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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2960112 03/24/20 07:23 PM
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I got my first decent recording of the second movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata done this evening. The tempo is still too slow but I like the way it is coming together.

I might get a recording worthy of the beethoven recital in time.

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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2960204 03/25/20 06:26 AM
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I would have thought with all this time at home I would be getting more practice done, but between home schooling, working, keeping the house going with 5 people (+ 2 dogs + 1 cat) here full time, that's not the case. And what's worse, my focus is even worse than usual!
So I will claim as an AOTW that despite the strange and worrying times we are living through, I have made it to the bench every day at my usual time.
And when my focus on the work I "should" be doing has been poor, I've been pulling out old repertoire and refreshing that. Which is something I always say I should do more of, so I'll definitely claim that as an AOTW too!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
KevinM #2960270 03/25/20 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
Gave myself goose bumps from my own playing today....Chopin's C#Minor Nocturne Posth ... my own playing has never done that before.

That is wonderful!


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
barbaram #2960273 03/25/20 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by barbaram
...So I will claim as an AOTW that despite the strange and worrying times we are living through, I have made it to the bench every day at my usual time.
This is reassuring: I’m not the only one having trouble concentrating! Good for you to show up daily at the piano! Being present for the music seems especially important now.


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2961591 03/29/20 03:49 PM
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I had my first piano lesson this week after not having lessons since I was a child!!

I have played on and off on my own over the the many years of my adulthood, and even learned a couple new pieces a few years back. But now that we are stuck at home, I asked my husband for a lesson. He found a simple piece for me to start with, The Limpid Stream, and I dug out my old Hanon book. Oh what fun to be playing again!

Now I have found a music theory app to remind myself of things I once learned, and learn the things I have missed. I found this forum and have found great tips and suggestions, including recording myself. It feels good to be excited about learning again, and desire to become a better player. I look forward to making and sharing my first recording here.

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2961626 03/29/20 05:42 PM
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That is one big achievement Tonya.

Looking forward to hearing your recordings.

Welcome.

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2961985 03/30/20 04:31 PM
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I set out this month with a resolution to have a try at getting through Ravel’s Jeux D’eau.
I've clocked up, yes, I did note down all the time periods played to keep me on track and honest, all of 57 hrs. Roughly 2 hrs a day devoted to just Ravel. I did play other things but only minimally, no serious practising with those.
It has been like training for a marathon, which I have done in the past so speak from experience. Only this time there is no race to turn up for, just my own goals and aspirations when it comes to piano playing.
I was introduced to this piece a bit before last Xmas so I wasn't completely fresh to it. I knew it was a real stretch for me to even think about playing it - ever. But I am not one to shy away from challenges, and life has brought me many, but I think this has to be the biggest personal challenge I've ever taken on.
After this last month, I decided this morning, March 30th, to record myself however it turned out, a snap shot of where I am.
It is not anything anyone is going to ever hear. Just for me to know how I've come along, and hear much I shall have improved - eventually......
It is a very humbling thing to do and I am humbled. I managed to play through, rather - stumble through, and get to the end - of all the13 pages. It was 25mins 35 secs of self inflicted torture.
But a marker of what has managed to do in those 57 hours. I have been through every one of the 85 measures and know what is happening on each one, or supposed to. It certainly is not easy stuff and some of the notation really plays with your head. Which hand is playing on which octave, and which staff refers to which hand, what rhythm are we in now, and how many more accidentals can you possibly use!
It will take another 57 hours or more to work it up to a decent playing level but I just can't think about that right now. Perhaps in a week or two. I shall take a break and do something different.
Beethoven's Pathetique might be just perfect for my most right now!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2962396 03/31/20 10:22 PM
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I love this thread!

So many people trying new things - it is such a tonic to read your thoughts.

It's a Beethoven week for me - got Bagatelle #4 in A major (opus 33) to the point where my teacher and I could discuss the music rather than the technique. Still some polishing to do, and phrasing to discuss, but a step forward qualitatively.

Starting Sonata #12 (a flat major, opus 26) I CAN PLAY THE 9THS!!!!!!!. Thanks, just had to say it.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2965550 04/10/20 09:19 PM
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I’m in a small minority that use the Schaum books for practice.

When nearing the end of the 'Red' book I was tempted to switch due to the negativity towards them on here but when I got to the last page I realised that I really love them.

So now I’ve just started the 'Blue' book which I believe is grade 1.5 and now it’s getting serious.

The first piece is quite a step up from the previous book. It's a tune that I recognise and one that requires some hand movements well out of my comfort zone. It’s the first piece that requires looking at the keyboard due to the switch in hand positions.

Well, my achievement of the week is that I’m now playing this piece without looking which this time last week I wouldn’t have thought possible. And I think that’s down to the approach that they’ve taken in pushing you - but not too much.

For the first time I’m feeling confident about moving my hands across the keyboard without looking. I never realised that my hands were so clever smile

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2976108 05/07/20 08:58 AM
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Wow! Almost a month since the last post, and AOTW slips to page 4 in ABF?

I hope everyone is safe and healthy, practicing away in their homes.

My teacher offered me Skype lessons during lockdown, as I imagine many have. I declined because I have done that before and did not enjoy it. But I told her that I would keep practicing on my own and continue to pay her until we could resume in person... teachers gotta eat too!

Yesterday she opened her studio up just for me, so that is AOTW #1, restarting lessons.

It was great to see her again and the lesson went well. I played the arrangement of Puccini's Un Bel Di from Madama Butterfly that was barely hands together when we last met. Except for a few lines on the last page that still need some work, she said "it's gorgeous, I wouldn't change a thing." Well, that is probably a great big overstatement, but the important fact is that I was able to work the piece up to a fairly high level on my own. So this is my AOTW #2, because at some point isn't that what we are aiming for? ..... to use what we've learned in lessons all these years to take a piece from zero to a reasonable interpretation of the composer's intent. Not that I'm imagining not having a teacher.... far from it. But rather that it's another marker in this long journey we are all taking.

Anyway, I feel very lucky to have my lessons again.
Hoping all of you can also resume your normal routines soon.

Best wishes,

Jim


Consolation No.2 E maj, F.Liszt
Nocturne C# minor, FChopin
Clair de Lune, C.Debussy



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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2976137 05/07/20 10:00 AM
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Great achievements, Jim! Wonderful that you can restart in-person lessons. I'm thinking that I'll do a few more on-line lessons, and then go back to in-person. I've had all of one on-line lesson and it was filled with first-time glitches, so I'm hoping my next on-line lesson will be a little better. As well as on-line lessons can go (as a number of people here on PW have testified to), nothing beats in-person, imo, either for lessons or listening to music being made.

Making progress on your own--that is indeed what it's all about. And to get validation of your progress from your teacher--icing on the cake!


My AOTW: got a microphone to use for my next on-line lesson. Fixed a hesitation problem in one of my Schubert pieces. Made some progress on nicer sounding trills in the Chopin C# minor.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2976159 05/07/20 10:52 AM
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I got an unexpected achievement this week!

I went back to an earlier piece, just to review, and surprise! I found that I can now play a 6th with fingers 2 and 4 with some ease! How did that happen without even trying?! Heh heh heh...

This is probably an easy reach for the rest of you, and you wonder what is the big deal. But I have small hands. My thumb and pinky are maxed out in a straight line to barely reach a 9th on the edges. Now I want to try some chords that I couldn't play before :-)

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
JimF #2976465 05/08/20 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JimF
...but the important fact is that I was able to work the piece up to a fairly high level on my own. So this is my AOTW #2, because at some point isn't that what we are aiming for? ..... to use what we've learned in lessons all these years to take a piece from zero to a reasonable interpretation of the composer's intent. Not that I'm imagining not having a teacher.... far from it. But rather that it's another marker in this long journey we are all taking.
...

Jim

That is exactly what I have been working on for the past few months. I have taken a break from lessons, and what I find is that I am applying what I have been taught in a way that I did not in the past. I have to solve my own problems, and my teacher's advice is in my head to fall back on. I am practicing more effectively now, because I am having to move from a dependent student mindset to independent action. It reinforces what I have learned. I have been working on my weaknesses by playing easier pieces from all eras and bringing them up to performance level within a couple of weeks. It allows me to identify weaknesses and use what I know to solve them. I am applying what I have been taught over the last ten years much better than I did when I was taking lessons each week.

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2976489 05/08/20 05:23 AM
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PLAYING WITH FINGERTIPS INCLUDING THE PINKY FINGER!

I am now in the process of going through Hanon 1-31 with my pinky finger pressing the keys from its tip instead of turning it to the side.

Vital important lesson to properly train the pinkies and to play with no fatigue or pain!

Last edited by Bhav; 05/08/20 05:24 AM.

'Its too rare to break a hand from playing the piano ... But playing Hanon as written will break your hand'

- Self proclaimed 'piano teachers' on the internet.
Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2976894 05/09/20 08:51 AM
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This isn't exactly an achievement; it's more a realisation that got me excited. But that came after feeling superbly crappy during and after a lesson a day ago (in fact i think i still feel a little embarrassed and guilty about it now).

So a day before my lesson, the teacher asked if i was keen to work on anything other than a Sonata that we were almost done with. I said, yes, in fact I've typed out a list of questions that I hope we can work on. And so I sent over the list of questions.

The day of the lesson, I was really excited, because I thought i could finally get some comments on questions that've been bugging me for some time, or perhaps I could get some reassurance from the teacher: don't worry, you'll get your questions answered, don't worry, i'll guide you there, for example.

The second i see his face on screen (we use Zoom) i sense a foreboding atmosphere of doom. (i'm pretty intimidated by him by the way, but this time it's way worse.) i didn't dare ask about my questions and waited for him to say something.

"I've read your questions"

*serious, ponderous face* And a deathly silence.

And i'm thinking, [censored].

"Let's look at your Handel exercises first"

The next few minutes pass by so slowly and there's so much tension in the air.

And finally, he says, "so your next question, is most music based on intervals of 3rds and 4ths? Well you're looking for a theory of everything again, and as i've said, there're no answers to such theory of everything questions. I mean, is all language based on grammar rules? Well I guess it is to a great extent, but how will knowing such things help in your analysis and in the actual playing of a piece..."

And he goes on and on and on and i'm thinking argh shoooot my entire 9 pages of questions are "theory of everything" questions and I was so embarrassed I wanted to leave the Zoom session there and then.

But he does tell me what to focus on: study the pieces, observe individual voice motions, listen to the sonority each chord produces, think of what other notes, positions and chords could be played, and so on.

And it hits me--I had for the past few weeks been trying to avoid all that hard stuff and had been fantasising about grand but baseless and impractical ideas about music instead. If I want to get anywhere I need to start on the hard stuff. Argh! The embarrassment. But the realisation that came as a result of all that is inspiring me to work even harder now.

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2978134 05/12/20 05:24 AM
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So... today is the 10th anniversary of this thread. It has some of the very highest numers for views, and the highest for participation.

I think that's pretty exciting. To me it speaks volumes to how much we need to brag up our baby steps to keep from getting discouraged. It says how much we need to share our happiness in every little bit of progress. And if we look at all the threads about "wow - I can do xzy--- I couldn't do that last month, last week" we also need to share the Ah ha! moments when we realize the tremendous amount of progress we've made over a long period of time.

I don't come here very often any more. I've cut down my on-line time tremendously. But it gives me great pleasure to read this thread and see the determination, enthusiasm and support ..... and joy! - that is the best of Piano World.

My achievement of the week is making some nifty progress on my Chopin Waltz in A-flat, Op. 69. N1 - in much less time than I would have expected.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2978139 05/12/20 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
So... today is the 10th anniversary of this thread. It has some of the very highest numers for views, and the highest for participation.

I think that's pretty exciting. To me it speaks volumes to how much we need to brag up our baby steps to keep from getting discouraged. It says how much we need to share our happiness in every little bit of progress. And if we look at all the threads about "wow - I can do xzy--- I couldn't do that last month, last week" we also need to share the Ah ha! moments when we realize the tremendous amount of progress we've made over a long period of time.

I don't come here very often any more. I've cut down my on-line time tremendously. But it gives me great pleasure to read this thread and see the determination, enthusiasm and support ..... and joy! - that is the best of Piano World.

Happy anniversary! smile

I bet you did not anticipate this thread having more than ten thousand posts, nor it being read more than 34 million times, ten years ago when you started it.

In the light of the immense popularity of this thread, I think it would be the achievement of the decade for most. Well done! Really well done!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2978165 05/12/20 07:07 AM
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yes well done on starting this has been a ridiculously successful thread. Although I don't participate very often here myself, it is nice to read of the progress of others.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2978201 05/12/20 10:07 AM
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Happy Anniversary Cheryl and all of you AOTWers!

A few thoughts on why this thread has been so successful.

Adults who take up piano often begin with the notion that if they "study" piano hard, and maybe take some lessons, then after a few years they should be pretty good at it. And why not, that is how it works for most subjects they have encountered. I know I initially felt this way.

But after a while a lonely reality seeps in... you can't just read about this, or conquer it on an intellectual level. You have to physically perform hundreds or thousands of little tasks every time you sit at the bench. Maybe at the end of a week you see a teacher for an hour, and then you go home and try to do another thousand things. Eventually you realize that you are for the most part on your own... the teacher is more of a coach... the work of, well, making it work, is all on you. Talking to a friend or spouse about it doesn't usually help much, not unless they play too. And there's no destination, just an endless winding path of small steps. It can be a lonely process, learning piano.

I believe this is what you tapped into when you created the AOTW thread Cheryl, the need to feel good about the endless little tasks we keep trying to perform. And the need to connect with others going through similar experiences. So ten years later here we are... there is no victory lap, no declaration of having at last "learned" piano. Just another day of hundreds of little tasks at the bench, a group of fellow travelers doing the same, and the AOTW thread to share and celebrate the experience. And that suits me just fine.

Thank you Cheryl and all contributors for making it work.

Jim


Consolation No.2 E maj, F.Liszt
Nocturne C# minor, FChopin
Clair de Lune, C.Debussy



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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2978216 05/12/20 11:02 AM
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After feeling frustrated for weeks (really, about 3 months) about not really “getting it” with the Faure Barcarolle, I realized if I thought and said Bump-da-da-la, Bump-da-da-la, Bump-da-da-la-la, I finally got the phrasing and feel of the piece. It has been tricky since the melody is exchanged between the L and R hands and is an interior line, so that much of it is played with the thumb. What a difference it made. Sometimes there are simple solutions that you can come up with on your own.



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