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Originally Posted by Animisha
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

I’m not sure about his musicality. But both of my dogs stop to listen to any music coming from our neighbors house when we take a walk. Especially for piano sounds. He is cute but extremely annoying at times. I have to have a bag of treats when my friends are playing the piano at my house so that he won’t complain about their playing. When my piano teacher is playing, Charlie goes behind her chair and lie down to listen. I don’t need a snack. Maybe he just likes her.

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My last cat would ignore my practice until the piece became fluid (I called it ‘lesson ready’). Then he would jump up on his stool. Close his eyes and move his lips as if he was singing along. Particularly loved Chopin. 😸😸


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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It's been a while since I've been here. I'm an academic, and my work load has been immense, so I haven't been able to dedicate myself to the piano as much as I have in the past. But lately I've dusted off my Henle edition of Scarlatti works, and I've been toying with them lately. On a daily basis I've read through a couple of the andantes, and I've worked a little at difficult parts of some of the allegros.

For the past year I've mostly played Reynaldo Hahn and some easier Chopin and Scriabin. It was a bit of a shock to see how bad my technique is for the Scarlatti. Things like 3-5 trills seem currently beyond my abilities, and while I can plow through some of the passagework it sounds pretty brutal. Consequently I've been working mostly on tone control and articulation, drastically slowing down my playing of pretty much everything to minimize tension and focus on control as best as I can. It seems like every year I hit a technique wall that causes me to reappraise my approach and do some kind of ground-up renovation of my technique. Last year I worked my way out of most kinds of tension that have plagued me in the past, and now it seems like I'm focusing on precision and nuance, hoping that this is a key aspect that will help me in my goal of being fluid and supple.

Despite my struggles, I'm really surprised by Scarlatti's works. They're really inventive in terms of figurations and layouts, and I'm surprised by how fun they are.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
My last cat would ignore my practice until the piece became fluid (I called it ‘lesson ready’). Then he would jump up on his stool. Close his eyes and move his lips as if he was singing along. Particularly loved Chopin. 😸😸

So you are a cat person too.
I think animals do have good ear.

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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Originally Posted by dogperson
My last cat would ignore my practice until the piece became fluid (I called it ‘lesson ready’). Then he would jump up on his stool. Close his eyes and move his lips as if he was singing along. Particularly loved Chopin. 😸😸

So you are a cat person too.
I think animals do have good ear.

Oh dear. My cat used to howl.


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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Originally Posted by dogperson
My last cat would ignore my practice until the piece became fluid (I called it ‘lesson ready’). Then he would jump up on his stool. Close his eyes and move his lips as if he was singing along. Particularly loved Chopin. 😸😸

So you are a cat person too.
I think animals do have good ear.

I have never had a dog that appeared interested in music —- sleeping by the piano? Of course. Any visible interest? Nope


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Back to Achievement of the week - what got you excited? smile

I have started to learn Bach's Minuet in D minor. When I saw the notes and listened to the lesson I thought it was a bit too difficult for me, but I thought I would give it a try. And it is actually quite within my limits. There is still weeks of work to do on this piece, but I was very happy to find that the transition from hands separate to hands together was not as bad - at all - as I had feared.


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Learning the virtues of actively and consciously playing right on the tips of your fingers when playing fast passages. It seems to me that is the secret ingredient for developing blistering speed at the piano. I know because I recently tried it on some the hardest passages I had been struggling with throughout the years. This fundamental concept makes these passages much easier from what I have tried thus far. That's what got me excited actually in quite some time. I never knew because apparently no one ever told me for the past 40 years. frown



Last edited by Jethro; 10/21/21 11:24 AM.

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What a great teacher Josh is! I like the teacher who teach techniques rather than trying to teach interpretations. I came to the same conclusion after years of trials and errors. I resisted the curved finger concepts for as long as I could. My childhood teacher just hit my hand “There you did again! Told you not to crush the egg in your hand” and no one explained the reasons why curved fingers. I just thought it was strange.

I would add one more thing. Beginners may not be able to play with the tip of fingers right away. Jethro, you’ve been studying the piano for a while. If there are some beginners here frustrated with the curved finger technique because you don’t have finger independence yet, there is a quick way to get there. Try playing the whole passage with light staccato. It will force you to use the tip of the fingers snd your hand curves naturally. It will also preempt our tendency to hit neighboring keys. At least it worked for me😊

Last edited by FarmGirl; 10/21/21 01:48 PM.
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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
What a great teacher Josh is! I like the teacher who teach techniques rather than trying to teach interpretations. I came to the same conclusion after years of trials an errors. I resisted the curved finger concepts for as long as I could. My childhood teacher just hit my hand “There you did again! Told you not to crush egg in your hand” and no one explained the reasons why curved fingers.

I would add one more thing. Beginners may not be able to play with the tip of fingers right away. Jethro, you’ve been studying the piano for a while. If there are some beginners here frustrated with the curved finger technique because you don’t have finger independence yet, there is a quick way to get there. Try playing the whole passage with light staccato. It will force you to use the tip of the fingers snd your hand curves naturally. It will also preempt our tendency to hit neighboring keys. At least it worked for me😊
Very interesting. I am forcing my hands to adapt to a more curved position when I practice now. This introduces some tension which I don't like but I figure with time my hand will adapt to this position. What I found is that with some of the quicker passages my hand automatically went into a more curled position just simply because that would be the only way I can even half attempt to play these passages. But taking a conscious approach of getting ON those fingertips really makes a difference rather than just doing the bare minimal just to make the passage playable. I never really studied my technique I just played and through the 6 or 7 years of piano lessons with good teachers I don't think most ever discussed the importance of hitting the keys with the tips of my fingers in fast passages. Either I misunderstood one of my teachers or she inadvertently did not give me complete information. I could swear in my 20's one of my teachers told me to play with the pad of my fingers and intuitively this seemed like it would give me the most control but trying to hit the keys with the tips of my fingers and with control of the dynamics is actually quite possible if not easier save for the most pianissimo of passages. The amount of effortless power you get from this position is amazing.


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The funny thing is when I first met her a few weeks ago I and I gave her any resistance she would take out an iPad and show me a video of Argerich and say, "Do you disagree with her?" Who can disagree with Argerich?


I think part of the trick is is just to curl the fingers just enough that you are striking the keys with the tips of your fingers. I don't think it has to be force nor do you have to think too hard about it. But I'm still learning.


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I agree with you. I think the curved fingers is the home position. L I wrote it somewhere but lately it’s had to play a beginner sonatine by Kulhlao. Op 1 C major for getting into the community college music program. I was amazed. I played like a child prodigy (exaggeration, of course). I was getting the sound now that I got the curved hand with finger tip playing down. So I tried the mozart sonata facile I struggled before. The one starts with Do Mi So Si DoReDo (C—EG BCD C). I can play it now. With allegro. Smooth. Sounded good. I could not understand why it became easier at that time. I know now.
You nailed it. It’s the finger tip playing with curved hands. 😊😊😊

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I used to play the Mozart piece with heavy force. No matter how many times practiced I could not get it play well. It was not Mozart but sounded like Beethoven played on really bad piano with keys stuck here and there. Keys were not even at all.

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Last Thursday I looked at a 1993 Kawai 5’5” baby grand piano at a piano store 3 hrs from my home in Montana. I played it in front of others that were in the store and felt like I did a really good job. I don’t play in front of anyone except my piano teacher. My hands were not even shaking. That made me feel real pleased with myself. Well that piano was delivered today and they took my 2 1/2 year old Kawai K-200. I really like the sound of it and it’s in excellent condition. Tuner will come in a few weeks. I’m super excited. I was like a kid at Christmas.


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Originally Posted by PatG
Last Thursday I looked at a 1993 Kawai 5’5” baby grand piano at a piano store 3 hrs from my home in Montana. I played it in front of others that were in the store and felt like I did a really good job. I don’t play in front of anyone except my piano teacher. My hands were not even shaking. That made me feel real pleased with myself. Well that piano was delivered today and they took my 2 1/2 year old Kawai K-200. I really like the sound of it and it’s in excellent condition. Tuner will come in a few weeks. I’m super excited. I was like a kid at Christmas.

Woo hoo, Pat! That is quite an achievement of the week. Congrats and warm wishes for many years of enjoyment


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Congratulations Pat! It sounds wonderful.


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Last night I practiced the piece to be submitted to the upcoming PW online recital. The result was satisfactory. Still have about a week to decide to keep the recording or make a new version. I've been practicing the piece for the past 2 weeks. Once I got a good recording, I can focus on playing other pieces.

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I have been so busy for some time now (and still am) with a massive software project so not been here a while, but today is a bit of a lull and I thought I would look in here. I have two things to be excited about.

After about 18 months I have finally got the whole of the 1st Movement of the Pathetique Sonata playable. I still make mistakes and its not very fluid in places, but I can legitimately say I know it all. I could already play the 2nd Movement (did it in a recital on here a few years back) which I have been keeping up all this time, and have now just started on the third movement.

The second achievement that got me excited is that for the first time I got to Level 7 in the Piano Marvel sight reading test. I got my best ever score of 683 as I couldn't play the level 7 piece at all well.
I've been stuck for a year in the mid 500 range, but just recently I have been regularly going over 600, and yesterday it just all came together.


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Originally Posted by akc42
I have finally got the whole of the 1st Movement of the Pathetique Sonata playable.

Good to hear from you again! And congratulations on that first movement; if you could nail that one, you can surely get the last one also, and have the whole sonata. I've got the first two movements of the Moonlight down, but the third movement is somewhere hidden in the mists of the future. smile


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I have an achievement 😄

I completed all three performance of Chopin Ballade3. It got better increasingly and the last night’s performance was the best. There were a couple of spots I always had hard time and played with incorrect notes in a kind of fuzzy fashion. It’s the most difficult run right before the coda and the quick doted note chords in the coda. I carried them out correctly in time first time in performance. I’m happy.

I decided on my next Chopin piece too.
Scherzo number 1.

Looking forward to the journey.

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