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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
to learn a piano piece by grade?
For example, should one spend 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, ... on a grade 3-4 piece?
I understand how ability affects learning but I am not referring to those at either end of the learning curve and I am also excluding pieces with an extreme number of accidentals.
 

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First and foremost, if you're having lessons follow your teacher's advice. If the advice doesn't ring true to you, discuss it with him or her. If that doesn't help, change your teacher.

If you're not having lessons, I do have some suggestions. I've played the piano for 60 years, had lessons all through school and have lately gone back to lessons as a retirement project to do some serious work again and see where it takes me. Based on my experience(s) over that period, I'd recommend practising for no more than 45 minutes at any one time, but doing so each and every day - definitely NOT at weekly intervals only! - for a total of about 2 hours a day if you can. You may well need to do more than that if you're seriously talented and have designs on a place at music college, but in that event you definitely need a teacher.
 

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I'd like to give you an important advice: master ALL major and minor scales BEFORE anything else. Accidentals should be no problem at all! And learn basic theory. If you study the right way, singing the notes as you study with the movable do system and understanding the chord progression, it will take a much shorter amount of time to learn a piece, and it will sound much better. In general, I think one page of the score per week is a good progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice. I have all the major scales memorized and 1/2 of the minor scales and play them as my warm up. I am glad to know that I may be on the right track.
I sing (very quietly) at church due to not being able to sing worth a flip but I will try your recommendation about singing the notes as I study (I'll make sure the door to the music room is closed when I do!)
"I think one page of the score per week is a good progress."
I currently can usually learn/memorize 3 - 4 measures per practice session whereas previously I was luck if I could retain 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your reply. I usually practice for 1+ hours per day. I am not seriously talented (nor even moderately or faintly), far past returning to college and have never had a piano lesson.
But I keep trying!
 

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I'm still learning piano, but I find that the biggest obstacle to rapid learning is your sight-reading capability. Often that is the bottleneck rather than technique. I find that it's important to sightread a piece all the way through before I start working on it, even if that's slow and very difficult. After than I recommend breaking the piece down into sections and using a metronome and/or counting. It totally depends on your skill and the difficulty of the piece, but those two methods help me learn stuff rapidly and get it in good shape. But if you have never had a piano lesson, you definitely should. Becoming a competent player without a teacher is not really possible. If you can't get a teacher, just find a musician that you can play for so you can get feedback. There is so much about voicing, articulation, etc that you just won't intuitively think about on your own.
 

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I'm still learning piano, but I find that the biggest obstacle to rapid learning is your sight-reading capability. Often that is the bottleneck rather than technique. I find that it's important to sightread a piece all the way through before I start working on it, even if that's slow and very difficult. After than I recommend breaking the piece down into sections and using a metronome and/or counting. It totally depends on your skill and the difficulty of the piece, but those two methods help me learn stuff rapidly and get it in good shape. But if you have never had a piano lesson, you definitely should. Becoming a competent player without a teacher is not really possible. If you can't get a teacher, just find a musician that you can play for so you can get feedback. There is so much about voicing, articulation, etc that you just won't intuitively think about on your own.
This is excellent advice. Pretty much every word. I have a degree in music and have played the piano since I was about 8 years old (I'm 50 now). I had three teachers before settling and staying with my last one that I had until college. I learned a VERY bad habit from the first three and was too young to heed the advice of my fourth and final (and by far the best) teacher. The worst habit I had and foolishly never corrected when I had the chance with him was sight reading.

To this day there are pianists who are YEARS from my level of playing who could sight read 50 times better than me. I can have a first year or two students piano book piece in front of me and could not play it seamlessly through at first shot. It would take multiple run throughs before I could get it down. All because I refused to RE LEARN how to sight read because I didn't want to play simplistic pieces again. I was "above" that. Well, now is the time and I'm FINALLY starting to re learn properly how to sight read.

This is why Ice Cream's advice is key. Find a teacher and a damn good one and TAKE lessons. There are things that are almost impossible to learn on your own if you ever want to get to a certain level of proficiency and there are things that are actually impossible to intuit when it comes to technique. But learn the PROPER way to sight read (which in a nutshell is when you NEVER have to look down at the keyboard for finger placement before playing a note(s)). I have played Rachmaninoff preludes, Shubert Impromptus, Chopin Polonaises, Grieg & Beethoven's 1st Piano Concertos amongst many other pieces. The hardest part of any piece I play is struggling through the first 10 or so run-through's of the piece because of my lousy sight reading abilities. Take Ice Cream's advice to heart. It's good stuff. Good luck.

V
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All of y'all are correct, I know that I need to take a few lessons knowing that I would advance more rapidly than I am. I'll post here when I start them.
 
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