Tag: MusicAppreciation

How to memorise a piece effectively

I get a lot of enquiries about playing by memory. Here are a few useful tips:

1. Mark out the sections and phrases
It’s important to know where a section / a phrase starts and ends – this practice is not only important for memorisation but also in practice and knowing the music more deeply and securely

2. Repeat in small doses
It’s a very useful tool to memorise a piece in small doses first especially if you are new to the practice. Start with one phrase and then two, gradually working up to a whole section. Then work on two sections and more eventually leading up to the whole movement/piece.

For example:
Repeat each phrase 5-10 times. Then two phrases 5-10 times. Then three phrases 5-10 times and so on.

3. Memorise from different parts of a piece
It’s also great to try starting in the middle of a piece – a lot of times when performers have a slip of memory it’s never at the beginning of a piece or not even the beginning of a section/phrase. I encourage my students to start playing /memorising in the middle of the music to see if they can start and continue from there – I call them “safety stops”. It’s like taking a train: it starts and ends at big terminals, but it also travels through and pauses by many small stations / stops in between the whole journey to pick up and drop off passengers. So throughout the whole music journey (the music piece you are playing and memorising), you also need some musical stops to know where you are at currently. It helps you keep track of where you have been, where you are at, and where you are going, until the end.

For me I even memorised from the end back to the beginning just to test my memory of the piece. Most important of all, try to be creative about your memorisation process and think/practice outside of the box – remember, there is no one way to do it right for you, and often, those “weird” ways of doing one thing are THE ways to get you closer and faster towards your goal!

Until next time,

Teresa Wong

Please don’t “play” the piano

I am going to be as candid as I can ever be in this post, and from now onwards.

It’s not that I wasn’t being truthful or honest before. I was trying to be “kind” and “nice”.

There’s nothing wrong with being kind and nice, but when I was being “too kind” and “too nice”, I found out students become lazy and started to rely on me, meaning they always looked at me for directions, instead of thinking for themselves how to do it.

Playing the piano and perfecting the skills required needs a lot of brainwork, and to that I mean A LOT.

It’s not for those who don’t like thinking and analysing to the deepest.

It is also not for someone who don’t want to move their bodies.

What does that mean? There has ben a stereotype that playing the piano is to “tame” the kids’ temper, like it’s some sort of circus moves. Actually, it sounds more like the teacher is the animal trainer and the students being… you know.
Only I hope your teacher doesn’t have a wipe to hold on to..

First, let me tell you what playing the piano is not:
It’s NOT just for GIRLS
It’s NOT to train boys to sit still
It’s NOT for ANYONE to sit still and NOT move their bodies
It’s NOT just a finger movement

Now, let me tell you what playing the piano is about:
IT IS an activity that requires MIND, BODY, EMOTION , and SPIRIT. (Yes, it is that kind of activity.)
It is an ACTIVE activity, like a SPORT.
It requires BRAIN WORK. – LOTS OF IT.
It requires BODY COORDINATION – hands, feet, eye, torso (upper and lower, even when you are sitting) and oh yeah, brain again, you guess it.
It requires FEELING – yes it does, because it’s ART, an EXPRESSION of EMOTION – otherwise go do maths or play video games. I can’t imagine anyone filling in forms and studying tests with PASSION, that would be weird.
It requires not only feeling for music, but also feeling for your own body, that’s the ultimate way to transform your technique forever. So it requires the player to be in touch with themselves.
It takes FOCUS, DEDICATION, DISCIPLINE, HARD WORK, RESILIENCE, STRUCTURE, SKILLS, TIME, and PATIENCE. – I think there’s more I am missing…oh maybe, PASSION?
It requires FAST RESPONSE. REALLY FAST.
It requires A LOT OF THINKING -it needs a lot of rationalization and analysis, and is therefore NOT for anyone who prefers spoon fed everything.
It is NOT cost effective.
It requires PRACTICE, ON YOUR OWN.
It requires REFLECTION, ON YOUR OWN.
IT REQUIRES THINKING, ON YOUR OWN.

So I hope I have told you what it takes to be really great at the piano. Of course, if you just want to do whatever, keep telling yourself “it’s too hard”, “I don’t have time (for lessons and/practice)”, and “the teacher should tell me everything I need to know!”

Anything great in life requires hard work, resilience, time and patience, and A LOT OF THINKING.

Next post, I would write about “teachers” who think they are teaching, but they are really not!

Piano Technique Transformation, 鋼琴技巧改造

PIANO TECHNIQUE TRANSFORMATION COURSE

This is going to be the BEST course I am going to teach, and you are going to take, ever (well until the next best one for sure :D).

I will “warn” anyone before signing up for this course, that you will get amazing result after completing it. BUT, there is a catch: 

You must be COMMITTED to doing all the work and all the thinking while maintaining willpower during the whole course, RIGHT FROM THE START (Actually, BEFORE you start).

You must be DEDICATED TO YOURSELF when you take this course. You take it because you truly want to transform your piano playing (and subsequently your teaching too if you are a piano teacher) forever completely for the better. 

I can even promise you on that one.

But only if you really make it happen for yourself. I can’t do it for you. 

I will however do everything to help you achieve your goal. 

So think seriously about it before you sign up, because it is going to take hard work, I don’t mean all the heavy lifting and muscle strain (quite the opposite: you are going to feel LIGHT and EFFORTLESS and EASY), I mean tough mental work, and keep your cool and keep working through the whole process.

If you are that kind of student, then I am the kind of teacher you have been looking for. 

See you soon!

TW

* * *

Course duration: 10 weeks

Course module: group or individual program

This is a ten-week course: it is the same for individual course (schedule arranged accordingly to meet individual candidate’s need). It focuses primarily on transforming candidate’s existing piano technique, therefore it is NOT a diploma exam preparation program. If you are interested in diploma exam prep course, please contact us for further information.

We also now have a mini-course on piano technique training. And you can learn more about it here

Amazon paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Technique-Transformation-Exercise-Book-Teresa/dp/9887708313

Kindle ebook:

http://www.amazon.com/Technique-Transformation-Exercise-Book-Teresa-ebook/dp/B01EWKUI14

[:en]New Year, New Hope[:zh]新的一年,新的開始[:]

[:en]

Dear Everyone,

I trust you all had a great holiday and a fresh start to this beautiful new year of 2017.

As this new year begins, so do us – me and my teachers at TWSOM – get back to work.

This year we will kickstart with our annual student concert (January), followed by our re-run of our regular intensive courses, some new fun programs, as well as exciting one-off workshops!

So here, I would like to announce that we will re-run our Piano Teacher Training Course (Level I) in February, and the deadline of the early bird special discount is January 15, 2017.

Our upcoming workshops will include topics such as songwriting and piano technique. They will give you some more insights into how the real courses work.

At TWSOM, we always want to provide music lovers – new or seasoned – with fun, creative, and systematic music programs, so that students not only have fun but also truly learn to master the instrument and gain real and lasting musical knowledge they can enjoy forever.

I wish you all a great start to the new year, and hope to connect more music lovers, students and parents, teachers and fellow musicians locally and all over the world!

With gratitude,

TW

[:zh]

親愛的大家,

相信你們都過了一個很愉快的假期。希望大家新的一年都有一個新的開始。

今年,一如以往,我們先以一年一度的學生音樂會作新一年的開始。另外,我們有很有趣的新課程。另外我們會舉辦一些工作坊,希望讓大家更了解我們的音樂課程。

我們亦會再次舉辦鋼琴導師訓練課程(Level I)。此課程會在二月開始,而早鳥優惠截止日期是1月15號。

我希望今年繼續與更多的音樂愛好者聯繫。,不論您是在本港還是在外地,是學生、家長、老師、業餘音樂人,還是專業音樂人,我也歡迎你加入我們的音樂大家庭。

謹祝大家新的一年有無限的可能,無限的歡樂,和無限的美妙音樂時光。

黃穎妍

[:]

What is Piano Technique?鋼琴技巧的重要性 (一)