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Thread: How to become a great pianist?

  1. #1
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    How to become a great pianist?

    I began playing the piano when I was 8, but due to boredom and the realization that I wouldn't become as good as the best, I stopped attending lessons after four years and stopped playing altogether.

    Around four years from now, I began playing again, but that was mainly small tunes at first, and not any serious classical music. Now I'm beginning to take a serious interest in classical music, both reading about it and playing some pieces (Bach, Mozart, Chopin and even Rachmaninov), but I know that in order to become a really great pianist, one has to practice a lot and also use the rigth practice methods. My question is: How does one get better than merely good -- how much practice time is needed?

    Maybe the question has been answered before, I hope you will answer it anyway or maybe write a link to another thread.

  2. #2
    Registered User benny's Avatar
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    find a good teacher... practice as much as you can... asking 'how much practice' can kinda give the impression that you wanna get good, but don't really wanna fully commit... hoping that how much you need to practice will be less rather than more... if you ask me, practice as much as you can... every spare moment you have... find as much time as you can spare to practice, and then the question of how much becomes irelevant because you're doing the best you can already... of course, don't over practice and burn yourself out... also remember, to be a great pianist, you must be a great musician first... you will need more than just technique to be great, you must make the music transendant.
    bEnnY
    'The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat'

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by benny
    find a good teacher... practice as much as you can... asking 'how much practice' can kinda give the impression that you wanna get good, but don't really wanna fully commit... hoping that how much you need to practice will be less rather than more... if you ask me, practice as much as you can... every spare moment you have... find as much time as you can spare to practice, and then the question of how much becomes irelevant because you're doing the best you can already... of course, don't over practice and burn yourself out... also remember, to be a great pianist, you must be a great musician first... you will need more than just technique to be great, you must make the music transendant.
    Obviously, I want to become as good a pianist I can, but I am a high school student who also has a day job, so I can't play more than two-three hours a day on average. In weekends I can often play up to 8 hours. So approximately 20-30 hours/week. Is that enough, or is 8-hour days required (to attend a music conservatory)?

  4. #4
    the freshmaker pepperminta's Avatar
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    If you're in high school and can practice 2-4 solid hours a day that is great. A music conservatory is great - but finish high school and see what you want to do. You major in piano in college and practice more than 2-3 hrs a day so music conservatory or whatever - you'll be fine.

    I agree w/ Benny - you need a good teacher, and you need to be diligent.

    Talent is good - but discipline will bring you to the next level.

    What are you playing right now?

  5. #5
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    Well, I play Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu (Op.66) and some Mozart and Bach and Rachmaninov Etude 33. In addition to playing classical music, I improvise (mostly totally free, but also jazz tunes) and I study technique (scales, arpeggios etc.) to become fluent in as many styles as possible. Also, I hear a lot of music (D.D. Jackson, Keith Jarrett, classical music of all sorts, especially piano solo music), so it's not that I don't know which way to go musically -- it's rather getting the technique right...

    I have a teacher, but it's mostly a jazz oriented teacher who play jazz so there I learn the jazz theory. But mainly I'm learning by myself -- I love being really enthusiastic about stuff. I am beginning to read about the piano, the technique, and so on.

  6. #6
    the freshmaker pepperminta's Avatar
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    By the way, great name - qwerty.

    If you want a recommendation on a great classical piano cd, get Sviatoslav Richter's CD playing Rachmaninov Etudes, (op. 33 and 39), Preludes (op. 23 and op. 32)

    I went through a "rachmaninov" phase and wow - i have never heard them played more beautifully.

  7. #7
    Woodhugger
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    A good musician, especially pianist, is not only formed by practicing.

    You can get yourself a very decent technique with 2-3 hours/day if you use them right (one technique that has been very good for my development was locating general problems and invent etudes that deal with them). Sooner or later you will find the kind of challenge that makes you practice 8 hours+ without even planning to

    Being a good pianist means a lot more than being able to play any Chopin-madness; don't underestimate musicianship and general understanding of whats going on, also in classical music. Try to play some easy Bach-pieces as musically rich as you can and you'll see there is a lot to learn even on pieces you actually don't have to practice for. It could be a helpful tool to sing to develop your musicianship.

    Well, and be open for everything, since every influence is going to enrich you

  8. #8
    The guy who smells funny...
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    hey

    hey all

    I just want to say that your on the right track. I started playing piano when i was 7, and have loved every minute of it. I'm now almost 15, so i've been playing for about 8 years. I started out with classical, and last year i started to play jazz.
    Now i think i have a formula in order to be the best. listen carefully. These are

    Having a Great Teacher for both Classical and Jazz
    Practicing a minumum of 2 hours a day
    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
    You must love it.

    Now I'm going to tell you this. People who play music and dont enjoy will only be able to get so far. If you turely love music and have good working habits, you'll be fine. Also to just let you know, it can get a little expensive. My classical teacher costs $70 an hour, and my jazz teacher costs $40 an hour. So if your parents have that kind of money, great. But if they don't or you don't...well you can still be really good with just one teacher thats less expensive.

    But yeah i think thats all I'm gonna say now. And just to let you, I've played Fatasie Impormptu by Chopin too. But i have to say, CHopin's Scherzo #2 and his first Ballade are top notch. I won a national competition with the Scherzo, and the Ballade won me a ton of money. Right now im working on Liszt's Hungrain Rhapsody #6, but its a hand killer 'cause of the really fast octives.

    One last thing-
    Have Fun...

  9. #9
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    Thanks for your replies! I will use your advise and practice as often as I can an enjoy the music....

  10. #10
    keys
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    Hi Qwerty, be sure to include some piano music by Dvorak and his spiritual brothers and sisters :-)

    Couldn't resist.

    Italian elite pianist Franco D'Andrea started out rather late on the piano. I believe he was seventeen or something. He did play other instruments.

  11. #11
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    What to do to be a great pianist?,well to be a great musician in general try to get you hands in as much differents genre as possible since the music is always evolving.Gerry Zaragemca.

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