April 23rd, 2019
For the past 2 months I have been practicing Rachmininov's Prelude 5, and I think I can say I have made a lot of progress. I have memorized the entire piece except for a few lines in the slower section, and I do not play it with as much hesitation as I used to. I can play it steadily at a slower pace, and also have the ability to play certain parts at their normal speed. Two of these parts are the first page, and most of the second page. I have been getting better with the pedal, which seems important in a strong sounding piece like this. My articulation overall has gotten more distinctive and appropriate, and I am starting to sound more like the pianists who perform this piece professionally. I do not sound as good as them, but I do have my own sound that feels right.
I have also been practicing June by Tchaikovsky, from his collection "The Seasons." I have been playing it for the retirement homes as an introduction piece, and that has been well received. It is not a flashy piece like Prelude 5, but it is pretty and contemplative which makes it stand out from other pieces that I play. I used to play other pieces from "The Seasons," such as May, and June is a welcome addition to my repertoire from that collection. I love the middle section which is concluded with the rolled chords, since it feels joyous and powerful at the same time. It is an exciting part to play and makes me glad that I am choosing to spend my time practicing this piece over others. I am not sure if I will spend time memorizing all of June, but so far I have unintentionally memorized a lot of it. It makes it a little easier to play and apply emotion, while focusing on phrasing, if I already have the piece I am playing in my memory.
The time I am spending at the retirement homes is going well, and I am figuring out new strategies to perform better. I enjoy putting on an entertaining show, as well as spending time speaking with the seniors about the pieces I play. I think I do not have much room to play at more retirement homes for the time being, and I think that is a good thing because it means I have a lot of work. A portion of playing piano is the monetary aspect of it, and even though it does not pay much, it is nice to know my time is being allocated.
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