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For new to piano folks, don’t feel bad starting piano late in your life. Your progress will be visible and you will soon feel so good about yourself and your decision to start piano.

I’m an old timer without much talent. My progress is not visible to humans hahaha while our aging is acutely visible. I’ve been playing the same type of pieces for the last 10 years. My husband sees me cramming for a recital and teases me “You must like suffering. Do you call that a FUN?” Sometimes I don’t know why I do what I do to play the piano. But I like it. So there goes all the logic. Anyway I appreciate life with music no matter what my hubby tells me.

Lautreamont, thank you for your kind words. I am now diligently working on the fix’s from the recital. You are working on lots of pieces! I’m working on Pathetique 1st movement and for fun, Piazzola’s Livertango arranged for piano solo.

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What I love about this thread is how humble everyone is and encouraging. To me that is achievement of the week!

I love reading this post for ideas, as I do listening to the recitals.


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This has been one of those weeks when I've completely reexamined my technique. A couple of weeks ago I was reading through the score of Beethoven's 32 Variations in C Minor, and I practiced a variation in which there was mostly right hand scales in 32nd notes. I just couldn't do it. I've been thinking about scales ever since. It's weird, because I know every scale by heart, and even unusual ones like symmetrical inversions and western approximations of maqamat on certain tonics. Up to a certain speed I can play them fine, so I've neglected them, figuring that I'd one day be able to blaze through them. My kind of baseline speed is faster than it used to be, but it's not exactly fast.

I don't have a teacher (I'd like one, but it isn't feasible right now), so I've spent the last week analyzing my scale playing on my own. I found out that I often "crush" notes together when playing fingers 3 and 4--so they break rhythm and slur and make it impossible to play in a rhythm, because the next few notes have to be faster to continue the rhythm of the "crushed" notes. I also have a couple of issues of changing hand position (loud thumb/weak fourth finger, differences in rhythm, etc.). So I've broken down my scale practice into the simplest possible motions, which I'm playing nonlegato to better listen and more clearly articulate each note. I start by putting my hand in the first position of the scale, and repeating the notes in the first position, playing as fast as I comfortably can with controlled and clear articulation (like CDE, CDE etc.). Once I feel in control of that, I play through to the next hand position (CDEFGAB) and repeat the notes in the new hand position (FGABFGAB etc.) until I feel comfortable and fluid, and go to the next and so on--so in short, get comfortable with one hand position, fluidly play it and the next, get comfortable there, play it and the next, up and down for two octaves. Once I get into a grove I start playing sequences of three hand positions without the repeats, and if I can do that articulated and in rhythm, then pretty much any number of octaves for the scale is doable. I do this in the keys of the pieces I'm learning, and with the Beethoven variation. And then I kind of test it out on Mozart's K545. There's a lot involved in it like rotation, so I don't think I'll consistently hit high speeds the way I'd like for months or longer, but I'm already seeing some benefits--I'm not sure if that is from my drilling or the mental shift in my awareness of scales where I'm now focused on rhythm and clear articulation.

I'm working on Chopin's C# Minor Posthumous Nocturne, and the scale work is helping me out for the end of the piece. I could play it fast before, but not elegantly fast, and now I have more of a sense why. The focus on rhythm and clear articulation of every note has really improved the run at the end, even if I pedal it. It's not perfect, and I'm not entirely consistent on it yet, but it's getting there.

I haven't been working much on the left handed piece, just playing from memory the first page that I've memorized. I'm also kind of working on Chopin's C Minor posthumous Nocturne. I think the piece is doable for me, but I'm kind of stuck on the 32nd note seventh chord arpeggios on the second page. I have never practiced four note arpeggios in the right hand, and I'm getting a case of the flying pinky from fingering (on the descent) that starts with the fourth finger and has a bit of a stretch to the note of the 3rd finger. I noticed that a problem I had with these tension wise is that my hand, descending to a new octave, would tend to extend as if blocking out to play a chord, which caused a lot of tension, so I'm playing these a little slower than I'd like, making sure I don't block out the chords so my hand can remain relaxed and supple. This seems to be helping a lot. It may take a while to get them up to speed, though. So I'm thinking of Op. 15 no. 3 might be something with a more immediate payoff.

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Lautreamont, I recognize so many of the pieces you are mentioning. Mozart K545 for example. I've had to give up on that, I just can't do it, not even close to tempo. One thing I did notice was doing the c-major scale was counter productive with practising the runs in K545, the fingering was similar but not the same and it would just throw me off completely.

You seem generally more disciplined than me with doing scales for example, however I don't know if what you are describing is what is described here but it sounds similar. I've been doing this as part of my practise since I saw that description. I've seen some very small improvement doing these, but my fingers and arms get tired rapidly when playing them as fast as I can, so practise time is limited.

I could never get the runs towards the end of the Chopin C# Minor Nocturne smooth and fast enough.

If your mention of Opus 15 No.3 refers to Schumann's Hasche-Mann, I've been there and failed on that as well, it always remained way below expected tempo, I don't think it is a good piece to use to improve speed.

My teacher has always included stretch pieces as part of my practise program on top of the simpler and what I find less engaging pieces. She knows the type of music I like so the stretch pieces unlike the others have been focussed on the music I enjoy. But I think as I wind up my current stretch pieces, I'm not going to replace them with more of the same. I think until I can sort out my lack of speed, I can only allow for very simple pieces that can be played at speed. I need to sort this. Apologies for hijacking your achievement post, but I recognised so much of what you are playing and it set me off.

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The exercise I'm doing is a little similar to that, but I'm focusing on the exact fingering of the scale. So for C major (fingered 1231234), I focus on the first position, CDE and repeat that until I have it fast and smooth, then play through for the rest of the octave, into the new hand position (on FGAB) and repeat that new position until I get it the way I like it, and so on. So it's a way of reinforcing the playing within each hand position, getting the sound I want, being able to replicate it, and then moving on to the next. It's often the transition between hand positions that messes me up at higher speeds, so this exercise helps me focus on producing really even rhythms and dynamics. Once I feel confident with this rather obsessive exercise, I start playing three hand positions continuously instead of two (so CDE,FGAB,CDE). It's getting smoothly to the third position that's the trickiest for me, so if I can do that smoothly, I can do runs of pretty much any length. But I think it's probably the attention to rhythm and articulation that is most helpful about this, refining my listening to my own scales and giving me a benchmark.

I am familiar with your exercise, and I do it from time to time. My left hand is light years ahead of my right, and that exercise is what helped me in practicing Chopin's 3rd Prelude's left hand, because my thumb was always so loud for it. I'm doing a little 123 exercises right now, 1234, 345, sometimes 12. With my left hand I occasionally practice scales fingered 54321 for two octaves (it's the fastest possible scale fingering for two octaves, because there are only three hand positions, but it only works without contortion for a handful of scales), and unconventional fingerings like playing A major (54321 for ABC#DE then 32 for F#G#) Busoni advocates for in his Klavier-Ubung, which is easier descending than ascending in the LH.

I meant Chopin's Nocturne Op 15 no. 3. It's one of the technically easier ones, so it might be good for me to try out, since everything I've touched lately has been pushing at my current technical limits.

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I played a simplified version of Solace by Scott Joplin. I generally detest simplified versions, but I enjoyed this one.

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I pulled my quarterly recital piece and swapped it for another. This is definitely an AOTW for me because I've never ever had the luxury of choice at recital time before - to actually have two recordings to choose between is a first!

The one I've swapped in (Chopin Waltz) I was recording for the 40 piece challenge, the one I swapped out I submitted on Day 1 and was hoping to get an improved version but didn't. Both are probably around the same in terms of quality - ie I'm willing to put them into the recital but recognise there is plenty of room for improvement.
That's always the case I know, but I mean not just "I know someone else could play this better than me" but also "I know that I could play this better with another couple of weeks of practice". In this case I'm happy to move on from the Chopin, whereas I'm motivated to keep working on the other piece to try to make that progress I know is in reach.


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This week was all about slow and steady progress. My scale work has gotten better with the recent focus, with me consistently getting around the 144 mark in the keys of the things I'm working on (C minor, C# minor, G minor, F minor, with a little C major and B Major practice), but I've been bothered about their sound, which is preventing me from pushing for fast speeds. So for a couple of days I've been working on Josh Wright's exercise of accenting different notes in a scale/passage. I've been doing it with an accent on one finger's note for two octave scales and three octave arpeggios, accenting them in turn with every finger. The results have been almost miraculous. Suddenly my thumb isn't banging and my dynamics are smooth and even. I had been thinking this was a problem that would take me a year to sort out, so I'm kind of amazed that in two days things sound good. I even tested it out on Ravel's Barque for the left hand swift and soft arpeggios, which I could play in time, but in which you could hear the bottom note accented and also the first note of a new hand position. They're so much smoother now. I wish I had tried this out a long time ago.

Other than that, I'm steadily working on pieces. The main ones I'm working on are progressing. The Chopin C# minor posthumous Nocturne is getting under my fingers with more and more control. The middle section of the edition I'm learning is something I didn't like and couldn't get to sound musical, but it's getting better. The G minor op. 15 no. 3 I'm not spending as much time on. I've memorized much of the first page, though, and I read through it yesterday. The other one that I had been working on, the C minor posthumous, I'm just working on the seventh arpeggios on the second page, which cause a flying pinky at tempo--so I'm patiently playing them slowly and semi-detached, then with Josh Wright's shaking method of relieving tension. The descending arpeggio beginning with an F is mostly fine now, but the one starting on a high C is more troublesome--the 54 stretch of C to G#, and then the 43 stretch from G# to F is really tense for me at tempo, so I'm doing a lot of slow practice with a calm hand. There are different fingerings I could do to ease tension, but that would only avoid a problem with seventh chord arpeggios (especially with the fourth finger on black keys). I'm not sure how long it will take me to fix this problem--I'm expecting a couple of months. But there's nothing especially challenging in the rest of the piece other than sorting out polyrhythms, so once I resolve this the piece should be under my fingers in a matter of days.

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I'm finally done with Bach Minuet 116: I managed to play the whole piece in a way I wanted it to be and that feels good. I've spent around 2 month's on that piece. Of course not the only thing I've done but it's been haunting me. Always something that went wrong when I was playing that piece and now it's over. What a relief! :-) ha, ha
Now I'm thinking of waiting to play new pieces and instead focusing on sight reading new things everyday and practice scales, rhythmic, arpeggios, hand independence for a couple of weeks. We'll see

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I can finally play the C-maj fugue from bk 1 of the WTC by memory with proper fingering. Long ways from playing it musically, but I can kind of autopilot from here on in. This took just under two weeks of about 1-2 hrs a day, maybe more. I didn't record my practice time. It did not want to stick in the ol' L2 cache. Not sure how many more fugues I have in me, that was kind of an ordeal. Not even sure why I did this to be honest. Usually the music grabs me and won't let go, like Chopin.

It's ok. I guess I wanted to see what all the fuss is about with this contrapuntal genius hype. I'm sure it will be years before I understand it all, if ever. I think the more I play it the more I like it, so that bodes well. Maybe it was a good decision.

I'm slightly addicted to WTC right now btw.


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I've been focusing on the 3 hardest measures of Chopin's prelude No. 4 in Opus 28, measures 16-18, and it has finally started to click. Feels good to see the hands beginning to move where (and when) they're supposed to.


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After taking up the piano again in retirement, I decided to start taking RCM exams. Today I finished the Level 5 Theory exam, and got 100%! (One day I'll work up the nerve to do the practical exams as well...)

Finally played through the Prelude in C to celebrate.

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Originally Posted by Pianomaly
After taking up the piano again in retirement, I decided to start taking RCM exams. Today I finished the Level 5 Theory exam, and got 100%! (One day I'll work up the nerve to do the practical exams as well...)

Finally played through the Prelude in C to celebrate.
Congrats! Great accomplishment!


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
Originally Posted by Pianomaly
After taking up the piano again in retirement, I decided to start taking RCM exams. Today I finished the Level 5 Theory exam, and got 100%! (One day I'll work up the nerve to do the practical exams as well...)

Finally played through the Prelude in C to celebrate.
Congrats! Great accomplishment!

Indeed thumb impressive !!!

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Great job SunnyKeys!


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Happy or relieved? 🤣

In between exams, my teacher has given me a stretch piece in addition to working on a syllabus piece that I didn’t submit for the exam…the stretch piece is Ravel’s pavane for une enfante defuncte… I was close to telling my teacher -this piece may have to wait…as I was struggling with measures 4 to 6. This long weekend, I just buckled down on a quarantine approach, slow practice, practiced away from the piano, slept on it…and I am happy that I reached the homework goal of measure 11.

It was the last stance, but I kept reminding myself my favorite mantra: what if you can..


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Pianoperformance--good for you! thumb

I don't know how many times I've looked at a piece, or several measures, and said to myself unh-uh, this is a bridge too far. Then I go to work on it and it comes together (most of the time, anyway). smile


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Just signed up for Japan’s amateur pianists concert in August. I don’t have very much time. I will zero in on Chopin Ballade 3. I have a few pieces that I’m doing but they have to wait.

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FarmGirl--wow, just wow! Tell us more about the concert, please.


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The hits for my family keep coming. My Dad died over the weekend, we new it was coming, he was a big big Mozart fan and had the Complete Works CD collection. I can't get into Australia for the funeral and will be watching via a video live feed.

I got to choose the music for the funeral, and it starts with the Adagio movement from the Clarinet Concerto in A Major. In the middle I've been allowed to do a recording and this is where the achievement of the week comes in. I've recorded a piano transcription of Romance from Eine Kleine Nacht Musik. Slightly extended for the funerals requirements https://soundcloud.com/sheffieldkevin/mozart-eine-kleine-nacht-musik-romance-bi

i needed to keep the piece relatively simple so I had a chance to learn it and give it some musicality in time. So the achievement has been getting something this done in a short amount of time.

Then Laudate Dominum from the Requiem to end.

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