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Posted By: cmb13 Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 11:26 AM
Since there's been talk of "pen pals" here and in the Pianist Corner, I thought I would give this thread a try. My thinking is that we all like to talk about what we are doing and playing, to get encouragement, share ideas, and share enthusiasm with others with similar interests. Why not do this here in the forum, where we all came to find these shared values, rather than privately.

I imagine this thread would be similar to the What did you play today thread but rather than just listing a few things, opening it up for discussion and conversation.

Interested?
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 11:45 AM
I'll begin - yesterday, I went to work in the morning. Yes, very annoying as it was Saturday, but it was a big day as my hospital just implemented a $50 million dollar EMR and yesterday was Go Live. We all expected total chaos, but we were prepared and it wasn't that bad. Then again, I'm pretty good with computers and it may have been harder for others.

I finished rounds at about 1 pm, but right then I got a call from a patient that she was coming to the hospital for a problem, yet wouldn't arrive for a while. So, I wandered to a small lobby that has an out of tune Yamaha grand (there are several lobbies with grand pianos, and I've played on this one before, but never would play on the one near the main lobby). There were two people there, a security guard and a visitor sitting on a sofa waiting for someone. So I sat down and played, not too concerned about them.

I worked on Sirius for a few minutes, as I have it pretty much memorized, then I tried the Chopin Peelude in E min, and the Bach Prelude in C maj, realizing I don't have them memorized but wishing I had. I tried to use the sheet music from my iphone 7, but it was too small to read without scrolling, and it darkens after a short while. It was then that I began to see the value of memorizing at least a few pieces.

I also played Autumn Leaves, which had been my favorite go to song for a while, but realized I was getting sloppy with the B section so I'll need to brush up on this as well.

Later in the day, when I got home, I worked on The Debussy Prelude (Flaxen Hair), lines 2-3. I've already completed the second page, so I'm nearly finished with it, albeit far from good. It's definitely a little above my level. I ran through Moonlight Sonata once and the Chopin Prelude twice, and the Bach Prelude a few times toying with memorizing it. I just did the first 10 measures or so with an eye towards memorization.

Then my wife and daughter came home, we had dinner and watched the first two episodes of Season 2 of This Is Us, having just finished the first season. Then watched the Yankees lose, a little sad that we wouldn't get a reprise of the Yankees Dodgers World Series of my youth (although I really don't care very much).

Didn't get to scales yesterday.

TMI?
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 05:07 PM
Well, I guess I'll bite. Back when I first joined this site, I participated in the Alfred's threads, which I quite enjoyed. At some point after I'd finally gotten a proper teacher, we both got bored with Alfred's and I ended up leaving that thread behind.

One of the last pieces my Dad learned was Autumn Leaves. Dad played piano for 80 years or so, and played piano till his last day. So I have a special fondness for that song now.

I am quite pleased with my piano work today - I got in a satisfying practice and then managed to get the last movement of the sonatina I've been working on recorded.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 05:37 PM
I've been working on recordings for the online recital. Yesterday, I recorded Sonatina in F Major (Diabelli, No. 1st Movement) and also Sonatina in G Major (Clementi, No. 2, 3rd Movement) - RCM 4 pieces. I don't know which I'll submit yet.

I too started with Alfred's, but moved to following the RCM syllabus. I still go back to Alfred's though. It doesn't take me long to learn most of those pieces. This morning I tried Black Forest Polka. I was surprised I could get through most of the polka without stumbling. Of course it would take time to polish, but still it's fun at times to hack away at those pieces.
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 05:48 PM
Oh cool you're working on that Disturbed version of Sound of Silence, I really enjoy that cover. I liked the original too though.

I think about going back to Alfred's but honestly it takes me forever to learn pieces (or so I tell myself) and the other ones I'm working on I'm more interested in.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 06:02 PM
Thanks for pointing that out. I should change that. I instead decided to work on the arrangement by Viktoriya Yermolyeva. I donated a few dollars to her and she sent me the sheet for that. It's in a different key (eâ™­ minor), but I do like arrangement. It's difficult though ;0
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 07:05 PM
I am an intermediate level. I admire CMB, just to sit and play. Though I can speak in front of an audience with ease, I have a hard time playing the piano in front of people. However, this past year, my instructor plays one a month for the nursing home my dad was in, so I started playing 1 song prior to his start. At least now my glasses don't fog out from being nervous, that is an improvement. My instructor has me work on something that is always a stretch, so I have been working on Habanera (from Carmen) by Bizet.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 07:09 PM
CMB, was that EMR Ep*c by chance? Haha.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 07:54 PM
No it's Cerner - I've been Cernified! Such a pain.....
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 07:55 PM
Originally Posted by DFSRN
I am an intermediate level. I admire CMB, just to sit and play. Though I can speak in front of an audience with ease, I have a hard time playing the piano in front of people. However, this past year, my instructor plays one a month for the nursing home my dad was in, so I started playing 1 song prior to his start. At least now my glasses don't fog out from being nervous, that is an improvement. My instructor has me work on something that is always a stretch, so I have been working on Habanera (from Carmen) by Bizet.


Nursing homes are great ways to begin playing live - no pressure! The residents just like seeing younger people being active and having fun, they don't care how good you are.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 07:59 PM
Originally Posted by MeganR
Well, I guess I'll bite. Back when I first joined this site, I participated in the Alfred's threads, which I quite enjoyed. At some point after I'd finally gotten a proper teacher, we both got bored with Alfred's and I ended up leaving that thread behind.

One of the last pieces my Dad learned was Autumn Leaves. Dad played piano for 80 years or so, and played piano till his last day. So I have a special fondness for that song now.

I am quite pleased with my piano work today - I got in a satisfying practice and then managed to get the last movement of the sonatina I've been working on recorded.


Megan thanks for biting! Autumn Leaves is so pretty, and can be played at so many levels with such variety. It's a great learning tool with an intro to ii-V-I and improv, and to chord inversions, etc.

I'm no longer following the Alfred thread either. I'm not sure about recording this time, I'm not ready. frown
Posted By: PerAspera Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 08:45 PM
Yesterday was a “piano day’ for me smile In the afternoon I went to a piano showroom to look and touch different brands of acoustics. I liked Steinway D the most but I will not even tell you what I played on it, probably no one dared to play an absolutely primitive 2 line beginners piece on that piano but it was the only one I had memorized smile The good thing is I have no problem playing in front of people, actually I can’t wait when I reach a point when I can start doing that!
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/22/17 10:54 PM
CMB, I am 57, my piano teacher (26 yo) is very talented with a MS in music and plays multiple instruments. He is a church orchestra and choir director. The nursing home residents and their families love to see him play. For a young person not trained in the medical profession he is wonderful with the geriatric population. I hired him to play for Father' Day last year when my dad was living last year. I invited the entire nursing home and their families. The residents responded to him so well, I called the facility director and suggested the facility hire him one day a month to play for the residents. He has been playing at the nursing home for over a year. One resident told me, "it is the highlight of my week when he comes to play." One resident was a church pianist and a music teacher for over 50 years and had a stoke. She went to the piano and with one hand accompanied him, it was wonderful to see. I decided to pursue my interest because our health is not promised to us tomorrow. I tell people don't put off what you really want to do. I have heard too many people say I wish I would have.............. I plan to play over the holidays at the nursing home during dinner time.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 02:00 AM
That's awesome D! It's a really nice thing to do. True about what you said - we never know what turns life will take. Carpe Diem!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 01:45 PM
Yesterday, I did my scales after skipping them on Saturday. Funny how it made me feel lousy not doing them. I still am doing the 12 major scales, and maj/min arpeggios, haven't gotten to the cadences I worked so hard to put together on MuseScore. I will do at least some of them eventually.

Then I worked on Sirus/Eye In The Sky, wasted more time refining the sheet music I created for that (compiled a score at my level from a variety of sources); I think it's complete now, so I just have to keep drilling it.

I worked some more on La Fille...getting better. That song is so unbelievably pretty with all the harmonies. I'm really working on playing it softly (pp or p); I think this is helping with technique. When I have it down, I hope to maintain it, but it'll be time to drop back to reality in terms of level for a little while. I can't believe when I see people on the recital list have performed that piece after 6 months, 1 year or 2 years of learning. I'm having trouble with it after 4 years. It's just way too complex to learn at that stage; I'm sure one could learn it but it would be akin to reading a foreign language without understanding the words.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 01:52 PM
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Thanks for pointing that out. I should change that. I instead decided to work on the arrangement by Viktoriya Yermolyeva. I donated a few dollars to her and she sent me the sheet for that. It's in a different key (eâ™­ minor), but I do like arrangement. It's difficult though ;0


I was just about to comment that I was surprised she did that song in Gb minor, but noticed you edited it. I may want to try that song, great for popular repertoire. Since doing Alfred's years ago, I wanted to learn a more advanced version of Scarborough Fair but haven't found one I like.
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 02:46 PM
I have such a fondness for the pretty pieces and a lack of fondness for some of the more advanced stuff that I just call "bashing and crashing".

Yes, that's a great story DSFRN! Very sweet. Agree completely, now is the best time to start something, whatever it is. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. I am ever so glad I decided to take up piano in my late fifties, it's so often the highlight of my day even when things get frustrating.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 04:14 PM
Sorry about that, a typo on my part. Lot's of black keys in that piece, like Nuvole Bianche. I just recently finished Danny Boy and working on Loch Lomond from the Alfred's 2 book, more flat keys. I like those pieces.

For scales, arpeggios, etc., I work through those that are currently required for RCM 4.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 08:21 PM
Yes CMB, Seize the Day! Dead Poets Society, with Robin Williams he was trying to create awareness with his students. Megan, I wrote a publication called Prescription for Music Lessons in 2016 for the Federal Practitioner Journal. My article discusses the benefits of playing a musical instrument in older age. Not that I think 50 is old, lessons are not just for children and adults derive mental and physiological benefits that they may not consider. I was surprised when I started music lessons there were so few adults taking lessons. Thanks for your comments.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/23/17 11:02 PM
Deb, that article is excellent! Wonderful review of the topic, one that's close to my heart. My mother developed early onset dementia in her mid 60's, and that's part of why I began to learn to play. See my post in the Why Do You Play Piano thread for more details. I wonder if you wouldn't mind sharing that article in a link on here or in a new thread? I already tweeted it smile. It's a very relevant topic to many of us, I'm sure. I'm so glad you told us of it.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/24/17 12:29 AM
CMB, I appreciate your comments. That is one of the hardest articles that I have written. My dad was hit by a drunk driver at the age of 10 and later in life in the young 60's he was diagnosed with Parkinsons, most likely the result of the TBI. My parents celebrated their 60th anniversary Aug 2016 and he died 4 days after his Birthday (age 78) in Jan 2017. I had hired my teacher to play at the nursing home again for my dad's birthday along with the Fiddler Convention winner (banjo) from 2005. The annual event is held in Galax Virginia. The man is in his 60s and said it took him 30 years to win first place. He had placed before but never first. He told me after getting first place he stopped competing. My husband works with him, I just admire the dedication to try to win first place for 30 years.

I did not realize the article was available without a subscription.

Prescription for Music Lessons article link

http://www.mdedge.com/fedprac/article/106295/mental-health/prescription-music-lessons
Posted By: Whizbang Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/24/17 01:55 AM
Originally Posted by DFSRN
CMB, I appreciate your comments. That is one of the hardest articles that I have written.


I read your article and it resonates.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/24/17 02:26 AM
Thanks for the article, Deb. I enjoyed reading it. Although playing piano can be a bit frustrating at times ;0
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/27/17 04:28 PM
It's been a good week - worked on the Debussy piece (Prelude VIII) for about 15-30 min nearly every day. It's such a beautiful piece, I can't stand it! The harmonies are incredible. There are some new (to me) chord inversions, and once I wrote them out, and practiced them, I'm getting them. For instance, there is a two hand Ab maj chord, starting on E, with 8 notes over 3 octaves or so. I initially had to think about it, not being good enough at sight reading to hit all those notes instantly at once, but now I'm hitting it pretty quickly. I love how learning new pieces introduces new chords, or new inversions of old chords. It all adds up! I made this song a project, writing in fingering and chord names for the less than obvious ones.

I memorized the first of two pages of the WTC Prelude in C maj. I figured it would be nice to have one or two pieces committed to memory so it the event I find myself at a public piano again, I can play something in it's entirety. I'd really like to memorize the Chopin Prelude in e min for the same reason, but with the subtle movement of one finger per measure, I'm way better reading this one.

I also began working on cadences as I had mentioned previously. I began by practicing the chord inversions of the IV, V, I and ii for now, in several keys, so I can do a IV-V-I and ii-V-I cadence. I began with the keys of C, G, D, A and E (all maj) this week. I think I'll stick with these keys, or maybe add F maj for now, then work on the flatted keys next month.

What are you guys up to?
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 04:54 AM
Hi cmb. For me, the week as been about the same. RCM 4 stuff, some christmas carols and maybe a little more time on the Einaudi piece, but no so much on Sound of Silence. I've also been tweaking my recording setup to get ready for the recital. Still trying to decide on which piece I'll submit. I did record Sonatina in G Major (Op. 36, No. 2, Third Movement) by Clementi tonight. There are several flubs, but oh well. I'm testing the sound I hear while playing versus what I hear on the recording. I'm think I'm getting closer to a setup I like in terms of the volume of the piano and the setting on the mic input of the camcorder. I think the attenuation cable helps. Video can be found here,

https://youtu.be/t3CHBXmskxw

I do like WTC Prelude in C, although I don't have it memorized. I'll need to practice it more to get there ;0
Posted By: earlofmar Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 08:02 AM
good playing bSharp(C)yclist, of a not so easy sonatina.
Posted By: Chili_Time Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 01:06 PM
I'm enjoying lurking on this thread. I'm the green beginner of the thread only in unit 4 of book one of the Faber beginner series. Self taught bass player and that was so much fun I added piano to the mix. Reading this while I eat breakfast and after that I'll go play for a couple of hours. Please keep posting your updates and love the story about the pianist in the nursing home and playing in the hospital lobby. My mom is 96 and luckily she is still active so I'll go have lunch with her like I do every Saturday. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to play something after lunch for her and her friends friends.

I don't know about 99% of the music you guys mention so this gives me somwthing to go look up and add to a growing playlist. laugh
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 01:09 PM
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Hi cmb. For me, the week as been about the same. RCM 4 stuff, some christmas carols and maybe a little more time on the Einaudi piece, but no so much on Sound of Silence. I've also been tweaking my recording setup to get ready for the recital. Still trying to decide on which piece I'll submit. I did record Sonatina in G Major (Op. 36, No. 2, Third Movement) by Clementi tonight. There are several flubs, but oh well. I'm testing the sound I hear while playing versus what I hear on the recording. I'm think I'm getting closer to a setup I like in terms of the volume of the piano and the setting on the mic input of the camcorder. I think the attenuation cable helps. Video can be found here,

https://youtu.be/t3CHBXmskxw

I do like WTC Prelude in C, although I don't have it memorized. I'll need to practice it more to get there ;0


Nice job on that piece! Now you'll need a new one for the recital though wink. I'd love to hear the Sound of Silence. I've gotta get that sheet from her; it's somewhere on my bottomless to do list.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 01:47 PM
Thanks, earl and cmb. Do you think the volume level is OK? I have Sonatina in F Major (Diabelli) that I may submit instead, but there is still time to decide ;0
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 03:56 PM
Originally Posted by Chili_Time
I'm enjoying lurking on this thread. I'm the green beginner of the thread only in unit 4 of book one of the Faber beginner series. Self taught bass player and that was so much fun I added piano to the mix. Reading this while I eat breakfast and after that I'll go play for a couple of hours. Please keep posting your updates and love the story about the pianist in the nursing home and playing in the hospital lobby. My mom is 96 and luckily she is still active so I'll go have lunch with her like I do every Saturday. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to play something after lunch for her and her friends friends.

I don't know about 99% of the music you guys mention so this gives me somwthing to go look up and add to a growing playlist. laugh


Welcome, ChiliTime! My mom didn't last long enough for me to get good enough to play for her...but it was her time so I'm honoring her memory with her playing, I suppose.

I grew up on Rock and Pop, never ever listened to classical music or even jazz. I entered this journey with no expectations of what I wanted to play, but I suppose I was looking towards rock, possibly Elton John, or similar. As I progressed, I realized that playing jazz was just more fun and intellectual, with the more advanced chord progressions, 7th chords, 9th chords, etc. Lead sheet music became a way for me to progress at an early level and take it up a notch. Only then did I come across classical, possibly from listening to the recital pieces, and as I've been learning some classical pieces, I'm enjoying them more and more, and discovering new (to me) music along the way.

If you're interested, check out some pieces for a brief intro. Here are some of my favorites; it may be a good base from which to explore.

Appassionata. played by my favorite, Valentina Lisitsa on a street piano.

Moonlight Sonata - the first movement is playable after a few years.

Liszt Torentanz Also by Lisitsa.

Clair De Lune, Debussy, played by the beautiful Khatia Buniatishvili.

Chopin Nocturne D flat maj played by the legendary Daniel Barenboim.

Debussy's The Girl With The Flaxen Hair played by the quirky Lang Lang. This is the piece I'm working on now.

Autumn Leaves played by my favorite jazz pianist, Beegie Adair.

More of my Classical Favorites on my You Tube channel.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/28/17 04:02 PM
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Thanks, earl and cmb. Do you think the volume level is OK? I have Sonatina in F Major (Diabelli) that I may submit instead, but there is still time to decide ;0


The volume sounded fine to me; I got a Blue Yeti and keep it around mid level; too much gain and it picks up everything.
Posted By: Chili_Time Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/29/17 03:22 AM
Thanks for the links @CMB. Before I started piano I learned bass and what surprised was how much fun it was to play genres I never listened to like jazz, reggae, blues and funk. I wonder if the same thing will happen with piano and I'll get into jazz, classical and other genres I've never explored. I've been streaming Amazons classical piano channel and I like a good bit of it. Okay back to lurking...
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/29/17 09:16 PM
This week at piano lessons I hit the song on the mark. The teacher said lets play it another week. I said again, I played all the rhythms correctly and hit all the notes. He said you need to work on playing faster. He said do it at 55 bpm, I said I could do it now. So he set the metronome and I got down to the last line and then I was surprised that I actually did it that far with no mistakes I lost my concentration, I was thinking how did I do this! Nevertheless, I am repeating the song this week. I have to try not to be surprised when I play well.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/30/17 05:03 PM
LOL Deb, that last line's always the toughest, esp when the Red Dot is on. No major update from me this weekend; more of the same. Oh, I did go to a Brahm's themed piano recital at Lynn University on Sunday. It's a little sad that I was practically the only one under 70 there (aside from my wife). Small turnout to begin with. Seems like when the boomers are gone, classical music will have a very, very small audience.

Will check back soon!
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/30/17 05:29 PM
Bsharp, nice! The Clementi sonatinas are fun to play.

cmb, I also grew up on rock and pop, and probably still spend at least 50% or more of my listening time (at work, in general) with that. But when it comes to what I want to play, it's classical. That was true way back in high school/college when I was in various chorales and what I wanted to sing was classical. Also, I do try to like Lang Lang, but those quirks! As long as I don't have to look, just listen. smile I mean, Glenn Gould was super quirky and he's my fave.
Posted By: tangleweeds Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/30/17 07:57 PM
Originally Posted by Chili_Time
Before I started piano I learned bass and what surprised was how much fun it was to play genres I never listened to like jazz, reggae, blues and funk. I wonder if the same thing will happen with piano and I'll get into jazz, classical and other genres I've never explored.

This happened with me! My preferred instrument changes, but with each return to piano I end up exploring a different style.

Originally Posted by DFSRN
I have to try not to be surprised when I play well.

ha ha ha
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 10/31/17 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by MeganR
Bsharp, nice! The Clementi sonatinas are fun to play.

cmb, I also grew up on rock and pop, and probably still spend at least 50% or more of my listening time (at work, in general) with that. But when it comes to what I want to play, it's classical. That was true way back in high school/college when I was in various chorales and what I wanted to sing was classical. Also, I do try to like Lang Lang, but those quirks! As long as I don't have to look, just listen. smile I mean, Glenn Gould was super quirky and he's my fave.


Yep - agree on Lang Lang - hard to watch. He's makes you feel a little embarrassed, kind of like Larry David.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/01/17 01:07 PM
Hmm...not sure how to hop in here so I'm jumping in with my eyes closed. This week I'm working on a little piece called One Sweet Little Wish. It's from one of the grade 1 books I downloaded from the IMSLP. The tune kind of grates on my ears a little bit some of the notes hit together just sound awful.

I've also started to play rock and pop on the piano and finished "Mad World" last weekend. I've got Imagine, Don't Stop Believin, Come Sail Away printed out and on my to do list...along with a ton of other classical pieces I've been avoiding. I swear I print out way too many things that I have time and patience for.

I too am multi-instrumental I also play the bass and dabble in the guitar and drums.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/01/17 03:04 PM
Awesome, A.P., glad to see you in the thread! Imagine was one of my first songs, and I played Mad World from a lead sheet recently. Don't Stop Believing and Come Sail Away are awesome songs, but I've never gotten to them. Keep it up! Those grade one pieces can be frustrating, but they're a means to an end. smile
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/01/17 03:26 PM
I'll bite. I keep being reminded of the weird place I'm in, having self-taught as a child without even having seen any pianist play, to guide me, and then coming back decades later with those old habits in there. Before finding a teacher I tried tentatively to do some things on my own and thought scales were safe, following an old book, until my hands seized up. That's a bit of background.

Well this week I was working on three things: finally tackling scales for physical motion, a stretch piece in the form of a Debussy prelude, and the humble Minuet in G ("the" one everyone seems to do). In scales I've finally found a way of restoring the full range of movement we should have without slipping into well worn habits. Building them gradually - if I go at it too fast, it all crumbles. A very slow process. I tried doing more in a lesson, and ended up looking like when you have a slow Internet connection and the movie keeps freezing. --- In the Debussy, there was a tricky passage needing a sort of athletic motion and timing to get there. I got it in no time. My hand felt like a dancer or trapeze artist. The basic Minuet meanwhile: I could play it through at tempo the first time I saw it, but my playing motions were in a flat 2-dimensional plane that leaves me stiff and limited in expression or speed. "Habit" is there big time in anything resembling the type of music that I played for years .... and which I can play instantly at sight, but always with those restrictive motions.

It's a crazy scenario, where a stretch piece is more accessible for moving decently on the piano, and anything familiar and "easy" is not, because it's familiar. I'm using the Minuet to retrain for that kind of music, to get out of that box, and must go slowly, deliberately, gradually. That's hard when you could play the whole thing off the bat your "normal" way, prima vista. Yesterday was like a microcosm of that.
Posted By: Chili_Time Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/01/17 03:56 PM
Hi Anita,

Your songs are on my song list but I'm pretty far away from that. I'm in Camptown Races and really dumbed down beginning classical mode right now. I felt really good before my 3rd piano lesson this week because I was playing everything assigned (and more) at 144 bpm or faster. I was ready! My teacher in a nice way pointed out music is not all about speed and she wants me playing a lot of this stuff much slower with artistry, color, musicality and technique. Still, while she was telling me this I could not help but think of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights saying "I wanna go fast!". Nevertheless, this week I'm focused not on speed but playing with artistry which I lack for sure. But that's why I hired a teacher, to point out stuff like that.

Welcome to all the new posters on the thread. I'm following and enjoying it.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/01/17 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by keystring

It's a crazy scenario, where a stretch piece is more accessible for moving decently on the piano, and anything familiar and "easy" is not, because it's familiar. I'm using the Minuet to retrain for that kind of music, to get out of that box, and must go slowly, deliberately, gradually. That's hard when you could play the whole thing off the bat your "normal" way, prima vista. Yesterday was like a microcosm of that.


Sometimes I find that on easy pieces including scales, my focus wanders, and what should be routine becomes a mess...until I gather myself up and pull it together.

I went back to Piano Pieces For Children yesterday, and very slowly sight read a few very early pieces. There are definitely some good pieces in that book to learn; I began to mark the ones I want to get to in the Table of Contents. Turns out to be a good book, despite the fact that the name felt degrading to me when it presented to me months ago, after 4 years of learning. Piano Pieces For ChildrenHere's the link if interested.
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/02/17 05:25 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by keystring

It's a crazy scenario, where a stretch piece is more accessible for moving decently on the piano, and anything familiar and "easy" is not, because it's familiar. I'm using the Minuet to retrain for that kind of music, to get out of that box, and must go slowly, deliberately, gradually. That's hard when you could play the whole thing off the bat your "normal" way, prima vista. Yesterday was like a microcosm of that.


Sometimes I find that on easy pieces including scales, my focus wanders, and what should be routine becomes a mess...until I gather myself up and pull it together.

That can be a problem, but in this case it is pure and simply that certain types of music that I played in my untaught past contains the physical reflexes which kick in immediately. In the case of scales, I practised them according to dubious old fashioned instructions, religiously over months and it's hard work to get that out of your system. The body primes itself for the motions before you even execute them. And that creates the odd situation.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/02/17 01:47 PM
@cmb Tell me about it. I'll take a look at a grade one piece and go "Oh, that doesn't look too bad." Then I try to play it and it kicks me in my rear. That one I'm working on now just isn't flowing all that well just from starting to work on it yesterday evening. Hope after a few days I'll get the hang of it.

@Chili_Time I put Styx, Journey and John Lennon away for a bit to work on some of the things that have been in my binder for a year or so. After this one I'm working on I'll probably go to a Tchaikovsky (it amazes me that I can spell that name the first time without messing it up) piece called "The Doll's Funeral". 3 flats and a nice slow pace and I need more work with the black keys.
Posted By: Whizbang Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/02/17 04:25 PM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
I put Styx, Journey and John Lennon away for a bit to work on some of the things that have been in my binder for a year or so


Isn't it about time you let them out of that locked closet? They're probably getting hungry by now.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/03/17 12:59 PM
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Isn't it about time you let them out of that locked closet? They're probably getting hungry by now.


Hahahaha! I will I promise smile
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/06/17 03:59 PM
My piano teacher has been on vacation for a little over 3 weeks, tomorrow will be the first lesson for a while. I suppose it may be time to let her know I've been working on a piece as "extra curricular" activity. That would be the Beethoven German Dance piece that I'm working on for the Waltz themed recital next year. I thought I'd better start early. smile

Anyway this piece is one where the strategy Divide and Conquer is exquisitely useful, since it consists of four small themes which are repeated. I've got the first one up to speed, the second one almost there. I've played the other two but haven't really focused on them yet.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/06/17 10:52 PM
That's great; I like to take on extra projects also, but possibly I do so too much as it gets me caught up in time consuming activities. I consider it all part of my music education though. Regarding the four parts, I tried, recently, to learn a song backwards; that is I did a part towards the end first, and worked my way back. I did this to minimize the discrepancy of practicing the beginning many more times than the end that tends to occur in a piece that takes a while to learn. I'll let you know if it works!

I didn't do much this weekend; I was in NY, but did get to see a jazz pianist, Fred Hersch, at the Village Vanguard. I guess I should report it to the MOYD police smile. Time to get back to my routine!
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/07/17 01:42 AM
I hope I can play like this when I am 98 and have no music (if I get there I am 57). I am still working on playing in front of people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOci_YhOzdI
Posted By: Medved1 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/07/17 01:51 AM
My 83 year old Dad is working like the fiend at his piano lessons. He's a beginner - but man, he's moving fast, and seems to be really enjoying it. Reports with pride that his teacher was surprised at how much progress he made between lessons. He's using Alfred's All-in-One, and thinks it's great.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/07/17 06:23 AM
Originally Posted by Medved1
My 83 year old Dad is working like the fiend at his piano lessons. He's a beginner - but man, he's moving fast, and seems to be really enjoying it. Reports with pride that his teacher was surprised at how much progress he made between lessons. He's using Alfred's All-in-One, and thinks it's great.



thumb kudos to your Dad! He should be an inspiration to all who think they might be too old to learn to play.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/07/17 06:39 AM
Dear all
I just returned from adult piano camp, so I want to take a minute for a commercial: seriously consider using your vacation time to attend an adult piano camp. They are all structured slightly different but are all similar in the feeling of camaraderie you have with other adult pianists who love playing the piano. Some attendees are new beginners, Some are advanced, but all leave piano camp feeling energized, improved, and have made new friends. We all learn from each other regardless of our level of playing.

Regardless of the differences, there are similarities: individual lessons, master classes where you play for each other or discuss a particular skill. In case anyone is concerned, no one is a Carnegie Hall wanna be, but just adults in the general range of 40-80 that love music. I did not attend Conservatory, so it is quite thrilling for me to walk down the hall and hear other adults in practice rooms playing what they love. There is nothing that beats this for practice motivation!

Just a late night thought I wanted to share
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/17 01:31 AM
Me I haven't done much in the way of playing other than frustrating myself to no end with lack of motivation. I keep going through all my pieces I have and can't make a bloody decision what to work on. I've also been transcribing my own music to Musescore and that took a lot of time away from practice since I had to work all of that out what notes are what and all that (a music theorist I am not).

I might try to get on the piano later on tonight but we'll see how I feel since I did a stupid thing last night and broke my toe. Kinda hard to keep it elevated when sitting at the piano. It's also hard to elevate it and ice it at the computer :p
Posted By: Whizbang Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/17 01:37 AM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
I might try to get on the piano later on tonight but we'll see how I feel since I did a stupid thing last night and broke my toe. Kinda hard to keep it elevated when sitting at the piano.



Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/17 02:42 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Dear all
I just returned from adult piano camp, so I want to take a minute for a commercial: seriously consider using your vacation time to attend an adult piano camp. They are all structured slightly different but are all similar in the feeling of camaraderie you have with other adult pianists who love playing the piano. Some attendees are new beginners, Some are advanced, but all leave piano camp feeling energized, improved, and have made new friends. We all learn from each other regardless of our level of playing.

Regardless of the differences, there are similarities: individual lessons, master classes where you play for each other or discuss a particular skill. In case anyone is concerned, no one is a Carnegie Hall wanna be, but just adults in the general range of 40-80 that love music. I did not attend Conservatory, so it is quite thrilling for me to walk down the hall and hear other adults in practice rooms playing what they love. There is nothing that beats this for practice motivation!

Just a late night thought I wanted to share


That sounds like a fun week! I just have to wait for my kids to get out of the house before I take a trip like that...I don't get a lot of vacation, and doubt it would go over well were I to suggest such a week frown . We'll have to have a piano party one day here in the USA like the European contingency here did this summer.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/17 02:44 AM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
Me I haven't done much in the way of playing other than frustrating myself to no end with lack of motivation. I keep going through all my pieces I have and can't make a bloody decision what to work on. I've also been transcribing my own music to Musescore and that took a lot of time away from practice since I had to work all of that out what notes are what and all that (a music theorist I am not).

I might try to get on the piano later on tonight but we'll see how I feel since I did a stupid thing last night and broke my toe. Kinda hard to keep it elevated when sitting at the piano. It's also hard to elevate it and ice it at the computer :p


I play on MuseScore also, sometimes...it is a big time-sink though. It takes a while to transcribe, and edit, a piece. Have you posted anything on MuseScore? I have a few things on there, but not much. Same username.

PS how stupid of a thing did you do???
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/17 04:55 AM
I haven't posted anything up on MuseScore yet I'm still fighting with my composition as it sounds absolutely nothing like how I play it when I play it in the program. It sounds clunky in the program so I'm not sure what I'm missing with it. Working on that now though.

It was insanely stupid. I'd taken my socks and shoes off and was walking to the bathroom with I smacked my toe into the cymbal stand of my drum set. I have hit that thing numerous times with my bare feet and when I did it last night it really didn't feel like I hit my toe harder than I had before. Hairline fracture is what the x-rays showed. Not in a cast thankfully but "buddy" taped to the next toe on the right.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/13/17 06:04 PM
Hello gang! Just wanted to check in, as it's been about a week.

Very busy at work lately. At least I did have some time for practice, several minutes here and there. I'm working on the same piece, La fille aux cheveux de lin, and I've nearly completed it. However, I plan on dropping down a couple of levels with my next piece, as I don't want to spend over a month on any one piece...I think that learning more pieces at a lower level will be more valuable.

I did get to see Ringo Starr's All Star Band last week. He's quite a character! Playing with him was Todd Rundgren, and assorted musicians from Santana's band, Mr. Mister, and Toto. All in all a nice show. I didn't love Ringo's Beatles selection, mostly very early stuff (I prefer Abbey Rd, Sgt Peppers, White Album etc). The Toto pieces were better jam pieces than I remember (Africa, Rosanna, Hold The Line).

Still working on exercises, like scales, cadences, etc. I guess that won't change.

Btw Anita we've all smacked into stuff with our toes; hope it feels better!
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/13/17 08:41 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Btw Anita we've all smacked into stuff with our toes; hope it feels better!


It's a bit better and I can almost walk without a limp thank you for asking smile

Definitely stepping down in levels is something worth doing and exploring more pieces and composers you may not have is a good thing.

I finished One Sweet Little Wish today. I've never loathed a piece so much for the way it sounds. Some of it was fine but others just grated on my ears. I just need to choose something for my next piece for the 40 piece challenge.

I did manage to get my piano piece I wrote to sheet music (finally). Not sure I want to share it on MuseScore or not as I'm planning on recording it for my EP once I can get my hands on that 8 track recorder I've been wanting for awhile now. I also managed to get one of my full band songs to sheet music as well. Doing the drums was a pain but after a little learning curve I've got it down.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/13/17 10:31 PM
LOL I'm not familiar with One Sweet Little Wish, but I suppose it's just as well. Congrats on completing your piece; looking forward to hearing once it's "officially" recorded.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/04/17 01:49 AM
Is anyone still out there? Just checking in. This week I've been working on the Mendelssohn Consolation in E maj and Piazzolla's Milonga Del Angel, a lovely piece from a genre I hadn't ever known about before. If anyone is interested, here is a version by PianoGirlNW, submitted for the Spanish Recital. I've been a little less diligent about my scales / chords practice, as these pieces have taken a lot of time.

On another note, I just got back from a Shiva (memorial) for a friend's mother - she was in her late 70's, involved in a car accident. All four passengers in the car in which she was riding were killed. I don't have any other details, but suspect the car that hit her blew through an intersection, likely driven by a reckless, drunk or racing driver. Utterly tragic. Life is short my friends, make the most of it.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/04/17 03:38 AM
CMB thanks for sharing. I agree life is busy and short. I unbusy myself to take lessons and practice, it is wonderful for mental health! Several years ago I was the first one at an accident where a woman hit a person walking. She was going about 60 mph. He lived but his quality of life I am sure was not the same. She was on meth and had a baby in the car with her. Young woman in her 20s. I was going to be a witness in court, but she pleaded guilty, she had several charges including child abuse against her.

I hired my piano teacher to give a concert at my home a few days before Christmas for my family and friends. I hired him for 2 hours, one hour regular music the other Christmas. My piano probably appreciates having a good pianist play on it! Then I will have wings and snack stuff. As I get older it is about spending time with family and friends, what better way than to share music.

I have been taking with this teacher for about 2 and a half years, he had a MS in music and the age of 23 and just turned 26. About a year and a half ago when I hired him to play at the nursing home for Father's Day for my dad (I invited the facility residents and their families) I made flyers and showed my mother-in-law. Turns out the teacher is my husband's third cousin.

A few weeks ago I bought a Sound Brenner Pulse metronome, counting is a weakness of mine. It works as a stand alone or with a Smart phone. You wear the metronome and feel the pulse by the vibration. It has been on the market for a few years. Great customer service, my e-mailed questions were answered during the business week within 24 hours. https://www.soundbrenner.com/

I am almost done with all the major and minor scales in thirds, I will be starting on the scales in double thirds.

Deb
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/04/17 11:08 AM
I just discovered this thread. Yes, I am out here! Hi! (Waving) Yes it is always sobering when we see the thin veil between this life and the hereafter fluttering gently as a beloved passes through it. I can't feel the relative statement "life is short" as I will never have anything longer to compare it with. I even understand that for some, life can seem too long. It was around this time last year that I learned of the death of my cousin, just five or so years older than me, by his own hand. Life was just too long for him, fought depression for years apparently. His older brother went the same way just four years prior. For me, I just have an understanding that I now, at best, have around 15 good years left and this time I really need to persevere with my piano and be committed to my best effort. I read somewhere it takes about 10,000 hours to become expert at anything. I worked that out to be around three hours a day for ten years.

I took up piano seriously again in July. By seriously I mean structured practice of scales and exercises and careful, disciplined learning of pieces as I had been taught to learn in my late teens/early 20s. I am not having a teacher at this point. I hadn't played for around five or seven years possibly more, and then only casually, easy pieces or pieces I used to know to relax after a late shift at work. Prior to 2001, I hadn't touched piano keys since the late 70s/early80s, I really don't remember, but before I left England to live in Australia.

So this is it, it is now or never. I bought a book called "i used to play piano" which tested your ability with some theory then set you some pieces at that level then you moved on to the next test section and the next grade of pieces and so on. That got me started. Then I watched some You Tube hints short tutorials by teachers and downloaded a more challenging short piece called the Humming Song by Schumann that appealed. I have got as far as I can for now with that, still one or two sticky bars, laid it aside, now working on a Bach Small Prelude BWV 935 which I love. I am not up to tempo but feel I have cracked the first page and now onto separate hands on 2nd page. Have also bought a music theory book (Dummies series but actually not as condescending and tediously smartass jokey that the Dummies books usually are) I did around 2 years of theory in high school and need to brush up and advance. Alongside these I am revisiting some Chopin Preludes and some popular standards easy arangements e.g. Secret Love, I cant Stop Loving You etc, and now of course the Carols book I wrote about on another thread which is really lovely and just about sight readable for me, can play most tolerably well after a few run throughs and it is truly joyous because I can have choral voices on Silent Night and O Come all ye Faithful and bells with Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bell Rock and steings with White Christmas. I am absolutely loving my new digital piano. I am playing Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring on Church organ mode, truly thrilling.

That's where I am right now. Hope that wasn't too long.

Going off to play a few carols before bed now while the dishwasher runs.

Have a good day everyone.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/04/17 02:31 PM
I'm still here as well. I've been battling a cough/chest thing for the past 2 weeks. I coughed so hard that I pulled all the muscles across my shoulder blades one morning which has prevented me from sitting and doing much of anything especially when I get home from work in the early morning.

I'm working on LeCouppey's 17th Melody from ABC du (del) Piano. I managed to memorize it but still have issues with hitting the right notes. I also need to work on this 2 bar section that has some dynamics in it. The 18th Melody scares me as there's 16th notes attached to 8th notes and staccatos and accents. I plugged it into Muse Score and pressed play...that one's gonna take me some time as it's crazy fast.

On the bright side...my toe doesn't hurt anymore smile
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/04/17 06:17 PM
Originally Posted by DFSRN
CMB thanks for sharing. I agree life is busy and short. I unbusy myself to take lessons and practice, it is wonderful for mental health! Several years ago I was the first one at an accident where a woman hit a person walking. She was going about 60 mph. He lived but his quality of life I am sure was not the same. She was on meth and had a baby in the car with her. Young woman in her 20s. I was going to be a witness in court, but she pleaded guilty, she had several charges including child abuse against her.

I hired my piano teacher to give a concert at my home a few days before Christmas for my family and friends. I hired him for 2 hours, one hour regular music the other Christmas. My piano probably appreciates having a good pianist play on it! Then I will have wings and snack stuff. As I get older it is about spending time with family and friends, what better way than to share music.

I have been taking with this teacher for about 2 and a half years, he had a MS in music and the age of 23 and just turned 26. About a year and a half ago when I hired him to play at the nursing home for Father's Day for my dad (I invited the facility residents and their families) I made flyers and showed my mother-in-law. Turns out the teacher is my husband's third cousin.

A few weeks ago I bought a Sound Brenner Pulse metronome, counting is a weakness of mine. It works as a stand alone or with a Smart phone. You wear the metronome and feel the pulse by the vibration. It has been on the market for a few years. Great customer service, my e-mailed questions were answered during the business week within 24 hours. https://www.soundbrenner.com/

I am almost done with all the major and minor scales in thirds, I will be starting on the scales in double thirds.

Deb


Great to hear from you, Deb! Have fun with the metronome (I hate metronomes; I have enough trouble even counting; I seem to forget to do it!).

Originally Posted by Bach_ingMaddie
I just discovered this thread. Yes, I am out here! Hi! (Waving) Yes it is always sobering when we see the thin veil between this life and the hereafter fluttering gently as a beloved passes through it. I can't feel the relative statement "life is short" as I will never have anything longer to compare it with. I even understand that for some, life can seem too long. It was around this time last year that I learned of the death of my cousin, just five or so years older than me, by his own hand. Life was just too long for him, fought depression for years apparently. His older brother went the same way just four years prior. For me, I just have an understanding that I now, at best, have around 15 good years left and this time I really need to persevere with my piano and be committed to my best effort. I read somewhere it takes about 10,000 hours to become expert at anything. I worked that out to be around three hours a day for ten years.

I took up piano seriously again in July. By seriously I mean structured practice of scales and exercises and careful, disciplined learning of pieces as I had been taught to learn in my late teens/early 20s. I am not having a teacher at this point. I hadn't played for around five or seven years possibly more, and then only casually, easy pieces or pieces I used to know to relax after a late shift at work. Prior to 2001, I hadn't touched piano keys since the late 70s/early80s, I really don't remember, but before I left England to live in Australia.

So this is it, it is now or never. I bought a book called "i used to play piano" which tested your ability with some theory then set you some pieces at that level then you moved on to the next test section and the next grade of pieces and so on. That got me started. Then I watched some You Tube hints short tutorials by teachers and downloaded a more challenging short piece called the Humming Song by Schumann that appealed. I have got as far as I can for now with that, still one or two sticky bars, laid it aside, now working on a Bach Small Prelude BWV 935 which I love. I am not up to tempo but feel I have cracked the first page and now onto separate hands on 2nd page. Have also bought a music theory book (Dummies series but actually not as condescending and tediously smartass jokey that the Dummies books usually are) I did around 2 years of theory in high school and need to brush up and advance. Alongside these I am revisiting some Chopin Preludes and some popular standards easy arangements e.g. Secret Love, I cant Stop Loving You etc, and now of course the Carols book I wrote about on another thread which is really lovely and just about sight readable for me, can play most tolerably well after a few run throughs and it is truly joyous because I can have choral voices on Silent Night and O Come all ye Faithful and bells with Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bell Rock and steings with White Christmas. I am absolutely loving my new digital piano. I am playing Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring on Church organ mode, truly thrilling.

That's where I am right now. Hope that wasn't too long.

Going off to play a few carols before bed now while the dishwasher runs.

Have a good day everyone.


Glad to see you here! England and Australia, huh? Man, the US is so boring. Just a little Jealous! Keep in touch!

Originally Posted by Anita Potter
I'm still here as well. I've been battling a cough/chest thing for the past 2 weeks. I coughed so hard that I pulled all the muscles across my shoulder blades one morning which has prevented me from sitting and doing much of anything especially when I get home from work in the early morning.

I'm working on LeCouppey's 17th Melody from ABC du (del) Piano. I managed to memorize it but still have issues with hitting the right notes. I also need to work on this 2 bar section that has some dynamics in it. The 18th Melody scares me as there's 16th notes attached to 8th notes and staccatos and accents. I plugged it into Muse Score and pressed play...that one's gonna take me some time as it's crazy fast.

On the bright side...my toe doesn't hurt anymore smile


Thanks for checking in, Anita...glad the toe is better smile. I always say, you know you're getting older when you throw out your back by sneezing!
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/06/17 08:26 PM
Yikes, things got kind of hectic and I haven't contributed in a while. Oops.

Let's see - my teacher "passed" me on the Diabelli Sonatina I was working on. It was Sonatina in F, but not the famous Diabelli one in F, some other one in the Sonatina book I'm working through. I told her last night after I played it for her that it wasn't one I liked much - I don't dislike it, but it's not super interesting. The one thing it was useful for was work on softening the left hand while still accenting nicely. So she said unless I wanted to work on perfecting, we could drop it, therefore it's dropped.

I'm now down to working on 3 pieces for the next couple of weeks, at which point she wants me to start on Bach's Prelude in C, BWV 846. I *adore* Bach, but although this particular piece isn't necessarily my favorite, I'm quite looking forward to this. I found an interesting tutorial that talks about the actual chords which are sort of modern sounding when they are played as chords, not arpeggiated.

The Aria I'm working on from Anna Magdalena's Notebook is memorized and I'm working on some of the little bits I don't think sound quite right, trying to find voicing in a few of the chords where the wrong note sticks out too much. I decided to slow down a lot to work on this and of course the whole thing fell apart, ha ha. Temporarily.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/07/17 09:24 AM
Originally Posted by DFSRN
I hope I can play like this when I am 98 and have no music (if I get there I am 57). I am still working on playing in front of people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOci_YhOzdI


Always an inspiration to see somebody 98 years "young" still active. Very few people in my family except myself have done any performance in a church, auditorium anywhere in the past year. A lot of people took music lessons but lack the confidence or don't feel they are at a high enough level to perform publicly.

Many of us are taught to be sight-readers so you only play the notes written on paper. Anybody can see the number of times she added arpeggio runs in between the melody and even crossing the left over now and then. Wouldn't be the version you'd sing in church but very original. Even with the sheet music in front some of us couldn't go on stage at half her age.

Thanks for sharing.

-----------------------------

A year ago heard a Christmas tune on radio about this time of year. Didn't know the tune well enough to recognize it so wrote the title down something like "In the Midst of Winter". Did a Google search and found the piece "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Gustav Holst. Starting playing the piece and found it to be easy to learn with just 4 lines. The 2nd & 4th line looked almost identical except for a slur near the end to accommodate the syllables of a word spanning several notes. Don't think I'll ever improvise to the same degree as the 98 year old lady.

Otherwise I've been working on a movement out of a Beethoven Sonata for the past 3 weeks. Learned the piece but haven't quite perfected all the notes. Tend to find Bach pieces easier to get into despite the complicated overlapping melodies because you can do away with the piano foot pedals and the dynamics. The only piece that Bach actually wrote in the dynamics is the Italian Concerto in F. Found an explanation online by Robert Estrin there was a harpsichord with 2 keyboards stacked on top of each other giving the distinction of louder & softer sound. Bach wasn't much of a piano fan like his 2 sons CPE & JC although invented in 1709 so didn't write any piece specifically for piano.

The other day a few relatives came for dinner. In the gathering nobody talked about music although some of us took lessons. There was just 1 mention "you used to play violin / piano" like we played an instrument in the past but not anymore. Personally being in a music group in church I don't have problem playing church hymns or anything Christian even when some of the members are non-Christian or non-believers. We play together for the love of music.

Recent upload:
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/07/17 05:36 PM
Originally Posted by MeganR
Yikes, things got kind of hectic and I haven't contributed in a while. Oops.

Let's see - my teacher "passed" me on the Diabelli Sonatina I was working on. It was Sonatina in F, but not the famous Diabelli one in F, some other one in the Sonatina book I'm working through. I told her last night after I played it for her that it wasn't one I liked much - I don't dislike it, but it's not super interesting. The one thing it was useful for was work on softening the left hand while still accenting nicely. So she said unless I wanted to work on perfecting, we could drop it, therefore it's dropped.

I'm now down to working on 3 pieces for the next couple of weeks, at which point she wants me to start on Bach's Prelude in C, BWV 846. I *adore* Bach, but although this particular piece isn't necessarily my favorite, I'm quite looking forward to this. I found an interesting tutorial that talks about the actual chords which are sort of modern sounding when they are played as chords, not arpeggiated.

The Aria I'm working on from Anna Magdalena's Notebook is memorized and I'm working on some of the little bits I don't think sound quite right, trying to find voicing in a few of the chords where the wrong note sticks out too much. I decided to slow down a lot to work on this and of course the whole thing fell apart, ha ha. Temporarily.


Megan, I really like the Prelude in C - I play it several times / week. It's just nice and easy, repetitive, the chords flow - I almost zone out when I'm playing it. I use it to try to maintain a very even rhythm, once in a while speed up the whole piece, also I try to improve dynamics. I tend to to play the bigger chords louder (eg Measures 7 G-D-G, 13 D-A-D, 15 C-G-C); it's like an exercise piece to me. I even use this piece to practice memorization, although I haven't completed it yet.

Let us know what you think after you work on it.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/07/17 05:39 PM
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416


Recent upload:


Sounds like you have a lot of pieces in the works; thanks for sharing!
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/15/17 03:42 PM
Checking in after about a week. I've been working on that 18th Melody and found that 16th notes aren't as scary as I thought they would be. I can't get it anywhere near allegro like the piece wants. I'm somewhere between andante and moderato. When I play it in MuseScore at 120 it's really fast and I don't know if I'll ever be able to play it at that speed or anything that calls for that speed and higher. My wee digits can only go so fast.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/15/17 07:51 PM
Worked on a movement out of a Beethoven Sonata over 3 weeks ago. Have a few misses still and working on fixing them. Hopefully by next week can get the piece up to tempo. The past few weeks started playing a few seasonal tunes including "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "In the Bleak Midwinter". Our music group played some of these hymns in church last year so still had the score on computer.

Nobody at home is into music although many of my relatives have taken lessons before. Have 2 friend who was in the Suzuki music program (piano & violin). They are probably the only close associates who are still playing music. People in my family still think a person needs special talent and start at age 5 to get into music. Just having an interest to play is not enough. I'm living in 2 worlds: the people in my music group (many of them are in a local choir or belong to other music groups) and my close associates who had music education but had not touched an instrument since.
Posted By: JayWalkingBlues Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/15/17 08:51 PM
Well....tomorrow is my daughters' piano recital. Our teacher (yes, my daughters and I have the same teacher), asked if I would play something at their recital. She said it's nice for the parents to enjoy some "grown up" music to go with the kids stuff (they're 4 and 5 yrs old). I'm going to play the Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations. I've recently finished it up and it's sounding really nice. I'll have to see if I can score a recording of the performance.

I've also been asked by a very talented vocalist I know to do some gigging with her. I accepted, and our first gig is Jan 20th. I'll mostly be playing guitar, and probably some singing. I'm really going to push to include some piano stuff. I just need to figure out a portable piano option (I cannot afford a new stage piano). There is a flip side to this though. I'll be spending more time on practicing for gigs, and less time working on piano projects. I hate that I have to chose one over the other, but there's only so many hours in the day. As it is, I already have a hard time finding time to keep up with everything.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/16/17 01:12 AM
Jay, you are actually, I think growing and developing as a performer, it is another skill set that will help you with piano. When I played in front of people the first time, (at the nursing home my dad was at) my hands started to shake and I had to start over. Through the last few years I have become better playing in front of people (just do it on occasion) I don't shake as much but my hands sweat. Even though I spend time away from my lesson work, I still benefit by working on another skill set. I totally understand about time, it seems when you really want to do something, other things take that time away. As a child I hated to practice, as an adult I can't find enough time.

Thanks for sharing
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/18/17 01:09 AM
I had a weak week...mainly because I've been too busy at work. The Last Jedi also took up most of Friday night (it was a little disappointing, imo).

Today, my father and his s.o. came over, and she asked me to play. I broke out the two pieces I've been working on, namely Mendelssohn's Consolation in E maj, and Milonga Del Angel, both of which are near completion. A few errors along the way but I got through both. I do find I still have that same lingering problem; that is I tend to accidentally memorize through repetition, and sometimes forget where I am on the sheet. I really need to work on keeping my eyes mostly on the music.

ThePianoPlayer 416 - on which Sonata are you working?

JayWalkingBlues - how's that Aria? I never really looked at it, but listened to the complete variations when I was on a flight recently. It really hasn't crossed my mind to tackle it; it's probably well above my level.

Have a great weak, everyone!
Posted By: JayWalkingBlues Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/18/17 02:50 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13


JayWalkingBlues - how's that Aria? I never really looked at it, but listened to the complete variations when I was on a flight recently. It really hasn't crossed my mind to tackle it; it's probably well above my level.

!


It's challenging, but very doable. The Goldberg Variations as a whole are, so I've ready, very challenging. That said, the main Aria I would consider within reach for all but the greenest of beginners. I've been playing only since Feb of this year, and the piece didn't take me long. It's also probably the most fun I've had learning a piece, although that has to be 100% subjective. There is A LOT of ornamentation in that piece, but none of it is all that technically demanding.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/18/17 04:19 PM
Wait a sec...you're working on Chopin's Nocturne after 10 months of playing? That's amazing. How is it going? Are you working with a piano teacher or on your own? I imagine with perseverance, anything is possible!
Posted By: JayWalkingBlues Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/18/17 09:15 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Wait a sec...you're working on Chopin's Nocturne after 10 months of playing? That's amazing. How is it going? Are you working with a piano teacher or on your own? I imagine with perseverance, anything is possible!


Yes, I'm working with a teacher. She's been so great, and my biggest supporter. The Nocturne has come along beautifully .....there's one little part that isn't 100% clean yet, but it's getting very close. I can play it in it's entirety at a level I would consider performance worthy. A trained pianist would probably pick up on the weak part, but most people would have no idea. I'll see if I can do a recording tonight. According to my teacher, I am a bit of an anomaly, I pick things up very quickly. Memorization comes quickly without effort for me. I've got 25 years of guitar playing, so I've got good dexterity in my hands, which helps quite a bit. It's also allowed me to develop a good ear, and solid musicality. It doesn't come without the hard work though. You nailed it...."perseverance"
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/20/17 03:06 AM
I played at the nursing home this weekend. I get nervous playing in front of people so I do this to improve. Dad used to be at the nursing home and my teacher plays out there once a month. I play one song before he starts playing. So I had worked on Jingle Bells. It went well, did not stop which was good. I used to get so nervous my glasses would fog and I would have to stop and wipe them so I could see. Funny, I said how did it sound, teacher told me I did great, just remember the G7 chord, because I missed it. I am thinking to myself, out of all those notes and chords, how can you tell which one I missed.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/21/17 09:33 PM
Nice, Deb! Good job! I'm skipping the entirety of holiday music smile. Still working on some classical pieces, and thinking about what's next. I've been thinking of working on another Chopin Prelude or two. I've only got two down, and they're great - short and sweet, educational; each one is in a different key so there's value there.
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/22/17 03:53 PM
In the pretty-pretty polishing stage of the Aria, I *love* this piece. There was one chord I wasn't happy with that I was having a heck of a time making the sound right - C in the pinkie and the thumb playing an E. The E sounded too loud and I was trying to figure out how to soften the thumb and not having that much success. So when I brought it up in my lesson, my teacher just said, use your pinkie to bring out the C more (that's why I'm having you do Hanon exercises). Don't bang it, just think about a little extra. So that fixed the problem straight away. smile

I also started working on the Bach Prelude in C. What's interesting about this is I don't really like listening to this piece, I find it almost boring to listen to even though I adore Bach to pieces. But playing it is wonderful, like going into a trance or something. Very meditative.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/22/17 08:41 PM
Megan I might just have to purchase that picture of the grand piano from your website....I just love it! Would look great in my office. I can't get into the Aria but will give it a few more listens...I choose my pieces carefully because they typically take me about a month. That C-E chord was a 9th, I'm guessing? Big reach. There's a 9th in the Milonga I'm playing now and now that I'm getting it I enjoy that chord.

I'm glad you're enjoying the Prelude in C more now; I agree it is somewhat meditative.

For you Friday Night Pleasure...here's an example of this piece I'm working on....
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/22/17 09:31 PM
Cool, that piano belongs to my uphill neighbor (the closest one, but they are still 1/4 mile away). That piano's name is Babe, she's a Steinway baby grand and I've played her before. I *wish* I could afford a piano like that. Maybe when I win the lotto smile

I actually came to the aria by way of this song, a modern sung version (which as it's an aria it should be). I don't play anything like this arrangement, I'm taking it straight out of the Anna Magdalena book I have. As I always say when my son, a musician himself, doesn't agree with my musical taste - "Isn't it lovely that there are so many songs out there, something for all of us to enjoy."

If You Were Near by Jennifer Cutting
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/23/17 10:06 PM
I like that she named her piano. One day we'll have Our Steinway (or similar). I have a Boston; my friend suggested I take off the 'Boston, By' part of the 'Boston, By Steinway' logo but I'd never do that. That's like putting an M badge on a 328i .... so cheesy!

Right now I'm listening to Vijay Iyer's Far From Over; if you haven't heard this CD take a listen on Apple Music, if you have it. I'm contemplating my next piece, again considering Liszt's consolation, but there are so many I want to tackle, I'm just not sure..... Also considering some Michael Jackson covers (Human Nature or Billy Jean) for a light refrain.
Posted By: PianogrlNW Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/23/17 11:10 PM
Cmb13, Thanks for posting the YT video. I enjoyed the pianist's sultry interpretation of Milonga del Angel.

Here's another version I think is really well done.
Milonga del Angel by Brad Hill
Posted By: huaidongxi Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/24/17 08:45 AM
brad hill's interpretation brings me into the music and along with it, maintaining both the cantabile, lyrical aspect and the slow dance pulse. for my sensibility, anyway, much more coherent in almost every way than the performance by the woman in high heels.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/24/17 08:48 PM
You mean my wife? Just kidding (Pulp Fiction reference). Yes, I agree, that Brad Hill version is very good. Thanks for sharing. Is he well known?
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/25/17 09:26 PM
CMB I was also going to skip the holiday pieces and work on other music. My teacher made me play one holiday song, he told me I need to play for my family and friends. I am happy he made me do this, I am still working on overcoming anxiety while playing in front of people. I can speak in front of 100 people but sweat when I play piano in front of one. We had hired him to play for my family/friends a 2 hour concert this past Saturday. 1 hour of general music the next Christmas. 30 minutes of the Christmas concert was sing a long. We all have things, I wanted to give the gift of time together with just food, family, friends. Life has become busy and my friend said this is like the old days when family and friends would gather around the piano and sing and share time.

May you all have a Blessed Christmas!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/26/17 03:19 PM
Great Deb, glad you did it! It's really nice to play for family. It's funny because I tend to push the limits of my abilities in terms of what I practice, and therefore I am not really well prepared to play for people. I really should back down a little and polish a few pieces for family / friends but I don't have time for everything and that's not a priority right now.

Meanwhile, I just revisited Fur Elise; I resisted learning this piece b/c it seem so overplayed but after I began learning it I really enjoyed it. That was a few months ago; I revisited it briefly last night and realized it's gone frown. I think I can get it back quickly, though, as I was able to slowly get through it on one try. Maybe I'll return to my plan of rotating things I've learned to keep everything relatively fresh.

As I complete this year, I realize I've learned several pieces I never planned on learning or even knew existed. It's been a good year, pianistically (is that a word)? In another post, I'll try to recap....maybe others can do the same? I think it's nice, and therapeutic, to reflect a little.


Importantly......I just ordered an 8x10 of MeganR's Avatar photo for my office - I can't wait to put it up!
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/26/17 04:54 PM
My recap for 2017. This is the year I could stop playing on my 49 key Yamaha this past March and play on an 88 key Casio Privia. Definitely a learning curve since I could actually start to learn to play dynamics (which those all still need a bit of work). And knowing that no piano music was really out of my reach (well except those hard to learn/play ones) due to the limitation with the number of keys I had.

This is the first year I started the 40 piece challenge and actually ended with 47. I have a 48th but it's not ready yet as I still mess up the middle section so that will start next year. Out of those there are maybe 1 or 2 I would like to have in my repertoire and use those for warm ups before each practice session.

I finally understood what chord progressions are and how to make them and the different patterns that can be done with them.

I can't think of anything else at the moment but I'm looking forward to my 2018 piano year and getting back into doing the recitals. I'm getting a Tascam Portastudio delivered tomorrow and will check out how my piano records on it and if it's better than the setup I have which is piano plugged directly into computer. Looking forward to that learning curve smile
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/26/17 11:51 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13

Importantly......I just ordered an 8x10 of MeganR's Avatar photo for my office - I can't wait to put it up!


yippie smile
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/27/17 02:49 AM
Sounds Great, Anita.....always nice to have a new toy! Try not to let it distract you too much though!

You've surely grown quite a lot, learning chord progressions, dynamics, and having a better instrument. Out of curiosity, what are the 1 or 2 you've decided to "keep" in your practice?
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/27/17 03:07 AM
This year, I upgraded from a Casio Celviano 88 key weighted digital, which served me well for a few years, to a Boston Acoustic upright, which it an absolute delight! I searched long and hard for the right piano at the right price, and I think I found it. My other choice was a new Charles Walter, but for value reasons, I thought the preowned Boston was a better option for me right now...it will maintain it's value well as I purchased it used, and could probably resell for a similar price. I would like a grand one day, but it would have to go into my living room; I like that the upright fits in my home office, as it is away from the family, and the annoying practicing that I do can be isolated from them smile.

Last year, I focused on lead sheet music, working on Jazz Standards such as Autumn Leaves, Misty, All The Things You Are, Fly Me To The Moon, and a few others. I recently added Killing Me Softly, more of a soft rock ballad, but I'm playing it from a lead sheet as well. I struggled with exercise books such as Czerny which I never was able to master, and never got past a few pages. My former teacher would insist I get them perfect, and fast, and it became a chore that while I was willing to attempt, I was never able to master, and it became way too consuming. I also learned scales in all the major keys. This year I added major and minor arpeggios, and diminished arpeggios to my routine.

More significantly, this year, I began my journey into Classical Music. I learned a few pieces from the Baroque era, the Classical period and the Romantic era. Specifically, I learned the first movement of Moonlight Sonata, Chopin Preludes in C min, then E min, Bach's Prelude in C, Mendolssohn's Op 30 No 6 (Venetian Gondola Song), Fur Elise, Debussy's Prelude VIII in Gb (The Girl With The Flaxen Hair), Mendelssohn's 30 No 3 (Consolation), Piazzolla's Milonga Del Angel, and I'm just starting to touch Liszt's Consolation in Db. Pretty much that order. Although they all could use some more polishing, I'm very happy with these pieces, as they are all pieces which I am proud to have in my repertoire. However, unfortunately, I'm finding I'm losing them as I progress to a new one. I think I'm going to spend a few weeks resuming some sort of rotation to keep them fresher.

I don't know what next year will bring; I hope a few more classical pieces, possibly some more Preludes and I hope to get to Chopin Nocturnes and Debussy's Clare De Lune, reach pieces. I would also like to tackle minor scales. Maybe then I'll move back to some lead sheets and see if I can take them a little further.

Regardless, it's been a great journey so far, and this forum has given me ideas, teaching and endless motivation...for that I thank everyone on here!

To 2018! :cheers:
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/27/17 11:51 AM
Goodness you HAVE been busy. Good luck with the Nocturnes...
How long have you been playing? Did you only just start as an adult or did you learn much younger, take a break and return to it later?
I have also learned a lot in the six weeks or so I've been on this forum. I had never heard of lead sheets and chord progressions. I was never taught this. I have a lot of theory to catch up and am exploring the lead sheet idea.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/27/17 01:46 PM
In the same boat with you Bach_Maddie. When I played clarinet from 6-8th grades my teacher never went over theory at all. He just handed us our sheets and told us to practice or he'd make us do a slow run through it. I never even heard of theory until a few years ago. I still don't get a lot of it an it's hard to find information online that doesn't talk you to death without telling you how this is why this is and whatnot. I only got the chord progression thing when I ran across a video by accident and the guy was talking about the C major scale and those (dreaded) roman numerals came on the screen. And it's not like the guy flat out said that the scale corresponds with those numerals and those are the root notes of the chords...it just somehow clicked in my head that that's how it went and it was.

I don't know about lead sheets, fake books and the like. Might look into those once I get the chord progression thingy down.

@cmb13 It was actually only one piece out of the 47 that I want to keep. It's called Snowflake Rondo from the Maylath Grade 1 Book 1 book that I got off the imslp site.

Congrats on the Moonlight Sonata first movement. I've only worked on it up until the 8th measure right before that area where I have issues with pinky finger reach. I have small hands so I find that a little hard to deal with. I'm sure I could figure it out if I'd actually sit down with it and work on it. I also have Fur Elise waiting as well which that one might be a little easier for my hands to deal with but I still have to play that one through slowly with both hands.

When January rolls around I'll start work on my recital piece and try to get that one going. I've had that printed out and waiting over 3 years ago. Right now I'm working on a scales, chords, etc. sheets in MuseScore that way I can print it out and it's not all over the place in my binder like it is now. I'll probably end up having it bound as I'm sure there will be a lot of pages when I'm done.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/27/17 01:59 PM
Originally Posted by Bach_ingMaddie
Goodness you HAVE been busy. Good luck with the Nocturnes...
How long have you been playing? Did you only just start as an adult or did you learn much younger, take a break and return to it later?
I have also learned a lot in the six weeks or so I've been on this forum. I had never heard of lead sheets and chord progressions. I was never taught this. I have a lot of theory to catch up and am exploring the lead sheet idea.


Yes, I'm a little obsessive at times. It's sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing...

I think I'm about on my 5th year now, I believe I started around the spring 2013. At least, that's what my username tells me. I am very inquisitive, and played a little guitar before; this did not really help with piano but it gave me a leg up on chord progressions. Most of my guitar playing progressions were IV-V-I. From there I wandered into ii-V-I progressions, more frequently used in jazz, and then iii-vi-ii-V-I which I worked on as I learned some more jazz. I believe if you work on those, it will give you a great start. If you'd like a little more detail, lmk, I'd be happy to expand on this.

I'd personally be happy to play for 2-3 hours per day, but work and family get in the way. I do manage probably 2-3 hours in several chunks on weekends, and probably about an hour on weekdays. There's no substitute for time, both hours per week and years accumulated. I'm by no means an expert, and even the pieces I listed have holes and shortcomings; none are quite performance ready. I am having fun though!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/27/17 02:03 PM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
...........
I don't know about lead sheets, fake books and the like. Might look into those once I get the chord progression thingy down.

@cmb13 It was actually only one piece out of the 47 that I want to keep. It's called Snowflake Rondo from the Maylath Grade 1 Book 1 book that I got off the imslp site.

Congrats on the Moonlight Sonata first movement. I've only worked on it up until the 8th measure right before that area where I have issues with pinky finger reach. I have small hands so I find that a little hard to deal with. I'm sure I could figure it out if I'd actually sit down with it and work on it. I also have Fur Elise waiting as well which that one might be a little easier for my hands to deal with but I still have to play that one through slowly with both hands.
.....


I can totally appreciate the organization you're putting into the chord and scale progressions; rewriting and organizing helps me learn and remember also! Moonlight Sonata was actually the first serious piece I attempted, and I wasn't quite ready at the time. It took me three months for the first movement alone (I haven't tried the 2nd and 3rd and probably never will). However, it taught me a ton about top note voicing, diminished chords which are seen toward the second half, and improved my reading as I was playing notes particularly on the bass clef that I was not familiar with. The piece is so haunting and melodic, I became obsessed! Just add one or two measures at a time; the stretches are hard in some spots but there are areas that become repetitive, so that it becomes easier as you go.
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/29/17 08:03 PM
The penpal thread being about things we're working on, working through, and such (as I recall):

Decades ago when I self-taught as a child using handed down music, it was 90% sonatinas, mostly Clementi. I have avoided this kind of music, since all my ingrained old habits would be in there. I finally worked with a sonatina movement. The first time I played through to get a feel for the piece, I could feel my left hand become tight by the 2nd measure, because of the very familiar Alberti bass. Most of what I played back then had Alberti bass. I have been relearning movement for A.b., which isn't a very big transition, since it's simply applying the principles I've been learning all along. The very fact of being able to change this so readily, that was a big deal for me.

Outside of piano, I found an excellent resource / teacher with a site, for my return to violin. I am not ready to have private lessons in-studio with anyone this time round, and this looks promising.
Posted By: musicpeacelove Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/30/17 11:21 PM
Hi I am new here and trying to find my way around the forum smile
Posted By: dobro Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/31/17 01:21 AM
Welcome musicpeacelove. You may want to dig up the Introduction thread on this forum and say hello. What kind of music do you play?
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/31/17 05:28 AM
Keystring,

Sonatinas are not my favorite genre either, but I was just loooking through a Sonatina book and wondering if I might like to tackle Mozarts K545. It looks like a lot of work. It has an Alberti Bass throughout much of the piece. It looks like there's a lot to learn here though.

Which one are you playing?
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/31/17 05:29 AM
Welcome Musicpeacelove. This thread is just to chat about our playing and what's on your mind. Fell free to contribute!
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 12/31/17 02:29 PM
My teacher has me doing quite a few sonatinas from one book - I've found it to be useful and in general I've enjoyed it. The most recent one I didn't find very interesting musically, so she let me get to a place where it was obvious I'd "gotten" it and then let me drop it. I expect I'll end up doing one or two more from that book at some point. I am glad that it's not all I'm doing though.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/01/18 06:27 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Sounds Great, Anita.....always nice to have a new toy! Try not to let it distract you too much though!


I finally had a chance to sit down with my recorder yesterday. I bought a new chord for the piano so I could record it "stereo". Before I got that chord I listened to a piano recording I made on it and it sounds so much better through that device than when I was recording the piano through the computer. I don't have to get rid of any noise so I'm extremely happy about that.

That file I'm making I've finished the major and minor scales and am on the section for chords which is going to take some time. Last night while I was looking up chord inversions I learned how those are made so I'm learning new things as I go.

Happy New Year everyone!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/01/18 11:19 PM
Anita I love learning like that - by researching and discovery. Glad the project is coming along.

Megan did you mention which Sonatina you liked the best? I just Listened to the K545 a few times and I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle this one.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/02/18 02:59 AM
CMB, I don't know what a MeganR Avatar photo is. Interesting my good friend is a PA, I gave her a signed and framed vintage symphony poster and found out her minor in school was music history. What a fitting gift, never knew she minored in music history. I have been listening to the great courses on my way to work for the past year and learning about all the great composers, it really makes me appreciate the talents of the classical composers. I don't play a lot of songs, mostly I work out of technical books for the piano class. However I have been using the The Big Book of Classical Music (Hal Leonard) the songs are not real easy for me so it takes me a while to get them. For the rhythm class I work on songs from the Fake Book the past year, so I have learned to read play jazz chords and I work on counting syncopation. Counting is my weakness. I was surprised that once I learned a song and then didn't play it, you lose it. I had worked on that Christmas song for 2 months to get it to sound good. My husband said why didn't I give the family a concert, I said I could but it would only be one or two songs and I would have to practice those for months before it was ready to play. I told him he needs to hire my teacher if he wants more than one or two songs. People who do not play don't realize what it takes to get a song to sound good, it is just not open a book and play if your not a professional or been playing along time.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/02/18 01:30 PM
Deb,

MeganR, just 2-3 posts above, has an avatar, which is a small photo under her username. If you cannot see it, it may be because you are using a mobile device. If so, try turning it sideways. She is a photographer, and has a beautiful photo of a neighbor's grand piano, artistically shot. Her homepage link has more photos on display.

Sounds like the courses you're listening to are interesting. Where did you find these? I too have to make an effort to count properly and when I'm lazy, I know it's not on. Another similar weakness I have is that I haven't learned to play through mistakes; they cause me to pause or repeat a measure, which is not good if playing for people. Maybe I'll work on squashing that habit.

Happy New Year, everyone!
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/02/18 01:41 PM
I can't see Megan's photo/sig above - says Content Protected By Owner. This is on a laptop. If I copy the URL and open in a new tab, it's the same thing.

http://www.prayinghorse.com/img/s11/v29/p2694091634.jpg
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/02/18 04:48 PM
MeganR, can please post your website where you sell your photography. Thanks
Posted By: MeganR Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/02/18 05:01 PM
Originally Posted by DFSRN
MeganR, can please post your website where you sell your photography. Thanks


It's http://www.prayinghorse.com

smile
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/02/18 05:20 PM
CMB, the Great Courses music is taught by Robert Greenburg. https://www.thegreatcourses.com/

In the search box put music. However, once you find what you may look on e-bay and Amazon, they have used courses. I get the CDs so I can listen in my car. There are some also on Amazon audible. I walk every day and listen to the courses. I like the CD in the car because I can easily repeat the track. I would not have the time to watch a DVD, but that is an option. What has helped not to back track is the Dr. Beat DB 90 metronome. https://www.boss.info/us/products/db-90/ It is pricey compared to others (bought mine on Amazon). I used the voice count which counts for you (like 1 and 2 and, 1 e and a ect...) so if you miss the notes the metronome does not wait for you go back, it keeps moving forward which has helped. I also recently bought the SoundBrenner metronome that you wear and feel the beat. It is a vibrating metronome. SoundBrenner has an app metronome that is free on Googleplay. The vibrating metronome works with the app, but you could use the app as a stand alone. Just put metronome in Googleplay and it comes up. I have the app on my phone.

My teacher said I count some numbers faster than other, so the Dr. Beat has helped my counting because I use the voice all the time. I really try to count well at least for my lessons, if I start messing up the count he makes me count out loud for my 2 hour lesson. This has been a motivator to count right.
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/03/18 12:32 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Keystring,

Sonatinas are not my favorite genre either, but I was just loooking through a Sonatina book and wondering if I might like to tackle Mozarts K545. It looks like a lot of work. It has an Alberti Bass throughout much of the piece. It looks like there's a lot to learn here though.

Which one are you playing?

I'm "kind of" in two of them. My path is probably not a usual one because it's so heavy in remediating / relearning technical things and that is the major thrust.
One of them is the rondo movement in the Beethoven Sonatina in F major, Anh 5, no. 2. That's the one where within two measures in the first playthrough my left hand got tight and sore as I slipped straight into habits from self-taught childhood.
The other is one of the Beethoven "easy sonatas" - one movement of Op. 49, no. 1 in G minor. I don't know yet how far I will go with it, because some pieces are then put aside for when I have more skills.
To get an idea of the various places I'm at /working toward - This is a video working out physical solutions of Alberti bass. My original A.b. had a motionless arm and wrist, fingers spread permanently in position with fingers shooting down. This is hugely different and is one thing that seems to be working.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mvq9luc48sbss1o/17.12.30a%20Alb%20-%20idea%201.mp4?dl=0
The last part is playing with the idea that we also see in the resource Stubbie shared recently - the illusion of legato (though I didn't like it here). Btw, does anyone know what piece I'm playing? This comes from my childhood and I haven't a clue. smirk
A really boring one involves pedal: my last piano forced these gigantic movements and the "technique" I developed gave me a sore lower back. One can add a touch of pedal to these pieces - and getting that movement right is part and parcel. This was a troubleshooting video:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/txyqahuap2vxuah/17.12.25%20pedal%20work.mp4?dl=0
That was followed by this (after some corrections - some things were wrong in the first) - the movement is smaller - hands are playing staccato - they are actually notes of the Alberti bass of a passage in the Gm, as one possibility, but for practise. One idea was to highlight countermelody notes by stretching them between hand and pedal.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/g4cvvc5vg9cuiuj/17.12.29a%20pedal%20sequence.mp4?dl=0

In a way different mindset and direction, in this last recording I "let go" of the technical basics to some degree, and was feeling out the musical side of this passage (coming into m. 55 - 72) I was exploring ideas of phrasing, dynamics, bringing out some main notes esp. a countermelody in the Alberti bass (the middle notes), and choosing when to add a touch of pedal.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/h9janh530qfaiak/2018.01.01%20Gm%20feel.mp3?dl=0
I do not have the control that I want to have, so these things will probably be built more at a future date. I'm in this weird in-between place.

The Mozart K545 was one of the things in my grandmother's things that were passed on to me when I was a teen. If I say I "played" it back then, I dashed off the notes as someone would who has no lessons, doesn't get to see anybody else play, and who knows how it sounded. If I went to this piece, I don't know how much old muscle memory would have to be overcome, or if it could be done "afresh". The Alberti bass video above was a pleasant surprise, because I got quite outside of those destructive habits, and some of the motions seem to have stuck.

(Oh dear, this is long).
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/03/18 05:28 PM
That's a lot of work you put into this subtlety but it will pay off! It sounded quite nice in the end, Keystring.

It's been raining for 2 days straight and my piano sounds like garbage. It's really disconcerting. Maybe I need a dehumidifier. My hands and fingers and brain all seem to need a little help today also. I'm still trying to polish my December pieces and move on to the next piece. Maybe I'll just sit back down and do some (out of tune) scales.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/08/18 06:14 PM
Anyone around? I received the print from Megan and put it up on the wall in my office; we'll see if anyone comments on it. Thank you, Megan.

Last week was more of the same for me. I began work on Liszt's Consolation; seems so simple yet so difficult to pull of that 4:3 and 6:3 timing consistently. I played some measures dozens of times and think I'm getting it. I'm also working on the octaves on the second page - specifically, using fingers 1-5 to 1-4 so as to play them with Legato. This piece is so beautiful. Have you heard it? If not check here....



How awesome is it to be able to watch Lisitsa play this whenever the mood strikes? I was so lucky to see her in a small venue locally last year. YouTube is so incredible.

Enjoy the week.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/08/18 07:45 PM
CMB, I would love to see the picture. I posted for her to provide her site where she sells her photography. I have collected some vintage classical music posters, however, my husband does not like classical music so when I was really excited about them, he said I hope you don't want to hang them up. After reading your post, my office would be a good choice. Thanks for the utube video.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/08/18 09:52 PM
Deb try clicking this link - the piano pic comes up on the first page I believe.
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/08/18 10:05 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
That's a lot of work you put into this subtlety but it will pay off! It sounded quite nice in the end, Keystring.

It's been raining for 2 days straight and my piano sounds like garbage. It's really disconcerting. Maybe I need a dehumidifier. My hands and fingers and brain all seem to need a little help today also. I'm still trying to polish my December pieces and move on to the next piece. Maybe I'll just sit back down and do some (out of tune) scales.

Thank you, cmb13. I do believe these things pay off.

Rain - my. But then in Florida you have no indoor heating as a rule so that if it gets even mildly cold that is great discomfort. We've been dealing with this kind of thing. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/coldest-capital-now-ottawa-1.4466107 At one point we had a wind chill factor of -40 which I now know is the same in Fahrenheit and Celcius. I went outside for the first time in days, and had a ski run up and down the sidewalks.

In regard to polishing and moving on --- I have learned alternate ways of practising. One is to be working at different levels on different pieces, and that can include only parts of those pieces. This can open up all kinds of possibilities. I have just revived Chopin op. 10 no. 1, which was not being practised to be at the final level, but to bring in certain physical movements. It dropped in 2016 and I never found the time to resume it as I had wanted. Right now a section of it is sitting somewhere among the Gm sonata, the F (m?) sonatina. I have just learned to fix how much and how I depress the pedal. In the etude the pedal is depressed much less frequently, but you are moving your body left and right constantly, so what does that do to the balance in your foot and legs? So there is some intertwining.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/08/18 11:12 PM
Keystring
Every house I know of in Florida has central heat..., even my 1970 middle-class house. And you would laugh but I’ve had the heat on every day, cranked up high
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/08/18 11:35 PM
I lit a fire as soon as it dropped below 60. smile
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/09/18 11:44 AM
Meanwhile in Australia... Sydney has just recorded its hottest day since 1939. In Penrith (an outer west suburb) temp reached 47.5 Celsius on Sunday. This is a 20 minute drive down the hill from me (I am in the lower Blue Mountains). The temp rose very quickly within an hour or so from my getting up 7am, 25 degrees and it was low forties by midday and I wasnt game enough to go outside to check again in the afternoon. Fortunately I have ducted aircon, best investment I made here. I dont have to worry about my piano as it is digital. However, we have had some wild storms so I unplug it then, even though I have a surge protector unit on the plug. And tonight my return to the piano for some pleasure playing as opposed to practice, was foiled by a prolonged power cut due to another storm rolling through. It wouldnt have helped having an acoustic as I cannot play without music and it was too dark by then to see properly. frown I might just call it a day and go to bed now, having finally just been able to cook and eat dinner. Lord knows no-one got any sleep last night with the wild storms. Chat later. Take care in the snow/heat/ humidity wherever you are!
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/09/18 11:53 AM
And thank you for the Liszt cmb13 it was a beautiful gentle way to round off my day. Her technique is breathtaking; she just caresses the keys.
Posted By: NobleHouse Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/09/18 01:19 PM
Hello all. I have enjoyed reading all of your comments. I have always loved classical piano music, and have read and own most of the biographies on composers. I am 62 y.o. and have finally decided it was time to learn to play the piano. Luckily, I have a grand piano and a really good upright. My son minored in music (piano) while in University. He has all of the talent in our family. Anyway, I finally started in January, and am self teaching with the Faber Adult Piano Adventures All-in-One Lesson Book 1. So far so good. People like you inspire me, so keep up your great posts.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/09/18 03:03 PM
NobleHouse, welcome to the forum and the thread! It's never too late! I started just a few years ago in my mid 40's and have been amazed at how much I've learned. Of course, it takes time and motivation, of which I have more of the latter than the former, but I work it out in the evenings and weekends. It's great you have the pianos already.

Baching.....interesting to hear how you're doing south of the equator. We all have our weather issues; ours are hurricanes; thankfully we have a reprieve now. I'm glad you like the Lisitsa video. I could watch her all day. Try to find some others; she did some street piano videos, including some at the St Pancras station (sp?) in London, that were remarkable. Apparently she was stuck waiting for a train and happened on a lonely piano. Imagine walking past her playing some Rachmaninoff in the middle of a station?

Keystring I am also at various stages with various pieces; I do have to be careful not to spread too thin though.

TTYS
smile
Posted By: NobleHouse Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/10/18 02:57 AM
[quote=cmb13]NobleHouse, welcome to the forum and the thread! It's never too late! I started just a few years ago in my mid 40's and have been amazed at how much I've learned. Of course, it takes time and motivation, of which I have more of the latter than the former, but I work it out in the evenings and weekends. It's great you have the pianos already.

cmb13
Thanks for the welcome. It is much appreciated..
smile
Posted By: lilystem2609 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/10/18 04:55 PM
Hello! I'm super new here but I'm loving it already! Right now I'm working on 3-4 pieces.

Jazz Fantasy on the Turkish March (Fazil Say on Mozart) -- It's not often that you hear a piano performance that makes you laugh out loud. This one did. It takes the traditional Turkish March, speeds it up, and adds in a bunch of fun, jazzy runs. My friend (the performer) also played it with wonderful expression. He allegedly learned it in a week-- it took me maybe two months, and it's still not quite up to performance level. It's definitely improved over the past few days, though.

For the Beauty of the Earth (arranged by Chris Rice) -- Just brushing this one up for a church offertory. I remember it being the first "real" piece I played as a kid, ie not from one of my books. It's still one of my favorites and brings back nostalgic memories. Anyone else have pieces like this?

Reverie (Debussy) -- I've been neglecting this one in favour of the pieces that I'm performing soon, but today I put in a good twentyish minutes on it and it's definitely getting smoother.

Merry Go Round of Life (from Howl's Moving Castle, arranged by Mercuzio Pianist) -- I discovered this randomly on Spotify, loved it, and found music for it online. I poked at it a bit yesterday and some more today. The first couple pages are a lot of fun, but then it takes a dive into something much more complicated, and I'm not sure if I'm dedicated enough to learn it :P.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/10/18 11:35 PM
Welcome lilystem! Glad to have you here. I'm not rally familiar with the pieces you mentioned, other than the Debussy, but will be sure to listen to them. What's your favorite genre? Are you into gaming music and soundtracks? It seems the Merry Go Round of Life is from that genre; if so I'm not very familiar with the genre but have been listening to Kara Comparetto on YouTube - she plays a lot of gaming music on piano and it's really quite nice.

Great you're taking on the Debussy. I may look up the sheet for that one. There is a sign-up for a Debussy recital online here on the forum - maybe you'd like to do this one? It's not for several months so you would have pleynty of time to polish it.
Posted By: Skullie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/15/18 02:06 PM
I found my old RCM books from when I studied as a kid! I've got the Repertoire and Etude books for grade 1 and 2 and the Technical requirements, grade 2 book from the mid 90s and the Repertoire, Etude and Workbook for grade 3 from 2001. I had fun flipping through them, looking at the notes written on pieces I had studied (one has a big note from the teacher: "DYNAMICS!!", Oops :P). There are a few pieces I really remember fondly, so I think I'm going to work these in as supplements to Alfred All-in-one.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/15/18 06:34 PM
Hey Skullie - remember those Dynamics! Sounds like you had a nice head start. Welcome back.

Just heard about the loss of Dolores O'Riordan. Lead singer of The Cranberries. Loved their energy. I would love to get back to some Rock but I'm still working on Classical Piano, for a variety of reasons. It's a little more fun to play, truth be told, more new to me so therefore more fresh, and much more educational. One day I'll get back there, but with a stronger foundation smile.
Posted By: vanyailieva Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/16/18 09:34 PM
Sorry for the stupid question but English is not my first language as well as I am new here and I can't understand what "pen pal thread" means. Excuse me again if it's smth wide spread that I don't know
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/17/18 02:47 AM
There is no such thing as a stupid question. Especially if English is not your first language. Where are you from and what is your primary language?

A pen pal is someone with whom you correspond, typically by writing letters by regular postal mail. We have adapted it for the purpose of this forum to just exchange thoughts and ideas and to just let each other know what we are up to. Everyone is invited to participate. Feel free to read through this thread to discover examples of the various topics that are brought up. Typically they relate to our leaning and practice of piano, but may deviate into other topics.

There may be very specific issues you would like to discuss in detail in a new thread such as your Metallica topic, or you can just let us know what you're doing here in this thread.
Posted By: vanyailieva Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/17/18 07:24 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
There is no such thing as a stupid question. Especially if English is not your first language. Where are you from and what is your primary language?

A pen pal is someone with whom you correspond, typically by writing letters by regular postal mail. We have adapted it for the purpose of this forum to just exchange thoughts and ideas and to just let each other know what we are up to. Everyone is invited to participate. Feel free to read through this thread to discover examples of the various topics that are brought up. Typically they relate to our leaning and practice of piano, but may deviate into other topics.

There may be very specific issues you would like to discuss in detail in a new thread such as your Metallica topic, or you can just let us know what you're doing here in this thread.


Nice! I got it. Thank you. I am from Bulgaria and my primary language is Bulgarian.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/19/18 03:21 PM
So, I'm off work this weekend....worked last weekend. I'm excited to get a few hours in. I've been working on that Liszt consolation, and thinking about the sight reading thread, wondering if I could tackle a sight reading series also. I don't think so, though, I just can't afford the time and am trying to be mindful of spreading myself too thin.

So the plan for this weekend is to work on the Liszt, begin a little of Mozart K545 that I touched on recently, do my scales and arpeggios, and review some older material. I really wish I had more time! Retirement can't come soon enough....only about 15 more yrs lol.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 01:11 AM
I'm still fighting with recording my recital piece. I know how to play it, my hands know how to play it but once that record button is blinking red my brain and my hands go out the window. Even on pieces that I've created that happens and far worse mistakes and hesitations and I should really know that piece inside and out.

There has GOT to be a way to get rid of that anxiety (that's not the actual work I'm looking for but I can't think of it) and play properly while recording.
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 01:16 AM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
I'm still fighting with recording my recital piece. I know how to play it, my hands know how to play it but once that record button is blinking red my brain and my hands go out the window. Even on pieces that I've created that happens and far worse mistakes and hesitations and I should really know that piece inside and out.

There has GOT to be a way to get rid of that anxiety (that's not the actual work I'm looking for but I can't think of it) and play properly while recording.

Several ways I got rid of this -- sort of, partly:
When recording audio only, I set Goldwave to something like 3 hours. If I flub, then I flub, and that doesn't go into the recording. So I can relax about flubbing, and that actually reduces the flubs. Later I edit what I want to keep. I hear Audacity is better but I never quite figured it out.
Also record often, so you get used to recording, desensitized.

With video recordings, I'll do 10 in a row if need be, and then splice in or select as needed, using Windows Movie Maker.

The thing that I found tension producing was hitting the record button - start NOW and be perfect all the way through. That is what I circumvented by doing this. Most of my videos are shorter segments that I send my teacher for troubleshooting and checking.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 02:02 AM
Regarding arpeggios and scales, I have started to play scales in double third and arpeggios of diminished 7th chords and Dominant chords. It takes me all week of getting a double third scale memorized I have done all the scales over the past few years and even contrary motion. My teacher wants me to play faster, even playing pieces it is hard to play faster because I end up losing my place. He wants me to look ahead, but I am still finding the notes from behind. However, I remember when just the major scales were hard, now they don't seem so bad.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 02:46 AM
I too have been practicing the February recital piece, along with backup pieces if need be from RCM 4.

Started BWV 842 (Menuet in G Minor) this week from RCM 5 Repertoire book, and BWV Anh 132 (Menuet in D Minor) from Pianist Magazine. I guess it turned out to be Bach week. Looking forward to tomorrow's lesson as I have questions on the articulation.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 02:57 AM
Originally Posted by keystring

Several ways I got rid of this -- sort of, partly:
When recording audio only, I set Goldwave to something like 3 hours. If I flub, then I flub, and that doesn't go into the recording. So I can relax about flubbing, and that actually reduces the flubs. Later I edit what I want to keep. I hear Audacity is better but I never quite figured it out.
Also record often, so you get used to recording, desensitized.

With video recordings, I'll do 10 in a row if need be, and then splice in or select as needed, using Windows Movie Maker.

The thing that I found tension producing was hitting the record button - start NOW and be perfect all the way through. That is what I circumvented by doing this. Most of my videos are shorter segments that I send my teacher for troubleshooting and checking.


Makes sense. I don't have my piano hooked straight into my computer anymore. I would always get this weird air noise that I would take in Audacity and remove and sometimes it would remove too much and make the piano sound weird. I probably don't record often enough usually when I get a piece that's record ready then I'll attempt it haven't tried making recordings before it gets to that stage.

I wish I could do video but since the upstairs neighbors don't know how to walk lightly (like now I can hear them walking from the living room to the kitchen and open doors and drawers which I don't want on any of my recordings) and the internal mic on my little digital camera sucks I'm stuck with audio only. I've been recording straight to the piano then if/when I get something I can deal with I hook it up to my Tascam and press record on that then play on the piano. I'll have to find a better way to do it if I want to start recording practice sessions.

Thanks keystring you've given me some food for thought smile
Posted By: keystring Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 03:05 AM
For recording I have a logitech camera plugged into either the laptop or the computer. I can then select my choice of audio, because the audio from the camera is horrid. I have to select that both on the selector doohickey on the bottom of the computer screen, and within logitech's interface. In my very first setup I had hisses, and removal of the hisses via "room footprints" which somebody did for me then led to weird qualities. The wonders of technology also means we get the aggravation of problems and sharp learning curves.
You won't believe all the things that went wrong last night technically, after what had started as a picture-perfect setup. I even ended up with coffee all over the floor.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 03:57 AM
I don't believe my little camera can hook up to the computer to record audio. It's a POS P and Shoot.

I recorded to the piano about 20 minutes ago and got a decent recording. Recorded it to the Tascam with the piano hooked up to it. I'm listening to it now and can hear my fingers thumping the keys. How is that even possible??? Both left and right were set to line in...wait no it wasn't *grumbles* I had the left set to Guitar and not line *bangs head on desk*. I swear I had an easier time when it was a crappy web cam and a guitar hero microphone LOL! I still hear thumping in the recording but not when I play the recording back on the piano. I'm gonna have to troubleshoot that tomorrow.

Should've heard me Monday recording. Cussing up a storm and getting super frustrated. Though liquids did not spill from my cup I think I lost my brain somewhere on the floor.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 02:15 PM
Got rid of the piano thumping noise. Slapped an EQ on the track and set it to Close Mic Acoustic and poof key pounding gone smile

I'm going to look into getting a different camera one that can hook up to the computer that has a decent internal mic or something I can get an external mic for. Would love a way to just have the Tascam handle the sound instead but I'm not sure if it can do that. The owners manual that came with it is terrible and there are very few YouTube video tutorials on this particular portastudio.
Posted By: Isabelle1949 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 02:56 PM
This is a fun thread. I’ve enjoyed reading through the comments. It’s like having friends that you can talk to about piano (I have one in real life, and have had that one for one year now). Crazy how so few are interested in music. I wonder what they do with their free time???

My one piano friend is a piano teacher (hasn’t taught since Katrina though and lost everythlng to that storm and flood). We’ve been working on duet music since last December and we meet twice a week, alternating homes. It has been fun. Been a workout for me as far as reading music goes, since I had a very long hiatus from the piano after the death of my 22 year old son in 2003. I didn’t touch the piano for many years, was too painful since my son and I were very closely connected by music.

Aside from duet playing, I am now working on pieces that I knew from memory before being away from the piano. I tried working on them once or twice in the past and decided it was just too much. I’m finding the third time around working out better. Anyway, Piano has always been my one love even though I didn’t start until in my 40’s. I had a month worth of lessons when I was about 7 or 8, but that is a whole other story. Thanks for reading. Looking forward to others’ posts.
Posted By: Isabelle1949 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 02:59 PM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
I'm still fighting with recording my recital piece. I know how to play it, my hands know how to play it but once that record button is blinking red my brain and my hands go out the window. Even on pieces that I've created that happens and far worse mistakes and hesitations and I should really know that piece inside and out.

There has GOT to be a way to get rid of that anxiety (that's not the actual work I'm looking for but I can't think of it) and play properly while recording.


Anita, you just need to become desensitized to the fact that you are recording. Practice with the recorder running and eventually you won’t pay any attention to the fact that you are recording. It’s all in the psychology.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 09:48 PM
Deb that's great scale practice; I haven't gotten to the dominant 7ths or the double thirds but I do the contrary motion and I also do the diminished 7ths exercise from Hanon and really like that one.

Recording is tough, the piece really has to be polished and I'm not great at bringing them to this level. I use a Blue Yeti mic and Logitech camera but I haven't even bothered since the summer. When I last recorded, I went directly to my mac, and would do a few runs of the piece, then stop and start the recording again so the file size didn't get out of control, then delete all but the best one. Then I would crop it to the best recording and delete the beginning and end.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/20/18 09:54 PM
Welcome the thread, Isabelle; glad you're here. People waste a lot of time on nothing; I personally don't have enough time for all the music I'd like to hear and play smile. I have a few friends locally that can play instruments but none are the least interested in classical piano or technique; all just play some classic or alt rock songs on guitar. The few that do touch a keyboard play rock riffs; it barely qualifies as learning to play. I did once ponder how the world of classical music seems to be shrinking; if it weren't for my interest in learning piano, I would know nothing about it. Nobody I even knew growing up had the faintest idea of it's existence. It seems that when my generation (teens in the 80's) reach the most senior generation, classical music will be forgotten by all but a few.

I have found some piano recitals at the local Steinway store and at the local university; I've been attending some of these. Unfortunately, here too the crowds are thin and mostly much older. There should be some kind of push by the education system to keep this timeless music alive.
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/21/18 09:02 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Welcome the thread, Isabelle; glad you're here. People waste a lot of time on nothing; I personally don't have enough time for all the music I'd like to hear and play smile. I have a few friends locally that can play instruments but none are the least interested in classical piano or technique; all just play some classic or alt rock songs on guitar. The few that do touch a keyboard play rock riffs; it barely qualifies as learning to play. I did once ponder how the world of classical music seems to be shrinking; if it weren't for my interest in learning piano, I would know nothing about it. Nobody I even knew growing up had the faintest idea of it's existence. It seems that when my generation (teens in the 80's) reach the most senior generation, classical music will be forgotten by all but a few.

I have found some piano recitals at the local Steinway store and at the local university; I've been attending some of these. Unfortunately, here too the crowds are thin and mostly much older. There should be some kind of push by the education system to keep this timeless music alive.


I believe it has a lot to do with the "progressive", future-driven, history-rewriting agenda of the education system, cmb13, where all that is traditional and the foundation of western society is eschewed as conservative, out-of-date, and the preserve of "old white men", which term, of course, embraces most of the great historical composers of classical music, and must be crushed at all costs. This is not the forum to develop a political debate along these lines and you know, "don't get me started" applies strongly here. I'll just leave that with you to explore as the fancy takes you.
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/21/18 09:07 AM
And yes, welcome aboard this thread Isabelle, and I am so pleased for you that you have managed to navigate your way through the grief of such a terrible loss back to the life-raft of music and your piano in calmer waters. This is such a nice thread, I am glad cmb13 started it.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/21/18 04:50 PM
@Isabelle I should probably just do that hit record and let it go. I'm not entirely sure how long I can have the Tascam running before I get out of space errors so I probably won't use that. I still have that Guitar Hero microphone that I could plug into the computer and record in either Audacity or Reaper and see how that goes. I think I'll start doing that this week.

Another psychological thing I tend to get (not sure if anyone else has this problem or it's just me) is I'm playing well...too well...and my brain knows it. Then these thoughs spring in like "Don't screw this up you've almost got it" and I basically sabotage myself into making a mistake. So I'm going to also try not to have an inner dialogue going on in my head while I'm trying to play.
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/21/18 08:02 PM
For recording my practice, I have 2 choices, one is that the digital piano has recording capabilities. However, I just use the voice recording on my phone, that is the easiest and quickest. My teacher says it is good to hear yourself practice then you can focus on the week points, however I do not record myself often.

For me, I make piano practice one of my priorities or I can get consumed by a lot of other things to do, that are not necessarily productive. It is like going to school, it has to be one of the items on the top of your list to focus on. I find taking lessons makes me accountable. The director of the music school I attend states adults generally last one year of lessons then leave. According to the director, most adults find it is harder than they expected. Learning an instrument is not a spectator sport, it takes a lot of time and effort. I have been talking lessons for almost 4 years, I started after finishing my PhD. I played as a child and stopped at 18, my parents encouraged me to continue, but at that age I knew more than my parents. I started again at 54, and it is more difficult than I recall. Before I started, I bought the John Schaum series and told my instructor (first day of my lessons) I planned to finish this in 2 years. At the 2 year mark I said, I am not going to finish these books in the 2 years, he replied I didn't think you would. I started at book C and did get though book G in 3 years with a lot of hard work. It would be easier for me to get a second PhD than learn the piano well. However, this is way more fun!

I think young adults want instant gratification, and learning to play an instrument well is a time commitment that lasts for years. When you think about technological development, information is at your fingertips in an instant and the new generation the Linksters and the Millennials grew up with technology. As a Baby Boomer, I did not grow up expecting instant answers or results. Times have changed along with expectations.

Also thanks CMB for starting the Pen Pal thread.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/21/18 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by Anita Potter
@Isabelle I should probably just do that hit record and let it go. I'm not entirely sure how long I can have the Tascam running before I get out of space errors so I probably won't use that. I still have that Guitar Hero microphone that I could plug into the computer and record in either Audacity or Reaper and see how that goes. I think I'll start doing that this week.

Another psychological thing I tend to get (not sure if anyone else has this problem or it's just me) is I'm playing well...too well...and my brain knows it. Then these thoughs spring in like "Don't screw this up you've almost got it" and I basically sabotage myself into making a mistake. So I'm going to also try not to have an inner dialogue going on in my head while I'm trying to play.


Hi Anita
FWIW, I have found that I have to have an inner dialogue going when I play, otherwise my brain fills up with other thoughts... like “I’m going to screw this up or oh here comes that hard measure, or I forgot to send in an email for work “ I don’t program what I’m going to make myself think about, but I make myself focus on the music, such as “this next note needs to be really quiet, or The next chord in the base is an E flat major “. Of course, your experience and what you need to do maybe really different But you might want to give it a try, I just don’t leave room in my brain for negative thoughts.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/22/18 01:02 AM
Hey thanks everyone I'm glad you're enjoying this thread as much as I am!
Posted By: dobro Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/22/18 04:57 AM
DFSRN, your post above is well written. Great summation in a short post. I recall reading a blog of yours earlier but I’ve lost the contact to it. Reading things that inspire like that makes me get off my lazy tail and practice. Nice job,mb
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/22/18 11:12 AM
Another massive storm and power cut this afternoon, same thing happened about a week or so ago. This time power was off for nearly 5 hours. One of those times you wish you had an acoustic piano as well....
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/22/18 02:33 PM
Oh...that really stinks! Sounds a lot like South Florida (but probably a lot nicer) !I hear such great things about Sydney. Are you in an urban, suburban or rural area? Have to visit Australia one day but the trip is so long, it will probably have to wait until retirement.
Posted By: elenmirie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/22/18 06:05 PM
Hi everyone!
I've just been reading through this thread and enjoying it very much, so I decided to dive in...

I'm new (ish) to piano but not new to music; I played clarinet in grade school, balalaika at uni and then studied voice for a while when I was between jobs. Then there was a long wilderness, but about 10 years ago I got started on music again, singing mostly in choirs which evolved into some solo stuff. Then that led to getting a piano, because my accompanist couldn't stand playing my keyboard when he came over to rehearse (non-weighted keys and too short), so he nudged me into taking an antique one that his personal trainer was trying to get rid of, and that I got for the cost of moving it smile ... That was last summer.

So now it's a simple matter of learning to play the darned thing. I'm working on the two Minuets in G and Gm from the Anna Magdalena Notebook (G in pretty goodish shape; Gm in progress but shaping up), and also Tchaikovsky's "Morning Prayer" which is proving to be a stretch... it's taking me forever just to get the notes into my fingers. Also working on scales and some other exercises, and trying to make a playable piece out of an old song that I remember from my Russian folk music days.

So that's me...

Staying focused while playing is hard work... I find that whenever I have a meta-thought, like, "hey, this is going well!", that's exactly when I go all fumble-fingered. Sometimes when I sit down I just play something (like the Minuet in G) and it just flows. Then I might do it again and stumble all over the place. *sigh*

Bach__ingMaddie, you should get yourself a generator to run your keyboard when the power is out! laugh laugh
Posted By: DFSRN Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/23/18 12:50 AM
Dear Carolinakeys, When we are young in our 20s and 30s, we think we have so much time, but that time moves fast if your blessed enough to continue life. As I aged, I regretted that I did not continue playing music and that I failed out of school the first time around. I worked on fixing the school regret and now I am working on the piano one. One of my goals was to give back to my parents who spent a fortune on my lessons given I had take private lessons for 5 years with piano and 10 years with violin. I thank God, that before my dad died I was able to play the piano for him. He started playing when he was 72 and played for a few years until his Parkinson's progressed. Being in health care I see people have regrets.

I still communicate with my first nursing preceptor from 1994. She is about my age. I always told her to go to school with me, it will be fun to go together. I started nursing with an associate degree. She is still nursing with an associate degree and informed me I wish I would have gone to school with you. Even though those 24 years have passed, I told her, you cannot get those back, but you can move forward.

I don't think it is ever too late to start, Grandma Moses didn't start painting until in her 70s!

Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961), known by her nickname Grandma Moses, was an American folk artist. She began painting in earnest at the age of 78 and is often cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age. Her works have been shown and sold in the United States and abroad and have been marketed on greeting cards and other merchandise. Moses' paintings are displayed in the collections of many museums. The Sugaring Off was sold for US $1.2 million in 2006.
Posted By: Isabelle1949 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/23/18 10:11 PM
Anita, I have had those thoughts too, especially when I get to a part that I repeatedly make the same mistake. My inner dialogue is, “don’t you dare”!!! Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. It takes a lot focus when playing the piano. The monkeys in your head must be put to sleep before you play!!!
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/24/18 12:45 AM
This week I'll continue working on Nuvole Bianche for the recital next month. Backup will be Sonatina in G Major by Clementi laugh

Additionally, I'll be working on the following RCM pieces

  • Minuet in G Minor, BWV 842 - Bach
  • Sweet Sorrow - Burgmüller
  • When Rivers Flowed on Mars - Telfer
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/24/18 09:36 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Oh...that really stinks! Sounds a lot like South Florida (but probably a lot nicer) !I hear such great things about Sydney. Are you in an urban, suburban or rural area? Have to visit Australia one day but the trip is so long, it will probably have to wait until retirement.


I am about 50 miles west of Sydney city centre in the foothills of the Blue Mountains which form part of the Great Dividing Range. I have lived all over suburban Sydney but moved here five uears ago in readiness for retirement.
Posted By: Anita Potter Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/24/18 01:24 PM
Spent the better part of my weekend trying to record keyboards for my own music. Had a time of it when I screwed up in all 3 of the main sections but kept going. Thankfully the middleish part where my guitar will come in went smoothly (which that section I recorded in one take and was the one I was most worried about). Recorded the section I messed up on and got that in one take so spent some time cutting and pasting and fixing. It's not perfect but will be during my editing session tonight (or if I'm so inclined this morning). Spent most of that trying to track down an audio issue that was causing static clicks and pops. Once I changed the audio driver source in Reaper that nonsense stopped.

I've yet to get that inner dialogue to shush up. I'm trying to figure out which piece to pick next on the piano. So I think I'm just going to start at the front of my stack and knock them out one by one focusing on getting the Le Couppey pieces out of the way.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/24/18 02:45 PM
Wow, I'm sure that area near the mountains west of Sydney is beautiful!

Good job on the recording front, Anita, it'll come.

I'm still working on the Liszt piece; I hope to complete page 3 this weekend. Then only one page left. I'm also still polishing the Milonga but I really don't know if I'll ever have it ready to record. It would be a miracle to get through it without mistakes or breaks. Maybe one day.

I didn't submit anything to the last recital. Maybe I'll do something I've been playing a long time, like the Bach Prelude in C maj, although it's such a cliche piece, I like it and can probably get a decent recording, although not at the speed recommended on the sheet (more like half).
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/24/18 09:35 PM
[i][/i]I am still plugging away slowly at BWV 935 and got the first page to a point where I can pretty much play it all through at steady but slower than designated pace and am looking at page 2 which is a lot more challenging. However I am not giving this so much prominence in my practice now as my Faber book and a book of intermediate pieces by many different composers compiled by Jane Magrath arrived this week. Jane's book is excellent. All the pieces are within my reach and current level and chosen to be original pieces, not some "simplified arrangement" I am really over most of those. I quite like John Brimhall arrangements as they are still interesting and melodious but his books are scarce now. I also bagged such a good haul at the 2nd hand music sale in Sydney last Friday and am enjoying Jane Bastien Grade 1&2 pieces for sight-reading, very nice little pieces don't sound at all chopsticky, one called Blue Mood is so nice I sat and learned it afterwards. Also a really good book of pieces by Haydn for intermediate players I have started. So I am varying my choices and much more within my capabilities now and it is very satisfying as I gradually ease myself back up to where I left off 40+ years ago.

One thing I have realised is that I really do enjoy playing the old standards, big band jazz and classic popular music, Sinatra, arranged well for piano. I picked up a jazz book at the sale too, a tiny bit beyond me in most pieces but it was a good find and I know it will be reachable fairly soon.

The CDs were $5 each so I bought 10 mixed classical and jazz.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/24/18 10:24 PM
Yes you may have a problem similar to mine - there's just too much to learn and play! I keep telling myself I need to dial back the level to find pieces I can learn more rapidly and proficiently. It sounds like those books are just right. I wish there were a good book store locally that had sheet music, or a music store with these books. Instead I look through Amazon and other music websites, and never really buy anything new because the selection is so wide and I really don't know what's in them.
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/25/18 06:21 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Yes you may have a problem similar to mine - there's just too much to learn and play! I keep telling myself I need to dial back the level to find pieces I can learn more rapidly and proficiently. It sounds like those books are just right. I wish there were a good book store locally that had sheet music, or a music store with these books. Instead I look through Amazon and other music websites, and never really buy anything new because the selection is so wide and I really don't know what's in them.


Yes. I have felt much happier and more successful and less down on myself since playing pieces closer to my level rather than over-reaching to the level I was playing 45 years ago. I was able to learn more quickly and probably move more quickly then. And sight read. I am just plodding slowly back up that hill and once I reach around grade 4, in order to move on will probably get a teacher and take some lessons again. I would really like to get to around grade 6 (ABRSM) because that opens a whole new level of repertoire, pieces we all know and love and the ability to really get into some blues and jazz and popular classics. We will get there cmb13!
Posted By: RaggedKeyPresser Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/25/18 02:08 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Yes you may have a problem similar to mine - there's just too much to learn and play!
I wish there were a good book store locally that had sheet music, or a music store with these books. Instead I look through Amazon and other music websites, and never really buy anything new because the selection is so wide and I really don't know what's in them.

Exactly.
This is precisely what we have lost.
In the past, one of my highlights was to go downtown and look through all the sheet music/method books in the music store.
I could spend a long time in there and selecting what I thought was the very best quality and most relevant books for me.
Now I buy nothing online, because I don't know what's in the books.
Posted By: EPW Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/25/18 05:59 PM
I miss Carol Fisher store in downtown Chicago. I take the Blue line "L" and spend hours browsing.
I always brought something. Afterwards I grab a bite to eat and walk through Lincoln Park zoo and take the bus back home. Good memories.
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/25/18 11:00 PM
Originally Posted by EPW
I miss Carol Fisher store in downtown Chicago. I take the Blue line "L" and spend hours browsing.
I always brought something. Afterwards I grab a bite to eat and walk through Lincoln Park zoo and take the bus back home. Good memories.


I so agree. It was a lovely day out. I took the train over, 2 hour trip each way. Went right through every box of music, probably 12-16 boxes, took about 2 hours, then swooped on the CDs downstairs, another half hour, then across the road to one of my favourite eateries for a late lunch. A little shopping at a really good organic fruit n veg place nearby, then back home on the train, looking through my music books.

They told me they have these sales every three months at a couple of different venues in the city suburbs so it is nice to know I can have a day out like that once in a while. Mind you, I have probably now got enough music to last me the rest of my life! Much cheaper than new music books plus shipping costs!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/28/18 09:57 PM
This weekend I saw a jazz show at a small local venue - maybe you know of him, Bach_ing...he's from Perth. Troy Roberts NuJive. Very good show; he plays sax but there was also a guitarist, keyboard, and bass. It was a nice little venue called the Arts Garage; it's sponsored by donations and state funding, and it's BYOB (food, wine, beer, anything).

I worked on my Liszt piece and got through page 3 of 4; I have learned it and written in my fingering, but still have to smooth it out. I also began a new Chopin Prelude - specifically 28.7. It's short so I thought it would be a good interlude before my next challenge, since this Liszt will take me over a month. I began to try to memorize the Bach Prelude in C, figuring it would be a good piece to memorize and I've played it so much I'm halfway there already anyhow.

I also downloaded the MuseScore files for Nothing Else Matters and for Numb....I might just tackle a rock ballad next, to give my wife a little break from the classical music she isn't familiar with.

Only my scales have been suffering from all these projects. frown
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/29/18 08:25 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
This weekend I saw a jazz show at a small local venue - maybe you know of him, Bach_ing...he's from Perth. Troy Roberts NuJive. Very good show; he plays sax but there was also a guitarist, keyboard, and bass. It was a nice little venue called the Arts Garage; it's sponsored by donations and state funding, and it's BYOB (food, wine, beer, anything).

I worked on my Liszt piece and got through page 3 of 4; I have learned it and written in my fingering, but still have to smooth it out. I also began a new Chopin Prelude - specifically 28.7. It's short so I thought it would be a good interlude before my next challenge, since this Liszt will take me over a month. I began to try to memorize the Bach Prelude in C, figuring it would be a good piece to memorize and I've played it so much I'm halfway there already anyhow.

I also downloaded the MuseScore files for Nothing Else Matters and for Numb....I might just tackle a rock ballad next, to give my wife a little break from the classical music she isn't familiar with.

Only my scales have been suffering from all these projects. frown



Hi cmb. No I have not heard of Troy. But I am "the other side of the island" smile

As for Chopin 28/7, that is such a sweet little piece. I think it was the first prelude I learned back when I was taking lessons, after I'd been playing for about two years or so. I reviewed it again recently and enjoyed the fact that the motions were ingrained in my muscle memory and I recovered it quite quickly. Watch out for bar 12, the five note chord in the right hand and good luck with that one. I have to spread it somewhat, play the A with the thumb as an ornament so to speak then move quickly up to a four note chord. I am a petite lady. Perhaps you have bigger hands and longer fingers (most would, lol).

I am beginning to work my way through tte Jane Magrath book of early/intermediate pieces and some of the books I bought at the big 2nd hand sale a couple of weeks ago. Well, I should say 3rd & 4th hand I suppose....think about it wink )
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/29/18 02:15 PM
Well I guess it is a rather sizable island. I had a friend from Perth also; we met in Atlanta years ago and I believe he's back there now. We haven't spoke in years though.

That chord to which you are referring is a tough one - took a few minutes to get the fingering. I'm hitting the A# and C# with the R thumb but it is a little uncomfortable. The simultaneous chord in the L hand also took a little work. The nice thing is that the piece is short enough that with a little practice over a few days I can play it and with a few more days / weeks it should actually sound decent.

I'm happy to be on my third Chopin prelude though; I've tackled the low lying fruit and next one will by be tougher I suppose.

Is this the Jane Magrath book you got? Looks interesting.
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/30/18 08:53 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Well I guess it is a rather sizable island. I had a friend from Perth also; we met in Atlanta years ago and I believe he's back there now. We haven't spoke in years though.

That chord to which you are referring is a tough one - took a few minutes to get the fingering. I'm hitting the A# and C# with the R thumb but it is a little uncomfortable. The simultaneous chord in the L hand also took a little work. The nice thing is that the piece is short enough that with a little practice over a few days I can play it and with a few more days / weeks it should actually sound decent.

I'm happy to be on my third Chopin prelude though; I've tackled the low lying fruit and next one will by be tougher I suppose.

Is this the Jane Magrath book you got? Looks interesting.


No, this one. Classics Alive Book 1 the orange one. The one you linked is "fast and sparkling" according to the blurb. I don't do fast and sparkling.
https://www.amazon.com/Classics-Ali...;keywords=Classics+alive+by+Jane+Magrath


Someone on another thread suggested playing the A# and C# together with the thumb. I tried it and my thumb isn't long enough and I just don't have the stretch.
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/30/18 09:14 AM
Oh and re "sizeable island", most people don't realise the vastness of this place till they've been here and been through the centre. Perth to Sydney is the equivalent of Los Angeles to New York, or for Europeans I always say London to Moscow. And the Red Centre is a whole other world. Where time seems to warp and the light plays tricks on your eyes with distances. Just flat red dust as far as the eye can see under a massive vivid blue upturned bowl of sky. You only need to go once. It's unforgettable.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Pen Pal Thread - 01/31/18 02:55 AM
Not much different than last week. I'll continue with the following. I spent more time on the first two, which are memorized at this point. I may work on the 3rd a bit more this week.

  • Minuet in G Minor, BWV 842 - Bach
  • Sweet Sorrow - Burgmüller
  • When Rivers Flowed on Mars - Telfer


Also continuing to practice Nuvole Bianche and Sonatina in G Major (for recital). I didn't look at much for the 40 piece challenge with the exception of a piece from the latest Pianist magazine - Écossaise in E Flat (WoO 86).
Posted By: dobro Re: Pen Pal Thread - 02/03/18 03:30 AM
One of those days where practice was horrible. It all seems to feel overwhelming BUT, I’m much better than I was when starting 8 months ago.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 02/03/18 10:18 AM
We all have those days, but when you look at the big picture, it's nice to see how far you've come over time. Throw that day in the trash, and let's move onto the next one!
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 02/03/18 02:11 PM
Yes we do! You are not alone Carolinakeys. I had a ghastly day at work today with a woman breaking down sobbing to deal with. I was left emotionally drained. After dinner and a few hours' rest I tried some practice, playing was a bit woeful in places, but I felt at least I made it to the keys and had a go. I would like a little part time retired person's job just packing widgets on my own in a room it doesnt even have to have windows, in fact the less people I see and interact with the better. I am a recluse and when I have confrontation it really affects my playing and everything else. :'(
Posted By: dobro Re: Pen Pal Thread - 02/06/18 12:44 AM
Thanks for the replies. I’ve put that session in the rear view and had some measurable progress in the days since. Small steps but still progress. It makes up for the bad ones. Happy playing. Mb
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 02/07/18 03:01 AM
I had a nice lesson today. I began taking lessons at a local university, just about a mile away (biking distance), with a graduate student in piano. They have an active music department. The teacher is really excellent, he's teaching me a lot about phrasing. On the Liszt consolation, for instance, he's teaching me to allow the notes to drift and die out at the end of the phrase (not sure I'm using proper terminology or explaining this correctly), and to gradually rise to the climax of the section.

I'm still working on that Liszt piece, and I began a waltz for the waltz recital. It's at a much lower level; I only have a few weeks to learn it and hopefully can make it work in this period of time. I choose an unknown piece for this purpose, as everyone else is doing the Chopin / romantic / classical waltz's. This one is called The Last Waltz, by Jo Yeong - Wook. It was featured in a dark movie called Oldboy, a Korean film (which I have not seen).

If interested, here's a nice version.



Ah, so much to learn, so little time....
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 02/23/18 03:29 PM
It's been a interesting week here. I have been playing a lot of piano, and I am trying to tackle some contemporary songs (for my wife's sake). I downloaded the sheet for the song Time, by the Alan Parsons Project, and am working on modifying it to a solo piano version. As I'm finishing the Liszt Consolation (Db) and Milonga, and began the Chopin Prelude (28.6), Time will be my month of March song. Months ago I worked on another APP song, Sirius/Eye In The Sky... I never quite realize that as a fan of theirs until I began playing piano.

I hope to polish the Liszt and the Milonga, for the next few recitals; polishing isn't something I'm good at or have the patience for, but these pieces are worth keeping imo, and my latest teacher is a polisher. This is a skill I haven't been exposed to before but I'm working on it and it enables me to take the piece to a higher level, sounding that much more beautiful, so I'm thankful for this.

After Time, or at the same time, I'll be returning to The Girl With The Flaxen Hair, for the Debussy recital. This is going to take some work. By the time I complete all these projects, the spring should be over (and hopefully my wife won't have left me!).

Of course the big news is that I just live a few miles away from the school shooting. I know some people at that high school and all were significantly affected by the shooting. Fortunately, I don't know any of the deceased victims. My daughter was getting texts and communicating back and forth with one of the students who was hiding under a desk while sending her messages. His teacher was killed right in front of him. He was featured on the CNN Town Hall forum. Obviously, he was dramatically affected as was my teenage daughter. If anything good comes of this, it will be that the level of activism in the community has been increased and I am very proud of the teenagers for how are handling the aftermath.

Keep coloring with those keys!
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/04/18 04:21 PM
I enjoyed the waltz, thank you cmb13. It reminded me of something I am not sure why or what. The music from the French film Amelie came to mind.

A difficult week or two for me. Stress and anxiety and erratic sleep and even more erratic practice.

I have decided to ditch my job and probably fully retire. Ahead of the time I'd planned but the work is more arduous now, a change of manager, a very unpleasant telephone call. I no longer enjoy it, it involves a lot of walking and my feet are becoming arthrtic and my lovely supportive manager I have known for years has been ousted. I don't need this in my life. So this was my last weekend and it was a tough one. Goodbye and good riddance to that.

I have planned and organised a trip to England in May. A conference I wish to attend, a visit to the historic old walled city of York in the north as I have never been and always wanted to, then south to see my sisters for a few days. I might pop some music in my suitcase, just in case I encounter a grand piano in a quiet room somewhere along the way. Wouldn't that be fun?

After that, come July there might be a little bit of less taxing work now and again for another company in the same industry, but really I shall be focussing on my piano, my garden, and clearing out and renovating an old garden studio.

At the piano, though I have not been practising pieces quite so much, I have kept up scales/arps/chords, Hanon (now on # 6), sight reading and Faber instruction. Also playing some smushy love songs from old movies with the string accompaniment on my Roland digital late at night which I have found relaxing and comforting. I do still walk for 20mins each morning and I'm gradually getting back into yoga/meditation as this can only help my posture and focus at the piano.

And yes if you are aware of the timing of this post, I am still wide awake at 3.30 a.m. and browsing this on my iPad as the small print gradually tires me to sleep.

Hope everyone is playing well and cmb13 I can only wish your community love and healing.
Posted By: pianopi Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/04/18 05:11 PM
Bach_ingMaddie, your description of Australia reminds me of the Cook exploration, and that I am never quite sure why Australia was not described as the "Great Southern Continent" Cook was so eager to find. Maybe I misread things? Am I wrong? Did they describe Australia as that when they first discovered it? Describing Australia as a continent only came later, didn't it?

I'll have to get my Cook book out again.

I love Magrath piano literature. Very interesting and educational choices of pieces and what seems like very rigorous editing in terms of fingering and descriptions of how to play certain parts. Also a great introduction into pieces by composers you might not be familiar with. I am working through level 8 and 10 masterwork classics. I also have ABRSM grade 8 for the same reasons I have the Magrath books.

Worked on octave scales yesterday, going through Hanon's 24 octave scale exercises. Not very fast, and slightly achy to do, but aiming towards helping my Maple Leaf Rag be less stiff.

Working on Allemande from Bach French Suite in G, mainly on trills and getting a little more expression. I don't want to turn it into a Romantic-style version of itself because I think it that takes away from the purity of note-sound (each note, to me, in Bach is jewel-like and too much expression is getting too far away from the point of it, I think). But just enough expression to express the importance of certain passages etc. Takes a lot of brain-power to work it all out so it's very slow work.

Reading Reinventing Bach by Paul Elie, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, have Ursula Le Guin waiting to be read and am working through Basics of Keyboard Theory level 5 by Julie Johnson.

Really love watching virtual walks through Herculaneum and Pompeii on youtube while jogging on the spot (don't want to get too far away from the piano, you know!), and re-enjoying the Time Team archaeological digs. Thinking about ancient Rome while listening to Bach is really quite lovely. (Gosh, what a nerd!)

Put together an Adirondack chair which hasn't fallen apart yet, and worked on a portrait which refuses to get finished!
Posted By: Bach_ingMaddie Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/04/18 06:11 PM
I have no idea pianopi, I am not Australian and have very little real interest in its detailed history, just the basics. I came here for the climate and a more open, relaxed lifestyle. I found the Australian workplace, on the whole, a lot more brutal than the English one of the '80s that I left behind. I cannot comment on how the UK workplace is now, probably as driven and uncompromising as here.

I also like Jane Magrath's books. I bought one recently and am working through that, some Bach Minuets to start. She has graded the book by difficulty so am following her layout. Can't say I share your enthusiasm for the fingering.

I used to love watching Time Team when it was on TV here. I like Tony Robinson and loved all the various eccentricities of the different diggers. I went to Pompeii years ago. Seeing all those people petrified in time, a loving couple clasped together, a man just sitting, the horror on his face, was quite chilling.

Is the prtrait one of Dorian Gray by any chance? smile
Posted By: pianopi Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/04/18 06:32 PM
You know, I could never get through to the end of Dorian Gray (I suppose it's a bit like the portrait!)- probably didn't like the characters, and the writing was a bit too pretentious, perhaps, so I actually have no idea what happens at the end ... I will have to put that book behind the Le Guin, and the Cook book, on my stack of books to read.

For me, I love sitting in the sun reading about the history of the land I'm in, smelling the dust, hearing the native birds etc.

The Time Team is so delightfully droll! And it's also great to see the various parts of the UK in high detail (I am also an expat).

I saw a Pompeii exhibit in Germany at one time (I haven't been to Pompeii myself), and felt the same way about the petrified people. I am so used to seeing modern sculptures that look just like that, that it took some time to get used to the idea that they were once actual people. It certainly makes an imprint on one's mind.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/04/18 07:09 PM
Maddie,

Sounds like you're on your way to simplifying your life....retirement is good, I personally can't wait. I have too many hobbies and not enough time. I hope the stress level goes way down now. Toxic workplaces can take their toll.

I abandoned that waltz after going all in on the Milonga. I spent a couple hours recording it yesterday; I have a take that's good but not perfect, but it'll do. I unfortunately have not kept up with my scales, but dabbled in double thirds from Hanon this week, as I've come across them in two pieces on which I'm working (Lizst and Debussy). I guess I'm educating myself by need, as issues arise, which is not ideal or standard, but it's working for me, and let's face it, I'm never going to be a concert pianist anyway.

Last summer, we visited London; it was the best trip I've ever taken. I didn't even get out to the countryside as intended, but I really would love to see Bath, Bristol, York, and Northern England one day.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/04/18 07:15 PM
Pianopi, in which part of the world did you end up? I would think it would be hard to leave the UK. I too like to read, but there's only so much time, and piano is taking up a lot of it. That, exercise, family and work. Love almost all works by Dickens, but did not care for Bronte's Wuthering Heights; I just don't get what there was to love about it. That's about all I know about British Literature, at least of the Victorian Era.
Posted By: pianopi Re: Pen Pal Thread - 03/06/18 04:59 PM
I am in the US, and really enjoy this series: https://loa.org/books. I enjoy wandering around the library until I find one of the Library of America editions I haven't read. I have discovered so many really wonderful authors, and have taken a real liking to American literature. I also really enjoy Dickens, cmb13.

Bach_ingMaddie, I agree the fingering in the Magrath looks a little unusual at first glance, but after trying my own fingering (which I tend to do a lot) and coming back to the Magrath suggestions, I am actually finding them quite sensible.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 05/30/18 04:45 PM
Just thought I'd update this thread a little. It was a great weekend; I had the opportunity to host my niece and her fiance for the memorial day weekend. Unfortunately, very little piano time, but we did begin a 2000 piece puzzle that remains only half completed. It's notable that 2000 piece puzzles seem more than twice as hard a 1000 piece puzzles, the most I'd previously tackled. I did play La fIlle aux chevaux de lin for them, and the Liszt consolation, and the Adagio, my most current pieces.

I have recorded La Fille a few times for the Debussy recital, and I have a good take but not perfect. I'm deciding whether to submit it r try again. We'll see. It really took a long time to learn and to play well, but now it's memorized and I'm playing it without the sheet which is nice, a new accomplishment for me.

I recently began the Gymnopedie 1, by Satie, and to my surprise I was able to learn it in 2-3 days. It's really not that difficult, and I don't have it up to speed, but at least I can get through it. I guess my playing is progressing. It's nice and slow, and to my surprise, my wife really liked it. She usually favors rock/pop, thus the surprise.

Has anyone come across Lisitza's Millennial Suite by Stephen Limbaugh? Just listened to it..it's pretty good but hopefully his politics won't dominate his music (seems he shares philosophy with his cousin Rush).

Finally, my Tonal Harmony just arrived.....time to browse!
Posted By: NobleHouse Re: Pen Pal Thread - 05/30/18 07:51 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Just thought I'd update this thread a little. It was a great weekend; I had the opportunity to host my niece and her fiance for the memorial day weekend. Unfortunately, very little piano time, but we did begin a 2000 piece puzzle that remains only half completed. It's notable that 2000 piece puzzles seem more than twice as hard a 1000 piece puzzles, the most I'd previously tackled. I did play La fIlle aux chevaux de lin for them, and the Liszt consolation, and the Adagio, my most current pieces.

I have recorded La Fille a few times for the Debussy recital, and I have a good take but not perfect. I'm deciding whether to submit it r try again. We'll see. It really took a long time to learn and to play well, but now it's memorized and I'm playing it without the sheet which is nice, a new accomplishment for me.

I recently began the Gymnopedie 1, by Satie, and to my surprise I was able to learn it in 2-3 days. It's really not that difficult, and I don't have it up to speed, but at least I can get through it. I guess my playing is progressing. It's nice and slow, and to my surprise, my wife really liked it. She usually favors rock/pop, thus the surprise.

Has anyone come across Lisitza's Millennial Suite by Stephen Limbaugh? Just listened to it..it's pretty good but hopefully his politics won't dominate his music (seems he shares philosophy with his cousin Rush).

Finally, my Tonal Harmony just arrived.....time to browse!



Sounds like you had a very nice weekend! It is nice that you were able to play your most current pieces for them. I bet they enjoyed them.

I just listened to Valentina play the Millennial Suite by Stehen Limbaugh. I enjoyed the music, and agree that Valentina can turn almost anything to gold! The composers website is strange, but is interesting if you look through it. His video The Fox is actually very interesting. As for sharing politics with his 2nd cousin, who really cares. Musicians have historically incorporated their politics/thoughts into their music. The important thing is IF the music is good grin
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 03:40 PM
As the endless debate thread has grown, I thought it would be nice for this one to reestablish dominance over that one - with nice, happy, non controversial issues. What are you all up to? Post up!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 03:43 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
As the endless debate thread has grown, I thought it would be nice for this one to reestablish dominance over that one - with nice, happy, non controversial issues. What are you all up to? Post up!

Heehee! I just reminded you of this thread, didn't I? Fess up! 😀
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 03:54 PM
I took the day off. Started off with a little piano practice prior to an 8:30 lesson. Working on the first 12 measures of Chopin's Funeral March. Struggling a little with articulation of the grace notes--otherwise satisfied with the slow progress.

Teacher was generally pleased as well--with some admonitions to open the piece a little softer and loosen the wrist a bit in the right hand. When properly executed--it smoothes it out very well. The grace notes are easier to hit in time and with proper accent.

Loose right wrist is the theme of the day. The ascending arpeggios in Fur Elise were another focus area. again the fluidity and evenness improved as long as conscious effort is maintained. Hopefully this becomes second nature at some point.

Overall my teacher is pleased with my progress. She feels the softer wristed approach will result in a jump in ability once ingrained.

Now I'm getting ready to play some casual golf!
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 04:07 PM
I've never even seen this thread. Nice smile
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 04:14 PM
I have been looking at AnthemScore lately. Has anybody here tried it?
I'm wondering how much of a 'useful' sheet one might get from a piano solo with this software?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
I have been looking at AnthemScore lately. Has anybody here tried it?
I'm wondering how much of a 'useful' sheet one might get from a piano solo with this software?

Try it and let us know! I've seen some things like this, but the resulting score usually requires heavy editing since people are imprecise and rubato gets mangled smile However, this says it uses AI techniques, so maybe it tries to infer what was on the original score from a person's attempt to play that score.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 05:20 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
I've never even seen this thread. Nice smile

It's a Zombie thread, back from the dead!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 05:22 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
As the endless debate thread has grown, I thought it would be nice for this one to reestablish dominance over that one - with nice, happy, non controversial issues. What are you all up to? Post up!

Heehee! I just reminded you of this thread, didn't I? Fess up! 😀

100% 🔆
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 05:25 PM
Originally Posted by Antihero
I took the day off. Started off with a little piano practice prior to an 8:30 lesson. Working on the first 12 measures of Chopin's Funeral March. Struggling a little with articulation of the grace notes--otherwise satisfied with the slow progress.

Teacher was generally pleased as well--with some admonitions to open the piece a little softer and loosen the wrist a bit in the right hand. When properly executed--it smoothes it out very well. The grace notes are easier to hit in time and with proper accent.

Loose right wrist is the theme of the day. The ascending arpeggios in Fur Elise were another focus area. again the fluidity and evenness improved as long as conscious effort is maintained. Hopefully this becomes second nature at some point.

Overall my teacher is pleased with my progress. She feels the softer wristed approach will result in a jump in ability once ingrained.

Now I'm getting ready to play some casual golf!

I took some time off this week also; I felt a little burned out. I'm working on some Bach Inventions, and finishing the Chopin Nocturne in E min. Loose wrists rule....they really help with speed. Unfortunately, I have to get the accuracy first, then I can loosen up for speed.

I was hoping to have the Nocturne ready for the upcoming recital, but it may have to wait until the next one. I'm not sure it's recording ready. It seems that there is a big gap between done and done-done. lol
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 05:36 PM
Right now I'm listening to some old Fleetwood Mac....pre Stevie / Lindsay....including A Fool No More and Oh Well, from Then Play On. Anyone ever listen to these classics?
Posted By: QuasiUnaFantasia Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 07:52 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
I was hoping to have the Nocturne ready for the upcoming recital, but it may have to wait until the next one. I'm not sure it's recording ready. It seems that there is a big gap between done and done-done. lol


I'm in a similar situation; my chosen piece is definitely the most difficult I have ever been so close to getting ready, and I really, really want to record it, but there's less than a week left, and it still ain't there yet. The weekend will bring some much needed time for practising, but I'm cutting it awfully close.

In other news, I will soon light some incense, and meditate for half an hour while listening to relaxing new age meditation music with binaural beats (theta waves, if anyone is curious).

By the way, nice thread this one. It must have gone into hibernation right about the time I joined, so I didn't know about it.
Posted By: enw10 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 07:53 PM
Hi, guys!

I love Fleetwood Mac smile My parents used to listen to them so their music makes me really nostalgic. Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel, Bread...

I have no piano lessons for the next two weeks because my teacher has a new grandbaby that she's going to see. So, that's exciting smile

And... I got tickets to Les Miserables in January. I've never seen it, so I'm REALLY looking forward to going! I've been playing "I Dreamed a Dream" over and over in anticipation, hahaha.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 08:22 PM
enw, I'm listening to really old Fleetwood Mac, before the Lindsay Buckingham / Stevie Nicks days....deep cuts. Love it. And Rumors, with the two above, was one of the top 10 rock albums of all time.

I have seen Les Mis years ago, but only recently saw the BBC / PBS miniseries. Great show. I bought the book, it's on deck!

Glad you like the thread, Quasi!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 08:26 PM
Originally Posted by enw10
And... I got tickets to Les Miserables in January. I've never seen it, so I'm REALLY looking forward to going! I've been playing "I Dreamed a Dream" over and over in anticipation, hahaha.

After you see the real theater production, you might want to catch the 2012 movie version where they have real Hollywood actors that can sing a tiny bit (meaning they might have sung in the shower or sung karaoke before laugh ) actually singing lead roles. No voice-overs, and my understanding is they didn't do any autotuning! Of course it is very rough singing but this lends this film version verismo, which was probably what the director wanted. Anyways, I have a complete weakness for Anne Hathaway, so there's that!

Anne Hathaway's rendition of I Dreamed a Dream in the 2012 movie can always make me cut up a bit: 😿



Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 08:51 PM
Yes, I do too, but didn't love the shaved head, missing teeth look as much. She made an intense cat woman though, and really, who can turn off The Devil Wears Prada?
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 09:09 PM
Much as I like Fleetwood Mac and Les Miserables, I preferred to give myself some goosebumps with Faust:



My life would be so much poorer without Gounod, Bizet, Lehar & Co. smile
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 09:53 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Right now I'm listening to some old Fleetwood Mac....pre Stevie / Lindsay....including A Fool No More and Oh Well, from Then Play On. Anyone ever listen to these classics?


Other than The Chain and a handful of other songs-I
much prefer their blues era tracks. In fact the only album I really listen to is "The Original Fleetwood Mac."

Some of the best British blues ever played imo.
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Antihero
I took the day off. Started off with a little piano practice prior to an 8:30 lesson. Working on the first 12 measures of Chopin's Funeral March. Struggling a little with articulation of the grace notes--otherwise satisfied with the slow progress.

Teacher was generally pleased as well--with some admonitions to open the piece a little softer and loosen the wrist a bit in the right hand. When properly executed--it smoothes it out very well. The grace notes are easier to hit in time and with proper accent.

Loose right wrist is the theme of the day. The ascending arpeggios in Fur Elise were another focus area. again the fluidity and evenness improved as long as conscious effort is maintained. Hopefully this becomes second nature at some point.

Overall my teacher is pleased with my progress. She feels the softer wristed approach will result in a jump in ability once ingrained.

Now I'm getting ready to play some casual golf!

I took some time off this week also; I felt a little burned out. I'm working on some Bach Inventions, and finishing the Chopin Nocturne in E min. Loose wrists rule....they really help with speed. Unfortunately, I have to get the accuracy first, then I can loosen up for speed.

I was hoping to have the Nocturne ready for the upcoming recital, but it may have to wait until the next one. I'm not sure it's recording ready. It seems that there is a big gap between done and done-done. lol


Beutiful piece. Remarkable how much of Chopin's oeuvre is----poetic. I (briefly) toyed with the idea of submitting something ---but not ready to suffer the slings and arrows quite yet wink.

Loose wrist is a work in progress. Subconsciously the more anticipated difficulty--the greater the tension. Not so different from a golf swing.
Posted By: enw10 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 10:14 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

After you see the real theater production, you might want to catch the 2012 movie version where they have real Hollywood actors that can sing a tiny bit (meaning they might have sung in the shower or sung karaoke before laugh ) actually singing lead roles. No voice-overs, and my understanding is they didn't do any autotuning! Of course it is very rough singing but this lends this film version verismo, which was probably what the director wanted. Anyways, I have a complete weakness for Anne Hathaway, so there's that!



Yeah! I saw the movie was on Netflix. I'll definitely catch it afterward. I saw Phantom last year and watched the movie after, and I was really happy that I saw it in the theater first. I knew the basic story, but the theater is magical, and I love all the elements of surprise! And even though I have a complete weakness for Gerard Butler, his singing voice was less than impressive.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 10:14 PM
Originally Posted by Antihero
Originally Posted by cmb13
Right now I'm listening to some old Fleetwood Mac....pre Stevie / Lindsay....including A Fool No More and Oh Well, from Then Play On. Anyone ever listen to these classics?


Other than The Chain and a handful of other songs-I
much prefer their blues era tracks. In fact the only album I really listen to is "The Original Fleetwood Mac."

Some of the best British blues ever played imo.

We recently had people over for a bday celebration, and ran a 1969 music trivia quiz. Sounds like you probably would have done well on the quiz. The winner got a copy of Abbey Road - on vinyl smile.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 10:33 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
Much as I like Fleetwood Mac and Les Miserables, I preferred to give myself some goosebumps with Faust:



My life would be so much poorer without Gounod, Bizet, Lehar & Co. smile

I’ve yet to embrace opera. I can appreciate it, but it’s just not my style. It took me a while to learn to love the music we play here, yet now I do. I guess it’s one genre at a time!
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 10:39 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Antihero
Originally Posted by cmb13
Right now I'm listening to some old Fleetwood Mac....pre Stevie / Lindsay....including A Fool No More and Oh Well, from Then Play On. Anyone ever listen to these classics?


Other than The Chain and a handful of other songs-I
much prefer their blues era tracks. In fact the only album I really listen to is "The Original Fleetwood Mac."

Some of the best British blues ever played imo.

We recently had people over for a bday celebration, and ran a 1969 music trivia quiz. Sounds like you probably would have done well on the quiz. The winner got a copy of Abbey Road - on vinyl smile.


Slightly jealous---Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album and it's not even close!

I used to be not bad at music trivia.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 10:52 PM
Originally Posted by Antihero


Slightly jealous---Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album and it's not even close!

I used to be not bad at music trivia.

Did you ever catch Classics Albums Live? They tour and play Abbey Road, and other albums, note for note. They’re fantastic!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 11:13 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
Much as I like Fleetwood Mac and Les Miserables, I preferred to give myself some goosebumps with Faust:


Do you like concert operas? I have a fundamental objection to operas that aren't staged. That is not how the composer intended for the performance. It might as well be an Oratorio instead of an opera.

Originally Posted by Jytte
My life would be so much poorer without Gounod, Bizet, Lehar & Co. smile

Agreed in the case of Bizet. I'm an opera superfan and a patron member of the NY Met. thumb

I actually came to piano because of opera. In November 2017, I was shopping for opera Blu-ray's and came across a Casio keyboard on the landing page of Amazon.com. On an impulse, I bought a keyboard that afternoon (a Roland FP30 and not that first Casio). And that's how I got into piano. I can blame it all on shopping for opera discs.
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/08/19 11:24 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Antihero


Slightly jealous---Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album and it's not even close!

I used to be not bad at music trivia.

Did you ever catch Classics Albums Live? They tour and play Abbey Road, and other albums, note for note. They’re fantastic!


I have not---But sounds intriguing
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 12:06 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Jytte
Much as I like Fleetwood Mac and Les Miserables, I preferred to give myself some goosebumps with Faust:



My life would be so much poorer without Gounod, Bizet, Lehar & Co. smile

I’ve yet to embrace opera. I can appreciate it, but it’s just not my style. It took me a while to learn to love the music we play here, yet now I do. I guess it’s one genre at a time!


I'm in the same boat regarding opera.

Never disliked classical---just never listened to enough to to fully appreciate it. Listened to a limited selection for years---until I stumbled across Idagio. Now I can't get enough.

The mainstream music apps don't do any justice to classical. Idagio really makes it readily accessible.

I've dabbled a bit in opera but have yet to fully embrace it.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 12:53 AM
Music Trivia - 1969 - This is for AntiHero, although if anyone else would like to give it a shot, go ahead!

1. What 1996 movie featured Neil Diamond’s 1996 hit that reached 22 on Billboards Top Hits? A.
Beautiful Girls

a. Bonus – What Drew Barrymore movie was it also in? A.
Fever Pitch

2. Which Billboard #99 song of 1969 was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs? A.
Hooked on a Feeling

3. What song, recorded in the Let It Be sessions, did the Beatles play in their last live performance? A.
Don’t Let Me Down

a. Bonus – Location –
Rooftop of Apple Music Studios

b. Bonus 2 – B side of what single?
Get Back

4. Which band, on top of cmb13's skip list, had 3 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1969? A.
CCR

a. Bonus – Name the songs –
Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Green River

5. What Rolling Stones #4 hit was released as a single in 1969, but was not on the 1969 album Let It Bleed?
Honky Tonk Woman

a. Bonus – What country version of that song was on the album?
Country Honk

6. Complete the title to Johnny Cash’s hit “A Boy Named…..” A.
Sue

7. What song taken to #12 in September 1969, was later covered by Linda Ronstadt, where it reached 10 in 1980? A.
Hurts So Bad

8. Which of these musicians was not in Blind Faith? Ginger Baker, Spencer Davis, Steve Winwood, Ric Crech, Eric Clapton A.
Spencer Davis

9. Which Willie Dixon hit was successfully covered previously, but made most popular by Led Zeppelin in 1969? A.
You Shook Me

a. Bonus – Who covered it previously?
Muddy Waters, Jeff Beck

10. What masterpiece from The Who was tacked on to Tommy as a bit of a lark?
Pinball Wizard

a. Bonus – What 1700s Baroque artist did Pete Townsend use as an influence in chord structure.
Samual Barber Adagio for Strings

11. Which band released their third studio album, Then Play On, in 1969 before adding key players and changing from a British blues based rock band to classic rock band, then going to release one of the top 10 selling albums of all time just 8 year later. A
Fleetwood Mac

a. Bonus - What singer did Mic Fleetwood play with prior to forming Fleetwood Mac? Rod Stewart.
b. Bonus 2 - Which marching band paired up with Fleetwood Mac to play on the 1979 hit Tusk?
USC Trojans

12. Which poet, turned musician, was arrested for drunk driving and driving without a license in February, 1969. In March, he was again arrested, for indecent exposure and attempting to start a riot at his own concert in Miami.
Jim Morrison

13. Which performer, immortalized when he lit his guitar on fire, was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as "Performer of The Year in 1969"?
Jimi Hendrix

14. Which band released their self-titled 1969 album, went on to win the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1970? A.
CSN

15. Who won Record of The Year in 1969?
Simon and Garfunkle

a. Bonus – What was the song?
Mrs Robinson

Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 01:16 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Music Trivia - 1969 - This is for AntiHero, although if anyone else would like to give it a shot, go ahead!

1. What 1996 movie featured Neil Diamond’s 1996 hit that reached 22 on Billboards Top Hits? A.
Beautiful Girls

a. Bonus – What Drew Barrymore movie was it also in? A.
Fever Pitch

2. Which Billboard #99 song of 1969 was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs? A.
Hooked on a Feeling

3. What song, recorded in the Let It Be sessions, did the Beatles play in their last live performance? A.
Don’t Let Me Down

a. Bonus – Location –
Rooftop of Apple Music Studios

b. Bonus 2 – B side of what single?
Get Back

4. Which band, on top of cmb13's skip list, had 3 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1969? A.
CCR

a. Bonus – Name the songs –
Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Green River

5. What Rolling Stones #4 hit was released as a single in 1969, but was not on the 1969 album Let It Bleed?
Honky Tonk Woman

a. Bonus – What country version of that song was on the album?
Country Honk

6. Complete the title to Johnny Cash’s hit “A Boy Named…..” A.
Sue

7. What song taken to #12 in September 1969, was later covered by Linda Ronstadt, where it reached 10 in 1980? A.
Hurts So Bad

8. Which of these musicians was not in Blind Faith? Ginger Baker, Spencer Davis, Steve Winwood, Ric Crech, Eric Clapton A.
Spencer Davis

9. Which Willie Dixon hit was successfully covered previously, but made most popular by Led Zeppelin in 1969? A.
You Shook Me

a. Bonus – Who covered it previously?
Muddy Waters, Jeff Beck

10. What masterpiece from The Who was tacked on to Tommy as a bit of a lark?
Pinball Wizard

a. Bonus – What 1700s Baroque artist did Pete Townsend use as an influence in chord structure.
Samual Barber Adagio for Strings

11. Which band released their third studio album, Then Play On, in 1969 before adding key players and changing from a British blues based rock band to classic rock band, then going to release one of the top 10 selling albums of all time just 8 year later. A
Fleetwood Mac

a. Bonus - What singer did Mic Fleetwood play with prior to forming Fleetwood Mac? Rod Stewart.
b. Bonus 2 - Which marching band paired up with Fleetwood Mac to play on the 1979 hit Tusk?
USC Trojans

12. Which poet, turned musician, was arrested for drunk driving and driving without a license in February, 1969. In March, he was again arrested, for indecent exposure and attempting to start a riot at his own concert in Miami.
Jim Morrison

13. Which performer, immortalized when he lit his guitar on fire, was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as "Performer of The Year in 1969"?
Jimi Hendrix

14. Which band released their self-titled 1969 album, went on to win the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1970? A.
CSN

15. Who won Record of The Year in 1969?
Simon and Garfunkle

a. Bonus – What was the song?
Mrs Robinson




Love the format!

But I must admit---The Abbey Road vinyl album wouldn't have left with me after all.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 02:09 AM
Yes, it was pretty tough....too tough imo. My wife helped make the questions; I thought we should tame it. Nobody got more than 5-6 answers. Fun trivia, though.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 02:23 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Yes, it was pretty tough....too tough imo. My wife helped make the questions; I thought we should tame it. Nobody got more than 5-6 answers. Fun trivia, though.

I think contests like this should have prizes for the lowest scores too. Like if there was a prize for zero answers, I'd be competitive! 😎
Posted By: enw10 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 02:51 AM
I got 2!!!

I knew "A Boy Named Sue" only because I had an obsession with the Goo Goo Dolls in high school and their best album was "A Boy Named Goo", obvious from the Johnny Cash song. I also knew the Fleetwood Mac one... only because we just talked about it on the last page.

So, really, I deserve 0.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 02:58 AM
Originally Posted by enw10
So, really, I deserve 0.

Wow, no way! There seems to be competition for my zero prize! 😡
Posted By: Animisha Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 06:45 AM
I had three. A decade later would have been easier for me. smile And I know Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well well enough, but I prefer their music on Rumours.

Originally Posted by cmb13
Since there's been talk of "pen pals" here and in the Pianist Corner, I thought I would give this thread a try. My thinking is that we all like to talk about what we are doing and playing, to get encouragement, share ideas, and share enthusiasm with others with similar interests. Why not do this here in the forum, where we all came to find these shared values, rather than privately.

I imagine this thread would be similar to the What did you play today thread but rather than just listing a few things, opening it up for discussion and conversation.

These last ten days I have been very much occupied by first my laptop and then my pc crashing. With the very good help of my very good friend, I got the laptop working again, and I bought a new pc.
Pianowise, the new feedback teacher at PCA keeps me happily busy with technique to work on. This week, she focuses on my key attack especially in the first note of a phrase. The sound that I make is a little too abrupt.
It's November. In Sweden it is a month that is lovely for its pure dreariness.

I hope more will tell a bit!
Posted By: KevinM Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 07:49 AM
Like Tyrone I got a big fat 0 for your quiz Craig.

I am currently in Sydney (my hosts are old uni friends and are away for a wedding this weekend in Queensland). I have had an up and down experience with my father, but perhaps a little better than expected. He did let me listen to him play a simple Mozart piece that I recognised. He played with remarkable sensitivity.

Yesterday I had two hours with a Yamaha baby grand. I spent about half of it actually practising, and the other half just playing. I really enjoyed being back playing the piano. It took a little time to adjust to the baby grand, though I don’t think I ever quite adjusted fully. It was quite expressive except in the higher registers where it felt a little thin.

Like you Animisha, Rumours was the album that did it for me. It is one of those exceptional albums where every track is something special.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 11:52 AM
Aw....it was unreasonably difficult.

Fwiw, Rumours was my favorite album of theirs, and I grew up on the new Fleetwood Mac. However, we posted questions relating to the old version of the band on this quiz as it was a 50-years ago themed party and the music trivia reflected that.

Kevin, sound like you had a great time with that baby grand. The high registers probably had some short strings, a limitation of the size.

Animisha, I also had some computer problems; I finally retired my 2009 iMac and spent a while transferring data and old emails to my newer MacBook (2017). I experimented with some external drives for backup and transfer, and bought a beautiful external monitor. I think this one will be my primary computer for a while. The hard drive is smaller, so I archived my music burned from hundreds of cd's and older photos onto an external drive, and left current info not the MacBook. The music is no longer necessary, really, as I can listen to anything on iTunes now anyway.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 11:55 AM
Originally Posted by enw10
I got 2!!!

I knew "A Boy Named Sue" only because I had an obsession with the Goo Goo Dolls in high school and their best album was "A Boy Named Goo", obvious from the Johnny Cash song. I also knew the Fleetwood Mac one... only because we just talked about it on the last page.

So, really, I deserve 0.

No, you deserve 2.
Chance favors the prepared. You, by chance knew 2. And you're not from the generation represented in this quiz, if you grew up with the Goo Goo Dolls, who I was listening to in my 20s. So not bad. Now go listen to Abbey Road, CSN, Led Zeppelin I, Pinball Wizard, and some Stones. smile
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 01:34 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Jytte
Much as I like Fleetwood Mac and Les Miserables, I preferred to give myself some goosebumps with Faust:


Do you like concert operas? I have a fundamental objection to operas that aren't staged. That is not how the composer intended for the performance. It might as well be an Oratorio instead of an opera.

Originally Posted by Jytte
My life would be so much poorer without Gounod, Bizet, Lehar & Co. smile

Agreed in the case of Bizet. I'm an opera superfan and a patron member of the NY Met. thumb

I actually came to piano because of opera. In November 2017, I was shopping for opera Blu-ray's and came across a Casio keyboard on the landing page of Amazon.com. On an impulse, I bought a keyboard that afternoon (a Roland FP30 and not that first Casio). And that's how I got into piano. I can blame it all on shopping for opera discs.


If I like a piece of music/singing, it matters not a bit to me how or where it's performed (as long as it's good). I was exposed to all this at a very young age. My first opera, at the age around 8 or 9 or so, was Mozart's 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail', and while the spectacle, the costumes etc captured me, I was thinking 'wow! these people can really SING', and it was the music that stayed with me. Ironically, I don't think I've ever seen or heard that one since. I was taken to 'Swan Lake' in that same period, and that music has been my trusty companion ever since, have the video, have the CD, listen to it all the time. While I like to watch the video at times, it is very beautiful, it's the music that counts. If music speaks to me, gives me goosebumbs, that is what counts for me. Put me in front of a video of Placido Domingo singing Vesti la Giubba, and I'm in heaven, I could care less if he's 'on stage' wearing a costume and clown makeup, or not.

Does it matter 'what the composer intended'? I don't think so. It matters very much how it makes you feel. The music I really like, is music that conveys the feeling that the composer intended, even if you're blindfolded. Think 1812 Overture... no imaging necessary, the music is enough, it tells the story.

There's plenty of other music I like as well, plenty of music in the goosebump category. It could be pop, rock, folk, country (but not jazz please), but it's gotta speak to me.

I came to the piano in a similar way smile I just love singing, but I cannot sing (voice broke), so the piano is my outlet, even as bad as I am at present, I still feel the piano sings for me.
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 01:37 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
Yes, it was pretty tough....too tough imo. My wife helped make the questions; I thought we should tame it. Nobody got more than 5-6 answers. Fun trivia, though.

I think contests like this should have prizes for the lowest scores too. Like if there was a prize for zero answers, I'd be competitive! 😎

You beat me LOL, I got 1 because of Johnny Cash (I'm a fan).
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
If I like a piece of music/singing, it matters not a bit to me how or where it's performed (as long as it's good). I was exposed to all this at a very young age. My first opera, at the age around 8 or 9 or so, was Mozart's 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail', and while the spectacle, the costumes etc captured me, I was thinking 'wow! these people can really SING', and it was the music that stayed with me. Ironically, I don't think I've ever seen or heard that one since. I was taken to 'Swan Lake' in that same period, and that music has been my trusty companion ever since, have the video, have the CD, listen to it all the time. While I like to watch the video at times, it is very beautiful, it's the music that counts. If music speaks to me, gives me goosebumbs, that is what counts for me. Put me in front of a video of Placido Domingo singing Vesti la Giubba, and I'm in heaven, I could care less if he's 'on stage' wearing a costume and clown makeup, or not.

Does it matter 'what the composer intended'? I don't think so. It matters very much how it makes you feel. The music I really like, is music that conveys the feeling that the composer intended, even if you're blindfolded. Think 1812 Overture... no imaging necessary, the music is enough, it tells the story.

There's plenty of other music I like as well, plenty of music in the goosebump category. It could be pop, rock, folk, country (but not jazz please), but it's gotta speak to me.

I came to the piano in a similar way smile I just love singing, but I cannot sing (voice broke), so the piano is my outlet, even as bad as I am at present, I still feel the piano sings for me

I totally get it and why you like opera. Yet... in the bigger picture, I'm just don't feel comfortable with it, just like I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable with someone telling me he likes paintings because he likes the way the textures of the different brush strokes feel under his fingers. While such a hypothetical art appreciator certainly has the right to enjoy his art any way he wants and to appreciate it for qualities others don't commonly appreciate or perhaps, even notice, the way he appreciates it is not the way that that art form was intended to be experienced.

Similarly, for opera, you have full right to listen to opera, on the radio, in your shower, whenever and however you wish. But without the staging was not the reason the Florentine Camerata invented opera in the sixteenth century - a work of drama and not just song. They had songs before - beautiful songs. But opera was to carry action and drama... and does. But of course, one can just view it as music and song too. So don't let my words be a criticism of you. I am not intending it to be this way at all, and I am only trilll to find another fan even if you appreciate it in your own way.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 02:14 PM
In other news, I just picked up tickets for two South Florida shows:

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine Nov 19
Volodymyr Sirenko, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Program to include:
+Maksym Berezovsky/Symphony in C Major (circa 1773)
+Rachmaninoff/Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
+Tchaikovsky/Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (“Winter Daydreams”)

and

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 19
Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

Program to include:
+ Walton/Portsmouth Point Overture
+ Liszt/Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
+ Rachmaninoff/Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Very Excited!
Posted By: ebonykawai Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 02:40 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
Yes, it was pretty tough....too tough imo. My wife helped make the questions; I thought we should tame it. Nobody got more than 5-6 answers. Fun trivia, though.

I think contests like this should have prizes for the lowest scores too. Like if there was a prize for zero answers, I'd be competitive! 😎


I'd be tops in that, LOL!!
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 08:02 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
In other news, I just picked up tickets for two South Florida shows:

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine Nov 19
Volodymyr Sirenko, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Program to include:
+Maksym Berezovsky/Symphony in C Major (circa 1773)
+Rachmaninoff/Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
+Tchaikovsky/Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (“Winter Daydreams”)

and

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 19
Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

Program to include:
+ Walton/Portsmouth Point Overture
+ Liszt/Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
+ Rachmaninoff/Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Very Excited!


Congratulations.

The January 19 show in particular sounds great. I am a big fan of the Rachmaninoff concerto.

I live in the Tampa Bay area---I'm debating taking my 6 year old to some of the upcoming Beethoven events.

She is also a fan of classical and takes lessons from the same teacher I do.
Posted By: enw10 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 08:22 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by enw10
I got 2!!!

I knew "A Boy Named Sue" only because I had an obsession with the Goo Goo Dolls in high school and their best album was "A Boy Named Goo", obvious from the Johnny Cash song. I also knew the Fleetwood Mac one... only because we just talked about it on the last page.

So, really, I deserve 0.

No, you deserve 2.
Chance favors the prepared. You, by chance knew 2. And you're not from the generation represented in this quiz, if you grew up with the Goo Goo Dolls, who I was listening to in my 20s. So not bad. Now go listen to Abbey Road, CSN, Led Zeppelin I, Pinball Wizard, and some Stones. smile


Thank you, cmb! You always say the nicest things smile

And you're right, this music was a little before my time wink
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 09:35 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Jytte
If I like a piece of music/singing, it matters not a bit to me how or where it's performed (as long as it's good). I was exposed to all this at a very young age. My first opera, at the age around 8 or 9 or so, was Mozart's 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail', and while the spectacle, the costumes etc captured me, I was thinking 'wow! these people can really SING', and it was the music that stayed with me. Ironically, I don't think I've ever seen or heard that one since. I was taken to 'Swan Lake' in that same period, and that music has been my trusty companion ever since, have the video, have the CD, listen to it all the time. While I like to watch the video at times, it is very beautiful, it's the music that counts. If music speaks to me, gives me goosebumbs, that is what counts for me. Put me in front of a video of Placido Domingo singing Vesti la Giubba, and I'm in heaven, I could care less if he's 'on stage' wearing a costume and clown makeup, or not.

Does it matter 'what the composer intended'? I don't think so. It matters very much how it makes you feel. The music I really like, is music that conveys the feeling that the composer intended, even if you're blindfolded. Think 1812 Overture... no imaging necessary, the music is enough, it tells the story.

There's plenty of other music I like as well, plenty of music in the goosebump category. It could be pop, rock, folk, country (but not jazz please), but it's gotta speak to me.

I came to the piano in a similar way smile I just love singing, but I cannot sing (voice broke), so the piano is my outlet, even as bad as I am at present, I still feel the piano sings for me

I totally get it and why you like opera. Yet... in the bigger picture, I'm just don't feel comfortable with it, just like I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable with someone telling me he likes paintings because he likes the way the textures of the different brush strokes feel under his fingers. While such a hypothetical art appreciator certainly has the right to enjoy his art any way he wants and to appreciate it for qualities others don't commonly appreciate or perhaps, even notice, the way he appreciates it is not the way that that art form was intended to be experienced.

Similarly, for opera, you have full right to listen to opera, on the radio, in your shower, whenever and however you wish. But without the staging was not the reason the Florentine Camerata invented opera in the sixteenth century - a work of drama and not just song. They had songs before - beautiful songs. But opera was to carry action and drama... and does. But of course, one can just view it as music and song too. So don't let my words be a criticism of you. I am not intending it to be this way at all, and I am only trilll to find another fan even if you appreciate it in your own way.


I understand where you're coming from. No, I don't take it as criticism, we each appreciate music in our own way, and for our own reasons. As long as we enjoy it, everything is good smile For some reason it's getting rarer to see people listening to opera without wrinkling their noses and/or rolling their eyes.

PS: I also enjoy (some) film music without the movie shocked
Posted By: NobleHouse Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/09/19 11:25 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
In other news, I just picked up tickets for two South Florida shows:

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine Nov 19
Volodymyr Sirenko, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Program to include:
+Maksym Berezovsky/Symphony in C Major (circa 1773)
+Rachmaninoff/Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
+Tchaikovsky/Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (“Winter Daydreams”)

and

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 19
Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

Program to include:
+ Walton/Portsmouth Point Overture
+ Liszt/Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
+ Rachmaninoff/Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Very Excited!


Wow, two excellent pianists! Sounds like they will be outstanding!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/10/19 03:14 AM
Originally Posted by Antihero
Originally Posted by cmb13
In other news, I just picked up tickets for two South Florida shows:

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine Nov 19
Volodymyr Sirenko, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Program to include:
+Maksym Berezovsky/Symphony in C Major (circa 1773)
+Rachmaninoff/Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
+Tchaikovsky/Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (“Winter Daydreams”)

and

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 19
Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

Program to include:
+ Walton/Portsmouth Point Overture
+ Liszt/Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
+ Rachmaninoff/Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Very Excited!


Congratulations.

The January 19 show in particular sounds great. I am a big fan of the Rachmaninoff concerto.

I live in the Tampa Bay area---I'm debating taking my 6 year old to some of the upcoming Beethoven events.

She is also a fan of classical and takes lessons from the same teacher I do.


That's amazing your 6 year old is into tihs music. You honestly don't want know what my kids listen to. Hint...my son has played travel basketball for many years. The music ain't pretty.

I'll bet Tampa gets some nice shows also. We don't get what they get in NY, though, that's for sure. And Europe blows us all away!
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/10/19 03:17 AM
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by cmb13
In other news, I just picked up tickets for two South Florida shows:

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine Nov 19
Volodymyr Sirenko, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Program to include:
+Maksym Berezovsky/Symphony in C Major (circa 1773)
+Rachmaninoff/Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
+Tchaikovsky/Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (“Winter Daydreams”)

and

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 19
Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

Program to include:
+ Walton/Portsmouth Point Overture
+ Liszt/Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
+ Rachmaninoff/Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Very Excited!


Wow, two excellent pianists! Sounds like they will be outstanding!

Yes, I'm psyched. Unfortunately, Jean Thibaudet is coming also, but I can't make it. He also played a recital literally blocks from where I was staying in London this summer, and I missed that too...I had family events I couldn't pull away from.
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/10/19 12:10 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Antihero
Originally Posted by cmb13
In other news, I just picked up tickets for two South Florida shows:

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine Nov 19
Volodymyr Sirenko, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano

Program to include:
+Maksym Berezovsky/Symphony in C Major (circa 1773)
+Rachmaninoff/Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
+Tchaikovsky/Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (“Winter Daydreams”)

and

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Jan 19
Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

Program to include:
+ Walton/Portsmouth Point Overture
+ Liszt/Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125
+ Rachmaninoff/Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Very Excited!


Congratulations.

The January 19 show in particular sounds great. I am a big fan of the Rachmaninoff concerto.

I live in the Tampa Bay area---I'm debating taking my 6 year old to some of the upcoming Beethoven events.

She is also a fan of classical and takes lessons from the same teacher I do.


That's amazing your 6 year old is into tihs music. You honestly don't want know what my kids listen to. Hint...my son has played travel basketball for many years. The music ain't pretty.

I'll bet Tampa gets some nice shows also. We don't get what they get in NY, though, that's for sure. And Europe blows us all away!



Haha. I understand about the music most kids listen to.

Our house has always had an unusually eclectic mix of musical genres playing. My daughter doesn't find anything unusual about moving between Mozart/Beethoven/Kidz Bop/other popular music.

During her first week of first grade the kids were tasked to complete and share things about themselves. One of the questions was "What's your favorite song?"

When we went to visit the school all of the responses were posted in the classroom. Old Town Road was the response for half of the classs. There were a few Disney tunes and a smattering of other pop songs. Hers was Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. She was absolutely perplexed that none of her classmates knew the music.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/10/19 12:52 PM
Originally Posted by Antihero
When we went to visit the school all of the responses were posted in the classroom. Old Town Road was the response for half of the classs.

Had to look that one up! Never even heard of "Lil Nas X." Probably should have asked the daughter. smile

Originally Posted by Antihero
There were a few Disney tunes and a smattering of other pop songs. Hers was Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. She was absolutely perplexed that none of her classmates knew the music.

Enjoy that feeling while it lasts. Based on my personal experience, it doesn't last that long after a child becomes school-aged!
Posted By: Antihero Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/10/19 01:04 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Antihero
When we went to visit the school all of the responses were posted in the classroom. Old Town Road was the response for half of the classs.

Had to look that one up! Never even heard of "Lil Nas X." Probably should have asked the daughter. smile

Originally Posted by Antihero
There were a few Disney tunes and a smattering of other pop songs. Hers was Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata. She was absolutely perplexed that none of her classmates knew the music.

Enjoy that feeling while it lasts. Based on my personal experience, it doesn't last that long after a child becomes school-aged!


Personally I could do without Lil Nas X in my life---but kids seem to be utterly enamoured with that song.

I hope you're wrong---but think it is OK for kids to drift away from clasical music and hopefully return to it later in life. I think exposure is important.

I'm just glad that she enjoys music--and learning to play it. My hope is that it will be a lifelong friend for her.
Posted By: enw10 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/10/19 04:11 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Had to look that one up! Never even heard of "Lil Nas X." Probably should have asked the daughter. smile


I have no idea who/what that is either... and I'm pretty ok with that, hahaha. I kept up with popular music through college, then I moved abroad and spent 10 years listening to 80's Brazilian rock. I'm back in the US now, but my oldest is 11 and still into Disney and musicals.
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 08:29 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Jytte
I have been looking at AnthemScore lately. Has anybody here tried it?
I'm wondering how much of a 'useful' sheet one might get from a piano solo with this software?

Try it and let us know! I've seen some things like this, but the resulting score usually requires heavy editing since people are imprecise and rubato gets mangled smile However, this says it uses AI techniques, so maybe it tries to infer what was on the original score from a person's attempt to play that score.


So I did. I just downloaded the trial version of AnthemScore... (I haven't used MuseScore in years, and AnthemScore never obviously)

I decided to make a test run with something familiar, so made an mp3 (with VLC) of a video of Tzvi Erez playing Bach's Prelude in C.
I opened that mp3 file in AnthemScore, chose the first 20 seconds of it, and ran it. You have various options of editing in Anthem, like moving the measures, changing notevalues etc, but in this case I did nothing at all. I just saved it as .xml file, then opened it up in MuseScore. I did nothing to it in there either.
This is the result:

(the top half is the actual sheet music, the bottom half what AnthemScore transcribed)

[Linked Image]

Well, actually not too shabby. All the notes are there. Obviously the note values are off, but you should be able to fix that in AnthemScore easily (from what I've read). You also get the misc dynamics of the player displayed as 'longer notes' and what not. And, the software considers any and all notes played from middle C to be 'treble'.

It would take some editing to bring this back to where it's supposed to be, but not too bad really.

I was thinking of getting this as a 'last resort' when you find music you absolutely want to play, and no way whatsoever to get at the sheet (and DO want a sheet to play from). I have done this the 'old fashioned way' before, by ear, one note at a time, maybe by sight (if video) for some of the bass, entering into Musescore etc etc. It is a LOT of work. Having the 'ground work' done by Anthem, beats the old method by a mile. I think...
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 08:45 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
So I did. I just downloaded the trial version of AnthemScore... (I haven't used MuseScore in years, and AnthemScore never obviously)

I decided to make a test run with something familiar, so made an mp3 (with VLC) of a video of Tzvi Erez playing Bach's Prelude in C.
I opened that mp3 file in AnthemScore, chose the first 20 seconds of it, and ran it. You have various options of editing in Anthem, like moving the measures, changing notevalues etc, but in this case I did nothing at all. I just saved it as .xml file, then opened it up in MuseScore. I did nothing to it in there either.
This is the result:

(the top half is the actual sheet music, the bottom half what AnthemScore transcribed)

[Linked Image]

Well, actually not too shabby. All the notes are there. Obviously the note values are off, but you should be able to fix that in AnthemScore easily (from what I've read). You also get the misc dynamics of the player displayed as 'longer notes' and what not. And, the software considers any and all notes played from middle C to be 'treble'.

It would take some editing to bring this back to where it's supposed to be, but not too bad really.

I was thinking of getting this as a 'last resort' when you find music you absolutely want to play, and no way whatsoever to get at the sheet (and DO want a sheet to play from). I have done this the 'old fashioned way' before, by ear, one note at a time, maybe by sight (if video) for some of the bass, entering into Musescore etc etc. It is a LOT of work. Having the 'ground work' done by Anthem, beats the old method by a mile. I think...

I was just complaining what a hard time I have to listen to a piece and determine the meter. Glad to see AI can't do it either smile

Better than I thought it would be though. Thanks for the software review. I'll have to try it myself!
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 08:56 PM
Well, the human ear has the advantage of being attached to our brain. When we listen to a piece, we know that 'this note isn't longer, he just plays it that way', 'the measure starts here not there', and we can generally (for simpler pieces) hear what is treble and what is bass, or deduct it. Software does not have this advantage, and I knew these limitations up front, but it is a help in just 'getting all the notes lined up' before you get to the editing part.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 09:06 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
Well, the human ear has the advantage of being attached to our brain. When we listen to a piece, we know that 'this note isn't longer, he just plays it that way', 'the measure starts here not there', and we can generally (for simpler pieces) hear what is treble and what is bass, or deduct it. Software does not have this advantage, and I knew these limitations up front, but it is a help in just 'getting all the notes lined up' before you get to the editing part.

Oh, I realize what you are saying, but the idea it was using AI techniques still set unrealistic expectations! ☺️
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 09:26 PM
I use muse score and enter in music manually. It is difficult and time consuming, especially when there are multiple voices on one line. This option seems better but of course there are likely copyright issues.
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 10:24 PM
Well, meanwhile... I put it to work on something a bit more complex (not by much).

So this is the 'audio view' (whatever that is called):

[Linked Image]

And that is a faithful rendition of what is being played. When it 'transcribes' that to a note sheet on the other hand, you get garbage LOL Really useless.

So manually into Musescore as before is still the only way, BUT this 'audio representation' of the music from Anthem can make that job a little easier actually, so this test wasn't an entire waste.
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 10:26 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
I use muse score and enter in music manually. It is difficult and time consuming, especially when there are multiple voices on one line. This option seems better but of course there are likely copyright issues.

Copyright issues?
If I hear a piece of music played, and 'copy the playing' as in playing it (faithfully) by ear, or make myself a sheet of it and learn i that way... how is that an issue?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 10:27 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
Well, meanwhile... I put it to work on something a bit more complex (not by much).

So this is the 'audio view' (whatever that is called):

[Linked Image]

And that is a faithful rendition of what is being played. When it 'transcribes' that to a note sheet on the other hand, you get garbage LOL Really useless.

So manually into Musescore as before is still the only way, BUT this 'audio representation' of the music from Anthem can make that job a little easier actually, so this test wasn't an entire waste.

Now that's something I hadn't expected. I really do need to download AnthemScore to play with smile
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 10:34 PM
Tyrone, yes, this view of the music is pretty nifty actually. But there isn't much 'to play with' really I found.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 11:07 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
Originally Posted by cmb13
I use muse score and enter in music manually. It is difficult and time consuming, especially when there are multiple voices on one line. This option seems better but of course there are likely copyright issues.

Copyright issues?
If I hear a piece of music played, and 'copy the playing' as in playing it (faithfully) by ear, or make myself a sheet of it and learn i that way... how is that an issue?

Misplaced modifier - my fault. I meant that Anthem Score taking music off a recording and transcribing it may have copyright issues. Not that this is an issue for me, but I noticed that you can not import scores from sheet music into muse score that are under copyright, whereas you can if they’re not.

It looks like Anthem Score can give a nice head start. After a few years of messing with muse score, I finally decided it wasn’t with my time and I now just buy the score if I’m planning on learning something. A $20 book of, for instance Tchaikovsky’s Seasons, that I have already spent 100 hours on, seems worth it to me. I used to download from imslp or find a score in muse score, or work on making it fit my specifications in terms of accents, notes etc but it just takes too long.

I will probably still use muse score in the future, but to a more limited degree.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/12/19 11:09 PM
Originally Posted by cmb13
It looks like Anthem Score can give a nice head start. After a few years of messing with muse score, I finally decided it wasn’t with my time and I now just buy the score if I’m planning on learning something. A $20 book of, for instance Tchaikovsky’s Seasons, that I have already spent 100 hours on, seems worth it to me. I used to download from imslp or find a score in muse score, or work on making it fit my specifications in terms of accents, notes etc but it just takes too long.

That's why I don't use IMSLP. High opportunity cost. Time I could instead spend on this forum 🤣🤣🤣
Posted By: Jytte Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/13/19 08:33 AM
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Jytte
Originally Posted by cmb13
I use muse score and enter in music manually. It is difficult and time consuming, especially when there are multiple voices on one line. This option seems better but of course there are likely copyright issues.

Copyright issues?
If I hear a piece of music played, and 'copy the playing' as in playing it (faithfully) by ear, or make myself a sheet of it and learn i that way... how is that an issue?

Misplaced modifier - my fault. I meant that Anthem Score taking music off a recording and transcribing it may have copyright issues. Not that this is an issue for me, but I noticed that you can not import scores from sheet music into muse score that are under copyright, whereas you can if they’re not.

It looks like Anthem Score can give a nice head start. After a few years of messing with muse score, I finally decided it wasn’t with my time and I now just buy the score if I’m planning on learning something. A $20 book of, for instance Tchaikovsky’s Seasons, that I have already spent 100 hours on, seems worth it to me. I used to download from imslp or find a score in muse score, or work on making it fit my specifications in terms of accents, notes etc but it just takes too long.

I will probably still use muse score in the future, but to a more limited degree.


If a sheet is available, it's always preferable, quite apart from the time consuming effort. Even I do resent if I have to buy a whole book for the one melody I'm after.
But, when I decide to use Musescore, it's because a sheet cannot be found in any way.
If I was a 'pianist', I'd just play the melody by ear, and my left hand would just find suitable arpeggios to go along magically, but I'm not LOL.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Pen Pal Thread - 11/13/19 11:53 AM
Not yet.......but soon!
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