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Lautreamont,
Your accomplishment is truly amazing. My sister in law has schizophrenia but struggles with concentration and cognitive ability. She can understand things but cannot be sure and she asks for confirmation. I think it’s different for everyone.

I admire you and wish best for your music journey. Cannot wait to hear your progress with Scriabin and Stanchinsky.

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Hi everybody,
Thanks for your thoughts. It has been a very long road for me. I lost a big chunk of my life to the condition, and at one point was told by a doctor that I'd never work again. Somehow I weathered the storm. I've come a long way and have achieved a lot, a far cry from when survival itself seemed perplexing and precarious. Not that I'm out of the woods completely, or anything like that, it takes a lot of work, especially in academia, which asks so much out of people.

I think for the time being I'll put aside the Stanchinsky. The ones I'm really attracted to are kind of stretch pieces, which I can probably achieve, but which will take a lot of time. I'm not going to have a piano or keyboard for the winter break, so I probably don't want to get ahead of myself. As much as I love the Scriabin, the easiest ones of Op. 11 aren't inspiring me right now. My workload significantly decreased over the past week, so I was ecstatic that I finally had the energy to approach the piano (so I enthusiastically tried out a lot of things, after having so little time and energy for what felt like so long).

I'm revisiting Chopin's C minor posthumous nocturne. I was learning it earlier in the year but was having issues on the second page. There are two main issues I have with the piece--grace notes using the fourth finger and the rapid seventh chord arpeggios on the second page (tension issues). But I feel a little better equipped to do them now. I met my partner in my master's program, and we live in different states now that we're both pursuing PhDs at different universities. Even though we lived together during the worst of the pandemic, she's never heard me play. So I'm thinking it'd be something of a little present if I finish learning this piece and record it for her. The first page is mostly memorized and easy enough. I have just over a week before I leave for the break, but the only real hurdle is playing the descending arpeggios well, which seems doable. The only other difficulty is the unusual polyrhythms in the second page. In the past I approached such things mathematically, but I'm trying to do them more intuitively. The upside with Chopin is that I know once I commit it to memory, I'll probably not forget it, which has been a problem with a lot of things I've learned--it's exciting to learn things, but when you don't love them enough to play them regularly, the notes fall out of memory.

Yesterday I made a graduated list of Chopin Nocturnes from easiest to hardest, which is making me feel better about my playing. Op. 15 no. 3 is something I've played through a few times. The C# minor one is doable, but it's just those runs at the end. I practice them pretty much every day and have gotten much better at them, but I'm not sure if things would go quite as smoothly in the heat of the moment in playing the entire piece. But those are the ones I know I can play with sufficient practice. A surprise one is Op. 27 no. 1--Henle has it rated at a level 6, when I seem most comfortable with level 5 right now. But its difficulties are chiefly in the left hand--really soft playing of a really wide-stretching arpeggio in the beginning if the melody starts pp, and the faster middle section with the left hand ostinati. I'm obsessed with left hand solo repertoire (I'm slowly learning Godowsky's Tristesse etude right now to work on touch, which is pretty much the last major technical hurdle for me to manage in the left hand--not just playing fast or complicated things but being able to do so with nuance), so my left hand is probably in the early advanced level. So in pieces that are more demanding in the lh and simple in the right aren't big issues to me. One of the reasons why I think the Nocturnes are so good for me right now is that pretty much every one introduces me to something technically challenging, but they do it for short durations, so it's more manageable and easier to isolate and work on--there are runs, but they're only a couple of measures, likewise for double notes and octaves, which I've never practiced diligently in my right hand. It feels good to feel like I'm probably at less than a month's worth of practice to learn 3-4 of the nocturnes, and to see that there are a few more that I should be ready for soon enough. I've peeked ahead to those, so I know what I'd need to work on in order to play them, although some like the 3-5 trill while holding finger 1 then 2 on the third page of Chopin's e minor posthumous nocturne, don't currently feel possible.

Last edited by lautreamont; 11/24/21 11:11 AM.
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This has been a good week at the piano for me (unfortunately I'll be away from it for a month starting Friday). I'm at the detail work phase for Chopin's c minor Nocturne, mostly working out polyrhythms before I can make them sound natural. I've always been plagued by tension, and for the past two years I've worked really hard (without a teacher due to circumstances) to minimize it, so I had stopped playing fast in the right hand, afraid of falling into old and bad habits. The forum pushed me to stretch myself a little, and I'm working on Chopin Op. 28 no. 10. At first playing easy and tension free I was playing it ridiculously slow, but I woke up the next day with it flowing around 75% of tempo, and now once I'm warmed up I think I'm closer to 90% without pushing it while mostly controlling dynamics. This has given me so much confidence, and now I can chart out a course to help me build up my technique more with some faster pieces, when I've prioritized relaxation and tension-relieving exercises over improvement (basically) in that hand for two years. I've worked so hard at fixing my hand--it's really exciting to think I might finally be able to move forward.

Another surprise is that, maybe because of the Chopin piece, my scales in the right hand are suddenly improved. I was playing them fast and smooth and they even actually felt good in my hand for the first time, maybe, in my life, at loud and soft dynamics. It's not 100% yet, but it's so encouraging. Aside from working on the two Chopin pieces, I did a little practicing of figures of Schubert's Op. 90 no. 4, which I want to play next year (years ago I used to try to practice at tempo for everything, and I remember making it sound so ugly and harsh), starting with slow practice but then pretty quickly getting them up to tempo. For my left hand I'm working on touch at soft dynamics, voicing a melodic note while other fingers sound quieter notes, as well as ppp arpeggios--I can only play slowly at that dynamic, but I'm getting a little more comfortable with it and slightly more fluid, which will help with the Godowsky left hand Etudes I want to work on and things like the opening of (I think) Chopin's Op. 27 no 1, which I really like but I have to play really slowly in order to control dynamics.

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I wouldn’t say I was excited. I got pretty frustrated with a fast tempo piece..whilst other music, I am way more easier to learn…fast tempo is holding me back. So my teacher is exploring all these fast tempo pieces to get my mind set in a more positive place….we finally discovered playing 16th note at 112 tempo seemed fine…we discovered it’s the transition from 16th to 8th is the stumbling block. Go figure. I can feel my brain having a tough time …and looping/quarantining the problem bars needs some encouragement. Baking an apple cinnamon frosty tear and share loaf…zoom classes are best. So I am encouraged by my baking whilst tackling not fun problem area…


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My AOTW: I got my piano tuned today--always lovely to have a freshly tuned piano! I also had some work done on the action. It had felt a bit heavy or stiff, so he did a few things and it feels pretty good right now. thumb

I'm off lessons until almost the middle of January--which will be here in a flash, so I can't slough off.


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In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

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Happy Holidays all my AOTW friends!

Stubbie - Agreed. Nothing like having a newly tuned piano under your fingers. Takes my ears a day or so to get used to the slightly sharper pitches, but then its all just lovely as you say.

No AOTW for me. Still toiling away at Schubert/Liszt's Standchen. Lots of very focused measure by measure work.

Happy Holidays to all,

Jim


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Happy holidays to all of you!

Before the holidays, I made a recording of the latest piece that I had learned outside of the curriculum of my piano school, Old French Song by Tchaikovsky. I thought that this piece would be rather difficult for me but it turned out to be well within my reach. I found a tutorial that I liked very much, and I was happy that I was able to incorporate her advice into my own playing. Practising this piece has been a source of happiness.

Originally Posted by PatG
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.

Ten days ago, my physiotherapist told me I should run no more than 2 km for a month, because of the trouble that my knee gives me. So running 3 km is still a mirage...


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Animisha
I had not heard The Old French Song before today; it is, indeed, quite lovely. I’m looking forward to hearing you play it 🙂


"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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Dogperson, here it is!



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Wow that was quick😊! Great job on this lovely piece
Thanks so much for my Boxing Day present 🎁


"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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You're welcome dogperson! smile


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Lovely playing Animisha. Tchaikovsky is very nice. I bought a book with all of the op. 39 and read through it for fun. Quite a few nice gems in there.

Originally Posted by Animisha
Ten days ago, my physiotherapist told me I should run no more than 2 km for a month, because of the trouble that my knee gives me. So running 3 km is still a mirage...
I'm sorry for you. I have knee problems and can't run too so I can relate. However, maybe cross-country skiing might be an option for you. I found it to be less stressful on the knees and it's a nice sport if you like long distances. In Sweeden there are probably some great trails too.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Dogperson, here it is!


You have such a lovely touch and feel for the music Animisha. That was lovely, thank you for sharing.

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Originally Posted by KevinM
You have such a lovely touch and feel for the music Animisha. That was lovely, thank you for sharing.

Thank you so much Kevin! It means a lot to me.

Edit: I am happy that you still check in here every now and again. smile

Last edited by Animisha; 12/27/21 02:29 AM.

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That was very nice, Animisha. Thank you!


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Thank you, so kind!


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Nice play and nice piece Animisha.

My new year was to get back into regular practice between fast tempo pieces, rhythm work and new pieces. So far so good. Been doing a lot of slow practice on not looking at keyboard for LH leaps on Bach’s prelude in C minor…. It’s paying off and now noticing the measures that are still sticky…lots of quarantine and TLC on these measures. And speed work towards 116 bpm with 1/16th notes is progressing well.


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Animists, it was lovely.
I hope to check back in here more.

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