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 07-11-2020.

Feedback:

My teacher said that I can now skip Alfred’s “All-In-One” Level 1 to the very back of its repertoire. From page 89 to 140 “The Entertainer”.

Rhythm practice has truly benefited me, with that, understanding Music Theory to a Second Grade level has helped tremendously. I intend to more to the third grade, of course.

I have practiced rhythm up to 16th notes, with syncopation of both 4th and 8th notes.

My teacher said that the only thing which stands in the way of my progress, is the ability to relax my hands in playing.

How long have I been playing under the tutelage of a teacher? Over two months, now. And what a benefit it has truly been.

Therefore I must, again. Practice: “Relaxation”.

Music Theory (Grade II):

First compound time example: 6/8.

Some months back, I composed a Berceuse (French Lullaby) on Musescore:

In my experimenting with 6/8, I noticed the difference between 6/8 and 3/4 has much to do with the pulses in a bar. For 6/8 we have two beats per bar, due to 6 being able to be divided into two. Therefore, 6/8 is a compound duple.

For 6/8 we’ve the subdivision counting of 1-2-3-2-2-3. That which is bolded, is when one hears the ‘beat. Again, two beats.

The hierarchy/accent of the two beats (strong & weak) is separated into six:
Strong, Weak, Weak, Medium, Weak, Weak.

Therefore, every quaver receives an accent.

This difference is more noticeable, as one subdivides from crotches and beyond. Funnily enough, two dotted crotches can be complete one bar of each a 3/4 and 6/8 meter.
Here is a song which clearly demonstrates a polyrhythm of 3/4 and 6/8. My teacher had recommended this one to me. Damn, she’s good at rhythm. 20th Century pieces do that to you, HYUK-HYUK-HYUK~

Two beats are simultaneously happening at once. Both 3/4 and 6/8.

Latin American music is full of polyrhythm and syncopation. In our day and age, many pieces that are solely made for percussionists in mind are indeed polyrhythmic.

Duple: Refers to two beats per measure.
Simple: Means that each beat within a measure can be divided into two notes.
(I.E: Two crotchets in a 2/4 bar can be divided into four quavers.)

2/2 and 2/8 are examples of simple duples.
3/4 and 3/8 are examples of simple triples.
4/4 and 4/8 are examples of a simple quadruples.

9/8 is an example of compound triple.
12/8 is an example of compound quadruple.
6/8 is an example of compound duple.

The simple, again, indicates that any beat can be divided into two notes.

All simple meters will have a 2, 3, and 4 for the top number in the signature.

As for compound meters, each beat within a bar is divided into three notes.

All compound meters will have at least one dotted note as its beat. In example of the 6/8 meter, two dotted crotches fill one bar. One can then, subdivide those two dotted crotches into six quavers to fill the bar. Thus, dividing each note by three as opposed to two.

A recap:
Rhythm refers to how music fits in time. Rhythm does not consider pitch, if viewed as a separate value. Take for example, an atonal bar for a percussion instrument not capable of pitch.

Melody refers to a single line of music, and it takes into the account of both the note’s pitch and the way they are arranged in time (rhythm).

Harmony refers to several lines of music heard, or played simultaneously. The harmony is a feature is music, used to support the melody.

Pianists can play both melodic and harmonic pieces, due to their having both bass and treble at the mercy of their fingers and hands. The left is often relegated to harmony, whilst the right often leads with harmony. Especially in the beginner stages.

It is as if, the pianist accompanies themselves.

That’s why you’re all social recluses, hmmmmmm?

Pianistic Practice:

This week, it’s all about relaxation and nothing else.

Solidifying technique, past learning how to play anything ‘pretty’ is my key motivation here. I learn music for the wonderful journey it provides me. How it enriches my life, and introduces me to new experiences.

Therefore, I dedicate at least one hour a day to relax. And to concentrate on feeling relaxed, only.

1) Finger independence exercise: Solely to relax + mix with stress ball exercises.

2) Scales:
Play extremely slow. EXTREMELY SLOW. Do not advance further, onto the next note, ’til you are confident in that you are feeling relaxed. After each note played, do a conscious body check.

Stop-relax-play.

3) Repertoire:
Master Quadrille.
Camille Saint-Saens “Royal March Of The Lion.”
Mozart’s “Aria”.

Mozart’s Aria ventures into the introduction of semi-quavers… that is, semi-quavers paired with quavers. Excellent. I love Saint-Saens, just as well. Here’s the entire “Carnival Of The Animals”:

By the end of the year, I will be up to first grade repertoire. For which, I am tremendously excited. If it took me a good four months to get to first grade, that is progress indeed.

I’ll be with you all, soon, my eccentric ivory ticklers!

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. 26-09-2020.

Stop. Being. Tense.

I have since Advanced to Second Grade Theory. This post is from two weeks ago.

The pygmalion cyst on my right wrist cannot be removed, until early October… therefore, I must exercise caution in practicing at all times.

THEORY PORTION:

Many thanks to my teacher. She has the ability to simplify complex concepts of music, down to more simplified conventions. Much of her knowledge is what I’d describe as “cheat-sheets” for my process of learning music theory, to a sufficient standard.

Worksheets:

1> Revision of intervals.

2> Tones, semitones & scales.

3> Manual Transposition.
Note: One can only transpose from minor to minor, and major to major. Prior knowledge of both keys, and scale degrees help tremendously with on transposing. Transposition is of use for the composer–especially for certain instruments, such as the Alto-Saxophone. The piano is already finely calibrated, therefore basic transposition can be done with considerable ease.

The intervallic pattern, in-which I am abiding to is from the ionian/diatonic scale. Whole-Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Whole-Half. There are many more patterns or modes for me to explore, however I will save that for when I advance to University level.

Relative/Parallel minor scales:

There are three known minor scales, and these are:
Natural, Harmonic, and Melodic. At the moment, I only know of ‘Natural‘ and ‘Harmonic‘.

*Natural minors, retain the corresponding key signature to their relative major.

*Harmonic minors, also retain the corresponding key signature–however, the seventh (leading tone) is raised a semi-tone.

On the keyboard… should one wish to find the enharmonic minor equivalent, to a major… one starts from the tonic of that key, and steps backward (toward the bass) three semitones. As an example, C Major is the enharmonic major equivalent to A Minor.

A natural minor: The key signature is “no flats or sharps”. A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A.
A harmonic minor: One raises the seventh, with is the ‘G’. Sharpening it. A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A.

My intention is to soon enough, memorize every major and minor key with absolute ease. That is, in correspondence to the keyboard. Possessing knowledge of keys is of utmost importance, I believe… especially when one plays scales, and one wishes to transpose a piece from one key to the other.

TONIC TRIAD:

A tonic triad, is a three-note chord… that is, one stacked in thirds. The arpeggiated variant notwithstanding. The triad is built on the tonic, also known as “scale degree 1”. The ‘dominant’ is the technical name of the scale degree (5).

A tonic triad example, from C Major would be: C-E-G. (I chord.)
A dominant triad example, from C Major would be: G-B-D. (V chord.)

From scale degree V, of the dominant triad we begin building up the chord–whereas the tonic begins from scale degree I.

Different chords from a particular major, are named in accordance to where the ‘root’ of the triad begins.

I won’t be venturing further, than those two at the moment… as the inclusion of other chords, as I’ve seen involve ‘diminished’ variants. One of which, I am not up to as of yet.

Questions:

*I asked question of hand-positioning and pianists. That is, if one were to hypothetically have a group of pianists sight-read a single piece… would each play differently, in accordance to their hand size/shape? No pianist is created equally. I’ve seen many different pianists. The stereotype in regard to their personality, may have some kind of truth (introspective and ridiculously intelligent) however, the stereotype of a pianist looking one single way (physically) is not at all applicable. Although, again… there is a strange subconscious parallel, that I can see within the pianist past other instrumentalists. One numinous, one subconscious. I can identify them to other instrumentalists, perhaps immediately. I don’t know how I can, but one day I will find out as to why I have that ability.

My teacher confirmed that “yes”, if not written on the piece, all would play intuitively–in accordance to their hands, and the way they move across the keys. Being a pianist for a huge sum of their lives… the student pianist, for example, would be very familiar with their hands and the way they work. Hours and hours practice, grants the pianist this ability to intuitively know where their hands ought to be placed whilst playing a piece through. Just as well, the pianist will often do a preliminary reading of a piece before playing. The first note, from the last note assists them in deciding where they will ultimately begin the piece, and end it. All of this, strategically goes hand-in-hand (yes, pun) with muscular strength, adroitness of the muscles and so-fourth of the hands. Looseness allows pianists to move across the keyboard, freely. A lack of experience, or being taught the improper technique will result in stiff playing. One can identify the inexperienced pianist, who is still at the beginner stage. You observe many on Youtube, for instance who… although, they are able to play high-level pieces, think Chopin, they had skipped pivotal training to develop that fluidity in their hands and fingers. Their playing, and the sound of their playing… by extension sounds flat, and without emotion–completely antithetical to Chopin. Chopin was all about emotion (play how you feel), and a pianist cannot express themselves to a sufficient standard, lest they are skilled enough to do so. Skipping over preliminary technique training, is dangerous for each pianist. One must always develop their technique, before investing into ‘pretty’ pieces. Pianism comprises considerable meta-skills, those of which, need to be built incrementally. That is why, I told my teacher that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for me to master the preliminary skills necessary. I don’t care if I am on preliminary repertoire for a year, so long as my hands develop the adroitness necessary for that period of time, to ensure that for the future… I can indeed play complex pieces. My intention, is to one day play Chopin’s oeuvre to a commendable standard. Would my journey end there, when I reach that point? Of course not, but I do believe that Chopin’s oeuvre is a goal that will sustain me for the five or-so years to come.

With pianism, just as well I am studying music theory. I believe theory informs the practice, and allows for the instrumentalist to appreciate music.

With all of the concert-level pianists I’ve had the opportunity of watching live, so far… They had one thing in common: Their hands were limber and adroit. Their wrists would be loose, which would allow them to execute a graceful, and fluid movement from key to key with all ten of their voices (fingers). Although there would be marked differences, and styles to which each would play… the same thing was apparent throughout. The musculature of the finer muscles within their hands were very well-developed.

I intend to watch more pianists in-person, and I intend to observe them closely. I have had the opportunity to watch pianists perform live, now, three times. Next week after this post, I am attending a concert with a fellow playing 24 of Chopin’s etudes. I thought to myself “HELL YEAH! CHOPIN! HELL YEAH! PIANISTS!” I had been wishing for this, for a long time. Always had I wanted to see a pianist perform Chopin in front of my very own eyes.

Pianists are my favorite. Ya’ll are nerds.

Suggested listenings:
Barber adagio for strings.
Chopin Grande Valse Brilliante.
Strauss Radetzky March.
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1.
Satie Gymnopedies.
Debussy La Mer.
Bach Well Tempered Clavier BK 1.
Purcell Fairy Queen — Semi opera.
Haydn Surprise Symphony.

And: Lieder, string quartets, oratorios, masses, tone poems, dance suites, transcriptions, madrigals, piano trios, fantasies, sonatas, duets.

PIANISTIC PORTION: (3 Hours)

  • Scale Exercises:
    C Major, A natural minor, A harmonic minor, G Major, E natural minor, E harmonic minor.
    (1 Hour, 30 minutes per hand)
  • Contrary motion:
    C Major.
    A harmonic minor.
    (30 minutes. Both hands.)
  • REPERTOIRE:
    Blow The Man Down.
    (1 Hour. Both hands.)

I often practice my scales with a metronome.

Between each set. I take a good five to ten minute break. Or, even before then… should I feel tensed, I rise from the piano, and walk around for a bit. Then come back. Breaks in-between are of the utmost importance.

In two weeks time, I will be advancing to new scales. I must commend scales, above all other manner of practice through my experience. Scales, and the playing of them is perhaps where most of my acquisition of skill comes from. My teacher, still to this day plays scales when she practices/warms-up. I know, that I will always be practicing scales, for the rest of my pianistic journey. I love scales…

I enjoy listening to how each tone sounds… and I enjoy how they free-up and loosen my fingers/hands. They are tremendous!

For the repertoire I will be practicing, I must take into account:

  • The hierarchy of beats. A 3/4 (simple triple) meter in a standard piece has the hierarchy of:
    Strong-weak-weak. Chopin’s pieces, being various Polish dances set to triple time do not follow this rule, for instance. This is in accordance to cultural conventions.

In playing, I was advised to bounce my fingers whilst playing the chords, to allow a more ‘graceful’ movement of snapping from one chord to the other. I will be taught how to snap properly, later on. I am discouraged to do so, in a ‘mechanical’ or ‘abrupt” manner. Pianists must have grace, in their movements. Also, I must practice moving my left-hand around, whilst the right-hand is playing at the same time. The wrist must be kept flexible. Never should I lift my shoulders. The wrists should be the only part lifted/elevated above the keys..

*My shoulders appear slouched inwards, they should be held back.

For my hands, I’m becoming more familiar with them. As my being double-jointed, I can use this to my advantage… however, I have paid extra care to keeping my fingers bent at all times. Luckily, this habit appears solidified. I have realized in playing for the past month, by instruction of my teacher that the pianist need not exert so much ‘force’ on the keys. Rather, the natural weight of the fingers and gravity itself should allow one to register a decent sound. Especially at these earlier stages, when one is expected to play in mezzo-forte. I am perfecting a motion of caressing the keys with my fingers, so as to attain that beautiful fluidity of fingers I had observed in my watching the few pianists I have so far. My hands are quite small (they are the size of a child’s), but luckily, my fingers are quite long–therefore, I must approach playing the piano differently to those who are lucky enough to have larger hands.

Lisitsa’s hands. Absolutely amazing. Her wrists loose, and graceful in their movements. For this piece in particular, of Chopin’s, the bouncy movement is required. Sheer focus on her face, and just as well… emotion. The most important of all.

Note: Her wrists are elevated above the keys, at all times. And always, they are supple. Ready to move at any time.

I will be purchasing an up-right acoustic piano when I reach third grade repertoire. For frame of reference, fourth grade piano repertoire is Bach’s inventions.

My teacher suspects that it will take me a year or two to master the basics to a sufficient standard. From thereon, my own barrier is muscular strength of my hands. She said, that after one has the basics down-pat, the rest of the repertoire to follow should come seamlessly in-comparison.

You must have a good, and solid foundation in technique.
Otherwise, one will find themselves… whilst practicing intermediate pieces, still ironing-out bad habits. A big no-no.

HOLY SHIT! 20:30 THE DAMN TONES! THE CHROMATICISM! THE USE OF E MAJOR!

I have done some more thinking in planning out practice for pianism, efficiently. I intend to graduate from three hours of practice, to four for six out of six days in each week.

As well as piano-work, I will be studying music theory for one to two hours daily. Even on Sundays. Music theory, I suspect I will master quicker than pianism… I am quite good with theoretical concepts. As for my hand-and-eye coordination, that is a significant caveat, indeed.

NUMBER ONE THING I NEED TO LEARN:

BREATHE, DAMMIT. BREATHE.

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.


PIANO/MUSIC THEORY GRADE 1.

“It will take five years to get good. Are you ready?”
Hell yeah! PIANO ME UP!

My former viola/theory teacher has been relieved of his position due to his inconsistency in teaching. Although, I do not deny that he led me to much of the basis of what I now know… I am certain I would have learnt much more, from another teacher who had better suited me.

I have somewhere I must go, at the end of it all. I will not let anything get in my way. I am willing to pay whatever cost is necessary, for a good teacher. Money, time, resources… it matters not. All I ask for, is respect, understanding, and patience. That is my decision justified.

The Composers spreadsheet will still be worked on. As will the Musescore composition. Theory, however is my main priority, as is Piano work.

“I only listen to Classical”. Heuheuheuheuhe.
Say what you will, but Vivaldi had a rockin’ bod.

Theory Portion:


Chapter I: Pitch And Class.
* Letter names.
* The piano keyboard.
* Enharmonic equivalents.
* Double flats and sharps.
* Clefs.
* Naming registers.
* Ledger lines.
* Style periods.

+Utilizing the digital contents for the Trilogy Set.

By the end of this chapter I should know:
1> How a staff and clef work together for identifying pitches.
2> How the pitches and pitch classes differ.
3> What the function of a C-clef, accidental, and ledger line are.
4> How the piano’s white and black keys assist an individual to determine whole and half steps.
5> Which white-key pairs of note form half-steps with no addition of accidentals.
6> At least two different guidelines for notating ledger lines, note heads, and stems.
7> How octave numbers are assigned. What the octave number for middle C is.
8> Identifying a melody from the anthology set which includes ledge lines. Therein, identifying all of its pitches and octave numbers.

Within the publication, there are a total of 40 chapters. This publication will teach me, all I am required to know as a pianist (at the basic University level). It is required that I know, at least a fourth grade level of theory before ever thinking of stepping foot inside of a University. I believe I am capable of learning up to this level. Even surpassing it. I’ve the time, and the resources. So, I will. I begin at Chapter I, and my studying of its content. And should the process of finding another tutor be prolonged, I foresee that my learning from each chapter will be drawn-out over extensive periods of time, as opposed to rushing through concepts. I will understand everything to sufficient level, and I will welcome mistakes as part of the process… it matters not, for I’ve somewhere to go.

Pianistic Portion:

Heuheuheuheuheuheuhe.

2 Hour practice, daily ’til the next lesson for next Saturday. We will be learning a bit of dynamics next week. Here is my set of drilling:

1> Finger independence exercises.
2> Perfect the C-Major scale.
3> Subdivision and dotted crotchet notes

This week my teacher was quite happy with how I had progressed, therefore, we moved onto new repertoire for this week.


*Finger Independence Exercises:

Specifically, for the left hand. Moving each finger individually, whilst maintaining the curved position. I take to doing this drill for ten minutes, in each hand as a warm-up. The ring finger for both hands need especial attention, due to the three last fingers (5, 4 and 3 on right) being bound by a tendon.

At the moment, I have taken to focusing on the ring finger with this exercise: I lay all five fingers on a surface, in playing position. Then, I lift up and down each, playing especial attention to the fourth finger in an isolated and relaxed way. Going slowly to ensure that it is being learnt the dexterity, the second and third demonstrate. My goal is to eventually work up to the point of lifting the ring finger up to a height, similar to the others.

Relaxation whilst engaging in these exercises is of the utmost importance. Pianism is both mental and physical in its pursuit. If one does not force anything, and allows for the natural flow of playing to just be… more progress in practicing is achieved–and with little effort.

Skip to 7:00, god damn… he feels the music. And he looks like he’s… uhhh–Nevermind.

*Perfecting the C-Major scale:

Slow even practice, for a smooth legato.

*Subdivision, and counting for the dotted crotchet:

+ Focus on matching the rhythm to the pitches.
+ Dynamics are of lesser importance (at this stage)
+ Relax-Relax-Relax-Relax.

Courtesy Of The “Alfred’s All-In-One Course for Adults on Piano“. My teacher mentioned that it’s a better publication to the Faber “Adult Piano All-In-One piano course“, due to the more challenging repertoire. She however commended the Dictionary section in the back, which I’ve stuck on here for my reference and other passerby’s.

From the Alfred’s series. This book was originally my Nephews, who quit piano. I told my teacher and she said it was a ‘Hand-me-up’. Hahahaha, ba-dum-tsss.

Dotted Minim: 3 beats.
Dotted Crotchet: 1 and a half beats. (Half of the crotchet’s value is added to the note).

Dictionary section from Adult Piano Adventures 1, by the Faber couple. All credit goes to them.

Legato, as my teacher mentioned is when one makes a smooth progression from one key to the other holding it… as it were. Slur and legato, on a piano are interchangeable–however, on a viola, the playing style is very different. She also mentioned, that within compositions and phrases of music, patterns appear to repeat themselves. Rag-time also has more of an apparent usage of syncopation. I will come to learn syncopation, eventually.

******She also introduced some compositional forms and styles to me. By the name of:
Through-composing (A relatively continuous, non-sectional, non-repetitive piece), and Ternary-Form (Consisting of an opening scene of A, and the following section B–only to then repeat itself).

Through-composing is often used to Lieder (German art songs). An example she provided was ‘Erlkonig’ by Schubert. Each character within the piece has their own thematic material (child and father). The music itself, has no standard form–like Ternary as one hears.

Ternary, in that case would be, if one were to provide an example… “Alouette”. A three-part form, where the first and third section are either alike or the same. Rondeau pieces also tend to follow this pattern. Fugues, by my teacher’s definition could also be considered ‘through-composed’–however, this is debatable from theorist to theorist.


*Practicing the repertoire of:

Alouette, Kum-ba-Yah, and Lavender’s Blue.

Additional notes for the week:
My Metronome, as said by my piano teacher is slightly out of sync… poor thing may have been dropped. I have purchased a new one. One of a much higher quality, made in Germany. A good pianist, needs a good metronome.

*My teacher also mentioned that a chord can only be defined as such, if it is three or more notes/tones played together in succession or separately. An arpeggiated chord, played as a melody would be a broken chord… your standard chord is played as a harmony is your block chord.

I love piano… I love it. It’s all I talk about, and it drives my family nuts. The pianists, the hands, the keys… the intervals… the harmony… the articulations… all of it. It is all I had ever longed for. All I will gladly carry with me, for the life long journey which it prognosticates.

Sure, I am very much happy with my Academic career (at the moment) and the release that drawing may afford me from time to time… but piano feels like the missing piece, so-to-speak that I have been searching for my entire life. I assumed it was true love that I had longed for all of my life–but the piano. Playing, albeit I am still very much a beginner, just seems to dissipate that longing. Hours I can spend with him (Alexandre). Hours. My teacher mentioned something amazing today, that there are piano oeuvre which exists for one hand or no hands… compositions which are written for the physically handicapped. For instance: Maurice Ravel, of French impressionism wrote “Piano Concerto For The Left Hand” for an Austrian pianist, who lost his arm during WWI.

Poor fella.

She also said, that not all pianists are ambidextrous and that this is a myth. This was in reference to a question I had asked, in relation to whether or not truly experienced pianists were equally balanced in each hand for means of control and strength. She said, by her experience, and through observation of her colleagues “Yes.” This then led into my question of ambidexterity. Further on that tangent, she said that the skill of piano is very different to other demands of the hands. A specific skill.

For inspiration. Ryo began at 22, teaching himself the piano… only to therein release his first album six years later.

I mentioned him some posts back. But Ryo, shows me that it is possible for someone like me to keep on keeping on.

Love it, and it shall love you. What else is there?

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~