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#1919681 - 06/27/12 07:01 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sam Rose Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 673
Loc: Los Angeles
I contacted a teacher here in Los Angeles that my friend recommended, and I'm having my first lesson tomorrow! I'm excited and also a little nervous (but not too much). I need to get myself set on a more sustainable path than the one I'm on right now. Hard pieces are nice, but I need to get more of the fundamentals so I can learn things faster and hopefully learn to read easy stuff without too much effort.
_________________________
Playing since age 21 (September 2010) and loving it more every day.
"You can play better than BachMach2." - Mark_C
Currently Butchering:
Chopin Ballade no 1 in G minor Op.23
My Piano Diary: http://www.youtube.com/sirsardonic
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#1919748 - 06/27/12 08:48 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Sam Rose]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2397
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Sam Rose
Hard pieces are nice, but I need to get more of the fundamentals so I can learn things faster and hopefully learn to read easy stuff without too much effort.


Join the line wink ... though my teacher told me today that (compared to most) I'm a fast reader. It sure doesn't feel that way to me!

Good luck with your new teacher ...
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebestrume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#1919846 - 06/28/12 02:17 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Sam Rose]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1993
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: Sam Rose
I contacted a teacher here in Los Angeles that my friend recommended, and I'm having my first lesson tomorrow! I'm excited and also a little nervous (but not too much). I need to get myself set on a more sustainable path than the one I'm on right now. Hard pieces are nice, but I need to get more of the fundamentals so I can learn things faster and hopefully learn to read easy stuff without too much effort.


Good for you:) Once you get the hang of it, everything comes quickly for you since you are very musical. I had to LEARN how to play musically.

Speaking of reading music - I had my lesson today. I was having trouble with the last couple of pages of the Rach prelude. It was extremely loud and i did not like it. My teacher told me that i need to gradually come down in volume emphasizing soft and tender leading notes like "tiera < go up a little, then come down further to start tiera < go up a little, etc etc", I was like, really! and stared into the score. Sure enough. I saw after FF ..... <......< ......MF.....< ....< and eventually pp. Hmmm. How could I miss this. Reading music involves reading more than notes.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#1920154 - 06/28/12 02:27 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
bessel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 242
Loc: Ohio, USA

A genuine AOTW... I am finally now able to play the major scales of C, G, D, A, E and B, hands together 2 octaves (at reasonable speed and what I think is reasonable but not great uniformity of sound). Until recently it was only C, and even that was only in the last 2 months or so... but my teacher said "past time to do more", and so with a little work they just started coming. Time to add more, now...

(Hmmm, maybe I can submit scales for the next recital? smile )
_________________________
Started playing: February 2011. Still having fun.

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#1921049 - 06/30/12 11:02 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1068
Loc: Southern California
Bessel, playing scales may seem a small thing to others, but if a person can't do that much, it gives a different perspective. If your teacher is telling you to do scales there is likely a good reason.

My Week 16 report: Practice time was reduced, because I did a live whistle and flute performance on Friday at the church coffee house night, Namaste Cafe, and spent some time brushing up on those instruments. I got to play on a Kimball baby grand piano at the venue for a few minutes. I didn't want to perform on piano, because a former concert pianist was also booked. I write a lot more about the show in the last half of this report.

I continue the journey up the hill that is Ashokan Farewell. It is sobering to think that I am now eight weeks in and have 16 weeks total. It sounds better and better. I can see and hear significant progress, but there remains much work to do. I record my new composition, Ribbon of Leaves, and listen to it. The recording didn't sound at all like the mood I am trying to capture, so I went back to the drawing board, looking for ways to lighten the mood, to make it sound more lyrical, more gentle. I also tinker with another piece, All the Kings Horses, deciding to alternate between chords and arpeggio, instead of having a steady arpeggio with the left hand. Hand discomfort continues to be a problem. The same solutions continue to help (fingerless gloves, soaking, limiting practice time to one hour max per day).

Guitar Center is running radio ads and one of the items is a Casio digital piano for $300. I have a Yamaha NP11 which has 61 semi-weighted keys, so I thought about upgrading. In the whistle and flute world, acquisition disorder is a common syndrome, and often does not translate into better playing. For a few, the hobby becomes buying more instruments, not getting better at playing them. I have been playing the piano keyboard for four months. I like what I have. The sound is decent. The light weight of 11 pounds is a big plus. Because of the small space I live in, I keep the keyboard under the bed and set it up when I want to play. Setting up a 25 or 40 pound device would be much more of a chore, much more strain on back and shoulders which also have problems. So thinking about all that, I decide to do nothing and may perhaps revisit the issue again in 8 months.

For the curious, here is more about the show. My friend Alan DiCenzo was a concert pianist over 30 years ago. At Namaste cafe, he plays “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and some other show tunes for a young singer. His rendition of Rainbow is effortless, with many subtle enhancements and some fancy ornaments. Some may remember that I did that piece for the ABF piano bar in early May, and it remains in my practice cycle. I think it may be 30 more years of practice for me, or if pianists get reincarnated, another cycle of lifetimes, before I will be capable of a similar rendition. Some of Alan's original piano music can be heard on this site:
http://trishsilver.com/music/

Some may want to stop reading here, because there isn't much about piano in the rest of this post. The other headliner at the Namaste cafe coffeehouse is Shakeh. Shakeh tells a moving story about spending nine months with her dying mom and how performing at the cafe last year, lifted her spirits. She does a new song about Jericho and it has a spiritual tinge to it. Her site is:
http://shakeh.com/

As for my set, I usually open with “In Dreams” from The Lord of the Rings on pennywhistle, and close with my original “Acoustic Whalesong” on Irish flute. I also do a Civil War era melody, and a variation on John Williams' Olympic theme on whistle. So my set is four tunes, each in the 2 minute range, with one instrument change. I get many compliments, especially on the ethereal sounding whalesong (that's why I close with it). The sound man at Namaste Cafe does an exceptional job, and the crowd is almost always attentive.

The cello player that performed with Shakeh said it is one of the best places he has ever performed, mostly because the crowd actually listens to the music (and no one is drunk). I mentioned a young singer, 13 years old and precocious. Because of her presence, there are some friends and family in the crowd. She is a young star, already picking a stage name, Serenity, already landing a role in a local production of Les Miserables. She is one to watch perhaps.

It isn't all pros or former pros or aspiring pros. There was me, the hobbyist whistle player and amateur songwriter, another hobbyist level performer, singing and playing “What's it all about Alfie,” on the piano, and a local author Mark Frederick, with his books of humor, poetry and timeless wisdom. If you've read down this far, thank you for your attention, and Namaste.
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#1921259 - 06/30/12 10:22 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Tubbie0075 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 544
I learned in my lesson today that when you think you almost got a piece of music under your belt, there is still so much more that are "hidden" to learn and discover. That is why learning a piece of music properly takes such a long time... you keep digging and digging into it and continuously bring it to the next level and so on.

The other thing that I learned is to avoid letting the physical movements / sensations direct the music. Let the ears direct it. This requires so much dicipline. Satisfy the ears, not the hands or fingers. To be a true performer, your mind and your hands are like two separate separate entities, just like conductor and instrumentalists.

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#1921424 - 07/01/12 12:18 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 250
One AOTW is memorizing the rest of Chopin's Ocean Etude and playing it through using two octaves. casinitaly, I agree memory work is soooo difficult. it seems to be the only way i can take on these chopin etudes as I need to watch my hands! good luck with the dynamics! I have much to practice in that way myself.

The other AOTW is just that I've had my keyboard now for 1 year! Unfortunately after a year of getting back to piano, I still can't play that much. But it's been a lot of fun. smile



Edited by Valencia (07/01/12 12:18 PM)

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#1921556 - 07/01/12 07:39 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Tubbie0075]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Originally Posted By: bessel
A genuine AOTW... I am finally now able to play the major scales of C, G, D, A, E and B, hands together 2 octaves (at reasonable speed and what I think is reasonable but not great uniformity of sound). Until recently it was only C, and even that was only in the last 2 months or so... but my teacher said "past time to do more", and so with a little work they just started coming. Time to add more, now...

(Hmmm, maybe I can submit scales for the next recital? smile )

Excellent, bessel. I worked on C major (single octave, HS) using a metronome this week. It was pretty excruciating, so I can completely appreciate how proud you must feel making progress with multiple major scales!

Originally Posted By: Tubbie0075
The other thing that I learned is to avoid letting the physical movements / sensations direct the music. Let the ears direct it. This requires so much dicipline. Satisfy the ears, not the hands or fingers. To be a true performer, your mind and your hands are like two separate separate entities, just like conductor and instrumentalists.

Thanks for that thought, Tubbie. I'm working to keep focused on the music and not take idiot shortcuts (as I've done in the past) of getting lazy and relying on muscle memory. The concept of my mind conducting my hands is quite useful.

-----

My AOTW is two-fold. First, I practiced every day. I won't say it was great practice every day, in fact some of it was pretty poor/frustrating, but I keep getting to the piano and that can be a big deal some weeks. Also, while working on a some American folk songs, I figured out the G major and F major key signatures on my own. Using the music and a scales book only — no lesson/theory book and no Internet. (Shocking, I know.) I think deciphering that sort of thing is rather an accomplishment. smile

Congrats on your one-year return-to-the-piano anniversary, Valencia!

Maybe we should call them "piannoversaries"? smile


Edited by piano_deb (07/01/12 07:45 PM)
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#1921572 - 07/01/12 08:44 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest USA
My achievement was to buckle down and practice the last six measures of Canon in D using the metronome (the dreaded metronome) in order to pare down my hesitations between measures. The hesitations are there because I'm new to four finger chords and they are thick in those final measures. I need better accuracy. And speed. I timed myself playing the entire piece (from memory) and I'm coming in a little over ten minutes, which means I'm at less than half speed.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.


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#1921643 - 07/02/12 04:48 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sam Rose Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 673
Loc: Los Angeles
I've had an interesting last few days. I had my first lesson with the new teacher, and he's fantastic (as my friend who recommended him told me). I don't get to have another lesson until August because they are going on hiatus, but that's ok, because he left me with lots to improve.

Today, I recorded a recital for a friend of my family (in their living room). It's the same person who owns the Steinway M that I used for the Nocturne in C sharp minor recording that I submitted a couple recitals ago. I've bought new recording equipment since then (a pair of Shure KSM141 mics), and I recorded the performance today with that. All the music was for piano and violin. The music was played on the Steinway that I had used, and a really gorgeous violin (the violinist told me it's worth $100,000 and the bow, at $8000, is worth more than my grand piano!) The piano is a bit out of tune, but I think the recordings still sound pretty decent for a hack like me! If you like Brahms, Grieg, or Schubert, give it a listen and let me know what you think!

Grieg Sonata op. 45 in C minor:
1st movement:
https://www.box.com/s/ec429104b5d0fd9515af
2nd movement:
https://www.box.com/s/22e623559c28691d8f2f
3rd movement
https://www.box.com/s/c18667ee71fc26bc8e66

Schubert Sonatina op. 137 no.1 in D:
1st movement:
https://www.box.com/s/e74fb31e7afa21d04d4f
2nd movement:
https://www.box.com/s/32231ba729d2f26ccd18
3rd movement:
https://www.box.com/s/d82569c989d64788b7e9

Brahms Sonatensatz in C minor:
https://www.box.com/s/6c6aca77ac3f89763592
_________________________
Playing since age 21 (September 2010) and loving it more every day.
"You can play better than BachMach2." - Mark_C
Currently Butchering:
Chopin Ballade no 1 in G minor Op.23
My Piano Diary: http://www.youtube.com/sirsardonic
♪ > $

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#1921665 - 07/02/12 06:44 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Reaper_FBB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/12
Posts: 16
Had a couple yesterday. I'm 6 weeks into learning and have been given two or three pieces by my tutor to practise before the following week's session. However, I got this week's done quite quickly so I tried a bit of Swan Lake on my own.

It's the first piece I've tried where I have to change position with both hands and I'm gradually getting it up to speed:-)

Also, I've started trying to work out "Lithium" by "Evanescence" by ear and have the first piece of the melody down already...

Small steps but I read somewhere to celebrate the little steps so I'm happy with that so far:-)

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#1921694 - 07/02/12 08:45 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 807
Loc: Brighton Colorado
Bessel
Good for you...working on scales. The work pays off in speed and fluidity of motion. I'm still working scales...I'm learning the minor scales and the chords and arpeggios that go with. The thumb still wants to land hard on the keys but speed is picking up. I'm convinced that some of us (me) will always have a "slow" gene and be unable to play the great fast pieces. :-) I'm learning a Mozart Viennese Sonatina...easier than the sonatas and hope to play up to tempo.

Stubbie...the metronome is your friend (knows all and tells all).
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#1921747 - 07/02/12 11:00 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Reaper_FBB]
bessel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 242
Loc: Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: Reaper_FBB


Small steps but I read somewhere to celebrate the little steps so I'm happy with that so far:-)


Reaper - I think they're all small steps... sometimes one of them brings you to a great vista... but so far for me, it's one small step at a time. So congrats, both on your recent small steps and for beginning the journey!
_________________________
Started playing: February 2011. Still having fun.

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#1921748 - 07/02/12 11:01 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: WiseBuff]
bessel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 242
Loc: Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: WiseBuff
Bessel
Good for you...working on scales. The work pays off in speed and fluidity of motion. I'm still working scales...I'm learning the minor scales and the chords and arpeggios that go with. The thumb still wants to land hard on the keys but speed is picking up.


My thumb has a nickname: "the sledgehammer". smile
_________________________
Started playing: February 2011. Still having fun.

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#1922191 - 07/03/12 12:41 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: bessel]
Oongawa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 263
Scales... ick. I read somewhere that it is useful to try doing scales with the hands crossed. That is, playing right hand below middle c and left hand above middle c.

I think it sort of separates the 'muscle memory' from the 'paying attention' memory. or something like that. I can do this with only two scales at the moment.

I don't know if it's actually really useful but I can vouch for the difficulty.
_________________________
Oongawa
Presently working on:
Beethoven - Minuet in G
Spinning Song
Beginning to learn to play by chords. Slowly...
'69 Mason & Hamlin Model A

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#1922196 - 07/03/12 01:15 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Recaredo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/11
Posts: 1091
Loc: Southeast of Spain
Hi!

I’ve managed to play my piece of Beethoven complete. The tempo is a bit erratic, but at least I don’t make big mistakes. This has been extremely hard to me, as always, but I think it’s been worth it, although my wife claims that I always play the same “potato”.


I should use the headphones more often smile.
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My website

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#1922322 - 07/03/12 06:10 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1737
Loc: south florida
My AOTW is almost an exact repeat of the one I posted three months ago.

From April 30th.....

Quote:
My AOTW has to do with scales and weird jumps through imaginary walls.

I have been back to working on speed in our scales again (four octave, two hand) and had been stuck for a while at 72 bpm, 4 notes per beat. Then last week I had an awful lesson... started out couldn't even play my scale of the week (f-minor) at that speed even though I had been doing so all week. It went downhill from there...my piece fell apart and I couldn't recover (something we've been working on), I messed up the easy Handel piece. Nothing worked. Plus my teacher thought she saw the reemergence of some hand tension that I'd previously worked hard to eliminate. I left feeling pretty rotten.

On to this week and I slowed the SOW (D-flat major this week) down a hair and worked hard at maintaining a very relaxed hand as well as a few other pointers she gave me. Did this all week. Then this morning I bucked it back to 72 bpm and started slowly just playing it in eighths (2 notes to the beat). That was so relaxed that I just slipped into playing it in sixteenths ( 4/beat). Although it felt fast, it was there and I could do it without strain. Well, willy nilly I look at the metronome and I'd misread it! It was set on 92 not 72!!! So I had just played a full 20 clicks above my "wall". Go figure. Sometimes piano is just weird.


Cut to two weeks ago and I was back working on scales for speed again, this time 84 bpm for quarters playing four notes per beat. That rate had been working ok for most scales and not so ok on some for about a month. Then I had a week where it just wouldn't work at all, followed again by a lesson where it also did not work. Once again I slowed it way down and focused on something someone here at PW had written about slowing scales in order to prepare your thumb under ahead of time... so that all you have to do is drop it on the key when the time comes. I did that with a lot of focus for a whole week every day. Then last week I just started playing and slowly speeding it up as I went along. Next thing I knew I had the metronome set at 108 and was actually getting those sixteenths in there for all four octaves....although I didn't think the tone was as good as it should be. Then I backed off to 84 and it was easy-peasy. At lesson today we set it at 92 and it was ok. Weird. Piano learning is sometimes very weird and non-linear.
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Mozart Sonata K545

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#1922489 - 07/04/12 07:03 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 807
Loc: Brighton Colorado
Jim F...that is a an inspiring anecdote. You DID it!!! I think it IS non-linear and variant for each of us. Thank you for sharing...think I'll go do scales (right after the cup of coffee).
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Love to learn

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#1923333 - 07/06/12 09:09 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: WiseBuff]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 761
Loc: Switzerland
Ah, scales. The never ending battle--but I believe it will be worth it in the end. Congrats to everyone for their progress. My teacher slowed my scales WAY down to be sure I have a relaxed hand and good pre-positioning. She saw improvement today, but still wants me to continue very slowly. Boy is relearning hard!

I am getting this pre-positioning thing though. I played Bach prelude in C minor with pretty good preparation and without note errors today in my lesson. I also have it memorized HS and HT. It still needs some improvement, but the concept is there.

The other thing I learned in my lesson was that to have a relaxed hand, I must be confident. I cannot be tentative, or worried about mistakes, and play relaxed. That seems rather obvious, but was eye opening for me. It is where a teacher's demeanor can make all the difference. Piano playing should be fun!

My other achievement is adding two more pieces to my memorized repertoire list. That makes 6 of my goal of 10 for the year! To keep them sharp I need to play them at least every other day. Of course 4 of them are pieces that are still in the polishing stage, so that makes it easy.
_________________________



European Piano Party July 4, 2015 in Switzerland!

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#1923477 - 07/06/12 04:58 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: SwissMS
To keep them sharp I need to play them at least every other day

I beg to differ, SwissMS smile

If you play them too often they may deteriorate from over familiarity. You may well find that a few days away from a piece after you've given it some thorough working will actually lift it a notch (many people notice an improvement in their playing when they return from a vacation). This will also free up not just practise time but brain power that might be better employed on newer pieces.

As a suggestion, try playing them just at the weekends. Use Saturday to give them a once through at a moderate pace, then isolate each section slowly and carefully then finish with a gentle once through again. On Sunday give them a play through at a moderate pace, then up to tempo and finish with a slower more careful run through before leaving them again until the next weekend.

I spend a week on this section by section work and make no noticeable progress. Then after leaving it a couple of weeks I give the piece another run and it just sparkles. It's as if someone else was practising while I was away!
_________________________
Richard

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#1923616 - 07/07/12 01:25 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
AimeeO Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 04 2013


Registered: 05/20/10
Posts: 803
Loc: New Orleans
Haven't posted in a while... I went MIA when I got my new piano a few months ago. smile
Everyone seems to have come so far!

I had an AOW Monday at my lesson.

I seem to get stuck certain passages. I will drill them over and over until I get it right, and the next day when I try them again, it's like all my work the day before never happened. So I go to my lesson, and of course, flub the section. Of course, I am certain my teacher thinks I'm not practicing. She takes out her metronome and has me play it the speed I was playing it at, twice. I do okay with it the first try, and flub the second. Then she bumps it up 15 clicks, and tells me to do it again. I think she's crazy, but do it anyway and I nail it. She tells me to do it again, and I butcher it. She then explains to me that I know it, and my fingers know it, but I'm over thinking it. Since then, I find myself practicing a little better because I'm starting to recognize that I actually know these parts.

After reading Richard's post about pieces deteriorating from overfamilarity, I think maybe the picture is a little clearer. Perhaps I'm over doing it day after day, trying to fix these spots, and only frustrating myself?

New goal: after working on a fracture, I'll not touch that section for a day or two and see if that helps. (Thanks Richard!)

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#1923633 - 07/07/12 03:26 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: AimeeO]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 761
Loc: Switzerland
Richard, I like your idea of giving repertoire pieces a rest and coming back to them. It makes sense that each time a piece is refreshed in memory, it is more deeply learned. The concept of the musicality getting stale from over playing is also very true. If I find myself mindlessly playing through anything, I quit playing right then. If the brain is not engaged, I cannot make music!

I don't consider playing through finished pieces practice time, unless I have forgotten a section and need to relearn it. My pay off for all the hard practice hours is to sit down in the evening and just play pieces I know, or sight read from easy "Greatest Hits" books. I love being able to really get into the music.

On the other hand, with music in the polishing stage, I generally only work on individual sections or problem areas and limit the times I play the entire piece from memory. It seems to be a delicate balance. Sometimes, once I get a difficult section right, then it helps to leave it alone and let it gel. If I find it falls apart again when I play it in the larger context, I go back to slowly drilling the trouble spot. It seems to take a fair amount of time to train new movements, such as the runs on the second page of the Chopin nocturne I am working on, such that they can be played reliably at speed. I literally have to break them down into two or four note segments and learn those, and then combine them. Eventually it comfortably flows, but it does take lots of repetition!
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#1923723 - 07/07/12 10:51 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1068
Loc: Southern California
Zrtf90, SwissMS, I'll try a longer break from the old pieces. I'll get a real chance for that as I go on a trip in the middle of the month.

Week 17 is a banner week for me. After nine weeks of working on Ashokan Farewell, I finally can work on it without the music in front of me. I recorded a practice session, and it needs a lot more polish. The left hand sounds too loud and harsh, and there are many hesitations.

The suggestions on slow practice and focusing on memorizing a small section each practice were most helpful. Zrtf90 and others are proponents of both of those, slowing down and focusing on memorizing a small section.

Putting away the music is a big step considering how long I have been climbing the hill. Now that I have it mostly memorized, at times it seems like such an easy piece. I'll remind myself of this moment, when I start a new, seemingly impossible piece.

After watching some TV program I decide to sound out God Bless America. It takes some doing but I come up with a passable melody line and clunky harmony. It typically takes me some time to sound out a melody.

I learn the term glissando, and play around with that (rapid sequence of notes usually generated by running one hand along the keys). I spend some time playing random notes and chords. The term finger painting comes to mind. Some might think it a waste of time, but especially for the slow players, free play is an interesting concept. The other thought is that maybe I can come up with a use for that glissando, without having to intellectualize it.

I don't want to work on the A Major piece Ribbon of Leaves any more. Someone on 50/90 posted the advice:
>> Don't waste your valuable time perfecting garbage.
Most of the time, the better songs, better compositions have a real spark fairly quickly. Getting to the end might take a lot of work, but if there is no spark, fiddling with it, usually won't produce any sparks. It tends to be more productive to move to the next piece, rather than rewriting something that isn't working.

I am not participating in 50/90 this year, but I am checking in and listening to some of the songs and reading some of the lyrics. I found a set of lyrics I may try to write music to, which would be a new and exciting thing.
http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/recent_threads

For those reading along, it isn't too late to start 50/90. My first year, I started a month late, and still made good progress. Again, I credit 50/90 as the biggest positive influence to my songwriting. I made the jump from someone writing about one song a year to someone who could complete a song or even two or three songs in a day. For those that don't want to do three months, they sometimes have what are called song skirmishes, where someone posts a song title or theme, and interested songwriters work for an hour then post the recordings of what they have.

Songwriting is like piano, in that consistent time and effect produces results. It isn't like piano, in that learning to work fast, and to make mistakes, are part of the optimal process. The inner critic tends to be the worst enemy of novice songwriters. Fire that critic and progress can be made.

I finish viewing the Yale music appreciation lectures. I recommend it for those with the time. I found it much more interesting than most of what is on TV right now. It is free. There are 23 lectures each about 50 minutes. Can be viewed online or downloaded for later viewing.
http://oyc.yale.edu/music/musi-112

Some fun facts from the Yale course:
Bach had to write 25 minutes of new music every week. Transcribe it, rehearse it with the orchestra and have it ready for Sunday services. Mozart's piano had five octaves, and each key struck one wire. Modern pianos strike three wires for a much fuller sound. Steinway is credited with the first to use cross wiring for the bass notes. Yale University, 17 Hillhouse Ave, has a large collection of early pianos and other musical instruments. Franz Liszt bought Beethoven's Broadwood piano, which the maker gave to him. The Broadwood has two strings per note, and is difficult to tune.

Hayden's orchestra was approximately 16 pieces. Mozart could muster about 30+, Beethoven 50+, Wagner 80 to 90 and that was the end as after that came electricity and amplified music and smaller groups could generate enough volume.
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#1923738 - 07/07/12 11:49 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Oongawa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 263
I was so thrilled when my Best of Einaudi book arrived. That's my AOW.

I whipped it open to the first item "Limbo." Then I realized - I am appalled - my hands just don't seem to be large enough to play this stuff. I mean the very first chord is an octave with another note in the middle, don't recall what at the moment. Really really hard to stretch to do that. and similar issues pretty much throughout the first few songs I looked at.

It's all I can do to stretch to play an octave and hitting another note in the middle of that is really hard. I never thought my hands were that small.

I think that my hands are about the average size for a woman. I wear a size 7 glove. I can play an octave but no more. Are others having this same problem? I am sooooo sad.
_________________________
Oongawa
Presently working on:
Beethoven - Minuet in G
Spinning Song
Beginning to learn to play by chords. Slowly...
'69 Mason & Hamlin Model A

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#1923741 - 07/07/12 11:52 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Sand Tiger]
brucepiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/11
Posts: 21
Congrats Sand Tiger.

Quote:
Songwriting is like piano, in that consistent time and effect produces results. It isn't like piano, in that learning to work fast, and to make mistakes, are part of the optimal process. The inner critic tends to be the worst enemy of novice songwriters. Fire that critic and progress can be made.
- Thanks, that's good advice.

This week, I managed to start playing Gershwin's Prelude I at 90 beats per minute. It's an accomplishment considering that it's taken me a few months to get to this tempo - previously I was struggling at 60 beats per minute.

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#1923844 - 07/07/12 02:58 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1068
Loc: Southern California
Oongawa, My hands are about the same size. There have been numerous threads about small hands, and our hands aren't necessarily small. The conclusion seems to be that if a person can span an octave, they can play the vast majority of what is out there.

I can relate my story with Ashokan Farewell. While it doesn't have full octave chords, it does have 7ths, which were new to me. When I started on the piece, it felt hopeless. My mind would freeze when seeing the 7ths, I would halt and then slowly try and play the four finger chords poorly.

After nine weeks of steady practice, and some left hand only isolation, including playing with eyes closed, the transitions to 7ths are now near smooth, almost easy.
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#1923980 - 07/07/12 09:10 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Oongawa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 263
Thank you! I will keep at it. Maybe to begin with I'll just play the octave without the middle note. The extra stretch to hit that middle key pulls in my pinky enough to cause a problem. There are other passages in the song that will require me to really move quickly since i can't reach but the music is so beautiful I will keep trying. Thanks for the pep talk!
_________________________
Oongawa
Presently working on:
Beethoven - Minuet in G
Spinning Song
Beginning to learn to play by chords. Slowly...
'69 Mason & Hamlin Model A

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#1924005 - 07/07/12 10:35 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Tubbie0075 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 544
Still working on the Pathetique sonata but during the lesson today we went through a bit of the second movement (first movement always takes up the entire lesson time). We experimented the musicality and it sounded so wonderful in the mind once I know how I was meant to feel it emotionally.

Technically sounds easy, it has 3 to 4 layers of lines that require a player to almost needing 4 brains and 4 pairs of ears to get the sound balance right, yet not letting any layer impede on the melody. Then it needs to sound like they go together, not seperate lines. To truly play this movement beautifully, it is just as hard as the first movement.

Mentally it is quite difficult to get into the mood of the 2nd movement after the first, after all the emotional roller coaster in the first movement. This piece is so challenging to the mind and emotion, not just the technical.

To start learning music at this level, it is such a joy!

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#1924168 - 07/08/12 11:03 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 250
I guess my AOTW would be dipping in to "page 3" of Rachmaninoff Prelude 32/12. I started looking at bars 24-30. This part seems tricky to me and I'm not sure I'll be able to get it going but that is the hope.

The other AOTW was just working on voicing the melody notes of the Ocean Etude. It's easy to get carried away with Ocean as it's so enjoyable to play and I want to play it over and over, but my arthritic wrists can only take so much Ocean each day!

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#1925203 - 07/10/12 07:54 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2397
Loc: Virginia, USA
I've posted this before (and hopefully will at regular but distant intervals) but I'm really happy with how my sight reading is improving. Yes, of course it could be better (and will be!) but it's very satisfying playing through pieces and thinking, yup - that is how it's supposed to sound!
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  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

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