a Licentiate program of 40-50 mins which might only have 4 pieces but  near  the edge of my capabilities -  that would be at least a year of work to be comfortable and probably longer. 


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#8 corenfa

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 08:24

... If I worked on a Licentiate program of 40-50 mins which might only have 4 pieces but near the edge of my capabilities - that would be at least a year of work to be comfortable and probably longer.


Try five years and counting, in my case! I did however pick a programme that was more difficult than it could have been.
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