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I have been struggling with the Lüstig section of Schumann's Volksliedchen for a bit.

I think I've got that sorted, now to try to improve the consistency of the tempo over the whole piece.

Volksliedchen on Vimeo, 1m19s

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Have been working on a few Bach chorales arranged for piano. The first 2 are “Sheep May Safely Grace” & “Sleepers Awake”. The last is the final chorale from the Matthew Passion.

Bach was religious and wrote over 200 Cantatas it’s hard to avoid playing them. Besides the preludes & fugues, partitas, you hear great harmonies in his religious music.

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I started working on a new and old piece. Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata. I think it was 11 or 12 years ago when I attempted the first movement. Then I studied second snd third movements separately. Needless to say that it is a beautiful piece. I was surprised that somethings got a lot easier and made much more sense overall structure of the piece. I did not feel like I have made some progress until now. It made me feel very happy.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Have been working on a few Bach chorales arranged for piano. The first 2 are “Sheep May Safely Grace” & “Sleepers Awake”. The last is the final chorale from the Matthew Passion.
Polina Osetinskaya has an excellent version on YouTube of 'Sheep May Safely Graze". Top notch!

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I bought a new piano yesterday and waiting for it to be delivered within the next 2 hours!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. Sans exams.

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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
I bought a new piano yesterday and waiting for it to be delivered within the next 2 hours!
Congrats! What kind of piano? Please post a picture so we can be jealous.

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Hi Farmgirl,

I have been working on Pathetique 2nd mvmt for a few months now. Making progress in the usual fits and starts. A few trouble spots in the triplet sections, but starting to come together in recent weeks. Another piece I will probably be polishing forever!


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

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Jim, nice to hear from you. I totally agree with you that this is a life time process. Especially Beethoven’s sonatas!

Which score are you using? When I tried the second movement, I was surprised how they look different. I had Henle and Schirhmer(I don’t know the spelling). Henle’s looked like upside down so difficult to read, so used Schirmer’s. This time around, after I bring the 1st movement to performance level, I would try the Henle score.

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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Jim, nice to hear from you. I totally agree with you that this is a life time process. Especially Beethoven’s sonatas!

Which score are you using? When I tried the second movement, I was surprised how they look different........

I'm using the Henle. And yeah, the stems do get a little confusing at times. But I do love the way Henle books are bound so they will lay flat.

Nice to see you back on the board btw, and sorry to hear about your Mom.

Jim


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

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Speaking of Beethoven, I've just received my Henle edition of the 32 Variations WoO 80. This year one of my goals is to get more comfortable playing faster, and I think the very short variations might serve as mini etudes to help on that front. I've been practicing the first three variations and bits of others. I've never really played pieces with arpeggios starting on different notes for both hands before, so number three will take quite a bit of practice before I can play it with confidence. While my left hand can play anything in the set okay with maybe the exception of the variations in thirds (the figurations are simple, but there are some awkward ones I might want to finger differently), my right hand is going to have a lot of problems, especially with ones like 18, since my right hand isn't comfortable with rapid scale patterns, especially in succession.

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It's been another week where work commitments have really taken priority over the piano. One of the things I do when I don't really have time/energy to work on pieces is to go to my sheet music collection and see where I am with respect to pieces I really want to play but am not ready for. So I tried out Ravel's Sonatine, first movement. To my surprise, I could actually play the opening measures, which I could never do at anything resembling tempo before. That was the most excited I've been at the piano at some time, since Ravel is my favorite composer. I think it'll be a couple years before I'd try to learn an extended piece that demanding in earnest, but it was one of those moments that reinforced that maybe I can do this. Next year I think I'll try to learn my first Ravel pieces other than the Prelude, his Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, and maybe the Pavane.
Other than that I've been working on Philipp's finger independence exercises. I think it's helped with the suppleness of my right hand, working out tensions that are built up and helping out my less developed fingers. My left hand can breeze through them, so I'm mostly working on speed and dynamics with it in preparation for double note trills and tremoli. I dabble in composition, and one work I'd like to do is a set of variations for the left hand, so I have a hobby of sorts in trying to find new figurations that I've never seen before that push at the limits of a single hand.
I'm really overworked right now, but it'll slow down soon. A piece I'm starting to learn is Reynaldo Hahn's "Les Deux Echarpes" from Le Rossignol Eperdu. It's something I looked at in January but wasn't quite ready for, but I think I can learn it in a couple weeks if I can play the middle section nuanced enough.

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This was the first week I've had downtime without being exhausted in a while. I received some new left handed music by Cimirro, which was exciting, since I regard his transcriptions as the most difficult out there, pianistically akin to Sorabji. On the left handed front, I'm learning Blanchet's first two Etudes Pour la Main Gauche, mostly the first, but I've also memorized almost half of the second as a change of pace. These are on the easier end of the left handed repertoire spectrum, since there are no rapid registral shifts that characterize the genre, but Blanchet's writing is like a tongue twister for the fingers--even though they don't challenge on the whole by pure speed or leaps, it's difficult to play them through without errors at tempo. This is part of a plan for me to ramp up my left hand playing. I've memorized a dozen pages or probably more of Godowski's left hand solo Chopin Etudes and often use them as warmups, but other than the tristesse, I can't quite get the sounds I want. So I'm plodding through this set before revisiting Godowski's Waltz-Poems. I try to compose a little, and I want to write a set of left handed variations. And I'm kind of pre-working on a left handed reduction of Ravel's Jeux D'Eaux--I did the first page a couple days ago, and it surprisingly sounded good, although the demands are intense (short 32nd note arpeggios using only fingers 1 and 2 while the weaker fingers play a chord on the beat, for example).

Other than that, I'm working on memorizing Chopin's C# Minor posthumous Nocturne. Everything seems to be in order now--the 35 note run at the end needs a little work, but the section with the sixths is something I can do comfortably now without thinking about fingering. I also can't settle on a tempo for this one. The C minor posthumous one is on the docket, but there's one right handed arpeggio flourish that gives me trouble and a little tension that I'm devoting a little practice to. I think I'll soon make a plan on what order to learn the rest of the nocturnes in.

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Life and piano. We keep coming back. That is my joy. After a thumb injury serious enough that I couldn’t play for 2 weeks…I finally worked my way back and finally got some good recordings [imho] for my Abrsm performance exam. Sign of relief as I had booked the submission date weeks before the injury. Great to start working on Ravel Pavane pour une enfant defuncte, and another piece from the syllabus that I wasn’t confident to submit for the exam.


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I'm a newbie so I'm in awe of the talent and abilities I read about here.

My big accomplishment this week was improving playing Alberti Base in left hand and keeping the melody sounding like the melody in the right. This has taken me hours to do. Determination and will... This is probably insignificant to most but it's a hurdle crossed for me.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
I'm a newbie so I'm in awe of the talent and abilities I read about here.

My big accomplishment this week was improving playing Alberti Base in left hand and keeping the melody sounding like the melody in the right. This has taken me hours to do. Determination and will... This is probably insignificant to most but it's a hurdle crossed for me.

Don't down play your achievements. Playing a musical alberti bass is actually something I don't hear too often in a lot of players. Congrats, and keep it up!

This week, I finally realized that the practice discipline my teacher has been trying to instill in me for a while now has finally become second nature. Rather than just playing from the beginning of a four or five bar section every time I want to redo a line, I'll just instead breakdown and focus on that line instead. It should be common sense, but I still found myself going back to that bad habit and wasting practice time.

I also realized something -- when I play for my teacher after a week of practice, and think I play worse than when I am by myself, I realized that I'm actually listening more critically to what I am playing when I'm performing during my lesson. In reality, my performance is probably the same, but I would brush it off as a minor thing when it is only myself holding myself accountable. I have begun to take that critical listening skill to every single practice session, and I think I impressed her for the first time in two years with my performance of a piece (John Field Nocturne #1, which I just finished this past week). She commented that I made a number of large changes to how I performed the piece, but that all of them were for the better. I attribute it to actually listening to what I'm doing and not just focusing on playing the right notes and rhythm.

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+1 with what ghost note said. We all started somewhere..and for me, it was pretty tough uphill at the beginning, and I had so little confidence.
Now, with many wrong turns, I found what work for me to progress and I love sloooooow practice, and I can loop a ‘quarantined measure/bar’ until it clicks. I even like the metronome after fighting with it for years. We all have our dark moments with the piano before the blue sky comes through. So know the dark parts are just as valid part of the journey. My teacher tends to stretch me, and every piece always teaches me something even at the time, it is like looking down a very dark well. Best compare your own journey over 6 to 8 months..you may be surprised how far you have come. Use this forum as an inspiration and see if it is what you want on your journey. Took me a long time to decide to do the music exams, as I have done enough professional exams to last 3 life times. And the exams are used to build confidence and increase my knowledge…not to collect more grades.


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Thank you for your encouragement. Yes, I repeat the same couple of measures for what feels like a thousand times before it clicks. Maybe I'm not that much different than the average newbie piano adult.

Like you, I've had my share of exams. I attended college, starting at age 39. It took me 10 years to earn a bachelor degree. Unlike younger students I took exams very seriously.

Piano is like other challenges I've encountered throughout my life. I don't give up until I figure it out!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
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Thank you for your encouragement. I've started isolating the measures that need work. It's hard not to start from the beginning every time! Two years ago I didn't read music so I know I've come a ways. I get impatient and want my rate of progress to go faster. This is a bucket list project. No where to go but ahead...full steam ahead!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
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Lautreamont, good for you.
Rabel’s sonatine is one of the pieces that I would like to study in the future. Looking forward to hearing more about your progress.

My AOTW is that my played Chopin’s ballade 3 in a school recital. Although it was terrible with lots of mistakes, I’m happy that I recovered many times and played it through. I now know where I crumbled. There were much more experienced performers there and one of them told me that difficult parts were in great shape but I did not do well for slower and much easier areas. I was happy to hear the comment because that’s where my focused practice time went. More works ahead but at least now I know what I needed to do.

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Congrats on the recital, FarmGirl. The ballade is no mean feat, and it's good that you have the trickier parts down pat so you can focus on making it sing.

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