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#1092095 - 09/22/05 08:50 AM New member intro
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Ok, I will answer the questions:
Never divorced
No income

Ummm....I mean
Favorite composer: Mozart or Beethoven
Piece of music: hard to say
Genre: classical, but I listen to country sometimes on the radio
Other instruments: Played clarinet up through a couple of years in college
Why learn piano: Hate seeing my 6 year old daughter beat me at anything
Dream piece: Right now, the Mozart double piano concerto played with my teacher (she said someday we will play it--her 8th to 12th grade students played it at the spring recital, with an orchestra--I would settle with just the piano parts)

I took a couple of years of piano in high school, because I wanted to learn to play, but I never practiced much. I could already read the music and I would just go to my lesson and fake it. I think I did not have a particularly inspiring teacher. She never talked about playing musically, just walked me through notes.

Now I am 46. I have 10 kids. The youngest is now 4 and I have time to practice. A year ago I started doing accounting for a piano teacher friend of mine. I did not want her to pay me, so she suggested giving piano lessons to my 6 year old daughter. She started in September. Over Christmas vacation, while we were traveling to my oldest two sons' weddings, I practiced on every piano I could find and worked through Suzuki Book I. At New Year's I had my first lesson. I spent two weeks on an easy reading book, then took a couple of months to work through Suzuki Book II.

In March I started on the Sonatinas. I listen to the CD from the Sonatina Album and feel like a kid in a candy store. I have Clementi Op 36 #1 pretty good, I have been working on #5, getting those triplets up to speed (160 bpm is pretty fast) for two months and it is getting there. The second movement of that one (Air Suisse) has to be about my favorite. I have just started the third movement.

I also am working on the Diabelli Op 151 No 1 (getting close), the Kuhlau Op 20 No 1 (first mvt, just reading the others still) and Op 55 No 1 (fairly close).

I play/sight read through the Clementi Op 36 nos. 2 and 3 once in a while, and I'm sure I will play them eventually.

I also got a Joplin book a couple of months ago and have Maple Leaf Rag pretty much learned, except it will take time to get it up to speed.

The other thing I work on is 4-part hymns from the church hymnal. That is the hardest for me. I hate practicing one hymn over and over. So boring. And I always make mistakes. I have finally discovered that if I go through the whole book by key signature (meaning I play everything with two sharps, etc), I sort of like it, and the chords get more and more automatic. I can play through most of them slowly, but if somebody tries to sing with me, if I make a mistake I am lost. I need to develop the talent of keeping the melody going at least. I can tell I'm getting better, but I am not ready to play for a group to sing with yet.

I spend probably an average of 2 hours a day practicing. I have an excellent teacher who really inspires me to work hard. She is so conscious of technique and musicality, which I have never had anybody try to teach me before, plus she loves teaching theory.

I am still very nervous playing for people. I shake and make all kinds of mistakes. I would go to my lesson thinking I had a piece pretty good, and totally destroy it. Couldn't play two notes right in a row. I am getting more comfortable at lessons. I finally decided that I was not going to tell myself I would play it perfectly, I would just show her how far I had gotten. That took some of the pressure off.

And then on the advice of my teacher, I play for as many people as I can. Anybody who comes to my house has to sit and listen to me play something. I go play at my friends' houses. Most of them are very complimentary.

We have two old uprights right now. We got the first one 20 years ago for $100. It looked awful. Painted white with gold antiquing that was chipping off and showing the underlying black. Somebody had taken a saw (!) to the top lid. Veneer was missing. The husband of my current piano teacher helped move it to my house. He told me how to take it all apart so I could refinish it. This was my first project. I stripped it (white paint down in the pores of the wood is very hard to remove!), learned to replace and repair veneer, sanded, stained. I replaced the felt over the keys and around the pedals. It turned out absolutely beautiful. Dark mahogany, carved details and trim. Big problem, it can't be tuned up to pitch, it is half a step low. And it basically was never a very well built piano.

So when we started getting serious about lessons, it was obvious we needed another piano. One that could be tuned to pitch so we could practice with the tapes our teacher gives us. We got another old one, but much better quality. Free, hadn't been tuned in 30 years. The tech was able to get it up to pitch without breaking any strings (!) and adjusted the keys that weren't working quite right. The upper register sounds really tinny, but for now it will have to do. It has a much better feel than the other one. Duets on the two pianos are no good with them tuned apart though! So I am giving away the old one. My husband thought that I would never agree to give it away after all that work, but it doesn't matter any more. Now I want a piano to play, not look at. And of course I am dreaming of a grand. I go around to piano stores and try them out, and definitely am learning that I like some much better than others. Too bad they are the expensive ones!

Guess this was almost a novel. I enjoy reading everybody's posts. I was amazed to see all the people here who practice hours a day like I do. I just can't seem to quit. Even when I should go to bed, I think I will sit and play something one more time, and next thing I know, it is an hour later. Luckily nobody complains about me playing at midnight. I think my husband puts a pillow on his head.


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#1092096 - 09/22/05 09:11 AM Re: New member intro
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18114
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Laura, Welcome to the forum!!! I can't believe you can find two hours a day to practice while raising 10 (!!) kids. That's impressive. (On the other hand, I imagine that raising 10 kids makes two hours of stress relief pretty much essential.)

I loved reading your story. What a shame about the old piano you lovingly refinished.

And kudos to you for playing for as many other people as you can despite being nervous. It sounds like you've made a tremendous amount of progress since you started, and it's great you have a good teacher now.

Thanks again for sharing with us.
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#1092097 - 09/22/05 12:32 PM Re: New member intro
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Laura

Loved the story...shame about the old piano \:\(

10 kids?...yikes!

Welcome aboard \:\)

Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

#1092098 - 09/23/05 02:04 AM Re: New member intro
tk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 695
Loc: Los Angeles County
Originally posted by Laura D:
I have 10 kids. The youngest is now 4 and I have time to practice. [/b]

Okay, you know I am thinking what Monica was! I don't know how you were able to sit there with a straight face and type that! (Uh, that's an assumption, of course!) Wow! That's amazing!

I really enjoyed reading your story. Although, it sure makes slackers like me feel incredibly guilty and shamed!! \:\) But, really, it's always great to see someone who is so in love with the piano. You seem to be progressing quickly. Keep up the good work, and welcome to Piano World!

#1092099 - 09/23/05 08:13 AM Re: New member intro
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
You have to understand, this is the first time in 24 years that I have not had one or two or even three kids *under* 4 years old. And my 4 oldest are out of state in college now, so I have a quiet house, especially in the daytime when the kids are gone to school. Only one left at home and he is pretty easy-going.

Thanks to everybody for the welcome. Don't worry about the old piano. It has had 20 years of lots of kids banging against it to get dinged up a little, so it isn't as pretty as it was. Besides, the bass notes are just thuds.

I just made a CD of the duet parts (Henry C. Timm) to Clementi Sonatina op 36 #1 in Sibelius, so I can practice with it. Wow, that is fun! I borrowed the music from my teacher. It is more fun to play with her, and easier, because she can adjust to my tempo variations, but this is really good practice. Even when I thought I had it well learned, there are bits where I have trouble staying with the CD. I spent probably 6 hours entering it (I don't have a keyboard) but I'm getting faster, and learning all kinds of things I can do in Sibelius.

Thanks again for all the welcomes!


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