Monday, December 8, 2008

So, it's been a while since I've updated this thing. This past summer went well, though I didn't get much accomplished in the way of piano. I stopped taking lessons from my instructor because I couldn't afford it. I also transferred to a different university, and got my CNA license. All is good. However, I have been practicing the piano solidly on my own for about a month now. I'll tell you what I'm currently working on: 

Invention No. 1 -- Bach
Invention No. 8 -- Bach
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 1 (All movements simultaneously) -- Clementi

And when I feel up to it, I take a look at Chopin's Cantabile, but since I don't practice it enough, I don't list that as something I'm currently learning. 

The first invention is going very well. I was frustrated a few days ago with classes and was stressing out about finals, so to take my mind off of it, I went to the practice room near the cafeteria to practice. I didn't take my phone with me, and I ended up practicing for nearly four hours. And what's more is that it was a good practice session. I completely learned how to play measures 13 and 14 in the first invention fluently and at the proper tempo, and found problem spots that I've been having throughout the piece. I've been zoning in on them to get them done. I have the piece memorized with both hands separate, and can play it to the finish but not at the tempo and not without making mistakes. It's coming along well though.

The 8th invention is also going well. I've only been mainly looking at the first page, and I'm beginning to put both hands of the first page together. That's really the only news I have with that. I also have the first page memorized with both hands separate and am continuing on putting both hands together.

The Sonatina is going okay. I'm just learning it and it will eventually be memorized, at least the first and second movements anyway. I can play the first movement up to tempo without making many mistakes, save one or two. I can almost play the second movement up to tempo but I would prefer to take it at a slower pace until I have completely memorized it. I've only mainly been looking at the third movement with the right hand so far, and it comes easily to me. I'll continue to look at the left hand and eventually put them together. 

I haven't really taken the time to learn the scales that are relevant to the pieces I'm learning. I already know how to play the C major and F major scales fluently for four octaves, I can play the cadences and inversions, so I guess the only work that's left to do is on arpeggios, but that doesn't sound too exciting. I'm going to figure out how to best approach the scales and what exactly I should be getting out of them. I'll be researching on the forums. I think that's all. I'll keep you posted. :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Practice has not been going well. The quality of practice is fine, but in the midst of the college setting, it's hard to find time to practice. Of late, when I do practice I am happy with the way things are going. I just wish there were more hours to each day.

The first movement of the Beethoven Sonatina has been learned and memorized. The second movement is coming along nicely, and I should have it memorized within another week of practicing. The Clementi Sonatina, on the other hand, has been taking longer than expected. The first half of the first movement has been learned, and working on memorization. The second half still has some work to do. I've begun looking at the second movement of that Sonatina.

But if there is one composer that perhaps gives me the most trouble, that award goes to Mozart. I just find his works unusually difficult, even the simpler ones such as this Minuet and Trio. The first page is roughly learned, though not memorized. The second page is still in progress, but overall, I'm satisfied with the progress I'm making on that work. The Bach Minuet has been learned, and I'm working on memorization as we speak.

The Burgmuller Study is fairly simple and relatively easy to play. It's just a matter of time before I have this one under my belt. I haven't touched my theory (the book that my teacher gave me is horribly easy--all very basic stuff that I already know, such as note values and time signatures).

Scales Previously Learned: C Maj, G Maj
Scales Assigned by Teacher: D Maj, F Maj
Scales I'm Learning on my Own: E Maj, Bb Maj

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A History Lesson

So a bit of background information about me:

I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 from a woman named Siybell. I had continued taking lessons, even after she moved away, from a woman by the name of Leonetta Bibby. At the age of eight, I quit, because that's when my older sisters did. Melissa was graduating, and Sarah would soon after.

At that point I hated music. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. I hated being forced to the piano, being forced to practice little pieces that to me had no sentimental value. I wasn't really playing anything, and I hated practicing because I never felt like it was going anywhere. Of course, as an eight year old, I didn't rationalize it this way--I just wanted to go out and play, like all the other kids were doing.

Fast forward about another eight years. I'm a sophomore in high school, standing next to the piano in the band room over lunch. One of my former friends was playing "To Zanarkand" from the Final Fantasy series. It was possibly the most beautiful thing that I had ever heard. Having a burning desire to play it, I immediately got the sheet music from him, sat down at the piano at home, and tried to play it.

A thin layer of dust covered the piano, the keys looked somber and neglected. Having not touched the instrument in years, I pulled the bench out from underneath it, took my seat, and tried to play. My knowledge was extremely rough. The bass clef was not something I could recall well. I had played instruments in band prior to this, but all those instruments were in the treble clef, which I could play well.

After a week of constant playing, I had finally mastered the piece of music. Over the summer I had contemplated taking lessons again from my former instructor. I had then contacted her. Thus I had embarked on a journey of music... my goal... to become an amazing pianist. Not a concert performer, but an accomplished musician. Unfortunately, through the trials of school and my extra curricular activities, I could not hold lesson steadily. There had been months where I had gone without an instructor or without playing anything. My repertoire never really increased. Then, after the start of this year, 2008, I have decided to pick up lessons again, and this time, I have the mindset that I am going to accomplish what I intend to. My dream is to be able to play the works of Liszt and Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Ravel. I want to know everything that musicians know. I want to know theory, I want to know a vast amount of repertoire. It's my passion, one that was formerly buried by a playful, naive child, who was unaware of the immense value of this instrument.