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My teacher told me to practice page turns or memorize the piece. I probably should memorize it. I already tore a page trying to turn it. I respect people who can turn (quietly) pages and play at the same time.

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FarmGirl, oh I wish I was that advanced already! I'm a beginner learning piano for 1.5 months now!

Piano Career Academy (PCA) is an online piano coaching program. They do have a lot of material for intermediate and advanced pianists, and from what I can see many of the users are in fact piano teachers, but I joined for the Beginners course, which is very structured.

It follows a method book called The Russian School of Piano Playing, which is the method they used throughout the soviet union with children. There are very detailed video explanations and text commentary for each lesson in the book, together with supplemental material (for example, I just did lessons 1 and 2 and there were additional videos and articles on posture, adjusting the bench, etc.).

I am learning on my own, using Faber's Adult Piano Adventures, but I have no teacher and no way to find a teacher where I live, during Covid. Also with my work schedule is hard to find a time spot each week to commit to a teacher (online or physical).

I found out about PCA here on the forum, through Animisha's posts and some other forum members. I got really excited about it, because my husband grew up in Estonia and learned piano as a child using this same method, and he plays beautifully. He has been trying to help me out with posture, counting the tempo, but he is not a teacher. He knows how to play, but he can't explain what he knows.

Anyways, we thought the program the PCA offers looks excellent and it is the best solution for me, right now. Also, and this is the most exciting, I can upload a video recording each week for feedback (given by a real teacher) smile


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Originally Posted by Maira713
I found out about PCA here on the forum, through Animisha's posts and some other forum members. I got really excited about it, because my husband grew up in Estonia and learned piano as a child using this same method, and he plays beautifully. He has been trying to help me out with posture, counting the tempo, but he is not a teacher. He knows how to play, but he can't explain what he knows.

Anyways, we thought the program the PCA offers looks excellent and it is the best solution for me, right now. Also, and this is the most exciting, I can upload a video recording each week for feedback (given by a real teacher) smile

Hi again Maira! I sometimes have to stop myself from talking about PCA.... It must be a bit boring for other PW members to keep reading my advice: PCA, PCA, PCA... laugh


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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
My teacher told me to practice page turns or memorize the piece.

On this very topic, I was just noticing with satisfaction this morning that I have figured out a fluid page turn transition on one of my pieces. It's a simple enough piece and a really straightforward page turn, but nonetheless I was coming to a complete stop every time until now. One of those small wins when something falls into place!


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Maria, PCS sounds like a great program. Russian school of piano pedagogy seems to put lots of emphasis on basics like hand posture, how to sit and do on. Those are very important.

Let me digress a little... I wish I learned it better when I was a child. I could not understand why the hand shapes were important and ignored it. The grandma teacher, so kids called her, was quick to hit our hands saying “U are crushing Da Egg!”. But, nowadays I regret not having listened to her. The supple hand shaped like egg holding is the “home” position. We can deviate from it as music pieces demand (example - octaves jumping) but mastering it makes it easier to play into the keys.

I think the grandma teacher should have encourage us rather than hitting us. (It’s a good thing that PCS is online, it cannot hit you hahaha, I’m kidding off course). My brother took it from her conservatory graduate young daughter. He got candies, stickers with gold stars and hugs when he played good including hand positions. Can you guess which one of us practiced more?

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Barbaram
Good for you! Those little victories are meaningful. I will keep trying as well.

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Barbaram,

Just wanted to tell you I thought your recital piece was beautiful. Congrats!


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

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Oh I just had to share. I had this "I'm invincible" -moment. I have been working on pathetique mov 1 - (Beethooven) for like 3 month ... And I today finally made it all the way through. It was wonderful. I know, its not humble - and wtf. Sometimes you could feel proud of yourself. It took tremendous amount of time for me. But was o so fun.
Now for polishing and making it stick - and with some luck maybe someday I could be able to record it.

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@flygbladet Good on you! I've been working on it too since New Year! It is an amazing piece to do and I had love/hate relationship there for a while. My teacher suggested it just before Xmas but I didn't pick up on it. Then I thought - Oh just too academic , like learning three 1/2 pagers stuck together, its Beethoven showing how he works with stuff. But then I really started work on it and fell in love with it again, and with Beethoven's genius. I had done the other two bits when I was much younger so it's nice to have finished it off at last. I've just turned 70 lol, so couldn't leave it much longer! I'm hoping to play it tomorrow in a Zoom gathering. It's quite a play, especially 9 am my time, so I'll be exhausted and ready for another coffee....bit early for cocktails but it will feel like ' Happy Hour'!


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I’m so inspired listening to all your wonderful recording. I will try recording something tomorrow. I got my old zoom out. I hope I can remember how the recording works.

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In my teacher’s college, they started doing social distanced piano studio. I’m so tempted to go out there and join them. I will wear a mask and face shield to be safe. What do you think? I know I really need to play the piece in front of audience at this point. I cannot wait for this coronavirus to be over.

Oh yes, I could record it too. I hate keep saying it to you but Let me say it again. I will record the piece I’m doing. This weekend. Last weekend I got interrupted with my mom’s hospitalization. My mom lives in Japan. I had to arrange help for her long distance.

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Not sure if I had suddenly realized something is considered an achievement.

I've, all in a sudden, realized 2 things today.

1. Why am I only able to learn an easy piece in 3 days rather than 3 hours: Without looking at the keyboard, finding the right key to press on the keyboard takes much of the time. I am still finishing my Beyer's and there's a E major(four sharps) in it. It took me 2 full day just to get the keys pressed correctly. After that, it only takes me 3 hours to get everything up to 70% tempo, i think.

2. Why arpeggio and scales are important. I've previously tried chopin's waltz A minor and Bach's 2part invention #13.
Waltz A minor: measure 17 & 21 are scales and arpeggios. And those are the only 2 parts that I can't get it up to tempo and stumble every time.
Invention #13: measure 6 & 13 is arpeggios. Those are the only measures that I stumble or play incorrectly every time.

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Sorry to hear about your mom FarmGirl, it's so hard to be far away in these situations - both practically, as you try to support and make arrangements long distance, and emotionally when you want to *be there*. My mother-in-law is elderly and alone in another country and it's very difficult for my husband.


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Barbaram, thank you for your kind words. Indeed it is tough to live far away from my mother. I could not have kept my sanity without music in these days. Thank you and good luck with your music making too.

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FarmGirl, best wishes for your mother. I don't know if you ever watched the old Star Trek television series, but they had a transporter that could beam you from one place to another. Now would be a good time to have one of those to visit loved ones who are far away! When I sit down to play, I often think about my own mother, who played the piano, and her mother (my grandmother and who I'm named after), who played piano as well.


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Stubby, it sounds like you came from a long line of piano playing musical family. My mom played the piano a little. She was an early childhood teacher who later in life owned and operated kindergarten, day care and after school care facilities. In those days before tapes and CDs, kindergarten teachers were required to play keyboard for pupils to sing along. She grew up poor and learned to play the piano in junior college for the first time in her life. She had lots of stories around her struggles to learn the piano to graduate snd pass the qualification exam. I don’t know how the heck she was admitted to the national college (it was fully funded) and students even got stipend. Anyway making the long story short, that’s why she wanted me to learn the piano. I was expected to be a kindergarten teacher too.


I used to help her school too with children’s songs. It’s funny I can picture mom and I years ago now.
Thanks

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I'm sorry to hear of your rough time FarmGirl. Just know I am with in solidarity. I have had 3 distressing family related events already in 2021. I lost my Aunt to covid and my mother to a stroke, and my father enters high level dementia care tomorrow on the other side of the world.

Piano is a solace. Perhaps it is the emotion of it all, but somehow I've pulled off a recording of that piece so many people here love to hate, I suppose only because it is overplayed. I give you my achievement of the week.

First movement of moonlight sonata on Vimeo

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This past week has been productive for me. On the downside, I've stopped learning Scriabin's Op. 11 no 12--there's a two octave leap in a 3 against 4 polyrhythm that I can't play in time right now, and the denser middle section was giving me problems. But I think I've learned no. 13 of the Op. 11. I haven't tried playing it without the score, but I played through a couple times today fairly smoothly. Next up on that set is number 9, and I've memorized part of it and sight read it a couple times--I think I should be able to learn it pretty soon.

The tougher Busoni Preludes are taking longer for me. Number 7 is something I play through every day, and I'm starting to get the denser parts down, including the 3 against 2 in the right hand, but there's one spot I trip up on that I need to isolate and work on. I've been practicing number 20 a little. It has a virtuosic left hand but simple enough right hand. The left hand really features the fourth finger--I can play it, but some tension crops up, so I'm trying to figure out ways to relax and control my tone.

I'm also working on my first Chopin Nocturnes. The C# Minor posthumous nocturne finally feels playable to me. I've spent a lot of time practicing fast scales with minimal tension. I can finally get the final runs with any speed I want, but there's more tension that I like (I find it crops up more when my hands play together than when I can just focus on the right hand alone). I've semi-put it on the shelf until I can resolve this issue (I work on the runs every day). I've mostly been working on the C minor posthumous nocturne. The first page is easy enough, but on the second I've really had to work my way through the unusual polyrhythms (11 against 4, 7 against 2, 9 against 4, etc.). What I'm spending most of my time with right now is the diminished dominant seventh chord arpeggio on the second page that spans a few octaves. I'm having a lot of tension at higher speeds, so I'm trying everything in the world to relax my hand and work it up to speed.

Tension is my biggest problem. I've made a lot of progress lately, but it's noticeable in fast passagework and figures in both hand. Since I've already made so much progress this year it's hard for me to be patient and not learn harder pieces with brute force, but it's one of my resolutions this year to be patient, to work on my issues and not get ahead of myself. I have to remind myself that I've already accomplished a lot this year (I've already learned 1/4 of Scriabin's Op. 11), that I'm on track to get to more exciting pieces.

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Kevin, your Moonlight was so nice. You brought out the introspection, tinged with sadness, that this piece always evokes in me. Thank you for posting it. I'm so sorry about your aunt and your mother, and of course your father. That's a lot to bear in a few short weeks.

I have my fingers crossed for my mother, who turns 100 in a week and a half and came down with Covid earlier this month. She seems to be recovering, however slowly, but there's not a lot in reserve at that age.


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Lautreamont, those two Chopin Nocturnes are ones I've worked on in the past year. I did the Cminor posthumous first, and, yes, the "unusual" polyrhythms take some work to get under the fingers. The C#minor is on hiatus right now (a short one, I hope). The runs at some point clicked for me (clicked, after lots and lots of practice, that is) but are still not buttery smooth nor as fast as they need to be. It did help me a lot to play all of those runs at the end as a set to get a reasonable relative pacing for them, if that makes sense.

I hope you continue to make progress with your tension issues. When you do, please pass along tips. cool


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