76 votes
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It is ok to correct wrong notes when playing piano?

My teacher instructed me to think of two different approaches to practice: "Stop" -- where you are trying to learn the piece, work out the fingering (or other technical aspects) etc. You're not too ...
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  • 17.6k
39 votes

I have been practicing a song for 3 hours straight but I keep making mistakes. How can I get it right?

Three hours at one session! Unless you're the sort of person who can concentrate really well for that length of time, you've wasted at least some of it. Harsh, but realistic. Most of us cannot give ...
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  • 176k
37 votes

How is this B flat guitar chord physically possible?

Not everybody can do this but the trick is your finger forms a 2nd, partial barre at the 3rd fret, but bends so it raises above the highest string. Some people play A like this as standard however I ...
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  • 9,696
37 votes
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How is this B flat guitar chord physically possible?

I use this kind of "A-shape" barre chord all the time, although I must admit I rarely teach it to students. I actually find it easier than using fingers 2, 3 and 4 to play the three fret 3 notes. All ...
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34 votes
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Why play a fretted note while you can play it on an open string?

Two big factors affect the decision to play open versus fretted: Sound: Open notes sound brighter and tend to sustain longer. They are great to use for pedal tones for this reason. But that means ...
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34 votes
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Piano scales: Why bother with hands together?

There are a few reasons that I found these technical drills helpful as a piano player: They help practice playing the hands together clearly and cleanly. Young piano players often play both hands "...
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  • 79.3k
34 votes

Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

Even if one can ever be too old to learn an instrument (I don't think so), then this is definitely not the case already at 22. You may not be able to make as fast progress as if you had learned it at ...
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32 votes
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Can one be too old to learn an instrument?

Certainly children learn more quickly than adults, particularly when it comes to languages, and to skills. (That is, "proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through ...
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  • 436
31 votes
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Is "You shouldn't play all 6 strings together on an electric guitar" good teaching?

The direct answer: No, this is not good teaching There is very little difference between electric and acoustic guitar. Playing all 6 strings can be absolutely fine on either. Many barre chords are 6 ...
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31 votes
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Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

Aha, I've found the answer: Asynchrony! Asynchrony is a general term which is used to describe playing notes in a separated or not-quite-together fashion where they are written as if they should ...
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30 votes
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Is maximum speed a thing?

Almost for sure, the problem is that as you approach upper limits, you exert yourself more. When you're playing fast, your muscles have to relax INSTANTLY (like, already relaxing while you're pushing ...
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  • 3,893
28 votes

Is this video game piece physically playable?

There's nothing impossible in the notation; sure, it's fast, and there's an unhealthy obsession with semiquavers, but I'm pretty sure that it could be played. Could I play it? No. But that's because ...
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  • 9,509
28 votes

Why do many classical guitarists move the fingers for vibrato like a violin?

The length of the string is truly not changing, but there are other things that affect the frequency of the string vibrations. One is the density of the material (obviously this is not what vibrato ...
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  • 4,920
27 votes

How to unlearn incorrect muscle memory

You may be interested in checking out some of the pedagogy of Arnold Jacobs, the long-time tuba player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I know this seems unrelated to your question, but he discussed ...
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  • 79.3k
26 votes
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Standing up acoustic guitar playing position for women

I'm going to post the dissenting answer here in that I feel like you don't want to look for a different kind of guitar or a perfect strap height. Most of my time in bands has been with at least one ...
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  • 51.6k
26 votes

Are there pieces that require retuning an instrument mid-performance?

Lots of classical music require retuning of timpani (or purchasing a larger drum set). Von Biber's Rosary Sonatas require retuning a violin between each section.
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25 votes
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Do orchestral string instruments need a pause before con sordino?

For what it's worth, here's what Berlioz has to say in his Treatise on Instrumentation: The composer, when indicating the use of mutes in the middle of a piece (by the words con sordini), must not ...
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23 votes

Why do some pianists occasionally play their hands at different times?

A form of rubato. More specifically 'playing behind the beat'. Jazz pianist Errol Gardner did something rather similar when he '...developed a signature style that involved his right hand playing ...
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23 votes

Are there pieces that require retuning an instrument mid-performance?

In "The Rite of Spring" Stravinsky requires the celli to detune their A-strings to G-sharp for the final chord of the piece (and asks them to play a four-note chord "non arpeggiato"...
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21 votes
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Does the manner in which you release a tone on the piano affect its sound?

There's a little bit of key noise and the rate of damper drop and any resulting damper noises are affected by release. At the highest levels of performance and tone, these noises are important even if ...
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  • 51.6k
19 votes
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Is it normal for frequent guitar playing to be accompanied by wrist pain?

Wrist pain may be "normal" in the sense that many players encounter it at some point. But it is not "normal' in the sense that you should ignore it. I have seen injuries take down some very talented ...
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  • 3,707
18 votes
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What is the difference between a "triplet" and a "trill"

No the difference is not subtle, but rather basic: a triplet is a note length modification, so e.g. three notated eights use just the time for two standard eights. (Triplets and other tuplets exist ...
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  • 10.1k
18 votes
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What is the best way to play a chord larger than your hand?

Summary The following general principles/techniques for handling large chords are given below: Flatten the hand Shift the hand away from the body, toward the fall board Play multiple notes with one ...
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  • 58.9k
17 votes

What is the definition of 'playing in the pocket'?

You're on the right track. It's actually a combination of some of the elements that you've mentioned. If the band is not playing together, then they won't be "in the pocket", this much is clear. It ...
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  • 2,314
17 votes

How do I become better at "playing outside"?

The pentatonic scale is a great vehicle for moving outside. It has a very clear structure and sound which the listener is familiar with. Due to its simplicity and familiarity, you can get away with ...
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  • 19.6k
17 votes
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When composing for oboe, how useful is it to think about recorder fingerings?

NO, writing a tenor-recorder part for an oboist would be about as helpful as me giving you a sandwich to breath underwater. Each instrument responds very differently throughout their range, and while ...
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  • 25.2k
17 votes
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What is the definition of Mid-side stereo as compared with X-Y stereo?

Both XY and Mid-Side recording use two mono signals to create a stereo image, but they do this is totally different ways. XY is probably the more common method. It requires two matching microphones. ...
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