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Thread: I have very limited but existent ability to play piano and read music, but...

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    Default I have limited but existent ability to play piano and read music, but...

    those two abilities are quite limited to say the least. That's probably the hardest song I can play. I took music theory two years ago, so I can kind of read music, but I can by no means sight read.

    If I started practicing at least an hour everyday (ideally for two or three hours), how long would it take to play classical piano proficiently? To sight read? Rough estimations of course.

    And I'm 20 if age has any relevance. I have a little natural talent in music as I was commonly in the first eight or so chairs out of about fifty trumpet players in junior high (with minimal practice). I quit trumpet after one year, but I've played (non-classical) guitar for three years now.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by username; Nov-30-2011 at 18:09.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    In my limited experience, having succeeded in learning my first complicated pieces when I was 17 with the Bach inventions, it can be very constraining to wonder about practicing for an hour per day for the next such and such period of time. Its very hard to know how long, but I can promise that if you don't give up and keep at it from time to time(as often as it is comfortable for you), you will make it. Perhaps take it piece by piece. At times you can play the hour long practice game and it can help, but not all the time.

    What pieces would you like to learn? That's one of the things that will help you start. Music theory is good, it will help you decipher what's going on and you'll learn faster. Improvising can be fun and stimulating too, good for general musical growth.

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell (and he's a journalist, not an academic, but not to be rejected out of hand) "repeatedly mentions the "10,000-Hour Rule", claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours." (Wikipedia)

    That's three hours a day for ten years to play the piano proficiently. If you're 20 now, I'd say: go for it!

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    What about sight-reading specifically? I think the ability to sight-read implies a minimum skill level. How long, very roughly, until I could sight-read intermediate pieces (e.g. Moonlight Sonata)?

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    Senior Member TrazomGangflow's Avatar
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    It may be boring in the beginning because sight reading is difficult but the more pieces that you play and learn by sight reading the better you'll get. You'll also get a natural ability to sight read and improvise while improvong your ear. I'm not sure how long it will take you to become proficient. It is different for every person. Perhaps you'll be more talented than you thought and it will come quicker than you thought. Like clavichorder said, having a set amount of time every day doesn't always mean you'll accomplish the same amount of learning. Sometimes you may have to push yourself to practice but on those days when you really feel like you are abosrbing a lot, keep practicing... until it hurts! (ok maybe that's going a little far)
    Another day, another Dinar

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    I guess what I really want to know is how hard playing this is. Is that manageable after just a few months of practice, or will that likely take a few years? (I of course don't mean the ability to play it really well; just accurately).

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Polyphonic playing is extremely difficult and probably often underestimated by non-keyboardists. For this type of music, you either play it very well, or not good at all. "accurately" is not a concept that comes into play here. The thing to be achieved in these works is to have as big of an independence of each voice, which is difficult when you have to play mulitple voices in one hand.

    Playing the notes in these works is probably not so hard. But playing this piece is.

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    Senior Member LordBlackudder's Avatar
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    If others can do it you can.

    Most of the teaching methods seem to be irrelevant and convoluted. I don't see why playing a piano should be a thing only a few can do.

    If you stick to it you can sight read and play well.

    Also remember some of these really hard pieces they actually have to practice a lot before pressing record on the camera.

    So even after years of playing most still cant sight read complex music right off. This is normal.

    I noticed most people that get good quickly usually just keep trying harder and harder music. They do very little theory.

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by username View Post
    I guess what I really want to know is how hard playing this is. Is that manageable after just a few months of practice, or will that likely take a few years? (I of course don't mean the ability to play it really well; just accurately).
    after playing some Bach inventions, i went to play the contrapunctus 1 of the art of fugue. As Rasa says, it's not that hard to play the notes (although there is some awkward positions, and you need an extreme independence in your fingers). the problem is getting the independent voices to sound distinguishable of each other, and that's pretty hard in a 4 voices fugue. so, yes, is hard and can be underestimated. try to start with the first invention (2 voices, although is somewhat fast, but you could play it slowly)



    this was the first Bach contrapuntal piece that i played. then some others, and then the art of fugue. now i'm playing this gigue (actually a double fugue, 3 voices):

    (starts at 5:50)



    regards.

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    Senior Member Klavierspieler's Avatar
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    To learn to sightread:

    1. Find something fairly easy.
    2. Sit down at the piano.
    3. Set your metronome to the fastest speed you can play the piece while only making two mistakes max per page (look at the fastest notes in the piece to decide how fast that is).
    4. Practice for fifteen minutes a day.
    5. If you make more than two mistakes per page go back to the beginning and drop the metronome speed a couple notches.

    At first the speed will be ridiculously slow, but this is actually the quickest way to improve.

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