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#1025770 - 06/05/06 08:46 AM Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
I am certain that I have passed the recital challenge. My audition for the sonatina medal was last Friday. I was really worried about getting through all five sonatinas without succumbing to nerves and memory loss. That is 26 pages of music, almost 30 minutes to play, all by memory.

My teacher recommended that I gather my family and give them a recital, to practice playing the whole program through at one time, having to go on if I made a mistake. I have many friends who know I have been learning piano that I have never played for, and I decided that this was the time. I figured that would give me plenty of practice in recovering from mistakes, and that if I could learn to recover without agonizing over each mistake, then I would be more confident at the audition.

I ended up playing five separate recitals with between two and six people at each one. The first two were ok, the second two were pretty good, but the fifth one started out with a disaster. The piece I knew best, I thought, and I got stuck in the first two lines and could not figure out the notes at all with several tries, then I completely messed up the structure and forgot the coda at the end. Everything else was better, but loads of little mistakes everywhere.

It was for the two least musical of all my friends, the ones I was least worried about impressing, and they still thought I did ok and laughed with me over the mistakes, but it really shot my confidence. It was one recital too many, I guess. My brain burned out. Luckily that was three days before the audition, so I had some time to recover.

Anyway, I got to the audition Friday morning, and the exact same thing happened. Finally the judge told me to stop, take a deep breath, and start over. Then I got through ok, and made it through the rest of the music with no "train wrecks." Plenty of little bits where I made a mistake and had to backtrack a few notes to recover, but mostly ok. I was way too tense and I'm sure it hurt the music. I was worried about crashing down on some big ending chord on the wrong notes, but I got them all. I was so relieved to have it over.

I ended up with a Superior rating, so I passed. My teacher said she actually thought the judge was harder on me than on the kids who did the same audition, because I was older. She thought I played as well as the ones who scored higher.

I felt ok after the audition, happy to have it over and relieved that I had passed, but by evening I was getting sadder and sadder about how I had done, and how tense I had felt, and wondering if I would ever be able to play relaxed for people and enjoy it. What a mess! I had to go over and talk to my teacher and get her to cheer me up. \:\)

Now three days later, I have pretty much decompressed. I finally was able to play the sonatinas again last night--it took a while to be able to face them again--and it is a lot more fun to play them relaxed!

Now on to other music. I am anxious for my lesson this week to see what I am going to be working on next. I have a few days here to dink around and try stuff out and just have fun. I have been living and breathing sonatinas for six months now and I am ready to try something new.

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#1025771 - 06/05/06 09:37 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3407
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Wow, congratulations! You really put a lot of work in this, way to go!

I know what you mean about decompressing, you have one reaction when it's over, another after you go back and sit down, and then that reaction changes slowly over time until it settles in to whatever it's going to finally be.

If you're interested in reading about concentration and other ideas that are helpful both for practice and performance, I highly recommend "The Inner Game of Music," if you haven't read it already. This book really helped me in many many ways, and I recommend it to everyone every chance I get! \:\)

Congratulations again!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1025772 - 06/05/06 09:39 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
rocky Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 1456
Loc: Louisville, KY
Laura, congratulations!! Memorizing 26 pages of music I do believe would be an impossibility for me!! Sounds like you did a great job!!
_________________________
When I reach the place I'm going, I will surely know my way.

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#1025773 - 06/05/06 09:44 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Congrats Laura!

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#1025774 - 06/05/06 09:45 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Wow, Laura, congratulations indeed! Playing 5 separate 30 minute recitals PLUS a formal audition in front of a judge?!? I would say you satisfied any and all recital challenges for the next five years!

I am sorry, though, that you ended up feeling sad that evening about your performance. A "superior" rating sounds great to me, so I am convinced you have much to feel proud and happy about, not sad. What you did took an amazing amount of courage and skill. It WILL get easier with time, too. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1025775 - 06/06/06 08:51 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks, everybody. It was really a big accomplishment for me. I did not know how I would ever be able to memorize that much music. Now I know I can do it, and I am pretty sure I will be able to memorize a lot more. What a confidence-builder!

Monica, "superior" is a very good rating, though the very best (practically perfect) is "superior plus". I think that superior was a very fair rating for how I played. Apparently for these guild auditions, they realize just how much music you have to play, and they sort of overlook the occasional mistake, else I would have deserved a lower rating.

When I say my teacher thought I was rated unfairly, that is not just sour grapes, because she was comparing me to her own students, not to some other teacher's students. The week before, she said that I was playing better than any of them. (She had 6 of us doing the sonatina medal this year.) The student before me, about 11 years old, got a superior plus. I did not hear her play, so I don't really know how she did, but she said she made lots of mistakes.

When I was done playing and my teacher came upstairs and saw the report card, I was not sure from her reaction that I had even passed. I assumed I had, because neither my teacher nor the judge said that I did not, but I was not sure. I was not able to talk to my teacher alone then, but a couple of hours later, I asked if I had passed. She had not realized until then that I did not know.

Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I felt like my teacher had been disappointed in how I had played. That I had done so badly that I got a worse score than somebody else I should have been able to play as well as.

So I had to go talk to my teacher. She told me then that the reason she had not been enthusiastic when she saw my report card was that she was unhappy with how I had been scored, and that it wasn't right for the judge to score me harder because I was an addult (stupid filter). I felt a lot better knowing that my teacher thought I did ok, and that she was proud of me.

One thing I learned from this is that the little mistakes were not the score-killer I had assumed, so now I am not quite so worried about them, and I think next year I will not be so nervous, and I can think more about playing beautifully without being tense. I *am* proud of what I have accomplished this year. I was not so sure I could do it, and now I have shown myself that I *can*.

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#1025776 - 06/06/06 10:54 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Wow Laura...well done \:D

26 pages of music!! Playing 5 separate 30 minute recitals PLUS a formal audition in front of a judge!!...On my gosh!...yikes

And to think I struggle to remember a simple grocery list \:\(


great story, congratulations from the UK


Lee \:D
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1025777 - 06/06/06 11:27 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Kawaigirl1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 989
Loc: Toronto
Wow, LauraD, congratulations!!
_________________________

flickr

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#1025778 - 06/08/06 04:55 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks!

I finally had my lesson today--plenty of new stuff to work on now. I want to keep the sonatinas up too, so I think I will have a busy summer. I want to go play for my Dad in NM. He and Mom sent a big chunk of money to help pay for my grand piano this spring, and I really want to go do a concert for them.

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#1025779 - 06/08/06 09:52 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
What a wonderfully sweet and touching idea, Laura! I am sure your parents are already very proud of you, but a private concert is a wonderful way of showing your thanks. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1025780 - 06/09/06 01:05 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
dfvanden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Laura, as a fellow Sonatina nut (well, I can play two now) I am also in awe of your achievements. In fact, after reading your story I decided that the Sonatinas are going to be my repertoire pieces from now on. So, the hard bit now is to try an memorise them, whereas until now I am a 100% sight-reading type. I cannot play from memory more than 3 bars of any song without getting confused.

I also find it amazing that you could do all that in front of a judge also. I can barely play in front of my wife without getting nervous.

P.S I am loving Sonatina in F by Beethoven, but it's quite tricky and fast. A bit of a stretch, but has some lovely bits in it. Can you play that one?

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#1025781 - 06/09/06 02:10 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Congrats Laura on accomplishing something that very few have ever dreamed of. I played in my first Sonatina festival back in April and it was the most terrifying thing I've ever done. I received a superior plus result, but I can tell you that I didn't feel like I'd given my best performance. I only played for 6 minutes also.
I really like the idea of playing in front of a "mock" audience before hand. When my son is preparing for his competitions I have him sit on the couch outside our music room, I open the door and call his name, and act like I'm the judge. He really gets into the act and I think it helps him prepare for the festivals.
Good luck with your next piece and I agree with you that it should be easier next time.
I've included pictures of what my award looks like for those who are curious.
Sorry Laura, I didn't mean to hog your thread, but I hope you and I can inspire other AB'ers to try this at least once.
Jon

_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1025782 - 06/09/06 10:21 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Thanks, jdsher, for posting those pictures. I've read a lot about judged recitals etc. but had never seen what the feedback looks like. This was helpful.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1025783 - 06/09/06 09:14 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
lynn510 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/06
Posts: 129
Loc: SE Michigan
Laura,

Congratulations! What an accomplishment. That's a ton of playing to do when you're nervous...talk about being exhausted! It sounds like you have a great attitude and have learned things about yourself that will help you out the next time around.

Lynn

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#1025784 - 06/18/06 12:32 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
I recorded my whole sonatina program, and thought some of you might want to hear it. It is 22 minutes, 20 meg.

http://www.agicc.com/cenpenn/sonatinaprogramall.mp3

I recorded it all in one take. I did edit out some blank space between sonatinas, and the bit where I was dinking around trying to figure out what was causing some buzzing. Other than that, this is unedited. I just tried bravely to keep playing through the mistakes. I can say that I did it two weeks after my audition, so my memory was not quite as secure as it had been, but then this was quite a bit less stressful, so that made the error count go down, so it came out about even. I certainly can play each movement pretty much without too many mistakes, but to play them all at once, this is probably about as well as I can do.

The pieces are:

Beethoven Sonatina in G: Moderato, Romance A beautiful piece. When I first started lessons, this was toward the back of the book, and I snuck back there to work on the Romance anyway. I told my teacher that I didn't care how long it took me to learn it, I liked it so well.

Clementi Op. 36 No. 1: Allegro, Andante, Vivace Many kids learn the first movement in the first few years of piano lessons, and I had actually played it (probably very slowly) when I took piano lessons 30 years ago, but I had never heard the other two movements. They are very nice.

Clementi Op. 36 No. 2: Allegretto, Allegretto, Allegro The first movement has all sorts of little tricky bits where each hand has to learn lots of little details about phrasing and technique, plus I had a rough time getting those left hand scales. The middle movement has all dotted rhythms which I had a hard time learning to hear (probably still a bit shaky) so I didn't make them into triplets. I like the third movement a lot--sorry about the somewhat botched ending. Oh well.

Clementi Op. 36 No. 5: Presto, Air Suisse/Allegro moderato, Rondo/Allegro di molto
This is the really big hard one. The first one has lots of very fast triplets in the left hand and took me a long time to learn. The middle movement is probably my favorite of all the sonatinas. The third movement was the hardest to memorize by far. Lots of different parts, unusual constructions, etc.

Diabelli Op. 151 No. 1: Andantino cantabile, Scherzo/Allegro, Rondo/Allegretto
This is the one I recorded for the last recital.

If you want the pieces separately, they are at:

http://www.agicc.com/cenpenn/BeethovenSonatinaInG.mp3 (2:12)
http://www.agicc.com/cenpenn/ClementiOp36No1.mp3 (3:15)
http://www.agicc.com/cenpenn/ClementiOp36No2.mp3 (4:23)
http://www.agicc.com/cenpenn/ClementiOp36No5.mp3 (8:00)
http://www.agicc.com/cenpenn/DiabelliOp151No1.mp3 (3:50)

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#1025785 - 06/20/06 08:02 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
dfvanden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Laura, thanks for posting these. I've only listened to the first two so far, and it's been interesting comparing your version of the Beethoven one to mine from the recital. You play quite a bit faster, and it keeps things chugging along nicely as a result. It also made me realise the timing of the end of the first movement for me is all wrong. I love the way you trill those left hand chords in the Romance section - I wasn't technically able to do that for some reason.

Having heard the Clementi, I'm looking forward to doing the same one later this year. It's the fourth one in my book of 14, and there's a Gurlitt one in third place. Beethoven in F is my current (challenging!) piece.

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#1025786 - 06/20/06 08:54 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thank you for listening! I had about given up--I expected *somebody* to listen and at least say, well, you are awful, but you sure have learned a lot of notes!

It took me quite a while to get my hand to roll those chords. My daughter is learning the piece now, and except for the problem of a tiny hand, she picked it right up.

I think I remember you saying a while back that you were afraid the Op 36 No 1 would be hard--don't worry, it sounds fast but is in some ways easier than the Beethoven. One of my teenage daughters has taught it to herself, and never had a piano lesson in her life.

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#1025787 - 06/20/06 10:47 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Laura, your performances here are very impressive! In the first place, I could hear very few mistakes. In the second place, I am awestruck by the fact that you recorded this in one take. As a veteran of the Order of the Red Dot, I know just how hard it is to record a 3-min song without a million takes and false starts. That you sat down and recorded 22 minutes straight, without ever once pressing the stop button and starting over, is highly impressive!

p.s. There were a heck of a lot of notes there that you learned! \:D
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1025788 - 06/20/06 10:55 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
[edit] duplicate post--I had always *wondered* how people got duplicates, and now I know one way.

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#1025789 - 06/20/06 10:56 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
And all by memory, too! \:D

Thanks for listening and the kind words. I really appreciate it.

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#1025790 - 06/20/06 03:56 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
funburger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 1417
i havent had a chance to listen yet---but i have read through this thread and WOW!!! what you have accomplished is just incredible. and the concert for your parents--sweet idea!!! keep it up girl!!!!
_________________________
If it ain't fun I ain't doin' it:)

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#1025791 - 06/20/06 06:29 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
Holy smokes.... AMAZING!!! *standing ovation!*
_________________________
Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#1025792 - 06/20/06 07:45 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3407
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Laura, great job! I enjoyed the Beethoven the most, but they all sound great!

I wish I could get one of those purple ribbons, but not only have I never played a Sonatina, I am not even on the right continent to participate!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1025793 - 06/20/06 07:53 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by ShiroKuro:
I am not even on the right continent to participate! [/b]
Sure you are! You'll just have to play REALLY LOUD![/b] \:D
_________________________
Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#1025794 - 06/20/06 08:33 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Opus45 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 920
Loc: North Carolina
Well Done Laura!

How do you go about memorizing these? It seems an extraordinary amount of music to memorize. It took me months to memorize Take Five, I cannot imagine how long it would take me to memorize twenty six pages of music!?!

I listened to the Beethoven Sonatina, and the first Clementi on your list. I played that Clementi years ago, and remember it being a lot of fun to play, but I'm very sure I didn't have any of it memorized.
_________________________
Jeff

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#1025795 - 06/21/06 09:13 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
 Quote:
Laura, great job! I enjoyed the Beethoven the most, but they all sound great!

I wish I could get one of those purple ribbons, but not only have I never played a Sonatina, I am not even on the right continent to participate!
ShiroKuro: thanks for listening! Isn't the Beethoven a lovely piece? The others are very nice too, but I really don't do them justice because I am not yet as comfortable with them. I listen and hear how unevenly I play, and how my tone and phrasing and dynamics could be better, and wish I could make them sound as beautiful as they ought to sound. Probably with a couple of years more experience my control and touch will have improved enough to make them really nice.

I don't get a purple ribbon. What is get is the Sonatina Medal, which is a little plaque with a medal on it. I wonder if there are similar teacher organizations in Japan that also do judging/auditions.

Anyway, there is nothing stopping you from playing a sonatina! Lots of nice ones out there.

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#1025796 - 06/21/06 09:33 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Jeff,
I think I memorize them by playing them over and over, a few measures at a time. My teacher has me go through and analyze the structure, though I can never remember all the terminology (exposition, development, etc) but I do see how things are put together and eventually that starts sinking in. I had terrible trouble trying to memorize, and my teacher said, you can memorize two measures, right? Then add two more, and so forth. After a while the memorizing gets faster and faster. Right now after a couple of weeks of working on the first page of Croatian Rhapsody, maybe 20-30 minutes a day, I am pretty close to having the first page memorized, without really thinking about it at all.

And I tell you what, once you memorize 26 pages at once, you feel like you can probably memorize anything! The ultimate Alzheimer's prevention program.

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#1025797 - 06/23/06 12:09 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
KetchupandJam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/06
Posts: 59
Wow, Excellent!
Congratulations!

KJ

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#1025798 - 06/23/06 10:57 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
rocky Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 1456
Loc: Louisville, KY
Laura, I finally had the time to listen!! Wow, fantasic! You play very nicely!

Thanks for sharing!
_________________________
When I reach the place I'm going, I will surely know my way.

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#1025799 - 06/23/06 11:52 PM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
Congratulations Laura! Of those, I've only played the Clementi Opus 36 No. 1. I've been working on a new sonatina (Kuhlau Op. 55 No 3). I listened to all of your pieces. They sounded really good. I'm in awe that you could perform 20 minutes of music in front of judges!!
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1025800 - 06/24/06 09:44 AM Re: Please listen--was: I passed the recital challenge!
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks for listening, everyone. I really appreciate you taking the time, and taking the time to tell me about it.

I listen and hear all the little mistakes and uneven places and how it just does not sound as beautiful as I wish I could play. I mentioned to my dad once that I had heard a piece played very nicely by a fairly good amateur, then later heard a recording of it by Horowitz, and though it was recognizably the same song, Horowitz made it sound *so* beautiful, and my dad said, he hoped he would never be able to hear the difference (in other words he wanted to still be able to appreciate music played by less-than-masters).

So I hope when you hear me play, you can hear it as I want it to sound, and not so much as it really is. Sort of like at the theater--you want to let the illusion capture you and let your mind imagine the sets in 3-D and ignore the fact that the middle aged man in the play is just a teenager with powder in his hair and gray lines on his forehead.

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