Piano Instructor and Church Musician in Rogers, Arkansas
I’m always asking my students about their practice. So why not share some of my own practice notes? I began this project at the beginning of 2021, with the intention to do it for an entire year. It’s really time-consuming to make practice notes, and then relay them to a Web page, where maybe just a couple of people would ever see them, and probably no one except me would really care. But it was good discipline. I made it to the middle of May, which is where I decided to end the project.
I was very productive during this period, learning pieces for the first two installments of Piano Postludes in 2021: España of Albeniz in February and the first four Danzas Españolas (Spanish Dances) of Granados in May. Although I spent quite a bit of time thoroughly learning these, far more practice went to the two Goyescas of Granados that along with Quejas, learned in late 2020, have gotten me halfway through this incredibly difficult suite.
Begin: Plugin Setup Day
Begin: Plugin Setup Day
This is really cool! I established a new Google Calendar, and I'll use it strictly for creating a public practice log. Since I often ask my students how much they practice and how to practice, I want to give some insight into my own practice process.
I'll try to keep it high level and save the minutiae for myself. Plus, if I have a project or piece I don't want to reveal, I might create some type of code word. After all, mystery is sometimes a good thing!
I decided I'd like brush up the Bach WTC Book 1 that I learned in 2018-2019 to record and present it in December 2021 via an online Advent calendar. I would present one P&F each day and then something different for Christmas day, all pre-recorded throughout the year.
To get this started, I wanted to practically see how much work this might take, and also get one recording in the can. I chose the F# major because of its bright mood - good for the New Year - and its average difficulty. I think the project is doable, but I'm not fully committing to it just yet.
I tried to edit the recordings I made on Sunday night for two separate Music Monday posts. However, I found that the Windows software I purchased doesn't recognize the MOV/QuickTime file format used by my Zoom Q2n-4k Video Recorder. So frustrating!
I have another solution, but it requires using my MacBook, which I didn't want to take 5-10 minutes to set up. Instead, I wasted about an hour, though I was able to multi-task.
I set up my MacBook to do the video editing, which was really quick, but then transferring the files via Dropbox failed for some reason, even though both computers were connected via LAN cables.
I solved the Dropbox issue by just terminating all of the Dropbox processes on my computer and then relaunching; I could have rebooted and that would have done the same thing. Again, I was able to multi-task, but it was still annoying!
Revisited the Goyescas of Granados. Played through Quejas just to make sure it was in my fingers and played slowly through El Fandango de Candil. I am going to work through this piece in the next couple of months. Although it’s difficult, I can take the time to learn it.
I listened to the de Larrocha recording and researched the 20 measure cut that I will take from mm. 141 to 161. It’s quite legit as it’s marked in the score of Granados’s student Marshall.
Listened to El Fandango de Candil in several recordings on YouTube. I was very impressed by Aldo Ciccolini, who took a slower tempo than the Granados piano roll, yet played very stylistically and the slower tempo let him make some forward rubato that he may not have been able to do at a faster tempo.
Listened to two pianists I didn't otherwise know, Katherine Huang and Giselle Hsin. Huang started the piece at a tempo she couldn't hold up and used extreme romantic rubato to accommodate the technical difficulties. It was technically sound, but not stylistic.
Hsin took a more steady approach and delivered a technically and musically inspired performance. It was great in both cases to see the artists playing; you do learn a lot from watching videos over listening to audio alone.