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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2812110 02/07/19 08:55 PM
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Bach invention no 8. I have a love hate relationship with Bach. I continue to practice with Bach due to the technical experiences. In couple of hours, I managed to go through page 2 with both hands, slowly. A few years back it would have taken me weeks to cover the same ground. I am not at the level to play it at the required speed, but I am happy to play it at 60%. YoY, I am loving the progress. .


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
Pianoperformance #2815230 02/14/19 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
I have a love hate relationship with Bach. I continue to practice with Bach due to the technical experiences.... YoY, I am loving the progress. .

Oh, yes: I love hearing Bach well played, and it is so frustrating to feel that my Bach piece is lifeless under my hands. If there is progress to be heard eventually, even if it is glacially slow, I will keep at it! So, Pianoperformance, I thank you for the encouragement!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2815879 02/15/19 05:31 PM
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Welcome Qwerty53. I had my lesson today. I shared my frustration and delight on last week’s practice with my teacher. The metronome I have come to respect, don’t love, but I do respect it. We worked on dynamics and how I need to become an actor and play the ‘dynamics’ as intended, and not the way my personality would project on it. We listened o various played versions of it, and strangely enough I liked Gould’s version, which was not my take when I started lessons over 5 years ago.
Stayed encouraged. When you observe the ‘little’ improvements over time, and not get overwhelmed with all the new nuances. We are improving.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2820900 02/27/19 09:08 PM
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I haven’t written up to AOTW lately. We were gone for three weeks and it took me three weeks to get back.... lessons were messed around quite a bit too. Eventually I did get some decent practice in. First I worked on the Schumann’s Prophet Bird and Rocking Horse - I thought they would be things I could get some quick satisfaction playing.
They might be short but definitely not the easiest.
I realized it takes just as much determined work to play even the simplest pieces as trying to get through the Ravel which currently intimidates me.
There is no escaping the concentration needs to get something down so that it settles in your being and becomes second nature to play.
It’s not just learning the notes. That is just the start. Then you have to really, really know the notes. And for me that means, after I have done the slow and laborious task of figuring out the fingering, I have to go through a phase of making every mistake possible. I know it I my head but I don’t know it in my fingers. I try to play faster, I think I can, but stumble around hopelessly ending up feeling stupid and incapable of playing anything.
It means going back to very slow practice and really watching my hands this time around. I know where the notes are but need to figure out how my hands have to move to get from one to the next. Sometimes that’s easy, but now with more challenging pieces, it’s not.
All those things I’ve been taught about practice and clever ways to overcome mistakes mean something now. With easier pieces I didn’t need the basic strategies. Play hands separately first, keep the timing right, find where you stumble and repeat seven times correctly, use various kinds of attack to solidify note or chord sequences, ‘ghosting’ ‘voicing’ the different lines, - all that kind of stuff.
Watching myself progress in my comfort level playing these Schumann’s pieces I had some insights into why I make some mistakes consistently.
I noticed that sometimes I play my octaves ‘short’ and it’s not because my hand are small, quit the opposite. And I think I do that because I fear missing one or other, the top or the bottom note. I also have a bad habit of smashing the semitone, or tone, above or below when it’s the white keys. Same reason, I am unsure of my accuracy and this time because I have big hands it’s easy to overreach the octave.
That was easy enough to sort out.
I’m pretty good with self discipline and am growing more confident of octave placement.
Other things are much more complicated. I find I will mess up reading the staves at times. I read the bass line as treble, and vice versa. Haven’t read anything on piano as if it’s for Viola yet though lol! Worse I will get things out by a third, or read the ledger lines the wrong way up and down.... How my brain does that I’ve no idea but when I catch it I just have to rein in and be more disciplined in my reading...... it’s a matter of concentration. Even which octave you are playing in get confusing in some pieces.... I think its just a matter of over eagerness to sort the piece out and I need to be more patient.
The phrase ‘more haste less speed’ comes to mind. I hear my mother telling me this - Shhh!maybe over 60 yrs ago now! I can hear that eternal admonition ‘Practice slowly’, but did I, do I listen? Then, with a more relaxed attitude, I should loose my fear of making mistakes, and be so much more focused on what the score is asking me to do.
So, I got out the Ravel, Jeux d’Eau. I find I can spend 10 whole minutes on just one measure. This is not a problem! I am on page 4 now, and struggling with measure 29. Tomorrow I shall try measure 30. It is a piece like nothing else I have tried to play, and the cumulative effect of learning new ways of doing things is spilling over to my other pieces, and they seem so much easier. My teacher is full of encouragement and I trust him in offering me this challenge.
Will I get to really play Ravel? Somehow that doesn’t worry me. It is the journey that is the pleasure, the hours of trying and making tiny steps towards that goal, the sharing in the struggles all those wonderful pianist who have mastered it have gone through before me.
My AOTW, well, it’s to be still here and not intimidated by my making mistakes, it’s knowing I can overcome that.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2820988 02/28/19 08:01 AM
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Nice update Palmpirate. Just about every point you mentioned rang true vis my own experiences of late. Especially liked the part about more haste, less speed. Our teachers have given us this big bag of practice tools and techniques. The sooner we find out which of these works best on the particular piece, phrase, or measure in front of us, the sooner we can bring those notes under our control to produce the desired musical result. In many ways our teachers don't teach us how to play the piano, or even a particular piece..... they teach us how to learn how to play.. We still have to figure it out largely by ourselves using that big tool bag.

My AOTW is that I can now play through the Chopin nocturne. But it isn't really music yet in my mind... making it so has really just started. Now, where did I put that smoothfastsparkling35noterun-tool? I know I left it lying around here somewhere. grin

Jim


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2821721 03/01/19 11:32 PM
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Not really an AOTW; more like a HighlightOTW: just got back from attending a live concert (piano, violin, and cello). There is nothing like hearing music played live. Find something near you and GO!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2821788 03/02/19 05:30 AM
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Having my piano teacher say we can move on from Mendelssohn SWW Op. 30 No. 3 and Schumann Album leaves from Coloured leaves. I loved learning them and I love how they sound now.

Now of course I need to pick up something else, but this week will be light on practise.

Kevin

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
JimF #2822352 03/03/19 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JimF
Nice update Palmpirate. Just about every point you mentioned rang true vis my own experiences of late. .. they teach us how to learn how to play.. We still have to figure it out largely by ourselves using that big tool bag.

. Now, where did I put that smoothfastsparkling35noterun-tool? I know I left it lying around here somewhere. grin

Jim


Too true JimF. I may not have that 60,000 hrs available to me that those child prodigies had by the age of what......? But woulda, coulda, shoulda’s are not part of my psyche. To me it’s a joy to have the time now to even try!

I read that quite a few PW people are learning that Chopin C#min. Would that be no20 the posthumous one. My book only goes to no19 so must download no 20 from the Webb. It does sound pretty! Or is it no7 op27 no1?
I hope you are enjoying Claire de Lune. I learned it as a teenager and have to relearn some disastrous mistakes that somehow crept in.. but it gets better every time I revisit it.
That Ravel minuet is deceptive.... interesting changes throughout, but that’s Ravel for you. My Jeux D’eau is monstrous but makes everything else seem so much easier! We all need a challeng to progress and to be reminded of just how much effort it takes at every level of learning.
Adieu Web friend, we just keep on keepin’ on!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
Palmpirate #2822643 03/04/19 08:27 AM
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PP,

It's the posthumous c# minor nocturne. Not too hard to learn the notes, but as usual with Chopin it's all about dynamics, tone and musicality.

This one:



Goldberg Variations-Aria, JS Bach
Un Bel Di - Puccini
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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2823315 03/06/19 12:05 PM
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Jim F, yes , a beautiful piece, and a lovely recording! I hear the need for finding that ‘smoothfastsparkling32noterun-tool’......😆


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2824329 03/08/19 04:07 PM
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I like the idea of "HighlightOTW" and maybe it's also "meta-lesson of the week": the encore with which Andras Schiff ended a beautiful recital of works by Janacek and Schumann. First encore, he says: "I will play another sonata. A different one." And we are treated to an entire Beethoven Sonata (24). Audience applauds some more; he comes out for more bows, then sits at the gorgeous gleaming Bosendorfer and plays more Schumann. What Schumann does Sir Andras play for his final encore? A buoyant "Happy Farmer" from Album for the Young! This audience was full, I am sure, of piano players and former piano players: I invite you to imagine how delighted we felt!

And so I guess my AOTW was, the next day, to play through The Happy Farmer myself for the first time -- I played what Andras Schiff played! Surely a first.

Last edited by Qwerty53; 03/08/19 04:09 PM. Reason: Added

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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2824815 03/10/19 04:38 AM
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I haven’t posted to PW lately. Will start more. I’m in a red eye flight to VA. It sounds like hotel has a piano for me to play. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
JimF #2824846 03/10/19 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JimF
................... Now, where did I put that smoothfastsparkling35noterun-tool? I know I left it lying around here somewhere. grin

Jim

LOL I played that 35 note run about 15 times a day for about 2-3 months! Still not smooth as butter but getting better.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2824872 03/10/19 10:54 AM
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playing songs including The Way We Were in a jazz style with improvisation, at a concert at the local Arts Centre

Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
cmb13 #2825284 03/11/19 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by JimF
................... Now, where did I put that smoothfastsparkling35noterun-tool? I know I left it lying around here somewhere. grin

Jim

LOL I played that 35 note run about 15 times a day for about 2-3 months! Still not smooth as butter but getting better.


Yeah, 35 notes squeezed into 2 beats... that's gonna take me a while... and I'd be happy if that while is only 2-3 months. But as they say, once you've done it once....


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
Qwerty53 #2825334 03/11/19 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Qwerty53
I like the idea of "HighlightOTW" and maybe it's also "meta-lesson of the week": the encore with which Andras Schiff ended a beautiful recital of works by Janacek and Schumann. First encore, he says: "I will play another sonata. A different one." And we are treated to an entire Beethoven Sonata (24). Audience applauds some more; he comes out for more bows, then sits at the gorgeous gleaming Bosendorfer and plays more Schumann. What Schumann does Sir Andras play for his final encore? A buoyant "Happy Farmer" from Album for the Young! This audience was full, I am sure, of piano players and former piano players: I invite you to imagine how delighted we felt!

And so I guess my AOTW was, the next day, to play through The Happy Farmer myself for the first time -- I played what Andras Schiff played! Surely a first.
I love it when the masters play the "simple" or "easy" pieces (encore or not). They play the piece the way it was meant to be played. Here is Horowitz playing Traumerei from Kinderscenen as part of his encore of his Moscow concert (which was his first time back in the Soviet Union since his childhood in Ukraine).

Horowitz Traumerei


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
Stubbie #2825346 03/11/19 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Here is Horowitz playing Traumerei from Kinderscenen as part of his encore of his Moscow concert (which was his first time back in the Soviet Union since his childhood in Ukraine).

Horowitz Traumerei

Thanks for this. Very moving. And I see the gentleman at 1:30 was moved to literal tears!

Can hardly believe this is already 33 years later. The children in this video are now older adults. How time flies.


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2825362 03/11/19 11:39 AM
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Stubbie, I am transfixed by Schumann lately and love listening to the greats perform his pieces.
Here’s another favorite recording, old though it is and very scratchy. I just love Clara Haskil’s Waldszennen, especially her Prophet Bird which I am working on. My teacher is working on Mussorgsky,s Pieces at an Exhibition and told me he’s enjoyed coaching me through this so much and thinks he’ll do it as a encore piece himself!
https://youtu.be/0ERADxHQQDE


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2825365 03/11/19 11:52 AM
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Jim F. There’s a 48 run in bars 51/52 in Chopin,Nocturne op27 #2 that was my intro to doing such stuff...... yes, it took for ever ......
In the end it for me was a case of fixing the left hand! Spent so much time perfecting the right my left just trailed behind. What I had to do, and a great ‘tool’ was to know, was make sure I knew which notes played together and then block the right had notes above them. Now apply all those other tools, such as syncopated playing, ghosting one hand or the other, double jumping from one to the next with the leap between being as fast as you can, and knowing where you are headed of course......It worked for me, and now I’d do all that before trying to play it out .....but it is still very intimidating....but worth it to have you fingers dance a ballet over those keys!


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Re: Achievement of the week - what got you excited?
casinitaly #2825379 03/11/19 12:12 PM
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Qwerty53, how wonderful! I’m am going to be London on 19th going to a concert with Andras Schiff playing Brahms Concerto no2 down in The Festival Hall. Wonder what treat he will play then!

My AOTW is to have played my Prophet Bird sufficiently well at lesson time to move on to what I call a Master Class review. Phew! I think I started it just after Xmas so just under 3 months. For me i am very pleased since it was a lot harder than it seemed at first!
I still stumble around in the Brahms Gm Rhapsody. I think I’m being stubborn and impatient.
And Ravel is slowly coming along, looking, just lookiing at page 6/16 since bottom of page 5 is still painful.

But I’m leaving for 3 weeks for a 50th college reunion and a trip down to South of France- yippee, no snow! Apart from a visit to a nephew in London for a few days, no piano in sight.
I am hoping my playing will be all the better for the break!


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