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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: Animisha] #2807500
01/27/19 07:21 PM
01/27/19 07:21 PM
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Posts: 5,386
*sigh* Salt Lake City
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Originally Posted by Animisha
I am afraid that our kidnapping of this thread has chased Holly away... frown


If she doesn't want the peanut gallery getting involved she could keep her diary privately.
Posting on a public forum with a Reply button sort of invites this sort of thing, doesn't it?


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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: Animisha] #2807832
01/28/19 02:36 PM
01/28/19 02:36 PM
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Madison
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Not at all Animisha,

I'm sitting here laughing at everyone fiddling around with the math of mastery. It's not like any one of us doesn't know what our first wish to the Geni of the lamp would be. And every one of knows it takes dedication and time to reach an accomplished level of playing. If we had a lazy definition of that goal none of us would be here spending our non-practicing free time unable to step away from the musical world...carry on my loves, my thread is yours. I'll be posting every Thursday as I start practicing a fresh week's goals, but I may put up something later today as my weekend was consumed with thoughts of Keselo's ideas on "control" for advancement.


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: keystring] #2807833
01/28/19 02:39 PM
01/28/19 02:39 PM
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Keystring, absolutely to the question of feedback. I prefer suggestions to out right, "You're wrong, you idiot." However, given a reasoned analysis of WHY someone thinks I'm an idiot I won't block future commentary. Not saying I'll agree or change my ways, but a reasoned opinion is always (well, maybe usually) worth at least considering.


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2807837
01/28/19 02:46 PM
01/28/19 02:46 PM
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And because I'm sitting here with an timer enforcing my practice break I'll just add that I've done the math and would need 13 hours a week through Mid-July to hit 500 hours for a 12 month cycle. (I got serious last July)

Yeah, no. That's not going to happen.

I might just swing 500 for 2019, which would be 10hrs/wk X 50 wks...yeah, no, that's not likely to happen either.

I get anywhere from 3 on an atrocious week to 15 on those weeks where I'm hiding from the rest of my life and abusing my piano to do it. Most weeks are 8-10, which I feel privileged to have the time to put in.

Timer dinged, on to Czerny...


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2807859
01/28/19 03:26 PM
01/28/19 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Not at all Animisha,

Great Holly, I am happy about that.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2807881
01/28/19 04:00 PM
01/28/19 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
.....our first wish to the Geni of the lamp would be......


Ten more wishes. Next, a couple hundred million dollars to stock all future homes with some beautiful grands, then, a lot more time / day (24 hrs doesn't cut it)......I could keep going.....


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: malkin] #2807884
01/28/19 04:02 PM
01/28/19 04:02 PM
Joined: May 2001
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Victoria, BC
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Animisha
I am afraid that our kidnapping of this thread has chased Holly away... frown


If she doesn't want the peanut gallery getting involved she could keep her diary privately.
Posting on a public forum with a Reply button sort of invites this sort of thing, doesn't it?


I thought that, according to this definition - a few literary diaries excepted -

Today the term is generally employed for personal diaries, normally intended to remain private or to have a limited circulation amongst friends or relatives

... that a diary was a personal and primarily private record. I am not sure why it is being shared here to the extent that it is without that point being clarified by the OP.

The initial post was far too long for me to do anything more than skim it, so I may have missed the primary purpose why this diary is being shared publicly. The details I did catch seemed, however, to pertain only the the OP's experience while the method or process might not necessarily be applicable to others.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: BruceD] #2807897
01/28/19 04:34 PM
01/28/19 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Today the term is generally employed for personal diaries, normally intended to remain private or to have a limited circulation amongst friends or relatives

The OED gives the definition:

Quote
1. A daily record of events or transactions, a journal; specifically, a daily record of matters affecting the writer personally, or which come under his personal observation.
2. A book prepared for keeping a daily record, or having spaces with printed dates for daily memoranda and jottings; also, applied to calendars containing daily memoranda on matters of importance to people generally, or members of a particular profession, occupation, or pursuit. A diary in this sense may vary in size from a folio volume, large enough to hold a detailed daily record in sense 1, to a small pocket-book with daily spaces only for the briefest notes, or merely with printed memoranda for daily reference.
3. Short for diary fever: see diary a. 1. Obs.


It's possible though that your sense is a North American sense of the word "diary."


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2807943
01/28/19 06:36 PM
01/28/19 06:36 PM
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Victoria, BC
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by BruceD
Today the term is generally employed for personal diaries, normally intended to remain private or to have a limited circulation amongst friends or relatives

The OED gives the definition:

Quote
1. A daily record of events or transactions, a journal; specifically, a daily record of matters affecting the writer personally, or which come under his personal observation.
2. A book prepared for keeping a daily record, or having spaces with printed dates for daily memoranda and jottings; also, applied to calendars containing daily memoranda on matters of importance to people generally, or members of a particular profession, occupation, or pursuit. A diary in this sense may vary in size from a folio volume, large enough to hold a detailed daily record in sense 1, to a small pocket-book with daily spaces only for the briefest notes, or merely with printed memoranda for daily reference.
3. Short for diary fever: see diary a. 1. Obs.


It's possible though that your sense is a North American sense of the word "diary."


Well, as your OED quotes states: "...specifically, a daily record of matters affecting the writer personally, or which come under his personal observation."

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2807956
01/28/19 07:02 PM
01/28/19 07:02 PM
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I'm going to skip the whole definition of a diary discussion. I had been using the term Journal for my daily written practice plan and simply wanted a separate term for a record that would include more impressions and feelings about things, as would my understanding of the term diary. I'm a little old for a key lock private diary and have arthritis that makes it MUCH more efficient to type. To keep myself coming back to it I made it public. I welcome comments, or would not have made it public, and fully assume as we're all adults anyone not interested can simply skip it. Moving on.

Earlier I mentioned I might post this evening separate from my "diary entry" I plan for Thursday. The topic at hand is how much of my thinking time on the subject of practice this past weekend was taken up with the writing of Keselo in Nothing Is Too Easy. Towards the present he mentions a practice method of EXTREMELY slow repetitions as a learning method, see his excellent thread for details, and pairing that with his earlier use of the term "control" for how he feels he should be playing before raising the tempo with his pieces.

While I usually try to stick to a practice strategy until a new week allows a me a more formal switch, I started yesterday to experiment and the results have been so dramatically positive the above paragraph will predominate my practice the remainder of the week. What positives?

1. It is nice to be in control. Less stressful.
2. Less stress means practice is more appealing to do in the first place.
3. Moving right into dynamics had not been a priority with the "get it to 75-80% tempo as soon as possible" method I had been employing. (Please don't start with a the "obey your teacher" line, the 75-80 method was recommended by a teacher, there a millions of teachers who have millions of methods) - SO, with this new method, there is far more brain space to take in dynamics from the get go, increasing immediately the musicality of the pieces. Playing more musically makes practice FUN.
4. Going slower each practice session will mean less tempo progress per session and therefore, a likely increase in the amount of time it takes to finish off a piece. Pro or con? The con is my ego takes a little beating at the seemingly slower pace of progression. The Pro is I sound better in the meantime and Isn't being a better player overall the endgame?

This post especially I would love to hear peoples thoughts and experiences regarding tempo in practice. Also what aspects of practice make it most enjoyable for everyone?


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2807959
01/28/19 07:14 PM
01/28/19 07:14 PM
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Holly, good on you avoiding the senseless definition of a diary!

The beauty of slow practice is rapid progress. Hopefully results will come more quickly with more effective, thoughtful, meaningful and solid development.

It’s like running at 70% PMHR rather than at 95% - hard to back down but greater improvement in aerobic conditioning. The fact that it seems easier is a negative for some people, yet they’re doing themselves a disservice training in the anaerobic range and would improve more, and more safely, if they backed down!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808069
01/29/19 04:29 AM
01/29/19 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
4. Going slower each practice session will mean less tempo progress per session and therefore, a likely increase in the amount of time it takes to finish off a piece. Pro or con? The con is my ego takes a little beating at the seemingly slower pace of progression. The Pro is I sound better in the meantime and Isn't being a better player overall the endgame?


Hi Holly, I was thinking about this. You might be correct about this one - it might take you more time to learn a piece when you practise more slowly. But, the piece is just a device, one of many, to teach you how to play the piano. And if you have practised slowly, once you can play the piece at the final tempo, your technique will be better than if you would have practised the piece faster - and so in the end you have learned more.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808116
01/29/19 08:20 AM
01/29/19 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
4. Going slower each practice session will mean less tempo progress per session and therefore, a likely increase in the amount of time it takes to finish off a piece.
No, the one doesn't follow the other. In fact the converse is more likely to apply.

Tempo doesn't really increase in increments. Slow practise, slow enough to think before pressing the next key, always musical and always in control, tells the brain what to do. When the brain gets the message it can do that at the speed of neural impulses (if the music is memorised rather than read or followed) and the tempo comes up from programming-in speed to playing back speed. The speed at which you sing the music to yourself, the tempo you find most musical for the piece, is the tempo that playback will naturally tend towards. The rate of increase will be faster, the slower and more careful was the practise and thus the clearer was the target.

When increasing tempo by increments the temptation is to 'chase' the metronome. This instills pressure and tension into performance, increases the likelihood of errors, reduces the care and attention to dynamics and articulation in deference to tempo and gets us used to less musical performance. It also prohibits tempo increases because the increased tension naturally slows down our physical speed and our mental comfort.

A better use of the metronome is to withhold its use until the piece can be played fluently, albeit slowly, and then restrict the tempo to a manageable one where there is greater facility and the musicality can be brought out more clearly. Once or twice with the metronome at 'control' speed and once or twice without. This way the tempo will rise by greater intervals in a shorter time and the metronome can be finally dropped.

I would keep the metronome practise to sections rather than the whole piece as shorter section enable greater concentration and progress. Playing through the whole piece should be done slower than sectional practise until the sections have achieved a good level of comfort and facility.


Richard
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: zrtf90] #2808128
01/29/19 09:01 AM
01/29/19 09:01 AM
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Animisha and zrtf90,

thanks for the feedback. I'm definitely going to be trying this out. Having been far more advanced on another instrument, the lack up musicality in my previous methods with the piano has been frustrating. The other instrument was learned in a group setting without "lessons" and "practice" so while I got quite good, I never learned how to practice on my own. Discovering the way to have piano sound musical here at the beginning of Lev. 1 during practice is like opening a treasure box of enjoyment in the whole process.

zrtf90, I'll be rereading your post a few times to get all that to sink in, but thanks grin

Last edited by HollyBytheLake; 01/29/19 09:02 AM.

but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808137
01/29/19 09:47 AM
01/29/19 09:47 AM
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Richard's (zrtf90) advice is always spot on. He has taught me more than you can imagine. It's as I mentioned above - slow practice = rapid progress. I couldn't do the details the justice he can though!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808145
01/29/19 10:10 AM
01/29/19 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake


This post especially I would love to hear peoples thoughts and experiences regarding tempo in practice. Also what aspects of practice make it most enjoyable for everyone?


Interesting discussion Holly - I'll pitch in from the perspective of being deep in my first year of practice. My teacher from the beginning has told me hands separate first working up tempo from slow to faster before doing hands together. For me, I can do hands separate in pretty quick order. She also wants dynamics from the beginning. (I do not memorize anything, usually working at least 4 pieces in parallel in different stages). Then it is hands together starting out slow and working up.....so here's where the issue is. Like you, I have an ego (or something) that I want to play up to tempo 'as soon as possible', or as it turns out - before I am ready. When I do not play well, I have learned that the immediate remedy is to slow down. I find that a bit frustrating but here is where I am in my journey.....

I have read many times on this forum about enjoying the process. This has also been reinforced with me while reading the book 'The perfect wrong note' where (paraphrasing) it says that one has to investigate the reason for the wrong note - be patient and detailed - don't get upset about it - be curious and think through what is going on. It used to be when I played something during lesson for my Teacher, and I made a mistake, I would just stop and be hard on myself - this is the wrong attitude. Now when I make a mistake I recover and keep going (She is quite happy about this!) And I don't beat myself up but note where I messed up and investigate why that might happened and based on my thoughts will do something about it.

So I am making a new attitude (this is very recent for me) which involves slowing down - focus on technical aspects and be patient. So I am trying to find more enjoyment playing slow and improving technical aspects - which I think will eventually lead to better speed (this seems to be working). Related to this approach are a couple of technical aspects that I am not good enough at, but I can see that I am improving....

For me the two things I work on heavily while learning pieces is to improve my counting out loud and looking ahead while playing. Also, I have not read much about concentration - but for me that is an issue I think about. Week to week I can feel improvements in these things also which gives me enjoyment!


Progman
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Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808278
01/29/19 05:07 PM
01/29/19 05:07 PM
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Progman,

Sounds like you have a great supportive teacher. I'm not hard on myself, just greedy. Erik Satie is years away and I want those years to pass faster than my innate talent will allow. Sigh...

One thing that is helping me be real is the organization I put to my practice goals for a year. All together for 2019 including Lesson work in Faber 2 and 3b, pianoTV.net selections, RCM Lev. 1, Mikrokosmos and Czerny I'm looking at 102 pieces and/or fragments of music. January started slowly, but now that I've got my rhythm going I can start 2-4 new pieces a week and move previous new ones to "in-progress" then to "polishing". Many are dropped there, but some go on to "spaced repetition" and/or "repertoire". My Practice slots give each one a minimum of 4 weeks if necessary. Many take only 10 days or so. Too regrettably few only take a week, but anything that's just not ready to go to spaced repetition after 4-5 weeks, was too hard for me to begin with so I'm likely to set it aside and try again in 2-3 months.

I'm quite content not to be working on pieces that take more than a month to get really down pat at this level. Long complicated pieces that take months to perfect can wait until I'm playing music I can repeat endlessly for months on end. Not much at Level 1 could fit that bill anyway. The frustration was in wanting to be in the "give it a week and move on" club. No such luck. Age, lack of skill, whatever, it seems to take at least 10 days for all but rank beginner pieces to sound like someone good is playing them. The vast majority take somewhere from 2-3 weeks, and I'm okay with one at a time going all the way to four weeks.

My new goal, just decided in the last week or so, is to not pass off pieces based on reaching recommended tempos with minimal to no errors, but to pass a piece off when I can record it and WANT to play that recording for my family because it sounds like someone who can PLAY did it.

Last edited by HollyBytheLake; 01/29/19 05:09 PM.

but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808293
01/29/19 06:17 PM
01/29/19 06:17 PM
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That's a really good idea to use the recording process as a criteria for completion - I record when I think I am close to make sure it sounds good. Ultimately, my Teacher gives the 'yea or nay' on each one but I can tell from recordings if she will be like it.

I think Rich's comments above on this question are really good. Nice of him to share. I pay attention to experienced people smile Good Luck to you!


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2808979
01/31/19 12:58 PM
01/31/19 12:58 PM
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Thursday, January 31, 2019 Greetings from the frozen Midwest!

If you don’t like long, detailed peeks at someone else’s practice regimens it might be best to move along…

Finished/set aside
:
Mikrokosmos #23 – Bela Bartok
Driving Range – Christopher Norton
Swan Lake – Tchaikovsky (arr. N. Faber)

After the frustration of my recording app not working, I got over my fit and played them for my adult children and some friends who were around. I figure the pressure of playing them for people gives me a little credibility boost in deciding they are done whereas I usually listen quite critically to the recording before making that decision.

Mikrokosmos #23
I started this week and only really needed 3 days. By the end I could sit down and play it at tempo fiddling with the dynamics at will.

Driving Range, started Jan. 3, is finally, blessedly, done. Its final tempo is 152 and I don’t like fast pieces. Fortunately, in that I could get rid of it post haste, there wasn’t much dynamic finesse written into it to trip me up at that speed. It’s my first piece from Christopher Norton and while I can see a kid who hates classical getting a kick out of it, I thought it was monotonous.

Swan Lake is such a beautiful melody I was able to put aside my general dislike of easy arrangements of harder pieces to enjoy working on it these last four weeks. It got the best response from my audience today, but mostly I took from it that I need to work on my pedaling technique.

In Progress Pieces:

Wedding March – Felix Mendelssohn (arr. N. Faber) Beginning its second week.
Chopin Waltz in A Minor (arr. A van Betuw) starting its 3rd week today
Bach Chorale in C (arr. A van Betuw) starting its 4th week

Wedding March. Last Thu. I started with listening, HS, then HT at 40 and over the week progressed to HT at 68-80 depending on the section. The dynamics are very straight forward as it’s such a familiar piece.

Chopin and Bach. Sigh. Both are arrangements of the originals. Both are still diabolically difficult. Both have ornaments. Recordings I can find are so much more complex, and FASTER, than the arrangements…the list of my reasons to whine goes on. On a positive note, I got the last 8 measures of the Chopin in the RH alone actually 40 beats with a quarter note to the beat and that took me all week…wait, did I say positive note?


Polishing:
Russian Folk Song – Beethoven (starting 3rd week today)
Etude in C Major – Diabelli – (starting 3rd week today)
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Mozart (arr. N. Faber) (starting 3rd week today)
Minuet in A Minor – Krieger (starting its 4th week)
Czerny #11 – starting its 2nd real week

Minuet in A Minor I’m especially pleased with. It’s quite comfortable at tempo in all but one section, and the dynamics are not a struggle. The thorn is that it is physically memorized by repetition it is paradoxically harder to keep reading the sheet music. I’m trying. When I get the whole piece to tempo I plan to set it aside for a month then come back to it to outright memorize it. I want it as a repertoire piece.

The Etude in C Maj, is at tempo except for one section with Alberti Bass that just doesn’t want to get up to speed on my time table.

Eine Kleine, Those freaking F#s are giving me fits, but it will get there next week if not this week.

Russian Folk, coming along nicely. I hope to record it at the end of the week.


That leaves Czerny #11 (from Vol. 445, First Instruction in Piano Playing – One Hundred Recreations)
I’m sure it’s meant to teach the treble ledger lines, but I don’t have trouble reading these as a former piccolo player. The bass clef holds the first note of the broken chord three beats while the second two beats bring in the top two notes. Not especially difficult at 50 bpm, but this week will see me seeking to up that in a systematic way while incorporating the appropriate child’s carnival lilt to the sound that just can’t be done as slowly as I’m managing the piece now. We’ll see if I manage it in a week or if it will need 2 or 3 more weeks to come together.


REPERTOIRE
Fur Elise (Intro only) – I started working this over with a metronome to work on not cheating with the evenness. It sounds distinctly better.

Bourree in E Minor – L. Mozart. There will come a time when I can sit down and play this from memory, at tempo with zero errors. That time is not now. However, the feeling of owning it is starting.

Rainbow Connection
– P. Williams. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s so easy compared to everything else I play it’s keeping its place in my heart.



TECHNIQUE:
Scales in 2 octaves: C, F, G, Am, Em, Dm with harmonics on the minors and, C in 1 octave contrary and chromatic. Don’t blame me, blame RCM Technique guide for Lev. 1. I’m just following orders. I also worked D Major at 4 octaves and managed to get it memorized and smooth at a slow tempo.

Lieberstraum, Listz (Faber Applied Technique arrangement) this had the Treble on the left page, the Bass on the right page, meant to be played together and wasn’t that just the most enjoyable part of my day…not. I can do it smoothly at 50, but she wants it at 100. It gets where it gets this week and I’m walking away…slowly, staring daggers at the page…ready for it to pounce…


STARTED TODAY
Fiesta Espana (Faber 2 lesson)
The Yellow Rose of Texas (Level 1 arr. A. van Betuw)
Full of Confidence – Christopher Norton

Fiesta is another fast piece, but no other issues. Should take 2-3 weeks to get up to speed. Yellow Rose, I have the advantage of having lived in Texas so the melody is something I could handle dead drunk, 16th notes and all. I had it HT at about 60 in under 10 minutes. Thankfully I’ll be able to get it done in 2-3 weeks as it’s another pop-ish, modern tune despite being 160+ old, and they leave me cold. Full of Confidence is a jazzy sort of syncopated rhythm four-line piece that’s all about getting the rhythm. Do it slow enough counting out loud to ingrain that rhythm and it will come. Getting it up to speed will be the only issue. No new pieces I really like unfortunately.

11 hours total time for week of Jan. 24 190 lifetime hours

That’s seventeen pieces plus technique work all together. I’d like to get that down to around fifteen for week in and week out. Czerny seems to be taking longer per piece than I had anticipated, but if I drop anything it will be the Christopher Norton Collections pieces I had planned in an effort to make myself a more well-rounded player. All of the Faber lesson pieces could be dropped a week or two faster than I do as well. I’m not as concerned with getting them to some sort of recital condition. I’ll leave that to RCM repertoire pieces like Minuet in A Minor (Krieger) and pieces from Albert’s Essential Repertoire like the Beethoven Russian Folk Song. I have a hard time staying focused on arranged pieces as it is, and once I’ve got the part of it that is the focus of the lesson…well, patience isn’t my strong suit and that’s a fact.


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Holly's Practice Diary [Re: HollyBytheLake] #2809050
01/31/19 03:56 PM
01/31/19 03:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,630
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Online content
2000 Post Club Member
NobleHouse  Online Content
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,630
In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Thursday, January 31, 2019 Greetings from the frozen Midwest!

If you don’t like long, detailed peeks at someone else’s practice regimens it might be best to move along…

Finished/set aside
:
Mikrokosmos #23 – Bela Bartok
Driving Range – Christopher Norton
Swan Lake – Tchaikovsky (arr. N. Faber)

After the frustration of my recording app not working, I got over my fit and played them for my adult children and some friends who were around. I figure the pressure of playing them for people gives me a little credibility boost in deciding they are done whereas I usually listen quite critically to the recording before making that decision.

Mikrokosmos #23
I started this week and only really needed 3 days. By the end I could sit down and play it at tempo fiddling with the dynamics at will.

Driving Range, started Jan. 3, is finally, blessedly, done. Its final tempo is 152 and I don’t like fast pieces. Fortunately, in that I could get rid of it post haste, there wasn’t much dynamic finesse written into it to trip me up at that speed. It’s my first piece from Christopher Norton and while I can see a kid who hates classical getting a kick out of it, I thought it was monotonous.

Swan Lake is such a beautiful melody I was able to put aside my general dislike of easy arrangements of harder pieces to enjoy working on it these last four weeks. It got the best response from my audience today, but mostly I took from it that I need to work on my pedaling technique.

In Progress Pieces:

Wedding March – Felix Mendelssohn (arr. N. Faber) Beginning its second week.
Chopin Waltz in A Minor (arr. A van Betuw) starting its 3rd week today
Bach Chorale in C (arr. A van Betuw) starting its 4th week

Wedding March. Last Thu. I started with listening, HS, then HT at 40 and over the week progressed to HT at 68-80 depending on the section. The dynamics are very straight forward as it’s such a familiar piece.

Chopin and Bach. Sigh. Both are arrangements of the originals. Both are still diabolically difficult. Both have ornaments. Recordings I can find are so much more complex, and FASTER, than the arrangements…the list of my reasons to whine goes on. On a positive note, I got the last 8 measures of the Chopin in the RH alone actually 40 beats with a quarter note to the beat and that took me all week…wait, did I say positive note?


Polishing:
Russian Folk Song – Beethoven (starting 3rd week today)
Etude in C Major – Diabelli – (starting 3rd week today)
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Mozart (arr. N. Faber) (starting 3rd week today)
Minuet in A Minor – Krieger (starting its 4th week)
Czerny #11 – starting its 2nd real week

Minuet in A Minor I’m especially pleased with. It’s quite comfortable at tempo in all but one section, and the dynamics are not a struggle. The thorn is that it is physically memorized by repetition it is paradoxically harder to keep reading the sheet music. I’m trying. When I get the whole piece to tempo I plan to set it aside for a month then come back to it to outright memorize it. I want it as a repertoire piece.

The Etude in C Maj, is at tempo except for one section with Alberti Bass that just doesn’t want to get up to speed on my time table.

Eine Kleine, Those freaking F#s are giving me fits, but it will get there next week if not this week.

Russian Folk, coming along nicely. I hope to record it at the end of the week.


That leaves Czerny #11 (from Vol. 445, First Instruction in Piano Playing – One Hundred Recreations)
I’m sure it’s meant to teach the treble ledger lines, but I don’t have trouble reading these as a former piccolo player. The bass clef holds the first note of the broken chord three beats while the second two beats bring in the top two notes. Not especially difficult at 50 bpm, but this week will see me seeking to up that in a systematic way while incorporating the appropriate child’s carnival lilt to the sound that just can’t be done as slowly as I’m managing the piece now. We’ll see if I manage it in a week or if it will need 2 or 3 more weeks to come together.


REPERTOIRE
Fur Elise (Intro only) – I started working this over with a metronome to work on not cheating with the evenness. It sounds distinctly better.

Bourree in E Minor – L. Mozart. There will come a time when I can sit down and play this from memory, at tempo with zero errors. That time is not now. However, the feeling of owning it is starting.

Rainbow Connection
– P. Williams. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s so easy compared to everything else I play it’s keeping its place in my heart.



TECHNIQUE:
Scales in 2 octaves: C, F, G, Am, Em, Dm with harmonics on the minors and, C in 1 octave contrary and chromatic. Don’t blame me, blame RCM Technique guide for Lev. 1. I’m just following orders. I also worked D Major at 4 octaves and managed to get it memorized and smooth at a slow tempo.

Lieberstraum, Listz (Faber Applied Technique arrangement) this had the Treble on the left page, the Bass on the right page, meant to be played together and wasn’t that just the most enjoyable part of my day…not. I can do it smoothly at 50, but she wants it at 100. It gets where it gets this week and I’m walking away…slowly, staring daggers at the page…ready for it to pounce…


STARTED TODAY
Fiesta Espana (Faber 2 lesson)
The Yellow Rose of Texas (Level 1 arr. A. van Betuw)
Full of Confidence – Christopher Norton

Fiesta is another fast piece, but no other issues. Should take 2-3 weeks to get up to speed. Yellow Rose, I have the advantage of having lived in Texas so the melody is something I could handle dead drunk, 16th notes and all. I had it HT at about 60 in under 10 minutes. Thankfully I’ll be able to get it done in 2-3 weeks as it’s another pop-ish, modern tune despite being 160+ old, and they leave me cold. Full of Confidence is a jazzy sort of syncopated rhythm four-line piece that’s all about getting the rhythm. Do it slow enough counting out loud to ingrain that rhythm and it will come. Getting it up to speed will be the only issue. No new pieces I really like unfortunately.

11 hours total time for week of Jan. 24 190 lifetime hours

That’s seventeen pieces plus technique work all together. I’d like to get that down to around fifteen for week in and week out. Czerny seems to be taking longer per piece than I had anticipated, but if I drop anything it will be the Christopher Norton Collections pieces I had planned in an effort to make myself a more well-rounded player. All of the Faber lesson pieces could be dropped a week or two faster than I do as well. I’m not as concerned with getting them to some sort of recital condition. I’ll leave that to RCM repertoire pieces like Minuet in A Minor (Krieger) and pieces from Albert’s Essential Repertoire like the Beethoven Russian Folk Song. I have a hard time staying focused on arranged pieces as it is, and once I’ve got the part of it that is the focus of the lesson…well, patience isn’t my strong suit and that’s a fact.



I love reading your updates! Thanks.


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