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#1933537 - 07/28/12 10:43 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: SwissMS]  
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Originally Posted by SwissMS
My achievement this week was realizing that I can recognize when tension is starting to build in my hands and consciously relax everything. I have worked so much on relaxation in my lessons, that I am now acutely aware when I am holding tension in the fingers that are not playing, or in my wrist. Just that awareness is starting to impact how easily I can play.


Well done! After flirting with various relaxation "techniques" I am convinced that the only useful approach is to (a) recognise when you're tensing up and then (b) don't!

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#1933541 - 07/28/12 10:47 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
My achievement: I finally pulled out the manual for my DP and figured out how to record a piece and save it to a thumb drive.

It is a mixed blessing.

It's good to take advantage of useful technology. thumb On the other hand, I sound awful. frown


And that's the main blessing of course! You can't put it right until you know it's wrong! Onward and upward ;-)

#1933586 - 07/28/12 12:38 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Exalted Wombat]  
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Originally Posted by Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted by Stubbie
My achievement: I finally pulled out the manual for my DP and figured out how to record a piece and save it to a thumb drive.

It is a mixed blessing.

It's good to take advantage of useful technology. thumb On the other hand, I sound awful. frown


And that's the main blessing of course! You can't put it right until you know it's wrong! Onward and upward ;-)


SwissMiss and EW, thanks for the encouragement.

Yes, I knew that the feedback I got from recording myself was (a) going to make me cringe and (b) was a very useful teaching tool. I am also using recording to try to desensitize myself to "red dot"/performance syndrome. A challenge, but I'm game.

Yes, indeed--onward and upward!

Last edited by Stubbie; 07/28/12 12:51 PM.

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#1933881 - 07/28/12 11:41 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Hi everyone! I just popped in to say a quick hello. I've had a crazy month, with not much piano--limited practice and no lessons in awhile. In spite of that, Schumann's Melodie is coming along. It's just so thrilling to be playing Schumann for me. I hope I can make it sound better soon.

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#1934016 - 07/29/12 07:42 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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I woke up this morning at 5:30am. Been trying to do that for a few weeks. Now, I feel much better. smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#1934096 - 07/29/12 10:16 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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SwissMS, I am surprised that more piano teachers don't talk about breathing. Breath is so related to tension. Yoga is a one way some learn about breathing and tension. The neck, and the shoulders are areas where some tension accumulates. Obviously, from where I come from, flute and whistle, breathing is so much more critical. However, for every musician, breathing and phrasing can be a piece of the puzzle.

Stubbie, as you already wrote, recording oneself and listening is a big part of the improvement cycle. Every musician that wants to improve would do well to record and listen at regular intervals. The piano bar and recitals can be motivators.

My Week 20: I am back from vacation, almost two weeks away from the piano keyboard, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I know nine pieces, seven originals, two covers. I played all nine my first day back and six came back to me relatively easily. The next two took some effort, some restarts and fumbles, but I didn't have to resort to the paper. For the last one, an original I was lost, and I had to open the book, and it wasn't the way I had remembered it.

During my trip, I had my Android tablet, and I spent maybe 40 minutes total with a sight reading app.

#1936650 - 08/02/12 11:06 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Oh wow it fell off of the first page!

SwissMS, glad the tension is going away! That teacher really seems to be paying off.

STubbie, it's amazing how different a recording can sound compared to what you think you're playing. My digital has a recording function, so when I have a piece that's supposed to be ready for my teacher, I hop off the acoustic and play it on the digital. Then I usually have more work ahead of me smile

MaryAnn, Melodie is in my repertoire book and we just got to it. It's tricky. I also have Wild Rider and Soldier's March after that.

My accomplishment - I've been trying to get a piece up to speed. I put it away for a couple of days,tried it today , and I'm thisclose to having it. A week ago I would have said impossible.

Last edited by AimeeO; 08/02/12 11:06 PM.
#1937159 - 08/04/12 03:02 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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This week: learning to use Synthogy Ivory. This technology is incredible!

side-note: this achievement pales unequivocally compared to the 15-year-old girl who just won olympic gold in 800m freestyle swimming. Wow


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1937382 - 08/04/12 05:02 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Exalted Wombat]  
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I've been practicing this exercise since the user uploaded the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RUrHr-9NiE

(Anyone else follow this guy's videos?)

Anyways I can now reach a C# G# E natural chord with 1-3-5 comfortably. I couldn't do that before practicing this exercise. Maybe one day I'll be able to play the Dflat Aflat F natural chord in CHopins' funeral march one day laugh

#1937675 - 08/05/12 11:18 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Hi Everyone,
I haven't been joining in much lately. I have been extremely frustrated with lack of progress and achievements and the fact that in June and July I had 2 lessons, my teacher cancelled the rest. We are supposed to be doing a lesson swap, but it isn't working. I don't get treated like a regular student. I do understand that paying work has to have a priorty, but I also feel I should be getting my lessons.
It is a situation that I have to remedy come Sept.

For now, I am mostly away from piano as I am spending time with family (I will have some serious 'fessing up to do on MOYD when it all comes to an end).

I hope to be back with positive things to report in September.

I think my biggest musical thrill last week was that I did get to play a duet with my niece. That was tremendous fun!


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#1937676 - 08/05/12 11:19 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Hi Everyone,
I haven't been joining in much lately. I have been extremely frustrated with lack of progress and achievements and the fact that in June and July I had 2 lessons, my teacher cancelled the rest. We are supposed to be doing a lesson swap, but it isn't working. I don't get treated like a regular student. I do understand that paying work has to have a priorty, but I also feel I should be getting my lessons.
It is a situation that I have to remedy come Sept.

For now, I am mostly away from piano as I am spending time with family (I will have some serious 'fessing up to do on MOYD when it all comes to an end).

I hope to be back with positive things to report in September.

I think my biggest musical thrill last week was that I did get to play a duet with my niece. That was tremendous fun!


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#1937773 - 08/05/12 02:45 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Week #21: It is a battle with the red dot as I try to record something for the ABF recital. Two weeks off hasn't helped matters. I try 15 takes of Ashokan Farewall on one day, and end up with a pile of discards and give up.

The next day, I use a trick to help me get a half-way decent recording. I plug in the headphones, place the voice recorder there and play with no monitor, just faint echoes of sound from the headphones. Weird, but this trick got me my cleanest recordings. Even if I choose to use them, it takes some doing to use those recordings, but I may try some more takes as there is still time.

Other than that, I am in a sort of limbo, ready for a new piece or two, but not looking forward to starting a new hill climb. It took 12 weeks to get Ashokan Farewell to its current half baked state. Maybe another 24 weeks before I think I might be proud of a recording. I'm not signing up for that, and may come back to it later.

However, any new known piece is likely to be another hill climb because as much as some of my recordings make me sound more experienced, there is the reality of my five month beginner status (a no-teacher beginner to boot).

One exciting new thing is a new set of used Cambridge brand speakers. The bad part is a feedback loop that causes buzzing, so I am not really using them.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 08/05/12 02:48 PM.
#1937774 - 08/05/12 02:46 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Two lessons total in two months? That is seriously de-motivating. Sorry to hear about your teacher woes. It sounds like you need a new arrangement or a new teacher ASAP. On the positive side, once you get restarted, you will be refreshed and ready to get back at it!

Enjoy your time with family. Your duet with your niece sounds like it was fun!

Last edited by SwissMS; 08/05/12 02:46 PM.
#1937974 - 08/06/12 12:57 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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I finally had a lesson. My teacher was happy with my progress on Melodie. I've realized something though. Working on that piece so hard has messed up my bass clef reading (both hands are treble clef for Melodie). I'm really confused when I try to switch to the other pieces I'm supposed to be learning.

#1937987 - 08/06/12 02:23 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: MaryAnn]  
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Originally Posted by MaryAnn
I finally had a lesson. My teacher was happy with my progress on Melodie. I've realized something though. Working on that piece so hard has messed up my bass clef reading (both hands are treble clef for Melodie). I'm really confused when I try to switch to the other pieces I'm supposed to be learning.


Oh, I hate that. Usually when I practice sight reading I skip those sections. I figure that I can wait until my reading for both staves has become solidified to the point where I can switch things around without it affecting my normal reading pattern. I just want to be sure that my brain will view it as an exception, so to speak. smile

Last edited by Nicholas Mihaila; 08/06/12 02:24 AM. Reason: typo =P

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Currently working on Fantasie Impromptu and Animenz's Owari no Sekai Kara.
#1938118 - 08/06/12 10:50 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Nicholas Mihaila]  
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Sand Tiger- You have made incredible progress in only 21 weeks. I am sure you will get a good recording for the recital. Then, starting a new piece and a new challenge will help you progress.

MaryAnn- It is great that you were able to have a lesson and your teacher was pleased. It lets you know you are on the right track. And, don't worry, your knowledge of the base clef will come back quickly!

I am very excited this week, because my teacher assigned me a new Chopin Nocturne, Op.55 no.1 in F minor. I love this piece! It looks a little daunting, though, especially the ending. I can finally move the Eb major nocturne into my maintenance pile. It is acceptable, but I am hoping it is like a fine wine and will get better with time. We beginners do get better don't we????

Last edited by SwissMS; 08/06/12 03:14 PM.
#1938366 - 08/06/12 05:40 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: SwissMS]  
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Cheryl- Sorry to hear about the lesson frustrations, but I'm sure you will come back from vacation refreshed and ready to find a solution. thumb

MaryAnn - Clef changes mid-stream drive me to distraction too. Don't remember which piece it was, but I had one where it seemed to change every three or four measures. When I whined to my teacher she responded "well, would you rather he write it with seven ledger lines?" That shut me up quick! blush

SwissMs - Oh, I'm sooooo jealous. Listening to the F minor Nocturne right now. It is one of my all time favorites. Can't wait to hear it.

No AOTW for me, but I'm having fun with a new assignment. It is a beautiful arrangement from Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The chord progressions are so interesting.....I'm convinced Puccini was a jazz guy ahead of his time. But eek, polyrhythms. grin


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#1938829 - 08/07/12 02:50 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Hi,

Along with being back in the saddle again I can report I have met with a new teacher. I'll have my first lesson with her tomorrow. When she asked me to play for her I stumbled and fumbled around because it had been so long But she was good with it all. Said she was nervous too with a new student but clearly she knows her stuff and I think will have patience with me.


She teaches violin too and somehow I've agreed to have beginner's violin lessons too. I'm excited about all this but nervous too. Please keep a positive thought for me.
Thanks


Where did you say middle "C" was?

Proud owner of a 1917 Chas. Brothers Grand Piano named "Goldy" She sings like a bird. I lucked out Big Time.

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#1939056 - 08/07/12 10:56 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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I’ve had a really good week for music.

1) I learned some good theory items about notation and reading music; ie: the key signature extends onto the notes on ledger lines even though they aren’t marked.

2) Sheet music for a song doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to sound the same as how the person who composed it plays it. There’s ‘creative license’ to change it, and it’s ok. Which also means, if I learn a piece but feel that changing a note or two makes it sound ‘better’ to me, then it’s ok to play it that way.

3) Taking a couple weeks off is ok and can be helpful. I have been banging my head on a piece for a month. I got disgusted and shelved it for a while and moved on to a different song. I started to learn that one for a couple weeks, but just decided to play the parts of the old one that I already knew, and blew by the spot I had been struggling with like it was nothing! Such an awesome feeling! Now there’s only about 12 measures left to learn and a full tank of steam to get through it.

4) I’m still floating from my experience playing two $170,000 pianos the other weekend, a Fazioli and a Bechstein!! And yet I still love my little DGX-640. Imagine that! smile

It's surprising how no progress for a long time can just suddenly explode and seem like a whole new world. thumb



"Music is something so innocent and pure, it makes a person completely naked - in music you cannot lie." - Alice Sara Ott

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#1939166 - 08/08/12 04:33 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: Stryder87]  
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Originally Posted by Stryder87
I’ve had a really good week for music.

1) I learned some good theory items about notation and reading music; ie: the key signature extends onto the notes on ledger lines even though they aren’t marked.
That's a point I would never have thought of making to a student! Thank you for adding to my store of "possible misunderstandings" :-)
Quote
2) Sheet music for a song doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to sound the same as how the person who composed it plays it. There’s ‘creative license’ to change it, and it’s ok. Which also means, if I learn a piece but feel that changing a note or two makes it sound ‘better’ to me, then it’s ok to play it that way.
For popular music song copies it's more than OK, it's practically essential! The published music is designed to give information as to what the "band" was doing on the original recording. It's up to you to make something of it. Be more respectful towards legitimate music though (for want of a better term). The composer took a lot of trouble over the detail, better to look for his meaning than merely reject it.
Quote
3) Taking a couple weeks off is ok and can be helpful. I have been banging my head on a piece for a month.
Yes, the benefit of a good practice session generally shows up the NEXT day! Take a tricky passage, go over it hands seperately, very slowly - whatever it takes to get it right - that's the most important thing. Practice getting it RIGHT, even if it is half-speed. Don't worry that this doesn't immediately enable a full-speed performance. That comes tomorrow.

#1939775 - 08/09/12 08:35 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Had my first lesson with the new teacher.

Her English is not good but some how we managed to understand each other. Clearly she knows what she is doing. We are starting back at the beginning which is a good thing to root out some "habits" as she calls them. Very professional attitude on her part. Me well my knees knocked together a bit but i think we'll work well together. I have a sense that a solid direction will be worked out for me.

PS also had the first violin lesson with her which consisted of just learning how to hold the bow and relaxation of the hands [entire body as well] is critical to avoid injury. This can only help the piano too.
violin lesson first then immediately to piano. No fooling around here.

Lots of things to remember and work on. Fortunately I can record the lessons which will help my faulty memory through listening to what she says over and over. Helps with the English problems too.

Relax Relax Relax etc
thanks I needed that LOL


Where did you say middle "C" was?

Proud owner of a 1917 Chas. Brothers Grand Piano named "Goldy" She sings like a bird. I lucked out Big Time.

Korg SP 250
#1940225 - 08/10/12 09:20 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: pg2]  
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pg2- first lessons are always a cause of knee knocking. It sound like you are off to a good start, though. Taking violin and piano at the same time sounds pretty ambitious!

I had a great lesson today as well. The Back prelude is teaching me a lot. It has three voices, so the teacher had me memorize it HS and get all the phrasing and voices correct. Now if I can just get the finger 3/4 trills smooth. It is coming. She will not let me put HT until my playing is completely relaxed with preparation built in HS. As a result, I am learning so much more deeply. We are doing the same thing with the Nocturne. She is teaching the choreography to produce the right tone right from the beginning. I am having a ball!

I also found a place in Zürich that rents rooms with pianos by the hour. So, my lesson Monday will be there on a grand piano instead of her upright or my Avant Grand. yippie

#1940260 - 08/10/12 10:30 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Super excited about the song I'm working on.

I've been working on Words Left Unsaid by David Nevue for about a week now, and can already play a good half of it with little trouble. A few months ago, I wouldn't have been able to do the first 20 seconds of this. Didn't think I'd be playing something like this after only one year, especially with no teacher.

#1940273 - 08/10/12 11:08 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: dbush2765]  
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Originally Posted by dbush2765
Super excited about the song I'm working on.

I've been working on Words Left Unsaid by David Nevue for about a week now, and can already play a good half of it with little trouble. A few months ago, I wouldn't have been able to do the first 20 seconds of this. Didn't think I'd be playing something like this after only one year, especially with no teacher.


Congratulations! I know exactly what you're feeling!


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#1940846 - 08/11/12 01:11 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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Week 22: I buy a used Sony ICD-PX312 voice recorder. I am able to record and upload a rendition of Ashokan Farewell. Those that have followed my posts on this thread know that it is 14 weeks climbing the hill on this piece. The ending isn't as written, but I am some what pleased with the recording.

I play my "March to the Sea" on a relative's upright. It sounds harder than it is. I find it to be one of the easiest pieces for me to play, making it my first choice for impromptu live performances, especially on an unfamiliar instrument.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 08/11/12 01:11 PM.
#1941132 - 08/12/12 12:11 AM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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cas, that's so hard to go so long between lessons. I just went through that too this summer, but now that I'm back with my teacher, things are moving very quickly. I had 1.5 hour lessons each of the past two weeks, and we were able to cover a lot. If autumn can bring you a better lesson schedule, either with your current teacher, or another one if necessary, I'm sure you'll get that excitement back.

Sand Tiger, there's nothing wrong with spending months working on a piece, but it might be fun to mix in a couple easier pieces too, to give you some nice accomplishments to point to along the way.

pg2, I love the sound of the violin. You are lucky to be learning both instruments!

MaryAnn, Schumann's Melodie is so pretty. Glad to hear you're making good progress with it.


Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
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#1941970 - 08/13/12 01:40 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
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I had a really good lesson, as I played something that I didn't feel confident on, but it went really well and my teacher said it was excellent smile It was a really easy waltz, but even these small things are quite hard for me at the moment!

Every lesson is good to be honest even when I make loads of mistakes (all the time) as I just laugh at myself now. I keep finding myself smiling for no reason and people keep telling me I'm glowing - then they're really surprised when I tell them it's all because I am taking piano lessons. Seriously, it's been five lessons, I'm terrible, but it makes me really happy and I practically float home after each lesson... Let's hope it never wears off.


Last edited by Toastie; 08/13/12 01:41 PM.

Complete Beginner August 2012
'Play Piano' Book 1 - finished
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The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
Yamaha U3
#1942032 - 08/13/12 03:39 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: casinitaly]  
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,316
JimF Offline
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JimF  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,316
south florida
Toastie - Glad to see you found your way over to the AOTW thread. You are in the right place to celebrate every step, even the little ones. I think you also have the right attitude thumb ......enthusiasm for the process, without worrying too much about day to day progress, will take you a long way.

My AOTW, is making some interesting discoveries/observations after three weeks of doing some specialized scales work... in two, three and four note bursts, with complete relaxation between groups. Very revealing when done correctly, but requires major patience. Has anyone else ever worked this way?


Tarantella, Pieczonka
Sonatine, No.2 Menuet - MRavel


Estonia L190 #7284[Linked Image][Linked Image]
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#1942081 - 08/13/12 04:44 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: JimF]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 65
pg2 Offline
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Posts: 65
Ontario, Canada
Hi,

@ cas, it is hard to go without lessons for a long time. I had to go without for about a year and a half due to hand injuries. Motivation really slips and I'm finding it hard to create a solid routine time for practice now that I have started back in

@ Mary Beth, I am fortunate but broke, very broke but happy. Just think once I get a handle on both piano and violin I''ll be able to play duets for piano and violin with myself. someday I'll be able to do what you talking about maybe. It does sounds interesting

Interestingly the need for true all body relaxation for violin can only help the piano work.

Apparently the potential to hurt/damage yourself playing violin if you are not fully relaxed is enormous.

I may switch to viola I really love the deep rich sound. Trouble is I like the violin for other things. Decisions, decisions.

@ toastie, good for you to celebrate anything and everything you can. That's a good Idea I used to push a "That was easy button every time i managed to do anything half way right. Think I'll go back to that it was so encouraging.

@ Jim F, I'm having to relearn Amin scales and do both closed and open chords up and down the key board. should be simple but I'm getting tangled up. She was talking about contrary scales last weekk. EEK!

I have no idea how a person could do what you are doing at this point



Where did you say middle "C" was?

Proud owner of a 1917 Chas. Brothers Grand Piano named "Goldy" She sings like a bird. I lucked out Big Time.

Korg SP 250
#1942597 - 08/14/12 02:20 PM Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited? [Re: pg2]  
Joined: Jan 2011
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SwissMS Online content
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SwissMS  Online Content
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Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,979
Costa del Sol
Well, I just had my last lesson for a month. My teacher is heading to her home country for vacation and I am heading to the states in a couple of weeks. I loved playing on a grand though. My teacher also showed me where the practice rooms at the conservatory were and so I will probably sneak into there!

My embarrassing AOTW- how to use the pedal without any noise.

Teacher "Only amateurs raise their foot enough to make noise. You would never hear a pro do that in concert."

Me "Huh?"

So now I have learned how to release the pedal without releasing the pedal. I feel like the only person who learn this from the start. blush

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