Friday, July 21

I usually work during the day and practice during the evening. Since I'm going to be at Brevard Music Center tonight to see Chu-Fang Huang perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, I decided to work only a couple of hours this morning and spend the late morning/early afternoon at the piano.

Good decision. I practiced/played for about 80 minutes.

Scales sounded good. Today was Ab-major and F-minor. Of all the scales, I think F-minor and F#-minor give me the most trouble. They shouldn't, but they do. They sound pretty good now, but it took a lot of work to get there.

F-minor acted up a bit, so I tried some of Robert's suggestions (see comments for this post). It helped to do them in groups of nine. The back-and-forth effort of suggestion #4 was actually easier than I thought it would be. "Easy" is a relative term. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't quite the impossible challenge that I imagined it would be.

Next, I went straight to Bach, my beloved Bach. This week's goal for the C#-major fugue has been a seemingly small one: to learn Episode II (measures 16-19) hands-together.

Well, guess what. I DID IT!! And it's only Friday! (My "piano week" runs from Wednesday to Wednesday, since that's when I have my lesson.) Only two days of practicing, and I have all of Episode II hands-together! And Episode II is, in my opinion, the hairiest, scariest section of the entire fugue!

I think the fugue may be within my reach after all. My piano teacher never doubted it but, being a chronic self-doubter, I wasn't so sure. "Just take it as it comes," I thought. "Plug away, and see where it takes you." And look where I am now! All of Episode II, hands-together, in the bag! :)

The next goal is to learn, HT of course, the rest of Measure 19, plus Measures 20-22. Measure 20 has a hairy LH section. That'll be my next big (fun) challenge.

I reviewed last night's work on the Liszt for about 10 minutes. It sounded good. Very good. I've always been better at playing the Romantics than anything else, and I really feel good about how the Liszt is shaping up (the second half of it, at least. That's right. I still need to learn the first half).

Then I did a very dumb thing. I took out Chopin's Bb-minor nocturne (Op. 9, No. 1), just to play it for fun. I love this piece. The reason I started playing piano again was so I could learn this piece. I play it every now and then, but hadn't played it in a couple of weeks.

Why was this a dumb thing to do?

Well, as much as I've played the nocturne, I've never memorized it. (I know. I need to do that.) So I was playing with the music.

Do you know how weird it is to play something in Bb-minor (five flats) when your brain has been spending most of its time in C#-major (seven sharps)?

Do not try this at home, folks.

It was rather amusing, actually. I've never missed so many notes in the nocturne as I missed today. Live and learn. If I ever do a recital, I won't have two such different key signatures next to each other in the program.

Time to run! No practice tonight, probably, but hopefully I'll squeeze in an hour or so tomorrow.


robert said…
Glad to hear my scale ideas helped, Waterfall! And congrats on JSB! Mastering the hairy section of a piece of his counterpoint...makes ya feel real good, deservedly! As for Chopin. I had a similar experience earlier this year. Talked it out with my teacher. She has it happen too. Everybody does. So we're in company.

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