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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2632384
04/12/17 07:19 AM
04/12/17 07:19 AM
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Through my long term studies of Tai Chi and dance, I have begun, just begun, to tap into the subtleties of the creative arts. Art, I believe, begins in the imagination. It can be a shape (drawing, Tai Chi, dancing), a sound (singing, dance, musical instruments), a taste (cooking), etc. Whatever is in one's imagination, it flows unobstructed, as subtle energy, through the body, and expresses and releases itself via a physical gesture that can be an instrument (piano, drawing, cooking) or the body itself (dance, singing).

The fundamental idea is unimpeded flow of energy from imagination through the body that expresses directly via physical form. Observe the formidable sound tiny newborns can make when they want their food. This is nature's energy expressing itself in it's most basic form.

The idea I have is to nurture this unimpeded flow of energy from my imagination through my body so that my nature can express itself.

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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2632387
04/12/17 07:38 AM
04/12/17 07:38 AM
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The subtle energy of nature expressing itself through the piano:

[video:youtube]OsOUcikyGRk[/video]

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring] #2632389
04/12/17 08:13 AM
04/12/17 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by keystring
The professional pianist was looking at the keyboard, and not his hands - that is an important distinction.


The instrumentation wasn't sufficient to conclude how large a region he was paying attention to. It could be that both hands were in his peripheral vision.


Yes, but look at one's hands does not make much sense -- looking at the keyboard, and looking toward where you are going does. That may be helpful.


I find that I am not looking at anything specific when "looking at the keyboard", or "at my hands", but rather I am looking in general...it is sort of like driving a car, or walking down the sidewalk...one is not staring solely at the surface directly in front, but rather at the general picture, lightly scanning about.

And, when playing, my thinking focus is not only on what I see, but is on a variety of things...such as the music...singing it in my head, remembering specific memory triggers to help play the next phrase or chord, etc. (or spacing out) laugh

Then, (when driving or walking) if something specific is or could be happening, such as at an intersection, one looks specifically at whatever it is, just as when a pianist is making a big jump he or she looks specifically at that area of the keyboard.

But that is very different than when a student stares directly at their fingers, probably to make sure they do not wander from the necessary key. And finds it very difficult to look at the score.

Last edited by rocket88; 04/12/17 09:44 AM. Reason: clarity

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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: rocket88] #2632396
04/12/17 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rocket88


I find that I am not looking at anything specific when "looking at the keyboard", or at my hands, but rather I am looking in general...it is sort of like driving a car...one is not staring solely at the road surface directly in front, but rather at the general picture, lightly scanning about.

Then, when something specific is or could be happening, such as at an intersection, one looks specifically at whatever it is, as when a pianist is making a big jump he or she looks specifically at that area of the keyboard.

But that is different than when a new student stares directly at their fingers, probably to make sure they do not wander from the necessary key. And finds it difficult to look at the score.


Thanks for the insights.

Love the Boogie-Boogie! Got me swinging this morn'. 😃

Last edited by Richrf; 04/12/17 08:49 AM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2632399
04/12/17 08:57 AM
04/12/17 08:57 AM
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Thank you.


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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2632718
04/13/17 01:23 PM
04/13/17 01:23 PM
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I'm continuing my studies in Book 1B of the Nikokeav series. The first two pieces, which Illinca demonstrates and analyzes in Lesson 30 which is 30 minutes in length, are designed to further studies in dynamics as well as to further develop nimbleness and agility on the keyboard.

While I advance through the book, I continue to revisit early pieces in Book 1A, since it is in the repetition of these easier pieces that I develop the feeling of the music flowing quietly from my imagination through my relaxed and subtle body into my instrument - and back. In this way, I seek to develop my artistry.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2633023
04/14/17 04:03 PM
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Today, Illinca published the first part of the March Q&A video. The agenda for Part 1 was:

1) counting in English (vs other languages): are there any special benefits?;

2) Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3: analysis and step-by-step practice demonstration for the main culmination (bars 41-49);

3) using overlapping during legato playing: understanding how this technique fits into the bigger picture; determining the type of legato (and amount of overlapping) depending on the character of the piece; examples - Bach's Prelude No. 1 in C Major (BWV 846) and Beethoven's Fur Elise.

There is a large archive of previous Q&A videos that I have begun to watch when I have the time. I usually focus on items that match my current level though I often watch the more advanced discussions since pick up lots of ideas that I can apply to my current studies.


Last edited by Richrf; 04/14/17 04:05 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2633356
04/15/17 11:22 PM
04/15/17 11:22 PM
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In the Q&A video, Illinca demonstrated several different types of legato, each one of which creates a different feeling and she discussed how a musician should always maintain a high level of flexibility when conveying a feeling through the music that was being played.

I observed the demonstration very closely for the gestures that Illinca used to convey the different types of feelings. I know that for each musician it is different.

I am very much a beginner, so the translation from emotions to music is still in it's very embryonic stages. I hear the note with a certain feeling, whatever it may be. The note creates a wave of energy that I feel flowing through me, that can best be described as flowing water.

As I contact the keys, I feel that flow into the piano and then the strings, where I play with it. My fingers are totally connected to the keys as if they were magnets. In Tai Chi we practice Push Hands to cultivate sticky/follow connection skills. (Lian, Sui, Ian, Zhan).

Once the music is produced, it flows back into me and the circuit is complete. I can only practice this on the very simplest pieces since I have to be totally relaxed and using only my creative mind without any willfulness. In this manner, the first page of my Nikoleav book takes on a heightened meaning.

[video:youtube]yAsDLGjMhFI[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 04/15/17 11:34 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2633686
04/17/17 10:53 AM
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Yesterday I reviewed all of Book 1 repeating those pieces that are not fluid. In some cases increasing speed a bit. I am in no rush to increase speed knowing that it will come naturally as the mind/body/piano memory connection increases.

Skipping ahead to the end of Level 2 Alfred's, there doesn't seem to be any skill that I am missing. It has now basically become hearing the piece, slowly embedding it in my mind and then reproducing the sound through the piano. Written music has now become a guide, not the source, just like directors notes in a script are a guide for the actor. I infuse my own creativity into the piece as I wish.

Today's lesson is primarily about phrasing and polyphonics. Nothing is that complicated. I just have to gradually imbue the music into my mind and then recreate it on the piano. This is where it would be extremely helpful to have the video demonstrations of the pieces in a separate, standalone video, so that I can easily replay them. I can't complain because of the absolutely enormous amount of high quality instruction that I am getting for just $30/month. Still, for future students, such a feature would be extremely helpful.

Last edited by Richrf; 04/17/17 02:28 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2633890
04/17/17 07:28 PM
04/17/17 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Richrf

[video:youtube]yAsDLGjMhFI[/video]


You can really see how her forearm muscles work in this video.



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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: JohnSprung] #2633896
04/17/17 07:35 PM
04/17/17 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung


You can really see how her forearm muscles work in this video.



I cannot speak for the video, but in my practice it is not muscles that are driving the action but rather inner every flow. In Tai Chi (an internal art] it is called Peng Jin. The closest analogy would be the way water moves a hose that is lying on the ground. It is very subtle and very soft though it can also be hard - like water. From what I see, this is the energy that is driving Velentina's gestures. Others on YouTube talk about this movement in the manner I describe. In fact, Illinca constantly uses the metaphor of water.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2634052
04/18/17 08:21 AM
04/18/17 08:21 AM
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I've received several PMs lately inquiring how much I paid for the course. I did mention this in my first post on this thread, but since that was some time ago, I'll mention it again.

When I first decided to try out this course, I first reviewed all of the free videos that are available for Piano Career Academy in YouTube. When I was convinced that this course would be helpful for me, I asked for a list of all the videos to make sure there would be instruction and demonstrations for all pieces in the Nikoleav Russian method books. Natalia, the customer representative provided me with the following FAQ which is accurate and a list of videos for the course:

Piano Career Academy faq

Piano Career Academy list of videos

There is also a substantial amount of written material and new videos are being added on a periodic basis for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students.

When I inquired about any available discounts (something I always do with online courses), I was offered 3 months for $94. This rate was renewable. When i subscribed, I used my credit card via Pay Pal services. In this case it was a temporary card number that my credit card offers.

I hope this helps describe my enrollment process for those who are interested in further information. Natalia's contact form is all the way at the bottom of their home page:

Piano Career Academy

They also have another page with a ebook offer at:

Piano Career ebook offer

Last edited by Richrf; 04/18/17 08:26 AM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2634336
04/19/17 08:10 AM
04/19/17 08:10 AM
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Yesterday my practice was divided into three parts:

1) Continuing to develop a deep connection between myself and my instrument. To do this I practice the most simplest pieces, since I have to be most relaxed (mind, body, spirit) to create such a connection. With the simplest pieces, complete body intelligence is available to create this connection in a manner that is similar to the way I practice Tai Chi and dancing.

2) Continue developing greater mind and body nimbleness (by mind I mean complete holistic intelligence) by reviewing the earlier pieces in Nikoleav's book 1A.

3) Begin developing greater music awareness and body nimbleness (e.g. polyphonics) by continuing my studies in book 1B as well as the special supplementary pieces that Illinca demonstrated in the videos.

Imagery is essential to this whole process. I imagine the sound and the gestures to create the music. Frequently I will review videos of Illinca and Valentina Lisitsa on YouTube to create imagary for my practice.

Relaxation and imagery are the two pillars of all my studies in all of my arts.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2635004
04/21/17 08:58 AM
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I continue to practice all of Nikoleav's Book 1A focusing on fluidity and lightness of gestures in both hands (my LH is not as fluid as my RH) that responds to the music in my mind. This would be analagous to building fluidity in the first movement of a Tai Chi form or the basic movement of any dance I've studied, it the basic lines in drawing. I feel that with fluidity and lightness in the fundamentals, the complexity will come along with greater ease.

Here is an example of Illinca's fluid and lightness, which she exhibits in her detailed tutorial if Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu, which I capture in my mind:


[video:youtube]WZWaY8ZUK6Y[/video]

Last edited by Richrf; 04/21/17 09:00 AM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2635414
04/22/17 02:01 PM
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This is a nice video that Illinca just posted to YouTube on the subject of practice.

[video:youtube]UAzCRiV8qa4[/video]

As for myself, I continued to review pieces in Book 1A developing a better connection to my piano and also practiced some more advanced pieces to augment by own sense of music and to build clearer abilities to hear the music in my mind.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2635614
04/23/17 09:28 AM
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Today I am going to introduce some scale practice into my studies. There are many parallels between studying scales in music, lines and shadows in drawing, and forms in Tai Chi. It is multi-layered as Illinca explains in the following video. Unfortunately, the detailed video is not available on YouTube (only available in the course) but there may be other YouTube videos that go into each of the outlined benefits of scales. I'll try to relate these ideas in future posts as I continue to study scales.

[video:youtube]U_hATjiqb2g[/video]

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2636052
04/25/17 02:03 AM
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Lesson 27th means you've been 27 weeks following the course, doesn't it?


Jaime
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2636107
04/25/17 07:46 AM
04/25/17 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
This is a nice video that Illinca just posted to YouTube on the subject of practice.

[video:youtube]UAzCRiV8qa4[/video]

As for myself, I continued to review pieces in Book 1A developing a better connection to my piano and also practiced some more advanced pieces to augment by own sense of music and to build clearer abilities to hear the music in my mind.


This is an excellent video. I don't know how many times I've had this same conversation with students and friends! It is refreshing to hear smile


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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Sol Finker] #2636112
04/25/17 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Sol Finker
Lesson 27th means you've been 27 weeks following the course, doesn't it?



The course was originally designed and developed as a one lesson per week course. A student who had never had any lessons should expect to complete Book 1A of the course in about six months. Reading the forum entries from the original development period in 2012, some students were taking their time and took a longer time than this.

I have been following the course for two months, but I have had previous experience playing the piano. I am a beginner but there are many intermediate level players with excellent skills who are taking the course from the beginning in order to build new skills.

At this point, I have spent the last week or so reviewing Book 1A and some supplementary material and have limited the introduction of new material though I have started the study of scales. I expect to continue reviewing Book 1A for many months, especially the simplest pieces, since it is through these pieces that I create my connection between the music and the piano.


Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Morodiene] #2636113
04/25/17 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene


This is an excellent video. I don't know how many times I've had this same conversation with students and friends! It is refreshing to hear smile


I know that Illinca always appreciates such comments about her videos. She is quite dedicated toward teaching piano to her students and making it a very healthy and enjoyable experience.

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