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BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Welcome to the Classical Music (Mega)Thread
Discuss instruments, repertoire, composers, music theory, your awesome routine for practising, records, things that inspire/motivate you, (or really anything else related to classical music and/or classical musicians).

Introduction
I looked around ML and couldn't find any thread for us classical musicians (and friends) to gather, discuss, and ask for help; so I buckled down and created one. I'm not sure I'm the best choice for leading a topic here, but I'll do my best to keep up with adding your things to this post!

Inspiration/Motivation AKA "Oh poo poo, need to go practice some more!"

* Piano
Daniel Barenboim - Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 8 'Pathétique' Mov. 2
C.V. Alkan - Concerto for Solo Piano playlist, perf. Marc-André Hamelin
C.V. Alkan - Concerto for Solo Piano III. Allegro Alla Barbaraesca, perf. Live Marc-André Hamelin
12 Études Dans Tous Les Tons Mineurs, Op. 39: No. 12: Le Festin D'Esope perf. Bernard Ringeissen
C.V. Alkan Grand Sonata Op.33 (whole playlist), perf. Marc-André Hamelin
J.S. Bach - E major Prelude, WTC, Book 2, Perf. by Andras Schiff

* Brass
Haydn / Maurice Andre, 1968: Trumpet Concerto in E flat major - Mvmt. I
Haydn / Maurice Andre, 1968: Trumpet Concerto in E flat major - Mvmt. II
Haydn / Maurice Andre, 1968: Trumpet Concerto in E flat major - Mvmt. III
Maurice Andre, J. S. Bach - Brandenburg Concerto Nº 2 em Fá M (3º Andamento)

* Strings
Jascha Heifetz - Bach Partita No. 2 Mov. 5 'Chaconne'
Jacqueline du Pré - Elgar Cello Concerto
Janos Starker on Cello technique
Zlatomir Fung plays Ligeti Cello Sonata

Practice tips and other noteworthy informative posts
CowOnCrack's "What Music Teachers Don't Want You To Know"
Yiggy, on improvisation

Useful Links
IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library - Find public domain sheet music for download and print it!
MusicTheory.NET - Good resource on music theory I hear, haven't checked it out yet myself!
piano street - Good resource for pianists.

BRAAAAAAAINS fucked around with this message at Aug 15, 2013 around 16:13

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BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


[reserved for future use]

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


I find that keeping a practice journal really helps you stay on target and get things done during practice. Before I began keeping one I would often just play through my pieces aimlessly until I had repeated them about a gazillion times more than necessary without actually targeting the things I had issues with. You can use a moleskine or whatever you have handy, but I suggest you get something that you dedicate to the purpose, it will make it easier to find old journal entries.

A (mock-up of a) typical journal entry of mine looks something like this:

quote:

22nd of February, 2013
---
Goal:
Example Piece A
bar 23-25 - Smooth out the legato line and pay attention to the detaché note that immediately follows.
bar 31-36 - Clean up the string crossings

Example Piece B
Get started sight-reading through the music while listening to recordings of it.

Practice:
Example Piece A
bar 23-25 - Managed to make the legato passage a bit smoother, but will have to work on it some more. Solved the detaché note by playing the legato on a down bow, and the trailing note with an up-bow. (Get it to sound less rough tomorrow)
bar 31-36 - Played through this slowly with special attention to the string crossings, it's getting a lot better, but will probably need to work on it some more in future pieces.

Example Piece B
Sounds like a really fun piece! There's a few passages that look tricky (I marked them in the music), but it should be manageable.

Problems:
Example Piece A - The detaché note comes out a bit rough now, but it's better than accidentally slurring it. Continue practising the string crossings in 31-36 slowly until perfected.

And then the next practice day I would look at the last entry to see what I need to work on and prepare a new journal entry with new goals etc.

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

I play classical piano and started around 1 year and 8 months ago. Up to that point I had played a little here and there, but mostly developed bad habits and took like 15 minutes to read one bar of notes. First I had one on one lessons with someone at a nearby music school, then auditioned and joined the applied program at a nearby community college.

I had known I had some musical abilities as a kid but never got seriously into music. What finally pushed me into getting serious was watching the pianist Marc-André Hamelin who I found by coincidence. Right around two years ago I was enjoying Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto and heard that there was a Piano Concerto of even larger size and difficulty, so I searched on YouTube and found a live performance of the entire Busoni Concerto by Hamelin and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohPzurDZzZ4). It convinced me both that YouTube is loving awesome and classical piano is the real deal.

More inspirations:

Alkan (composer of the most difficult music in all piano repertoire that is also beautiful, so not counting unplayable transcendental 20th century trash)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TBA...re=results_main - C.V. Alkan - Concerto for Solo Piano playlist, perf. Marc-André Hamelin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIEhFsi6hF8 - C.V. Alkan - Concerto for Solo Piano III. Allegro Alla Barbaraesca, perf. Live Marc-André Hamelin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6OQpkOUijE - 12 Études Dans Tous Les Tons Mineurs, Op. 39: No. 12: Le Festin D'Esope perf. Bernard Ringeissen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRFG...517B9EDF8BC5B36 - C.V. Alkan Grand Sonata Op.33 (whole playlist), perf. Marc-André Hamelin

Bach (Hell loving yes)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEgMf17ttTs - J.S. Bach - E major Prelude, WTC, Book 2, Perf. by Andras Schiff

This is some of the only Schiff Bach I've found on YouTube and unfortunately, once you hear Schiff, it's hard to appreciate anyone else's Bach.

Here some practice tips that I know are true but still don't follow consistently enough of course:

1) The most important tip ever for the piano is to assume and believe that everything is possible until proven otherwise. And proven otherwise doesn't mean a few tries or working at something for a day - sometimes it can take months or years before you can do something but if you keep working eventual victory will never be in doubt. The basic principle is that if you do something slow gradually, build it up faster and faster over time, and repeat it a bunch of times, then human hands on the piano can do just about loving anything. This principle defeats even the most insane acrobatic nonsense needed for one of Alkan's compositions. Time + slow practice + repetition = win piano.
2) It is false to believe you have some special inadequacy that prevents you from learning anything any other of your favorite pianists can play. Sure, marginal differences in talent might exist between you and say, Sir Hammy the Piano Pillager, but the infinitely more important factor is time and experience and with enough of these there is no reason you can't play anything you want to play. Effort overcomes all obstacles in time.
3) The reality of practice is that we all know the most efficient way to improve. Never play the piece, only work on subdivided sections at an extremely slow pace and gradually grind it out. Then put it together super slow when everything is literally perfect. In fact, the most effective and efficient pianist of all time was the guy who never played a piece except on performance day, and spent the rest of his 12 hours a day efficiently practicing parallel sets of difficult moves over and over with complete concentration, focus, and discipline. We can all envision the platonic ideal and although none of us can reach it, we ignore it at our peril. Decide what's more important to you - the quality of your performances, or the enjoyment of your practice.
4) Totally agree on the tasks and goals orientation, and the idea of keeping a log. I also think that in addition to a written log, you should constantly be assigning yourself short mini-tasks every 15 minutes or so. One of the best ways to focus yourself is to assign yourself a task and to do nothing else until you complete it. If you don't have the discipline to constantly do this, you are virtually guaranteeing your concentration will wander and your efficiency in learning will drop as you do random things.

Well, that's all I have to say.

edit: man what the gently caress why does it keep turning my video links into some forum thing that doesn't work

CowOnCrack fucked around with this message at Jun 28, 2013 around 16:18

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


I play sitar and have been studying the classical style for about six years, four of those more seriously with instructors. Presently I'm living off my savings and studying abroad in India to study in the old fashion style. By their standards I'm straddling the line between beginner and intermediate. Ideally by the time I leave in October I'll have passed that line. Probably still a few more years away from more advanced level playing. I didn't get started until my mid 20's so I'm a good deal behind.

WIth regards to practice, my current difficulties are maintaining my calluses. Especially with household chores and doing dishes in particular, its been difficult to keep them firm and building up. I tried using dish gloves but its so humid and hot here that hand sweat builds up in the gloves pretty fast, so I gave up on using them. With this problem, I can only get about two, sometimes three hours on good days, of practice in before finger pain gets to be too much. So I have to kind of prioritize my sessions and get a good mix of different things. Normally I'll go through some variation of

1) Scale exercises, spanning about 2.5 octaves. I've started extending up to the top of that third octave, but it involves pulling with a lot of tension on the string and that, so far at least, is really tearing up my middle finger and shortening my session. I've started moving downwards which isn't painful at all just involves some unusual string hopping (as far as the instrument is concerned) so I'm shooting for 4 octaves eventually, which is a really nice range for sitar when the instrument can handle it.
2) Short, repetitive exercises. Normally I'll do some mix of ascending and descending runs ranging from 3 to 6 notes or so, slowly moving all the way up and down in these increments. String bending exercises on both fingers, stacato and more glissando like meends both. Gamak exercises. Other arbitrary exercises to practice specific techniques.
3) Slow repertoire, normally around 36-42 BPM. This tends to focus more on string bending and ornamentation, nesting different time signatures (in western terms) within the standard beat cycle. Gradually introducing melodic phrases with 32nd notes in increasing longer stretches,employing different techniques and ornaments.
4) Medium repertoire around 120-140 bpm. Unlike the slower stuff this normally has less emphasis on slower, meandering string bending and more emphasis on melodic flourishes, jumps up and down the string, grouping notes in interesting ways, and eventually rhythmic taans.
5) Jhala and fast repertoire, this is a section that kind of takes advantage of some of the sitars features, is normally faster and more rhythmically oriented, but also juxtaposes fast strumming on certain strings with graceful meends and string bending on the main string, creating a contrast of fast and frenetic with slow and graceful thats kind of nice and sounds really good with a tabla player.
6) ALap, which I've been slacking on a lot lately. This stuff is normally arhytmic, focusing just on melodic phrases. Lots of string bending, trying to get interesting combinations and phrases out of a single stroke and then hitting lots of differerent notes on one or two frets before the sustain drops out.

Normally I'll start off just running through a section, and then if I have a rough spot or a taan I'm not sounding good enough on I'll stop and focus on it until satisfied, lots of repetition. In one session I'll normally be focusing on either slow or medium/fast, with lots of grinding. With a tabla player I'll normally try to get a whole performance worth of stuff in, from slow to fast, repeating certain areas and taans as needed. I meet and practice with a tabla player three times a week, and lately we've ended up spending a lot of time evening out my pacing on one of these more complex taans that I've been struggling with. My clarity and ability to play the notes is pretty much where it needs to be, but I keep missing my return back to the 1 beat by a half beat or so, sometimes too fast, some times too slow. Its got these three pauses that are really tricky. So thats been getting a lot of time attention lately.

I tend to focus on individual modes at a time, and since I've arrived here in Kolkata my teacher has given me a bunch of material to work on in one of these ragas. Hes been out of country for about a month but gets back next week, at which point we're supposed to start focusing on improvisational music, which I'm looking forward to.

When I have lessons, which are almost daily when guru is in town, they tend to progress through first playing older material, whatever I was supposed to focus on or had just been taught, get critiqued with specific points to focus on in future practice, and then new material. I generally make an audio recording, which I then listen over and transcribe in my practice sessions. From there I have to commit it to memory, which gets intense when there is new material almost every lesson. The material I've received is ultimately supposed to build a scaffold in my head to make improvisation easier, and I've noticed a better ability to express myself when I'm dicking around and playing just for fun at the beginning and end of practice sessions. I'm starting to improvise shorter phrases and fills within the more structured material I have, which is fun.

Its all a slow process, but being able to recognize progress and see improvement in your chops is such a satisfying feeling. Theres also no other motivator, and worse feeling, than hearing from your guru "Oh, you've been practicing that how much? ...It really ought to be a lot better than it is..."

Yiggy fucked around with this message at Jun 29, 2013 around 22:26

Studebaker Hawk
May 22, 2004



Thanks for sharing that, I really appreciate it both as a lover of Indian classical music and lovely tabla player (I'm a bassist, things that don't have strings are difficult for me). Also, Kolkata is an awesome city.

Atomic Spud
Jun 24, 2013


May as well make a post here. I've got a degree and all that for trumpet, I started playing... twelve or thirteen years ago now I believe. I've also got a decent amount of post-college experience at both trombone and tuba. Being a trumpet guy, I was trained both for classical and jazz through college, but I was never really cut out for jazz. I love listening to it, but could never quite nail down the right feel to sound great with it. Classical playing, on the other hand, came much easier.

As far as inspiration goes, ANYTHING by Maurice Andre is fantastic. As an example, every trumpet player ever has played or recorded the Haydn Concerto in Eb. Literally no one has ever done it and made it sound as gorgeous as Andre; not Vizzuti, not Marsalis, nobody.

Movement 1
Movement 2
Movement 3

Beyond that, he is widely regarded as the best piccolo trumpet player ever. Anyone that can make an instrument as bright and tinny as that sound as good as he does is ridiculous. Probably the most well known picc part is Bach's Brandenburg 2, Movement 3.

When it comes to brass as a whole, it is tough to beat the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's brass section in their heyday. Bud Herseth, Vince Cichowicz, Arnold Jacobs, Frank Crisafelli... Just a whole lot of fantastic stuff was going on there.

The biggest thing I ever noticed about practicing came from moving from high school to college. In high school, I only practiced 2-3 times for an hour every week and was the best around. In college, suddenly I had to practice 2-3 hours daily just to keep up. It was a big shock. Since I started doing that, my practice time has gradually increased to around 5 hours, but you can't rush that or push yourself too much as a brass player.

So some things I figured out far later than I should have, and recommend any brass player do.
1. Train your ear, and don't use your instrument to do so. Use piano + voice or some other method, but the only way to be above average as a player is to let your ear guide your playing, not have your ear dependent on your playing.
1a. Have a piano or keyboard nearby when you practice, if at all possible. Don't be afraid to use it to check tuning, intervals, or anything else.
2. Warm up every morning. And use mostly your mouthpiece. My professor in school recommended this, and it works fantastically. Just one hour every morning, with 40 minutes of mouthpiece only, makes any playing/practicing you do later a ton easier.
3. Isolate everything. Having any trouble? Isolate every individual step, then combine them. Breathing, Tonguing/Articulation, Singing/Ear, Buzzing on the mouthpiece, etc.
4. Know what you want to accomplish. Never practice something without a goal in mind, even if that goal is as simple as "Slow down a bit so it doesn't sound like rear end." Bashing your face against a piece over and over again doesn't do a drat thing, and just makes your face hurt later.
5. Don't hurt yourself. If you find you are using a lot of effort to play, you are doing something wrong. I still have scars, nine years later, from trying to press and play higher than I could when I had braces. Range comes with time. Avoid going beyond what you can play comfortably.


And just because I'm the first instrumentalist, here's just a few recommended books for any aspiring trumpeters, in order of recommendation.

Must Have as Part of Every Daily Routine:
Arbans
Clarke Technical Studies
Earl Irons 27 Exercises

Etude Books:
Getchell's first book (Beginner-Intermediate)

Hering (Intermediate)

Small - technical etudes (Intermediate-Advanced)
Rochut - lyrical etudes (technically a trombone book, transpose up one octave)(Intermediate-Advanced)

Bousquet - technical etudes (Advanced)
Concone - lyrical etudes (Advanced)

Obviously there's a ton more good stuff, but this represents sort of the bare minimum, imo.

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

I wanted to post about an excellent lesson I had just now, and emphasize the point of how important it is to be smart about how you practice. You can waste countless hours practicing one way, and 5 minutes practicing another way, and get the same or better results with the 5 minutes. Every instrument has it's own methods, but the rule is methods are so extremely important that this lesson blew the lid off my head and my brain ejected because it couldn't handle the reality of how much time I've wasted with lovely methods.

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


Could you elaborate briefly?

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

Yiggy posted:

Could you elaborate briefly?

Normally, I'd be more eager to share specific knowledge but here I feel like this knowledge has a kind of premium on it and I would be putting music teachers out of business if I just gave it away.

But here is the basic idea: practice consciously rather than unconsciously, and never play unconsciously until the music is totally flawless. I had never really considered the value of practicing or playing music consciously, but the truth is that if you don't do this pretty soon your muscle memory outraces your brain. Oddly enough most of the time I play music (always with the chance of mistakes) I am not thinking consciously about my actual playing - it's been shelved away. This would be OK if it was technically flawless, but it isn't, and that is because I didn't consciously make it so while practicing. The methods of getting it flawless are rather complicated and counter-intuitive for piano, and I had never really encountered them before in their entirety or had them explained as well as they were in this lesson.

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


Well, its good you're making progress, but respectfully I just want to say you're being too vague and cryptic. I'd like to believe in This One Neat Trick that Music Teachers don't want You to know, I would...

To try and understand better, how much of this is a case of playing unconsciouslly and how much of it is to be conscious of one's playing in ways that alot of beginners haven't had pointed out? Is this what you mean by it being different for every instrument?

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

Yiggy posted:

Well, its good you're making progress, but respectfully I just want to say you're being too vague and cryptic. I'd like to believe in This One Neat Trick that Music Teachers don't want You to know, I would...

To try and understand better, how much of this is a case of playing unconsciously and how much of it is to be conscious of one's playing in ways that alot of beginners haven't had pointed out? Is this what you mean by it being different for every instrument?

First I want to say, god drat you, and all musicians will die penniless because of the internet (contrary to popular opinion, on the whole the past 15 years have been devastating to the livelihood of musicians). It is only recently that I've come to realize how much all of this 'free on the internet' poo poo is screwing people over who make their living through this knowledge because the system is not set up to give them proper compensation.

Well, now that that's out of the way here's the rub. The particular exercises are different because instruments work in different ways. For example, key points about engaging different parts of your upper body and how to develop strong fingers and relax at the same time has nothing to do with many instruments, just like key points about proper intonation has nothing to do with piano because it is always either in tune or not. The method of thinking hard about what you are doing in a very analytical and deliberate way, however, seems universal and also counter-intuitive. It is also extremely difficult to do but vastly more efficient. When I sit down to play something on the piano (old habits), I don't put any conscious thought at all into what I am about to play. Effectively, my brain shuts off and motor memory kicks in. Then I operate at the musical level, which is actually desirable in the end, but is extremely detrimental until the music is flawless. What I never understood how to do is solve the technical problems to begin with, so I was faced with either going nowhere or trying to skip past it to some degree (both are bad). As far as how to solve technique on your instrument, I am not sure how much I learned is directly applicable to yours but the ideas in general probably are.

Here are examples of what I learned. Before playing any notes, prepare your hands to play the notes by raising your wrists (in this particular piece this is valid). Visualize the note on the key before you play it and exactly how the motion will look. Try to access your kinesthetic memory and experience how the motion will feel before doing it. If possible, try to hear the note or sing it before you play it. Use the score to know exactly what you play next. Reference the score for every single note in this method and develop a photographic memory of the score (if you do this a ton for every note anyone can get good at this). After doing all of this mental exercise, only when you are 100% certain that what you are playing next will be correct do you execute the motion to strike the note. Bring your fingers down, strike the key, and do not allow the finger to collapse. Then, after the keystroke, immediately consciously relax. Rinse and repeat. Do this for every single note. That way when you learn it, it will be 100% accurate plus you will be training the method for total accuracy. It takes forever, but it's not even close to being over. You can do this method except instead of playing one note, play two in a row and hold one for a very long time while making the other short (again this for a piece that is extremely fast and just groups of sixteenths). Then do 3 notes and 4 notes in row. If you do everything written above, it will be awhile before you can do 3 or 4 notes in a row because it requires intense concentration and the ability to visualize into the future before playing. I found when I first tried that I was totally mindfucked.

And that's the idea. Every method I learned involved intense deliberation before and during playing, from visualizing the patterns of the keys to learning every harmony both in how it looks and how it sounds. In other words, as you play the piece you are thinking about every single harmony before and as it happens from many angles. To increase the speed of the piece, you do all of this and increase the tempo 1 click at a time. If you can play the whole piece laser beam flawlessly once, you can increase the speed 1 click. The second a mistake happens anywhere, STOP immediately. Go to that area including how to get into that area, i.e. where the actual mistake was, which is more often between bars. Get used to practicing from the 3rd and 4th sixteenth of a bar. Go there and for every mistake do this brutal work 5 times correctly. After learning the piece this way, it will be so solid that you can safely enter the music level and your brain and fingers won't be left behind. These methods aren't magical, just impossible to figure out on your own. But once you understand them they make perfect sense and are very logical. I share your frustration that my other teachers never helped me with my technique, instead they critique my playing which I find to be annoying. It's like, yes I know that was a wrong note, yes I know that doesn't sound the way it should, so now what do I do to fix it? Why, just practice. What you practice 6+hours a day? Well I guess you just don't cut it. BS.

Etc. This typed from a phone and probably full of errors. Hope it helped though.

CowOnCrack fucked around with this message at Jul 23, 2013 around 22:27

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


CowOnCrack posted:

First I want to say, god drat you, and all musicians will die penniless because of the internet (contrary to popular opinion, on the whole the past 15 years have been devastating to the livelihood of musicians). It is only recently that I've come to realize how much all of this 'free on the internet' poo poo is screwing people over who make their living through this knowledge because the system is not set up to give them proper compensation.

Well, for what its worth I don't think a lot of the educational material and instructional youtube videos widely available are worth the bandwidth. For aspiring musicians who want to learn to do more than fake a few songs a lot of times they're going to end up needing to track down an instructor at some point anyways. Of the "professional" musicians I knew from my area back home, if they didn't have a day job than teaching was normally their steadiest form of income. As a performer I think it'll always be slim pickings, but the teaching side of things seems safer to me. Having tried earnestly to learn from books, info found on the web, and the occasional video here and there, they're just not very effective, at least they weren't for me. And believe me, I resisted at first and was not thrilled about finding a teacher for lessons, but in my experience the glut of noisy, low signal instructional material on the internet is not a real substitute.

As I see it musicians and musical instructors are more in danger from the declining value of arts and art education in our society, rather than the get-what-you-pay-for competition available freely on the internet. Most musicians can't make a buck these days off their skill, but realistically most musicians never could. There was a NYTimes piece recently about the problems facing Julliard grads. Its the weak economy and collapsing municipal support for symphonies and orchestras that is killing off the classical musicians, not youtube.

quote:

[...]

The method of thinking hard about what you are doing in a very analytical and deliberate way, however, seems universal and also counter-intuitive. It is also extremely difficult to do but vastly more efficient. When I sit down to play something on the piano (old habits), I don't put any conscious thought at all into what I am about to play. Effectively, my brain shuts off and motor memory kicks in. Then I operate at the musical level, which is actually desirable in the end, but is extremely detrimental until the music is flawless. What I never understood how to do is solve the technical problems to begin with, so I was faced with either going nowhere or trying to skip past it to some degree (both are bad).

[...]

Try to access your kinesthetic memory and experience how the motion will feel before doing it. If possible, try to hear the note or sing it before you play it. Use the score to know exactly what you play next. Reference the score for every single note in this method and develop a photographic memory of the score (if you do this a ton for every note anyone can get good at this).

[...]

And that's the idea. Every method I learned involved intense deliberation before and during playing, from visualizing the patterns of the keys to learning every harmony both in how it looks and how it sounds.

[...]

The second a mistake happens anywhere, STOP immediately. Go to that area including how to get into that area, i.e. where the actual mistake was, which is more often between bars. Get used to practicing from the 3rd and 4th sixteenth of a bar. Go there and for every mistake do this brutal work 5 times correctly. After learning the piece this way, it will be so solid that you can safely enter the music level and your brain and fingers won't be left behind. These methods aren't magical, just impossible to figure out on your own. But once you understand them they make perfect sense and are very logical.

Thanks for typing that all out. Not being anything more than a dabbler on keys, I was mostly interested in the general idea and method of deliberate practice you were thinking & learning about.

This sort of deliberate practice is very similar to how my current teacher instructs me to work on things. At first I wanted to contest it not being so rare or counterintuitive, but... even though its how I've currently learned how to go about practice, my last teacher back home never really broke things down for me in this way that my current teacher seems to be doing. So maybe it is a little less obvious. It never seemed counter-intuitive to me though, just something I didn't realize to do, out of laziness no doubt.

The big key to me, is the stopping on mistakes, grinding them out, and not moving on until the phrase(s) have gotten focused attention and work. My last teacher in many ways was too lackadaisical, small errors and flubs would go away with "time and practice." My current teacher, not so much. He tells me every time I screw up, which can be disappointingly often some days. And we stop and don't move on until I get it right or we run out of time. "No compromise!"

As for some of the other parts, there are differences which probably come down to different traditions and musical styles. For instance, the knowing the score, what the next note is and what it sounds like, is much less of an issue in my music study because what is composed is going to be memorized, and the system of notating and learning the melodies is such that you have the pitch memorized and the verbal solfeggi phrases too.

One possible difference I might be able to add to your deliberate practice is that when I have problem phrases or technique, in practice I'm not supposed to just grind out the phrase isolated from the piece, but also writing some sort of more general exercise which emphasizes the pattern or technique, and then playing it all the way up and down the register to practice it on all notes. Sort of like the Hanon exercises. Sometimes its just practicing a specific method of attacking or approaching a certain note, over and over again. Sometimes its interval training, rhythmic exercises or practicing permutations of different subdivisions. Since most of the music is improvisational, the exercises are important since you want to able to play certain combinations and techniques anywhere and everywhere.

Still, thanks again for the tips. At some point once I'm home again I need to sit in front of the keys and study harmony some more, and so that advice in particular, thinking about harmonies and the sound before playing them out, should be helpful.

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

Yiggy posted:

The big key to me, is the stopping on mistakes, grinding them out, and not moving on until the phrase(s) have gotten focused attention and work. My last teacher in many ways was too lackadaisical, small errors and flubs would go away with "time and practice." My current teacher, not so much. He tells me every time I screw up, which can be disappointingly often some days. And we stop and don't move on until I get it right or we run out of time. "No compromise!"

But if you think about it, the no compromise approach is the only one that makes sense. If you allow even one mistake into your muscle memory, you're just going to have to do extra work to erase it later. I never really comprehended that before, so now I'm sucker for this method. Laziness is sort of a problem for me, but it's less laziness and more just not having the understanding to put confidence and faith in doing things one way.

quote:

One possible difference I might be able to add to your deliberate practice is that when I have problem phrases or technique, in practice I'm not supposed to just grind out the phrase isolated from the piece, but also writing some sort of more general exercise which emphasizes the pattern or technique, and then playing it all the way up and down the register to practice it on all notes. Sort of like the Hanon exercises. Sometimes its just practicing a specific method of attacking or approaching a certain note, over and over again. Sometimes its interval training, rhythmic exercises or practicing permutations of different subdivisions. Since most of the music is improvisational, the exercises are important since you want to able to play certain combinations and techniques anywhere and everywhere.

Well, this instructor didn't mention any 'specific' (i.e., Hanon, Czerny, Joseffy, whatever) exercises, but nothing I heard contradicts this. It just seems like doing what I wrote is enough exercise on it's own and it's built purely from the music. In fact, for pianists she did mention some of the most generic exercises and their specific uses for teaching different body motions. I put absolutely zero thought into what part of my body I was doing for what, but this pianist told me that you should be consciously choosing what body parts you will use to play each note. Ask yourself - does this require fingers, wrists, forearms, shoulders, wrist rotation, combinations of these, etc. What you use not only produces a different tone, but different moves work better for different things. Shoulders work best for chords, wrist and elbow rotation work best for arpeggios, octaves can be played a variety of ways but tend to do best with forearm power, etc. Hearing this teacher say they think about this for every single bar had a big impression on me. Before I just unconsciously used whatever felt appropriate, not putting any particular value in these different motions.

quote:

Still, thanks again for the tips. At some point once I'm home again I need to sit in front of the keys and study harmony some more, and so that advice in particular, thinking about harmonies and the sound before playing them out, should be helpful.

For me it's just about having confidence in the approach, which can only come from understanding and also kind of trusting the opinion of from whom you are receiving the information. In this case, this pianist is extremely good and has had insanely good teachers (the 1hr lesson was appropriately expensive). The piece that was the focus of the lesson is her warm up piece and she can demolish it. I knew for this reason that she knows her poo poo, because this is a piece is the kind of piece that requires the right methods and will be permanently out of the reach of any piano players that don't know them.

CowOnCrack fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2013 around 04:58

Deep 6
Nov 26, 2004


First of all: glad to see this thread. I've gotten a lot of good info from it already, particularly CowOnCrack's description of his/her method is very interesting, even though it seems as daunting, time-consuming and frustrating as it is worthwhile.

I started playing cello about 9 months ago (I'm 27), which is to say that I have a long, long way to go before I'm capable of playing anything remotely interesting. However, the level of discipline and focus I've learned from my instructor as well as from books, the internet, and my own playing and experimentation has been more valuable than all of the years I spent playing guitar in bands and making electronic music. When I pick up a guitar or play the piano now, all of the things that were hindering me in the past have become immediately apparent, and at the same time, my skills in both have improved as the focus and technique I've learned on the cello have applied themselves.

I'm afraid I don't have much to share that wouldn't be obvious or rudimentary to any advanced, classically-trained musicians, but I hope to share and discuss what I can and possibly have some questions answered in this thread. By the way, OP: what string instrument do you play?

For a quick idea of where I am in terms of development: I've gone through two books independently, in the process learning all of the neck positions (5th position is still basically a mystery to me). I am working on the first movement of Breval's sonata in C. My bow hold and technique are constantly improving, but nearly every time I feel like I've 'got it', I am forced to reassess and reconfigure, in what seems like a long whittling process towards 'perfect' balance and fluidity.

One of the most informative things I've seen on the internet regarding cello technique (and musical technique and feeling in general) is this hour-long video of Janos Starker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCGsuQ0xX08

And there are many many videos which inspire me, and maybe I'll post more in the future, but Ligeti's Sonata for solo cello is one of my personal all-time favorites and one of my major long-term goals with the instrument. Here is a video of it played, if imperfectly, with more clarity and precision of articulation than most that I've seen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VUbi_jIlVQ

Jazz Marimba
Jan 4, 2012



CowOnCrack posted:

CowOnCrack's One Neat Trick Music Teachers Don't Want You to Know

As a percussionist (drums mainly), this is actually how I work on coordination stuff, although not quite to the extreme of "don't play a note until you know in your head it's going to be correct). Using a basic songo or cascara groove as an example, I would learn just one limb at a time sans accents, and then do each set of two limbs, then three, and then all four. Then once I could play it comfortably I'd go back and add the accents in one limb at a time, and finally start moving my hands around to vary the sound a bit.

It really isn't something music teachers don't want to tell people because then they'll be out of a job, it's more that most people don't want to hear that they have to put *that much goddamn effort* into learning. Even most people that want to be musicians just don't have the motivation to sit down and do things at an arhythmic ~20bpm until they get it right, because all they see is the finished product and not all the work that went into it.

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Updated OP - Good posting guys, keep it coming!

Started doing three octave scales a few days ago as a way to dive into the deep end of position shifting. It's an intimidating task to figure out the intonation of all these new notes that I've never played before, but has so far been very helpful! What I'm doing is based loosely on the Carl Flesch studies for the violin (transcribed for the viola, of course). Already seeing lots of good results and progress.

Atomic Spud
Jun 24, 2013


CowOnCrack posted:

A lot of true stuff

I've gotta be honest here; while everything you've posted is very true, and very useful, it's not really groundbreaking or something music teachers don't want you to know. On the contrary, it is pretty much exactly what they want you to know. Pretty much the biggest part of music education from an individual standpoint is getting students to realize exactly this. A good chunk of an instructor's job is to give students tools so that when they practice, they can do exactly what you suggest with the "conscious practicing." It is by far the fastest way to get better. Past a certain point, it's the only way, and if you haven't figured it out by then you'll just hit a wall.

I will say that this here is the most important part:

CowOnCrack posted:

But if you think about it, the no compromise approach is the only one that makes sense. If you allow even one mistake into your muscle memory, you're just going to have to do extra work to erase it later. I never really comprehended that before, so now I'm sucker for this method.

That is so so so true, not just on a physical level, but on a mental level. I'm a big proponent of "If you can't hear it properly, you can't play it properly." If you can't hear a minor 7th interval, there's a good chance you won't play it right the first time around. That's part of why learning to play by ear is so useful. If you haven't done any yet, I recommend that you try it. Just take something, anything, and figure out how it goes, with just yourself and your instrument of choice. Even something as simple as Somewhere Over The Rainbow is great to start from, and you can get more complex from there.

I will also mention it takes most people, myself included, way too long to realize this.

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

Atomic Spud posted:

I've gotta be honest here; while everything you've posted is very true, and very useful, it's not really groundbreaking or something music teachers don't want you to know. On the contrary, it is pretty much exactly what they want you to know. Pretty much the biggest part of music education from an individual standpoint is getting students to realize exactly this. A good chunk of an instructor's job is to give students tools so that when they practice, they can do exactly what you suggest with the "conscious practicing."

But this is exactly what so many teachers do not know how to do or cannot do. So many teachers are just music critics, and give you no help with technique or practice methods. Even 'good ones.' My current applied music teacher is an insane pianist who was a child prodigy, attending Juliard at age 11. She's had many exceptional students including one recently that also wound up in Juliard. But as far as lessons go, she pretty much just listens to what I play and critiques it. She can point out every single wrong note (she has insane perfect pitch abilities) which is of course useful, except that I also know when I am playing a wrong note. I also know when stuff sounds like poo poo and is wrong, etc. but I never get any help with what the gently caress do I do to fix it. This is why I sought out a lesson from someone else, a 'second opinion' if you will. My applied teacher has floated some of these ideas my way before but never with the logic or understanding that I've needed to apply them in any meaningful way to my practice. And since I have no idea what is right, it's not like I know to tell her something's missing because I have no idea if something is or something isn't, and you tend to just trust your teacher and blame your failings on yourself. All I have is my frustration and confusion.

I never really meant to present what I learned as some trick teachers don't want you to know. I had actually never had these ideas clearly or sensibly explained to me by any teacher of mine so that they actually made sense until now. I consider that explanation and logic to be something that's rare and therefore perhaps valuable enough not to just share with everyone on the internet for the same reason I don't pirate music. This other person I had a lesson with clearly has not only had these ideas floated to her but also has worked with them, and fleshed them out herself, added to them, applied them, and can personally demonstrate their effectiveness. She also probably has experience teaching them or has very good insight from her own learning experiences to relate to the learning experiences of others. This is a very valuable quality and I would hate to diminish it. I am genuinely surprised if they are more widespread then I thought. That doesn't mean I think they are some magical trick, just that they are not really fully understood by most teachers, or these teachers don't have the ability to properly explain them to their students.

It's one thing to say, "Practice slow and don't make mistakes" as a recitation from some random pedagogical source, and quite another to explain the concept so that the student fully understands what you are saying. The problem with giving a student an order is that they can follow what you say until it breaks or doesn't give results, and then they are dead in the water which creates both frustration within them about the learning process and distrust of your merits as a teacher. Anyone can say something like this as a teacher and still not have a clear idea what it means. There are a lot of bad teachers out there and even good players who don't fully understand these concepts, or at least don't understand them well enough to explain them to others.

Jazz Marimba posted:

It really isn't something music teachers don't want to tell people because then they'll be out of a job, it's more that most people don't want to hear that they have to put *that much goddamn effort* into learning. Even most people that want to be musicians just don't have the motivation to sit down and do things at an arhythmic ~20bpm until they get it right, because all they see is the finished product and not all the work that went into it.

I can't speak for others, but for me this is the complete opposite of true. If anyone is like me, they have endless motivation and are already willing to practice 12 hours a day (I would but my health doesn't permit it - so I'm working on my health until I can). For me it's just about confidence in a method that comes from understanding it, and also having results clearly demonstrated and not being a product of long-term faith. I am not going to spend lots of time doing something if it's not working, it doesn't make sense, it isn't getting results, and it's frustrating. No one would, except maybe a young child. I think it's more a feature of adult learners that for all of their motivation, they just can't follow orders because they are adults. There needs to be a dialog, and interaction, and some kind of abstract understanding.

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

More inspiration:

Pages of Doom,



and Pages of Doom Conquered (Left to Right):

No. 1 (perf. Marc-André Hamelin): http://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...zurDZzZ4&t=3380
No. 2 (perf. Valentina Lisitsa): http://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...EpvIpe-6s&t=559
No. 3/6 (perf. Marc-André Hamelin): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVacAeAThT8
No. 4 (perf. Marc-André Hamelin): http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=P...7BxB51OTA&t=369
No. 5 (perf. Marc-André Hamelin): http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=P...7BxB51OTA&t=286

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


July was a good month for my music studies. Once Guruji returned, just as planned we started working on improvisational playing, which has been a lot of fun. Guruji had said the method and point of instruction during this time was to sort of hold my hand and slowly guide me up a path so that I feel how easy it is, rather than stumble over how difficult it seems conceptually. That rather than being some sort of musical, mystical inspiration it is always very systematic, logical and rooted in simple mathematics & lots of practice.

The manner and method of practice for this sort of playing has also shifted in some interesting ways, with the practice starting to resemble a sort of research and exploration into possible paths, combinations and patterns. Using specific techniques to emphasize certain motifs which in turn can be used to incorporate some of that repetitive, grinding element of practice which is still important.

If anyone is interested here is a sort of summary of the road map we took. I know alot of western classical music isn't improvisational, and so appeal may be limited here. But a lot of the fun of music is writing and composing, and improvising is just composing on the fly. These concepts are all just as handy for practicing composition, even when not on the fly. Before beginning, Guruji had made sure I had a firm command and memorization of the fast and slow repertoire I'd been studying before and a more intuitive understanding of the rules for the mode/raga we've been studying.

The steps we took went like this, taking place over the course of roughly 26 hours of instruction:

1) We started out improvising alap phrases. Alap is just pure melody, without any fixed rhythmic cycle or steady beat. This allowed us to just focus on combining notes in different ways, learning different aesthetic principles, cementing a more intuitive understanding for the rules of the particular mode. Early lessons on this would essentially have my Guru playing short phrases which I would have to repeat precisely, sort of like melodic simon says. While short at first, the phrases would gradually lengthen, and eventually Guruji would be intentionally playing phrases too long for me to keep all memorized before it was my turn. The point then being for me to comprehend and recognize whatever thematic motif or general melodic movement he was making, and then improvise a similar phrase. Despite being arhythmic and fairly unstructured, there was a general method of starting at the main tonic (imagine the middle C on a piano) and then start exploring the octave below it, gradually revealing one note at a time as you descend and showing the different ways you can construct progressively more interesting phrases with more notes. Once you reached the lower octave tonic, you return to the center and slowly start exploring upwards. Gradually, with all octaves in play, improvisations start to highlight parallel melodic phrases spanning the different registers. With the whole modal terrain revealed you meander back downward to the central tonic and move on to the next phase.

2) Next we moved into jor, where slowly rhythm becomes introduced to the improvisations. There is no fixed rhythmic cycle, but there is a steady beat. One of the key elements in this section was to begin the practice of counting while playing. Even though there is no rhythmic cycle framing things, phrases tend to be grouped in combinations of 4 and 8 beats. Much like alap there is a method of starting at the center, moving downwards, then returning and going upwards. Over time you play faster and faster, and within the different tempos the point is to emphasize different techniques which aesthetically match those speeds. So for instance, when playing slower, there was a lot of string bending and graceful gliding between notes. As we moved faster, you'd see techniques like hammer ons, pull offs, more sliding. At the faster tempos you start to get faster rhythmic playing from the strumming hand, string plucking on the left hand, and quick, jerky string bending. A key point in jor is to show how the melodic terrain explored in alap can now be accented and ornamented in a variety of different ways.

3) Jhala. This was faster. more rhythmically oriented playing. Indeed, in this stage the drummer accompanying is now playing a rhythmic cycle which you're to stay oriented with. A key element here is thinking of various interesting ways to break up and combine strumming multiple strings and plucking individual notes in various combinations of 16. 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 being a sort of base line, but which can quickly become dull and uninteresting when not changed up. So then you start playing with combinations like 3 + 3 + 2, 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 +4, 5 + 3 + 5 +3, 4 + 5 + 7, 3 + 5 + 4 + 4, 1 + 7 + 4 + 4, etc. Like in jor, counting is very important while playing, but now there is a pressure to count in interesting ways. These variety of different combinations become much more important in the next few stages. Aesthetically, they're also nice in that you're experimenting in different ways to create syncopation, and it appears at times like you may be losing the rhythmic cycle with stranger and stranger combinations, but then always returning back at the 1 beat on time with the drummer.

4) Improvising with compositions. This series of stages was really the meat of most of my lessons in July. The thing to keep in mind is that compositions in this style of music generally only span one whole rhythmic cycle, sometimes more than one rhythmic cycle. During this stage, my lessons would essentially consist of my Guru and I playing the composition together and then taking turns trading phrases, always joining and separating with each other at the appropriate times. Often times we'd practice with a drummer since the rhythmic cycle is so much more important. One of the key benefits of trading phrases back and forth is that my teacher would progressively introduce more and more complex ideas, which I would then have to try to implement in a different improvisation.

a) We started with the medium/fast tempo compositions. These compositions are sixteen beats, and they will typically always begin on beat 9. At this speed, subdividing the beats by two notes each gives you plenty of density in your melodies. To start improvising in this context, we would start the composition at beat 9, play through the end, and then begin the improvisation on the 1 beat (called the Sam, short a). At the beginning I was only responsible for generating 16 note phrases, or 8 beats of material. This is where the conceptual breaking up of 16 practiced in jhala started paying dividends. At first I could only play different combinations of four, but slowly I'd get the hang of it and start playing around with 3s, 5s and 7s and generating some nice melodies. A key thing to work on here is that steady counting while playing, but in the context of not losing your count as you try to generate melodies. Some of the difficulty in this is that the Raga has rules about how you can not end a phrase on certain notes, how you cannot play certain notes too many times or give them too much emphasis. So you have to start developing strategies of optimal starting, stopping and turning points along the scale. The other key aesthetic point is that your melody has to flow back into the composition smoothly on beat 9. You can't climb all the way up the register and awkwardly jump straight back. However, with only 8 beats, this wasn't so problematic.

b) After a few lessons and plenty of practice exploring different 8 beat phrases, we would double it to 16 beats, but with a twist of sorts. The first 8 beats would be improvisations just like before, but the last 8 beats/16 notes would be a Tihai. A Tihai is essentially a phrase repeated three times. However, they are composed so that the last note of the Tihai phrase is the exact same note of the composition that you're jumping back into. This can create a wonderful dramatic effect and allow for more complex possibilities of nesting tihais within tihais. At first it was simple, some combination of notes for the first 8 beats, and then the last 8 beats/16 notes would be broken up as such: 5 + rest + 5 + rest + 4. So for instance, the note on the 1 beat of the composition is an A. An appropriate 5 note tihai phrase would be something like C - D - F - G - A, so that you get on beat 9 you start with C - D - F - G - A, rest, C - D - F - G - A, rest, C - D - F - G and then right on the one beat you come slamming home on that A, flowing directly back into the composition. This creates a real nice sense of tension and release.

c) From here we would drop the tihai's and play 16 beat/32 note phrases without that sort of special threepeat ending. This puts the improviser on the hook for a longer phrasing, forcing a greater creativity and skill in composition. With longer and longer stretches of notes, it becomes more difficult to avoid monotony, and so practice becomes less about keeping a short string of notes together, but rather now combining themes and motifs together in interesting ways. SO for instance, maybe the first 8 beats/16 notes will explore some repetition among two or three notes, the next 8 beats will then be a longer run along the register. One difficulty that pops up here is that while improvising, in longer stretches it can be easier to wander too far off path. You have to return back to the compositions at specific points, and so if you wander too high or too low, you won't make it back home in time. So now the improviser is juggling the counting in his head, generating the melody, but also being mindful of position and distance along the register in ways that are not so problematic in shorter phrases.

d) After the previous stage, we switched gears into improvising within slower compositions and tempos. Essentially the density of the improvised melodies is pretty much the same including speed, but the composition itself is much slower. So that unlike medium/fast tempo where each beat was subdivided by 2 notes, in slower tempo every beat is subdivided by eight notes instead. Also, compositions start on beat 12 instead of on beat 9. In this context, we would begin the improvisations at the very end of the composition, beat 9, and come back in at the beginning on beat 12. This leaves the improviser responsible for 3 beats/24 notes. This is essentially the same thing that was going on in a faster context, but at first it seems a little difficult because you're mentally chopping up your foot tap by eight instead of two. To ease into this context, at first we would repeat the same 8 note phrase three times. Then we would repeat a phrase twice and come up with a third, before finally experimenting with three different eight note phrases and phrases which span 16 and 24 notes with groupings of 9 and 11.

e) Once I had a solid grasp of three groupings of 8 in slow tempo, we jumped back into fast medium tempo and started experimenting with groupings of 4 eights, which in the medium tempo compositions will span an entire rhythmic cycle. At first this would be accomplished by experimenting with three 8 groups as before, and then using a preagreed upon 8 note run for the last group, eventually improvising that as well. With a firm command of improvising across one rhythmic cycle, we introduced much longer tihais which now also spanned a whole rhythmic cycle, ultimately resulting in a 32 beat/64 note improvisation. The breakdown in these were some sort of improvisation in the first 16 beats similar to what we were working on at that point, and then for the last 16 beats/32 notes using an 11 note tihai phrase, so that the last note (# 33) lands appropriately back into the composition. THere were two styles of doing this, either playing all of the 11 notes ("breathless") or introducing a pause, so that you had, for instance, 9 note phrases with pauses inbetween, Those would go something like 9 notes, 3 rests, 9 notes, 3 rests, 8 notes, and then landing back in the composition.

f) From here on we worked on two things. We had all of the basic concepts in place to progressively lengthen the improvisations in interesting ways, both in slow and fast compositions, always in time with the composition. Next, since extemporaneous thinking doesn't always line up with the beat cycle, we started practicing jumping in and out of the beat cycle at different, unorthodox points instead of just the 1 beat or the 9 beat, etc. So for instance I'd play the composition to the point where I'd normally start improvising, then toss out two beats and jump in late. At heart this is just breaking up those 8's and 16's as before, but now with rests. However, its a little more difficult doing it on the fly and catching yourself so that you jump back in quickly after slipping up or thinking too slowly, as you don't want to leave dead time where the drummer is playing on without you and you're having to calculate when to jump back in.

Thats essentially all of the steps we took, and earlier today after finishing the longer formed improvisations I was told I pretty much had the basic tools for improvising and researching melodies on my own, and so we're finally moving out of the one mode I've been practicing in for the past four months. For me its all very exciting. I go back home at the end of this month, and once I'm away from the pressure of needing to practice what Guruji wants me to practice, I'm going to start experimenting with this sort of improvisation in the context of chord changes and try to start tackling jazz, which is different in some ways.

I hope that will be of use to some of you, or possibly encourage people to work on improvisation some. Don't tie yourself to the page! There is great freedom to be explored off of the written staff.

Yiggy fucked around with this message at Aug 5, 2013 around 10:26

Deathy McDeath
Apr 28, 2002

Always hungry.
Always watching.
Chowdown


Didn't see this thread before! Cool to see a little talk about classical instruments amidst all this stuff about synthesizers and boards and pedals and whatnot.

Anyway, I play classical cello and also fiddle. I've been playing cello for about three years, though I am kind of taking a break from it now to take on fiddling. I've been fiddling for a little over two months now and it's a lot more fun than cello. Although not all the skills learned from cello are transferrable (for obvious reasons), being able to pick out sounds is fairly easy, and learning how to bow properly didn't take a whole lot of time.

It's probably cliche, but the prelude to Cello suite 1 got me into cello playing, and it remains my favorite piece to this day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6yuR8efotI

Stravinsky
May 31, 2011



Anyone have some good breathing exercises? I am relearning how to play the flute after years of not touching it (around ten or so) and my lung capacity seems to have gone back to poo poo.

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

For piano players here's an excellent source of inspiration.

András Schiff, one of the best pianists alive today, lectures on all 32 Beethoven Sonatas. This was when he was performing and recording the entire cycle. Each lecture is quite long and packed with musical and historical goodness.

http://music.guardian.co.uk/classic...1943867,00.html

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


CowOnCrack posted:

... András Schiff, one of the best pianists alive today, lectures on all 32 Beethoven Sonatas. ...

I think Daniel Barenboim recorded a long master class on the same topic, should be available on DVD(s)! He's my go-to man for anything concerning Beethoven on the piano.

Yiggy posted:

... extremely interesting stuff that sounds really useful once I start digging into composition and more advanced music theory ...
Whoa! Thanks for sharing! I'll make sure to check back on this post later!

In other news I discovered, with the help of an awesome friend, that mentally transcribing violin music to viola isn't as hard as it seemed (key changes one step counter-clockwise on the circle of fifths, and you "move up" one string). So now I'm pouring over IMSLP in search for all the famous books on violin technique. I foresee annoyed room mates as a result of increased practice hours with this new vigour and motivation surging through my veins!

BRAAAAAAAINS fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2013 around 21:16

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Would you guys be interested in me compiling a list of the instruments everyone here in the thread plays and placing it in the OP? It just struck me that it might be cool to have something akin to the list of the FabGoon thread in E/N here, so people can get in touch with other's who play the same (type) of instruments? Just a thought! Let me know what you think

BRAAAAAAAINS fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2013 around 21:37

Stravinsky
May 31, 2011



This thread really doesn't move fast enough that it really requires a list. But it might be cool later on if this gets bigger, then I will know who to bug when I get my hands on a violin again.

In other news, I have found an obtuse way of doing breathing excerises. I have started to swim again and doing what I did when I used to do it competitively. It really has been helping me get back to controlled breathing patterns and rebuilding lung capacity or what ever you would call it.

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Stravinsky posted:

This thread really doesn't move fast enough that it really requires a list. But it might be cool later on if this gets bigger ...

That was essentially my thought too, then I remembered that I'm a pretty lazy person who likes to stay on top of things before they become massive endeavours.

More thoughts on this contact list business?



My daily practice now consists of

* ~1 hour scales
* ~15 minutes arpeggios
* 1~3 hours targeted practice of my pieces

I'm thinking of adding some fifteen minutes or so dedicated to vibrato, but still undecided.

How much time do you guys spend daily on practice? How do you distribute it?

BRAAAAAAAINS fucked around with this message at Aug 9, 2013 around 16:05

Deep 6
Nov 26, 2004


I was just thinking of posting here about my developing practice habits.

Largely (though not entirely) due to this thread, I've started organizing and timing the sections of my practice sessions. The idea of doing an hour plus on scales alone every day is almost crazy to me, but it's interesting: maybe I'll try my own long scale session soon.

Anyway, structuring my practices and using a timer for everything has been fantastic so far. I've been doing it for maybe three weeks and I feel a definite improvement every time I play (which becomes very tangible when you successfully bump up the metronome speed on an exercise or scale practice).

First I warm up with some improv or whatever I feel like playing. Then:

- I start with 10 minutes of Cossman exercises (4 notes to a bow, starting in 4th position, doing 4 times each of finger patterns 1434 1424 1323 1234 4321, then extending the first finger back, doing the same patterns, shifting the hand downward to close the position, and repeat). This really helps my finger dexterity and gives me an opportunity to analyze and adjust my left-hand finger technique in terms of hand angle and pressure on the string. I try to bump this up a few BPMs every practice if I play it right.

- Next I do 10 minutes of string crossing exercises on open strings. Right now I'm working on using smaller muscles in the right hand and wrist fluidly for string crossings. This also is a great time to pay attention to my bow hold, see how loose I can get it, see how my thumb joints effect things, etc.

- 10 minutes practice on a short piece

- 10 minutes practicing scales and arpeggios

- 10 minutes practice on another short piece

- 10 minutes trill drills, starting with a few repetitions with one turn, fingerings 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4, 4-3, 4-2, 4-1, 3-2, 3-1, 2-1, then doing two turns, then three, then four. Really helps finger lightness and has been really really great for strengthening my little finger and allowing it to be more loose and effortless.

- 30 minutes on a longer piece.

So that's approximately an hour and a half as planned, but I usually go over time on several of these and end up spending about two hours. That's a huge chunk of my day as an amateur with other responsibilities and things to do; the 4- to 8-hour practice sessions I hear about from professionals are pretty intimidating, not to mention of course that I don't know where I'd find the time. But I hope to be able to someday. 2 hours is probably about appropriate for my skill level right now, though, and again, it makes me feel great. Using the set times makes it pretty intensive and focused training where I used to just be sporadic and mostly work on etudes and small pieces. I would wholeheartedly recommend a routine like this to any string players at a similar level as myself (approx. grade 4 by most gradation methods that I know of).

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Deep 6 posted:

... Using the set times makes it pretty intensive and focused training where I used to just be sporadic and mostly work on etudes and small pieces. ...

I think it's vitally important to have some sort of routine like that for finding out what you need to target in your practice so you don't end up just playing the things that you already got down. I think the single largest leap of practice efficiency I ever did was starting to keep my practice journal as I described earlier. Just getting into the routine of always reflecting over what I need to improve and have the most trouble with and then making sure to attack that during my next practice session, improved my practice efficiency and the rate at which I improve by a ton.

It's essentially what has been iterated here before; focus on where your problems are. Something that sounds very obvious and trivial, yet is somewhat difficult to actually implement. It's ridiculous how easy it is to fall into the habit of just playing through your material from the top, where you end up practising it all evenly and thus end up having to spend way more time in the practice room than if you had managed to identify the problems you actually need to deal with in there beforehand.

And to answer the question you asked before (that I completely missed somehow) - I play the viola.

Deep 6 posted:

... The idea of doing an hour plus on scales alone every day is almost crazy to me, but it's interesting: maybe I'll try my own long scale session soon. ...

But scales (and arpeggios) are excellent for working on technique, new bowings, rhythms that are giving you trouble, etc! It's also the best part of your practice routine to really work on your intonation.

On that note; Today in the practice room: 5th position A string intonation for my 3 octave C major scale, shifting is by far the most intimidating challenge I've taken on thus far.

BRAAAAAAAINS fucked around with this message at Aug 12, 2013 around 11:11

Fuoco
Jan 3, 2009


I've been reading about orchestration, and have a very basic question on string instruments.

Is it assumed that the strings should play vibrato unless the following?
-It's otherwise specified e.g. non vibrato
-It's an inconvenient note (duration is too small)
-The mood implies that vibrato is not needed.

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Fuoco posted:

Is it assumed that the strings should play vibrato unless the following?

list of stuff

It depends on the style of music too, baroque music generally calls for less vibrato than music from the romantic era. I think one can say that the string section will use vibrato if they deem it would fit that particular passage. Other than that I guess it's decided between the conductor and the concert master.

Fuoco
Jan 3, 2009


BRAAAAAAAINS posted:

It depends on the style of music too, baroque music generally calls for less vibrato than music from the romantic era. I think one can say that the string section will use vibrato if they deem it would fit that particular passage. Other than that I guess it's decided between the conductor and the concert master.

Thanks. So it's essentially down to the performer's interpretation then I guess, but conventionally for a phrase that doesn't meet the criteria mentioned above, they'd likely use it.

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Fuoco posted:

Thanks. So it's essentially down to the performer's interpretation then I guess, but conventionally for a phrase that doesn't meet the criteria mentioned above, they'd likely use it.

That sounds pretty accurate, yes.

More scales today. The hours I've been putting into them has paid off nicely, I feel much more secure with my shifting now than I did before. 5th position is still a bit scary, and I still have some trouble getting the intonation right every time. I'm also going to start having a look at Ševčík's op. 2 studies for the bow. Anyone else have experience with his studies?

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


Stumbled upon this blog post regarding stretching exercises to combat that evil carpal tunnel and tendonitis: http://bps.musespeak.com/2013/03/ar...-musicians.html

Bubbacub
Apr 17, 2001



Deathy McDeath posted:

Didn't see this thread before! Cool to see a little talk about classical instruments amidst all this stuff about synthesizers and boards and pedals and whatnot.

Anyway, I play classical cello and also fiddle. I've been playing cello for about three years, though I am kind of taking a break from it now to take on fiddling. I've been fiddling for a little over two months now and it's a lot more fun than cello. Although not all the skills learned from cello are transferrable (for obvious reasons), being able to pick out sounds is fairly easy, and learning how to bow properly didn't take a whole lot of time.

It's probably cliche, but the prelude to Cello suite 1 got me into cello playing, and it remains my favorite piece to this day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6yuR8efotI

Have you tried playing nonclassical music on cello? A couple of my friends studied classical cello at Julliard, but now mostly play celtic or original music. Being able to apply classical technique to what they're doing is really amazing to hear.

TheBandOffice
Nov 4, 2009


Mmmmm a classical music thread. Never thought I'd see one of these here. I'm a Music student (Ed, but Ed here is performance + ed classes), and I play the Euphonium, and therefore will never get a career outside of education .

On practice-chat, one of the things my current instructor has taught me is to have some sort of consistent poo poo everyday. He breaks it down 20/20/20 Sound/Articulation/The Fs (Freedom/Slurs). Within that he has us do ~12 minutes of poo poo that is easy, but allows us to get a good sound flowing. ~6 minutes of stuff we have to work for, and then 2 minutes of HOLY poo poo WHAT IS THIS GOD I CAN'T PLAY THIS EVER, just to keep us working towards our goal. Honestly has probably helped me improve the most over any of the other things I've tried.

And now for a piece that honestly should be played all day everyday: Trombone Concertino - Ferdinand David Jan Smets

CowOnCrack
Sep 26, 2004

Cocaine bitches.

Oh man, this is totally the first piano concerto I'm going to study:

TheBandOffice posted:

The video is showing up as removed for me. But I'm going to hazard a guess and say No. 2 or 5? Both of which are beautiful.

The original was removed. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Well here's Hamelin's version which is of course also amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGfoyEXZV3A

The other one was even better though. Way better.

Sad face.

CowOnCrack fucked around with this message at Aug 31, 2013 around 01:02

BRAAAAAAAINS
Oct 14, 2010

They so tasty..


TheBandOffice posted:

Mmmmm a classical music thread. Never thought I'd see one of these here. I'm a Music student (Ed, but Ed here is performance + ed classes), and I play the Euphonium, and therefore will never get a career outside of education .

Welcome to the thread, and nice to get some more brass here for vairety!

Ugggh, no practice this week, so busy with moving! I'm going crazy!

CowOnCrack posted:

Oh man, this is totally the first piano concerto I'm going to study:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWniulQKw68

The soloist...the orchestra. No words. Inspiration for life!

Hnnh, saint saens was pretty boss

BRAAAAAAAINS fucked around with this message at Aug 30, 2013 around 16:09

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TheBandOffice
Nov 4, 2009


CowOnCrack posted:

Oh man, this is totally the first piano concerto I'm going to study:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWniulQKw68

The soloist...the orchestra. No words. Inspiration for life!

The video is showing up as removed for me. But I'm going to hazard a guess and say No. 2 or 5? Both of which are beautiful.

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