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Great jobs akc42 and FarmGirl!

Here is a non-musical achievement that got me very excited. I have always been a long distance runner, 8-10 km. But two years ago I had a knee operation, and was warned that I might never be able to run again. Since then, every time I tried to start running again, I hurt too much and had to stop. I had already accepted that I would never run again in my life. But two months ago, I met with a new physiotherapist and he has helped me to start running again. Yesterday, I ran 2 km! It feels so, so good, and I am so happy that it seems to still be possible for me to run. But now my leg hurts a bit, not that much, and I'll need to take a break for a couple of days and then run a shorter distance again. Still, I have good hopes that a month from now, maybe I will run 3 km. cool


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Animisha,
What a happy story!
I totally understand how you feel.
I broke 3 bones in my ankle last year had an operation. It was a triumphant moment when I realized I could bicycle again. I did not realize how important each part of our body is until we lost one function. Let’s enjoy our body while taking good care of it 😀

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It's really nice to hear about your achievements akc42 and FarmGirl. I'm sure your are very pleased and you put in the hard work. You'll have to let us know how Scherzo number 1 goes FarmGirl. And I'm glad for you, Aminisha that you are able to start running again. I know that means a lot to you. You'll have to let us know when you do 3 km.


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A lot of happy stories. Going to hear a lot of accomplishments when the PW recital is open for submission in a few more days...

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Congrats FarmGirl!! Your ability to take on....and pull off..... conservatory level repertoire AND in public performance, is flat out inspirational. I think you have great fun awaiting in retirement.


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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
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.
You're so brave! I'm not there yet. I figure give me another 5-10 years and maybe I would consider playing for the general public, but now friends and family will have to suffice. Where do you get these opportunities to play in public?


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Jethro, I take performance class from a local community college. My teacher is the professor there. The music major program is a feeder program for four year colleges , conservatories and they try to make sure students get used to performing in front of others. Performance class comes with studio class (play on stage in front of others) twice in a week and two or three recitals in a semester. Performance in a studio class is held in a classroom with a stage with a steinway concert gland. Students are seated in different levels that looks down on the stage. Recitals are held in the recital hall with Shimmel concert grand. This is a real concert hall with spot light and monitors in the lobby. I am not a full time student yet. If you become a full time music major, you will have jury (perform in front of professors to be graded) twice in a semester. Students need to audition for the program. It is much easier to get into the program compared with conservatory or music program in the state universities.

Another routine opportunities I have is with Phoenix piano club. It is arranged by local amateurs. We hold meetings in members homes with grand piano. It is actually more scary than the performances in school because people are sitting very close to you.

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One more thing for those who very cautious about performing a big piece in front of others.

I told the piano club people before I play, “I know it is above my level. But seeing my mom die this year made me realize that our lives are finite. I decided to study big and hard pieces while I’m still relatively young. Some of you may think Mr Chopin would be rolling around his grave. Well, let him. He is dead. I love his music very much and that is why I play “.

The piano club members are very advanced amateurs but I did not feel nervous at all. After I tackled with the hard piece, I know anyone who had similar experience of having worked on a hard piece, would wish the best for me. It takes a lot to learn a large piece. It’s only those people who are mean spirited or had never done it feel exceptionally critical for other people’s performance. So who cares what they think. Also as I performed the piece many times, it got better and better. Because it will give you opportunities to fix errors or identify weak spots. I was happy because it was close to 100% of my current capacity.

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Submitted my piece for the PW online recital... a lot of weight off my shoulder.

It's a personal arrangement of an orchestral piece. I've been working on it since the beginning of the year while having weekly lessons through Zoom & playing the assigned pieces.

When I started playing over a year ago, I was an average beginner. Spending time arranging music is a recent preoccupation mainly due to the pandemic lockdown. Spending a lot of time in front of the computer isn't exactly a good idea unless you're using it for something productive or creative.

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I saw the occupational therapist at hand clinic. Because I have been practicing the exercises she gave me to recuperate after my fracture, my right hand can now reach further than before! It still gets very tired, and can be uncomfortable, but I've started doing the exercises on my left hand as well!


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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Jethro, I take performance class from a local community college. My teacher is the professor there. The music major program is a feeder program for four year colleges , conservatories and they try to make sure students get used to performing in front of others. Performance class comes with studio class (play on stage in front of others) twice in a week and two or three recitals in a semester. Performance in a studio class is held in a classroom with a stage with a steinway concert gland. Students are seated in different levels that looks down on the stage. Recitals are held in the recital hall with Shimmel concert grand. This is a real concert hall with spot light and monitors in the lobby. I am not a full time student yet. If you become a full time music major, you will have jury (perform in front of professors to be graded) twice in a semester. Students need to audition for the program. It is much easier to get into the program compared with conservatory or music program in the state universities.

Another routine opportunities I have is with Phoenix piano club. It is arranged by local amateurs. We hold meetings in members homes with grand piano. It is actually more scary than the performances in school because people are sitting very close to you.
That’s wonderful! Sounds daunting yet at the same time exciting. Keep up the good work!


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Originally Posted by malkin
I saw the occupational therapist at hand clinic. Because I have been practicing the exercises she gave me to recuperate after my fracture, my right hand can now reach further than before! It still gets very tired, and can be uncomfortable, but I've started doing the exercises on my left hand as well!

Malkin, I did not know you fractured your hand. It’s much worse than breaking ankle bones. I’m glad you are getting better. Constant Rehabilitative exercises do miracles. My right foot is now stronger than the left too.

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Thank you FarmGirl and Pat for your kind words. Farmgirl, how interesting, a performance class - I had no idea it even existed. I liked the little speech you gave, and your helpful thoughts while playing.

Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Submitted my piece for the PW online recital... a lot of weight off my shoulder.
It's a personal arrangement of an orchestral piece. I've been working on it since the beginning of the year

Congratulations! What will you do next? smile

Originally Posted by malkin
I saw the occupational therapist at hand clinic. Because I have been practicing the exercises she gave me to recuperate after my fracture, my right hand can now reach further than before! It still gets very tired, and can be uncomfortable, but I've started doing the exercises on my left hand as well!

That is a very nice side effect! Is there any exercise in particular you can recommend us for getter a further reach?


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I just finished a full week where my main focus has been on touch and controlling dynamics. At first it was incredibly awkward, where on my pianissimo notes quite arbitrarily I'd either drop a note altogether or inadvertently bang a note a couple of dynamic levels louder than I intended. The fourth finger on my left hand would pitifully quiver as it tried to quietly caress the keys against its will. But in just a week of dedicated practice I've already gained a lot of control. There are a lot of trouble areas--leaps, double notes, chords, stretches are all not accurate yet dynamically, although I'm beginning to be able to articulate where the problems are. And of course playing faster makes exacting control more difficult. But I'm progressing. Last year I purchased George Benjamin's "Sortileges" and spent a few days coming through the score, which at times was impossibly delicate, with things like pianissimo trills and 32nd note runs. I doubt I'll ever be able to do justice to that particular score, but it did show me that this was a skill that I want to get better at--while I am not sure that I'll ever be able to play truly fast at the softest dynamics, I think I can gain control and play reasonably quick, given enough practice.

The main things I've been working on are Chopin Op. 15 no. 3, Op. 27 no. 1's beginning, and Debussy's "Des Pas sur la Neige." To practice touch with different figurations I've dabbled in other parts of Debussy's Preludes. I'll probably limit myself to these for the next month while working on technique with dynamic control. I'll be traveling and away from the piano for a month and a half in December and January, but then I'll probably work on Scriabin pieces I've learned in the past but which I never could give the sonorities I wanted.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Congratulations! What will you do next? smile

The question is not easy to answer. Some time ago a friend of the family brought their 2 sons who was in Suzuki piano & violin and they played duets in our living room. As an adult learner, I'm aware that age is not on my side. Coming from a non-musical family, other family members are not keen to see me learn an instrument.

On the other hand, I have been using a computer to create music since my school days and learned to use notation input programs. Since the pandemic started, many people have been spending more time at home in front of a screen. The time I'm not practicing music is used for arranging pieces. Besides going to my weekly lessons and playing the assigned repertoire, I'll continue to arrange more pieces that were composed for other instruments and eventually get into composing original pieces.

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I don’t think I will be able to post on line recital yet. If I can figure out how to record, I will. I was told that I would have to keep up the Ballade3 in my memory for local competition for community college students.

I’m still busy. Less than 2 months till my retirement. I’m counting my days. I’m going through a bunch of stuff. Figuring out insurance, going through doctors to complete specialists offices for kidney and any concerns in related organs - No I’m not sick but I would like to finish all the check ups while I have a super good insurance from my employer.

Not an achievement but I discussed my pieces for the next school year in the junior college. I was almost completing the whole sonata Beethoven Pathetique but she assigned me a different one 😢. I also have to drop Schumann-List Widmung. 🥲😭😭.

The pieces my teacher selected will be used for the final recital. I can play them student recitals for each semester too. I also have smaller pieces for semester juries. So here’s the entire list:

Baroque: Bach WTC Book 1 Prelude and Fugue 22 b flat minor (worked on the prelude before)
Classical: Beethoven Sonata #5 Book I Op16 Number 1 (Have never done this. Looks like the last mvmnt tremors against 3 notes are extremely tricky)
Romantic: Mendelssohn Op54 Variations serieuses (I dabbed in a couple of pieces before)
Modern: Debussy LaCathedrale Engloutie (performed it in a recital for a different teacher in 2009, I am so happy that Debussy is considered as modern. Phew!).

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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
I don’t think I will be able to post on line recital yet. If I can figure out how to record, I will. I was told that I would have to keep up the Ballade3 in my memory for local competition for community college students.

I’m still busy. Less than 2 months till my retirement. I’m counting my days. I’m going through a bunch of stuff. Figuring out insurance, going through doctors to complete specialists offices for kidney and any concerns in related organs - No I’m not sick but I would like to finish all the check ups while I have a super good insurance from my employer.

Not an achievement but I discussed my pieces for the next school year in the junior college. I was almost completing the whole sonata Beethoven Pathetique but she assigned me a different one 😢. I also have to drop Schumann-List Widmung. 🥲😭😭.

The pieces my teacher selected will be used for the final recital. I can play them student recitals for each semester too. I also have smaller pieces for semester juries. So here’s the entire list:

Baroque: Bach WTC Book 1 Prelude and Fugue 22 b flat minor (worked on the prelude before)
Classical: Beethoven Sonata #5 Book I Op16 Number 1 (Have never done this. Looks like the last mvmnt tremors against 3 notes are extremely tricky)
Romantic: Mendelssohn Op54 Variations serieuses (I dabbed in a couple of pieces before)
Modern: Debussy LaCathedrale Engloutie (performed it in a recital for a different teacher in 2009, I am so happy that Debussy is considered as modern. Phew!).

My bad. Correction. Beethoven piece is actually the next one. Sonata #6 op10 number 2 F major.

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I've had so much work for the past few months that it's been difficult finding the enthusiasm to systematically approach the piano. But I finally have a manageable amount of work, and suddenly I'm enthusiastic about playing again.

My main task has been working on touch. I'm attempting to polish some Scriabin preludes I learned earlier in the year and last winter. Last winter I had a weekend in a home with a grand piano, and the preludes sounded clumsy compared to my electric piano--the notes were all there, but it didn't sound musical. I'm really working on color now, not taking easier pieces for granted.

This was one of those weeks when I've dusted off difficult pieces that I'm not ready for to track how I'm progressing. What really surprised me is when I went over Stanchinsky's 12 Esquisses. I'm not 100 percent ready, I don't think, but I'm getting close to the challenges in several of my favorites. I have a lot less tension now and the geography of the keyboard is more natural to me. Before when I'd try them they didn't sound like music. I think I could learn them now if I pushed myself but not play them well yet. But I've memorized several difficult figures that I can practice from time to time. Maybe in a year I'll be ready to tackle them. This was truly inspiring to me, because I have a schizophrenia diagnosis and Stanchinsky was diagnosed with dementia praecox (which was an illness that was later renamed schizophrenia). It's very rare for people to accomplish things with schizophrenia because it tends to have an onset just at the cusp of adulthood, when people are generally learning their metier, and its effects are generally crippling, which makes skill development difficult and unfortunately rare, at least to normative standards of aesthetic and intellectual work. For composers these years are generally years of development and conscious modeling after masters--there are exceptions, but more youthful works often look immature and without the graces of art that confident composers with more experience exhibit. So Stanchinsky is such a unique figure for the schizophrenia community for having accomplished what he did, and writing such expressively and technically impressive works so early in his career while dealing with so much. I showed my first symptoms while in high school, and despite my intellectual abilities I lost a decade of my life to the illness that I'm only now beginning to transcend in my late thirties (I'm currently getting my PhD). There's a lot of music that I love and that means a lot to me aesthetically and intellectually and maybe are more suited to the version of me that's visible to those close to me, but there's something special and personal about Stanchinsky to me. The Esquisses as a set are tantalizingly just out of my technical reach, but I'm going to try out his 5 Preludes, a few of which are easier.

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Lautreamont, best wishes to you both with your Scriabin and (soon) Stanchinsky. Also your PhD. I am not familiar with Stanchinsky's works; I will have to go have a listen.


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Lautreamont, how difficult it must have been for you, and probably still is. But I am happy that you now begin to transcend it, and that you obviously have acquired both high intellectual and musical skills.
During one year of my life, I have worked at a treatment home. Some of our patients also had schizophrenia. Once a week, I had a watercolour painting class. One of the patients was very remarkable. When he was in a psychotic period and hallucinated a lot, he painted the most beautiful paintings. Oh, the colours! I first thought his paintings were abstract, but when we talked about them, it was clear that they were figurative for him. He pointed out: "This is the subway, and this is where I left my head". When he was back into the same reality as most of us, his paintings were rather mediocre. Very special.
Anyway, the best of luck with his 5 preludes!


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