Music Learning Notes (Piano) 14/10/2020

Was in a piano funk for about two weeks. The enormity of how far I have to go to get to my destination, the fact that I’m playing initial grade pieces at the age of 45 — it’s really, really rough. Mostly I am mad at myself. I got my piano back circa 2013-2014. I could have done what I am doing now. Granted, I was quite broke but not too broke to buy exam books and peruse syllabli, no? After all even then I had more than enough note-reading/sight-reading and music theory for at least Initial- Grades 3. But, as they say hindsight 20/20 and I wasn’t in the right mental/emotional headspace for music classes/learning post-PhD and getting into academic life, plus you know, the struggle to become a professional author.

Anyway, today I got over my overall music funk (classical guitar too, but that was a more nuanced and advanced music funk) by pushing the envelope on both piano and CG. For CG I started playing the J. Edwards transcription of Debussy’s Clair De Lune. For the piano, I found in one of the piano books I bought a Grade 4 level transcription of Debussy’s Reverie. So, I can play the left hand of Reverie fine, given that I’ve taken to — over the years — playing random melody lines of Debussy pieces by ear. So I picked that up without tooooo much effort. But the LH, yeowch! I can read the bass clef notes relatively fine — up to a point, but it requires the kind of fingers agility and coordination that will take 2-3 years to develop. I am patient enough to wait that long. But! Having refreshed myself with that challenge (and I will return to it, mark my words), I went back to the Initial Grade TCL book and tried that piece I had some problems with, Heumann’s Spanish Guitar Player et voila! Suddenly everything fell into place and I could play it. HAH!

Oh, also went back to working with JoyTunes Piano Maestro these past three days since I needed to force myself to play piano again so being a keys mashing automaton seemed to be a good idea. I’m in Lesson 25 now and it’s hitting a bit lower on the octaves for the bass clef so I’m in sync with where I’m at in the Initial Grade book. Here’s what I can play from the TCL book (but which needs finessing, obviously):

Canon — Badings
Conversation – Bera-Tagrine
Allegro (no. 4) — Reinagle
Spanish Guitar Player — Heumann

It will take some weeks for the Heumann and Bera-Tagrine pieces for me to reach the same level of comfort I have with the Badings and Reinagle pieces. I can also do the scales and initial grade exercises fine.

I definitely prefer the early Grade selections for the TCL syllabus, the ABRSM syllabus seems a bit…baby-ish in terms of music selection for me? I’m sure the difficulty is on par but I’m a 45 year old woman with a relatively sophisticated musical palate and I don’t want to torture that palate 😛

But the main point of today is that after that I flipped through the TCL Grade 1 book I bought at the same time as the Initial Grade book and found it wasn’t too much harder to scan through. I will need better hand coordination so I’m going to work through the Initial Grade book and the Piano Maestro exercises but I think maybe next year I’ll aim for Grade 1, and I already have a rough idea from perusing the syllabus (and watching demos on Youtube) of what I feel able to play: Probably either Reinagle or Schein from the main book, and Diabelli et Telemann from the Alternative Repertoire.

The pieces (although I think they are due to change their pieces):

Anyway, I’ll likely get a piano teacher next year after I finish my car payments. Have about 6 months left of that. Since CG class is once every fortnight I’ll try to get an online piano teacher similarly okay with fortnightly classes. I can hit the notes and I think my posture and fingering is relatively okay but best to get a teacher to monitor these things. Despite my music education mishaps this year, learning from three teachers really helped me accelerate my music learning for CG. Hoping for the same re piano.

But…the first Debussy turns up in the exams around Grade 6 and most at diploma level (Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune turns up at fricking FTCL level! You think I can live that long given I’m sitting for CG diplomas first?!!!).

I’ll be taking music exams/recitals well into my 60s, I tell you. But oh well, there are worst things for an old spinster to be doing with her time. And I’m such a ham, I’ll likely enjoy being a (hopefully cute) 60 year old lady with a flower in her hair, playing Debussy for bemused youngsters (examiners).

HA! That image amuses me.