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As a pianist, how much practice time should I put in on pieces for other people vs. My own lesson rep?

I'm a music education freshman and have picked up some accompanying jobs. I'm just wondering, in general, how much time should be spent on those pieces?

#music #music-education #piano #pianist

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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Caleb. If you are in school and your grades depend on your solo pieces, then focus on those. Your grades and graduating are important! If you can take on the accompanying gigs and still do well with your other pieces, then only you can gauge that. If all of the rep is equally as challenging - if the solo and the ensemble pieces are all of equal difficulty - then if you are a solo performance major, for now you should focus on that rep. If you want to become a professional accompanist, then find a degree program that offers that instead and fully focus on that. You can do both - solo and ensemble. But if you have a favorite, eventually go for that one. I personally was a Piano Performance major and graduated with my Bachelor of Music in that. But after four years of spending most of my time alone in a practice room, I decided I wanted to make music with others! So my Master's is in Accompanying. Just as much practicing was involved, but I enjoyed collaborating with other artists more than being alone. So it really depends on the person - do you enjoy the solitude of solo practicing or do you prefer being around others? Again, you can do both. Do what is right for you. :) All the best to you!

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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Caleb. I believe the biggest challenge as musicians is how to organize our schedule in order to dedicate time to all of the areas of study and practice of music. I believe a good balance is always necessary, but not easy to achieve every time, though. Being flexible and kind to yourself is key, and also, don't loose sight of the big picture. For example, you can spend 1 hour working on other people's tunes, then 1 hour working on your own repertoire, etc. But be flexible, if you have an upcoming event, maybe a week before you'll focus only on studying that music and you won't find anytime to work on yours, and that's ok. Maybe after the gig's over, you can spend the following week working more on your music. If you see the big picture, not the weekly one, but in a month you will have worked 50% on your music and 50% on other's. Sometimes events/gigs drive what you're studying, and that's a good thing, just don't forget the other goals you may have. You can keep a study journal, and see the total # of hours dedicated to each area, at the end of the day/week/month, and adjust your plans or priorities every time you feel it's necessary. Again, be flexible! Maybe if gigs are taking just too much and it's hard to carve out time for other things , you could look for a teaching job that will probably give you more time to focus on studying. It's always a matter of juggling things around, time, money, goals, etc. Hope this was helpful.

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

make a list of your goals, prioritize them
get a study/music practice/gigs journal and start registering your activities/time spent on them
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