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Happy birthday Andy.

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Just reading about everyone's achievements gets me excited!

But - it was a banner week for me, too.

The two days before Christmas, my son and I went piano crawling at two of the biggest dealers in Phoenix. We played a Big Bosendorfer, a 9' Steinway, the C7 reserved for Yamaha artists, a shimmering Schimmel, two Shigeru Kawais, an Estonia, two Mason and Hamlins, and quite a few others. These piano-crawls help me identify what is possible in sound and touch and without playing them I would never know what heights can be reached!

Back on earth, our newly tuned Kawai KG-5 holds its own (with a big bass that competes with the best of them).

I finally put hands together on my Joplin piece but that is still UP IN THE AIR whether I will have something recordable by the deadline in March. Lots still to do but it was a big milestone.

And I recorded my Tchaikovsky recital piece (over 10 times) and have one that I almost like! We are our own worst critics, of course. The Tchaikovsky piece (Op 39 No 23 In Church) was a very easy-to-learn 1-page score but there are depths to the piece that are fun for me musically. The pace of the piece is slow which demands some patience! The pedal work needs to be quite precise. And the chords need to be sharp. Still needs work but there is progress!

Anyway, best to all.





Last edited by AZ_Astro; 12/27/13 01:37 PM.

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my Waltz in Am is finally almost decent. It's improving ever so slowly.


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Saranoya - Yay! Well done sitting to a strange piano and getting an ovation from strangers. That's terrific.

AZ Astro - In Church isn't nearly as easy as it looks, is it? Keeping that legato going is really important, as is holding notes for their full value. It is a real skill builder, so congrats to you for taking it on.

Farmgirl - You cracked me up on the other thread with your playing goals for the dog.
I'm going to give Alfredo (my yellow lab)a goal to sing for his debut recording in 2014.

ElleC - Congrats on your progress with the A minor Chopin waltz. I never did get it to where I felt good about it. Thinking of reviving it in 2014, maybe my technique is up to snuff by now.

Cheryl - The Mrs and I are probably planning a European trip of some kind for around the same dates you mentioned elsewhere. Wouldn't it be fun....?

Andy - Sounds like you did your usual great job on the recital. Can't wait to hear what you are going to be playing in the next year, as it is fun to see you advance so successfully. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

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AOTW was to be able to do a passable four octave scale and an equally passable double octave contrary motion scale, both in G maj.
I had some mental block against scales right from the get go and disregarded them almost completely throughout my first year. Starting into my second year I have declared I will do a little scale work everyday.


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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Hi Jim, Glad you enjoyed Emma's pic. Honestly I have never seen a dog like her. Under a right teacher she would blossom into next Yuja Wang. With me as an occasional instructor, she would not go anywhere. I feel guilty of holding her back.

My achievement? Well I'm scratching my head a little here. I was going to practice like crazy but instead manage to eat out everyday with my piano teacher / friend. We did talk about piano a little. So I kinda felt like practiced. Jokes aside, I had a lesson before dinner. I'm actually working on six pieces (i know its crazy) simultaneously with different due dates. We could only cover two pieces during the lesson today, Chopin etude and nocturne for the pianist corner recital. I started the ├ętude last year and dropped. I picked it up again last Sunday. My teacher told me that I'm finally getting 3 shandy 4's. She was also happy to see that I can already play through the Nocturne by sight. There were a spot I probably need to memorize since I have to lift & drop wrists to articulate but overall, this piece seems to be doable by March. Phew!

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@FarmGirl First of all Emma is adorable and I see she has a grand grin, good thinking. Can't wait to hear her perform.

Your ambitious goals are just exhausting to read about. I don't know how you do it! You are an inspiration to me as I can only manage 2 or 3 much simpler pieces at once. I think it's because I tend to be impatient and can't recognize progress until I finish or nearly finish something I'm studying.


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There's something about Christmas break that makes me exhausted. Stop working and I think I'm tired. I've read several novels and did organize journal articles for a new article I'm putting together for a conference. I've got an ambitious stack of music I've been playing in the mornings...revisiting some pieces I've played over the years...I do wish they'd stick in my brain better but still enjoyable to play without having to decode the music. My accomplishment is that enjoyment without feeling the pressure of perfection. I play piano just to enjoy touching the keys and making nice sounds come out.


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Not my achievement at all --- but I'm very happy to say that I'm an auntie again to a bouncing baby boy, born this morning smile


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European Piano Parties - Brussels, Lisbon, Lucern, Milan, Malaga, St. Goar
Themed recitals: Grieg and Great American Songbook


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Andy - Congratulations on a successful recital and belated happy birthday!

Saranoya - playing in a public place like that is a major accomplishment. Congratulations!

AZ Astro - Trying out new grands is very special. It sounds like you had fun.

Earlomar - Graduating to four octave scales is a major thing!

FarmGirl - I am amazed at the number of active pieces you are able to manage, and they are all major pieces. I am in awe. Emma is adorable with her piano.

Casinitaly - Congratulations on you new nephew!

Due to Christmas celebrations, my only AOTW was managing to get some time at the piano everyday. It was mostly just maintenance mode with slow play throughs of new repertoire, playing Christmas Carols for family, and enjoying playing pieces I already know. It has been a relaxed, playing for enjoyment kind of week. Fun!


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Saranoya, thank you for your thoughtful comments on legato. It gives me more to think about. Congrats on getting three people to applaud. I am such a ham, that I often seek out public approval, though it is not always there.

Farmgirl, Emma dog playing piano, what fun.

EarlofMar, four octave scales? Good for you.

Week 94: I woke up one day and my left hand pinky was throbbing. It might be in part due to doing a lot of work on the computer, the only recent things I could think of was carrying a shopping bag the previous day and some attempts at practicing legato. I have learned to listen to the body so I took most of the week off from piano. By Wednesday, the pain was gone, but only today (Saturday) might I do some light piano practice again. I have managed the discomfort from repetitive stress on my hands for years now.

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Managed to brand stripes on the top of my LH taking biscuits out of the oven Christmas morning, luckily it doesn't affect my ability to practice. laugh Can't imagine burns on the palm side eek I'm resting my hand today from my last injury but already practiced 1/2 hour today so YAY!

My real AOTW is I have an another interview with a teacher Jan6. I have mixed feelings about it though because she's our church pianist and she's sounds quite good but there is an odd sameness about how she sounds. Hard to explain, perhaps it's the music as it's all I have ever heard her play. I'll reserve opinion until after Jan 6 though. I'm hoping there won't be any resistance to the music I prefer to play/learn on her part. smile


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Ragdoll,
Nothing to be impressed with how many pieces I have. It's because I did not complete what I was going to complete in 2013. Also I don't memorize pieces if I don't need to. I know it's better to memorize but take a long time for me to memorize. I only memorize the pieces I play for my school recitals (required).

SwissMS,
I only have one truly advanced piece, Rachmaninoff Elegie. It is crying hard for me. It takes so much rigorous work and attention to detail. It is a true stretch piece for me.
I am not doing the first movement of Schubert sonata, second movement only.
Chopin Etude is not part of the 24 much more difficult etude. It's number 25, one of the three small studies.
Chopin Nocturne I picked should be the easiest of all the nocturnes (does not mean i would ace it but it's manageable for me and for any intermediate plus players in the forum here).
Purcell piece is a duet (hehehe). It sounds much more advanced than it looks (=is) on the score. I went to a party in a wealthy part of my city. The lady of the house had TWO Bechsteins and played the duet of this piece with a staff pianist of local symphony. I knew she was an amateur pianist like me. So I asked her what the piece was. Oh I think you have a Bechstein too. One of her Bechstein she calls a grandpa was so old that it had straight strings, not the modern type that crosses like an X if you take a picture of the piano from the top. Needless to say the pianos sounded great.

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We'll I have progressed this week. Tonight I knocked out the best 'the can can' so far, every day I play it it seems to sound more lively like it should sound. It is only, I guess, a simple version from alfreds course book one. Also learnt a blues song called 'why am I blue?' which I really like. I'm not very technical, only been playing two months but have realised with 'the can can' that it sounds better if I don't actually think to much about what I am playing - just let it out. Anyway am really enjoying playing, my repertoire is Lullaby, blow the man down, standing in the need of prayer, alouette, the can can, got those blues and why am I blue. These are the songs I play without the music in front of me. Also took some video of me playing, must have been an off day as sounded awful.

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Ragdoll -- Glad to hear your injury wasn't as bad as it could have been. We wouldn't want to hear you playing some burn-related variant of the "Broken Finger Blues"!!!:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pnDMA99Fe4

FarmGirl -- I think I can safely speak for all in saying that your apologetics regarding your lack of awesomeness are thoroughly unconvincing. smile

Paul -- Keep up the good work! Your enthusiasm is infectious.

My AOTW is that today I settled on my recital piece for Feb 15th. It'll be a big stretch, but file under "love it too much to pass it over for something easier that doesn't really get the juices flowing." We'll see how it goes.


"...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

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Quote
Ragdoll -- Glad to hear your injury wasn't as bad as it could have been. We wouldn't want to hear you playing some burn-related variant of the "Broken Finger Blues"!!!:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pnDMA99Fe4


Thanks TallGuy. It seems these things happen to me far too frequently but they do. Of course with a 400┬║ oven it takes but a nanosecond of contact to feel that sizzle. grin That video was pretty cute. FWIW my original hand injury seems well on the way to 100% after babying it for awhile. A twinge of pain if I practice too much but much better now.


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Oh Yes! Talk about excited! Or.... rather... it might be a combination of adrenaline and sheer terror. smile
I decided to change the spark plug wires on my car. Went out there. Ripped the old ones off. That is when it hit me. (insert Alfred Hitchcock violins here)... How do I route the new ones? .... Doh!
Well.... I ended up figuring it out. (my achievement of the week smile ) Would have been so much easier if I would have replaced them one at a time.

Ingrid and I are having a wonderful time. I love her dearly.


Ron
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A lot of achievements as usual here!
Ragdoll, sorry for your hand; I sometimes get burned as well; last time in August, I still have the scar on my forearm.

My AOTW is that I started using my new Zoom recorder smile to record my work in progress. I played and recorded my Mozart piece, and the funny thing is that parts that I consider weak (there are three fast runs) are decent, while there are problems of dynamic where I was sure everything was quite good. It's really different to listen to yourself and not having to play at the same moment!

The difficult thing is to find five minutes without somebody of the family around (we are at home from school and work), or a telephone ringing or the door's bell or... frown


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@torquenale Nice, got it for Christmas? Curious as to how it sounds.
I'm thinking about buying one of these: http://www.mxlmics.com/microphones/900-series/990-USB/

@Ragdoll sucks, managed to get my back burned twice last summer while being on holiday (in a busy kitchen someone hit my back twice with a hot oven-plate).

@Saranoya Sounds wonderful: Playing Christmas songs in public and getting applause smile also Thanks!

@Earlofmar, you're doing the Sick Doll of Tchaikovsky for the April recital right? What tempo do you play it? I have two versions, one of which says Lento the other Moderato. I do like the slow one better however it highlights any slight mistake.

@casinitaly congratulations on becoming an Auntie smile

My early AOTW: getting back from casual playing (Enjoying the sheet music I was given for "Saint Nicholas": Schumann Op 68: Album for the Young and some other sheet music) to my lessons. Those are a bit more technical and less fun so it requires a bit more effort.

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Originally Posted by wimpiano

I'm thinking about buying one of these: http://www.mxlmics.com/microphones/900-series/990-USB/


If this is for piano, I think you'll like the results better from a stereo recording. The MXL you're looking at is primarily designed to flatter a vocalist when used quite close up, and is mono.

The little Zoom recorders are stereo. They can be used self-contained, or as a "USB microphone" like the MXL. The recording can be easily transferred to your computer either down a USB cable or by transferring the internal memory card to a reader on the computer - the same way you transfer pictures from a digital camera. Highly recommended.

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