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 Fingers don’t have ‘muscles’ (Sorry, Hanon, your exercises are outdated).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.

Music Practice. 27-02-2021 to 06-02-2021.

I have been learning piano for roughly five months, now. Music theory, a good eight months, now. Before, I had learnt viola for a good three months–and had advanced to I grade music theory, in those three months. Viola wasn’t for me, I had found… piano, I love.

Before then, I had absolutely no knowledge of music at all. That is the truth. Therefore, I began learning music at the age of twenty-five. Music is indeed a worthy investment.

By that measure, it should take me roughly a year to advance to Grade IV music theory by AMEB standards. I am up to GRADE I repertoire for piano-work, and GRADE II for scales.

Mid-year, I will also be taking up MUSICIANSHIP by AMEB standards to learn.

Piano-work is slower to progress in-comparison, due to my desire to focus on technical skill past playing pretty things. I must strengthen my hands, and temper my fingers in-order to practice efficiently. Perhaps this will be reached by Grade III repertoire? Who knows?

Let the music journey, continue.

I try to, as much as I can… fit in allotments of music practice in-between my other responsibilities. The skill won’t acquiesce on its own. Save for the crucial element of retainment of knowledge.

Feedback:

For piano work–It is said that my technique has improved, through these five months of instruction. My tone has become more even, from finger to finger. Tenseness has been alleviated. I do not injure myself as much as I formerly did, with improper playing. Thank goodness.

I have made changes to the manner in-which I play, from my teacher’s instruction. To play from the kinetic energy of my elbows pivoting–the fingers, whichever one is pronated, acts in consequence to the transference of force. Finger strength is worked on primarily for the fingers to stay in a fixed and grounded position–not to draw effort from the fingers directly. Efficiency of energy transference is achieved from the fore-knuckle. Wrists must be supple, and loose to allow the hands to navigate from octave to octave on the keyboard–the groundedness and healthy tension applies only to the fixing on the fingers in the optimal position (the context of this, differs from piece to piece).

Between this, I have been filing back my nail-beds and now I can play on the flats of my fingers comfortable. I see this as a worthy trade.

Stiff playing, is attributed to sourcing weight from the fingers alone–when piano demands use of many muscles in-tandem. Stiff playing, is a big no-no.Speed, among other techniques still must be developed–this is, however in regards to the basal technique all pianists must learn to play decently.

Theory (Grade III, by AMEB standards):

This week, I had worked on:

Major & Minor scales up to four sharps and flats.
Intervals (number and quality).
Scale degrees and technical names.
Primary chords, and first inversions.

I had taken notes, in-relation to learning these. As such, my observations:

* The tonic and root are not synonymous to one another. The root refers to the base note in a chord.
* A dominant triad of a minor key must have an accidental for the leading note (scale degree 7).
* Tonic chord (I), Subdominant chord (IV), and dominant chords (V) are all (1st) primary chords. One will observe their use, mostly in mainstream pop music. These chords, being the primary ones are of PRIME importance.
* The circle of fifths allows one to memorize proceeding key signatures.
* The mnemonic Fresh-Cherries-Grow-Down-At-East-Brunswick is often used to memorize the placing of signature flats and sharps for each key.
* C Major’s Dominant (V) triad is also the Tonic (I) triad for G Major. This pattern is also applicable to proceeding key signatures–such as G Major’s Dominant triad, being D Major’s Tonic triad (D-F-A). The defining feature between each key, of course, is the signature. All is in the matter of context.
* Revision of scale degree names, as per the Ionian mode:
Tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, leading tone (vii).
* The tonic can be numbered as either 1/8, for the pattern repeats itself when the tonic note is reached on the next range. The leading tone, is of a diminished nature–which explains the ‘circle’ above the lower-case Roman no. 7.
* Augmented notes, are the inverse the diminished notes–this will be explored further in grade IV music theory. There is also mention of double Augmented, and double diminished notes–again, however, this will be explored much further on.

Pianistic Practice:

Known Scales (GRADE II AMEB):
C Major.
A Natural Minor.
A Harmonic Minor.
G Major.
E Natural Minor.
E Harmonic Minor.
F Major.
D Natural Minor.
D Harmonic Minor.

Chromatic C scale.
Chromatic G scale.

2 8VE.

New Scales:
D Major.
B Natural Minor.
B Harmonic Minor.
Bb Major.
G Natural Minor.
G Harmonic Minor.
Chromatic D scale.

Singular LH & RH–and Contrary motions.

2 8VE.


Repertoire:
“Light Blue”.

Pianistic Practice 06-01-2021 to 20-01-2021.

By the Finnish painter Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt . This is my wallpaper at the moment. Hyuk-hyuk~

Feedback:

Pianism will be delayed in progress partially, due to my PhD being due in early 2022 and my teaching drawing classes for the first portion of 2021. I am, at this stage… up to Grade I repertoire, and Grade III theory by AMEB conventions.

I will, however, always do music for the foreseeable future! It is now part of my life.

So far, I have been doing pianism since 29th of of October 2020. It has been four-five months, in my learning so far. Much has been learnt, and yet… I have barely scratched the surface.

My tone in playing scales is becoming more even. The wrists are observed to be nice and soft. However, the hand positioning needs more work. Being grounded is what I am working toward, with the fingers in-relation to being solid in their foundation. That is, the tips of the fingers are cemented into their position of the keys. No pivot occurs from the knuckle. That exerts unnecessary force. No tenseness, either. There is a fine-line to be drawn between being both tense, and applying the proper weight to the keyboard. Rather, the weight of the arm should be transfer the kinetic energy through the final joint (tip) of the fingers.

The hand moves, not the tips of the fingers. No force comes from the fingers, nor do they move. One knows they’re playing properly, if the playing feels comfortable and not over-strenuous. That is, from the tip of the fingers.

For pianists, especially at the professional grade… they are expected to play for long periods at time–and not just that! The repertoire they are expected to, at that level play, is very demanding. Physically.

Theory (GRADE III AMEB):

Worksheets:

The pulse is what the beat is divided into–the individual instance of the notes. An indicator of the rhythm. Grouping of notes, show clearly, how many beats are in each bar.

*Time Signature And Rhythm:

With groupings, one can beam the entire quavers/semi-quavers and so-on in the bar. However, it is not typically accepted, in composing standards. The time signature can always be deduced by the notational values of the notes within each bar—and, the groupings of the notes, if applicable.

Sometimes, on the rare occasion… pieces may not end of the tonic to signify. Instead, it can be from the tonic chord. For example, if a piece written in C Major ends in either C-E-G, it is still correct… however, if it doesn’t end on the C, it’ll sound comparatively more incomplete.

Compound: Pulses are counted.
Simple: Beats are counted.

+ More completion of the work-sheet, in-relation to Scale Degrees, and chords.

+ More practice of subdivision and rhythm. Via “Rhythm trainer”, and sourcing repertoire.

Pianistic Practice:

  • Grounded finger exercise: A flat and uniformed surface. Finger-tips stay stationary. The weight is pushed forward in a subtle manner. The tip stays grounded, and stays glued there. The finger-tips will feel well-worked, however not exerted. Do not move the tips. This will help build a foundational structure. One doesn’t play the piano, like a typist.

Form the bridge, and keep it steady. Never raise the shoulders, or wrists. One plays with a slight pushing forward movement, from the tips. It is very subtle. The structure of the hand, for a basis is being done right if no fingers collapse.

The primary knuckles are elevated higher than everything else, on the hand. Not on the wrists.

  • Intervals = Do so three minutes, three times per day.
  • Squeeze ball: Strengthen fingers/finger tips.

Extension of finger arc, outward so as to not hit my nails (my nail beds extend outward, to the tips of my fingers… thus I must adopt a flatter curve). The mechanic of applying weight to each key, from each finger is a subtle PUSH forward as opposed to HITTING/STRIKING the keys. Remember to utilize WEIGHT of the fingers. Drop them, don’t force them.

The publication of HANON, in regards to its finger exercises are criticized by contemporary school of piano as outdated. Many will find that the exercises within the publication, will lead to a more rigid style of playing… due to the player not employing the things aforementioned here. The force isn’t at all source from the hands.

Scales: (Grade Prelim to II scales)

Further refinement of playing. Grounded-finger playing. Between each note played, reset the position. Be quick to go slow. Verrrryyyy slow. “Push, and back.” One can see a tip of the wrist, back and forth–to utilize the force/weight produced from the upper-arm and so fourth.

Repertoire:

Repertoire isn’t of the utmost importance to me, at this stage in my pianistic progress. More or less, I am intending to spend a good year in solidifying technique. The emphasis with playing repertoire, is to slowly, but surely learn technique in each piece… so as to solidify technique.

Rhythm, and subdivision must also be practiced.

“Light Blue”

This piece, in-which I am learning has the first tuplet to play, in-which I am firstly introduced to. Just as well, between both hands, the rhythm is different. Learning the delicate process of playing staccato and legato per hand, is still something I am indeed working on.

Pianistic Practice 16-01-2021 to 30-01-2021.

Goals for 2021:

  • Begin studying musicianship (theory with an aural component).
  • Advance to 5th Grade Theory (AMEB).
  • Advance to 2nd Grade Repertoire (AMEB).
  • Memorizing all 24 keys (major and minors).

Objective for this week:
Practice staccatos: Brush the keys, with the tips of fingers–the flicking motion is utilized by the fore knuckle dragging toward you, the player.

Reduce tension for both hands. Equilibrate weight distributed between both. More flexibility.

Feedback:

Right hand: Skims the keys, as opposed to ‘sinking’ into them.
Left hand: Too ‘Rigid’, has lost discernible flexibility. Heavier then the right, due to it being over-strengthened.

Move your thumb over, as you play the next note–not straight away. It ruins the legato.

I must work on both hands, to ensure that the weight/heaviness of both are even and equilibrated. To resolve this, I am told to play very slowly and to sink into the bottom of the keys. Slowly, evenly to build up muscle-memory. Play slowly, and connect each note, slowly. All the while go playfully slow. The fore-knuckles of the finger, at the very tips is where the fingers curve.

I can now play past the black keys, as opposed to keeping at the edge–due to surpassing ‘beginners‘ status.

Technique is of utmost importance.


Misc. Notes:
Piano lunchtime concerts will be held again this April at The Conservatorium… and for that, I am excited. With these, I have also booked in advanced for Mahler, Eroica (Ero-ih-ca) of Beethoven, and a Jazz showcase. As well, there is also an oncoming competition for piano being spread across Australia, in a few cities–due to unforeseen circumstances, who knows if audiences could watch? I hope so. I miss watching pianists, live. ‘Deed I do.

There is also a Tchaikovsky concert coming up, sometime in April.

Music Theory:

+ Terms & definitions.
+ SATB (Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Bass): memorize.
+ Memorization of technical scale degree names.

Pianistic Practice:

Scales:


(1 8ve Single)
C Major
A Minor
A Harmonic Minor
G Major
E Minor
E Harmonic Minor
F Major
D Minor (The same fingering as C Major)
D Harmonic Minor (The same fingering as C Major)
C & G Major Chromatic scales.

(1/2 8ve Contrary Motion)
C Major
A Minor
A Harmonic Minor
G Major
E Minor
E Harmonic Minor


(1/2 8ve Similar Motion)
C Major
A Minor
A Harmonic Minor
G Major
E Minor
E Harmonic Minor

+Staccato scales.
+Gently Separate 4th and 5th fingers
(Ensure that you’re not playing two notes, at once).
+Move/shift weight whilst playing, for energy efficiency.

Repertoire:

  • Skatchka”
  • “Light Blue”: Hand position changes, and rhythm changes with triplets.
  • Czerny opus 599 & 299 (what many students practice from, at The Conservatorium).

Piano Practice & Music Theory 16-11-2020-21-11-20.

Feedback:

I was told that I had a big improvement from last week.

For my contrary motions, I’ve learnt a nice circle motion for technique.

I’ve got tension from trying to keep myself relaxed, funnily enough. It must be the ‘level-up’ variant from the original tension I possessed, for the tension isn’t as bad as before.

Keep going. It’s been over two months. Keep going. My wrists hurt, my fingers hurt.


Keep going.

Some things I ought to do:
*I need to keep my fingers more curved. And strengthen my fingers with squeeze ball exercises.

What I need is good strength, in a good curved position. Focus on squeezing with the fingers. The strength of the pianist comes from the feet. This is where it is sourced from–and the energy is channeled from the base of the feet, to the spine… and finally, to the hands.

Always have a flat curve with fingers. ‘Horizon Fingers’, or a ‘Dome’ in my case, due to my protruding nail beds.

Right: Middle finger needs more work, to strengthen it.
Left: All fingers.

This is needed (finger strength, at the fore-knuckles and a good curve), so that efficiency for energy can be established… otherwise the pianist will restrict blood flow to their fingers. The piano demands a lot of physical strength!

Sometimes pianists don’t play notes. Sometimes the finger doesn’t hit the key right, with enough weight. I do recall my asking some pianists “Did you miss any notes.” To which they were quick to admit. Even a prodigy, I had observed, admitted that he did miss some in a Liszt piece. That is what I am afraid of. However, I shouldn’t be afraid of it. Every pianist does it. My tension is sourced from this anxiety.

I want to hit every note. However, I shouldn’t be concerned with that.

Music Theory (Grade II):

Tenuto: Hold down the note for it complete, and total value. It is an emphasis on a separate note, that it must be played as its notational value.

Accent: Is sort of like adding forte to a single note, as opposed to a whole bar/measure.

Interestingly enough for 6/8 versus 3/4, the correct grouping for crotchets, being three per bar is only applicable to a 3/4 bar-except! If the 6/8 bar is a hemiola.

The accents are grouped differently, within a hemiola.

The 6/8 meter, by default, does not work that way.

Now, pulses and beats. Pulses are often found in compound meters–although simple meters do have pulses, they are only apparent through subdivision. Pulses are known by compound meters, for that reason.

  • Annotation of treble and bass clefs in all known key signatures, at 2 8Ves.
  • Practice the difference between the clefs. Bass and Treble. Always read the clef.
    • Memorization of Grade II terms and definitions:

      *Mezzo is pronounced: Metzo. Mezzo-forte means ‘Moderately loud’. One plays at a standard volume for that bar.

      *When there is a hyphen between two dynamics on a bar, this signifies that one play that second dynamic when one repeats a piece. I.E: Mf-p.



      Two different forms:


      Binary: Two part sections.

      Basic Ternary: Three part sections.
      A section and B section.
      The pattern goes as follows: A-B-A.

      The A and B section are both different to one another. One can also render the A section for the last part (the second A), to be A-prime if needed. However, the variation is slight.
    • If the A section repeats itself, at the end, the form is ternary.

      Now, into the territory of themes.

      Note: Thematic material means, the theme, basically.

      Abstract/pure music does not tell a story. For example, many of Mozart’s sonatas do not tell a specific story. There is no context.

      There is thematic material in all music. The melody can demonstrate the theme, for instance. If one were to listen to a the first bars to a quadrille, for instance… a theme sets the ‘sound’ to put it crudely. Which permeates throughout the entire piece.
    • Note: A light motif, refers to the specific character or feeling within a narrative. However, from movement to movement within the piece, it reoccurs. Unlike Saint-Saenz’s “The Carnival Of The Animals.” Light motifs are found, most often in Operas.

Pianistic Practice:

This week, I focus on Dynamics and articulations.

Repertoire:

Saint-Saenz’s Carnival Of The Animals ‘Lions’.
Dynamics, needs to be refined.

+ Piano
+ Mezzo-Forte
+ Mezzo-Piano
+ Forte

To make it louder, apply more force/weight. Not tension.

Mozart’s ‘Aria’.
Needs to be learnt. The introduction of Semi-quavers and dotted quavers. The subdivision count can either be [Ti]kati[Ti]kati… or One-E-And-A-Two-E-And-A-Three-E-And-A-Four-E… and so forth.

Haydn’s Quadrille.
Needs to be mastered more so. Especially the hand movement, in the middle of the bar.

Scales:

*New scale: Chromatic scales, C Major and G Major.

The refinement of curved fingers, finger strengthening, and keeping the wrists raised above the keys as the default position will be the focus. Eventually, this will be allow the wrists to drive the fingers for playing. I cannot advance to more complicated repertoire, unless I do this.

When one is playing chords, or intervals… and holding them. One lifts up, not down with the hand. You must allow your hands that mobility to move across the keys, however, they must be grounded upon the keys… just as well.

Some listening’s:

The sexy Percy Grainger.

Piano Practice & Music Theory 31-10-2020.

Feedback:

My finger independence is developing well, however again, I must learn how to relax. A lot of tension is present, and must be rectified. My teacher and I had gotten into a conversation about overworking ourselves. She stresses that at this stage, I ought not to do that. Doing so, would be musical suicide. Especially since I wish to do this, by her words “forever”.

She mentions that I must allow myself to stop, if I hit any sensation of pain. If my tendons are hurting, my body is cautioning for me stop. Now!

With chords, at this stage. I am encouraged to allow my fingers to be fixed on the chords, in playing them. That is, solid and stable playing on the keys for chords. My teacher utilizes the weight from her elbow, as if she is hammering the notes. Less effort to play is encouraged. Less energy, especially when one is going to play for up to an hour, live, in-front of an audience. In general, the pianist attempts to keep their fingers as close to the keys as possible.

It has to do with tactility, and increasing accuracy of hitting the right notes.

I am very used to over-working myself, and if pain hits. I work through it. This mind-set was ingrained into me, through conditioning. We are all taught that any issue can be solved with “WORK HARDER.” She mentions that it is a musician thing, particularly pianists, who do overwork themselves and are rather perfectionistic.


Why do I write so much about pianists? Because one day, I will be glad to call myself one. I cannot yet, for I do not believe I am afforded such a right at this current moment. However, one day, I will be able to call myself “Meryl Keioskie, the pianist”. I have the name for it, I suppose. The ‘Keioskie’ being Polish in origin (Hayo, Chopin). However, first thing is first: Practice.

The interesting thing about musicians is that, although music may be their life… outside of that main interest, they’ve other things that captivate them just as well. Whether that be writing, chess, or anything else from the arts. Mr. Kissin (I’ll be kissin’ you in a minute) for instance, a great pianist, is somewhat of a chess master and loves mathematics, as well as writing. My teacher mentions that Kissin does this, to alleviate his mind–after-all, focusing on just one thing can drive people crazy. Pianists have interesting minds too, as I’ve found. Very over-active minds, that are susceptible to more maladies of mental illness, unfortunately. I see that parallel in myself, in them, too. That is one of the main things, why I had decided to take up music in complement to my Academic career.

Stephen Hough, another pianist has mentioned that he takes long holidays away from his piano. Not to see the instrument for long periods of time, to only come back to it, refreshed. It is a marriage in-of-itself, music. One cannot be attached at the hip to a wife or husband, what a dreadful union that would be. And yet, when we see couples cavorting around… dripping all over one another, and struck by lust, we know that such a display doesn’t guarantee ‘forever’. Do they know? I don’t rightly know.

Back to piano: She stresses that recharging is just as important as practicing.

Pianists often play by themselves, and for many years, just as well. String musicians, I’ve observed are often communal and more sociable. They ought to be, as the ample string section in an orchestra is in need of their presence. In an orchestra, all sections outnumber the pianist. And yet, can easily outnumber the instrumentalist in a music college. How? The piano is versatile instrument, not just secluded to mere orchestral processions. The pianist spends a lot of time alone, therefore many of them appear to be quite introverted. In my meeting pianists, I do notice a commonality between each… although subtle. Eccentric in their nature, even those that hide it. Should one ignite their passions, which has much to do with the school of music–they are quick to prattle on and on about their enthusiasm toward music. And of course, I can listen for hours had they not be so busy. That begs the question however, to whom do I place the title of ‘pianist’ on? Those educated in the field of music, of course. But then again, there are no definites in a labels. One could be educated in any field, but still perform poorly. I have experienced such phenomena, first-handedly in my teaching drawing students. I believe one can be truly called a pianist, if they possess an extensive experience in performing, and educating themselves in the art of music. Yes, the title itself is a career in of itself. Although, as my teacher had mentioned… music doesn’t promise wealth. Not unless you are a prodigy with a handful of scholarships under your belt, and that is rare (I had mentioned a fellow, in a previous post who fits that description). The musician creates, because they must. It is the path of the artist. It is not for the prestige attached to it. I could not give a rat’s ass for that. To be a pianist, one must have dedicated an ample sum of their life’s hours to the pursuit. There is no ‘farting’ around, as I call it. To be a pianist, one either is all in… or they aren’t. Let the wistful school yard chums, who strum their guitars in attempting to woo girls with sounds, do the farting around. The ones who messily play chords they had learned from a ten minute Youtube video. Music isn’t merely for courtship sake, the true musician as I’ve observed is a damned nerd! Ask them of scale degrees, and diminished chords and they’ll prattle on about it for hours. Ask them of idle celebrity gossip, or trivial matters and their eyes will glaze over. One must take it seriously.

Although, I do take note of the difference between their surface personas. Some can be foppish, some can be egotistical, some can be very deeply secure. Yet, each have this l’ émanation. They each have something similar that I will one day come to understand. At this point, I am certain that I myself have that just as well. Whatever it is.

At best I can describe it as such: That eccentricity. Yes, you are all a bunch of wonderful weirdos.

It is still, early days in my introducing myself to the musical climate. Six months prior, had you of asked me of anything I had written since then… I wouldn’t a clue. So much has been learnt, and yet, so much still is yet to be learnt.

Again. I want to do this for the rest of my life.

My teacher said, that at my age (26) it is very much possible that I can still be a soloist and even then… reach “the heights.” She speaks of someone she knew, who was 17 when he first began learning piano. And he was in the biggest piano competition in the world: The Tchaikovsky competition. He had only been learning for six years. Another instance is that Tchaikovsky himself had a late start in music himself, at the age of 22 to 23 in-fact. Similarly, Ryo Fukui began at the age of 23 in piano. Six years later, he began as a jazz pianist touring world wide. It is never too late. Although there is a lot of elitism presented in music, one cannot deny the opportunity and resources we are all granted. The elitism is produced through culture’s history, and of course, a plethora of young prodigies. Although they can mechanically present a complicated piece to a technically proficient degree, they still lack that finesse of emotion which is produced through a life-time of experience. Similarly, a great poet or writer cannot make another weep, unless he himself has been through a similar pain. Music, is an extension of communicating that which is beyond the beyond. Perhaps to an ethereal degree. By my teacher’s words, It is very possible for me to solo, eventually. And one day, I hope to look back on these little scrawlings in five to six years and see what I have become. By then, I will be 30-31 years of age.

The soul of the artist. When I seek to watch you each perform, that is what I am there to see, ultimately. Nevermind the pretty notes. What is it, you want others to understand that you yourself cannot ever hope to communicate through the binds of constructivist language systems?

Main Objective For Myself:

First thing’s first relax. Pain equals stop. In one day of playing through pain, you undo years and years or months and months of work. It is possible, that practicing can over-write muscle memory in a bad way. Just as well, injuries can become permanent.

It doesn’t matter if you have difficulty with something.

Work how you can do it, not why you can’t.

Theory Practice:

Rhythm:

Rhythm practice with a metronome:
Crotchets firstly with one hand. Counting 1-2-3-4.
Then, add the second hand in unison.

Then Subdivide with 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, with a metronome. My teacher recommends that I practice by abruptly changing the speed of the metronome, to simulate that of an environment where I am playing with others.

An odd thing I have decided to do is sync a metronome app at 4/4 time, with 80 BPM through headphones. Then, I sync my beats to my footsteps in the format of crotchets.

Then, after feeling ‘comfortable’ I set it to 40 BPM and walk at the same pace… taking note that I am walking in quavers as opposed to crotchets. Two steps taken, with every second resembling the ‘and’ in subdivision.

With practice there should never be any pain.

A bit on chords:
The fifth in any chord, isn’t of any importance and can be omitted. For example, in a G7 chord, the ‘D’ is often omitted. So long as the tonic is preserved, with the 3rd (tells you whether the chord is a minor or major), and the seventh which names the chord.

Chords will become more complicated with time. The 13th is the highest chord, one is capable of getting up to. 13ths are usually Jazz chords, and such chords are often spread across the band playing. For example, the bass player may take the root of the chord being played with the pianist filling in the gaps of the chord.

An example of triplets:

Here is a composition I wrote, as an experiment for use of triplets. Also, whilst being very minimalistic, Ala de Phillip Glass (20th Century):

Titled “Minimalist in F Major”, also known as “Pain Equals Stop”. A soloist piece. The formation of the same arpeggiated chords F-A-C is repeated throughout, despite the variation in rhythm.

Simple triple (3/4) in meter. At the 1:00 Mark, one can hear quaver triplets contrast against regular triplets. The triplets being reserved mostly for Bass. There is also an experiment with 8va and 8vb in the first section of bars. Especially with the simple arpeggiated chord being played. The piece is played in a slur-like manner. No staccatos. Tempo changes are observed, so a merciful use of semi-quavers can end the piece. With notes, I attempted to add many consonant combinations as opposed to dissonant harmonies.

I’ve found that rhythm is very important in giving music that discernibility. Notes appear to be secondary in hierarchy. Many pianists, I’ve observed so far in my watching their performances, even those considered ‘prodigies’ have played the wrong notes, in their playing–however, they exhibit exceptional ear training from years and years of conditioning, in that they retain the rhythm of the piece at all costs. The moment one’s rhythm crumbles, it is implicitly noticeable. One can feel it.

Pianistic Practice:

I need to practice more: Rhythm.

What defines each grade level, is rhythm. At this point in time, playing wrong notes do not matter. It is the rhythm. Therefore, the intention is to keep on time and to keep the rhythm as your number one priority to learn.

For technique, my tenseness of hands and playing through pain was discouraged.

*For slurs, one relies on wrist movements as well.
*For staccatos, one doesn’t hold the key. They tap the key, to ‘summon’ the sound out of it.

PRACTICE SLOW.

Scales:
Practice relaxation, keeping in-time to a metronome. Altering rhythm from crotches to quavers via a metronome.

Repertoire:
“From The Top”; “Quadrille”.; “Lullaby”. Perfect the articulations, and rhythm.


So, why do I learn piano again? It is not for validation. Although one could argue, “why make your journey public?” Why not? And then again, no one will read it anyway. How do I feel toward that? Quite liberated. Had you of seen me five years prior, I assumed I couldn’t say anything without people paying me attention. I was deathly afraid of attention, I value of hermetic state, very much so. The truth is, however, everyone is far too invested in their own phenomena to care for anyone else’s journey–unless, they are observing it through their own lens of reality, in correspondence to their very own journey. A subconscious process.

I write, ultimately to hold myself accountable and a means of release. I have kept many journals over the years, in processing phenomena and life’s intricacies around me. Only to dispose of such writings, after I had seemingly moved onto the next ‘phase’ of my life. Slowly, I am coming to the realization that there isn’t anything outside of ‘now’. The abstraction of the ‘future’ and the ‘past’ is born, merely from the mind, when truthfully as per our prisons of flesh… always, will we be rooted to the ‘present’.

Who do I write to then? Myself, of course.

We are all in consequence to time. We are all afraid of the present, due to it revealing unto ourselves the harsh reality that it is truthfully… all that there is in-relation to our earthly mortality. That moments, as fleeting as they are… are limited in our incarnations.

I contend there is much more. Al di la, as I call it. Beyond the beyond. Some call it ‘god’, I call it original source consciousness. Everyone is a consequence of it. Thus, what have we to fear except our minds.

Therefore, as a wise transcendentalist once said “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Which, in mentioning that quote, despite it being plastered over kitsch and cheap merchandise in a gift shops across the world–it still holds weight.

Ultimately, I pursue learning for the thrill of it. Because it is fascinating. Not to be measured up against anyone else, or be seen as superior. I care not for accolades, I care not for awards, I care not for validation by others. I will admit, my foibles. Initially the game of reality and its petty game of comparison interested me. My cleaving away from this mentality, has much to do with my rejection of assigning myself to any collective consciousness. Always, will I be on the fringes. Always will I be an outsider, looking in. Yet, all at once… I am part of what is unfolding in-front of me. To think for myself, is what I desire to do, above all else.

Rather would I suffer loneliness, and rejection than to ever bind myself to any indoctrination. I am here to learn.

One’s motivation ought not to stem from validation, but from the love of learning itself. To know. To experience, and to be captivated… knowing that such captivation cannot possibly last forever.

At the helm of the moment. To surrender to all that which exists. Now.

Piano Practice & Music Theory 19-10-2020.

It has been a good two months, since I began my pianistic adventure. And I have learnt much.

There is no easy way through practice. Although, one can make it more pleasant by not ‘forcing’ anything. Enjoy the process. Practice should be comfortable, yet also challenging. Also, when practicing one must focus on that and nothing else at all. The professional pianist has an altered sense of consciousness for that reason, they have the ability to tune all else out.

I have gone out and done some ‘field-work’/studies on observing pianists from The Conservatoire. All varying levels, in regard to their skill–although, all well past ‘student’ level.

When I watch pianists, I watch them intently and take notes. I care just as much about the performer, as I do the very music they are performing. Whether the pianist would like to admit it, or not… they reveal themselves through how they play. To perform in front of others, is to truly be vulnerable. And to be truly creative, is to be vulnerable. One cannot become who they must, until they allow themselves to be. The artist creates for one thing, above all else… connection.

Our desire to connect, is in direct correlation with empathy. To feel what the instrumentalist is playing…

In regard to piano, one learns the fundamentals and requirements for proper technique. Then, with the proper establishing and acquisition of that skill… one can then develop their own ‘style’ on top of that. Similar, to the draftsperson. Piano is quite the popular instrument, as elucidated from my teacher. She mentions that there is a good 50 or-so piano students, in the classical department alone… with a good 20 pianists in faculty. She mentions that the instrument is in demand due to pianists being needed. ‘Deed, they are.

And music is art. Art is art, for art’s sake. There is no intellectualizing true art. Art just is. A true artist creates to do only one thing: to touch eternity, perhaps even for a moment. Art therefore, is an act of individuation. The artist creates by themselves, and is alone for the most part… why pour hours and hours of one’s life into the act? It is not about mere financial security–I don’t believe true art can be created under conditions, such as that. The artist will create, regardless.

Art is created through some level of dissatisfaction, toward life. There must be a fine-line however, between oppression and total freedom. We create, due a desire to connect to others–and in others, we are attempting to connect to something higher. Something eternal. Art outlasts the artist, in most cases.

Similar to those of us seeking true love, one creates art to touch something beyond the beyond.

There is one parallel I have noticed between those, truly gifted in pianism. That is, the ‘top students’ I had observed. Call it a kookiness at a surface level, but one thing remains clear. They have an impressive ability to focus on the now. That is not to contend that they are safe from depressive states, or anxieties… not at all, however, my argument is formed on the basis of the way their neurology presents itself. The ability to ‘tune’ all else out, in favor for the moment.

My teacher had mentioned that it (their mind set) can be rather ‘schizophrenic’, however not in an inherently bad way. Rather, the gifted pianist has the ability to experience several states of consciousness all at once. That is not to contend that they multi-task, rather, the inverse. Their perception is expanded in favor of focusing on, themselves playing, and those they are accompanying or leading. All micro-tasks are attached onto other tasks. Think about is, how on earth can they allow their hands–and by extension, their fingers, to do two different things all at once? They must pay attention to those separate windows of consciousness. But how do they do this? It is through their developing that state of ‘flow’, they had spent hours and hours of their lives… alone, honing and developing. Many of us don’t realize that, in watching a performer. The ultimate result of their playing, is a consequence of their ultimate failings.

Whatever it is they are attending to in the moment, is all that matters. The best of pianists, I’ve observed have that. Never mind rote memory, or practice… that does well to sharpen their communicative abilities, sure. But yes, they all, are connected implicitly to something much higher.

On stage, it reveals itself.

This manifests in behavior which would lead one, to say they (the pianist) are rather ‘mismanaged’ and scatter-brained. For example: A fellow I had the opportunity to speak with briefly, before a Chamber Showcase, exhibited this. He requested that I record him, with his phone. I happily obliged, despite my being a stranger. He wandered off to get ready for his performance, without excusing himself, and left me with his phone for an hour. Was it that he completely trusted me, or he completely forgot all else? I would say, it is the latter. He mentioned after the performance, during a brief chat that he had trouble keeping track and organizing schedules. Ultimately, I could not record the performance due to his phone being password locked–a detail, that skipped his mind. I laughed at this, afterward. They all have this endearing one-mindedness. A tad bit ‘autistic’ in nature. It is perfectly harmless. One that isn’t spawned from their intention to offend. Take note, that this young man is known as the ‘best pianist’ by his colleagues in the University. He had mentioned that he can play all repertoire, even 20th century pieces… though he had began pianism at age seven, and was near 19-20 years of age. If one would permit him, he could talk about the piano for many hours. He had cast appreciation toward my curiosity and respect toward music, when I queried him. Just as well, he was humble throughout, and I could sense that exaltation and compliments meant nothing to him. His mind suited the piano, very well.

Just as well. Each have an endearing scruffiness to them, each dressed in a functional manner. Is it eccentricity, perhaps? It is their individuality which is kept intact, yet, not to a superficial degree. The expression of this individuality is of a much higher degree, one which transcends mere physical strictures. It is elucidated through what they create, past how they appear… ultimately. Just as well, their minds exist on the very edge of this illusion we call time. To be at ease, to be in the middle. To be in no rush. Yet, perhaps to the detriment to all else.

The professor of pianism, who teaches my teacher has an air of zen to her… for lack of a better description. I had observed her and her husband (also a pianist), at times during piano performances. Not to the point of being ‘airy-fairy’, however this state in-which I had observed is one which is grounded in this reality. Again, focusing on the ‘now’ past anything else.

Ultimately, for them…

In this room, in his hall, all that matters is the piano.

I know this, for when I watch a true artist perform, I feel that time itself is of no consequence. And perhaps for a moment, I feel that eternity is near. No, it is not I, who is granted the privilege to touch eternity–it is the one who sits at the piano. The one who is at command of all 88 of its wonderful keys. The one who does not play for the sake of playing, but plays due a compulsion deep within. They must play. The piano commands them! This is a numinous underpinning, which leads one to express musicality. Musicality cannot possibly be an act. It is vulnerability… that is the pianist, to me.

One day, I too, will touch eternity.

Theory Practice.

Recap: There are three types of intervals. Major, perfect and major.

To discover what the interval is, one looks at the tonic/root of a note to determine whether it is a minor or a major. Accidentals, also help. Identifying the scale, also helps.

The root note refers to the base position chord.

The perfect interval is the same throughout both minor and major.

The basic difference between a major and minor interval, is that the minor interval is a semitone less. Three to the four of the major.

* Study up on Grade II terms. I am instructed not to look at 6/8 meters yet.
* Annotation of notational values, and their rests up to semi-quavers.

*Triplets:
A rhythm which plays three notes, in the space of two. Jazz music uses a lot of this convention. Firstly, we focus on crotchet triplets. A triplet is a type of tuplet, which allows one to play three notes in the time of two notes.


* Annotate 2 8Ve scales, and their relative minors:
A, Bb, C, D, F, G.

* Fill-in worksheet for diatonic intervals.

Pianistic Practice.

I had noticed a cardinal mistake shared between many pianists, at the higher level… a regret, if you will. That is, their regret is in not practicing, or establishing the fundamentals of proper technique. Pianists who are self-taught for instance, are very tense and stiff in their playing… this is opposed to the classically trained pianist. Their hands, and fingers are elegant in the way they dance across the keys. My teacher has stressed this point (technique), and so have the handful of pianists I have queried at the conservatoire. Their advice being, that proper technique paramount.

Each of their bodies intuitively adept to the needs of the keyboard, and the repertoire to which they play. Mobility is of utmost importance. Although they are fixed to sit in one position, they must pivot and move across the keyboard. And in-order to do so, they must allow their movements to be limp and graceful. That special flourish of their moving one hand from a couple of octaves, down or up in an arc-like motion is one instance of that grace.

From what I remember, here is what I keep in mind:
Focus on retaining supple, wrist. Graceful gestures. Pivot from the elbow. Do not tense muscles, to an extreme degree. Do not keep shoulders in a raised/fixed position. Posture should be straight, but not rigid to the extent, that you cannot move across the extremities of the keyboard. Ensure that your knees are underneath the keyboard, and if need be… for playing heavier chords, feel free to shift your left foot backward to either lean into the keys, or lean back (both are methods of utilizing power from the feet, to play heavier chords).

A healthy amount of tension is welcomed, of course… however not to the extent that it burdens the process. Tension is painful, if employed at an extreme degree.


* Scales:

Right hand practice:C Major.  
A natural minor. 
A harmonic minor. G Major.
E natural minor.  
E harmonic minor. Chromatic scale commencing on G.

Left hand practice
C Major.  
A natural minor.  
A harmonic minor.  G Major.
E natural minor.
E harmonic minor.
Chromatic scale commencing on G.


Similar and contrary motion practice:

Contrary: Mirrors the playing style for each hand exactly.
C Major. 
A harmonic minor. 
G Major.
E harmonic minor. 

Similar: Each hand follows the separate scale model of playing, simultaneously)
C Major.
A natural minor.
A harmonic minor.
G Major.
E natural minor.
E harmonic minor.
F Major.
D Natural Minor.

For repertoire, I am training myself to sight-read just as well. There is no intention to ‘perfect’ absolutely every note at this point in time. Rather, rhythm and technique IS the focal point. Rhythm, must be 100% perfected as opposed to the notes themselves. In my watching the professionals and or higher tier students perform, they still get their notes wrong-however, they always keep the rhythm of the piece intact.

A good rhythmic foundation is important in early music learning. My teacher suggests that I do subdivisions of the pieces I am playing through firstly… then, play with the metronome. Eventually, the process of subdivision will come naturally, and then I will be able to skip this step. 

* New Repertoire:

Lullaby by Johannes Brahms.
Canon in C Major.
Quadrille.
From The Top.

My teacher gave me feedback, that I am more relaxed and commends me for that. I am encouraged to practice more of this, as well as proper posture. Just as well, to play painstakingly SLOW… rather than speed up anything. If I cannot play slowly, I cannot play fast. She cites her own experience in this. I mentioned it has to do with my pride. I urged her to cut this pride down in my, so I can ‘get’ over myself.

The performing pianist will have their ass kicked many times.

Extra Listenings:

For minimalism, the true beauty is found in the simplistic. To strip down the music down to its basis, past decoration or embellishments. A 20th century convention.

In many minimalistic piano pieces, we’ve a clear example of triplets in action–that is, in clear contrast to the standard set of notational values. This is an example of ‘polyrhythm’. Where one hand may be playing triplets, and the other the standard double.

Do not utilize the power from the neck. It comes from the feet.

Whilst playing I simply tell my hands, wrist, and fingers: “No tension, tension does not belong there.” It can go anywhere else it likes, however… never below the shoulders. No. My neck can suffer, I don’t care. Leave my fingers nice and loose. Like noodles.

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)

PIANO/MUSIC THEORY GRADE 1. 19-09-2020.

I’ve a pygmalion cyst which needs draining in my right hand. I’ll have that seen to, next week. Simple is better, at this point. We will be spending many months perfecting technique before moving onto advanced repertoire. The flowing wrist raised slightly higher than the keys, relaxing whilst playing, and finger dexterity.

Music Theory Portion:

Worksheets:
1> Tones and semitones, and the major scale (plus relative keys).
2> Intervals.
3> Transposition.

Annotation of major keys, and their relative minors:
*Also, annotation of their scales. Always begin with F# for those keys containing it, as a base of reference. All on the grand staff.

On the keyboard, If one wishes to find the relative minor to any major key, one moves from the root of the key… down three semitones to find the relative minor.

The Circle Of Fifths can assist you for better understanding.


Piano Theory Portion:

Relaxing and breathing.

Still developing technique this week. Breathing exercises are needed, so my piano instructor suggested that I read these resources:

“The Art Of Breathing” by Nanzy Zi.
“The Musician’s Breath: The Role of Breathing in Human Expression ”
by James Jordan, Mark Moliterno, Nova Thomas.

I’m not advancing further into advanced repertoire, ’til my technique has been fine-tuned. It may, therefore take a couple of months. However, in refining this technique… I will be ensured that the rest of my musical journey in piano, will be smoother sailing.

Repertoire Alouette & Kumbayah, and scales:
* No squeezing, particularly with the left hand.
* Gentle weight usage.
* Circular wrist movements to help relax. Wrists must be loose, always. Long notes should allow for a generous wrist circle.
* Knead the keys.
* Loosen the wrists.

The left-hand will be isolated in strength exercises:
* Stressball exercises for idling, and for ten minutes before playing. Fore-knuckle, closest to finger tips is the primary focus.

Many pianists have graced this piano. This is the recital hall piano in The Conservatoire I took the liberty of looking at, and admiring. Of course, I didn’t touch the beast. NO! Mine hands do not deserve the privilege. That piano is for student pianists ONLY.

This week, I now had the opportunity to attend a piano and strings competition. The first time, I had ever had the wonderful privilege of experiencing pianists, and string players (violinists and a celloist) playing live. They were only meters away–playing at their best. My teacher, who was in the competition with a skillful violinist (her brother) had invited me to the event. It had went for three hours, and in that three hours… I wished for it to never end.

The acoustic piano, is a fabulously loud instrument–yet the violin, with its shrill timbre can cut through the piano at many occasions. In listening diligently, and observing the movements and sheer focus of each student musician… I had a wave of admiration surface over me.

So loud you are–yet, so soft… just as well. Piano-forte~

I adored each. On stage, they would demonstrate themselves… to command the audience to pay them attention. Yet, off stage. Meek, humble… private. Shy. Especially the pianists. Such a sensitive, and delicate collective of individuals. All with hours and hours to their name, with which they had spent with their pianos.

The dexterity of their fingers, the knotting of their brow. I found, personally… that the instrumentalists that I liked most, were those who were most emotive through their playing. Their emotion would be heard, and demonstrated through their instrument. If they were tense, one knew–if they were truly enjoying themselves, one knew just as well. Their hands knew where the keys were on the keyboard. It was as natural as walking to them. Their hands were at their command.

Some demonstrated a variety of struggle, and emotion. Some passionate at certain sections of the piece–this energy being transferred into the keys of the instrument, which would show to that room, pure emotion. The pianists, knowing their role as an accompanist to their string counterparts would glance over every now and again to see if they were guiding them appropriately. Some, I’m certain would accidentally catch my eye–and in that brief moment, I would smile. Then I would think to myself “Do not mind me, go back to your instrument. I am merely here to observe.”

I have a thing for pianists, that is no lie. The way in-which they can command the keyboard, is one I admire… and one I long for myself. Some of the men who played, were as cute as button. In their little black and white suits–their hair slicked for the occasion, yet, they had that touch of scruffiness. Had you of seen the pianist out on the street, you would not know… he would have that air of intelligence, and glazed-over eyes which would point to his mind–one of which was always ticking. That parallel was one I found endearing… one which warmed my heart.

I recall, on my way out… after thanking my teacher that I had told myself “should I come across one of the musicians who played, I will pay them a compliment”. I came across a violinist, who looked a little out of place in his environment. As if, the stage was his home that he had left momentarily. His instrument strapped around that beanpole physique of his, as he wait idly. I caught his eye and said “You were amazing up there!” He smiled, and shyly looked down–a genuine compliment he felt, and thanked me. I then pointed at him and said “Never. Stop. Playing.” Before skipping off, to tell all of the dream I had experienced. I intend to attend at least one musical event every week. Should I come across any musicians I admire, should the time and place call for it–always, will I show my gratitude and I will compliment them in genuineness. Always. I know what it is like, to spend hours and hours alone. Perfecting your craft. Honing your skill. In an empty room. Just with yourself. The blood, sweat and tears poured into that pursuit. For someone to pay you genuine confirmation, and admiration is unexpected. Sweet.

And yet, when you perform on stage, one only sees the refinement of that entire process. A process which had required a large portion of your life. Sheer discipline, commitment, and one which will be with you ’til you are due to expire. I do not lie when I say that the serious musician has that spark within their eye. They are always distinguishable from others in the arts, I’ve found. My Supervisor said that one can distinguish musicians from designers, in that they had more “sensitivity”. I cannot describe what I see, I however know it immediately. All I know, is that I adore it. I have a Bachelor’s degree in design, therefore I’ve been around my colleagues of design for quite some time. I never felt as if I belonged, nor did I feel as if I was welcomed. That’s the truth of it. However, these music students… When I was set to leave, I found myself standing in amongst the crowd. All of which, who were on stage… all of-which who had performed only moments earlier. Temperance… calm… acceptance. Never had I experienced this from a crowd before. I felt strangely at ease, and welcomed. Perhaps this is where I belong?

It will be a long time ’til then, but I don’t care… for I’ve got time.





PIANO/MUSIC THEORY GRADE 1. 12-09-2020.

My teacher had mentioned, that it should take me a good five years to get up to University level for both piano-work and music theory. It’ll be no trouble.

HELL YEAAAAAHHH! GIVE ME PIANO ALL DAY OF THE WEEK!

Music Theory Portion:

This week, for Music Theory. My teacher introduced me to the Renaissance period.

*For that, some listening from the likes of these composers was suggested:
Thomas Tallis.
Willam Byrd.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Guillaume Dufay.
Carlo Gesualdo.
Orlando Delassus.

Hell yeah. Main-stream contemporary music is shit!

Some music forms/styles from this era are:
* Chanson.
* Motet.
* Madrigal.
* Mass.
* Early Operas.
* Sacred Choir music.

We’ve also these instruments, to name a few:
* Viol.
* Lyre.
* Harpsichord.
* Tambourine.
* Shawm.
* Voice.
* Organ.

Some notes, worth to mention after this era had ended:

* Use of church modes became less common.
* Integration of polyphony, as opposed to monody.

Polyphony refers to multiple voices. Monody refers to a single vocal.
* Counterpoint: When two or more musical lines (or voices) are observed in a composition.

* Variety in range, rhythm, harmony, notation, and instruments.

* Music as a vehicle for personal expression (as opposed to its being used, exclusively for religious convention.) Romanticism is when this convention came to full bloom.

And, should I ever need royalty free music sheets, IMSLP has me covered:
https://imslp.org/wiki/Main_Page

Baroque means “Bizzare”. Heuheuheuheuhe.
* The anacrusis is an incomplete bar, it isn’t an actual bar. It isn’t Bar #1.

Transposition: Minor goes to minor, and major goes to major due to the different quality of sound. Just as well… one must have a thorough knowledge of each key before transposition. I’ve done transposition with my Gaspar Suite, here’s an example… although, however, other elements within the composition was changed as opposed to just the key:

Chapter 1 of Theory:

Whole Tones And Semitones On The Keyboard:
*Half steps (semitones) are located between any two adjacent keys on the piano, no matter the colour. Semitones can move up or down.

*A semitone can also lie between two white keys: Notes E-F and B-C.

*A whole tone constitutes of two semitones.

*Clefs indicate where the half steps are located on the staff.

*Accidentals alter a given note, moving it up or down a semitone. Natural accidentals render a note to be neither flat nor sharp, hence a white key would be a note with a natural accidental.

Enharmonic Equivalents:
Different notated pitches can be en-harmonically equivalent. When looking at the keyboard, of a piano… the black keys, being placed upon two white keys can be named two different ways:
Sharp for the right, and sharp to the left. Despite each note, if played in separation… sounding exactly the same on the piano. This is known as enharmonic equivalence.

*More of a complexity arises for the B-C key, and E-F key. Should the ‘C’ key be flattened in notation, one would more play the adjacent ‘B’, due to lowering that C by a semitone. The B, therefore can also be known as C flat. C, in relation to the B key… can also be known as B sharp.

For the E-F, it would be the same as the B-C keys. E flat, and E sharp.

In notation, if one flattens the C… you play ‘B’–thence, in the context of how the note is read, the ‘B’ on the keyboard is known as a C flat. This allow applies to the other keys, pictured here.

Then, we complicate things further with Double Flats and Double Sharps:
Double flats, are equivalent to a wholetone.

Here, we see a semitone (black key) between the two white keys. C becomes known as D bb, due one moving down two semitones on the keyboard. The same is applicable for a sharp being applied.

This is merely the basic form of enharmonic equivalents. There are far more examples out there, which I’ve yet to touch upon.





Pianistic Portion:

For 1″30 Hour to 3 Hour sessions.

RELAX. RELAX. RELAX.

Don’t worry about messing up, that’s part of the learning-curve.

My left hand is still comparably weak and uncoordinated to the right. It requires more attention, and practice. I have improved in some areas, however, I need to practice relaxing more.

If something is painful, stop and figure out a different way. You don’t want tendinitis. YOU DON’T WANT TENDINITIS.

+ Meditate first. Trust your hands. Whatever comes out, comes out. No-one will care.

1> Strengthening left hand with stress ball exercises. Gently is the key here. Do not overdo things.
2> Continue finger-independence exercises for both hands. Focus on the left.
3> C Major, A natural minor and A harmonic scales practice.
4> Practicing more of Alouette and Kumbayah.
5> Practice keeping quavers even.
6> Practice subdivision to the metronome. When you have mastered the exact time, then you can do Rubato.

The most important thing, is to relax.

Always allow your weight (gravity) to play the note, with a strong curve. The first knuckle is very important.

* The pianist is expected to sit in the middle, and they lean from their core when they’re required to reach the extremities of the piano.

* Look at the last chord, or note to a scale. That is how you will know if it is either a minor or major.

* When I play with my thumb, particularly on the left hand. Sometimes I draw my hand at the edge of the keyboard. It’s a terrible practice that will lead to tendinitis. So rectify it now!

Feedback:
Alouette requires even, and steady quavers between all sections.

Let’s master the technique first! Of dexterity and control.
Work on the left hand, it won’t work on itself.
And always play in a relaxed state. No tension.


Slow down! Anyone can play fast, but it takes control to slow down and be accurate/relax.

I will know that I’m past the stage of a beginner, playing-wise after a year or two. Preliminary Grade 1 pieces, would be considered intermediate.

It’s a matter of quality for practice, not quantity. Sometimes it will feel as if you’re not progressing, in acquisition of skill… this is normal, just keep pushing through. There will be learning curves which crop up, here and there often. Slow down, reflect and focus on problems incrementally. Pianists tend to have more knowledge in melody, and harmony due to their learning two clef at once–also our Organist buddies, too. Pianists are often, through stereotype seen to be loners or introverted compared to other instrumentalists.


Pianist, “Melchiorblade7″:

From 2017 to 2020.
13-09-2020.

Thank-you Melchiorblade7, of whom, I found in the comment section one one of Quantum Of Conscience‘s videos on Youtube.

Any pianists I come across who appear approachable, and willing to speak of their experience of skill acquisition… I like to question. Pianists are my favorite. When Kobe-2020 pisses off, I will go out and attend piano recitals, and if I may… question the hell out of the pianists. Get ready for me, you social shut-ins! I questioned this fellow, who has (and continues to) uploaded his pianistic progression through the years. He had said that he practiced consistently on the piano for five years, although he possessed that preliminary basis of practice years prior… he had not began practicing seriously, until that five year period. The intervals of his practice deliberate, steady, and focused for the second year.

Two years out of five. He practiced for 4 hours a day, for 5/6 days a week for the first two years.
The remaining three years, with that acquisition of skill as a basis… practice was then decreased to smaller intervals… from 1-2 hours a day for 5/6 days a week. For this year, he mentioned that he increased his practice to 3 hours, for six days per week.

Technical exercises of: Scales and arpeggios, he encourages greatly. “Etudes” are musical studies which an instrumentalist practices to focus on a particular technique.

Funnily enough, his routine and his applying an organized and structured practice regime, mirrors how I do tend to do things. So, I hope to be near, or over his level in five years. He advises to take a break in-between sessions of practicing, especially if you are feeling tired or unfocused. Practicing, whilst in either of these states does terribly, for one tends to learn bad habits in forcing their way through the endeavor. He recommends to do scale work. Start slow, and focus on it deliberately. Increase the speed, gradually. Do not play fast. Arpeggios are wonderful exercises. His advice mirroring my piano teacher’s as well.

He recommends an etude from the sexy Frederich Chopin: “Chopin’s Etude No. 1 Op. 10”, and scale exercises of any kind. I have acquired the repertoire associated, and will take to practicing this when I’ve advanced a couple of grade levels in pianism (the Chopin). My teacher had also mentioned that Chopin’s repertoire is more suited to the advanced intermediate player, or beginner student. Just as well, she mentioned that when I reach that level, I ought to begin with Chopin’s Op. 25, with both No. 1 and 2.

Some Of My Favorites From The Chopin:
“Nocturne in E-flat major Op. 9 No. 2”.
“Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 “Heroic Polonaise”
“Polonaise in C sharp minor Op. 26 No. 1”
“Waltz in F minor Op. 70 No. 2”
“Grande Valse Brillante Op. 18”

These are essentially… the late intermediate level for me in a couple of years. HELL YEAH.

For the supple wrist, and independent finger dexterity!

Such amazing playing, BRAVO! Such double chins!


I’m already doing all of this. HELL YEAH!

Whatever it is I admire in each of you. Whatever it is I see in each of you. One day, I will have it for myself. It doesn’t matter if it takes five years. Ten years. Twenty years. I will get there.

On another note, I found this… and damn, I love it.