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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
A student with reasonable experience spends enough time on every part to learn it well so the order of practicing would make little difference.
Learning backwards, in measures or phrases, isn't generally aimed at a student with reasonable experience. It's aimed at those who keep reading from the beginning to where they get stuck.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Also, there is nothing wrong with not perfecting part of a piece and coming back to it later. In fact, I think many experienced pianists practice that way.
That's right - once they learn to come back to it later. Many don't always return because they can struggle through it and think they'll gt it in time. Learning from the end is one tool to combat these learning issues in beginners.

Why you 'see no reason why what you said in your second sentence would be true' is, perhaps, because you don't have students with learning issues. The tool was popularised because students don't always proceeded as logically as you might. If you taught more you might see more reasons why these tools are developed.
I understand why this approach was developed. I very clearly said this approach could be good for those who tend to start at the beginning every time they practice a piece. OTOH I think a good teacher can and should explain how to practice that does not require starting at the end and most students, except possibly extremely young ones, can learn how to spend whatever time is necessary on all parts of the piece.

If a student starts at the end and always plays a piece through until the end when practicing it they may over practice the end to the detriment of the beginning. So one problem gets replaced by another.

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Originally Posted by keystring
It is also psychologically encouraging if the "home run" part is "running toward what is super familiar, and especially super-solid".


For me, this is one of the primary benefits. My confidence in playing a piece builds rather than diminishes towards the end.

There's also the aspect that the coda or end may have additional difficulties that warrant additional practice. And can give an indication as to whether you're actually ready to be learning this particular piece.

YMMV and probably does.


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I also think the instruction to start from the last measure might be a way to avoid the problem of the learner not being sure where the nature section breaks are. If you know where the breaks are, where the phrases are, then you can practice from the "end of the piece" in terms of phrases, going back to front that way.
I don't think practicing from back to front has anything to do with knowing where a phrase of section starts or ends. In fact, I think practicing from front to back would make that clearer.

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Originally Posted by JaneF
Originally Posted by keystring
It is also psychologically encouraging if the "home run" part is "running toward what is super familiar, and especially super-solid".


For me, this is one of the primary benefits. My confidence in playing a piece builds rather than diminishes towards the end.

There's also the aspect that the coda or end may have additional difficulties that warrant additional practice. And can give an indication as to whether you're actually ready to be learning this particular piece.
1. The coda or end of a piece could be more difficult, less difficult, or of similar difficulty as the rest of the piece.
2. If one has learned all parts of the piece to a good level, it will not be a question of one's confidence increasing or decreasing. If one practices the end more than the beginning, it's possible that's one's confidence will not good at the beginning, and I don't see that as a satisfactory situation.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I also think the instruction to start from the last measure might be a way to avoid the problem of the learner not being sure where the nature section breaks are. If you know where the breaks are, where the phrases are, then you can practice from the "end of the piece" in terms of phrases, going back to front that way.
I don't think practicing from back to front has anything to do with knowing where a phrase of section starts or ends. In fact, I think practicing from front to back would make that clearer.

You misunderstood what I was trying to say.

For a more beginning level student, they may not know where the phrase breaks are without a teaching telling them. So rather than the teacher saying "practice the very last phrase" (as someone earlier in this thread mentioned), the teacher might instead say "practice from the very last measure, and then add one measure at a time" so that the student can practice back to front on their own even if they don't know where the phrase breaks are. This is what I call a practice hack, and the teacher may have told the OP to do it this way (measure by measure but backwards) in order to give the student a new way to practice on their own.

In terms of learning how to identify phrases, of course they are easier to identify when starting at the beginning. But as many in this thread (and elsewhere) are pointing out, beginners, esp. adult beginners, often develop bad habits of practice by starting at the beginning every time, and run the risk of have the middle and end of a piece be underdeveloped.


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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I learn many advanced pieces from the end. IMO there is a sense that a difficult piece can be mastered working back from the last bar. You may be stuck playing just the first few lines of a piece and don't feel you're getting anywhere.
If one starts at the end and gets stuck I don't think one feels one is getting anywhere either.

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Originally Posted by Serge88
According to my teacher, in a recital the most important part is the beginning and the end of the piece. This is what the audience will remember the most. If you screw the end, this is what people will remember. If you screw the middle and play a nice ending, people will forget the mistakes.
You teacher is absolutely right.

In fact, she's probably appropriating one of the marvellous dictums of the great Sir Thomas Beecham (a celebrated conductor) from a century ago:

There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I also think the instruction to start from the last measure might be a way to avoid the problem of the learner not being sure where the nature section breaks are. If you know where the breaks are, where the phrases are, then you can practice from the "end of the piece" in terms of phrases, going back to front that way.
I don't think practicing from back to front has anything to do with knowing where a phrase of section starts or ends. In fact, I think practicing from front to back would make that clearer.

You misunderstood what I was trying to say.

For a more beginning level student, they may not know where the phrase breaks are without a teaching telling them. So rather than the teacher saying "practice the very last phrase" (as someone earlier in this thread mentioned), the teacher might instead say "practice from the very last measure, and then add one measure at a time" so that the student can practice back to front on their own even if they don't know where the phrase breaks are. This is what I call a practice hack, and the teacher may have told the OP to do it this way (measure by measure but backwards) in order to give the student a new way to practice on their own.

In terms of learning how to identify phrases, of course they are easier to identify when starting at the beginning. In terms of learning how to identify phrases, of course they are easier to identify when starting at the beginning. But as many in this thread (and elsewhere) are pointing out, beginners, esp. adult beginners, often develop bad habits of practice by starting at the beginning every time, and run the risk of have the middle and end of a piece be underdeveloped.
You specifically said "I also think the instruction to start from the last measure might be a way to avoid the problem of the learner not being sure where the nature section breaks are." Then in this post you say "In terms of learning how to identify phrases, of course they are easier to identify when starting at the beginning." I think those two statements are contradictory.

Your comment that "But as many in this thread (and elsewhere) are pointing out, beginners, esp. adult beginners, often develop bad habits of practice by starting at the beginning every time, and run the risk of have the middle and end of a piece be underdeveloped." is a different issue.

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It's not contradictory because all aspects of practice are not necessarily aiming at the same thing.

The point of practicing from back to front is not to identify phrases. When a student is practicing on their own, esp. adult students, they may be working on material that they have not gone over with their teacher. If the teacher says "practice the last phrase at the end of the piece," that assumes that the student can identify the phrases. When this is not the case (i.e., the student can't reliability identify the phrases), the instructions to practice from the last measure get around that problem.

It feels like you are purposefully trying to be difficult here. Either that or overly black and white in your thinking?


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I know what's generally considered the reasoning because there have been so many PW threads on this subject. Most people who see this as a good approach claim that's because they tend to do what I mentioned in my post, i.e. always start at the beginning and, as a result, over practice the beginning to the detriment of later parts and especially the ending.

I stated that it is one of many different approaches, and what I'm seeing here (incl. responses to it) is overly simplified. I never "tended to" do that start at beginning thing. I did appreciate learning multiple approaches; learning that there was such a thing as approaches in the first place, and finding such on my own.

For me it started when I was still taking those violin lessons. I was stuck on one phrase - literally stuck, couldn't lift my fingers - and in lessons, we always went back to the beginning until I got stuck again. (which is not great teaching). I was stuck because I was pressing the strings down too hard so my hand cramped. On my own I worked out why I was stuck, changed how I moved; marked all the passages that had the same pattern; marked the next hardest parts that all had the same patterns, and practised along those patchworks. I thought I was doing something horribly "disrespectful of music" and felt guilty. This is a thing that musicians actually do. As an example.

You can do a lot of other things, for example, simplify a chord into its simpler form, then add the notes again: turn a series of arpeggios into block chords again. The "backward" idea can be a door opener to a much broader idea of flexible ways of approaching music. Even your fugue can be taken apart and put together again.

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Originally Posted by keystring
The "backward" idea can be a door opener to a much broader idea of flexible ways of approaching music.

This, exactly!!

To discount this approach out of hand is to ignore the reality of being an adult beginner, and also an adult non-beginner as well.


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Originally Posted by keystring
The "backward" idea can be a door opener to a much broader idea of flexible ways of approaching music.
This, exactly!! To discount this approach out of hand is to ignore the reality of being an adult beginner, and also an adult non-beginner as well.
I think door openers should be good approaches. Except for a very small percent of beginning or very young students, I don't think starting at the end is a good approach for all the reasons I've explained on this thread. I think most of the reasons justifying this approach are not logical(particularly the one about not practicing the end enough), and that's why I've specifically responded to many of the posters who gave their reasons for liking the back to front approach.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
You teacher is absolutely right.

In fact, she's probably appropriating one of the marvellous dictums of the great Sir Thomas Beecham (a celebrated conductor) from a century ago:

There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between.

That's funny.



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Pianoloverus, just because you do not think the approach is a good one does not mean that it is not good for anyone else. Perhaps you missed my most recent comment, so I'll repeat it here:

Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
To discount this approach out of hand is to ignore the reality of being an adult beginner, and also an adult non-beginner as well.

Many, many adult beginners have found a "start at the end" approach (whether measure-by-measure or phrase-by-phrase) to be incredibly helpful. I am one of those people.

Quote
=pianoloverus]I think most of the reasons justifying this approach are not logical

Not everything we do is governed by logic -- although I do actually think the reasons behind the approach are very logical. But even if we start with the assumption that the approach is not logical... if people tend to approach practice in one way, and that way has some drawbacks, obviously any teacher would start by giving them an alternative approach. But the approach has to "click" for the student or else, no matter how logical it may be, it won't be of much use.

This backward approach clicks for a lot of people, and as someone else said above, gives them another tool to add to their practice toolbox.


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Pianoloverus, just because you do not think the approach is a good one does not mean that it is not good for anyone else. Perhaps you missed my most recent comment, so I'll repeat it here:

Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
To discount this approach out of hand is to ignore the reality of being an adult beginner, and also an adult non-beginner as well.

Many, many adult beginners have found a "start at the end" approach (whether measure-by-measure or phrase-by-phrase) to be incredibly helpful. I am one of those people.

Quote
=pianoloverus]I think most of the reasons justifying this approach are not logical

Not everything we do is governed by logic -- although I do actually think the reasons behind the approach are very logical. But even if we start with the assumption that the approach is not logical... if people tend to approach practice in one way, and that way has some drawbacks, obviously any teacher would start by giving them an alternative approach. But the approach has to "click" for the student or else, no matter how logical it may be, it won't be of much use.

This backward approach clicks for a lot of people, and as someone else said above, gives them another tool to add to their practice toolbox.
Although it's possible that some pianists find the back to front approach helpful, I don't think anyone has answered my objections to it. For example, those who say it avoids underpracticing the end(by far the most commonly given justification for the approach) have not explained why it doesn't just create the problem of underpracticing the beginning. Unless that question is answered, I can only conclude that those people don't realize they've replaced one problem by another. They think the approach is good but they are wrong. That is the situation I think you have ignored.

You have said a few times I have discounted the back to front approach, but I said several times on this thread including in my first post that it might have some value for some students. IOW your statement was factually wrong.

You say that the teacher should give the student an alternative if they practice from the beginning every time and so they over practice the beginning to the neglect of the end. The most obvious approach would be to explain to the student why playing from the beginning all the time is a poor idea. Another approach would be to assign only the end or last page of a piece for the next lesson. That would hopefully give the student the key idea that sections that are weak are the ones that need to be worked on.

I gave reasons why I thought back to front is not generally good. I think all good teachers try to give valid reasons why some idea is good(or bad).

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Pianoloverus, I think you are seeing this literally. What a teacher teaches will be nuanced, incremental, and geared to the student. A teacher would not have a student work on a 60 measure piece, and have the student work backward from 60, to 59, 58, 57, ..... 3, 2, 1. The advice would include other things, and one thing leading to the next.

In terms of a teacher always giving reasons: up to a point. There are things we learn by doing, and if everything always has to have an explanation it would take forever. Often, the doing is the explanation - you learn through the experience; you may ask questions afterward etc.

Something important I just thought of: The OP is a student who was told to do this by his/her teacher. That teacher knows the student, where the student is at - we don't. Definitely none of us can say it's "wrong" because we don't know what is being taught, why, or how. A teacher gives an instruction. The student works with that instruction. The following week the teacher hears and sees the results from that instruction, and decides what to do next - including tweaking or changing that instruction. That's how teaching works.

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Originally Posted by keystring
Pianoloverus, I think you are seeing this literally. What a teacher teaches will be nuanced, incremental, and geared to the student. A teacher would not have a student work on a 60 measure piece, and have the student work backward from 60, to 59, 58, 57, ..... 3, 2, 1.
Actually, that's precisely what the back to front approach entails with the addition point that when one learns 59 one plays 59+60, when one learns 58 one plays 58+59+60, etc.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Actually, that's precisely what the back to front approach entails with the addition point that when one learns 59 one plays 59+60, when one learns 58 one plays 58+59+60, etc.
You know for certain that this is what the OP's teacher is teaching and has in mind? I suggest that you don't know that, because he has only written one brief post about it, and there is very little information.

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Actually, that's precisely what the back to front approach entails with the addition point that when one learns 59 one plays 59+60, when one learns 58 one plays 58+59+60, etc.
You know for certain that this is what the OP's teacher is teaching and has in mind? I suggest that you don't know that, because he has only written one brief post about it, and there is very little information.
The discussion at this point in the thread is a general discussion about the back to front approach. In all discussions of this method in the past, what I described has been what the back to front approach has been assumed to be. As long as one starts at the end and learns of the last measure(or last phrase) and then the measure(or phrase) before it and then plays the last two measures(or phrases) etc., there is the strong chance one will overpractice the end to the detriment of the beginning.

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Is this thread really going anywhere productive? The OP was advised quite early ‘discuss with your teacher’. At this point, no minds are being changed .


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