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#28439 - 02/15/06 05:20 PM what do YOU practice?
Christina Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 402
Loc: Canada
what do YOU practice to get your hands back into shape? i'm going to start teaching again in a couple of weeks, and i haven't played much since my son was born in nov. i'd like to get my hands "warmed up" a little. i'm not just talking scales or hanon, i'd like any techniques on HOW to practice.
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#28440 - 02/15/06 05:38 PM Re: what do YOU practice?
VioletBeauregarde Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 502
Loc: Alabama
set goals and chunk it up!
My students all use this system called "smart practice" and it works!
1. Sight play the piece, etude, etc.. When you reach a hard part STOP! Circle the measure or item in the measure that is tricky.
2. Go back to the beginning of the piece. Isolate all the hard spots. Play the measures 5 times each alone. Then work back 1 measure and play through to the end of the hard measure. Do this 5 times. Then add the measure after it. Finally, do the entire section through the first hard place. Do this for each hard spot.
3. After this is "ironed out and spit shined" as it were, go back to the top and pick a goal that you want to do better with the piece- artistic elements, technique, timing, etc... As you work on the piece, make the goal your focus so that your practice has purpose, otherwise you're just hitting a bunch of notes with no goal in mind for them. If you have several goals, work them through one at a time until the piece is accomplished and as perfect as you can make it.

I use this method myself. It works wonders and really gets you to focus well. When I taught it to students a year ago it did wonders for them once they caught on. \:\) Hope this helps.
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#28441 - 02/15/06 06:12 PM Re: what do YOU practice?
Christina Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 402
Loc: Canada
i guess i should've made it more clear, i'm looking for strength building techniques for hands that are just a bit rusty.
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#28442 - 02/15/06 06:27 PM Re: what do YOU practice?
All Weather Musician Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 02/09/06
Posts: 45
Loc: Los Angeles
Christina,

I don;t think I've ever had the chance to get too rusty, but when I get back from a vacation or business trip that does not involve playing for a short while, I generally go back to my roots and works up slowly. Like Clemnti Sonatinas... Music for Millions (you could read thru the whole darn book in less than a day!)

I am currently working on a book about my work in improvisation which is fairly extensive. There should be quite a few helpful things in there, but it is at least a year from publication. In the mean time... \:\) you might also pick a tune you like (Mozart liked Twinkle Little Star...) and create your own set of variations that target your WEAKNESSES! You know what you can and cannot do after a long break. Start doing the stuff you CAN'T do well and get the fingers (and the brain!) working. It should all come back to you in short order as long as you have no physical limitations.

Good luck.

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#28443 - 02/16/06 03:57 AM Re: what do YOU practice?
Natalia Huang Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 88
Loc: New York, NY
I've always liked etudes. Chopin, Moszkowski, or Liszt can all work well. I feel like I am working musically and technically when doing those etudes. Since the etudes usually have quite a few 16th note runs, I use an old "practice" method from one of my college profs back then. The steps are as follows:

1)Accent and stop for a second on the first sixteenth note (assuming the notes are in groups of 4).

2)Then repeat the process for the second 16th, the third, etc. You feel your fingers strengthened afterwards.

Another technique you can try is, instead of sitting on your piano bench, put the bench away and sit on a couple of phone books. Believe me, you feel the burn/pain very quickly, but it work wonders. Hope that helps!

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#28444 - 02/16/06 04:24 AM Re: what do YOU practice?
heidi r. Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 41
Loc: Connecticut
My favorites to practice are Bach's Anna Magadelena Notebook, Little Preludes, and Inventions, Chopin Nocturnes, several pieces from Music by the Masters, and I'm definitely with AWM regarding Sonatinas - LOVE them, all kinds.

As far as simply warming up out-of-practice hands, I actually have some fun with boring old Hanon by using the first exercise alone and taking it through every key, but for fun I use different rhythms. Years ago my own teacher gave me the Japanese edition of Hanon which gives 22 different rhythms at the beginning of the book which can be applied to all of the exercises. I've made my own laminated copies of these rhythms for each of my students and they really have fun with Hanon when we vary it up rhythmically. Great practice for independent fingers and interval reading.

Congratulations on your little guy!

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#28445 - 02/19/06 02:41 AM Re: what do YOU practice?
Christina Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 402
Loc: Canada
originally posted by Natalia:
 Quote:
instead of sitting on your piano bench, put the bench away and sit on a couple of phone books.
do you mean on the floor?

my teacher in university used to get me to do that, also, but it was for a different reason.

any other ideas?
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#28446 - 02/19/06 06:32 PM Re: what do YOU practice?
Christina Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 402
Loc: Canada
anyone?


anyone?

i know this isn't as exciting as some other posts, but i need help! i haven't taken lessons in so many years and right now my brain is so focussed on diapers etc., i can't remember anything!!!HEEEEELLLLLPPPPP!!!!
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#28447 - 02/20/06 03:02 AM Re: what do YOU practice?
Dragonfly Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 105
In order to help it may be good to know what grade you stopped at. Then we could work back from there.

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#28448 - 02/20/06 04:05 AM Re: what do YOU practice?
Christina Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 402
Loc: Canada
i've been working on my ARCT. my teacher at university wanted me to go into international competition. but instead i got married and had kids!
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