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#1988621 - 11/19/12 05:21 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1812
Loc: south florida
Hello everyone.

I've been busy and a little bit quiet lately, but have managed to follow along with all the AOTW's. It is always nice to hear all of your reports, and especially nice to hear from folks new to the thread.

It was also a treat to listen to all of your recital submissions. The hard work really shows, and you deserve major kudos for bringing your pieces up to such a high level.

I went through kind of a valley in my piano journey in the last few months, starting with a Bach piece that I just couldn't quite finish. It was BWV 999, a strange prelude that is all over the map harmonically and even ends on the dominant. Right from the start I found it unsettling and just never could wrap my head around it. Bless my teacher for being perceptive enough to suggest I drop it when my frustration was really building. I hated doing this though, as it really felt like a failure to do something millions have done before me.

I was also working on the Puccini Madama Butterfly arrangement, hoping I could get it in shape to record for the Bar or maybe recital. Then we started in on Moonlight (1st movement only) and a little Schumann tidbit (Wild Rider), plus some really challenging scale work (octave busrts), Hannon, reading, my little jazz pieces I like to play..... I just couldn't keep up with it all and started to feel quite pressured.

Now, I don't mind being busy, and I can put a lot of hours in, but when feeling pressured like this I start getting tense....and the very last thing my playing needs is more tension. The Beethoven with three voices (a first for me) and octaves everywhere is already a tension inducer. I think the low point came when I asked my teacher how much longer she thought it would take to get the Puccini up to recital level and she told me at least another month. With everything else I didn't see that happening so we set aside the Puccini (which I really love) for a few weeks, deciding that after that I would just continue playing it on my own enough to keep it in my fingers and just enjoy it while slowly making it mine.

Well, with a few weeks rest the Pucinni is now sounding better and the pressure seems lifted. Moonlight is finally hands together for the whole movement (slowwwwwww) and I'm having fun with getting the voicing correct and keeping my shoulders out of my ears. The Schumann was a little bon-bon teacher tossed me and it should be put to rest tomorrow. Oh, and I chose some Christmas music to play - some very jazzy arrangements that my teacher is playing for a gig at the local art museum in December.

Best of all, my teacher is going to help me on a project I have been thinking about for some time. I'm going to take a lead sheet for an old standard and try to make my own written arrangement for it, hopefully something that is jazzed up and professional sounding. I think the exercise will be good for me on many levels, and after explaining it to her she agreed with me.

Sorry to be so longwinded.

PS. Cheryl I can see why your tuner thought your playing sounded more relaxed...it does. The tone of your notes in the recital pieces was way different than before, very nicely done.
_________________________
Nessun dorma - G.Puccini
Solfeggietto - CPE Bach
La Fille aux cheveux de lin-Debussy



Estonia L190 #7284





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#1988622 - 11/19/12 05:24 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
ATallGuyNH -- your story of your daughter doing a slow motion ballet to your slow practice made me laugh! How old is she?


Nine... a real ball of energy, and emotion, and everything else that comes with that age!
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1988633 - 11/19/12 05:58 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Toastie]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England
Originally Posted By: Toastie
Doesn't seem to work on my iPad. Will have to do it on the computer later as boyfriend's daughter is on there doing homework. It is truly beautiful, even boyfriend admits this and he was very reluctant about having a piano in the first place.



OOOH it is home! Can't wait to see it- have you been playing it? Boyfriend reluctant to have Piano living with you?! Can't get that- pianos are stunning!I always loved them even when couldn't make a key sound good LOL.
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1988777 - 11/20/12 01:31 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1228
Loc: Cleveland, OH
JimF, good to hear about your progress. Nothing wrong with dropping a piece that just doesn't seem to be for you. It leaves you more time to work on the things you love -- like that Puccini. And as for setting that aside for a while, that can sometimes be the best thing. Besides reducing the pressure, it can give you time to think about it and help you approach it in a new way. Your new project idea sounds exciting. Maybe this will be in a future recital?

FarmGirl, 2-3 hours working with your teacher? That's going to be fun, but a lot of work! Sometimes I'll have 1.5 hour lessons, and I'm always exhausted by the end of those. Yes it is hard (for me) to play expressively. I always have this thought in the back of my mind: "Am I playing this right?" At the top of the score for Fur Elise, my teacher wrote: "Don't Think; Listen!" My experiment with that piece went some way in silencing that unhelpful thought, but it's something I'll need to keep working on.

For me, progress was slow on the Chopin Waltz, so my assignment this week was to set aside everything else and concentrate only on this piece during my practice time. That meant I had to leave the Mozart for "dessert", which took some discipline, because Mozart is just so much fun to play. But with 6 days behind me, I think I've just about nailed the rhythm in the first section, and I've increased the tempo by about 30%. So not bad for a week of work.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXVI

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#1988835 - 11/20/12 06:08 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 812
Loc: Brighton Colorado
It's fall break!! And I sure need one...my accomplishment may be surviving this semester. As for music I'm very close to being able to play the 8 keys I'm working on (3 and 4 sharps major and minor) scales, chords, arpeggios, 7ths. They aren't as smooth or as fast as I need them to be for the level 5 exam but I'm closer. I put each key name on a small piece of paper and put them in a bowl on the piano. I choose one each morning to play and at first I couldn't connect the name with the hand position or the number of black keys and had to look it up in the scale book. This technical exercise has been much harder than I imagined especially minor keys (harmonic and melodic)...no wonder I never stuck with it in the past. Now whether or not it helps my playing remains to be seen. Happy Thanksgiving to all who enjoy the day
_________________________



Love to learn

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#1988844 - 11/20/12 07:04 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5248
Loc: Italy
Jared - that's very a very nice point to have reached - a lovely piece and smoother (and extended) scales! Good for you!

JimF --- so nice to see such a long post from you Jim.
I agree that when a piece starts to be frustrating instead of simply challenging, it is a good idea to put it aside. But certainly you needn't think of it as a failure, it is just a piece whose time has not come! Sure many have done it before, but think of how many of us have yet to approach this piece - maybe you'll end up coaching one of us as we struggle with it somewhere down the road! smile

I am not surprised you were feeling frazzled with so many "big" pieces on the go! I can imagine how delighted you were to see that a little time away from the Puccini allowed you to let it percolate and you found it improved !
I think working on the jazzy versions of the Christmas music sounds like a blast!... and working on your own arrangements!?? That's just beyond exciting! Good for you, what a fun project.

Thank you so much for your kind observation on my playing in the recital. I really feel I've made some steps forward with my new teacher and it is so rewarding for me to get feedback from those who've been listening to my efforts over the past three years!

ATallGuy --9 yrs old! Delightful! I have wonderful memories of spending time with my nieces at that age, and it is indeed simply a wonderful time of life!

MaryBee - sounds like you are making some really significant progress on your Chopin now! And having Mozart for dessert...well, that's not too bad now is it?

Wisebuff, what a fun idea with having the scales in a bowl to pull out randomly! You really are working so determinedly and with great focus in preparation for your exam. When do you think you'll be taking it?

Happy Thanksgiving to you too! We celebrate in October, but the sentiments are always welcome, aren't they?

I'm off to my piano lesson shortly and I will have to see what my teacher says about my German Dances - I'm really having trouble with some of the fingerings - especially with the stretches.
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1989414 - 11/21/12 01:44 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
warlock214 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 105
Loc: Tennessee
My achievement this week was I learned how to play "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".
_________________________

Casio Privia PX-150
Started Playing: November 2012
Completed Unit 6, Faber's Adult Piano Adventures Book 1

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#1989697 - 11/22/12 07:35 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Evelyn S Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Indonesia
I had a major achievement this week.

I finally mastered Go, Tell It on The Mountain (Bill Wolaver's arrangement) and I must say that the jazz chords are quite hard but my hard work did pay off laugh

I've also learned how to do glissando with this piece. Whoopee!

I'm going to play this piece for the Christmas recital and I can't wait to entertain the audiences with this piece. I swear to practice this piece like everyday because I have a major issue with stage fright when it comes to piano.
_________________________
Sinfonia 8 - Bach
Rondo Op 51 no 1 - Beethoven
Op 299 no 3 - Czerny
Berceuse - Frank Bridge
Piano Sonata No 1 3rd Mvt (Allegro) - Mozart

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#1989699 - 11/22/12 08:10 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England
Quote:
EdwardianPiano - congratulations! I think you're breaking down barriers and you've really found the key (no pun intended) to reading your music. And it all seemed to turn around in the blink of an eye! You had been building up to it without realizing it. What excitment to feel that sort of progress!




Thanks casinitaly! Did seem to come together- hope it keeps on like that! I think it is down to help on here, my teacher and Brian's e-book.



Quote:
Last night I learned about half of the Minuet in D Minor from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena. It is well under tempo and still shaky, but it was great to get so much done! My teacher wants me to be able to play it hands together for our next lesson after Thanksgiving break, and I will be out of town so I don't have a ton of time.

Also, I finally seem to be able to play the C Major scale four octaves without messing up too much. That one took a while...




All good Jared! I'm still on 2 octaves on C Major!


Jim- sounds like you are working on a lot and doing well.


Mary Bee- how cool to be learning a Chopin waltz!



Quote:
It's fall break!! And I sure need one...my accomplishment may be surviving this semester. As for music I'm very close to being able to play the 8 keys I'm working on (3 and 4 sharps major and minor) scales, chords, arpeggios, 7ths. They aren't as smooth or as fast as I need them to be for the level 5 exam but I'm closer. I put each key name on a small piece of paper and put them in a bowl on the piano. I choose one each morning to play and at first I couldn't connect the name with the hand position or the number of black keys and had to look it up in the scale book. This technical exercise has been much harder than I imagined especially minor keys (harmonic and melodic)...no wonder I never stuck with it in the past. Now whether or not it helps my playing remains to be seen. Happy Thanksgiving to all who enjoy the day



Good idea re the pieces of paper Wisebuff! Best wishes for your level 5 exam.



Quote:
My achievement this week was I learned how to play "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".



Are you going to play that at youir Xmas parties Warlock?


Quote:
I had a major achievement this week.

I finally mastered Go, Tell It on The Mountain (Bill Wolaver's arrangement) and I must say that the jazz chords are quite hard but my hard work did pay off

I've also learned how to do glissando with this piece. Whoopee!

I'm going to play this piece for the Christmas recital and I can't wait to entertain the audiences with this piece. I swear to practice this piece like everyday because I have a major issue with stage fright when it comes to piano.



Well done on all that Evelyn!


I haven't looked on the recitals page on this forum- I should as I know people are working hard on their playing.




Edited by EdwardianPiano (11/22/12 08:11 AM)
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1989857 - 11/22/12 04:55 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Congrats everyone! warlock I'm jealous. smile

I had so much go right this past week I don't even know where to start! My dynamics are back, I'm getting my rhythm worked out, I've gotten two songs up to speed. My sightreading has improved. I'm working on new metronome skills, level 2 songs.. etc.

Let's just say I'm thrilled!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1989872 - 11/22/12 05:53 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England
That's brilliant Becca! You have obviously been practising well.
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1990042 - 11/23/12 11:42 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: BeccaBb]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 686
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
Congrats everyone! warlock I'm jealous. smile

I had so much go right this past week I don't even know where to start! My dynamics are back, I'm getting my rhythm worked out, I've gotten two songs up to speed. My sightreading has improved. I'm working on new metronome skills, level 2 songs.. etc.

Let's just say I'm thrilled!


Good for you Becca.

I got tired of my lessons and started to look through my mom's old books. Got "Cuddle up a Little Closer" up to speed and have started to work on 'My Funny Valentine" No scales, no theory studies just plain fun smile
_________________________
Ragdoll

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#1990476 - 11/24/12 08:00 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2415
Loc: Virginia, USA
I've been loving playing some Christmas / Holidays music during the Thanksgiving break. Once again, another year gone by and I can see the improvement in my reading skills - playing most of the slower or simpler pieces at tempo smile smile smile

(Though for the faster pieces I'll drop back to improvising around melody / chords which is still much easier for me.)

So, AotY more than AotW wink
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Schumann - Ende vom Lied, Opus 12.8
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3

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#1990513 - 11/24/12 10:17 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1082
Loc: Southern California
Week 37: I met a young man, Kim, from Hong Kong, and studying music in the U.S. Kim is a guitar teacher. As a guitar player, his preference is rock and roll and pop style. I enjoyed talking music with him and played my original Shimmer on a Baldwin upright. I also shared my Shimmer upload with my modest email list and got a few more compliments. Perhaps that is why I am one of the 10% to 20% of folks that actually like to perform, because I like the attention and don't mind the occasional crash and burn.

I found it interesting what the music student is learning. Many of his classmates are also from abroad, and many have dreams of making it big in the music business. His dream is more modest about being a better guitar teacher back home in Hong Kong. The stunning thing is that Kim plays guitar 8 to 10 hours a day, and started at age 14.

I finally had time to listen to a few of the recital submissions. Again, it is amazing to me that the submitters self-identify as beginners. Again, for those that compare and despair, keep in mind that maybe 1% of folks reading this forum are uploading for the recital. Most of those that do are in the above average group, with more than a few in the exceptional group. Many have years of experience that they are discounting. I belong in that discounted group because I have over 10 years on other instruments and songwriting experience. It is now 9 months and counting since I got my Yamaha NP11 keyboard. Many others have many years of youth time on piano or other instruments that form a solid base to start from.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#1990557 - 11/25/12 01:48 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2020
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
I had my long lesson with my teacher today. It was 2 hours of lesson but she was in my house about three hours. It was supposedly on thanksgiving day but she had migraine headache. I played through Brahms 118 #2 and the fugue part of the f minor P&F from the WTC book II. Nothing is memorized yet. Especially the Bach piece is I cannot even look at the keys at all. Seriously reading while playing. But I'm amazed how fast they are coming. It's only two months. My teacher is really good at fixing something on the spot. For example, she tells me to play from the third beat of the measure x to the next measure. Tell me to play twice more until she thinks good enough. Then she says to do the same from the second beat of the same measure, repeat this for the first beat, and it is magically fixed. She says that there are only 4 bars I have problems like that. Fix it this way. She also tells me to add dynamics on the spot, yes, when I am barely playing. So I try, sure enough I screw up. Then she spots inherent weakness right away and start making me fix it right away on the spot (of course she tells me how). It was very tough. But it's fast. I got the glimpse of why some people learn it quickly. For my Brahms piece she told me to add the pedal from the beginning. I was glad I did it. She fixed my poor (two quickly released nervous pedal ). It saves time too. In Bach piece I learned fancy technique called terraced dynamics. Google it. It was blast. She loaned me Schubert sonata book and told me to try andante sostenuto part of the B flat major sonata (D960). It's beautiful. We went out for dinner afterwards. She invited me to join in her master class at her community college next semester. I'm so excited. It was a good day.


Edited by FarmGirl (11/25/12 02:21 AM)
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum and Grillen and Mozart K 475 Fantasy C minor
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell


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#1990576 - 11/25/12 04:04 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5248
Loc: Italy
Warlock - that is FUN! Good for you!

EvelynS - That's another lovely "good old favourite" - but in a jazzy format- what a blast! Do let us know all the fun you have at the recital!

BeccaBb - sounds like you are on a roll, improvements in so many aspects! You are so right to be thrilled! I'm happy to hear the excitement in your "voice"!

Ragdoll - I agree, there are times where you just say "to heck with the formal work". I love picking up old books and just playing about. I like to take my guitar books and see what I can do with the left hand (which isn't much, but it is a start to working with lead sheets!)

AndyPlatt - I hear you! Isn't it a fun sensation to look at material from 1 year ago and see how and where you've improved! I'm still not playing my carols up to tempo, but I'm definitely reading them better and I hope that next year I'll be closer to where you are now!

Sand Tiger - sounds like an interesting week. I think it is always fun to speak with young folks to hear their plans and ideas and strategies. I also admire your ability to put yourself "out there" and play in public. I haven't had many opportunities, but even just playing for friends at home I get very nervous.

Your comments about who participates in the ABF recitals have caught my attention.

I remember the first time I participated, when I started listening to the performances, I was mortified that I'd "dared" to submit something (after 5 months of playing) and I know I even started a post about "What is an adult beginner" . The upside of this is that even though my playing didn't greatly improve from my first to my second ABF recital, my mindset changed and I knew that I couldn't and shouldn't ! stew over the folks who were so much better. Even folks who started more or less at the same time as I did were and are significantly better than I am -- BUT -and this is a really important "but"... I received so much encouraging feedback that I never once felt that anyone else was bored or irritated or dismissive of my performance and efforts.

That's the beauty of the ABFer group - it is indeed a safe place to "put yourself out there" and get some feed back. I remember the first time someone gave me a bit of critique on how to make an improvement on my piece, I thought "oh, I must be getting better because now folks feel I can take some constructive criticism!"

The ABF recital continues to be my only recital experience (except for 1 at my former teacher's school) and it is a real thrill to participate -even more thrilling when people who have been listening to all my submitals make comments on where and how I'm improving. So, even without doing any analysis of the statistics, I would encourage any of those who are hesitant to join in to look at those who are ahead and see them as inspiration rather than something you can't "compete" with.

FarmGirl! Your teacher sounds marvellous! It is so much easier to fix things right at the beginning, and when you focus on the small steps you learn to add a bit of exta detail and depth that you would otherwise miss. I know my pieces are much less complicated than yours, but my teacher takes the same approach, and I can feel what an amazing difference it is making to my playing.
I can hear how very happy you are with your teacher and this new approach. I think you and I are both extremely fortunate and pleased with our new teachers this year!!!!!

My ATOW was to have another WONDERFUL lesson with my WONDERFUL teacher. We looked at the German Dances and I whined a bit about how hard it was to reach the top octave note while holding the 1st and 3rd notes with fingers 1 and 2. His answer was an illumination.
First, he acknowledged that it was indeed hard.(Bless him).
Second, he said it didn't matter if I got it this week, or next week or the week after and without using the exact words I was encouraged to "lighten up" smile
Then he showed me that I could actuall do it (just barely)... and that the issue is that I need to be more flexible about hand positions. I have to learn to turn my hand, to slide up and down the key and find the right position - in other words, I have to experiment.
He showed me a little exercise to do to work my way up to the octave position and that I didn't have to have my N2 finger right on the flat key, but that I could just touch the very very tip of it.

He also said that he wasn't really concerned if I played this piece at tempo or hands together. For the moment we're using it for learning some techniques.

So...with the stress removed, I've actually made some progress on the darn thing!

I'm also starting to work on a new jazz piece, which is great fun ...and a bit of a challenge with the timing.

And a non-musical ATOW is that we are making our Christmas puddings this week smile
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1990645 - 11/25/12 10:19 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2020
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Hi Cheryl, I agree we both have fantastic teachers. I have a new appreciation for my old teacher too. She helped me fix my bad habits one by one. She taught me just like 10 year olds (from sitting position, elbows, curved fingers, etc). I think that's what I needed at that time. I don't think I could have benefitted so much from my current teacher without three years with my previous teacher. It probably make sense to change teachers sometimes. As you sensed correctly i am much happier with her. You have made tremendous progress. No one believes you now if you tell people that you did not have years of childhood training. I'm not yet ready for recording but in December I will start. I have to be ready for my piano party.
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum and Grillen and Mozart K 475 Fantasy C minor
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell


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#1990652 - 11/25/12 10:42 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Wow. So many good things happening here for everybody. Excellent. My life has become extremely busy by me recently starting full time work which in turn has greatly reduced my piano time. Because of this two things happened.

1. I couldn't continue lessons due to time issues.
2. I had to find better ways to practice,

So I spent a lot of time learning simpler/easier pieces and though that was pure fun I started feeling I wasn't progressing. I went in search of a new teacher and have had 3 lessons so far. She comes to my house so that's extra cool. I told her my goals. Half time on grade 5 prep and half on fun pieces. It's turned out we spent about 80% of the time on exam requirements but I'm ok with that as I feel this is where i learn lots and my progress is most apparent. It's also the biggest challenge for me. She wants me to get through 80% of the books (repertoire and studies) before I sit for the exam. This is different from my past teachers approach and I like this more. It is a lot of work as so far I have got a new study and new piece each week. But it is so motivating. She wants to get each piece to 80-90% and make sure I can handle the technical aspects of each piece. As with farmgirl she stops and corrects errors on the spot and finds solutions when I'm really struggling. It is hard working like this for an hour. Tiring and exhilarating all at the same time. Which leads me to my second part of this long post.

2. Extremely limited practice time has require me to change how I practice. I will play a piece through a few times and then I will have a pretty good idea of trouble spots. I then work hard to smooth those out. It's hard to practice in bits and pieces like this because it's not as fun. But it works. For a week things seem rough and choppy but then 'breakthrough' it starts to come together. It's really helped me keep up through these last few weeks when things have been crazy.

I'd been trying a Christmas carol from the Faber level 5 book and wanted to give it up last week. My teacher told me no. To just slow down and play one page. She made sure there were no trouble spots and said to try it for one more week. She felt it was because I was unfamiliar with the chords (and) jazzy sound that was giving me trouble but it was technically within my reach. She also suggested hands together and pedal right from the start as it will be easier. She was right. Adding everything up front made a huge difference. In the past I've done hands separate, hands together, dynamics and pedal last. She told me at this level the interplay of the hands is critical and likely it will be better to work this way from the start. A real breakthrough moment for me!

I am loving learning again and the new ideas from my new teacher!

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#1990655 - 11/25/12 10:54 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5248
Loc: Italy
FarmGirl, you are too kind! lol... Actually, in a way I DID have years of childhood training... only it was on the Bass Clarinet smile That might count for something smile

Zoe - your new teacher sounds inspirational! I'm so happy for you!
Wow, we really are a fortunate trio! I think it is interesting that none of us really had plans to make a switch, but when it happened it worked out so well.
smile
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1990656 - 11/25/12 10:56 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2674
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I am also learning to practice in bits and pieces. In a way it turns out to be more fun, because the pieces come together more quickly!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1990660 - 11/25/12 11:16 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2020
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
To all beginners and new comers:
I understand whenever you complain that there is no beginner in this forum. The fact is many started out brand new or semi brand new or returned with shakey fingers after God knows how many years of absence. They just got better quick. Cheryl is a great example of successes. Donno if they were adult prodigy or what. One thing for sure their love for music and very patient yet analytical (totally adult)way of learning made difference. So you too get better. Sorry Cheryl I had to say this for new comers.

Zoe- I agree with getting pedal in from the start. I too had to go through the ritual of doing it without for a couple of weeks, etc.

Malkin -yay for the bits and pieces. I find the backward practice (described in my long post above) to be truly a time saver.


Edited by FarmGirl (11/25/12 11:19 AM)
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum and Grillen and Mozart K 475 Fantasy C minor
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell


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#1990703 - 11/25/12 01:00 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5248
Loc: Italy
Well, FarmGirl, thanks for your kind words. I don't really think I'm an adult prodigy - Sam Rose, Wouter, JazzWee - those guys are the really amazing ones.

I think I'm a reasonable example of what anyone who is dedicated and determined (one might say obsessed) can achieve without being particularly talent. smile

One thing that I'm CONSTANTLY trying to remember is to be patient with myself. I am so guilty of wanting results NOW, I can really make myself crazy!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1990718 - 11/25/12 01:59 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England
Quote:
To all beginners and new comers:
I understand whenever you complain that there is no beginner in this forum.



There is- me. I'm not even grade 1- nowhere near it. What brilliant posts- you folks are so dedicated and inspiriational! And what great teachers as well.
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1990732 - 11/25/12 02:51 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1082
Loc: Southern California
CasinItaly, you are too modest. If you were uploading for the recital after five months on piano, that is exceptional, and definitely in the above average group. Years of childhood music exposure and training gives a person a huge advantage over someone that is totally new to making music as an adult.

There are many true beginners. I see their questions. Some of their queries get little response because the questions are so basic, often with a poor understanding of what to ask. I remember when I was relatively new to the forum and posted a question on how to play a simple arpeggio. Silence, not a single response. Only when I posted a clip of my beginner mangling did a kind teacher take the time to respond to my question and told me something so extremely basic.

For every basic beginner question posted there are usually another 100 or 1000 readers often times wondering the same thing. The other thing that happens is that a new person posts a question and abandons the forum.

I do want to encourage all the new beginners, the lurkers, those on the fence about sharing music with uploads. Everyone was a beginner at some point. For those that have been playing for a month or two, or three, one reassuring thought is that many new folks are getting their first instrument as a holiday gift. So by the time January comes, they will be where you are now, and will look to you as the more experienced person.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#1990777 - 11/25/12 05:48 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2020
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Sand Tiger, what a great post! I will try to give my feedback next time if I knows answer to beginner questions. It just makes me appreciate our resident teachers. Peter, Keystring, Apple, Merodien and others I may failed to mention. Thank you
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum and Grillen and Mozart K 475 Fantasy C minor
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell


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#1990823 - 11/25/12 08:58 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
warlock214 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 105
Loc: Tennessee
EdwardianPiano - I hope to play at parties if not at home with family and friends.

Christmas Music learned so far:
1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2. Angels We Have Heard on High

My goal is 5 songs. I started a week and a half ago. Now granted I've only had 3 lessons, I'm just putting in extra practice time to accomplish my goal. Hope I'm not rushing my learning! I'm also a true beginner!!
_________________________

Casio Privia PX-150
Started Playing: November 2012
Completed Unit 6, Faber's Adult Piano Adventures Book 1

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#1990927 - 11/26/12 04:13 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Sand Tiger]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5248
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
CasinItaly, you are too modest. If you were uploading for the recital after five months on piano, that is exceptional, and definitely in the above average group. Years of childhood music exposure and training gives a person a huge advantage over someone that is totally new to making music as an adult.

No, not too modest, that really isn't one of my characteristics smile Quite the contrary in fact, I've got way too much ego! I will agree though that the highschool training made a significant difference in my "start up".
I had to learn the bass clef, and of course there is the whole issue of two hand coordination - but being able to read music and being familiar with how to make music was indeed a huge help.

Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
There are many true beginners. I see their questions. Some of their queries get little response because the questions are so basic, often with a poor understanding of what to ask.


Sometimes it is hard to understand what is being asked - and sometimes it is hard to know how to explain what you'd like to answer! I spent about 20 minutes last night trying to formulate an explanation of counting for someone and gave up... then I saw a teacher had replied and cleared the matter in about 3 lines!

I do confess though that sometimes I get a bit tired of seeing the same questions over and over - I think that some folks really need to learn to use the search feature! However, I do try to remember that not everyone is familiar with forums and just as they are new to learning piano, they are quite possibly also new to learning how a forum works!

What I do like is that every few months we see a new batch of arrivals and they seem to "click" -- you can see the same folks replying to each other, and of course there is input from older members too - but the newer people tend to develop a rapport - much as we have done here in this thread.

Your suggestion of making uploads is interesting but I have to say that I have rarely uploaded anything except my recital pieces. I generally have not felt that I want to record and publish. I find recording stressful --- and there again, lots of folks don't know how to record and upload, so that's another frustration and something else to learn (which takes away from piano time!)

You are right about pianos arriving in the next month as gifts! I got mine for Christmas and that makes for a fun "benchmark" for comparing where I am with my Christmas songs every year.

And again, your point about each one of us gradually becoming the one that a newer person can refer to is bang on. The lovely thing about this forum is that there are so many folks at so many different levels. Sometimes there are just a few months difference, sometimes we're learning different techniques at different times in our journey -but it really doesn't take very long before we have some insight to share. That insight may simply be "oh yes, I had a terrible time learning xyz, but now I can do it" -- but even that can simple "now I can do it" can be an inspiration for someone who is frustrated and feeling incompetent.
We've all had THOSE moments - and no doubt will face them again (and again and again) in the future!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1991515 - 11/27/12 01:47 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 817
Loc: Switzerland
I have been away for a while, and I have had a blast catching up on this thread! There is such good information and enthusiasm here. You guys are great inspiration.

I had a major MS relapse that caused temporary partial paralysis on my right side, which prevented me from playing piano at all. I am happy to say I have made a complete recovery and I am again on the piano bench. My first AOTW was being brave enough to actually sit down and try to play again. I was scared to death that I would not be able to play. My fingers are rusty after 2 1/2 months, but everything seems back to normal. I just have some rebuilding to do.

I had my first piano lesson since the end of September today, and my teacher was happy with where I was at. I am thanking my lucky stars that she specializes in the physiology of piano playing. She gave me some simple etudes to focus on maintaining the bridge of the back of the hand. Weak fingers tend to let that collapse. So, my goals for this week is to get my pieces back to where they were before the "intermission", and to be very aware of my hand position. One visual aid tip she gave me which I will pass on: the thumb and the fifth finger should always point at 11 and 1 o'clock. It seems to work for me.
_________________________



European Piano Party July 4, 2015 in Switzerland!

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#1991805 - 11/28/12 02:39 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5248
Loc: Italy
Hi SwissMS - so glad to hear you are on the road to recovery from this very scary relapse. My mom has MS, but she has never had that kind of experience. I can only imagine your fears as you lived through this.

You are really fortunate to have a teacher who can really focus on what you need!

MY ATOW....My teacher was pleased with my work this week - I'd improved vastly with the passage I didn't even think I could do last lesson! He also noted I'd somehow managed to get it wrong and I had ended up doing something that was technically even harder! lol.... The correction was a simple thing (I had focused on holding down the g and bflat AND the octave G, instead of letting go of the bottom notes!!, I was supposed to just do a legato and leave them. He was actually sort of pleased with the error becuase it was good in terms of developing a technical skill).

He also saw an improvement in my hand position for scales, but I have more work to do - I tend to have my fingers flying up in the air when not in use. I've "tamed" them a bit, but he showed me more detail on how to develop the skill.

We also studied a few bars and hand positioning shifts. The bars themselves are very simple, but the concepts are things I will apply to many pieces in the future. What he is showing me is how to look at a piece and decide how I'm going to play it right from the start.

He also showed me that I was attacking the grace notes in my jazz piece too ferociously and how to lighten up !

I leave the lessons feeling thrilled and that I've gained something that is another building block in my piano skills-set.

I can't help but wonder why my other teacher didn't do some of these things, and I continue to be pleased about the switch!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1991891 - 11/28/12 10:23 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: JimF]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 686
Loc: Illinois
Well I have an informal Christmas Recital coming up on the 7th of Dec (center court of local mall)for which I have been reviewing some pieces. I was getting frustrated with my teacher because she kept pointing out things I didn't deem very important for this venue. ie: "you rushed this phrase", "this count was too long", etc. WELL, two weeks ago she told me to practice consistantly with the metronome until my tempo and timing were correct before next lesson.

Then yesterday at my lesson, we played the pieces as duets and they were so beautiful I got a bit misty. She wants to do these along with me at the recital. 3hearts yippie
_________________________
Ragdoll

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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