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Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
piano music I
was a little
but a little
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I found six
yesterday so I
have a lot to
work with in
the future. I
think I will
music in the
Monday, June 29, 2020
I did not have much energy today so I only practiced sight-reading for half an hour. I sight-read random pieces of music that did not have any particularly memorable melodies, and after I was done I felt like I needed to spend time finding more music. When I looked online I found a lot of Russian piano sheet music which made me excited. I will now have enough music for my next sight-reading practice session.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
I did not get a chance to do much sight-reading practice today because my back was giving me some problems and I could not sit at the piano bench very long. I was still able to play for forty minutes but I could not continue after that. I think I will try to play using an office chair with a lot of pillows later today, but for now I am resting so I do not aggravate my back any more. The music I practiced was a continuation of yesterday's sight-reading session which included many classic piano pieces. Unfortunately I am not able to remember any of them at the moment and I did not recognize the ones I played. I think I will take this resting time to look up more music online so I can have some fresh material for tomorrow.
After I rested my back and replaced my piano bench with an office chair that had pillows against the back, I readied myself to practice Rachmaninoff's Prelude 5. I remembered some tips I had learned previously to play certain sections with more feeling, so I applied those to the practice session. In my opinion I improved a good amount the hour that I practiced and I hope to continue that tomorrow. I will be playing this prelude for some retirement homes this weekend so I would like to be as ready as possible.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
My sight-reading practice session was not too lengthy today but I was still able to play some classics by Debussy and other composers. One of them was "Arabesque" which is a popular Debussy piece, while "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" (I am translating the title) was another.
After my sight-reading practice session I reviewed Chopin's Polonaise Op. 40 No. 2. I was able to get through the entire piece without too much trouble, however I still want to review the second page a little more before I perform it for an audience. Even when I do perform it for an audience I expect to make some mistakes. I have to play a piece dozens of times publicly before I can play it well before an audience, which is not a favorite characteristic of my piano abilities. My personal growth in playing piano is strongly based in working on my performing skills since I do not consider myself a natural performer. I am not the type of pianist who is able to practice a piece in private to it's entirety and then play it in front of an audience soon after on a professional level. Regardless, I have made a lot of positive strides towards bettering my skills so I do not have to trudge through pieces twenty times in front of audiences before I can play it well enough.
Monday, June 22, 2020
I did not sightread anything in particular today. I picked random styles of music including classical, jazz, and contemporary. I played some of Bach's Inventions well which was surprising to me since I usually learn them slowly. Perhaps this morning I was in a good mindset to read and play two voices at once. The jazz music I went through was also fun, however it was different than what I am used to so I was not able to sight-read it as quickly. In the future I will sight-read jazz more often since it seems it will be a nice challenge outside of playing classical and rock all the time. I think for my practicing today I will continue with the Polonaise I practiced last week along with Rachmaninoff's 5th Prelude.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
I started out my day by practicing from a book that is a little more difficult than the book I have been sight-reading with. It was not difficult by much but I was playing at a much slower tempo and missing more notes than I usually do. The material was mostly forgettable however some of the pieces had nice melodies. Thinking about it there was one piece that stood out, which was "Yesterday" by The Beatles. A couple of years ago I was teaching it to one of my students so the melody was familiar and more interesting to play.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
I continued my sight-reading practice from yesterday
which included my film score book. There was not any memorable
music today but I did not mind so much. As long as I am getting
some sight-reading practice done I will be happy. I have written
before that I wished there was a test I could take to measure my
sight-reading ability. Today was another day I thought about that
since I was able to get through the music without too much
trouble. I have also learned to improvise where I miss notes and
that is a skill I know I have learned through years of
After sight-reading I took a break to exercise a bit and then I came back to the keyboard to practice the Polonaise from yesterday. I went through most of the piece today but I think I will go through it more thoroughly tomorrow so I know I have spent a good amount of time practicing in time for my retirement home performance on Thursday.
Monday, June 15, 2020
I started my day by sight-reading through my sheet music book that has piano adaptations from popular films. There were a couple of pieces that were fun to play, such as the Jurassic Park theme and the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme. The Indiana Jones music was nice because I have been watching the movies this year, so it is fresh in my mind. However, that is not the best way to sight-read since I already know the beats and how it's supposed to sound like. I do not get to apply my theory skills as much if I am familiar with the music. Later in the day I will choose a Polonaise I am most familiar with and practice that, because on Thursday I am playing for a retirement home and I would like something new to introduce.
I am writing this after my second practice session, and I have picked Polonaise Op. 40 No. 2 to perform. I was worried at first because it was difficult for me to get the notes correct, but after an hour I was able to get through the piece. I will try to get the through it in one take during my next practice session since nothing was particularly difficult besides not being able to remember the notes.
Thursday, June 11, 2020
I just did some sight-reading practice today with more film scores. I think I found the original film score book I was happy with, so I played through it for a little more than an hour. None of the music stood out to me as being memorable except for the American Beauty score, but it was still fun to play movie music.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
I continued working on Chopin's Polonaise Op. 71 No. 3 this morning. I am more familiar with the notes now and am concentrating on increasing the tempo. Other pianists play it quickly, however it still it pleasing to listen to at a slower pace. It feels like a light Polonaise with it's small trills and thirty second notes, which is typical for a Chopin piece. I will probably continue practicing another Polonaise tomorrow, but might come back to this one by the end of the week.
After practicing the Polonaise, I brought out sheet music from animated films, such as Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen. I wanted to practice my sight-reading with music that I recognized, and usually Disney music is easier to use for practicing since I have heard most of the melodies before. I did what I usually do with these pieces of music, which is playing them steady at an even pace.
Again I finished my practice session with Prelude 5. Every day I practice the middle section I remember it better, and today I noticed some details in the passages that helped me understand how they are structured. I mostly focused on the middle section, but I also took some time to practice the octave and chord jumps in other various sections of the piece. I am hoping that will make my playing more consistent and eliminate missing chords from time to time.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
I did not have too much energy today so I focused my piano playing on sight-reading from a new film score book I found online. It was a little too simple for me but it was not bad to play. When I sightread, I prefer to sightread more complex pieces at a slow, even tempo rather than easier pieces at full tempo. It could be because if there are fewer notes, I spend a lot of time thinking about each note individually and sometimes I make mistakes that should not have been made. When I am reading a lot of notes on the music I am multitasking and it seems like I am better using all my abilities rather than sight-reading simple pieces.
Monday, June 8, 2020
I started out my practice session by sight-reading from my four hundred page "Golden Oldies" book. I am not too sure how accurate that title is since they have music from the musical "Grease," and I do not consider that to be an oldie. It is not the most difficult book and I am still on the search for my previous book that had movie scores and was three hundred pages long. I think I like that book especially because the last piece I played from it was the E.T. theme by John Williams.
After that I practiced the last Polonaise I have decided to work on, Op. 71 No. 3. It is a pleasing Polonaise, and to me, without listening to any interpretations of it first, it seems like a slow and beautiful. I was able to sight-read through it at a slow tempo and never got lost anywhere, so I am confident I will be able to perform it sooner than later.
When I was finished practicing Polonaise Op. 71 No. 3, I decided to start working on Prelude 5 again. Like my last practice session I focused on the slower middle section, trying to remember the order in which the passages were organized in. I was more successful compared to last week, so I think the next time I look at it I will have found that my practice strategies were worthwhile.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
I wanted to have an easy morning practicing so I again started with sight-reading. I was a little more excited because I found a sight-reading book online that is around four hundred pages featuring music from musicals, films, and other forms of media. Sometimes I wish there was a test I could take to see if my sight-reading skills have improved substantially since I started practicing it daily. I know that I am less intimidated sight-reading music than I used to be, so that probably means I can play it at a quicker pace with new confidence, but I also know that I am still not able to sight-read at a regular tempo. This makes me wish I practiced sight-reading when I was younger, however I did not have access to an enormous library such as we do with the internet these days. My piano teacher I took lessons from during high school gave me about fifty pounds of sheet music five years ago, so if I did not have the internet I could use that, but it's much easier carrying around a tablet to practice than thumbing through paper. Thinking about it though, it's nice knowing I have a backup in case I get tired of my online resources.
Again I practiced Rachmaninoff's 5th Prelude, however the slower middle section gave me some memorization issues today. I do not know how to explain it too well but the section is split up into two main parts, and I suppose I am not as familiar with them as I thought because they get confused in my mind too often. At that point I started reading the sheet music to get my muscle memory back quicker than by going by previous memory and repeating the incorrect passage orders again and again. I feel like my fingers are more agile when playing the jumping chords though, and I have stopped missing as many notes as I used to. Tomorrow when I play for Vista del Monte I will get to hear if I have an easier time playing those chords.
Later today I might try another recording session to see if I can record my videogame piece without too much trouble. Yesterday I recorded for an hour and felt like I made a lot of progress since a lot of my usual mistakes apparently disappeared. I felt a lot more confident with the notes, especially during the page turns. I am not sure what is taking me so long to bring this piece to recording quality, but it has been a process that I have not experienced in a while. I do not particularly enjoy it because of how much of a perfectionist I am, but I have to do it.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
I started out the day by sight-reading some movie scores. I was a little frustrated because I could not find the film score book I had been playing from for the past week, so I had to find another film score book. I settled with one that had 90s film songs such as "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic, but personally it was not as fulfilling as reading from the other book. I had an OK time reading from this book but I am going to continue to look for the book I was reading from last week. It was a challenging difficulty level, had good arrangements, and was around three hundred pages total.
I also worked on Rachmaninoff's 5th Prelude because all the seniors love it. Like a lot of Rachmaninoff's pieces there are many big sounds, from the chords to octaves, and overall it feels quite powerful. I am still remembering all the notes but today I felt I got a good handle on those I did not get to the last time I practiced this piece. That includes the ending, which came back to me quickly. I am looking forward to adding more phrasing now that I am revisiting this piece, so I think I will listen to several interpretations to determine my favorite way of expression.
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