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Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

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Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by kentaku_sama on Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:30 pm

I've been lately having problems with my scales and I want to be able to play them all very fast, precise, and smooth, the problem is , is that nomatter how much I want to play them all everyday, I just don't have the energy. Now I asked my piano teacher about it and she said that she would practice one or 2 a day and repeat it after the week so for example: Sunday: F# major and D minor, Monday: C major and A minor, ect.. But it seems to me like that it would take forever for that to have any results, may'be I'm wrong, I just wanted another opinion and ideas especially since I'm learning pentatonics now and those need to be played very fast for those jazz runs I like and such. : D
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by jytte on Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:08 pm

I wouldn't want to argue with your teacher. But if you want another opinion, you could try to read Fundamentals of piano practice, I find it very helpful.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by VictorCS on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:10 pm

I pracitce scales at the starts and at the end of my sessions. In the start to warm up. I also do some finger independence exercises too. And at the end when my fingers are hot, I can play through much faster.

But you need to have a good fundation at low speed before you go higher, and a metronome helps alot at high speeds, to keep the rythm solid. They say rythm and tone is what's make the speed when playing the guitar. Since the tone is always clean on a piano, you only have to worry about the rythm. Get a good rythm, play along with a metronome, and increase the speed a little bit each time.

And you'll see speed will come faster than you believed.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:50 pm

For me, scales are useful if and only if:

- you play them with fingers only
- you try to feel every impulse you give very clearly
- you practice them slowly
- you try to feel the thumb crossing clearly without moving the rest of the hand
- you play them without looking at your fingers at all (not even for the first note)
- you play them in a 2 octave range

If one of these conditions is not fulfilled, scales are utterly useless, I'm not afraid to say it! I know that it might sound a bit heretic... But honestly I neve practice scales.

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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Pianoted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:43 pm

This is interesting, Matthieu. I sometimes use the metronome practising scales, I can't keep rhytm without it! I read somewhere that the scales help you recognize the key signature of songs more quickly, what do you think of that?
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:05 am

Maybe it can help for that... But if you're playing a polyphonic piece, or a piece in chords, then the scales won't help you much because you won't be able to use their fingerings everywhere.

Actually, I tend to think that, in general, exercises are made for lazy people: to work on a piece is much more difficult because it requires a higher level of concentration.
Nevertheless, of course people should practice some of them, especially beginners. But not too much: doing exercises 5 hours a day will not turn anyone into a good pianist...

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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Kelly on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:08 am

Yikes! You actually say everything you think, don't ya. Some have to practice more, others less, practice is necessary always, and it doesn't make people lazy for doing so. (:
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:13 am

Of course you have to practice a lot. But exercises are usually very overrated, and taught badly. I think that exercises should only be practiced with a teacher at first that should control that everything is correct; and also, it should really, really be taught that exercises are here to show you how a technical element FEELS. And NOT how it should look from outside...
For example, just saying "practice Hanon" has absolutely no chance of being effective. If you just play Hanon, slow or fast, it won't bring you forward, or maybe just a little. You should first know what to focus on, not only musically, but physically: "what is the feeling I am looking for?" Of course I speak of physical feeling here, not of some metaphisic/psychic/esoteric thing Wink

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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Kelly on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:22 am

There's a point in that. I do agree. Of course, if you want to actually play an instrument you won't only occupy your time with basic theory practice, that would be nonsense.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Pianoted on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:23 am

I thought exercises were for the hard working, because the lazy ones are too lazy to do them anyway. Smile But I understand better now what you mean.

I've also been thinking if it's a good idea for practising a certain scale to work on a piece written in that scale. For example if you want to get familiar with the G major scale, you try to play a Bach menuet in G major.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:26 am

A menuet in G is fine, but you might also want to add a piece in chords, for example a small harmonised Bach choral arranged for piano Wink

And yes, the laziest pianist I've ever met used to practice only exercises Wink he just procrastinated when it came to the really difficult practice, the one on pieces, that requires imagination, concentration, memorisation etc.

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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Pianoted on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:43 am

Thanks Matthieu, will look for something with chords.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by VictorCS on Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:04 am

I dont think scales are important for playing a piece, because even if the piece is written in C, you dont play the C scale up and down like you do if practicing scales.

Scales are important because when you look at a piece, there is a sign to the left that tells you what scale it's written in. If you know the sign is a D, but you dont know how to play the D scale you wont be able to play it. And ofcourse it's good to know if/when composing or improvising.

Playing scales above 120bmp isnt in my opinion nessecary, and using too much time isnt either. I'm doing them so I dont forget them, and they are nice as warmup Smile
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Pianoted on Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:22 am

VictorCS, I'm not sure I understand this. First you imply that scales are not important for playing a piece, then you say you can't play a piece written in some scale, unless you know how to play that scale.

I do understand though, that fingering is not the same for pieces in say D, as it is for the major scale D. That is obvious if you take some piece in that key, you might have to begin on an A, play notes in that area, then jump to an F-sharp an octave lower. Usually you're moving back and forth on the keyboard, not just one way in chromatic order.

So the conclusion is, knowing how to play scales are important for recognizing the key signature (which sharps and/or flats) but not for correct finger use?

Theoretically you could learn the scales by memorizations, for example by using the circle of fifths, but playing them gives you better feeling for them. Always better to experience things than just to read about them.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by VictorCS on Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:52 pm

Long explanation geek

When I started back in 2007, I didnt practice scales, I didnt read sheet music, but I still managed to play pieces like FFX - To Zanarkand. I playd of digital piano rolls. I didnt really catch the deal about scales before 2009.

What I mean is, you dont have to know scales and their function if you wanna play. But you need to know them if you wanna read a sheet. The little sign to the left shows the mark of the D major scale, to know that, you need to have the circle of fifth infront of you. Then you know the scale the piece is written in is D major. But if you dont know what scale contains what keys you cant play the sheet. You dont have to practice a single scale on the piano, you can just write down all scales on a paper.

Look at sheet -> Look at scale sign -> find it on circle of fifths -> look at the paper and see what notes you need to play. Practicing the scale up and down wont help your für elise, because you dont play für elise as you play the scale up and down.

You dont have to practice scales on the piano, only know what keys they contain.

As Matthieu says, Hanon wont help much, maybe get your fingers endurance and strenght up a little bit tho. Since every piece has a different pattern. Even if you can read every word in the world doesnt mean you can open a book and read it within seconds, because when the words have been moved around they create new patterns.
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Pianoted on Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:51 pm

Thank you for your explanation, VictorCS. I like to think of the circle of fifths as a clock, like this one here. At twelve (or 00:00) there is C with zero sharps and flats, at one of clock there is G with one sharp and the sharps gradually increase in number till seven o' clock (C# or Db.)

At six o'clock the flats (and sharps) are six, and the number of flats decreases by one for every hour that passes, until you come back to twelve o' clock, the C with no flats. No sharps either, but from seven o' clock till eleven (Db to Bb) we're usually only concerning us with flats, not sharps.

Just wanted to share this, at least it works for me. One last question, where you talk about the little sign to the left, are you referring to the number of sharps or flats on the grand staff, which represents the key signature?
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by VictorCS on Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:56 pm

Pianoted wrote:One last question, where you talk about the little sign to the left, are you referring to the number of sharps or flats on the grand staff, which represents the key signature?

Yes, I just didnt know what its name was Cool
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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by lisakokey on Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:08 pm

I think to play fast is to be born with this talent...You can't learn to play fast. Some players are fast and some players are slow..It's just that simple, and all the practice in the world can't change that.
sorry people

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Re: Practicing one scale a day and repeat at end of week.

Post by Rickard on Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:47 am

lisakokey wrote:I think to play fast is to be born with this talent...You can't learn to play fast. Some players are fast and some players are slow..It's just that simple, and all the practice in the world can't change that.
sorry people
You are very mistaken. Talent is overrated and hard to define and besides most people start of playing slower pieces and then move on to play faster. To play "fast" (whatever fast means in this context) you need to acquire technique. The better technique you have the better and faster you can play. Just practice and use right methods when practicing and you will get faster.

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