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During the 5-month lockdown, there have been changes to everybody's routines. I used to go to the local conservatory for lessons once a week and ended up connecting with the teacher through Zoom.

I was working on several Classical pieces before the lockdown and expected to make recordings on a good acoustic at the conservatory since I only have a DP at home. The last piece I worked on was a Bach fugue. Got a version recorded with the piano sound on my keyboard but wasn't satisfied with the sound and ended up using the organ sound on the keyboard.

Now I'm on summer break from music lessons. The last book I worked on has Jazz pieces assigned by the teacher. I ended up playing through the book 1 song after another including "Moonlight Serenade", "Summertime", "Stormy Weather" & "Over the Rainbow". I'm making the best out of the imitation piano sound out of a DP while the conservatory remains shut for the next few months.

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I had a ‘lightbulb' moment

Some of the music theory that I had learnt up until now started to piece together like a jigsaw.
This is all pretty basic stuff so will be obvious to most.

I knew about chord inversions and how to create them from the root although I’m not yet at a level where I have made much use of this ability.

I’m also doing Piano Marvel where a lot of the ‘Technique' exercises revolve around the I, IV, V and V7 chords in various keys.

And then out of the blue, it dawned on me, the connection between the two.

If I take for instance, the key of C Major then if I work out the IV(F) and V(G) chords and their relative keys then for these two key's(F and G) their own IV and V chords will contain one of the inversions of the C chord.

I don’t expect anybody to understand what I'm talking about as reading it back, I’m not too sure myself. It’s all pretty obvious stuff but sometimes I tend to miss the obvious. Then I look at something from a different direction and it all starts to make sense. The good thing is that since I’ve worked it out myself, I'll never forget it.

Unfortunately this all dawned on me in bed the other night and I was awake until about 2:30am thinking about it.


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@treefrog it does make sense. The V chord of F major is C major but from F major root position the closest C major chord is the first inversion. The nice thing is that this works around the whole circle of fifths (the V of C is G, the V of G is D, the V of D is A, etc) and the inversions are the same for those chords too. It will make even more sense when you know all your chords.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
@treefrog it does make sense. The V chord of F major is C major but from F major root position the closest C major chord is the first inversion. The nice thing is that this works around the whole circle of fifths (the V of C is G, the V of G is D, the V of D is A, etc) and the inversions are the same for those chords too. It will make even more sense when you know all your chords.

I also noticed the other day that as you work your way around the circle of fifths clockwise from C to B, the sharp that is added each time is the note to the left of the start of the scale.

e.g A will have the sharps of the previous key (D) F# and C# plus the note to the left of it (G).

I love it when a plan comes together smile


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I love it when I actually notice progress. Most of the time, improvement seems glacial, but once in a while things come together surprisingly quickly. Since I am finished with exams for now(ABRSM 8), I have been going through leveled repertoire to find weaknesses to improve. I am currently going through the RCM 7 level. I found I can generally sight read a grade RCM 7 piece, and can bring it to a polished state in about a month. Inventions take a little longer to click, but the rest get there easily. I have the notes down in a week or less, and the rest of the time is polishing.
I started Mendelssohn's Consolation less than two weeks ago, and it is ready to record today. That is very pleasing. Since I am going through a lot of pieces, I am building a nice little repertoire as well. Now it is time to level up to RCM 8 and see how that goes. Working on these shorter, easier pieces has been really fun. I get a sense of accomplishment from finishing a piece and moving to the next rather than slogging through a long piece for months. I worked on my ABRSM repertiore for more than 8 months. That is too long!

Another AOTW - I decided that I needed to push my scale and arpeggio speed to handle the required speed for some of my upcoming pieces. So, I have been using the technique of rhythms- 1 fast, 1 slow or 8 fast, one slow on scales. So far I have taken my scales from 88 to 92. My goal is 100. Previously 88 felt like a push. Now it is easy. So, notable progress!

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Not quite sure about achievement, but two thing got me excited today. During my morning practise I seemed to have exceptional touch. My dynamics and ability to pull the timbre that I wanted from the note I was playing was just right. There is something truly wonderful when this happens, then it starts feeding back into my feeling about what do I want it to sound like.

Secondly in my evening practise I noticed something completely different. I have been struggling with Mozart’s Sonata in C, K545 for a long time. It is only one of two pieces I am learning again after learning as a child.

I have nothing of it from my childhood in my fingers. I do remember it was fun to play. I am not sure how musical I was, but I loved the runs, the arpeggios and the trills and just shear childish enjoyment of just ripping through it.

As an adult I have struggled so hard with all these bits. Getting the trills up to speed, getting the runs to be played at a decent speed but with a steady tempo and making the arpeggios smooth.

I am still struggling with it, but today for first time I was able to enjoy that delight of just letting your fingers runaway with it. Honestly it can just be fun sometimes to throw caution and musicality to the wind and just go for it.

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So, its been a month since I started on Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations. Progress was dead slow at the beginning, but has really picked up in the last couple weeks. Moreover, I am really starting to enjoy it BECAUSE it is so hard... I mean, come on, simultaneously trilling with both hands? at different speeds? LOL, I didn't even know thats a thing!

Weirdly, the difficulty seems to be making my practices very efficient by forcing me to go very slowly, paying attention to every note, and isolating very small bits until they feel comfortable. I'm also starting to really hear all three voices and finding interesting places where It might sound good to bring out one or the other.

As I told my teacher, it feels somewhat like being a first year student again. Energized.

I never thought I'd say it, but I'm having fun with Bach, which may be my AOY.

Jim


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Its All in the Game- KJarrett trans.
Gnossienne No1 E.Satie

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JimF, I love that aria. I like to play it when I’ve after I’ve had a tough practice session and need some calm.....
SwissMS I relate to the joy of accomplishment after meeting a long term goal and the need for something more easily attained 😆. Don’t know if I ever got to a decent click with my scales, gave them up years ago..... And trying to catch up ever since ha ha ha.

This week I am checking in on my ‘monthly’ journal re my Ravel’s JeuxD’Eau. In June I slowed down, literally. I played really slowly, all the way through a few times, and really slowly went over the hiccups, and really slowly did those frightening fast bits where it’s 15 against 4 or 8 or whatever it is.......And the awful bit of a descending jungle of endlessly accidental ridden arpeggiated chords. It’s been ****! I felt like a Rebellious teenager having hissy fits. And I have to get from a metronome of 60 to 144!
This last lesson went really well. I played though and received buckets full of praise on progress. Only about 3 wrong notes ... wow.... and a real sense of what I was aiming for.
So that’s 4 months down of real focus And hours and hours of practice. July I’m going to play through everyday and feel comfortable with all the sections knit together. Still pretty slow. But I find I’m exhausted after one attempt so have to get more stamina somehow. Teach assures me it does get easier and that slower is harder.....
The reward is an August break! With September left to see if it becomes performable!
All for a self inflicted goal of playing it for my 70 th birthday in October.


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Ever since coming back to the piano eighteen months ago I have been struggling with velocity, and in faster music accuracy. I had thought I was maybe pathologically incapable of playing fast. Do I have arthritis? In my knees a little, but not in my hands apparently.

I set out to try and debunk that as an excuse then. Find something short, not too complicated and fast. CPE Bach Solfeggietto in C minor (see video by Graham Fitch). Tried the chunking method for the first time, breaking it down into chunks of a bar or two or even less, really just getting each change of hand position really quick in isolation then trying to join them together. And that seems to work, I could rattle most of it off at crotchet 180 after two weeks on and off. So I picked a couple of fast Scarlatti sonatas and did the same thing. G major Kp 477 and D minor Kp 517. Those worked out about the same, but they have difficult corners with several bars of simple stuff in between. I like 477. It sounds like all the bells in Madrid going off on Sunday morning.

OK, so let's see if it works with something different. Kapustin Sonatina op 100. This is good for muscle memory because the harmony is less predictable (if you aren't a jazzer) and the finger patterns are mostly not just straight scales and arpeggios. But it feels a lot less daunting than it did three months ago and once you've done some of it you kind of get then hang of it. It's definitely heavier going than the earlier pieces but this feels as if it's solving something that has bugged me for decades.

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chateauferret - great experiment - cool results! Have fun with getting your speed back!

Palmpirate - your dedication to this piece is inspirational! I can't wait to hear it in full!

JimF - I love that you are loving Bach! I find he's the very best mental puzzle composer. I am always intrigued.

Kevin-- I agree - sometimes you just have to let the "study" part go and have fun with it all!

My ATOW is that I participated in a recital - an online one, but hey - that's life these days, right? I did reasonably well, a few glitches but good recoveries. I was particularly pleased about the recovery part because glitches can always happen, ..... recovery is the important part then!

I've also been enjoying a virtual piano party every 2 weeks and that is certainly helping me with performing in front of others.

I am very close to finishing my study of the Bagatelle (Op 119, N1) and have made some very good progress on my Chopin Waltz in Amin... but there's still a very long way to go to get that up to performance level. One step at a time!


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Well...I ordered a Korg PlugKey and a MIDI cable in order to hook up to Piano Marvel...really need some accountability since I’m doing this on my own wink


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*Alfred’s All-in-One Adult Bk 1 (relearning songs with PM)
*Fingerpower Etudes Primer Level 1 (for warmup...)
*Junior Hanon #15/16 (taking a week off here!)
*Piano Marvel—seeing the light at the end of the 3C tunnel...
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Well...last week I finished Level 2 of Piano Marvel, and took a few days off to fast/rest my puny right wrist...

Today I literally hit the wall with 3A...I knew it was coming...the chord progressions plus C minor, ugh! I was hitting a nice stride with the first two levels (method & technique the same day), but now it seems I’ll be spacing things out a little more...


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*Fingerpower Etudes Primer Level 1 (for warmup...)
*Junior Hanon #15/16 (taking a week off here!)
*Piano Marvel—seeing the light at the end of the 3C tunnel...
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About a year ago I got a Jazz piece by Irving Berlin in 4 pages. I tried the first page and didn't get very far. Tried to learn the L & R parts separately but the process was very slow. Mainly because the piece has a lot of unfamiliar chords with awkward fingerings.

FF a year I got enrolled in adult group class. The teacher got the 6 of us into playing pieces out of a book with old Jazz songs arranged for easy piano. The lockdown came in February when the conservatory we were having piano lessons closed. We had a 3 weeks break and resumed lessons with Zoom. After playing a few Jazz pieces out of the easy book, the Irving Berlin piece started to come together.

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Palmpirate - I love that you are taking on this difficult piece from Ravel, who is one of my favorite composers. Like me and a few others hereabouts, I'll bet you smile when we get beginner 30-somethings asking if they're too old to learn piano. Can't wait to hear it.

Cheryl - I'm sure your Bagatelle is going to be super nice, like all of your performance pieces. I always loved that word... bagatelle.... whenever someone tells me something is too difficult there is always a little WC Fields voice in my head wisecracking "a mere bagatelle, my dear."

AmyKaye - I don't know anything about Piano Marvel, but slowing down as you progress is perfectly normal. Putting newly learned skills to work takes time, and the more you acquire, the more time it takes to put them all together. There's nothing linear about piano learning, moving sideways or even backtracking a bit is very common. We just need to give our brains time to work it all out away from the piano.


Player416 - I had a similar experience with a difficult Keith Jarrett transcription, which got signicantly easier to learn after I'd spent time learning easier old jazz pieces from a Dan Coates book. Hoping we get to hear your Irving Berlin some day.

No AOTW for me today. Still nose to the grindstone on Bach.

Jim


Sonata Pathetique-Adagio LVB
Its All in the Game- KJarrett trans.
Gnossienne No1 E.Satie

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My AOTW- I found a new teacher. I have taken online/Zoom lessons for the last three years, and I have found that the short comings out weigh the benefits. I had an excellent teacher, but I don't believe she could she could see or hear the details well enough, to help me problem solve. So, today I had my first in person lesson since I left Switzerland. This teacher is Russian trained, and seems promising.

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Originally Posted by SwissMS
My AOTW- I found a new teacher. I have taken online/Zoom lessons for the last three years, and I have found that the short comings out weigh the benefits. I had an excellent teacher, but I don't believe she could she could see or hear the details well enough, to help me problem solve. So, today I had my first in person lesson since I left Switzerland. This teacher is Russian trained, and seems promising.

Thats really exciting SwissMS. You are such a good player... I would really think it is hard to progress at your level with online lessons. Fingers crossed the new teacher works out!


Sonata Pathetique-Adagio LVB
Its All in the Game- KJarrett trans.
Gnossienne No1 E.Satie

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Thanks, JimF. In one lesson with this teacher, I realized what I had been missing in remote lessons. I am very hopeful about the future.

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Originally Posted by SwissMS
Thanks, JimF. In one lesson with this teacher, I realized what I had been missing in remote lessons. I am very hopeful about the future.

good stuff


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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I'm not a 5th grader anymore!

I had my "fake" RCM Level 5 exam this morning (in person!!!) and my teacher was very happy - she said that I could pass twice if I wanted to make it official (I'm not interested). I get it - she had me prepare twice as much as required material and we went through 95% of all repertoire and etudes. It took 10 months with only few interruptions when I had to take a break and learn something extra according to my interests. I didn't get any actual grades, but I made her give me some feedback and critique as if it was actual exam and in general - I did well! I feel very good about it and already bought books for level 6.

I'm taking a [mental] break from the course material until the end of summer though and learning some Chopin and other jazz just for fun.

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Originally Posted by initK
I'm not a 5th grader anymore!
I'm taking a [mental] break from the course material until the end of summer though and learning some Chopin and other jazz just for fun.

Wonderful, well done.

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