Music Practice. 13-03-2021 to 20-03-2021.

Feedback:

This is indeed the year for piano. I’ve marked my calendar/schedule for many pianistic events to take place–specifically at The Conservatorium. I see it as wise, to sit in the front row… directly parallel to the view of the keyboard, and the performer’s hands on the keys… so that I may observe their technique.

In my observations, although sparse… (I began learning piano five months ago, and I began attending musical events, the very same) weight is never forced/sourced from the fingers. Physiologically speaking, that would be impossible. Fingers don’t have ‘muscles’ (Sorry, Hanon, your exercises are outdated). The mechanic of movement, that the finger joints are capable of are by way of tendons–which, of course run up the entire course of one’s arms.

Therefore, an efficient way of playing is to never play from the fingers… but rather, through conventions of gravity. Source weight from the pivot of the wrists (whilst keeping them loose) and elbows. With a drop–and of course, the fingers will be shifting positions in a subtle push forward (for standard legato) all the while. Staccato is handled differently, where the push is inverted with the tips. Of course, these aren’t the only muscles to consider. The entire body, is used for piano.

In my sitting closest to a pianist, last performance I had attended… I could hear breathing. The fellow played for an hour, just as well… with little breaks/intermissions, and of course–he did an encore performance for his adoring crowd. Beautiful hands, intelligent playing–grace. He is one of the staff members at The Conservatorium, he looks a bit like Mr. Six from Six flags (Mr. six is cool, don’t worry) and seems to scream PIANO from his very pores.

Err… literally, he was sweating. In-fact, any pianists performing repertoire which is demanding WILL sweat profusely. This fellow was playing Bach, Liszt, Schumann, and Rachmaninov for his entire performance. He’d stop between each movement, crack his hands/fingers at his sides… brace himself for the next piece… taking note that he had no music sheets in-front of him, to speak of. He is such a lord. Lord of the keys!

Sweat pianists, sweat. I’ll smile all the while.

Note: Musicianship will be added to my learning curriculum, mid-year. I will be moved up to fourth grade Musicianship, via the AMEB standard. When I advance far enough, to AMUS, I will be sitting some tests to earn some qualifications in-relation to the theoretical conventions of music. Musicianship, or Music theory. As for my progression in playing, I foresee that this will be a more gradual progression. Eventually, when reaching past seventh grade, I will sit an exam, the very same.

After doing so, I intend to attend Music School. And perhaps, eventually, I wish to bridge into higher-education, so as to contribute to research in-relation. Although, knowing me, this is apt to change.

Why do this? Simple, because I can and I must. If I do not cease this opportunity now, I will live my life in regret. The time is now, for me!

Being a musician IS a trade skill.

Music Theory:

Some recommended listening from my teacher:
Ian Munro, Jason Gilliam, Boris Berezovsky (the pianist, not the politician).

With these recommendations, I’ve still my favorite. The Rat Stroganoff.

Rachmaninoff’s compositions always contain some of the most orgasmic climaxes, EVER. That’s romanticism, for you.

My rat is named after him. Hence, Ratmaninoff. When Ratmaninoff goes to the vet, they have no idea how to spell his name. One of the vets said they searched up the pianist, and listened to him for the first time. Good! More ears need to hear Rachmaninoff. I also have a pet-name for my rat, to which I call him “Rachmans“, which makes absolutely no sense, in reference to the original Rachmaninoff.

Frederic Chopin is also my favorite, and that’s mainly because Chopin was, in my opinion, hot. I gots me a thing for pianists. I won’t deny it.

GRADE III THEORY.

Scale Intervallic Sequences:

Major: T-T-S-T-T-T-S
Harmonic Minor: T-S-T-T-S-T1/2-S
Natural Minor: T-S-T-T-S-T-T

Melodic minors will be explored during 4th and 5th grade theory (AMEB).

It helps to remember these sequences, by remembering that TONES rest mid-way.

Accidentals:
I had trouble wrapping my head around accidentals at first, my teacher clarified this for me… thankfully!

For example, if one were adding a sharp to a Bb… this would make the note a B natural as opposed to a B#, since one would raise or lower the semitone in correspondence. Initially, I had assumed, that if one were to apply an accidental sharp to a Bb, it would lead one to play a B#–but this is not correct, especially when we are speaking in context of the piano, and how the piano keys sit. The sharp, as an accidental leads one to step up one semi-tone on the keyboard, whilst the flat has the inverse effect. As for double sharps, and flats… these would be equivalent to stepping up and down two semitones–which, would be akin to a tone (there are two semitones in one tone).


Inversions:
There is total of only two inversions, for triads. Bach’s repertoire, is demonstrative of some sexy inversions. Especially in his inventions.

Minors:
I asked my teacher for further clarification on the different types of minors, there are. In total, three: natural, harmonic, and melodic.

In reading a score with the key of a minor, it is played in the context of ‘harmonic minor’–therefore if a score was in A Minor, one would play the harmonic of that minor–with the seventh raised with an accidental, and not through the key signature (the key a minor has, is sourced from its major equivalent). The natural minor wasn’t introduced in the AMEB syllabus, until recently–for theoretical purposes.

The seventh of the harmonic minor, is raised in correspondence to its diatonic scale pattern.

I’ve been learning about triad chords thus far. I composed this minimalistic piece, some-time ago which makes use of triads. The piece ends on the tonic, giving it a proper conclusion (this is an unspoken rule that can be broken).

The triad chord in this piece is a Tonic Chord. It is built from F to C.

Take note, the 2nds of the Tonic chord for F Major (G), are also added to vary the melody, that is, in separation and not on the chord itself–the primary chords used in this composition, are however triads.

I may re-purpose this piece’s basic rhythm with a Median Chord, and Dominant chord to explore the possibilities further.

F-A-C (Tonic chord of F Major) I Chord.
C-E-G (Median chord of F Major, is essentially the same as the Tonic chord in C Major.) III Chord.
G-Bb-D (Dominant chord of F Major) V Chord.

When I advance to fourth grade theory, I will compose another piece–that is, with other chords in-mind. I also intend to compose some pieces in the minors I have learnt to play, thus far–that is, with the intention of raising the leading-tone (7th) up a semi-tone manually, through accidentals.

Note: Accidentals are called accidentals due to their only occurring, occasionally in the course of a musical composition. They are distinguishable from the key signature. Before accidentals, musicians played music, in-accordance to what their ears told them sounded good. This is known as ‘Musica Ficta’.

Etymologically speaking. Accidental is sourced from Medieval Latin–from “Accidentalis” and original Latin with “Accidentem”. It refers to something occurring outside the normal course of its intended nature. Therefore, the term accidental in the context of music is indeed very fitting.

For accidentals are characterized by both non-essential attributes, and occur outside of the expected nature of its context. In this case, the key signature.

More revision:


+ Chords. Completion of ‘Chords’ in AMEB ‘Theory Of Music’.
+ Annotation of bass clef, up and down two leger lines.
+ Scale degree revision. Technical names, and qualities.

Pianistic Practice:

Scales:

All 2 8VEs. RH, and LH. Contrary, and similar motion with both, also.

C Major
A Natural Minor
A Harmonic Minor

G Major
E Natural Minor
E Harmonic Minor

F Major
D Natural Minor
D Harmonic Minor

C Chromatic Scale.
G Chromatic Scale.
(New) D Chromatic Scale.

(New) D Major.

With scales, I exercise technical skill and use of the hands. Paying close attention to playing smooth, and even legato, with smooth tone of each note–just as well, experimenting with the movement of the tips, slightly expending force forward… and exercising the wiping motions for staccatos.

Scales, again are where I source much of my refinement of technique. I make it a habit to practice scales, right before practicing anything else in piano-work.

Repertoire:

“Royal March Of The Lion.”
“Quadrille”

Refinements of rhythm, and articulations. I am re-visiting these pieces, due to months prior… my hands were still being strengthened and trained to play properly. Technique, always, is at the forefront of my practice, past repertoire.


*LH push in, not down when playing.
*RH extension, keep grounded.
*Don’t miss any stacattos!
*Play bar, by bar. Not the entire piece.
*Slow, and relaxed. Be quick to go slow. Fracture mistakes. Don’t play the entire piece, through.

“A Little Hush Song” = New Repertoire.

PIANO/MUSIC THEORY. L.14. GRADE 1. (Hello Piano)

I am now learning the piano concurrently with music theory lessons. I have two instructors who teach me on a weekly basis. Theory lessons go for 1″30 minutes, piano instruction for 1 HR.

This is the BEST pianist I have ever seen. Forget the rest.


I learn both theory, and piano concurrently together. I am not strictly interested in learning piano to play pretty songs for others. Rather, I wish to understand the instrument, and of course, the theory behind it. I believe this should evince the respect I wish to extend to the instrument. Therefore, allow for the journey to be long. I have the time. Will I end up playing solo, or with others? I hope to, with the second… not so much the first. It’s not so much in my personality, I believe, to be in the lime light. I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of person. I wish to play, primarily with Jazz musicians (they’re laid-back and hilarious). If there is one thing I ought to avoid, it’s to garner a high opinion of myself. There is nothing more crippling than that, to anyone’s music journey. For me, the core basis of my motivation is expression. To express myself. Music in one’s soul has to be let out.

Therefore, I will be spending several years playing alone, before I end up accompanying others. That is for certain. I am perfectly fine with that. Let the pianistic journey begin~

I have Oscar Peterson recordings, just in-case I get too far up my arse. One must always keep themselves humble. Peterson’s technique is very similar to my teacher’s… from my observation. They have the same fluidity. Amazing…

The tendons. How gummy they are. It’s beautiful.

Theory Portion:

God damn, I play back recordings with my teachers and I ask them a lot of damned questions. I sound like an enthusiastic child. Heuheuheuheuheuhe~

That’s because I am.

1> Music Theory:


Fugue: A contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts. Canons often occur within a Fugue. A canon is heard within, with individual instruments with their separate lines… eventually joining. However, the lines are not identical. Rather, they refer to the original theme. Still they are independent.

This is what you would title ‘Counterpoint’. I have not yet ventured into the definition of “Counterpoint”. By my first instructor’s definition, a “counterpoint” is a second melody, which accompanies the first (in a way). No theory was worked on for this week, due to the PRELIM grade of theory book being completed. I am in the process of being marked. Just as well, my trilogy set “The Musician’s Guide” arrived today. Yes… so much yes… and the piano is mentioned throughout the texts. GOOD.

I now have a basic understanding of music, and can sight-read at a slow pace. This is comparable, to how I was three months ago. I didn’t have any single clue how to read music, at all.

2> Composing on Musescore “Gaspar’s Odyssey”:

Still working on this theme. ensuring that it is being improved. A work-in-progress.

Heuheuheuhe. My teacher left notes. I must change some things… lest I wish to torture my pianists! We have Ligeti for that. My teacher said “Not everyone has Liszt’s hands, Geez.” He’s a drama queen sometimes, then again… he plays the piccolo and he’s is a vocalist.

Variation 4: It has been appended.
Variation 5 onward needs to be fixed. That is, in-relation to note placing to the original theme. The theme must be adhered to, always.

1) I need a Retrograde.
2) A ‘D’ against a ‘C’ will never work. Due to the dissonant harmony. Sometimes the dissonant harmony is acceptable, in this case, it would simply not fit with the original theme.

3> Composer’s Spreadsheet. Mozart:
It’s pronounced “Moat-zart”. Like oats. I was instructed to address: “Describe what short life, Mozart led.”

Mozart is excellent study, because one can see chords. Easily. I won’t bother posting what I had written on the boy… it’s rather self-explanatory. One can find the information of his life online, easily.

Piano Portion (Alexandre):

Ah~ piano… so majestic… and so, through my teacher’s (Yoda) advice I watch pianists to get a sense of how to play. Observing their form, positioning and so-forth. I may be wrong here in my observations, so don’t take any of this seriously.

At this current moment. 1 hour and 30 minutes (sometimes two hours or more) of practice is dedicated to piano every day. Altogether, with theory, I will, on a normal day… tally-up three hours a day of practice to music. When I do practice past the two hour mark, I feel a strange ease. And then, I want to continue onward. Are my hands suffering? No. Then again, I’ve the preliminary basis of spending hours and hours typing on a computer keyboard since my early-teens. I don’t advise anyone, just starting out, as I had… to begin with 1″30 minutes, sometimes exceeding over that. It’s each to their own in reality, and to be honest.

Firstly, I wrote a long drawn out ramble on my observations of pianists. Concert-level pianists, and one virtuoso. One must observe the best, to reference from.
——-

One doesn’t have to force anything or try so hard, I’ve noticed when observing these professionals… they allow the music to flow out of themselves. I notice from watching the Australian pianist, Jayson Gillham, specifically that he is extremely meditative… although, still pensive in playing:

His hand’s movements are more restricted as one would find from your Ligeti Etudes (oh Ligeti, you mad man), his fingers and wrists still retain their agility and flexibility. The fingers especially. Had he of been tensed, he could not have played that piece at all. Moving at that pace and speed would be near impossible–that is why relaxing and being limp whilst playing is of utmost importance. His wrists loose, and his fingers free to do what they must. He is very nervous, as one would expect… the tension is observed through his back and neck, as opposed to his hands and arms. This piece is quite short, as most etudes are. Therefore, this is forgiven. Now, Paul Carasco:

I think I mentioned this last post, but in my opinion, damn… he’s hot. Especially around the 7 minute mark. He’s like “BE GONE OBSCURING FABRIC OF MINE COAT” Then he plunks the hell out of the keyboard. Be still my beating heart.

Now, he is quite relaxed in comparison to the former (then again, this piece isn’t an etude). They all balance on that line of being relaxed, however, still, they are focused… a sweet-point of consciousness attained through hours and hours of practice. Yes, each of these pieces in-which they are performing, I wouldn’t mind betting that they would have practiced for perhaps a whole year or more. They are both virtuosic pieces. Caruso closes his eyes often, to feel what he is playing. His muscles remember, through the myelin pathways built up in his brain from hours and hours of practice. He lets the music speak for itself. He, a mere conduit to that numinous spirit of music (heuheuheuhe Chopin). The wrists again, are very loose. Limp, and the fingers are able to do what they must. The seminal basis of that dipping wrist motion is seen throughout his playing. His hands, well-seasoned (no, not like a roast chicken).

Vlassenko here is far more relaxed than the former two. Still very focused. Again, they balance on that edge. Her posture is excellent. She moves her face down to look at the keys, as opposed to craning her neck (sometimes she deviates, only to return to her original posture). Also, she appears very meditative throughout. She my teacher’s teacher (Yoda’s Yoda). When my teacher plays demonstrations on my keyboard, I see Vlassenko’s technique is indeed being employed. It amazes me… that techniques of the pianist are passed down through generations. This is expected, as most of your professional pianists become teachers, and their skill is thereon passed down through their students. In a way, traces of them still will live on for generations to come. A beautiful thing.

And an oldie. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli playing a favorite from my husband, Chopin. Arturo’s posture is perfect. His distance from the pedals is related to his height; His arms are parallel to the floor, his wrists and arms are loose, his shoulders aren’t tense at all. He still has what all of the others had. None are sight reading, rather, they are focusing on the keys. Occasionally they will close their eyes and look away, relying on muscle memory. And Michelangeli, just like Carasco tends to, as I observe, feel what they are playing. A very important element to the excellent pianist, I believe. To feel what they are playing. To play from the heart. This rendition is absolutely phenomenal.

They all look focused. One can be both focused and relaxed, I’ve found… something which, admittedly was foreign to me, initially. My teacher did mention that a healthy degree of tension is needed, for the performer–lest they want flop to the ground.

I found this fella, today, via the Youtube Algorithm. Nikolai Lugansky. He walks out, and he’s like “Yes-yes! I have arrived.” They clap and he hasn’t even started playing yet. That’s a serious audience, for a serious man with coat tails. So, they better hold their applause after the resonance has ceased!

He demonstrates a healthy tension. It’s as if it’s just he, and the piano. He isn’t at all fussed about the audience. Sheer concentration is on his face, and when he becomes excited, he is apt to allow his hands to bounce. He begins to shine at the 4:16 mark. Those are some nice double-jointed hands.

His fingers wonderfully adroit, like a ballet dancer’s limbs. He was rather precocious in piano, beginning at five. He plays, primarily through ear, as I’ve observed.

Now, let’s look to the BEST of the world–a virtuoso pianist:

The applause at the beginning. Hell yeah, she’s a legend!

She began at the age of three. And guess who she crossed paths with, who taught her four lessons? Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. Her greatest inspiration is Gulda. Agerich nearly became a doctor. Thank the heavens she didn’t. Screw that!

The piano needs her~ she is piano lady!

The way she plays, it comes completely from her heart and soul. It is feeling. What virtuoso doesn’t have that extra spice?
OH, HELL YEAH. AT 32:20! The way, that she can use the 5th fingers… holy… shit.
She knows, where all the notes are.

The conductor was one of her three husbands, too.
You marry a music man/woman, you marry their music.


All share one thing in common. Relax your arm’s muscles as much as possible, none have hunched shoulders. They are loose to allow mobility. NEVER RESTRICT YOUR MOVEMENT. NEVER. As Chopin said “Play how you feel”. One must grant the fingers the permission, and ability to do what they must! Also, the body never stays stiff. Never. The pianist must be allowed mobility to move around all 88 keys. All the while, working their foot on the pedal when required. As my teacher said, they play from their feet. I’ve noticed that, especially with those playing more complicated repertoire. They do. They take the source of their power, the weight they apply to the keys, right from the soles of their feet. This makes logical sense. In my switching from viola to piano… piano can be quite exhausting to play for the whole body (especially the virtuosic pieces). The instrument demands more than just the muscles of one’s hands. All of these pianists I’ve provided as examples, even if some may not be cognizant to it, appear to be aware of their bodies. How tense they are, how they are breathing. Their ability to be present is ingrained within them, from hours and hours of practice. Although focus is still there, and when they do fall into the trap of becoming tensed, this is revealed on their face. However, what appears on their face is one of focus–concentration past frustration. All instrumentalists have this look.


And one more thing they do: They make piano their life.

They are all playing on acoustic grand pianos. They are not cheap (I am aware, that they are playing recital pianos that aren’t theirs… however, I would bet they have/would have had their very own acoustics). The price of them can range from the ten thousands, onward. The price of a new car. And if I’m being honest, when I do eventually upgrade to an acoustic piano… I want one of considerable quality. Therefore, I foresee that I will be spending quite a lot on one. When one upgrades to an acoustic piano, especially those of the grand variety. THAT. IS. COMMITMENT.

******I asked my teacher when it would be viable for me to purchase an acoustic, she stated around the third grade level (Chameleon Boogie is an example). A decent quality up-right piano, or baby grand would be worth investing in. Alexandre (my digital piano), however is fine for practice ’til then. Even when I do get myself an acoustic. I, still will play Alexandre. My teacher stated that the difference between an acoustic and digital piano, has to do with a larger range of dynamics–as well as an ease of expressing articulations. In her opinion, the acoustic is better… and if you were to ask me for my opinion. Of course an acoustic is bloody better! What do pianists, during recitals perform on? Acoustic.

A note on pianists: When one watches performers perform, they don’t consciously take into account the hours and hours each instrumentalist would have had to spend alone… practicing, honing their craft. There is a lot of discipline. There is a lot of blood. There is a lot of tears. Disappointments. Too many to count. To reach such heights and levels speaks to the character of the individual, and that is where my respect comes from… and uhhh, that explains why I think some of the dudes are hot. What? It isn’t appearances alone. Also, you’re damned kooky. All of you serious pianists. Low-key eccentrics with workaholic tendencies. The serious pianists I’ve crossed paths with, are all wickedly intelligent and especially driven. Their off-kilter sense of being is refreshing, as hell. That transcends mere appearance! And yes… I think organists are hot too, with their three clefs. No matter how awkward, and potentially religious ya’ll are~ Ya’ll are hot. No, I am not joking. I will be DAMNED to hide it any longer! Artists man… artists.

Drilling from 29-08-2020 to 05-09-2020:

My wrists are stiff from years and years of drawing tensely. By nature, just as well, I am an anxiety-ridden person. Interestingly enough, I noticed, after practicing for 1″30 Minutes, that my wrists eased up… becoming near loose and gummy as my teacher described. Her instruction of the dipping wrist motion was what helped.

He says the exact same thing as my teacher. All parts of the body are connected. Relax the ankle joints slightly (yes, because you play from your feet). Also, breathe. Don’t think about relaxing either. Just do it.

Thoughts are what create tension in the first place.


I will need to make some adjustments should I wish to learn how to play the piano, with no faults. Will I be strict? Hell yeah. I believe if you want something, you ought to makes sacrifices. I will do it:

  1. Quit sugar. This means ALL sugars, such as carbohydrates and fruit past lemons/limes. All sugar will be nixed.
  2. Return to 24-HR intermittent fasting.
  3. Breathe from the diaphragm. So that, not only can you hear, but also so you can hear.
  4. Play the piano more. Eventually, when the instrument becomes familiar, I won’t be as tense.
  5. Quit caffeine, except for tea.
  6. Watch and listen to piano music/videos every day.

    DRILLS–Technique first (Repertoire C Major scale for LH and RH and ‘Happy Birthday’ in Middle-C position):
    * Curved fingers in an arc. I have nail-beds which stick out, therefore I adopt a flatter position of curving, so that my fingers can rest on their flats. So long as the third joint to the tip of the finger is bent, it is perfectly fine.
    * Limp wrists, relaxed arms and shoulders with wrist dips in practicing the C-Major scale for both hands. Finger-switching is observed often in scales, so practicing an agility in this is crucial.
    * Ensure that fingers do not collapse, and you are not playing too tightly or flatly.
    * GO SLOW before speeding up. You ought to fine-tune all of the incremental features within building up that profile of skill. Piano, is largely muscle memory. Patience saves time. I intend to venture into Jazz repertoire eventually, therefore, ensuring my technique is sound will allow me to speed up when the occasion arises.

    Elegance is what you are looking for. As if your hands are a ballet dancer.

    In a nutshell, this week is all about the acquisition of the curved position and playing with the dipping wrist motion, as well as developing an adroitness in finger switching, and developing an agility with scales. Damn, she’s a good teacher. The piano, as I’ve found really does lead one to reflect on bodily awareness. It amazes me, I had not initially known this, ’til my teacher, from my first lesson had opened my eyes to this realization. Therefore, I will further look after the body. FOR PIANO! I have been a Vegan for an entire year, I take strictly cold showers, and had quit caffeine some two months ago–although I still drink green tea. Just as well… admittedly, I am a sugar addict, and that doesn’t bode me well in becoming very over-stimulated by that.

    Therefore, that will go.

Don’t skip practice. Heuheuheuheuheuhe~