Thursday, April 2, 2015

On a more cheerful note...

My goodness, the last few blog posts from me have been dreary! Besides the weather, death, and taxes, there has to be something else on the docket. And, there is.

As regular readers may remember, I got a new-to-me piano in August, and promptly started with piano lessons, so I could really and truly learn how to play. Bass clef comes to me very slowly, but that's better than Not.At.All. which is how it was when I first started, so my sight reading has gone from Not a Snowball's Chance in Hell, to Slower than a Dirge.

Since I'm doing this for fun and because I want to do it, I'm enjoying the process for the most part. I have gotten in my own way on a few occasions, and I still sometimes am amazed that I am not a prodigy. These are tunes I know, so why can't I just look at the notes and play? Like magic?

What I have found is that if I play a bit every day, even just 10 or 15 minutes, it makes a difference. The pieces I have to work on are short, and as previously mentioned, most are tunes I know, so it's just learning to read the music, know where to put my fingers, and when to touch the keys that's needed.

My piano teacher has two recitals a year, one in the autumn and one in the spring. I was still very new when he was lining up students for the autumnal recital, and when he asked some weeks back if I'd play in the spring recital, I surprised myself by saying yes. I am to play two numbers, and he will accompany me on both. He's doing the same for all his students in this recital. The last one was mostly for his younger students, and this one is for all those over age 12. There are quite a few of us, as it turns out, so a week from tomorrow, I shall make my debut.

I've told those who helped me move the piano into the house, in case they want to see the aftermath of their efforts. In some ways, I hope they don't come, so if I make a mistake, it'll be in a room full of people I don't know. But, if I end up playing well, I'd like for them to hear it.

When I first started my lessons, my piano teacher asked me what I wanted to play. I told him I didn't have anything specific in mind, I just wanted to be able to play. Since then, I find that the two bluesy pieces in my student book have been fun, and I have learned the first part of Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer. Something happens to me when I play ragtime. I feel the music really flowing from my fingers to the keys in a way it doesn't with some of the other pieces, where I play the notes but don't "feel" the music.

It's still very early days yet in my piano playing chapter, but I do think I'm in love with Scott Joplin.

10 comments:

  1. My wife studied piano at school, and did quite well in her exams. Some time back we visited a man who not only had a grand piano in his sitting room, but also had quite a reputation as a player. We asked him to play something for us, but he didn't seem capable. My wife then took his place at the piano and managed to play the piece without too much trouble. We suddenly realised that he was a total fraud.

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    1. Cro, I think the music has to be inside you in order to play it. Some people just aren't musical. That man reminds me of a cartoon I saw in New Yorker magazine where a man says to another, "Yes, and on this shelf are all the books I want people to think I've read."

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    2. Came to you from Cro because any friend of Jack and Stephen is a friend of mine :0)
      I read somewhere that Arthur C Clarke mentioned that many, many people said to him that they 'would have loved to have written a book…'
      Well done with the lessons!

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    3. Thank you, Kate, and welcome!

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  2. A friend of mine took up piano when her children were at school and now she's a piano teacher!
    I so admire people who can play piano and guitar. I can't do anything musical not even sing properly. Keep it up. Well done.

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    1. Thank you, Anna! I've always been musical to some degree; my mother couldn't sing in tune at all, and yet I loved when she sang to me at nighttime when I was in bed.

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  3. After cresting the painful phase, my granddaughters turned into decent musicians. The thirteen year old stays after school for jazz band lessons and had her own little "riff" in a recent band show. I enjoy the fruits of the hard work, but do not wear my hearing aids to the concerts.

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    1. Smart woman, Joanne! We had a bus driver, Mr. O'Leary, who wore hearing aids. He'd turn them off once the bus when he drove us home from school. We could be as loud as we liked, which was a treat. If someone needed help, one of us would touch his arm and let him know.

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  4. good luck I am sure you will do just fine.

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