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#1991919 - 11/28/12 11:48 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Ragdoll]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Ragdoll
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


Aw, that was a special moment indeed!!!!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
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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#1991936 - 11/28/12 12:31 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: London UK
If you tap out the rhythm of a song, it will probably be recognised. If you just play the notes, in a rhythmless string, you might be surprised that it won't! Your teacher was right. Your audience in the mall ill excuse the odd wrong note. They'll immediately notice if the "beat" slips.

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#1991955 - 11/28/12 01:22 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 660
Loc: Illinois
Quote:
If you just play the notes, in a rhythmless string


I'd hardly describe my practice of them previously as a rhythmless string but more my own interpretation of the songs. I had intended them to be solos. I believe she wanted the actual rhythm on my part to be correct (per the sheets) in order to surprise me with her intention to do them as a duets. Which are a completely new thing to me. wink
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#1992026 - 11/28/12 04:13 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
Andy Congrats on your Aoty! My first year mark is coming up end of this weekend. smile

Farmgirl: Your lessons sound like so much fun! Please let us know how the master class goes. I think I might be green with envy! smile

Cas: another awesome lesson! Again I feel green! hehe Glad to hear that your teacher is helping you to relax. We really can be our own worst enemies eh?

Zoe: Good for you for figuring out a way to get around your lack of time. When I was working full time I was so tired I rarely touched my piano! You should be proud of yourself for sticking with it!

Warlock: That's a awesome goal! I'm only trying to learn two right now (Jingle bells and Silent night) to play for my family for X-mas. The extra time can only help! smile

SwissMS: Welcome back! I'm glad to hear your on full recovery! I have two loved ones with MS. It's an awful disease and I'm always so impressed with the grit to keep going. It's very nice that you have a teacher so supportive!

Ragdoll: congrats on your first attempt at a duet! Sounds like a ton of fun!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1992047 - 11/28/12 05:10 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: warlock214]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Originally Posted By: warlock214
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!!


Sounds like you are having fun Warlock. Best wishes for your lessons and Xmas music.
_________________________
"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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#1992048 - 11/28/12 05:11 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Originally Posted By: Ragdoll
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


Aw, that was a special moment indeed!!!!


How cool to make beautiful music on your piano!
_________________________
"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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#1992052 - 11/28/12 05:17 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Sorry to hear about the MS SwissMS- nice to hear you're improving and playing piano again. I do voluntary work with people with MS and have met some great folks who are doing all sorts of arts and activities.

Casinitaly you are certainly doing very well with your teacher. I've been a bit lazy on Piano lately. I am blaming the cold weather and vegetating on the couch with a hot water bottle.
_________________________
"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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#1992118 - 11/28/12 07:43 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
AOTW... blech, not much. Pretty much just surviving (from a piano perspective that is). Between Thanksgiving and going away for three days, there was very little bench time, maybe two or three hours total across the last 10 days. Mostly I was in "just keep the music in the fingers so it's not forgotten" mode. Mission accomplished.

I did squeeze in as much time as possible with http://www.musictheory.net/exercises though, which is excellent. I'm able to identify individual notes much more rapidly and accurately, I also (finally) can identify key signatures by name based on their flats/sharps. I'm starting to be able to identify intervals and chords using their proper names (both from the grand staff and seeing the keys highlighted).

The most exciting part of this is that I'm starting to really see patterns, both consciously and intuitively. For instance, a perfect 5th is a root white key and then the fifth white key up from that root (OK, obvious), and on the black keys it is the fourth black key up from the root. Actually, I imagine there are black keys everywhere and I then play the fifth above. I find this easier mentally because I'm simply looking for the same physical distance regardless of whether the keys are black or white.

This works only when the perfect fifth spans one and only one pair of keys without a black key between them (B/C and E/F). If crossing both B/C and E/F, you need to go up an additional half step from the fifth key of the same color -- so this extra rule only applies to B as the root for the white keys, and A#/Bb for the black keys.

Not rocket science (and oh goodness, please someone tell me if I've screwed this up, but I did double-check myself just now and I think I have it right), but it's a jump forward for me to actually start to grasp these things on the level of understanding the relationships between the concepts and the physical reality on the keyboard vs. either memorization or brute force "dead reckoning" of counting half-steps, using mnemonics such as "FACE", and so on.

My next goal is to be able to have the same level of intuition from the written page to the keys. It's easy to see B/C and E/F on the keyboard, but on the sheet I still don't have those two interpretive exceptions integrated into my thinking so that I can convert an interval or chord into the shape of my hand without having to translate the notes on the sheet to the letters and then to the physical keys.

I think this will be a long process, but my gut sense is that being able to grasp the impact of B/C and E/F is the main thing that is necessary in order to deal with the variety of hand positions needed for different chords, scales, and so on. Otherwise, if we had black keys between every single pair of white keys (I guess we wouldn't need a G and a G# then would we?), every chord, interval, scale, etc. would have only two forms -- depending on whether it started on a black or a white key. That would be so much easier! ...setting aside of course that it would be next to impossible to keep track of where we are on the piano confused

So, I'm really zeroed in on understanding the impact of B/C and E/F since they are really driving much of the complexity we face (not to mention saving us from crippling simplicity) in translating between the sheet and the keys.

Also... my Christmas surprise has been ruined, I will be getting my piano tuned. cool

The kids were bummed because they wanted to surprise me and have me sit down to play one day and suddenly have actual music come out of the thing (it's really that bad, I'm half tempted to make a recording of it, just for posterity's sake). But I asked my wife to please PLEASE PLEASE not have it done without me there since I want to discuss the action with the tuner, decide if it's worthwhile to try to raise it to concert pitch (it's a half step flat in the middle, as much as a whole tone flat in the upper registers), find out if he thinks it will hold its tune going forward, and so on.

If you've made it this far on this prattling post, you deserve a medal... tired yawn
_________________________
"...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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#1992244 - 11/29/12 02:18 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: 4869
Loc: Italy
ATallGuyNH -- what you are going through is a very exciting step forward. I remember making similar observations to my first teacher after a few lessons --..Oh look what I've figured out! Bless her heart, she didn't laugh! smile Sure it is dead simple stuff, but so is long division once you know how to do it!

It is too early (and I haven't had enough coffee) to get a handle on your description - but if you are feeling that EF and BC mess things up, then yes, I'd say you're on the right track!

Did you have any music reading experience before starting on the piano?
I did, but even so, the transition from page to touching the instrument was harder on piano than on clarinet for example, simply because of having to read 2 lines, and sometimes having more than one note to play at one time.

I remember the thrill of seeing those patterns for the first time ---and actually I still find it very exciting to look at a piece of music and realize "oh! I get it! This is like..xyz". Very satisfying indeed. You'll find that the more you play the more those symbols on the page are automatically translated to a finger positioning. You won't even think of what they are, you just know - much like reading text and no longer spelling out words, but reading them as a whole.

I was told that it would take about 2 years to start being fluid in reading, and in my experience that was pretty accurate. What I've found in my third year is that the learning increased at a more rapid rate.

If you can do as much sight reading as possible (I have 2 HUGE books of "easy" piano - I personally don't find 50% of the pieces very "easy", but there sure are a lot of pages - over 500 in total-- I try to sight read every day. Inlanding made a suggestion to me --- that I should try playing a page, and write the date on it - that way when I go back to it in a year or six month I will have a feeling for how much easier it is to play. Even if I'm not doing "pure" sight reading (prima vista), I am practicing reading with pieces I'm not very familiar with.

Several of us have commented on how much easier it is to play our Christmas carols this year - there are 2 very cool aspects to that. One is that we can mark our progress, the other is that many of us were here talking about what we could do with our carols and we can share in each other's progress!

Last night I was trying to sing while playing carols....talk about a coordination challenge! smile

I think it is great you're getting your piano tuned for Christmas! And also right that it isn't a surprise. I love hanging out with the tuner while she works! It is wonderful to hear your piano come back into its proper voice!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
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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#1992282 - 11/29/12 07:11 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Ragdoll]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Ragdoll
Quote:
If you just play the notes, in a rhythmless string


I'd hardly describe my practice of them previously as a rhythmless string but more my own interpretation of the songs. I had intended them to be solos. I believe she wanted the actual rhythm on my part to be correct (per the sheets) in order to surprise me with her intention to do them as a duets. Which are a completely new thing to me. wink


Playing a duet was very clever of your teacher. It made you play maybe with a degree of "interpretation" but without losing the rhythmic pulse.

I wasn't suggesting you went ALL the way down the rhythmless string" path! And music, particularly written-down versions of popular styles, often (usually?) requires a bit of interpretation. I just see "It's my interpretation!" so often used as an excuse for sloppy playing - slowing down the tricky bits, rushing the hard bits...

It's hard. Just this week I had to tell a student something he probably saw as quite illogical. A Joplin rag, though an ancestor of mainstream Jazz styles, takes straight 8s, unswung. Then I dug myself a hole. "Like rock music, as against Swing" I said. Next we looked at "Jingle Bell Rock". Written (in this version(in straight 8s. "Ah. But this is 1950's Rock 'n Roll. Written straight, played swung." And God help anyone who tries to play the notated rhythms strictly literally!
How do you tell a student what notation is worthy of literal playing, what transcription of a pop song by a publishing house hack arranger isn't?

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#1992325 - 11/29/12 09:14 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 660
Loc: Illinois
Yes it really was. I always used to get distracted if teacher joined in during lessons, so it was a good accomplishment for me. wow
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#1992328 - 11/29/12 09:17 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: BeccaBb]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 660
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
Ragdoll: congrats on your first attempt at a duet! Sounds like a ton of fun!


Thanks Becca, It wasn't my first attempt, just my first successful one. grin
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#1992329 - 11/29/12 09:19 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 660
Loc: Illinois
Thanks for your kind words EP
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#1992334 - 11/29/12 09:35 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 660
Loc: Illinois
[quote=Exalted Wombat Playing a duet was very clever of your teacher. It made you play maybe with a degree of "interpretation" but without losing the rhythmic pulse.

I just see "It's my interpretation!" so often used as an excuse for sloppy playing - slowing down the tricky bits, rushing the hard bits...[/quote]

I agree on both counts. Once she sees I can play my lesson correctly, she's quite lenient to let me "interpret" but not before I demonstrate I can play it as written. Like I said I think she insisted this time because she intended to play it as a duet and my interpretation would make her job harder, as well as maybe compromise the quality of the piece in recital.

WRT to Joplin rags, almost always I hear them played much too fast and some are fast but not all of them.
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.

Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken.


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#1993048 - 12/01/12 01:55 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
ATallGuyNH -- what you are going through is a very exciting step forward. I remember making similar observations to my first teacher after a few lessons --..Oh look what I've figured out! Bless her heart, she didn't laugh! smile Sure it is dead simple stuff, but so is long division once you know how to do it!

Well, bless your heart for not laughing at me. blush
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
It is too early (and I haven't had enough coffee) to get a handle on your description - but if you are feeling that EF and BC mess things up, then yes, I'd say you're on the right track!

Did you have any music reading experience before starting on the piano?

Yes, I was in choir as a child and had piano lessons for a couple years (Thompson red book, very basic stuff).

Originally Posted By: casinitaly

I did, but even so, the transition from page to touching the instrument was harder on piano than on clarinet for example, simply because of having to read 2 lines, and sometimes having more than one note to play at one time.

Yes, I'm just getting to the point where I can read the shapes of chords a bit and not have to pick out each note one by one. It's slow, but noticeable progress.
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I remember the thrill of seeing those patterns for the first time ---and actually I still find it very exciting to look at a piece of music and realize "oh! I get it! This is like..xyz". Very satisfying indeed. You'll find that the more you play the more those symbols on the page are automatically translated to a finger positioning. You won't even think of what they are, you just know - much like reading text and no longer spelling out words, but reading them as a whole.

I'm looking forward to this very much... any advice to hasten the process, or bad habits to avoid that would otherwise retard the process?
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I was told that it would take about 2 years to start being fluid in reading, and in my experience that was pretty accurate. What I've found in my third year is that the learning increased at a more rapid rate.

If you can do as much sight reading as possible (I have 2 HUGE books of "easy" piano - I personally don't find 50% of the pieces very "easy", but there sure are a lot of pages - over 500 in total-- I try to sight read every day.

I wish I had the time. It's very sporadic. I sometimes go days without any bench time, then have a couple hours at a stretch. Then a couple 10-15 minute stretches the next day, and so on. Very inconsistent, so its hard to make scales and sight reading a priority at the expense of what I'm trying to work on.
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Inlanding made a suggestion to me --- that I should try playing a page, and write the date on it - that way when I go back to it in a year or six month I will have a feeling for how much easier it is to play. Even if I'm not doing "pure" sight reading (prima vista), I am practicing reading with pieces I'm not very familiar with.

I love this suggestion and will adopt it when I start sight reading. It will also serve as a means to track how much I'm actually doing over time as well. I have several sources available to me, mostly hymnals.
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Several of us have commented on how much easier it is to play our Christmas carols this year - there are 2 very cool aspects to that. One is that we can mark our progress, the other is that many of us were here talking about what we could do with our carols and we can share in each other's progress!

Last night I was trying to sing while playing carols....talk about a coordination challenge! smile

As you know, I've been working on Billy Joel -- very difficult to sing along even when I know the song completely cold for both piano and the lyrics. Even then, I can only do it for songs where the melody line is played in the accompaniment. If I'm playing just chords? Fuhgeddaboudit... I can't carry a tune in a bucket without singing in unison along with either another voice or the piano.
Originally Posted By: casinitaly

I think it is great you're getting your piano tuned for Christmas! And also right that it isn't a surprise. I love hanging out with the tuner while she works! It is wonderful to hear your piano come back into its proper voice!

I find it so intriguing that your tuner is a she... this is quite rare AFAIK.
_________________________
"...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

Top
#1993092 - 12/01/12 06:45 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: aTallGuyNH]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: ATallGuyNH

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I remember the thrill of seeing those patterns for the first time ---and actually I still find it very exciting to look at a piece of music and realize "oh! I get it! This is like..xyz". Very satisfying indeed. You'll find that the more you play the more those symbols on the page are automatically translated to a finger positioning. You won't even think of what they are, you just know - much like reading text and no longer spelling out words, but reading them as a whole.

I'm looking forward to this very much... any advice to hasten the process, or bad habits to avoid that would otherwise retard the process?


Well, what helped me develop quicker recognition was playing pieces that were in the same key for a while, where I saw the same chords over and over : for example the chords I first noticed becoming automatic were E & G, A & D , where E and A are the top notes.

Originally Posted By: aTallGuY
I sometimes go days without any bench time, then have a couple hours at a stretch. Then a couple 10-15 minute stretches the next day, and so on. Very inconsistent, so its hard to make scales and sight reading a priority at the expense of what I'm trying to work on.


Well, here I would suggest you try to balance out a bit more.
If you can get to the piano every day - even for only 10-15 minutes - heck even 5 minutes! Things will just come together that much better.

Even before I'd heard of the MOYD (master of your own domain) thread, I had committed to playing every day. So far, since Christmas 2009, on the days I have been at home I think I've missed playing twice, for migraine....and other days I've missed have been travel days. Otherwise, it is every day -even if it is only to run through scales for a few minutes.
I find it keeps me focused.


Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Inlanding made a suggestion to me --- that I should try playing a page, and write the date on it - that way when I go back to it in a year or six month I will have a feeling for how much easier it is to play. Even if I'm not doing "pure" sight reading (prima vista), I am practicing reading with pieces I'm not very familiar with.
Originally Posted By: ATallGuyNH

I love this suggestion and will adopt it when I start sight reading. It will also serve as a means to track how much I'm actually doing over time as well. I have several sources available to me, mostly hymnals.


When you start? What are you waiting for??? wink
One thing you will find is that it REALLY makes a difference if you go to pieces that are BELOW your level. It seems like you're going backwards, but you aren't -- you're working at building the skill with pieces you actually have a chance of reading well and playing at tempo fairly quickly!

Originally Posted By: ATallGuy
I find it so intriguing that your tuner is a she... this is quite rare AFAIK.


I think it is rare, even here. Her family is in the piano business so I suspect that's why she got involved. She's wonderful - my first tuner really seemed to question my ability to hear when something wasn't quite right, which I found very offensive.
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
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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#1993140 - 12/01/12 10:19 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
Loc: UK
Just a short post as I need to get back to the piano: my achievement is that have now started on sharps (the joys of being a complete beginner) and that I played my homework pieces well in my lesson. Hope everyone is well, will read all your achievements and catch up later xx
_________________________
Complete Beginner August 2012
'Play Piano' Book 1 - finished
'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
Grade 1 Sight Reading - finished
Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
Yamaha U3

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#1993178 - 12/01/12 12:20 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Toastie]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Toastie
Just a short post as I need to get back to the piano: my achievement is that have now started on sharps (the joys of being a complete beginner) and that I played my homework pieces well in my lesson. Hope everyone is well, will read all your achievements and catch up later xx


Sharps are no big deal -- but wait til you get to the flats ! lol....sorry, couldn't resist.

My first teacher started me off with 2 lovely pieces that were full of sharps and flats --- 3 of one, 4 of the other -- talk about getting your feet wet quickly!
It really was a great idea as now they don't really "scare" me as much as I think they would without that experience.

BTW... when are we going to see your photos of you piano!! smile
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
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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#1993184 - 12/01/12 12:28 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
Loc: UK
As soon as I can tear myself away from the piano long enough to upload some!! I promise it will be soon smile I am really enjoying the sharps so far, they haven't been too bad. I am having a blissful few weeks of seemingly effortless progress simply because I am spending so much time having fun with my piano. Long may it continue!
_________________________
Complete Beginner August 2012
'Play Piano' Book 1 - finished
'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
Grade 1 Sight Reading - finished
Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
Yamaha U3

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#1993212 - 12/01/12 01:34 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Well, what helped me develop quicker recognition was playing pieces that were in the same key for a while, where I saw the same chords over and over : for example the chords I first noticed becoming automatic were E & G, A & D , where E and A are the top notes.

That's a really good point. I'll try to do that, starting with C#. wink

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Originally Posted By: aTallGuY
I sometimes go days without any bench time, then have a couple hours at a stretch. Then a couple 10-15 minute stretches the next day, and so on. Very inconsistent, so its hard to make scales and sight reading a priority at the expense of what I'm trying to work on.


Well, here I would suggest you try to balance out a bit more.
If you can get to the piano every day - even for only 10-15 minutes - heck even 5 minutes! Things will just come together that much better.

Even before I'd heard of the MOYD (master of your own domain) thread, I had committed to playing every day. So far, since Christmas 2009, on the days I have been at home I think I've missed playing twice, for migraine....and other days I've missed have been travel days. Otherwise, it is every day -even if it is only to run through scales for a few minutes.
I find it keeps me focused.


This makes a lot of sense to me, easier said than done though. Mind you, this is essentially within my control. I'll explain my circumstances...

Basically, the problem is that I'm lazy beyond belief. I love to do what I love to do, and I cheerfully ignore everything else. "Everything else" includes things like:

- not repairing the fence that blew down during Sandy
- not re-painting a ceiling that was damaged in a flood in 2005
- not filing income tax returns timely
- not refinancing my mortgage at a dramatically lower rate
- not mowing the lawn more than once every 4-6 weeks in the summer
- not closing the pool before freezing temperatures burst pipes
- not opening the pool before an enormous algae bloom winds up costing hundreds of dollars in chemicals to resolve, year after year
- not doing part time work that could net significant amounts of additional income
- not doing dozens of others things that I'm sure I've forgotten entirely

Yes, I have some self-discipline issues -- amongst other issues, ADHD for one.

My wife, understandably, sees red when I am merrily grinding away on the piano. It's almost enough to make me do a better job at all of the above, except I find it incredibly difficult to do any of the things noted above, with a depth that I can't really describe, unless it gets to the point where it simply must be done.

My solution then, is to just practice when she isn't around.
- she runs out for a gallon of milk, and "boo-yah!", I've got 10 minutes of practice time.

- she goes to bible study each week and I get an hour or so before it's time to put the kids* down for bed.

- after church each week I "sneak" up and play the DGX-500 for as long as I can get away with while she is socializing. This bugs her also, BTW, as I often drag it out well into the afternoon, when I could otherwise be tackling aforementioned list of wonderful tasks.

- if I have to run to the church for an errand -- it is a very small church and the two of us are involved in many aspects, so there are myriad excuses to go there throughout the week -- I'll pop up to the sanctuary and squeeze in 5-10 minutes. Well, actually, I'll squeeze in whatever I think I can get away with. Lengthy tasks are awesome because I can tack on 30 minutes and she won't think anything of me being gone for 2.5 hours even though processing the offering, paying the bills for the week, etc. only took 2 hours to complete.

This is starting to feel like a confessional... blush

So, this is why bench time is so wildly variable. There are many days when she is around the entire time, no excuses to go to church, hence no practice time. Sometimes circumstances collide and I can get 4-6 hours in over a single weekend. laugh yippie

* The kids are starting to resent that I consistently spend that time on the piano instead of with them, except when we need to work on homework. They are really encouraging about the "surprise" Billy Joel song (as you know, but for benefit of others -- see somewhere far above in this thread for explanation), so I remind them that I can't very well practice when she is around. They get that, but still it's not just that one song, and it makes them feel bad that piano is consistently a priority over them whenever Mom is not around. This is a problem, and I'm trying to be more sensitive to their needs, which cuts down on bench time (and rightly so, of course).

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
Inlanding made a suggestion to me --- that I should try playing a page, and write the date on it - that way when I go back to it in a year or six month I will have a feeling for how much easier it is to play. Even if I'm not doing "pure" sight reading (prima vista), I am practicing reading with pieces I'm not very familiar with.
Originally Posted By: ATallGuyNH

I love this suggestion and will adopt it when I start sight reading. It will also serve as a means to track how much I'm actually doing over time as well. I have several sources available to me, mostly hymnals.


When you start? What are you waiting for??? wink


Well, see above. It's hard to have any sort of structure under the circumstances, not to mention that I find self-imposed structure to be virtually impossible. Ironically, I am a Project Manager professionally -- so my job is to create and sustain structure for others. I do that fairly well, but need to have it imposed externally for myself!

Bottom line, I have to make some decisions about how to spend my practice time.

Do I continue to focus on challenging stuff that I love, at the expense of a solid foundation? Or do I put the challenging stuff on the shelf (this would be very painful after the time invested so far) and essentially start over? Is there a middle ground that is actually tenable? Or would I just wind up doing both the advanced stuff and the basic stuff poorly?

I'll probably make a separate post to solicit advice on this, so as not to clutter AOTW.

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
One thing you will find is that it REALLY makes a difference if you go to pieces that are BELOW your level. It seems like you're going backwards, but you aren't -- you're working at building the skill with pieces you actually have a chance of reading well and playing at tempo fairly quickly!


Yes, I definitely have seen this advice previously and have followed it during the small amount of experimentation that I have done with sight reading.

I have a "kid hymnal" that I can use that is more-or-less below my level. Granted, "my level" is a rather hard thing to quantify since I can't actually play anything all the way through at this point, but I am working on fairly difficult material and (I think) holding my own with it.

End of confessional...
_________________________
"...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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#1993238 - 12/01/12 02:38 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: aTallGuyNH]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1207
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
The kids are starting to resent that I consistently spend that time on the piano instead of with them, except when we need to work on homework.
I wonder if you could combine kid time with piano somehow? When my kids were little, I never "practiced" (didn't have the time or energy), but I did get some piano time in with them. We'd sit at the piano with a couple books of kid's songs, nursery rhymes, and lullabies; I'd play (good sight-reading practice), and we'd sing together. Those are good memories.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1993248 - 12/01/12 03:01 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: MaryBee]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: MaryBee
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
The kids are starting to resent that I consistently spend that time on the piano instead of with them, except when we need to work on homework.
I wonder if you could combine kid time with piano somehow? When my kids were little, I never "practiced" (didn't have the time or energy), but I did get some piano time in with them. We'd sit at the piano with a couple books of kid's songs, nursery rhymes, and lullabies; I'd play (good sight-reading practice), and we'd sing together. Those are good memories.

That sounds really nice. My eight year old used to play, and we did "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" as a duet last Christmas, but she's stopped taking lessons and really isn't interested in any organized piano activity at this point.

Once in a while she will noodle for a bit, which gives me hope. She has a natural aptitude and has made pleasant sounding improvisations (only in C, no accidentals) since she was three or four. How many four year olds do you know who could improv for an hour without everyone else in the room dying for them to stop? She took lessons but it was a knock-down drag-out battle to get her to practice, so we finally pulled the plug after 18 months even though she was progressing fairly well.

So I feel like she is squandering her talent, but we can't (and shouldn't) force her to play. I try to encourage her, but I think it just makes her all the more reticent. It's frustrating.

Maybe after I get the piano tuned I can convince her and her sister to sing a Christmas carol together for Mom. I'll try... thanks for the very good suggestion!
_________________________
"...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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#1993281 - 12/01/12 05:08 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
You have a very full life A Tall Guy! I'm a bit like you when it comes to doing jobs and strimming the grass LOL.

Toastie can't wait to see your piano's photo!


I may be nuts because I like sharps and flats and after yesterday's lesson I quite like scales! I was proudly telling my Dad today that I can find some scales by ear and I have got better with my sight reading.


Great to read about everyone's progress. I only tinkled a few notes of Largo today on Piano before I went to my Dad's. My excuse tonight is that it is so cold and I am on the couch feeling tired and cold and cuddling a hot water bottle. Roll on Spring!!!


Edited by EdwardianPiano (12/01/12 05:09 PM)
_________________________
"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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#1993468 - 12/02/12 12:58 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 990
Loc: Southern California
Toastie, I am glad the piano finally appeared.

Week 38: relatively uneventful. I missed a day, and did 15 to 20 minutes the other days. I am in that fog that comes after finishing a piece without having much of the way of new projects. The two Christmas songs, God Rest... and Silent Night sound okay if I play real slow, but not good enough for singing along to.

A big downside to doing known pieces is that every minor mishaps stands out. There are also so many arrangements, that some listeners expect a certain way, and some will not get it. It definitely adds to the tension level when performing a well known piece live.

My right hand is complaining, probably due to too much computer time, and some cool damp weather. Again for those reading the first time, fingerless gloves, limited practice time, and a cold water bottle are some things that I do to manage the discomfort. If discomfort crosses over to pain, rest is often the best course of action.

As for sight reading, people learn at different speeds. While the average piano student might get to a certain level after two years, it might be shorter or longer for others. I am in the well below average group for sight reading, so it might take me ten years to get to any fluency, and that is if I work at it.

I tend to think my time is better spent on writing new original music, because that is my strength. It generally takes me ten times as long to learn a known piece as it does for me to write a new one and polish it up to where I want to perform it.

I again like to suggest the 20/20/20/40 break down in practice time suggested in the book The Musician's Way. If a person is interested in sightreading 20% of the total time. I like 20% on old pieces, 40% on new, the other 20 and 20 on scales or theory, or sightreading.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#1993557 - 12/02/12 08:33 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Sand Tiger]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
I again like to suggest the 20/20/20/40 break down in practice time suggested in the book The Musician's Way. If a person is interested in sightreading 20% of the total time. I like 20% on old pieces, 40% on new, the other 20 and 20 on scales or theory, or sightreading.

I'm curious as to how you manage this given that you (for the past week anyway) are practicing 15-20 minutes per day. Do you actually break it down as 3/3/3/6 on a 15 minute day? Or do you focus on one thing per day in a five day rotation, taking two days for the new material? Or something else?
_________________________
"...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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#1993572 - 12/02/12 09:38 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
warlock214 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 102
Loc: Tennessee
Christmas Music learned so far:
1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2. Angels We Have Heard on High
3. We Three Kings

My goal is 5 songs. Even though I'm a true beginner, I may try Christmas Canon, I love this piece. Next week we're working with eighth notes so I'll probably have Christmas songs with eighth notes to practice. Work, fun, work, work, fun!
_________________________

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

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#1993607 - 12/02/12 10:49 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 990
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
I again like to suggest the 20/20/20/40 break down in practice time suggested in the book The Musician's Way. If a person is interested in sightreading 20% of the total time. I like 20% on old pieces, 40% on new, the other 20 and 20 on scales or theory, or sightreading.

I'm curious as to how you manage this given that you (for the past week anyway) are practicing 15-20 minutes per day. Do you actually break it down as 3/3/3/6 on a 15 minute day? Or do you focus on one thing per day in a five day rotation, taking two days for the new material? Or something else?


You guessed it. The break down is for overall time for the week or month, not for each practice session. Another person might do three separate 20 minute practices each day for an hour a day, but the same idea applies. It is a rough guideline, not any kind of rule, that seems to have served me well in my nine months of practice time.

Sometimes people ask about how much time to spend on old repertoire or how much time to practice scales and arpeggios, or work on sight reading, and the answer for me has been about the same 20% of total practice time for each. It might go to 10% if there are other things a person wants to work on.

With only 40% of time for new material, progress will be slower than a person devoting 80% of their time to learning pieces. However, the 40/20/20/20 is more likely to give a beginner a solid base as compared to focusing on learning new pieces.
_________________________
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#1993708 - 12/02/12 03:08 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Allard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 326
Loc: Netherlands
Teacher seems content to let me study Alfred's 2 on my own. Instead we're focussing on the 'easy piano' David Lanz book my recital piece is from. I can play Before the Last Leaf Falls, Cristofori's Dream, Leaves on the Seine, Return to the Heart, and this weekend added The Dragon's Daughter to the list. It took several weeks to 'get' the piece, but now I feel I can play it comfortably in a casual setting. Looking forward to tomorrow's lesson!

I wonder what to work on next. My new Christmas Eve book is coming later this week, so I'll need something else to play until then. I've been playing some of the other songs one-handed and think Madrona might be relatively easy. And then I came across Dreamer's Waltz, recalled I have the original sheet music and can't get it out of my head anymore! It's so beautiful! And probably too hard. Argh!
_________________________
David Lanz - Dream of the Forgotten Child
Nobuo Uematsu - Aerith's Theme (Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections)

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#1993927 - 12/02/12 11:31 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I have had the secondhand grand about six months. Frankly, I am happy to play anything from a weighted key keyboard to a Clavinova. It is humbling to play an acoustic grand. I keep it cloth covered and I never open the top except today because I have a cold and my hearing is impaired from the cold, so the thought it was an okay time to pull out all the stoppers. I discovered that if I gently play middle C or any key for that matter that if you put you other hand on the piano you can feel the vibrations. You can see that I don't know very much about pianos. Of course, as a beginner, I am very busy trying to play without mistakes, read the music and make my playing musical, so don't have a free hand to feel the vibrations usually. Usually I play about 60 beginner tunes without too many mistakes. Having a cold I had to settle for a lower standard. But in spite of my impaired hearing, I never missed hearing a mistake and would laugh when I made one because normally I would be displeased with my bad playing.

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#1993967 - 12/03/12 03:14 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: 4869
Loc: Italy
Toastie, we will be watching closely for those photos!

TallGuy...well, that was quite a post. I can understand not doing some chores in favour of playing the piano. That happens regularly here smile However I can see why your wife would be pretty ticked off with you for playing the piano when there are chores from 2005 still waiting to be done.

However there are some other significant differences too: I don't have kids, and my hubby has his own little "addiction" with computer simulators, so we're quite happy to do our own thing side-by-side.

I know that one of the reasons I don't tackle certain chores is that they seem overwhelming - I have been known to let them go until I don't know where to start. Then, generally, things come to a head and in a frenetic burst of energy I tackle them and voilĂ ... I wonder why it took me so long to get to it. However not doing things that end up costing you money....well, that's rather self-sabatoging, isn't it?
Not to mention really, really ticking off your wife.
Your whole story of "sneaking off" to play piano just doesn't sound good to me - not good in terms of your communications with your wife and kids, not good with just being honest with yourself.

From what you've said it seems to me that piano in and of itself is not the problem.
Your wife would probably be irritated by any activity that kept you from doing some of those outstanding tasks!

From what you have said, it seems to me that you're very aware of all that needs to be done, and I would venture to suggest, since you gave us all the info, that if you undertook to find some balance between the things that really need to be done and piano playing, you'd find a lot more harmony in your home!

Sand Tiger, sorry to hear that the discomfort has been troubling you again.

I know what you mean about being able to play the pieces (Christmas songs) but not having them up to a level for sharing! I'm doing a lot better than last year, but it is all relative!

As for the 2 year framework for developing fluidity in sight-reading, of course that's an "in general" kind of comment. My teacher told me that at my second lesson, and as she really didn't know me at that point, I think she just wanted to be certain she was giving me something far enough away that I wouldn't be discouraged if I didn't see progress in a few months!
I don't mean to say that I can just sit down and read&play any piece -no..... but I'm certainly at a respectable level of fluidity and I'm seeing that my progress is moving faster now (And again, I am maybe a tad faster because of the high level of reading we did with the concert band in high school. Five years of playing pretty well every day, anything from Bach, to Beethoven, to Tchaichovsky, to Holst, quite an incredible range of music really! )

As for composing rather than working on reading - hey, to each his own. I've done some composing for guitar in the past, and even wrote one piece for piano (which I couldn't actually play --lol) but I like the idea of improving my reading and eye-hand coordination so that I can have fun with all the music that is out there just waiting to be played!

Allard - sounds like you are making some lovely progress! I personally think it is nice to have those "too hard" pieces out there in front of us, like a carrot, leading us on to bigger and better things! There are a lot of pieces that are too hard for me that I've been working on in little bites, working out the fingering and playing at slow speeds. Sometime over the next six months I hope to tackle 2 of them with my teacher and get them up to speed gradually!

Michael - that sounds like a wonderful experience. I've never just put my hand on the piano case while playing... I think I'll do that later today! I agree though, even with my little upright, the difference in the feelings that run through you when you are playing an acoustic compared to the digital... just amazing!

Yesterday I was practicing my scales and getting very irritated. My new teacher has me working on keeping my hands in a better position (I tend to keep my 4 and 5 fingers up in the air WAY too much), and he has me working on shifting my fingers more horizontally rather than lifting up and over. I'm going nuts trying to fix this - he easily convinced me of the long term benefits of doing this, with an eye to more complicated /faster pieces-- but I'm also feeling a bit crankly and cross and wonder my my first teacher never addresed this problem? grrrr.
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
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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