Hello piano teachers,
let me summarize my situation first, then I'll expand in a moment:
- I am 40 year old self-taught living in Denmark, Europe
- I love Bach and have taught myself to play some of his works
- I want to get better and more focused and effective in my practice
- I would love to get better technique and better practice routines, but would be really demotivated if I had to practice "simpler" music first before being "allowed" to practice Bach
- and last by certainly not of least importance, I would like a better instrument than the upright chines Nordiska 120 from 2004 that I am now practicing on, preferably a grand, but even after having tried several reputable and expensive grands, I can't seem to find one that I love: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2335104/1.html
Let me expand:
I've been toying with music since I was a child. I was transferred to a special school for musical children when I was 9, life took me in a different direction though, I took up the guitar as a teenager and got quite good at it.
In high school, my music teacher introduced me to a lot of great music. Glenn Gould's version of the G minor prelude and fugue from the WTC1 (BWV 861) stuck in my mind. A few years later, I suddenly decided to learn it. I didn't even own a keyboard, let alone a piano. I bought a cheap keyboard and off I went. My technique and practice habits were probably awful, but my motivation and joy was immense.
Then life happened and I didn't play for a long time.
Then about 5 years ago I was lucky to receive a Nordiska 120 upright piano from a family member. It is not the most impressive piano, to say the least, but it was in my home, available, and it was good enough to draw me back into Bach.
I have to balance piano practice with many other things in life, family, work and so on. As do many adults, I guess. I means that my "practicing" is not very structured. I just practice or play whatever I feel like. That also means that I know many first halves of pieces
I would like my practice to be more efficient and I can be quite disciplined when I am motivated. But this is still only a hobby, albeit a passionate one.
I read slowly, memorize and then play from memory. One one hand, Fundamentals of Piano Practice says:
"It is more important to be able to memorize than to sight read because you can
survive as a pianist without good reading ability, but you can't become an advanced pianist
without the ability to memorize"http://www.pianopractice.org/book.pdf
But reading "Grand Obsession", I get the idea that this is a big no no and that I have to be able to play what I read and always know what count I am on and so forth. I find it hard to understand why it is better to multitask by having to not only play the piano but also read (and count) at the same time. Even if I can't read something quickly, I still have to practice it hands separate and slowly. So why the need to confuse my brain by reading at the same time?
This is a (probably incomplete) list of works I can play in some form.
- WTC1 C Major Prelude
- WTC1 C Major Fugue - this took a long time to learn with all the strettos, but I have it memorized and can play it quite okay. There is always room for improvement.
- WTC1 C minor Prelude - I have memorized most of the first part (until bar 24) and some of the remaining bars. But I haven't practiced it enough to play it well.
- WTC1 C sharp minor Prelude - I have it memorized and can play it quite okay.
- WTC1 C sharp minor Fugue - I have the first 28 bars memorized and can play it quite okay. But there are 115 bars in total, a long way to go
- WTC1 D major Prelude - I have about half of it memorized, but I haven't practiced it very much and can't play it well.
- WTC1 E flat major Prelude - I have the first part (until bar 9) memorized and then the first fugal part (until bar 24) mostly memorized. I haven't practiced it much and I can't play it well.
- WTC1 E flat minor Prelude - I have it memorized and can play it quite well.
- WTC1 D sharp minor Fugue - I have about the first 12 bars memorized and can play most of it okay.
- WTC1 E major Prelude - I have the first half memorized and can play it okay.
- WTC1 E minor Prelude - I have the first part (until the presto at bar 23) memorized and can play it but it could be much better.
- WTC1 F minor Prelude - I have it memorized and can play it quite well.
- WTC1 F minor Fugue - I have memorized about 15 bars and can play it slowly but not well.
- WTC1 G minor Prelude - I have it memorized and can play it okay. Of course, the trills are central and my trills could be much better
- WTC1 G minor Fugue - I have it memorized and can play it okayish, but some parts especially in the last half could use more practice.
- WTC1 B flat minor Prelude - I have memorized 14 bars but I haven't played it in a long time and can't play it well.
- WTC1 B flat minor Fugue - I have memorized the first 14 bars but can't play it well.
- WTC1 B minor Prelude - I have the first part (until bar 17) memorized and can play it okay.
I have of course played with many other bits and pieces from WTC1.
In the WTC2 I have practiced a little of the F minor Prelude and the E major Fugue.
I have learned about half of the first fugue from the Art Of Fugue.
I have learned the aria from the Goldberg Variations.
I have tried forcing myself to learn the easier pieces everybody says I should have started with. The C Major 2 part invention, for instance. I find it hard to motivate myself to learn this properly because I don't love it.
I love the C minor and G minor 3 part inventions and have memorized about half of each.
I really love playing the piano and exploring Bach and I devote a lot of my spare time to it. But I don't know where to go from here.
Reading "Grand Obsession", Perri Knize finds a great teacher and eventually a great piano (I guess, I haven't finished reading it yet) and she gets a lot of help on this forum even.
I feel the same way she describes. It feels like an obsession. An obsession to get better but also an obsession to find the right piano and the right teacher etc.
I don't know what to do from here. I don't know where to find the right teacher, where to find the right piano. It feels like I can't get better before I get a better instrument, but I can't get myself to buy a better instrument before I can really play it and know what I am buying. I probably have a lot of bad habits from self-teaching and playing my upright. It feels like a catch 22. I have to have a good grand piano technique to find a grand piano I want.
What do I do know to stop thinking so much about grand pianos and practicing and teaching, and move on to the next step?
Can I find a teacher that is willing to teach me using only music that maybe is "too hard" for me but that motivates me?
How can I find a grand piano that I love and that I know is good and will support the development in my technique?