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practice vs ability


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#1 SheWhoDaresGins

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 18:26

Just that really.. I've just started looking at the piano G5 pieces and while there are plenty I'd like to be able to play, I am experiencing that familiar frustration of just not being able to get my hands together.  My reading has improved quite a lot over the last year and this is, therefore, the first time that I can read the music but my hands won't do what my eyes are telling them to. I'm sure it will come eventually, after a few hundred times of repeating bar by bar, the muscle memory kicks in and I know it will come.

 

But what I am wondering is, do you guys think that there comes a point where putting in a few hours a week doesn't compensate for lack of actual ability/talent?

 

I'm wondering if it's around this sort of level, that you can't practise your way out of not being a naturally good pianist?!

 

 

What do you think?

 

 


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#2 sbhoa

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 18:46

How long have you been playing?

It may be that you just need more consolidation with easier music.


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#3 BadStrad

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 19:52

Don't worry about it. That isn't the level at which you realise you do or don't have the "talent" to avoid practicing because that has nothing to do with it. It might be the point at which the music starts to feel a bit harder, and that if you want to get better you're going to have to work harder. It might also be the time at which weaknesses in your contributing skills (eg sight reading) or technique, start to be noticeable and need more work. If any of the necessary skills are not well enough developed then that's going to up the challenge. But the good news is that it is perfectly possible to get to a much higher playing level without being a piano wunderkind.

So in short, as you advance as a player you'll need more time to work on pieces to get them to an appropriate level (and that level will be higher as you develop) but that doesn't mean you don't have the ability to do it.
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#4 Arundodonuts

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 21:05

No. Practice produces ability.


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#5 corenfa

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 21:44

Just that really.. I've just started looking at the piano G5 pieces and while there are plenty I'd like to be able to play, I am experiencing that familiar frustration of just not being able to get my hands together.  My reading has improved quite a lot over the last year and this is, therefore, the first time that I can read the music but my hands won't do what my eyes are telling them to. I'm sure it will come eventually, after a few hundred times of repeating bar by bar, the muscle memory kicks in and I know it will come.

 

But what I am wondering is, do you guys think that there comes a point where putting in a few hours a week doesn't compensate for lack of actual ability/talent?

 

I'm wondering if it's around this sort of level, that you can't practise your way out of not being a naturally good pianist?!

 

 

What do you think?

 

Playing the piano is *hard*. I think as adult learners we forget how hard it was to learn to read - learn to ride a bicycle - etc, because we did those things presumably when we were children and so everything was a learning experience. 

 

I tried to learn to ride a bicycle as an adult- I don't think I ever managed to learn properly, because I never got enough practise. 


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#6 EllieD

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 07:48

 

 

But what I am wondering is, do you guys think that there comes a point where putting in a few hours a week doesn't compensate for lack of actual ability/talent?

 

I'm wondering if it's around this sort of level, that you can't practise your way out of not being a naturally good pianist?!

 

 

 

I think you're doing yourself a disservice! If you've got to the point of playing Grade 5 pieces, then you do have some ability and talent, definitely! smile.png 


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#7 SheWhoDaresGins

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 12:56

Thanks, everyone. Interesting and helpful to read your thoughts.

 

Badstrad, I think you have put my mind at rest!

Sbhoa - just over 3 years playing.

corefa - I absolutely agree. I am so glad I have embarked on this journey as an adult - for the sake of my children, I had definitely forgotten how hard it is to learn something new! 

 

I know grade 5 isn't anywhere near the top of the learning tree, far from it, but I suppose this the first time where I haven't consoled myself that, "of course I will pick this up, its ONLY grade... ".

 

I did sit there the other evening and wonder if I simply lack the manual dexterity, finger speed, magic ingredient or  whatever to do this and do it well.  But perhaps I should stop wondering and just practise more!  :-) 


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#8 corenfa

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 13:33

Well yes in a literal sense you do currently lack the manual dexterity and finger speed to play the things you want to. But I also think that with practise, you will develop these. There will come a day when you'll be able to do some of the stuff you want without thinking about it. It's taken me years to develop certain techniques be it piano, yoga or bicycle riding. Heck, that's even true of cooking.
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#9 corenfa

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 13:34

3 years playing and already at grade 5, in my opinion, is stellar progress!
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#10 SheWhoDaresGins

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 15:39

Thanks, Corenfa.  Definitely true of cooking!

 

By no means, stella - more of a limp at times but getting there and I'm enjoying it!

 

Out of interest, are there specific exercises are worth trying to improve finger dexterity & speed, other than scales etc? 


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#11 corenfa

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 22:35

There are many such- your teacher should be able to recommend some that you will find palatable. I find that Bach can be really good for that too.
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#12 SheWhoDaresGins

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 13:07

Ha!  Its a Bach piece that's taxing me now!  Thanks, I will talk to my teacher and persist with the Bach!


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#13 EllieD

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 13:52

^^ Would that be the Prelude in E minor from the current ABRSM syllabus, piece A4? I haven't tried that one, but it seems not dissimilar to Bach's inventions and the key to those is making sure you've got exactly the right fingering that works for you and sticking to it. They are tricky to learn, but I am sure you will get there!


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#14 akc42

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 07:14

I don't know what level I am, because I restarted last September after a 56 year gap when before I had scraped a grade 3.  But I just learnt "Cool" which is a grade 5 piece (took lots of metronome work to get the rhythm correct, but that's another story).  About 2 weeks ago now I started Bach's Invention No 8, and although I very quickly could play it hands separate, I just couldn't play it hands together.  I found a set of exercises to help with hand independence which really helped

 

Hands in C position, play left hand legato, right hand staccato   up and down the 5 notes, then swap over.  Now repeat with the legato hand going double the speed.

 

There are more exercises (doing an arpeggio with the staccato hand for instance), but the second exercise above showed me immediately where my weakness was as I could do RH legato (double speed), LH staccato easily, but the other way round (ie LH legato double speed, RH staccato) just wouldn't work.  I just concentrated on that exercise for about half an hour and it started to come together.

 

This was before my teacher had any input.  Once I was into the lesson, she gave me some more tips.  

 

1) I was struggling to play the right hand main motif when it starts in C (just after the end of the first section) and she said that it was because my LH wasn't fluent enough in its fingering playing the run down from Middle C to the C below, so I was stopping to think about it.  So suggested just practicing that bit in the LH until it was so automatic, that I could concentrate on the RH.  EDIT: Just to emphasise this is hands separate practice

 

2) I was falling apart when I tried to make the RH play the very final part of the first section loud.  So she suggested just playing the three or 4 notes around the transition from even to loud in the RH whilst maintaining an even LH. EDIT Hands together practice.

 

I hope these little ### bits that I have just learn can help


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#15 SheWhoDaresGins

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 11:20

EllieD - yes that's the one!  lovely piece and yes I agree about the fingerings. It is the case that my left hand literally does not know what my right hand is doing! :-)

 

 

AKC42 - thanks - this is really helpful. Like you, I could fairly quickly play my piece hands separately but hands together has confounded me! which isn't usually my problem so this was a bit of a surprise.  and even where I have managed hands-together - the ensemble isn't quite in perfect time (rests are slightly misaligned etc).

 

I will give your suggestions a try - thank you very much for your help!


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