Piano Practice & Music Theory 10-10-2020.

Problem area: Refinement of pianistic practice model.

I have assumed, like a fool that more hours equals more acquisition of skill. The brain is a delicate thing, and doesn’t respond to sheer amounts of struggle… especially when one is going through struggle with the intention to learn, rather than to achieve something. In practicing for three to four hours a day, I have discovered that I lift my shoulders up and am very tense. This has been causing muscle strain. In my observing pianists playing, none lift or tense their shoulders (unless they are landing heavy chords, and even so, they return to a limp position). I must practice this, lest I injure myself further. Thus, my practice time has been reduced in half. From four hours to two, ’til I steadily develop the muscle strength, posture, and neurons capable of advancing to more hours of practice. I am not just learning how to play the piano, and music theory as well. I am learning how to efficiently practice.

The sweet point of discomfort, and pleasure must be established… pain will generate the opposite, and I assumed, for years… that pushing through pain of any kind will garner results. It does not. Instead, it pushes back progress significantly.

Practice smartly, not like a fool who is attempting to mow their way through a task in-order to achieve it.

We are taught to do this through our seminal years in schooling, as flawed as it is. The detriment of a person’s health, and well-being in favor for work and achievement is all too common. There is no time for patience. Try ‘harder’, we are told.

*Every lesson thus far, since a six weeks ago there is one thing I must learn. How to relax, and how to breathe. I will now take stock of this.

I am further along in learning theory, only because of one thing: my framework for learning and consolidating theory is quite sound. I learnt this through my years of being an Academic. Less bursts of time, in incremental chunks of study is planned. There is no significant pain to ‘fight’ through… rather a state of flow, is being employed. I expect to make mistakes, in research… what do I do? I edit, and keep on going. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Piano, I’ve yet to achieve the same reassurance. I will work on doing so, for an entire year: To achieve that wonderful trance-like state, where one balances focus and relaxation.

Time escapes you.

Yes, I love piano. Yes I enjoy watching pianists. I want what they have, whatever it is. And I will pay great costs to attain it.

Note: Base technique is of utmost importance. This is what I am working on developing firstly. Then, with time, I can add my own personal flourishes on top of that. Making mistakes are welcomed at this point. That is not the objective, which will be focused on. Instead, playing with no tension. Playing relaxed, is the objective.

Professional pianists hide their mistakes, just as well. Perfection is a mistake.

Theory Portion:

I have since advanced to Grade II, I will be reading up on some notes for Grade II theory.

*Beat Hierarchy Exercises:

+ Notational values, as they are written through grouping conventions rely on beat hierarchy.
For example, whether or not one will beam their quavers or use two crotchet rests in place of a minim rest.

Notes: The Anacrusis is treated as the upbeat.

*Annotation of all Diatonic intervals, by quality and number up to 8ve.

*Annotation of D, A major with relative minors and A, E, D minors.

Pianistic Practice:

Slow down, and relax. Deep breathing.

Deep Breathing Exercises:
30 minutes.

Left hand scale practice:
10 minutes.
Right hand scale practice:
10 minutes.
Contrary motion scale practice:
10 minutes.

Repertoire Canon in C Major by Ettore Pozzoli:
30 minutes.
(This canon is a finger independence exercise. Finger strength, and independence is of utmost importance in piano-work)

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