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#2281191 - 05/26/14 10:20 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Thanks for the encouragement, Ron! smile

I am agape at how well received my ABF recital contribution was. Everyone looks at the good bits and completely ignores the bits I hear and listen to! I'm still working on it. smile

I've still not heard everything else yet but what I have heard has really delighted.

My time returns to normal next weekend when university and school exams finish and my excessive chauffeuring duties cease to rule my spare time (and time off work that needs to be made up after hours because of unfortunate coincidences). I've barely had time to lurk this past week.

I am of the understanding that life doesn't really begin at forty. Sure, it picks up momentum but it seems that sixty is the really magic number when we add perspective and finally realise what it's all about and what the important things are and aren't.

I'm sure at eighty I'll be able to see more clearly but will I have the energy to alter course? Is it where the Pareto Principle falls down or is it where it really kicks in? Watch this space! LOL!
_________________________
Richard

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#2282070 - 05/28/14 01:34 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: zrtf90]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
...
I am of the understanding that life doesn't really begin at forty. Sure, it picks up momentum but it seems that sixty is the really magic number when we add perspective and finally realise what it's all about and what the important things are and aren't. ...


I couldn't agree more Richard! At 60 one tends to have the beginnings of wisdom to put their life into perspective and to focus on that which is most important to them.

My FOYD will take a major shift this week. I sat my ABRSM exam yesterday, and learned a lot from it. I am pretty sure I passed, but I will not have the results for at least three weeks. Apparently the examiners come to Switzerland for 5 weeks twice each year, and the results cannot be sent out until they leave the country. I had a chuckle over that. Do they think we examinees are going to hunt them down and confront them before they escape back to Britain? So now I am in the waiting game.

A funny thing happened in the exam. I asked for large print in my exam application, because, with my over 60 eyes, the finger numbers are sometimes difficult for me to read in the sight reading. When they say large, they mean large. The sheet of 12 bars spanned the entire music desk on the piano, and the notes were the size of dime (or 1/2 franc depending on your currency)! I literally could not take it all in. So I read from the standard sight reading book and guessed.

On June 14th I am doing the grade 5 theory exam, so this weeks agenda is going through past papers. I now know everything I want to know about alto and tenor clef, transposing instruments, and musical terms in three languages.

On June 15th I have a live recital, and will play my Tchaikovsky "March" and Mendelssohn op. 30 #6. This week will be focussed on slow, correct play with the music to make sure they are correct.

My Duet for Lisbon is the next priority. Hopefully I can have it ready to play with my teacher next Monday.

This week I will continue on Kuhlau 88 3, learning the development section.

Lastly, I will start looking at the ABRsM Grade 5 pieces for November exam. I also need to add all 36 scales to my daily practice routine, and keep up that sight-reading.
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2282251 - 05/28/14 11:19 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: SwissMS]
carlos88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 92
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: SwissMS

My FOYD will take a major shift this week. I sat my ABRSM exam yesterday, and learned a lot from it. I am pretty sure I passed, but I will not have the results for at least three weeks. Apparently the examiners come to Switzerland for 5 weeks twice each year, and the results cannot be sent out until they leave the country. I had a chuckle over that. Do they think we examinees are going to hunt them down and confront them before they escape back to Britain? So now I am in the waiting game.



Congrats on taking the exam!

What was the examination like? Did the evaluators interact with you during the exam and give you verbal feedback? Or was it more like sitting in front of a silent panel?


The last exams I sat for were karate belt tests - talk about judges who never crack a smile...
_________________________
I'd rather play badly than not at all...

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#2282257 - 05/28/14 11:40 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: carlos88]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
The judge was truly helpful. She was quite friendly, and made me feel pretty at ease. I believe she gave me every opportunity to do well. She knew I was a "first timer". Of course, I didn't play as well as I would have hoped, and I had the butterflies in the tummy and dry mouth of adrenalin. Still she gave me some encouragement when I needed it. I did not play the first piece all that well due to nerves, and she told me to take some time before starting the 2nd piece. Then, she actually complimented that piece, which I do not think they commonly do. After that I was pretty much relaxed, until the sight reading! I have no idea how she graded, but she made the experience a positive one. She even encouraged me to keep taking the exams. So, now the long wait (three weeks) for the results!
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2282358 - 05/28/14 03:33 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
It is inconceivable that you won't pass, Doris, so I wait to hear whether it was a merit or a distinction. Instead of luck, that you just don't need, I wish you whatever you would wish yourself.
_________________________
Richard

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#2284293 - 06/01/14 06:18 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: SwissMS]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: SwissMS
... and dry mouth of adrenalin.


Ah yes, the lips-sticking-to-the-teeth-when-you-smile syndrome smile But I'll have a glass of ice tea in your honor (I don't drink) when you get your results.

I decided this week to concentrate on "practicing performance", so a couple of times I sat down at 10:30 in the morning and played as if it were the first half hour of a gig. I also decided to work on some tempo improvements (and bringing some things back up to tempo) because I'm sick of not having stuff at tempo. And to finish a new rag because I'm sick of mucking around with it laugh

So today I had a gig at a memory care unit. It was only a half hour, tho I could go a little longer if I wanted to. The first 10 pieces went really well - many of them were "accessible" music as Musicians Way would put it. Back to "Home on the Range" laugh But several were old standards that I had reviewed to put in my June gigs list. Then I tried one that has a lot of octaves in the right hand during the intro, just after I had seen that much of my audience had dissolved, and one had informed me quite loudly that it was nice I had come, but they had to go now. It didn't go particularly well laugh Nor did the next piece. By then a couple of folks were getting belligerent about what the FBI does - ? - so I told Rosie I'd do a couple of more just for her. I could tell I was getting tense because that was the fastest I've ever played Dill Pickle Rag in public laugh So then I ended it with a waltz, which was also fast, and decided 1/2 hour was enough for me today.

But the "accessible music" makes a difference in the number of mistakes, tho perhaps a little more boring performance. And I think the 1/2 hour of "performance practice" helps. And for that matter, spending more time on one or two pieces to get them ready or a little livelier I think helped get my rewards up, and that's always a confidence booster. I still haven't really found a way to not get flustered/distracted/antsy when the particular kinds of distractions come along that my gigs entail. Knowing I didn't *have* to play any longer today was a relief. Maybe some day frown I dunno.

Cathy
_________________________

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#2286971 - 06/07/14 12:48 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 509
My focus at this point is to have less focus. I got so zeroed in on Against All Odds (I normally only work on one piece/song at a time) that I burned myself out a bit, a few weeks ago. I picked up again recently and it's improving, but I'm working on other things as well -- including trying to get back a couple older things that I worked on in the past. I think this is better balance, and provides some dwell time so that my (nominally) primary piece/song does not get too much attention.
_________________________
"...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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#2287191 - 06/08/14 01:29 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2106
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Am getting extremely focused.
I'm still in the mode of straightening out my apartment. Making things excellent that surround me. At least as excellent as I can afford. smile
Have emailed my teacher. She thinks it's good I'm doing this. The working indirectly on the System with my environment. In talking. I told her there were times since I started that I would practice something for an hour. Take a 15 minute break. Come back to it and it appeared to me like I never even looked at it before. She told me: "Don't worry. We'll take care of that. It's in how you view the notes." I know she ain't kidding. From what I've seen so far. It's a completely more in depth view of working with and reading music.
For right now. Am playing minimally. But enjoying it more. Much involvement in my environment. Just got done hopefully spending the last large amount on the materials for 6 sound treatment panels. Been giving stuff away. Also selling some stuff. Sold my CDP-100 today. Sold my fly fishing and fly tying gear. Haven't used that stuff in over ten years. Spent last weekend cleaning out two bedrooms. Rearranging things. Now one room is devoted to exercise with the exercise floor and pull up bar in there. Other room is for storing things that I don't want exposed to extreme temperatures in the garage. Then there's my bedroom. Living area is completely different. No clutter. Arranged perfectly for the monitors, keyboard, and mixing. It ain't finished yet. Kinda feeling embarrassed at the thought of posting pictures here. It will be impressive looking. At least for a poor man's setup. Ain't like I'll be posting a picture of a Steinway or anything like that. I'm shying away from the thought of it looking impressive. All I want is something that works, is clean, and focused. Someplace where I can think without a bunch of junk to look at and ignore.
So am becoming very focused. Very happy with my System. Because of this. Am ignoring online more. Don't have things to worry about and whine about. The answers are in the System. If I email her a question. The answers are always great. None of this just practice more. It's more like: How do you view this? What do you think about doing this? Where is your mind at doing this? It's always things like that which she comes back with. What is going on inside me when I try to XXX. She really has devoted her life to successful teaching of piano. This always comforts me.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2287273 - 06/08/14 09:11 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: rnaple]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
Jotur- congratulations on your 1/2 hour performance. It must be a challenge to stay focussed with people milling about, having heated discussions, and generally creating chaos! I like your idea of focussing on accessible repertoire. That is something that I have learned the hard way!

ATallGuyNH- I agree that you can become too focussed on a piece and burn out. I like variety in my practice too!

rnaple- It sounds like your really getting organised! This "system" seems to be improving your life beyond the piano.

For me, this is "crunch week", preparing for both a theory exam and a recital next weekend. On Saturday I will sit the ABRSM grade 5 theory, which a candidate is required to pass before taking any of the practical exams above grade 5. I have been working through past papers, and it will be challenging. I now have much more respect for the average 12 year olds that will be my companions taking this test!

I have my second live recital on Sunday. So this week will be a lot of practice performance and dress rehearsal. I have played the pieces in two piano parties, but I am just now really getting a good feel for the Tchaikovsky piece. It was far more complex than I gave it credit for, and I have made a lot of changes since I recorded for the Tchaikovsky recital.

And then it will be time to prepare for Lisbon!
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2287438 - 06/08/14 05:54 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I'm back to regular practise again this week. It felt familiar quite quickly but it's been a good while since I've done a full practise session.

Last year I started learning a new piece every week after reading about the Hal Leonard 40 piece Challenge. Not all of the pieces I picked can be learnt in a week (by me!) so for some pieces I've just picked a page or so that meets the requirements. This has improved my score and sight reading, my experience of a wider range of composers and pieces, some of which I would not otherwise have considered, and provided enough variety that I don't need to change my main pieces quite so frequently.

Some of the pieces I've worked up over the last two years are now better and more frequently played than some of the pieces in my top twenty, my core repertoire, so I'm reorganising my list now to decide what pieces I'll keep for special treatment and which ones I'll drop for a couple of years.
_________________________
Richard

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#2287555 - 06/08/14 11:31 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Ron - I agree with what you are doing. There are times in our lives when cleaning out the clutter is absolutely necessary. Go for it.

SwissMS - the funny thing about "accessible" is that often anything I've played in an ABF recital is *not* accessible in a live gig :\ Altho I also think I've been treating that particular gig too much like a recital - they're all gathered around me to listen, and I'm supposed to entertain, at least at the start. I think I should treat it more like a barroom laugh where people are really there for drinking/friends/chatting and the music is just background. Then I can get as rowdy as I want. Or maybe a zoo.

Actually today I sat down to just play thru some stuff before the gig in the afternoon. And voila! I was in one of those totally blanked moods where there was no connection at all. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised - I think yesterday I went out of the house with two different shoes on frown The fact that I'm still not sure says a lot about where I, hm, wasn't. But many times I don't know that until I actually get to a gig so then a little panic sets in. At least today I could start right off with stuff I had played thru that morning. altho I was totally befuddled with the start of one piece and binged around 3 times before I got it. All I can say is, again, there weren't more goofs than usual, which might have been a real triumph given the blankness all around.

I did manage to go talk to a new eatery that wants live music, tho I hope they didn't notice my shoes. And if they did I hope they just figured I was one of those eccentric artists types laugh They don't quite have their "stage" - a low platform - ready yet, but their mission statement is right up my alley - all about local and community. I sent a couple of mp3s - oddly enough two things from the ABF recitals, and we'll see in a month or so.

So the big "action" this week was to actually set up a practice schedule instead of just sitting down when I think I have some time. I kept the "performance practice" at 10:30 am, and then decided that I'd do a half hour each at each 2 hours - 1, 3, 5, and 7 for instance. Or, depending on what time I get in after a client, 6 and 8. Whatever works. But it's been good to commit to a 1/2 hour because I've been so antsy lately that I'd only do 1/4 hour and I wasn't getting much time in. So I'm kind of back on track.

SwissMS, have fun at the recital! And have a great time in Lisbon with that whole crew - what a fine time that will be smile

Richard - I for sure don't learn 40 pieces a year, but the way you're working by using them for the variety so that you have more freshness for longer major pieces is a great idea.

Cathy
_________________________

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#2289663 - 06/14/14 03:22 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
This was one of those "best laid plans..." weeks. I got a lot of extra work from one client, so that cut into practice routines, got a pick up band gig for a dance next week, so that confuses everything, and then had unexpected guests yesterday. So I didn't make much of the schedule I'd set up. Or much playing at all, actually. And today and tomorrow it's all about getting familiar with the pick up band's stuff.

I did get a call from my "sub" gig, tho. Someone gave them a new baby grand piano and she wanted to know if I could do Happy Hour for them, yesterday afternoon. Nope. Didn't work this time. But I'm supposed to call her Monday and set something up. I have no idea why she can't give me more notice than that. I don't really think she had someone lined up for happy hour that cancelled that morning. I'll have to talk to her about that.

So maybe next week I'll have some focused time. It could happen smile

Cathy
_________________________

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#2290462 - 06/16/14 11:44 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: jotur]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
I survived my crunch weekend, and am pretty confident I passed the theory exam on Saturday and had a good recital on Sunday. I received my practical exam results also (Merit!) as I mentioned on the AOTW thread. So now, my FOYD is starting anew.

1. Diabelli duet: I plan to make an mp3 of this piece this week to send to my duet partner.

2. Villa-Lobos Samba Lele: This is a fun little piece for the Grade 5 exam. This week I will work hands separately and internalise the rhythm.

3. McDowell- To a Wild Rose: This is my 2nd grade 5 piece. I will play this without pedal for the next couple of weeks, assuring good finger legato.

4. Handel - Allemend in A Minor: This is my 3rd grade 5, and the most challenging. Page 1 only, hands separate this week.

5. Kuhlau - Op 88 #3 - The first movement is in hand. Keep it at slow tempo HT, and do the runs HS at speed.

6. Grade 5 requires all major and minor scales and arpeggios, plus several contras. So I have developed a rotating schedule to practice them.
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2293228 - 06/21/14 11:36 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
SwissMS - again, congratulations on your merit. It's been fun to read along.

Ron - as I said in the other thread, I like your set up and its clean/uncluttered feel. Very refreshing. And - the bears just came back on today for the season. Only one cam is up yet tho, the Lower River one. I scored several fishers, one bear, and 2 float planes smile

It was an interesting week. Sunday evening the fiddler in the pick up band and I got together one more time before the dance gig. He had some fun ideas for runs, etc, and it was great to get a second jam in in a couple of days. It's always relaxing and loosens the music up. The dance was, um, amateur laugh I forgot what it's like to have all new dancers. We played less than half of the tunes we had ready, and a couple of kind of "once thru"-ers that were special for a particular dance (we learned Cotton-eyed Joe in 30 seconds, as the fiddler said).

And then I had a gig scheduled for Fri afternoon. But when I got there there was no one ready and there was a meeting in the piano room :\ And the director couldn't get anyone interested in gathering, tho they would like snow cones brought to them! I went home. I was so disgusted that I kinda think I won't go back. At the least, I think I'll wait until they call me, instead of calling them to set a time. I hate wasting my time. Particularly when I was, still, doing this for free.

But the up side is that it made me all the more interested in playing paying gigs. So I sat down with all the tunes I have that would work for that, and I'll be darned if I couldn't do some improv and variations on several of them smile Being mad might pay off laugh And the easing up that came from playing the band gig. Maybe I'm closer than I think.

The Bulletproof Musician had videos of comedians making graduation speeches this week, and they were fun to watch even if they didn't have much to say that one hasn't heard before. But the best take away was - make someone laugh. Yup. That's half the fun of a gig smile

Cathy
_________________________

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#2293294 - 06/22/14 04:03 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: jotur]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2106
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: jotur

Ron - as I said in the other thread, I like your set up and its clean/uncluttered feel. Very refreshing. And - the bears just came back on today for the season. Only one cam is up yet tho, the Lower River one. I scored several fishers, one bear, and 2 float planes smile


Thank you, Cathy. I am liking my place much more. It's just more comfortable and workable. This whole thing is getting me to not give up on my initial thoughts. To be patient and persistent until it turns out, or I discover what I was thinking about in the first place.

I've been checking that site. Haven't seen much live lately. Mostly recordings. Keep checking though. It's always interesting.

Am ramping back up on practice. Ramping down on redoing everything in the apartment. It's about finished. The acoustic panels will take a bunch of gluing, clamping, then leaving for 24 hours. So they will take a while. One big payoff will be that playing my keyboard will sound much like a piano. Will sound as if I could reach out and touch the strings. The imaging will be that good.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2294271 - 06/24/14 10:09 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: rnaple]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
Cathy - I can imagine showing up and finding that you did not have an interested audience would be very frustrating. Paying gigs sound like the way to go! You have such a tremendous repertoire.

rnaple- It must be refreshing being done with the room and getting back to to some serious practice.

I had a productive piano week. I think I was energised by a successful recital and getting the theory exam out of the way. So I launched into my new pieces with abandon, which is not necessarily a good thing. I am focussing on keeping everything slow, and doing a lot of hands separate work. I managed to get a recording of the Diabelli duet and send it off. It will be fun to play with Casinitaly! This week my focus is on keeping my recital pieces going for Lisbon. That means continued slow practice on those.

My exam pieces are off to a good start. Now I need to memorise hand separately on the Handel Allemende and the Villa-Lobos before putting them together. To a Wild Rose just needs finessing. I had already learned this one a few years ago, and it came back easily.
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

Top
#2296143 - 06/28/14 11:55 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
SwissMS - ah, playing with abandon. I finally did that again at a gig last Tuesday. The usual with mess ups, but I did some really creative covering up! And I actually found some rhythm licks from one tune showing up in another tune when I needed a cover for an "I forget" moment. That's a good thing.

Finding the balance between intense focus and letting that be the basis of abandon is a continual swing for me. Over the last several months I'd forgotten the "abandon" part, but being so disgusted with being stood up last week kind of broke the mind set, so I did that last gig with only tunes I like to play, and none of the "easy/Home on the Range" kinds of tunes I've learned for drill. What a relief that was.

But it's obvious to me I need a mix, and certainly during practice time the focus has paid off in spades later. So I'll have to still work on finding the right mix to make more progress. Actually, the Graham Fitch blog addressed exactly that issue early in the week, so I guess I'm not the only one. SwissMS, it seems you do an excellent job of using both appropriately. You are an inspiration.

So it's back to regular/planned practice I think. I sure needed a break, but I need the discipline, too.

And the big news is - I got a gig! I'm playing at an Artisan Market in the Farmers Market Pavilion in August. I sent them 3 recordings from past ABF recitals - yea, ABF! - and hadn't heard from them since I did, on April 4th. But I e-mailed again yesterday, which may be the day she finally listened to them laugh , and she seemed excited. So another big reason to become disciplined again. I also re-contacted the little new restaurant I talked to a couple of weeks ago, and I'm going to drag a friend out there to eat next weekend, so we'll so how that goes.

So I'm feeling pretty up about things. Nice to be in that part of the roundabout for awhile.

FOYD has been a big help to me, too, and I really like reading you guys' posts. Actually, having a "community" of folks on the same journey was one of the "parts of learning" on one of the blogs I read, and I thought about FOYD.

Cathy
_________________________

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#2299663 - 07/07/14 10:04 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
It's been a busy week. I just got a new approx. half-time client, and that will be a big difference over what I've had the last few years. But I'll like the money smile

I had another nice gig last week. One of the asstd living places got a new-to-them baby grand - a white "Liberace" piano - so they called me to come and try it out. What fun. It's a nice piano, tho it needs a little regulation, which is not something the venue knows anything about so I'll see if it's deteriorated by the next time I play it.

I've been spending a little extra time on making sure I play/study each piece in my repertoire a couple of times a week so they're all ready when the Aug 17 gig comes up, and then really getting a couple of new pieces nailed, which means playing them a lot to a metronome and chunking them where needed so that I have plenty of repertoire.

The blogs specifically talked about making sure you know what the venue expects of you - time you show up vs. time you actually start playing, payment in cash at time of gig or check later, how many breaks, who the house manager is so you know who to follow when someone wants the sound different. Good stuff to remember.

I've gone to several live music venues lately, too, and paid attn to their tip jars smile I was thinking I'd label mine something like "Tips/Look both ways before you cross the street". A friend of mine liked the idea, so I may try it.

SwissMS - great pictures on the EPP thread. Looked like a wonderful time.

Cathy
_________________________

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#2299780 - 07/08/14 08:24 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: jotur]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
I am back from the EPP, and ready to start on new things! I am flying to Oregon on Thursday, so I am just in between trips. We are selling a property there, and I will spend the next two weeks emptying it out, which is a huge job. We have twenty years of accumulation to un-accumulate! I found a nice piano refurbisher/tuner/dealer in McMinnville who said I can come in and play as much as I want, so I should be able to continue to practice while I am there!

So - where I am:

Kuhlau op. 88 #3 - Begin second and third movements, polish the first.
Villa-Lobos Samba Lele- begin hands together
Handel Allemende - Maintain slow tempo until fully memorised.
McDowell To a Wild Rose- Play HS and HT without pedal to assure clean legato.
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2301646 - 07/12/14 08:47 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I was in Durango, CO, yesterday eve for a folkdancers reunion, which was a riot. Then today we visited a former dancer who is now 96, and he asked me to play for him, so I did Tuxedo Junction, Sentimental Journey, and GI Jive. It's good for me to do this kind of spur of the moment stuff so I get used to the "instant recall" aspect of performing laugh The piano was old with lots of sticky keys, tho not terribly out of tune, so any mistakes I made were covered up. Whew!

I'm going to try doing a "gig rehearsal" every Sunday - setting up the keyboard and gear, playing for an hour starting at 11, then taking a break and playing again, a break and playing again, etc. I've never done this long a solo gig before, and I just need to know something about how it's going to feel, and whether it will be exhausting (or maybe that's "just how exhausting" it's going to be). And it will give me a good sense of what I need to pay attention to in practice.

I just got another client, so working almost full time is going to cut in to my practice time, so I think it's all the more important that I practice smart, like going over all the first and second and endings - my piano bane -, and any trouble spots, understanding them and why they're confusing/I forget them etc, so that I'm as familiar with my repertoire as I can be before this gig. I have 3 assisted living gigs this week which will help in the gig repertoire review, and maybe I can schedule a couple more before the gig. The two new pieces are coming along really well, and at least one of them should be ready (I've played parts of it in a gig) and I may use it for my August recital piece.

So we'll see how I do now that I'm going to be super busy. I think I'll be ok - amazing what I've learned, or think I've learned, about managing time and productiveness in the last 40 years.

Thee EPP pictures are great, and I hope to hear some of pieces when Carlos posts audio, SwissMS.

Cathy
_________________________

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#2301691 - 07/12/14 11:30 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2106
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Cathy.... good to keep hearing you're getting more and more focused. Looks like more and more successful also.

Myself...well... I'm just focusing on soaking up all my System is teaching. That's all. Not worried about accomplishing or how much or anything like that. Teacher even suggested to not worry about that. She wants me to worry about getting it right. To soak up all the understanding she has given me. Thinking back. I've always done much better this way. Actually end up accomplishing more/better than when I worry about that.
On the humorous side. I've even straightened out my garage. Doh! Had to in order to do the work on the acoustic traps. Didn't feel like I should be working in my garage until... I bought myself a plastic adirondack chair on sale. Now it's in there and I can work in there. Hehe...
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2301977 - 07/13/14 08:31 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
It's five weeks since I last posted but it doesn't feel that long.

As I noted last time, I'm not changing my main pieces quite so often so the need for an update doesn't seem so significant now. My month off from the piano around April/May has given me a good opportunity to consider my progress over the last thirty months back at the piano and adjust my direction and goals for the time ahead.

I've added some significant pieces to my active repertoire since joining PW and am having to practise them more often to keep them current so I've changed the way I organise my practise time now and I'm slowly getting used to a new way of working.

Cathy, you're making good progress since going it alone and adding a good deal to the thread.

Congratulations, Doris, on your merit pass and well done to you and your colleagues for bringing so much to and getting so much from the EPP. The annual event looks set to become an institution already.
_________________________
Richard

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#2304138 - 07/19/14 06:04 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
"Soaking up" - good way to put it, Ron.

Something from the last few years is paying off laugh I haven't been able to average an hour and a half a day this year so far, but my playing is *much* better, IMO. I had another gig today that went pretty well, and I just started wherever my repertoire cards were stacked at and played the next 20+ pieces. A couple of bobbles, but I am really pleased that the last couple of gigs the music just seems much more familiar and unshaky than before. So I can focus on making every part of every piece that familiar and I should be good to go.

Last Sunday I did sit down and do 11-3 as if it were the big gig coming up. Surprisingly I had 2 plus a little bit hours of music, so didn't need as much repetition as I had thought I might. And I have two new pieces coming online before then. I played an hour, took a 15 min break, and then did 3 45 minute sets with 15 min breaks. I definitely want a portable keyboard bench for this (rather than standing), and I'll be in a big city and can hit a Guitar Center next weekend to get one. I didn't really notice fatigue until the last set, and then it started to get sloppy. But if I practice this every week that should work itself out, I think.

The blogs etc I've been reading have had some good info and reminders. One that I think is part of what is paying off is that each gesture, each part of technique, each note/phrase in the music has a purpose, and knowing that purpose helps in musicality (and memory, too). I think the time I've spent getting to know the chord progressions in each piece, sometimes without the melody and just singing along, has helped that a lot. There were also a couple of articles on actually getting gigs with keeping up with people who can book you, keeping in touch with your fans ( laugh ) , etc. My pro-music brother has made the same point many times. If they don't know about you, and know about you lately, they won't call.

So, I got this 20 hrs/wk day job last week, in addition to the 12 or so hours I have with some contract work, and I was afraid it would be really hard to have the time/energy for piano. But so far that's worked out really well. This last week it turned out that each time I sat down at the piano I came away refreshed, no matter how tired or allergy-ridden I was. That was good new. I'm still not at 1.5 hrs/week, but I don't seem to have lost any, either, so I'm hopeful this will be ok in the long run.

And now I'm going to go take a nap laugh

Cathy
_________________________

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#2305377 - 07/22/14 01:24 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: jotur]
carlos88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 92
Loc: Colorado
I finally took the plunge - bought a violin and started searching for a violin teacher. I'd like to be able play with amateur adult groups around here, either classical or bluegrass, in 2-3 years.

One of my base qualifying questions that the teacher needs to answer is which performer and performances they enjoy. On the piano side, I've heard enough from teachers who don't like performances from Gould to Schiff. Even if the answer is something like "I like how the performer's freckles glisten off the varnish while playing Bach", that will be good enough.


One other thing I'm looking forward to is being more in control of the instrument. Coming to a lesson where the piano is badly out of tune for multiple weeks, or the low Ab is sticking, or the piano is 3 inches lower than normal so you can't put your legs under it - these are all frustrating. But the accompanying ridicule that came from one teacher due to these things was worse.

There's also something wonderful about starting a thing completely from scratch. I don't do that often enough as an adult.


On the piano side, I've been trying to learn all of my scales, more music theory (the current Coursera course), 3 Debussy preludes, and the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.

I'm getting in about 90-120 minutes of practice each night after work, and 3-4 hours each weekend day. I figure I can play the violin on weekdays after 10pm, since its quieter and I can play in a more isolated room than the piano, so it shouldn't impact piano practice time.
_________________________
I'd rather play badly than not at all...

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#2310464 - 08/03/14 12:25 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Another fairly successful gig yesterday. Something got freed up when I decided to not do the gigs where I'm stood up smile A confidence, or something. A sense that I'm valuable?

Also, a couple of weeks ago I went to an Alzheimer's benefit at the senior living place where I sub, partly for the benefit, and partly because a pianist here in town who is a real pro was playing. That place recently had someone donate a piano which supposedly was once owned by Liberace, and I had gotten to play it a couple of weeks before. It was a great way to go to school on a pro. First, a lesson I have to learn over and over, he was not shy smile Secondly, he plays a lot by ear and knows, of course, a thousand tunes. The real advantage of that is he can string tunes together with no break for quite awhile, which really keeps the momentum up. The eye-opener, for me, was how many were all alike laugh . He has a bag of tricks he can use on anything. He also, because he really is a pro, can liven things up with Latin rhythms and stuff, too, but the bag of tricks was interesting. Awhile back a couple of people here in the ABF and I were talking about trying to learn some "licks" that we would incorporate in to many tunes, and maybe being able to do them on the fly.

And that's coming along. I practiced one of my stalwarts with variations on the rhythm in the left hand, and when I played it yesterday some of those just came out! What a deal, eh? I've been spending some time playing around with my standard repertoire, playing only the chords and singing, or trying out variations, etc, and I think it's close to becoming something I can actually do on the fly. The very very first "trick" in my bag that I could do some of that with on the fly was "honky-tonkying" things up - I did that with Angeline the Baker in an ABF recital. So with simple tunes that are rowdy - You are My Sunshine, There is a Tavern in the Town - I've been able to gussy them up for awhile now. But I now I have other options, and am more comfortable adding frills in the right hand, or varying the melody, and now changing some rhythms in the left hand.

Another thing I've become more comfortable with is adding things to my repertoire while they're still pretty much in the "block chords in the left hand" stage. For one thing, it's fairly simple, often, to turn block chords into arpeggios or reverse arpeggios, or little "waggles" as I call them - bass on the beat, the other two notes on the off beat, or some variation of that. For a second thing, it turns out that even block chords can be pretty effective if they're played "not shyly"/confidently. So it's getting easier to add new things to my repertoire, so I'm not so limited to the 40 or so things I've "worked up."

So it appears to me many things have come together for a little while - the focus in the sense of paying attention/being aware of particular things while practicing, the focus in the sense of not being distracted/having an attitude of successfully doing things, the focus in the sense of simply spending more time at the piano in the last three years (tho I'm still not up to an hour and a half a day this year), the practicing variations and improvisations in *all* my repertoire, the focus on the structure of the pieces, reading a lot of piano blogs/PW/other blogs - all of it is really paying off right now. I'm sure there will be a plateau at some point, because that's the way the world works, but right now I'm in a good place, I think.

Cathy
_________________________

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#2311484 - 08/05/14 01:17 PM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: jotur]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 746
Loc: Switzerland
I just returned from a three week trip to the US, and I need to get back on track with FOYD! I was able to play while in the US, but it was not the focussed kind of practice that I need. So, time to regroup. I need to figure out which of my active projects to try to submit for the quarterly recital. My piano will not be tuned until next Monday, so I guess I will be at the end of the list!

Handel Allemande in A Minor, Villa-Lobos Samba Lele, McDowell - To a Wild Rose- These are in the final polishing stage. They are memorised, but still have a couple of sticky spots in each. This week I will experiment with my interpretation and fine tune the dynamics.

Kuhlau Sonata 88 3 - The first movement is probably the next recital, and just needs a few practice recordings to fine tune things. The second movement is learned, and needs slow, accurate practice with the metronome to check timing. The first two pages of the third movement are learned. This week I will continue with pages 3-4.

Sight reading - Continue with 1/2 hour per day. My goal is to read at the ABRSM 6 level when I take the Grade 5 exam in November. Hopefully that will mean the grade 5 sight reading test will be a breeze!

Repertoire - I am experimenting with letting pieces rest for a month or two, and then relearning them. My goal is to try to build better deep memory of the piece, instead of finding myself relying too much on muscle memory. Currently I am working on bringing back Debussy Arabesque 1, which has slipped out of active memory.
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2312240 - 08/07/14 04:59 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5066
Loc: Italy
I've been following this thread, and a couple of others, but my time at PW and even at the piano has been limited recently.

First because we've been travelling - and secondly... I temporarily lost interest. Wow. That has never happened before. It was a little disconcerting, but at the same time, I didn't really care. I was doing a bare minimum to hold on to MOYD, but my heart wasn't in it.

This week a few things started to click and my enthusiasm has returned.

I've still got some travel lined up so will miss a bit of playing, but I have a better idea of what I want to get done before seeing my teacher in mid-Sept.

What do you call it when you are moving up the keyboard playing 2 notes at the same time --- ie: c/e d/f e/g?


Sarabande Neufville: specific focus on transitions and open (rippling?) chords
Pastorale C.Bach: I have to work on that thing above I don'tknow what to call
Suite Gurlitt: maintenance work
Fughetta Pachelbel: maintenance work

Find new piece to get started on.
_________________________
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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#2312357 - 08/07/14 09:57 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I've been following this thread, and a couple of others, but my time at PW and even at the piano has been limited recently.
Ditto. I've both lads at home all day long. The younger goes back to school in a month, the elder back to university in two months. In the meantime we're embroiled in cooking, cleaning, maintenance and repairing about the home, car and garden as well as chess, guitar, piano, astronomy and weight training as well as keeping up with their regular studies.

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
What do you call it when you are moving up the keyboard playing 2 notes at the same time --- ie: c/e d/f e/g?
Double thirds, Cheryl. Clementi was famous for 'em.
_________________________
Richard

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#2312361 - 08/07/14 10:04 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5539
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Ah. I was sitting here contemplating this question. I wanted to say "it's 3rds but I've only heard of double thirds and this doesn't seem like them." So *my* question is - what's the "double" part of double thirds here?

You're on, Richard!

Cathy
_________________________

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#2312367 - 08/07/14 10:11 AM Re: FOYD - Focus On Your Domain [Re: Saranoya]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2393
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Good question, Cathy. They're called double thirds when the thirds played together to distinguish them from broken thirds that are played one note at a time (C, E, D, F, E, G etc.). Thirds without further qualification can describe the melodic interval, the chords or various other connotations.
_________________________
Richard

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