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I'm playing piano and I have problem going through pieces quickly, I keep pressing wrong keys and it takes me a lot of concentration and practice to get the piece sounding like it should and even after that I still press wrong keys.

I heard studying scales, arpeggios etc and recognising keys and chords immediately would improve my performance but when it comes to theoretical music I'm quite lost and I really don't know what I'm talking about.

What would you suggest? What should I study, or how should I study? Is there any compositions or simply just exercises that can teach me finger independence, different tones, increase the quality of my performance etc. ??

Thank you to everyone who answers, every single one is appreciated. :)

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Most answers will probably contain the phrase 'Find a good teacher'... –  Tim Apr 12 at 12:35
    
@Tim I can not afford one at the moment. If I could get one believe me I would. :) –  100MetersMore Apr 12 at 12:47

4 Answers 4

I disagree with this answer almost 100%. I think it is more of a must to "plunge into 'real' music headfirst." If you aren't playing something you enjoy, you aren't enjoying the piano.

Scales are always good, and very much recommended. They are not what improve your technique the most, though. There are many ways to improve your piano technique, but my favorite are the "Russian" schooling methods.

  • Staccato practice: Play a difficult passage with only staccato. This improves evenness, memorization, and accuracy.
  • Rhythm practice: In a passage with even notes, you can use this technique to improve evenness. You play one note, then play the next as a grace not to the third, then the fourth as a grace note to the fifth. So, this: "bum bum bum bum bum" turns into this "bum bu-bum bu-bum"
  • Anti-Rhythm practice: Do Rhythm practice, but reversed. "bum bum bum bum bum" turns into "bu-bum bu-bum bum".
  • 3 at a time: This is how it sounds. "Bum bum bum bum bum bum" to "bu-bu-bum bu-bu-bum".

Remember though, too much of any single kind of practice is bad for you. Always resort to slow practice, and think before you press a note.

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I think there's less difference in our approach than it may seem. I totally agree that one should enjoy the music -- but really sometimes you can't just start off with Bach. There is plenty of nice things that can be enjoyable among the etudes and the like. +1 for the ''Russian'' school. –  Ivan Kapitonov Jun 9 at 19:08

It sounds as if you're trying to plunge into ``real'' music headfirst. You might want to begin with easier pieces instead, designed for beginners to practice. There is plenty of free sheet music for entry level on the web.

I myself find Carl Czerny's practical method really helpful in the sense that it is both manageable and challenging for a beginner.

Ans yes, certainly scales are a must -- try starting with two things:

  1. Play the C major scale, then construct the major scale starting from the C major's 5th degree (the dominant), which would be G, and proceed this way through all 12 major scales. Do so with minor scales too.
  2. Play the H major scale with each hand in turn, then with both hands. Run three octaves there and back.

If a teacher is not an option for you now, why not take a web-class? You may find something useful for you in Developing Your Musicianship on Coursera, or if it's too basic try to find a more advanced one.

Update: discussion in How can I significantly improve my hand independence on piano? should be helpful too.

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Thank you, I've had teachers before but it's been long since I played anything serious so I need to start from the scratch. Also my first language is not English, so the terminology is new to me too, since this time I want to learn the international terms. –  100MetersMore Apr 13 at 8:00
    
I hadn't heard of H major before – are you using the Central European convention of referring to B as H? –  Bradd Szonye May 8 at 21:32
    
@BraddSzonye No-no, H would be half a tone sharper than B. If you wish, in solfège H is Ti. –  Ivan Kapitonov May 11 at 13:52
    
OK, thanks! That's what I meant, by the way: What you call H would be B here, and what you call B would be B-flat. –  Bradd Szonye May 11 at 18:34
    
Oh, thank you too )) And `here' would be Western Europe and USA? –  Ivan Kapitonov May 11 at 22:10

The magic phrase you're looking for is method books. Method books are basically workbooks for learning an instrument. They consists of pieces (sheet music) which are progressive in difficulty, accompanied by explanation of each new musical notation or figure as it is introduced. There are method books -- they usually are in a graded series -- which start at the absolute beginning ("This is a G clef"). You start at the beginning, and learn each piece in turn (or maybe several together if they are of a similar difficulty), and over time work your way to the end, at which point you will have learned a whole bunch of things. A good method book is really a compilation of good exercises, in progressive order.

I'm not in any position to recommend specific method books; perhaps someone with teaching experience can do so.

P.S. You might be able to find method books in your native language, depending on what it is, that still use the international terminology. Which I am amused to see called English. As a young native English speaker, I thought learning to speak music was learning Italian.

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I think what you need is a ability to self-regulation. I play guitar, piano and violin. I have 2 tips that may help you:

  1. Listen first

    in my experience if you are learning a music, you should listen to it first(as much as you can), keep the melody and every details in your mind, so every time when you are practicing you always have a contradistinction to what you are playing, just like a music teacher sitting beside your to correct your mistakes.

  2. Familiar with chords

    There are many people who read music as fast as a computer, it's not genetic. You can do that by training. For example, when musicians reading 2-lines piano music sheet, they are not reading notes one by one, they can tell the structure of music Immediately. How? You need practice to play and READ chords, masters they can tell which chords it is just by looking at the "Shapes" of that chords.

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