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Originally Posted by Palmpirate
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Casinitaly
It is s good feeling when you don’t feel prepared for a lesson but it still goes well. That is exactly why I never cancel a lesson: even when I don’t feel prepared or focused; there are still things to learn... and it seems to force me to be accountable


Exactly. My teacher can always make it worthwhile.
I only cancel or reschedule if I'm sick or out of town. I just confess if I haven't practiced sufficiently.

I too always find lessons worthwhile. It’s important to have a good relationship with your teacher so it’s not a problem to ‘fess up to bad practice weeks. There’s always something to work on. I laugh if sometimes he finds something the first minute I start playing and tell him he’s earned his money already...... I complained in working on the Listzt Villa e’este Opening chord runs that I wished my 3rd and 4 the finishers were shorter because I just couldn’t play the left hand as smoothly as I liked at speed - it should be so easy..... (!) he has been round the side of the piano and just listening but said he had wondered what on earth I meant so he to come around to take a look when immediately he saw what the problem was. Flatten your hand - you have too much tension ! What a difference it was immediately so much easier... I had been brought up to keep my fingers relatively rounded even if elevated a little to do fast finger work. It take s a real pianist to understand the finer points of playing and so worth while finding your ‘guru’ with whom you can be comfortable enough to mention the littelist things about what you are trying to do. Wish I could have had such guidance in my youth but am so enjoying the discoveries now!


I know exactly what you mean! I tell my teacher "I've been struggling with this all week- help!" - and in a flash, he has the solution!

Just one of these was a slight shifting of my wrist that allowed me to play an octave with a note in the middle. without rotating my wrist, it wasn't possible , and it just didn't occur to me to make that change (at that time). Last week I was looking at a new piece and there was a huge stretch with a note in the middle and I just played around until I found the right position to allow me to play all three notes at the same time. Once you know the trick you wonder why you didn't think of it on your own - but we just (or speaking for myself, anyway ) ... I just don't have the experience to think of these things. That's just one small thing that makes me apprecitate having a teacher - there are so many more!


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Hi All,

I just came back to the forums to sign up for MOYD for 2018. Last year's effort was successful, so I will hopefully duplicate it again this year. I haven't had a lot of time to read the forum; so much so, that I missed my annual piano anniversary post by several weeks; it has been four years now... and I am still at it!

I had my first piano lesson of the year on Wednesday. I did a pretty good job on the pieces I have been working on over the holiday break, that was encouraging. I continue to add pieces to my repertory; handy when I have a piano to play, but no music on hand.

I try to practice on the grand piano available at my church when I can, and I have received compliments from the pre-schoolers and stage hands that come upon my practice there, every now and then. Unfortunately, I was not able to play a Christmas carol for the pre-schoolers as requested by their teachers recently, so I guess I need to add some to my repertory by next season!

Thanks,

Jeff


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My AOTW was hearing from my teacher that my Beethoven made three weeks progress in one week! She was really impressed with how it had come together this week. That always feels good to hear! All of my exam pieces are now in the polishing stage.

I talked to her about the 40 piece challenge, but she had a new twist on it for me try. She wants to me do everything from a grade 1 piece through a grade 7. The idea would be that the grade 1-2 would take a day, grade 3-4 a couple of days, and then things would slow down until a grade 7 might take a couple of weeks. Then I start over at grade 1. In the mean time, I am continuing on my long term pieces, which are all exam choices for ABRSM 8. I added Chopin Prelude in Db (Raindrop) as my grade seven choice. It has been on my bucket list for a long time! I am excited to finally play it! Now piano is really becoming fun!

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I don't usually post here, but I was so relieved after my gig today - my recoveries were almost as good as they were 4 years ago! And I had people stay to listen for a full hour, instead of just 45 minutes! Maybe I'm finally catching up after 3 years of not getting to practice much. Whew!


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SwissMS, way to go with speed-learning the Beethoven. Not an easy task. Are you taking the 40 pieces challenge pieces from the ABRSM syllabus? I did the 'Raindrop' prelude a short time ago. It's a wonderful piece.

Jotur, congrats on the successful gig. You are back in the saddle.


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SwissMS, I think your teacher's version of the 40 piece challenge is the way the challenge was originally intended. I'll be looking forward to hearing your Raindrop Prelude.


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My achievement this week was playing in my first recital since 1965, without a trainwreck!

I spent time beforehand, reading in the forum on “nerves” in search of helpful advice. I also played my two pieces for my neighbor, who plays very well. I often ask her to listen to me play, but somehow both times that I was explicitly “getting ready for my recital,” I made many many mistakes! I guess I was managing to “rehearse” performance jitters in front of her, even more than rehearsing my playing. She said “You are going to be nervous, so just embrace the nervousness and acknowledge that it’s there, and that you’ll go on ahead anyway.” This turned out to be a good thought for contemplation as I drove to my recital.

This was a very informal recital of 8 or 9 other students plus their family members, tucked into my teacher’s home studio. All but one of the other performers were — let’s just say, half my height! And I’m probably 3x as old as the other adult. I introduced myself by saying, approximately as coached, “hello my name is Name, and I am playing Piece by Composer.” But, since the first performer had also stated that she is 5 years old, when it was my turn I added, “and I am 64 years old”! This got a friendly laugh and that helped put me more at ease as I activated my pre-flight checklist: “book, bench, feet, page, hands, pedal, breathe!”


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Originally Posted by Qwerty53
But, since the first performer had also stated that she is 5 years old, when it was my turn I added, “and I am 64 years old”! This got a friendly laugh and that helped put me more at ease as I activated my pre-flight checklist: “book, bench, feet, page, hands, pedal, breathe!”


Well done! laugh


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Thank you, Cathy! I hope to perform more as a pianist than as a comedian next time! At least it was an encouraging start.


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Originally Posted by Qwerty53
Thank you, Cathy! I hope to perform more as a pianist than as a comedian next time! At least it was an encouraging start.


I resemble that!


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Some positive baby steps this week.
In one of my Chopin pieces I finally got my trills sounding different than the grace notes smile
I've been getting better with my scales and adding in new ones,

Possibly the most interesting, and most rewarding: I am re-visiting Traumerei because it's my big dream piece and although I can play it at home I really have enormous difficulty playing it for anyone. Last week my teacher asked me to address my tempo (he played the way I had played and I understood that over the last few months I had drifted into a really unbalanced pace!) --so I did that over this week and got it to be very steady. Now he's giving me the challenge of finding my base tempo, and then slowing down and speeding up ever-so-slightly to give it a more characteristic flow.
Aside from the challenge of doing this, the simple fact that we were talking about this type of nuance in my playing was something we could not have done six -eight months ago.
On top of that - he asked me to start in different places in the piece, and it was pretty easy to do so - once I was even able to start in the middle of a bar (and if any of you have seen the score of Traumerei you know that is definitely an accomplishment!) smile

So even though I'm not making progress in leaps and bounds at the moment, I am pretty pleased with this series of little steps that all of a sudden have added up to something!


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My AOTW:
Resuming lessons.

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Originally Posted by f3r
My AOTW:
Resuming lessons.


Congratulations! With a new teacher, or former teacher?
Happy resumption, anyway.

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F3r, congrats on taking up lessons again. Yes, tell us if it's a new teacher or resumption of lessons with your previous teacher.

Cas, yes, all those little things do add up, don't they? When I read over your thread just now, and how you're revisiting Traumerei, I was reminded of something my teacher said at my lesson this week. She mentioned a student (actually, it was the mother of a student) wanting to 'pass' a piece that week. My teacher said she never "passes" a student on a piece because you're never done with it. There's always more that can be done. And (speaking from my own experience here) one's teacher always has plenty of suggestions for what more can be done, for additional layers that can be laid on.

My AOTW: My teacher said I was learning pieces much faster these days and finding my way around the keyboard better. I was more than pleased to hear that from her. Progress is often so slow and incremental that it's hard to see the bigger picture. It's good to take a look at that bigger picture now and then!


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Originally Posted by Stubbie
...My AOTW: My teacher said I was learning pieces much faster these days and finding my way around the keyboard better. I was more than pleased to hear that from her. Progress is often so slow and incremental that it's hard to see the bigger picture. It's good to take a look at that bigger picture now and then!


That is a great achievement! The skill of learning a piece efficiently is something that really allows you to advance more quickly. It is definitely still work in progress for me!

I had to miss this month's student workshop due to the crazy weather here, but the good news is I was prepared for the workshop. I made good progress on the piece I was going to play, and was able to get a good recording of it within a couple of takes. It is one of the pieces I will probably play for my exam in November and the one I submitted for the quarterly. So, my AOTW is getting one of my grade 8 pieces to the polished stage. The other two are learned, but still way under tempo. The other achievement was finally "getting it" on a practice technique that my teacher has been trying to get me to do. I asked her what it should feel like when I do it correctly. She said "you should be mentally expended when you are done". The technique is quite tedious, but it works! I took two trouble spots in my Beethoven and applied the technique and then played the section seamlessly. Yay! Now if I can still do it tomorrow...

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Originally Posted by SwissMS
[The technique is quite tedious, but it works! I took two trouble spots in my Beethoven and applied the technique and then played the section seamlessly. Yay! Now if I can still do it tomorrow...

SwissMS, that sounds like a great tool to have in your toolbox! Do you mind saying a bit more about what you did? I wonder if it is like what I have recently been attempting: learning just one measure a day of a piece (by Piazzolla) that is really a challenge for me. (But it is sooooooo beautiful!)

Maybe my achievement of the day is figuring out how to use the Quote function in my reply. I’ll guess I’ll find out when I hit the button...!


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Originally Posted by f3r
My AOTW:
Resuming lessons.

f3r that is a big achievement! I did the same thing last spring. Hope you have found a teacher who challenges and encourages you! What are you playing first?


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Originally Posted by Qwerty53
Originally Posted by SwissMS
[The technique is quite tedious, but it works! I took two trouble spots in my Beethoven and applied the technique and then played the section seamlessly. Yay! Now if I can still do it tomorrow...

SwissMS, that sounds like a great tool to have in your toolbox! Do you mind saying a bit more about what you did? I wonder if it is like what I have recently been attempting: learning just one measure a day of a piece (by Piazzolla) that is really a challenge for me. (But it is sooooooo beautiful!)

Maybe my achievement of the day is figuring out how to use the Quote function in my reply. I’ll guess I’ll find out when I hit the button...!


My teacher calls the technique "second doubling" You play two to four notes starting on the off beat. I am playing a Beethoven sonata(F minor op. 2 #1) which changes the alberti base every four notes, and the Alberti is set against a moving three note figure in the right hand. So to apply the technique I start on the second half of one Alberti and play to the first two notes on the second Alberti. That covers the jump in both hands. I repeat that until the section is easy, then move to the next four notes. Then I string two four note sections together, This starts very slowly and works up to tempo. It takes a lot of concentration, but it is worth it.

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Originally Posted by cefinow

Congratulations! With a new teacher, or former teacher?
Happy resumption, anyway.

Originally Posted by Stubbie

F3r, congrats on taking up lessons again. Yes, tell us if it's a new teacher or resumption of lessons with your previous teacher.


A new one. I'll be staying with her until May/June and then I'll decide if I need to change again. Possibly no ABRSM exams this year, which is kind of a bummer but also not...

I was tempted to accept the challenge of taking Grade 8 by the end of the year (or before summer 2019) because of a teacher I've met who's estimated I could do it. "Luckily", that teacher's expensive.
I've dodged another possible burnout... Or maybe not? You should have seen the reaction when I said how much I used to practice.


My AOTW :
Sitting in front of the piano and practicing. Sounds miserable.
I've started with no enthusiasm and motivation and missed a couple of days. It all changed when I began doing something.
I'm re-working on some Bach and Czerny + some scales. Most of the work I've done is changing fingerings. I'm paying attention on what movements I do and how they make me feel. My left wrist needs some extra care. I'm having some "A-ha!" moments.

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f3r - Ah-ha moments are precious! Enjoy them!

I had a super lesson yesterday, working out trouble spots in the Nocturne I'm learning and some trills in the Waltz.... very positive!

Tonight we had another meeting of the Piano Performance Anxiety Group, and it was great. My ability to recover and/or play through flubs when playing for others is improving! I'm very pleased!


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18 ABF Recitals, Order of the Red Dot
European Piano Parties - Brussels, Lisbon, Lucern, Milan, Malaga, St. Goar
Themed recitals: Grieg and Great American Songbook


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