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Stubbie - gotta love those teacher compliments... especially from a teacher you have worked with for a long time and know to be sincere. Makes me smile all day long when I get one.

InitK - Agree about Grieg's Arietta... lots of fun and a very pretty little piece.

Following arietta I spent a fun few weeks enjoying another short, easier piece by Jules Massenet, Elegie Op.10 Melodie. It has really interesting harmonic movement and a melodie that plays mostly in the left hand. Massenet wrote mostly opera it seems, but his few solo piano pieces are very nice and relatively underplayed.

This week I start something more challenging, an arrangement of the love duet from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. My teacher assures me I can manage it, but right now it looks very intimidating.


Standchen-FScubert/FLiszt arr.
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- Started Piano Marvel after a series of humbling experiences which drove me back to learning basics. I can play, sure, but there are some awful gaps in my basics/techniques which need filling before I can progress further.
- Put Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement on hold for now.
- Started 1ere Gymnopedie, which I find manageable.

For those in the US - have a great & safe 4th!


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Teacher just signed off on a piece in section A of ABRSM exam..finally bashed down that self judgement of I can’t play fast pieces [daunting]. Even though I had passed that grade with very high marks, there was one piece that I needed to stare down and work through the self doubt. It is the main reason for these exams: tackle Fast tempo pieces and do a recital. It really builds your confidence to know that with enough practice and guidance …anything is possible. Yeah. Ready to look at the next grade. We have identified pieces for the exam and another section A piece to stare down after the exam 🤣🤣


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Wow.... had to go 8 pages deep to find the AOTW thread!

Hope all my piano friends are doing well with life slowly returning to normal.

After a few months working on a very challenging (for me anyway) arrangement from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, I was very glad to put it to rest. One thing I (re)learned was when it comes to stretch pieces, I had better love the music, or eventually the struggle wears on my enthusiasm for practice. I think Wagners music is full of genius, but my teacher clearly loves it more than I do.
Once I could play it through musically I was happy to let it go.

For my next project I've chosen a piece that flat out grabbed me with its hauntingly beautiful melody the first time I heard it ten years ago... Liszt's piano transcription of Schubert's Standchen. Lots of technical challenges for me in this one, but I am loving it so far and feel energized every time I sit down with it. I guess that renewed enthusiasm is my AOTW.

What are you all working on these days?

Jim


Standchen-FScubert/FLiszt arr.
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Originally Posted by JimF
Wow.... had to go 8 pages deep to find the AOTW thread!

Hope all my piano friends are doing well with life slowly returning to normal.

After a few months working on a very challenging (for me anyway) arrangement from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, I was very glad to put it to rest. One thing I (re)learned was when it comes to stretch pieces, I had better love the music, or eventually the struggle wears on my enthusiasm for practice. I think Wagners music is full of genius, but my teacher clearly loves it more than I do.
Once I could play it through musically I was happy to let it go.

For my next project I've chosen a piece that flat out grabbed me with its hauntingly beautiful melody the first time I heard it ten years ago... Liszt's piano transcription of Schubert's Standchen. Lots of technical challenges for me in this one, but I am loving it so far and feel energized every time I sit down with it. I guess that renewed enthusiasm is my AOTW.

What are you all working on these days?

Jim

Hi Jim,
Thanks to your, I found the thread on the first page! smile
I hear you on the "I'd better love it, if it is a struggle" concept. I've had to put one or two pieces aside for a time because I just couldn't take it any more!

At the moment I'm working on Chopin Nocturne in C sharp Minor (the one that many probably know from the film "The Pianist". And the first movement of a Mozart Sonatina (N1 Viennese). It's my first Mozart and its "relatively" easy. The Chopin is coming along nicely, because of having done the Nocturne in C minor and now I know how to do a few things that were a REAL struggle first time round.

Haven't posted for a while --- a few months back I went to an art class, and there was a piano. I played it for my classmates. I was very nervous, but I did it!


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Hey, it's nice to see this thread!

I'm happy to be able to muddle through some hands together playing after almost 6 weeks of LH only to rehab a couple little fractures in my right hand.

It's so rocky that it is almost comical.


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Cheryl
Nice to see you here again.

Jim
Thank you for rescuing the thread.

A bit of personal thing here. I do not mention this on other social media (FB Twitter etc) but I decided to retire by 12/31/21. I was initially thinking about getting a new job since my working life became miserable after I got a new boss. When I was about to accept an offer, my mom passed away by heart attack - driven by the last stage chronic kidney disease. It changed the whole thing. I went through a bunch of fear driven medical assessments and realized that I may wind up on the same path as my mom. I’m not sick (yet) but my kidney screening ability is deteriorating over the years. Basically I share similar body and an over-working tendencies. She had her own business and worked till 71. I decided to get out. So I have been waiting my company either let me go with severance or just terminate me. But it’s not happening yet while incredible meanness of my boss has been increasing. It’s clear he wants me to quit. If the company does not let me go by in the second week of December, I will give a notice. I thought about announcing retirement now with the end date of 12/31 but my retired friends advised against it. The company immediately let them go after their announcement. Some of them gave 1 year advance notice and was not ready to retire. Anyway i don’t have so much to do now and it provides me time to prep for my audition.

I mentioned this a few months back. I decided to be a music major in a community college. Why Community College? Because of the qualified faculties (they are all doctors) and the fact I can get into orchestra/ chamber music too. If I go to a four year state colleges here, I cannot get scholarships with my playing abilities. No way. They have so many talented students both domestic and international. I don’t think I can get into professors studio either. I will be assigned to doctorate students. Nothing wrong about that if the price is right. But paying $25K a year and not being able to study with the professors, I feel like it is not good bargain. Besides I really don’t need another degree now.

The community college tuitions are less than half the s
of the four year colleges. Incredibly the community college offers scholarship opportunities too. That’s what I’m auditioning for. The pieces required is not so bad. Since I’m still busy with Ballade number 3, my teacher recommended getting sonatine for my classical period requirements and invention for baroque. For 20 century, I plan to use the solo version of Piasolla’s Oblivion. I’m currently having so much fun with Kuhlau’s sonatine. I played this at fifth grade. Now it is much easier and I know exactly what I need to do make it sound great. I wish I listened my teacher better when I was young. It was actually very good preparation for the mozart sonata facile. If I worked on this seriously the mozart piece (boy! Did I suffer!) would have been a cake.

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FarmGirl, congrats on your decision to retire at the end of the year. And for having a "plan," i.e., going back to school as a music major. I think you will have excellent instruction at a two-year college--there are far more talented music PhD's than the conservatories and four year colleges alone can absorb. I took two years of music theory and a music history course at our local college, and I've been taking piano lessons from a PhD professor there (as an enrolled student) for half a dozen years now.

Taking classes with college freshmen was an experience--as I've joked before, you could add up the age of three students and I'd still be older!


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Originally Posted by Stubbie
FarmGirl, congrats on your decision to retire at the end of the year. And for having a "plan," i.e., going back to school as a music major. I think you will have excellent instruction at a two-year college--there are far more talented music PhD's than the conservatories and four year colleges alone can absorb. I took two years of music theory and a music history course at our local college, and I've been taking piano lessons from a PhD professor there (as an enrolled student) for half a dozen years now.

Taking classes with college freshmen was an experience--as I've joked before, you could add up the age of three students and I'd still be older!

Yeah I agree they look like babies. I cannot believe I once was that young.

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Nice to see this page popping up again.

Cheryl - I love the C#min nocturne. Can't wait to hear it in a future recital. How have you escaped Mozart this long? I'll bet you do well with it.

Malkin - Here's to your full recovery. I had a rib muscle tear that prevented me from using my left for about 3 weeks. It sure felt awkward when I resumed fully two handed.

Farmgirl - Sounds like a good plan for you. Congrats on the decision to retire. I can't seem to pull the trigger on that one, although there's plenty of reasons I should.

My AOTW was a really good lesson. The Liszt/Schubert Standchen is coming together faster than expected. Lots of challenges for me, but I'm have a blast with it so far.

Jim


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Well done Farmgirl. It is the right decision and I am so happy for you. Life is too short to deal with bad bosses [been there and the toxicity was awful in my case: in my case being bullied and screamed at by a younger white male, which was the last straw]…and I pushed for severance as I knew enough senior people. I got it and took time out to detox and finally, with discussion with hub, I could retired early and not follow the path of retiring at ‘65’. Grateful. As I loooooove doing what brings me joy. I took the abrsm exam path..doing one grade at a time and whilst my teacher recommended I start on a higher grade: I have to say I am enjoying the journey of discovering interesting genre and tackling pieces I wouldn’t have touched. On the current grade, I decided not to book any exam date and hope to record in coming week with a recital practice in my next lesson. Great to meander and let the pieces stew..it’s not the approach I would ordinarily take as I tend to be goal driven…but it’s been fun resisting that ‘urge’ and hey, I discovered I love this approach. Achieving can mean changing a habit and see how it fits.


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JimF - thank you. I’m looking forward to hearing your piece.

Pianoperformance - I’m with you that it’s the process to get there that is filled with joys and discoveries. In the sonatine books (It comes in book I and II) I’m finding a bunch of neat pieces. Particularly several pieces I studied when I was a child, I’m now blown away how beautiful they actually were! I grew up in a rural Japan and had never been to a concert when I was a child except for our annual recital where many kids were just banging keys. No YouTube etc and never knew how they should sound like.

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This is such a nice thread! I have never really followed it, but I will start to do so. It is nice to read what is going on in people's life.

Jim - how nice to read that you play Ständchen! I have played an easy version of it, and I loved it so much!

Malkin - I hope your hand will soon be fully healed!

Farmgirl - it sounds like a wise decision. Just like Pianoperformance, I am also early retired and not regretting it.

And my achievement of the week: I follow a video course with a feedback teacher, and today, for the first time since many weeks, the teacher was pleased with my first submission of a piece. So no redo!


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Got a few pieces ready for the Beginner's online recital was a last minute decision. The piece I worked on was a short piece with the score posted by a lady on social media. She was an adult beginner and wrote the note names on every note. Decided to record my own version.

The week before I was working on an advanced piece with overlapping notes & chords all over. Besides playing difficult & serious pieces all the time, we can all have fun once in a while.

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Jim - I just listened to Standchen. I did not know the name but I recognized it. I don’t know if Japanese people translated it correctly but it is a romantic piece. Cannot wait to hear you play.

Animisha - I’m so looking forward to joining retirees.

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Hey guys, the thread was buried in the second page!

I have one achievement. I performed Chopin Ballade 3 at a recital and went fairly well. I made a few mistakes but recovered well. It’s the kind of mistakes repeating the phrase one extra time and dropping a few notes. My classmates did not notice it but my teacher did(lol). My classmates were like “you finally nailed it!” Hehehe. But I was happy. I will perform the same piece again next Saturday at a recital hall in the community college. Then one more time at a local piano club(amateur pianists group) on 10/28. That’s it. My 2 years ballade 3 journey is over. I will miss it but I start a new Chopin piece soon. I love his pieces. I don’t know which one yet.

In the meantime, I have to prepare for 11/18 and 12/16 piano club performance and 12/4 school recital. After the vaccine, in person recital (with masks) came back. I’m very happy but I don’t have enough time to prepare for it. So I decided to learn Mozart sonata KV 283 1st movement allegro in G major for the 11/18 meeting. I probably studied it before (because it feels familiar) when I was younger. For 12/4 and 12/16, I will learn Schumann/Liszt Widmung. The composer provided enough Ossia (easier alternatives), I think I can learn it to perform with music by December.
In this way I can expand it with full and original version by next spring.

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Hi FarmGirl

Congratulations on a successful recital. How great that you managed to recover from your mistakes! It reminds me, at one point I took regular skating lessons, and there was one lesson in which we had to fall - we learned how to fall without injuring ourselves. We all hated this lesson but it was so useful. I think I should need a couple of piano lessons about how to recover from mistakes as well...


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Nice job Farmgirl. Busy creative time ahead! I joined an ABRSM zoom presentation on the ARSM dip exam [mainly for teachers, haha]. And I am far from that grade or even thinking about it, but seeking information on ‘performance’. One key takeaway: mistakes will happen, nerves will kick in…we are looking for how you recover’. It sounds like you performed the piece perfectly! I am sure there are mistakes made by many pianists’ concerts, and like your colleagues, I wouldn’t have picked up any minor slips!

I was happy to have submitted a video for my recent grade performance exam even though you can hear construction noise on one piece. Whatever. I live in concrete jungle and sirens always make it into my submitted recordings. It’s like the coughing you hear in live performance. Now, to focus on getting through grade 4 and 5 theory material…mock papers… and having a go on a fast tempo piece from the grade, but didn’t have the confidence to have it in my performance.


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Animisha,

Thank you for your kind words. I remember telling myself in Japanese “Miss wa Mushi”. Miss = mistakes and Mushi = ignore. The short phrase has so much power. It kind of sort of rhymes in Japanese. It instantly calms me. I wish I could find similar word in English too.

Pianoforperformance,

Good for you to challenge yourself with ARSM. I have distractions too. Mine is a whiny dog. My dog whines and barks when I make mistakes. I think he feels my hesitation before I make mistakes. I had to shut the dog gate and put him in the back room.

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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Mine is a whiny dog. My dog whines and barks when I make mistakes. I think he feels my hesitation before I make mistakes.

Amazing! You must have a very musical dog. wink


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