я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
Lit. review:
"Natural piano technique", volume 2, R. M. Breithaupt, 1909
"Piano technique", Walter Gieseking, Carl Leimer, 1932
"Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing", Tilly Fleischmann, John Buckley, 2014 (1952)
"The pianist's problems: a modern approach to efficient practice and musicianly performance", William S. Newman, 1956
"The art of piano playing: a scientific approach", George Kochevitsky, 1967
"Music at your fingertips: Advice for the artist and amateur on playing the piano", Ruth Slenczynska , 1968
"Osnovy muzycalno-ispolnitelskoi technici i metod eyo sovershenstvovaniya" (The principals of musical performance technique and method of it's improvement), Ivan Nazarov, 1969
"Pianists at play: interviews, master lessons and technical regimes", Dean Elder, 1986
"On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound and Expression". Sándor, György. (1995). Boston, MA: Schirmer.
"Quality practice: a musician's guide" Susan Williams, 2017

"Teaching Practice Strategies in the Music Studio: A Survey of Applied Music Teachers", Psychology of music, 1994 NANCY H. BARRY, VICTORIA McARTHUR
"Transformational Practice Techniques for Piano", American Music Teacher, Vol. 44, No. 5 (April/May 1995), Bruce Berr
"Seeing the Big Picture": Piano Practice as Expert Problem Solving, Music perception 2003, Roger Chaffin, Anthony Lemieux
"Practicing perfection: How concert soloists prepare for performance", Ictus 2008, Roger Chaffin, Tânia Lisboa
"Influence of strategy on memorization efficiency", Music Performance Research 2011, Jennifer Mishra
"The Concept of Dominance by A.A. Ukhtomsky and Anticipation", Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015, Elena Y. Zueva and Konstantin B. Zuev

2018-09-01 в 17:19 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
This essay is directed towards the problems relevant to an advanced piano student.
Playing the piano at a college level is basically three different (though interconnected) activities, namely lessons, performances and practice. It would be fairly safe to suggest that out of these three practice is the one that takes up most of the time the developing pianist spends at the instrument. As he continues towards a professional career he might get more performances and less classes, but he would still need to spend some time on preparation.
Without considering questions of physical mechanics of technique (as much as possible) this essay would review some material written on the process of practicing, focusing on the questions of organization, structure and basic rules of conduct, stressing out the importance of saving time while producing solid work with reliable results. It would try to establish a common ground between various approaches, provide some general guidelines and outline the process of learning a new piece making a successful performance its final point. Apart from that it will present a small collection of various practice strategies, stating what they are good for and when it is appropriate to apply them.
It is by no means a complete survey of the material out there, nor is it trying to be, but rather a concentrated summary on the nature of practicing the piano combined with some helpful suggestions from published works.

2018-09-01 в 18:42 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
Lit review:
The works are listed in chronological order, first books and then articles.
The first book is dated beginning of twentieth century, and most of them do mention preceding works and approaches to some extent.
Published in 1909, the second volume of "Die natürliche Klaviertechnik" is a sort of method book. It's author, Breithaupt, has previously published the first volume where he was explaining the theory behind his new approach to piano playing: the "weight-touch", as opposed to the "finger school" promoted by Clementi, Czerny and other well respected piano pedagogues from the classical and somewhat also romantic periods. In the second volume he attempted to illustrate the approach by a series of exercises, supported by further explanations, that would deal with all the appropriate motions needed to play the piano. Although the focus of the book is not a question of student's work at home it does contain a small chapter devoted to the question of practicing. It does not, however, speak of a certain routine rather then generally stating what should be the main objective of practice (freedom of motion) and providing a list of various kinds of exercises categorized by their objectives. Five out of seven deal with sound perception and artistic development. Furthermore, he writes extensively about the work of mind in playing and devotes a whole sub-chapter to correct breathing. Alongside that he writes about the impediments that need to be treated before all the work begins and states that only a talented pupil will master all of what there is to master.
Written a few decades later, "Piano Technique" by Karl Leimer is a bit more substantial. Again, it deals primarely with problems of playing the piano, providing a fascinating look into an innovative compherension and memorization method, and only lightly touches upon the issue of student's practice, giving some general advice and few specific strategies. As a prerequsite of practice it mentions the ability to stay concentrated and thus suggests to practice in relatively short sessions with frequent breaks. "Tradition and craft in piano-playing" is another book that's focused mainly on what costitutes playing the piano rather then on how to achieve it, but it still has a chapter on practicing. A lot of it is a clearly formulated common sense, with a few interesting suggestions and a few alarming traits of the old school pianism (such as high finger raising with an immobile arm and firm wrist). More importantly, it is full of anecdotes and accounts on interpretation suggestions by Liszt: it's author's Fleischmann while being in the Royal Academy of Munich was a student of Bernhard Stavenhagen, Liszt last pupil, and after he left the Academy in 1904 she studied with Berthold Kellermann, also a pupil and close associate of Liszt. As evedent from the title, this book offers a lot of imput on the tradition of western classical piano music, especially it's German part. The book was finished in 1952, which is why it's placed here although it was published more then half a century later.
"The pianist's problems: a modern approach to efficient practice and musicianly performance" (1956) is a book that is mainly directed towards common students and adresses a significant array of probable weak spots in the work of a developing pianist in a practical manner. Regardless of the title the book covers a lot of technical matters before it reaches the question of practicing per se, but when it does alongside some general ideas it offers a whole practice plan, devided by stages starting from choosing a piece and up until completing it's preparation. While being maybe less exiting, this book is by far most down to earth and therefore readily useful.
"The art of piano playing: a scientific approach", written by George Kochevitzky, a concert pianist and a private piano teacher in 1967, is a detailed description of the role of the brain in the piano playing. It's first chapter is a survey of most of the piano playing theories up to date, with some commentary on their pros and cons. It is very interesting to see the shift of focus from finger exercises to the weight-playing and anatomical studies and then to brain sciense, advance psychology and use of nervous system. Kochevitzky states more then once that the previous schools were lost in physical details while forgeting the main thing - making music, which might not be exectly accurate since the books that are mentioned earlier are all very much in agreement about art of music being the most important. (On the other hand, Gieseking did mention that although many teachers say they teach their students mental work, the students themselves do not show signs of being thus taught). Nevertheless, the book is extremly well organized and provides a whole lot of practical suggestions, explaining strategies from various angles as well as when and how to apply them. It ends with an impressive bibliography that includes more then a hundred books in four different languages. Two years later in USSR Ivan Nazarov publishes a short book titled "The principals of musical performance technique and method of it's improvement", which deals largely with the same ideas though some are differently formulated and is based on Uchtomski's theory of dominant. It strives to explain the role of mind and attention in aquiring and using sensory-motor skills, the function of emotinal state in a performance and how to practice and control it. The role of preparatory work is recognized as crucial for perfomance success and most of the book is written as a guidelines for practice process. Both Kochevitsky and Nazarov come close to offering practical strategies of awakening inspiration.
Published at about the same time, 1968, "Music at your fingertips: Advice for the artist and amateur on playing the piano" by Ruth Slenczynska is as spectacular as it is unorganized. The author, an american pianist, has studied with an impressive selection of renown pianists and teachers of the beginning of 19-th century, such as Artur Schnabel, Egon Petri, Alfred Cortot, Josef Hofmann, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Their advice and her own strategies are scattered throught the book, as well as inspirational stories, interpretation suggestions and thoughts on technique and performance.
Another rather fascinating read is a book by Deann Elder, "Pianists at play: interviews, master lessons and technical regimes". It's a collection of short interviews with some of the most influential pianists and teachers, such as Arthur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Adele Marcus to name a few. The book is full of interesting insights on piano performance, some sound advise and a lot of small case studies. The practical use of it is somewhat indirect considering the amount of knowledge and skill gathered by these great masters in comparison to that of a college level piano student, which in some cases drastically affects the practice routine. The advice can be contradicting, and alongside descriptions of hours of tedious physical exercises there are records of close to none preparatory work. It is, in any case, inspiring and can give an idea of what is out there that can be achieved.
"On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound and Expression" by György Sándor, though published significantly later in 1995, is not very different in its approach to previous works of Kochevitsky and Nazarov, at least not when it comes to practice advice. Sandor's perception of mental practice is slightly less musically based as it is reduced to sensory-motor and visual connection whilst auditory image considered "an aid" rather then a must. He does offer some more interesting conceptions of practice and further clarifies some points discovered earlier.
The last one on the list is a brochure published by a trumpet teacher in a The Royal Conservatorium of The Hague and at the University of the Arts in Bremen, with an aid of the German Ministry of Education and Research. It deal mostly with philosophy of practice and general guidelines, providing, however, some clearly formulated thoughts and tips on goal setting, self assessing, and the nature of learning and using a motor skill. It largely corresponds with previously mentioned works, especially those of Kochevitsky and Nazarov, but also examines a few new aspects of the practice process.

2018-09-02 в 18:43 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
All of the articles are from the end of 20-th and beginning of the 21-th century. Two of them, "Teaching Practice Strategies in the Music Studio: A Survey of Applied Music Teachers" and "Influence of strategy on memorization efficiency" are pure research based on statistics and is used as support for some conceptions of practice as described in the previously mentioned works. They are coming from the modern psychology world and are minor works derived from an enormous body of work made on a theory of deliberate practice and, later, expert performance introduced by K. Anders Ericsson. Although there is an abundance of research made in this area it is rather difficult to use it as it is statistics and not conclusions based on experience and knowledge. Also, it mainly defines velocity and accuracy as the only index of good piano performance as artistic intent is hard to measure. Another two, "Seeing the Big Picture": Piano Practice as Expert Problem Solving" and "Practicing perfection: How concert soloists prepare for performance" are part of big project curated by Roger Chaffin, professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut in the USA in collaboration with other psychologists and performing musicians. Professor Chaffin runs a music lab where he researches the cognitive processes involved in musical performance, at the moment specifically focusing on the study of 'performance cues'. First article is a short summary of a published book describing a case study of a pianist Gabriela Imreh preparing the third movement of Bach's "Italian Concerto"; the second is a longer description of a cellist going through similar process with, ones again, a piece by Bach, and includes more articulated conclusions upon the nature and application of 'performance cues'. Both include the studied musician's input.
"Transformational Practice Techniques for Piano", published in 1995 by Bruce Berr, a piano teacher and writer for American Music Teacher and Clavier Companion, is an attempt to catalog some of common basic strategies under three categories, while offering some thought on principals of slow practice and repetition. Lastly, "The Concept of Dominance by A.A. Ukhtomsky and Anticipation" was needed to understand more deeply the underlying principals of the function of the mind in a human cognitive and motor processes.

2018-09-02 в 19:51 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
On the nature of practice

on an active mind
"Attention is the primary condition for a fruitful work", states Nazarov (p8) in the beginning of his book, and then progresses to define attention as a state of mind that is concentrated on a specific subject. He divides the state of attention to two kinds: a concentrated one with a narrow scope and a distributed with the broadest scope possible. The concentrated attention is due to the activity of brain center that Ukhtomsky calls "dominant", and it's function is to direct all the impulses towards itself and slow down all the rest. Distributed attention is a state of mind where the person is still concentrated on one point but with less intensity, while maintaining awareness of all that surrounds said point and keeping the ability to shift the main objective of focus without stopping while still being aware of the whole picture. A musician needs to be able to function in either mind states according to the task in hand and also to master the conscious transition from one state to the other and back. First mind state is used for working on one specific element. Second is used for synthesis and coordination of elements, the main objective of focus being the musical intent. But for a truly great performance a perfect execution of elements is still not enough, and Nazarov introduces a third state of mind: the emotional state. It is a state of distributed attention, but it is affected and powered by a strong emotion emerging from the musical meaning of the piece played.
Of course, it's not an entirely new idea. Gieseking demanded utmost concentration for practicing, calling it "a strenous work for brain" (p48) and instructing his students to take breaks after half an hour, because practicing without keeping alert would be a waste of time. Actually, most of the teachers were unanimous in saying that music comes first, and that "technique" in a sense of rapid and precise movements is nothing when it is not used in service to the music. What is interesting is the more concrete instructions on how and when one should use the mind while practicing. The more obvious is the learning part, the decision making; that we will leave for later and first try to explain the role of the mind in the more physical part of practice, namely acquiring motor skill and refining it, creating sensory-motor, auditory, visual and emotional connections and finally establishing the rule of a musical intent over largely automatized motions.
Williams states that active analysis is hindering physical execution and therefore mind should not be engaged in the processs of playing. In fact in her practice brochure Susan Williams rejects verbal formulas and conscious attention towards motor activity en mass, basing it on a RSW Masters study (1992), that is a tested hypothesis of the advantage of implicitly learned motor skill in resilience to stress. The research and testing were in the sports field and had not yet been transferred to music, but it appears that such a transfer is common in the area of deliberate practice and expert performance research. As an alternative to the explicit learning (verbal explanations of movements), Williams offers analogous learning (metaphors), external focus, secondary task (to keep the cognitive mind otherwise engaged) and observance practice. This hypothesis, though supported by research and trial testing, has not yet been wildly proven in natural conditions, and the view of Williams seems to be rather extreme. On the other hand all of the learning methods listed above are used in piano pedagogy, together with some anatomical knowledge and verbal explanations. Concentrated mind state as a prerequisite to detailed work comes across as a given for Nazarov (he also calls it "analytical attention" which should be directed towards the execution of a specific simple idea), and even though Kochevitsky says "virtuosity is in the brain", he still admits that "the interference of consciousness in some of those processes [the movements] is possible and sometimes desirable in the preparatory period" (p16), though not in the performance. Problematic or not, pianists inevitably do gain some knowledge of the anatomy of their playing apparatus and principals of motions, at least partly explicitly. What they need to know is when to use it and when in will be better to refrain from it.
The beginning of acquiring a skill is getting familiar with the concept of it. It might be ideal if a student would come up with his own movement as a reaction to intense musical (auditory) imagination, but an aid of lasting tradition of piano playing with it's continous discoveris in the field of correct movement would considerably shorten the process for less genious of the students. Nazarov states that from the starting point a focus should not be on the mechanics of the motion but on the feeling of the motion, therefore the skill is initially not just motor but a sensory-motor. The feeling should be one of ease and subjective correctness of a movement. Kochevitsky immediatly ties it with the sound result, other components of a skill being appearance of movement (form, look), position and interrelation of the parts of the playing apparatus and inner muscular sensations. Each of these connections can be percieved and practiced consciously.
Further process would be automatization of the movement, thus bringing it from consciousness to the subconsciousness. This is the stage where the use of analytical mindstate and exessive focus on the motor function would not only be unnecessary but would in fact undermine it's further development. That stage is when the conscious synthesis of elements begins, and that should be done in a state of distributed attention, while the focus is an external one (the musical intent (inner conception of a sound, auditory image) and the actual tonal result). It doesn not mean that the movement should be completly ignored but rather stay in the peripherie of attention in form of the continous sense of ease. It also doesn't mean that detailed work in concentrated analytical mindset id forever over; the important thing is to know when to apply it and to apply it clearly, without unintentional shift between the mindsets. Practically speaking, when one is playing a passage with a musical idea in mind it is cruicial not to stop and correct something that didn't work, going back to the concentrated analytical mindset. And vice versa: while working on one element one should omit the others and fully concetrate on it.
"To perform complicated movements one needs a sense of purpose and expediency", writes Kochevitsky (p11, chapter 3), and later on adds, summarizing pianists's and teacher's Oscar Raif discoveries, "the limits of our finger agility coincides with the limits of our auditory perception" (p12); further still, "the artistic conception creates a desire for its realization". (p17)
The deeper the work, the more complex will be the focus objective and therefore the movement. First comes the musical intent, stylistic interpretation, phrasing and structure. Emotional state is something to be practiced as well, through the use of metaphors and moods. There is a need to establish connection between an emotional meaning, a sound idea and it's physical realization (for example, referring to a piano passage as a dreamy passage, or to a succeccion of forte chords as strong and powerful; depends on the musical context). The ultimate goal is to create a strong connection between emotional meanig, musical conception and it's physical realization, much in a way that Lizst urged his students to "grasp the emotional spirit of the piece and let the body to find the necessary movement". The body thus will find what was consciously learned beforehand.
From a purely practical standpoint the process is a repetition, often in a slow and very slow tempo, not different in that from traditional ways of practicing (do i need a Fleichmunn qoute?). And although the idea was to make practice more efficient it will still take time and effort. According to Kochevitsky the necessary number of repetitions and the period of practicing depends on the complexity of given motor form, the concentration of his attention, the type of nervous system (that would be the influence of a gift, an innate talent of the student) and the previously established connections. The last condition explains a lot of the stories of the great masters abilities and gives hope to a devoted piano practitioner to shorten the necessary time with the growing number of connections.

2018-09-03 в 17:41 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
on goal setting

The second aspect of practice that needs some general explanation is the skill of goal setting. Newman said, one learns exactly what he practices (p104). It would be tremendously helpful, then, to know what does one practices, and if one desires to improve he could achieve a direct influence over it by deciding and planning what it is that he would want to practice.
The basic rules are simple: the more direct the goal, the easier it is to oversee. In piano playing, that may mean assigning a goal to every element from accurate note reading to following the architecture of a piece. Together with the idea of the final product there should be a strategy (better a few) and a timeline, so the effectiveness of the strategy could be evaluated. A time period will vary according to the goal, from one practice session to possibly the whole future career. But the real trick is to be able to create a whole system of goals of different value and arrange them on a big time line from the shortest to longest, "..to budget not only daily time but also weeks and month" (Newman p109) . Such a system will be a great help in tracking and navigating one's progress; if there is a program to prepare with a set deadline it would help to ensure the work is distributed evenly between the weeks (days, months) and it will help to build in some time for important skills that are not directly related to the program. Of course, the goals will be flexible so they could be changed according to the progress made (and considering longer term goals also according to life changes). Another important component of a successful goal setting is a skill of reflection and self assessment: without knowing one's weakest and strongest points one risks giving to much time to easy tasks, wasting time and energy that would be better spent working on difficulties.
To remember what makes a ready-to-use goal Williams made up an abbreviation SMART: specific (detailed), meaningful (relevant and important), achievable (based on previous achievements), realistic (adjusted to given time and resources), time based. It will be hard to plan ahead without knowing how much time can take to master certain skills, so for some of goal setting a professional expertise would be very helpful.
Such a system is hard to keep solely in one's head, and both Williams and Newman suggested to keep a practice log. It might be tedious and it takes time from practice which is in fact counterproductive when the whole purpose of it is to ultimately save time, but having specific dates and goals put in writing has a positive effect on a person's self discipline. (Newman p110)

2018-09-11 в 12:14 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
- choosing a piece (Newman, p 131)
There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a piece, as well as a number of reasons to study one.
- Building a repertoire. A future concert pianist would do wisely to start learning pieces that would be useful later in his career as early as he can manage. Such pieces would include concertos, Chopin and Liszt etudes and a selection of well known "flashy" pieces. It would also be useful for competition purposes to have Beethoven sonatas, some of Mozart's and Haydn's sonatas and some of the WTC pieces.
- Acquiring a well-rounded musical education. A professional pianist is expected to be able to tackle a piece from any one of the four major academic music periods (baroque, classical, romantic and modern) so the student needs to be careful not to neglect any of them. Even if later he wouldn't be playing much of a certain style it will benefit him to know and identify its elements as they appear in others. Besides the general periods there are composers that are especially influential in the piano literature that also need to be studied.
- Preparing a program for a specific date (round of concerts). For a program to be successful, pieces need to have some sort of interconnection (Slenczynska) and to balance each other. Slenczynska states that a good program would be around 70 min long. Besides being well build musically it needs to be suited for a student's ability and preferably aid in his growth.
- Acquiring, maintaining and refining a skill set. One of the differences between a student and a professional is the amount of knowledge. If the student wishes to improve he needs to widen his knowledge, dealing with unfamiliar problems that would require learning new ways to master the music; he also needs to deepen his knowledge, dealing with familiar problems that would make him to repeat and better the already learned ways. Skills can be motor as well as cognitive, musical, interpretative etc. Pieces can bu purely instructional and not to be intended for a public performance, but it is not necessary.
These reasons may be combined all in one piece as well as not. Newman writes specifically about taking student's preference into account; Breighthaupt mentions that the possible repertoire is vast and life is short - too short to play bad music. When the piece is chosen it would help to be aware of reasons behind its choosing and set a timeline to it.

2018-09-11 в 13:02 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
- mental (intellectual) preparation phase
According to Fleischmann, Stavenhagen advocated a preliminary study of the work during which the student would "analyse the piece carefully" (somewhere in the intro). Having determined previously that an understanding of the work done in practice greatly benefits the student, it would be common sense to suggest that prior to beginning said work some conceptions should be made away from the instrument. Newman says that a general musical idea of the piece should be formed at that stage. That phase itself can be divided by two.
- Getting familiar with the music
That may involve listening to a recording - so-called "model practice", which shown to positively affect student's performance at later stages as well (Teaching Practice Strategies in the Music Studio: A Survey of Applied Music Teachers. 1994); reading on the piece and the composer and getting familiar with other music of the composer or of the genre; studying and analyzing the score, discovering the form, motives, themes, harmonic structure and so forth. All of this should allow the student to form an opinion about the musical nature and possible emotional content of the piece (that would evolve and might be revised and changed later on).
- Preparing for the work process
Most of the sources would advise to read through the piece at that point. At that stage the pianist should analyze the "technical" aspect of the piece, deciding which sections would need more physical work, repetition and improving on motor skills or learning a new one. Breighthaupt writes that a motion suitable for a passage should be determined by looking at it, not by trying it; so does Sandor about a century later. Fingerings in complicated passages should also be determined at that stage, as well as ornamentation and cadenzas (at least in a form of an outline); it is important to take into account the desired final tempo as a fingering comfortable for slow execution might not be the same as for a fast one. At this point the final deadline is set so are the goals, the ultimate one and the smaller ones along the way.
Shortly, the first part is the "what" - an image of the ideal performance; second is rough mapping out of the "how".

2018-09-11 в 13:12 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
- on session length
The ideal amount of hours spent at the instrument varies greatly, depending on individual needs and abilities. Richter was reported practicing as much as eight and sometimes ten hours straight while preparing a big program. Breithaupt wrote that a student shouldn't practice more then four hours, and even that is only for those that are hoping to build a career in music. (source) Ruth Slenczynska recounts in her book how once she learned a Bach invention in half an hour just before a concert and played it as an encore. (p66). There are, however, some common guidelines.
Sandor advises on practicing in short (20-30 minutes) sessions. (p187) That approach was not widely popular in the traditional pedagogy, and the instructions on very slow tempo and long technical drills suggested long practice sessions. Slenczynska herself says that the best way is to have two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening, stating that four hours - two for each session - are a bare minimum. (p93) Today's research on deliberate practice supports Sandor's advice, finding effectiveness of distributed practice and short sessions prevailing over mass practice. Research also shows that practice is most effective when it is logically and sequentially organized, both in one session and throughout long periods of time. Even when the personal schedule doesn't permit an even distribution of practice session throughout one day it is still possible to apply that principle by varying the components of practice, whether it's different pieces or different types of work, and taking short breaks between them.

2018-09-11 в 17:54 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
- the work

warm up and technical drills

After all the preparation is done it's time to begin the work at the piano. First rule is warm up: for the work to be fruitful, one must be in the right state of mind, while the muscles of the playing apparatus must be free of unnecessary tension and ready to move, so that the sense of ease could be maintained in playing. Nazarov describes simple gymnastics, combined with specific concentration instructions, which ideally allows to warm up in under ten minutes; Breighthaupt offers breathing exercises to relieve nervous tension. It seems to be a general consensus that a warm up should start slow and develop gradually in speed and in complexity of tasks, directed to ensure that the pianists mind, hands and ears are in their best condition for the planned work. "Pianists at play" provides a detailed account of various technical regimes prescribed by some well known piano teachers, some of which take up to two hours of work at the instrument, unrelated to the repertoire. While the beginning is indeed a warm up, the main body of it is designed to maintain and perfect the physical aspect of piano technique, mainly control (accuracy) and speed.
The issue of pure physical exercises at the piano seems to present one of the biggest dilemmas in piano pedagogy. Newman, for example, dismisses Hanon, Pischna "and the like" (p34) altogether, saying that to play a certain piece one must practice that piece, and later states that "technique does not generalize". He does admit however that there are certain patterns that frequently occur in the music written from early 1600 up until late 1800. He singles out five rudimentary elements of technique: trills, scales, arpeggios octaves and double notes. This is just an example of generalization of a form of movement required for the piano playing. Sandor mixes motions with elements, singling out free fall, five finger patterns, scales, arpeggios, rotation, staccato and thrust (p 191). For Breighthaupt there are six types of motion, paired with specific elements of technique. There are numerous strategies for exercising these elements, all of which can be summed up in a number of general instructions:
- it is best to avoid mindless and strenuous repetition, as it might lead to an overuse of isolated muscles and therefore to an injury; besides, loss of focus would lead to a time wasted. It is also important to cover as many variants of the patterns as possible. Therefore it is advised to transpose all of the exercises, maintaining some sort of a schedule; the most common suggestions are either chromatic transposition or via the circle of fifth.
- besides transposition, there is a need to vary the form of exercise: adding or omitting notes, changing directions, practicing hands together or hands separate, adding accents, varying rhythmical groupings and so on
- as one of the goals is to gain control over a physical execution of a preconceived sound, it would be useful to practice the elements using different forms of touch and dynamics in various combinations, actively listening and striving to achieve beauty of tone
The main idea for the exercises of this sort is to achieve a knowledge, both cognitive and sensory-motor, that would be widely applicable throughout the piano repertoire. Tilly Fleischmann writes that "once a correct and fluent technique has been acquired [..] studies such as those [..] can be dispensed with", and advises to devote fifteen minutes at the beginning of practice session to some exercises, while the rest of the time should be given to the study of pieces that are to be performed. (p53) That corresponds with accounts of professional pianists that practice less and less as they advance in their career while still maintaining a high standard of performance, like Arrau and Horowitz. On the other hand, some of them state that practice of "technique" takes up most of their practice time (Serkin).
Alongside the general physical practice there are exercises that are closely tied to a specific difficulty that arises in the repertoire, as well as instructional etudes that allows the student to further develop a certain needed skill. These must be introduced and worked into the daily routine when needed, and could possibly replace the more general ones, especially if the repertoire itself is versatile enough.

2018-09-11 в 20:33 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
- learning at the piano

- Groundwork

When preparing a piece for a future performance the one most important thing is to avoid learning mistakes, especially in the form of wrong notes or rhythmical pattern. The practical consequence of it is that the playing must be correct at all times; it might be not possible at first run-throughs or when trying to perform a fast passage with the correct free motion for the first time, but given the preparation there is no reason to make mistakes at the first stages of learning a piece.
The most commonly advised strategy is the slow practice. It has some variations: Fleischmann instructs for an exaggeratedly slow practice, "so slowly that approximately three seconds might be counted between each successive note or chord" (p42); obviously, that means that at first there is no regard to rhythm. That approach calls for working in units, phrases or even parts of them. Sandor introduces the concept of "uneven practice" (p184), stating that some motions will require less time then others to be executed correctly and with full awareness; that also means a disregard of rhythm in that early stage. Kochevitsky calls for active finger movements, exaggerated motions and heightened awareness of tactile sensations (p 28). In general, slow does not mean passive.
After learning the notes, physical placements and directions, the tempo increases and rhythm is introduced. Newman instructs to count the beats out loud from then on (p152) (could be good as external focus that would aid to the automation of the movement), and Slenczynska provides a detailed instruction on using the metronome, which would be applicable at later stages as well (p30). As the learning progresses, more and more details are worked in, small muscle movements become grouped together under a bug muscles movements and early memorization start to happen. As phrases are repeated they tend to become naturally memorized, which should be encouraged and pursued. Different type of music will require different strategy: polyphonic music should be divided by voices and different combinations of the explored; easier works, shorter or those that use a more familiar to the student form of musical language would benefit from a holistic approach and played fully, albeit perhaps firstly slower then a desired tempo but as close to it as possible. Certain details are to be worked in later then others, especially pedaling and nuanced agogics. At this point the tempo should remain slow enough so that the technical difficulties would not present a problem. Nevertheless it might be useful to list all of the difficult passages and work on them separately, as they would need more time to master then the rest of the piece. (Slenczynska, 95)
When preparing a number of pieces or a whole program, that stage can be maintained until all of the pieces are brought up to a level when they can be played correctly at a slow tempo, with as much detail as such a tempo allows; schedule would be established and pieces rotated.

- Maintaining and refining

As the work continues the amount of time needed to play a piece lessens and if the piece was learned in units their size increases. This is the stage of both deeper and broader work; this is the stage when strategies and types of work vary the most.
- deeper work:
Units will be isolated, both for musical and physical work. Slow and narrow-focused practice should be alternated with fast practice, as elements would be combined. Some movements will become possible at that stage for the first time, as they can be executed only in a fast tempo. Motions will be atomized and focus shifted from a motor skill to the musical intent. Nazarov suggests to practice a passage slow, gradually increasing the tempo, fast and then slow again without stopping to control shifts of mindset appropriate for each tempo. (p21) At that stage it would be appropriate to create repertoire based exercises, following the same principals that are used for general exercises; if needed, instructional etudes directed to work on a element of technique that proves to be difficult should be introduced. It is useful to build in a margin of reserve, which is normally stands for pushing for a higher speed than would be needed for performance but can be extrapolated towards other areas as well.
The interpretation decisions are becoming the main focus, and various styles of playing can be tried, phrasing reevaluated, details such as dynamic, articulation, agogics etc exaggerated. Pedaling would be decided and developed. This stage calls for creativity and intuition mentioned by Sandor (p188); it is important though to consult the score to prevent going against specific composer's markings, and it might be useful to mark it with one's findings.
- broader work
Units should be combined and their length increased up until the point where all the piece can be played through with all the details up to tempo, maintaining continuity and perspective. If it's a program, pieces should be played in concession so the pianist would absorb them as one musical unit. A general conception of a piece or a program would be formed; Slenczynska mentions that Schnabel had a detailed master-plan for everything he played, including words to each phrase of a Mozart sonata (p97).
At that stages memorization would be completed. Chaffin introduces the concept of performance cues (Chaffin et al, 2008), which are basically a series of landmarks on the mental map of the piece which tells the player where he is at the piece and allows him to monitor and control the automatic notions of playing; these cues are established and worked in at that stage. Chaffin distinguishes between different types of cues: structural [cognitive, analytical and intellectual] cues, that show the musical form and themes; expressive [emotional] cues represent musical feelings to be conveyed to the audience; interpretive [sound focused] cues, which refer to musical and stylistic intentions and basic [motoric focused] cues that stand for the critical details of physical execution that must be monitored for the performance to unfold as intended. The process of working in the cue is one of "naming" it, i. e. associating some feeling or image with it and practicing evoking that image at the appropriated time, ensuring that attention is directed towards the cue and appropriate motions are anticipated in time for their execution. The ideal goal might be turning all of the cues to expressive ones, thus allowing the emotional intent to guide the performance.
As the piece progresses, the deeper work becomes more pointed and the broader one takes over the larger amount of practice time. Fast practice is alternated with slow and focused practice.
If part of the program are pieces that are already prepared, they should be maintained by run-throughs, both slow and cautious and up to tempo with full musical and emotional intent. In a situation where there are trial performance opportunities prior to the date of the big performance it would be useful, rather then putting easier pieces aside, to advance them to a performance stage and perform them, while continuing a separate routine preparing the more difficult ones. In general it is normal when different pieces are at different stages, and it allows a student for different type of work which is good for keeping alert and for all-around development. It is vital to a successful performance that all of the program would be prepared some time before the important concert; Slenczynska suggests six weeks (p93).

2018-09-11 в 21:53 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой
Preparing performance

Even before the piece is completely prepared, some sections of it can be performed - played a tempo with all musical details through emotional intent. To save time in practice and to prepare for a performance situation it is essential to be able to play perfectly what was intended on the first trial (Pianists at play, p9); in case of inability for a perfect execution the task must be altered rather then imperfect execution repeated. Such practice would allow for training the necessary for performance state of mind. In time whole piece would performed during a practice session. Repeated complete performances would allow the student to find and exploit "rest spots" (Newman, p123) that provide space to breathe for both the music and the performer. That might however be not enough to ensure a successful performance in an actual performance setting as the practice setting gives the pianist a sense of comfort that must be challenged prior to the big performance.
That may involve a "cold" performance (without a hands-on warm up); a change of settings, such as opening the piano or playing on a different piano; making a recording (would be especially useful for later evaluation); dressing up and imagining the performance. If there is an established order of pieces in a program it might be useful to change it up for a trial performance and in one piece it might be useful to perform sections in random order, however, not too close to the actual performance as it might hinder the overall perception of it.
The next stage would be trial public performances, and it might help to stage it as realistic as possible, including dressing up and bowing even for an audience of few friends. The more successful trial performances are played the better, and for a period of rime (a month according to Newman, p 122) a student should play through all of the pieces every day. It is also useful to practice beginnings of pieces and to bring the first piece to be as automatic as possible.
Besides the physical preparation the mental one may involve silent reading of the score while imagining the performance, reviewing the interpretation concepts and fostering emotional connection to the music. It might be useful to go through a shortened first stage of practice and repeat the mental preparation with an evolved understanding of the music.
It is most useful to be able to practice on the piano in a hall day prior the performance so all the adjustments could be worked out.
In general, prior the performance the advise is to rest, to relax, to reflect on the emotional message of the music and to practice following the established routine: slow practice, pointed problem solving drills and a run-through.
Same would be advised for the morning of a performance except the run through as the energy should be saved to the performance itself. It would be useful to practice especially beginnings. Afterwards there should be found some time for rest, and just before the performance a warm up that may involve away from the piano exercises (physical and mental), some routine on-hands exercise, the beginning section and maybe a targeted exercise on a problematic spot, though not too fast.
They are almost no pianists completely immune to stage fright, but a thorough preparation is most helpful to ensure a solid performance, while the nervous excitement would help for a spirited one. The last strategy would be to breath deeply and concentrate on the emotional intent, playing inwardly before putting one's hands on the keyboard.

2018-09-11 в 22:11 

я хочу быть самой красивой в мире бабочкой

Playing the piano is a complex activity, combining various purposes simultaneously. Practice is no different, only magnified. Even done efficiently the sheer amount of work is enormous. The comforting part though is that the same way as the piece progresses the time required for its progress shortens so the general time for practicing skills shortens as general progress is achieved. That might not mean shorter sessions, but rather more packed with different types of work and different music.
A good practice is a clever balancing act, giving just enough time to every aspect of playing that needs it. It is important to know what to practice as well as what not to practice.
And when all is said and done, the final result would be (only) as good as one can (literally) imagine.


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