Music Learning Notes 08/07/2020

The past few weeks have been an uphill slog, music practice-wise. The horrible online stuff suffered dulled my brain to the extent that I was barely able to think straight, let alone play guitar. That, plus the hand injury set me back a few weeks. But I told CG Teacher #2 about what I was going through and he set me some eas(ier) pieces to play, and I’ve just been working on those to focus on the small things — my phrasing, my timing, learning the rubato s – l – o -w – l -y.

Right now I’m practising three things from the Mel Bay 1971 Folio.

  1. Le Petit Moulin by Saint-Saens (althought still a bit skeptical it’s by him, still trying to figure out which bigger piece this is extracted from).
  2. Petzold’s Minuet (more commonly attributed to Bach). This is a more complete version of the piece than the one I’ve been playing on the piano, so it’s a pleasure to play. CG Teacher #2 says it’s about a Grade 4-5 but it feels more like Grade 2-3 to me. My first teacher was giving me more complex pieces to play at Grade 2. Unless he was giving me Grade 3-4 pieces to play when I was at Grade 2. Hmm, Guitar Teacher #1.
  3. Sarabande from Bach’s Partita #2 for Solo Violin. This happens to be one of my favourite pieces by Bach and you haven’t lived till you’ve heard Arthur Grumiaux play it on violin.

Things I am practising desultorily because of massive musical brain block:

  1. Adelita by Tarrega. I can read the sheet music alright but the trills w/ the barre chords in the 9th and 7th position (particularly because you move from ninth to 7th and my barre finger has never been very strong and now you have to do TRILLS in-between each barre) are killing me and every time I look at it, I go “I don’t wanna…” — but I’m slowly practising a bit every day. Told CG Teacher #2 I’d play it for him in August. On the other hand, I’ve still got Lagrima memorized and playing it is such a joy and comfort. The difference is probably that Lagrima is a Grade 5 piece and Adelita is a Grade 6 piece.
  2. My Trinity CG Grade 5 exam scales. I have better fingerboard recognition now, and I don’t find the scales difficult, nor do I find them boring. But I still seem blocked. Exam/performance anxiety?

I messed around w/ some Aguado and Molina from the Mel Bay book earlier. There are a couple of Paganini pieces. Maybe I’ll ask if I can play those next. Don’t care what Grade they are, I’ve never played Paganini before. Anyway, I think I’m roughly a Grade 5. So I’m okay with my exam taking schedule to run thus:

  • 2021 — CG Grade 5
  • 2022 — CG Grade 6
  • 2023 — CG Grade 7 (or 8)/ Piano Grade 3
  • 2024 — CG Grade 8 or First Performance Diploma/Piano Grade 5

And so forth. I do want to go for all three of the Trinity diplomas but that feels like such a stretch.

I’m wondering if I can even make it to the first diploma. I guess the only way is to keep practicing and not give up hope. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. And I want to master this instrument that I love so much and which is so much a part of who I am. Always a classical guitarist first.

By this you may infer I’m finally coming out of that horrible music-learning block I’ve been in for weeks. Anyway I’ve also been doing the left hand exercises and fixing my posture, way of holding the guitar, as suggested by the CG teacher.

I was cheeky enough to suggest he set me some Julio Sagreras and Astor Piazzolla pieces at some point and sent him some YouTube videos. So here, enjoy this thrilling rendition of a Piazzolla piece.

Today’s feature picture is a quick snap of my guitar using the PS Camera App, and then further processed using PS Express, with one of the grunge overlay filters. I rather like the effect. (C) Nin Harris 2020, All Rights Reserved.