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Originally Posted by Mohamed Moustafa
My AOTW is that I am using to play without having my thump necessarily on middle C (this was a big big hurdle for me since the beginning of the week) as my teacher is using john Thompson's books & the first book had all the notes start with my thumbs on middle C, so the different hand positioning had me confused right after my session, but I am getting used to it now. Appreciate if you can give me tips & tricks though ^^

Welcome to AOTW. You are not alone... we have often heard from new players confused by the seemingly "fixed" position of the hands in some early teaching material. As you are already discovering there is no "fixed" hand position, and indeed your hands will eventually be roaming all over the keyboard. You will also be learning that even fingering indications on the score are just suggestions that you are free to ignore if some alternative works better for you.

Have fun and keep us updated on your progress!

Jim


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I've pretty much finished Saties 1st Gymnopedia after two weeks with it. Kind of fun to play but I really don't like the way it ends on a unresolved minor chord.

Started work on a short piece by a somewhat obscure but prolific Czech composer named Fidich. It is very pretty... basically all rolled chord progressions, with lots of tenths, from his Moods,Impressions, and Souvenirs series (300+ pieces dedicated to his student/lover). Op.44, book1, no.8 on Imslp if anyone is interested.

Have a wonderful New Year celebration everyone. Hopefully 2021 is the year life returns to normal for most of us.


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I had a piano lesson today, via Zoom--not my favorite way to have a lesson, but it is what it is. My teacher complimented me on one of the pieces I played. I mean, a real compliment, not just a "good job." I didn't tell her it was probably just a fluke, even though it might be the truth. I like to think something finally clicked, and will click again in the near future.


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Usually I end up trying to play pieces that are too difficult for me, but for the past week I've been working on a piece by Reynaldo Hahn and have mostly learned it, should have it memorized in the next couple of days. That's exciting to me.
I've also revisted Faure's first Barcarolle, which is at the upper end of my capabilities. I tried it out last year and found the opening section too difficult, but I've been able to do it in practice, a little slower than its proper tempo. Another piece I'm gradually learning is Martucci's Fourth Barcarolla, which I heard a long time ago and had in my head one day last week, wondering what it was before I finally placed it. To my surprise, printing out the sheet music, it's a doable piece for me.
One of my obsessions is left handed piano music, and my practice is coming along well with it. I practice a little Godowsky every day, and unusual technique (five finger scales, 5-4 trills with counterpoint with the other fingers, chromatic scales that require only three shifts of the hand, using all of the fingers, chromatic scales in thirds, leaps, etc.) I'm at the cusp of being able to play difficult left handed music (I can play the Scriabin LH music and Godowsky's Waltz-Poems), but there's a speed limit issue where at full exertion I don't play smoothly or with good touch, so I'm breaking down patterns to focus on control at high speeds.

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True beginner here.....I played the first page of Ludovico Einaudi's Primavera and hit all the correct notes. smile It sounds so trivial in comparison to all the accomplishments others post here but truly - it thrilled me.


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KrisR,

Not trivial at all. Every single step in the process is worth celebrating because without them we go nowhere. So congrats on getting the notes down for the Einaudi piece... keep up the good work.
(And welcome to the AOTW thread) thumb thumb thumb thumb thumb


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I only started a week ago and without a teacher, yesterday I played the C major scale with hands together, slowly and after lots of attempts but it was enough for me to fist pump the air. My girlfriend was very confused as to why I was so happy 🤣..... baby steps, but happy baby steps.

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Originally Posted by DaddyFlyBrains
I only started a week ago and without a teacher, yesterday I played the C major scale with hands together, slowly and after lots of attempts but it was enough for me to fist pump the air. My girlfriend was very confused as to why I was so happy 🤣..... baby steps, but happy baby steps.

That’s what it’s all about.
Baby steps!

It’s such a long road, we can’t lose sight of the baby steps of progress.


My AOTW.... or not exactly the week, but close enough: I just celebrated 11 years of playing every day unless away from home or sick.

I was planning to stop focusing on playing every day but I find I can’t let go of it. Now I have to do at least 12

Am making some progress on the Mendelssohn Venetian Gondolas but feel a bit stuck.
Haydn Sonata have sorted out the first two movements and understand what I am doing wrong. That’s positive—- I mean I have the fingering and timing sorted out, notes right but parts of it aren’t working properly yet, but I can fix them.
Started looking at the third movement but am a bit stuck on figuring out a few wee things. Lesson on Tuesday will sort it out!


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This has been maybe my best week at the piano. I love supervirtuosic music, and it's a habit of mine to just practice things that are way out of my reach. I realized a couple months ago that I actually don't know any pieces. So it's a resolution of mine to learn things this year, to aim lower (for the most part) and work on building a repertoire. My plan is to learn from Hahn's Le Rossignol Eperdu and Scriabin's Op. 11 preludes.

This week I learned three pieces! Hahn's "Les Reveries du Prince Eglantine" and "Nevermore," and Op. 11 no. 15 of Scriabin. It really amazes me that I'm now at a point where I can learn fairly simple works. It was only four pages of music, but it's so much better than any of my previous experiences learning music. I felt comfortable with double notes and leaps.

Also another musical goal of mine this year is to play a Godowsky etude for the left hand. I've settled on the revolutionary etude one. This week I learned the first page. The opening descending contrapuntal runs I can do respectably, and I can do the rest of the page at about half speed. Last year when my left hand made a big advance, I tried this piece, but the bottom of the first page felt impossible. It's nice to feel like it's doable. I think this will be a piece I work on over the course of the entire year.

It was just an exciting week for me. My plan of learning pieces will ramp up in difficulty as the year goes on, and I won't learn at quite the same rate, but it really makes me hopeful.

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Several weeks ago, my husband pulled out some music that he had worked on decades ago. He started saying that he was having a lot of fun with it. I noticed that he had the same problem in the same section every time he played and I suggested that my teacher would be able to help him fix that issue. He agreed that one lesson would be a good idea. Or maybe two. But now he's hooked!!

So now he's taking lessons too!


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This week wasn't as exciting to me as the last week, but I learned Scriabin's Op. 11 no. 21. Last year I tried to learn it, but a couple of parts were tricky for me. I also learned another half a pagee of the Godowsky left hand revolutionary etude--the bottom of the first page requires a lot of speed in fingers 1-2 and coordination, but the actual body of the etude is easier. I'm working on two other pieces, Reynaldo Hahn's "Ivresse" and Scriabin's Op. 11 no. 22--both are in differing degrees in the chorale style, which is not my favorite, and I have to be very deliberate with fingering, which is slowing down my learning speed. The Scriabin is something I played around with last year as well, but the fingering felt unnatural--it's a lot smoother feeling now.

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Consistently played that 9 note chord in the 12th bar of Chopin’s Prelude in A Major op28 #7.


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I'm actually sticking to my 2021 musical resolutions so far, and it's going really well.
What I'm doing differently as a result is that I am adding short practice sessions during the day, something I haven't really been doing in the last year even though I am at home all the time with plenty of opportunity.
I also have more pieces in rotation, as part of my goal to play a wider variety of pieces. That's not completely new, I was doing it anyway for much of last year, though perhaps not in quite the same way. (And indeed a handy trick for success in resolutions is to already have started the habit - "keep on doing X" is way easier than "start doing Y" smile )


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Another true beginner in the house. I've been practicing my part to a song (Pop Boss), and today I played it with my teacher as my first duet! Her part was recorded because of Covid, but it was still one of those "Oh wow this is fun" moments.


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Nice to hear all of your aotw's! And welcome to the thread stevessv and Schwa! Every step counts, whether its a simple C scale, Chopin, Scriabin or Pop Boss!

I am about finished with the little Fibich piece. Next up is something I've been looking forward to for a long time, 2nd movement of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata. So far all I know is I need help from my teacher on tricky fingering.

Jim


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The week ended without much fanfare except last Wednesday. I've been working on an old Pop song for 2 weeks and last week I made the first recording. The playing wasn't too bad. I was scheduled to have a music class with a teacher on Zoom the same evening. It was a rush job and I played the piece through 6 minutes before the online learning session started.

The playing can still be improved but at least I got all the notes and the counting wasn't too bad.

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This week wasn't one of overt progress for me. I mostly worked on learning a couple Scriabin preludes. I should have the notes for his op 11. nos 22 and 4 by tomorrow. I'm a PhD student, and classes are about to start up soon, so I went on a brief vacation. To my surprise the house had a baby grand. It was badly out of tune, but it was nice to touch an acoustic after two years of exclusively playing electric. I'm excited about having a small but growing Scriabin repertoire. The pieces are about to go up in difficulty, so I don't think I'll be able to learn 1-2 a week, especially with my workload about to increase, but I'm starting to feel like I can play the piano and that I can develop to play the sorts of things that excite me.

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Not a bad week overall. I recorded my second piece for the "40 piece challenge", though I need to start thinking of it as the "lots of pieces challenge" as I'm trying not to focus on 40 as a total smile

My AOTW though is switching from an unfocused dabbling approach to a targeted approach on my planned piece for the Feb recital . I'd summarise it as:
Before: "I play this piece quite often, usually from the beginning, spending at least as much time on the sections I know well as the ones I don't, with no special targeting of the weaker parts and trouble spots"

I mean seriously, how long have I been on this forum and yet still I am approaching a piece this way

Now: "Slow right down, start with targeting the weaker parts, stitch together from the end, give special focus to the transitions and other spots I trip up and think about why they go wrong and how to address"

And gratifyingly, as I was practising at c. half speed yesterday my 11yo popped in to tell me it sounded really nice smile


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Originally Posted by barbaram
....Before: "I play this piece quite often, usually from the beginning, spending at least as much time on the sections I know well as the ones I don't, with no special targeting of the weaker parts and trouble spots"

I mean seriously, how long have I been on this forum and yet still I am approaching a piece this way

Now: "Slow right down, start with targeting the weaker parts, stitch together from the end, give special focus to the transitions and other spots I trip up and think about why they go wrong and how to address"
smile or maybe blush since it sounds, ah, kind of familiar.

Seriously, I especially find that thinking about why things go wrong is so important to getting a hand on trouble spots. Slowing way down can get me through a trouble spot, but I need to figure out what I need to do at a higher tempo.

Quote
And gratifyingly, as I was practising at c. half speed yesterday my 11yo popped in to tell me it sounded really nice smile
How sweet!


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Barbaram,
Congrats on the new approach! It's my resolution this year to do that as well, and so far it's been really exciting. This is the first year I've really approached the piano with patience, and already I've learned more pieces than at any year I've been playing the piano, other than the time a couple years ago when it was my resolution to sight read very simple things like children's pieces.

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