czerny op 599

by Ghazal

Dear Maria,

Hi, thanks for this useful website.

I have been taking piano lessons for nearly 2 years. I have been finished Beyer and now I am practicing Czerny opus 599.

Also, I have learnt several pieces which I cannot play them properly now! (this is another problem that I am trying to solve it by your good tips for practicing!)

Here, I want to ask you for the best way for practicing Czerny. I found it very hard to learn, very hard to memorize (to teach my fingers, as you said!)

I really like to LEARN and MASTER Czerny but I don’t know how to do it.(I am 33 years old, married and have a full time job. I cannot practice more than 1-1.5 hours a day). And also, is it necessary to review Beyer, too?

Wish you a good day,

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Piano Practice Plan
by: Maria

Hello Ghazal,

Thank you for your kind words.

First of all, it seems you are able to find more than enough time to practice, despite all!
Now how you use that time is of course crucial, and also that you are not being disturbed and interrupted as you practice.

But, sometimes practicing in shorter laser-focused intervals can also give great results.

So, if you are able to practice for 1-1,5 hours daily without interruptions- that's great.

If you can do it in smaller intervals during the morning and evening, let's say, that is also not bad- as long as you decide and plan beforehand exactly what to work on.

Since you didn't mention what piece in Czerny you are working on right now, and op.599 goes from beginner to late elementary/early advanced, I can't give any specific technical advice.

But the practice method I give you below works on most piano pieces regardless of the level.

Reviewing Beyer? Only if you love it. Reviewing is good, and you need to do that later for pieces you want to keep on your repertoire.

But why waste your time? There is so much piano music to learn, I'd say keep going with fresh music instead. But stay on your technical level until you are comfortable enough.

So, your problems with Czerny are two. First to learn it, and then to memorize it.

You might memorize easily as you learn it, but first you should aim to learn the piece really securely with the score in front of you.

After really, really mastering the score you will practice to also learn the piece by heart, securely.

So, here is the plan:

Step 1: Learning the piece.

1. Divide the piece in small parts of 2-4 measures. Smaller is better, because it's faster to learn and retain.

Use a pencil and draw a line between each part of the whole piece.

Then work with each part like this:

a. Learn each part hands separately, first slow, then gradually faster until full (or more) tempo.

b. Next, learn both hands but play half the tempo of what you can play without effort hands separately.

This will feel really slow, but it's very important.

Practice until you can play securely at a very slow tempo with both hands, paying attention to all that's written in the score, and that you are making music and playing with a beautiful tone, albeit not in the real tempo-yet.

3.After learning all the small parts of the piece, combine two parts together, 4-8 measures.

Practice in the same way as above (which will go easier this time) hands separately up to full tempo then both extremely slow.

But this time you will use the metronome and gradually increase the speed as you play both hands as well.

Stop at a speed you feel is comfortable and where you make no mistakes.

4. Next after learning the medium parts of the piece, is to combine two to make larger parts, 8-16 measures.

Repeat the process as above, but aim to gradually increase the speed even more this time.

5. Finally, after mastering the large parts, repeat the whole process with the whole piece.

Tip: To test if you are ready to move on to the next level, play 4 times in a row. If there are no mistakes, you're ready to move on.

Step 2: Memorizing the piece.

If you are a person who can easily memorize, you might have done it by now (lucky you!). If not- repeat the process above but this time without the notes!

There will be, as in all pieces, parts that are harder and you need to be more patient there and take your time to really master each step until you move to the next.

On the other hand, there will also be parts that are easy and you can fly by basically.

Happy practicing!
Maria Lewander

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