PracticePrompt Blog

Practice Log for 30/09/2011 at 22:51:51

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 30, 2011

Total practice time for 30/09/2011 : 128 minutes

Sight reading: Allegro from Sonata in G (Hob XV1/8) by Haydn.  Pretty little piece.  Most of the LH is written in the treble cleff.   The pre-playing study went OK.  Again took it too fast at the piano!!!!   Very aware that I’m not looking ahead enough and anticipating changes in patterns and so forth….

Level2 Piece: This was very bad today. It just didn’t come together.

Level 3 Piece: “progressing” but prone to many random errors.  The central section is much improved.

Scales:  Yep finally did some scales practice.  It was set 5 of my 6 sets around the circle of fifths (details in the task list).  This was the highlight of the days practice.  It had been so long since I’d done some scale work and even longer since I’d worked on this specific set.   I think I’m now at cycle 34 or so around these sets of scales.   It felt good, particularly at the sensible tempo (63) and was very much like visiting a old friend.   The notes seemed to come naturally and there was minimal stumbling around (just a second or two).  Two and three octave runs at tempo were treated like pieces.  Lately I’ve enjoyed putting a definite break between these, treating them like a mini-piece. So I keep my hands by my sides, listen to the metronome, then play the two or three octaves up and down as smoothly as possible.

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Practice Log for 29/09/2011 at 20:39:58

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 29, 2011

Hanon went well with a tempo increase to 52.

Sight reading: Ecossaise in G by Hassler. Another fun piece! Reading it through I could "hear" the music in my head. It all looked relatively simple (RH), but I didn’t focus enough on the left hand during the preliminary study. This jumps around a bit dropping an octave, but is mostly broken chords (which I didn’t notice during the pre study). That said, it was fun to play and the 12 mins study slot soon turned into a polishing exercise.

It had been a few days since playing the current Level 2 and Level 3 pieces. The Level 2 was rustier and full of mistakes. The Grieg lyric Waltz Op 12 No 2 seemed if anything to have improved.

It’s funny, the first Level 2 piece this time is proving to be tricky (it should only take a week). Today was day 12 of practice. It was full of note errors. But the trickier central section is better following recent focused practice. When starting the previous study cycle (Level 2 was G2 then), the first Level 2 piece was also awkward at first and took several weeks. Hopefully, when this one is done, the others at this level will flow better as happened last time. One of the problems is underestimating how much time they need. The Level 2 1-week piece needing a real focused approach to get it up to speed ASAP. Ideally, it needs an hour or so on the first weekend and several 15 minute study slots daily thereafter (rather than 15mins a day)….. I guess I’m kicking myself that I fell into this trap yet again!

Scales: Skipped again. But a weeks hols starts after tomorrow so hopefully I can get back into these then….

Total practice time for 29/09/2011 : 68 minutes
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Practice Log for 25/09/2011 at 21:11:21

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 25, 2011

Total practice time for 25/09/2011 : 43 minutes
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Practice Log for 24/09/2011 at 22:08:24

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 25, 2011

Sight reading: Gurlitt’s "Night Journey". I spent five minutes or so studying the score. It’s in D minor and the melody (mostly arpeggios) is in the left hand with a right hand, two-note "chord" accompaniment of eight notes throughout. These modulate nicely. The sight reading went well and I used up the remaining time of the study slot and some more doing a quick polish of the piece. I think that this is my favourite so far from this collection. – Lots of fun! The left hand arpeggios, whilst their the melody here, are a bit "Nocturne" like and serve as a reminder that I just don’t practice my arps enough (or at all LOL!).

Exercises: Went well!

Pieces: Marvelous! 30 mins each!

Scales: Skipped again!

Total practice time for 24/09/2011 : 103 minutes
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Practice Log for 23/09/2011 at 23:33:30

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 23, 2011

studies: Went well. Started a new Hanon (Ex 9) at a slow tempo.

Sight reading: Guilmant’s "Child’s Song" (from "Six Short Pieces" Op.48). ABRSM G2. A sweet gentle lullaby kind of piece. At first sight it looked tricky, but when reading through the score it seemed to look more doable. From a sight reading perspective the LH starts of in the treble cleff then drops down to the bass. It’s in 2/4 at a slow tempo, but I took a very slow tempo and was counting 4/4.

Level 2 Piece – coming along. A lot more solid.

skipped the rest!!!!!

Total practice time for 23/09/2011 : 58 minutes
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Practice Log for 22/09/2011 at 22:08:34

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 22, 2011

Studies and exercises went well.

The Sight-reading method was better (more “piece” like exercises).

The sight-reading  piece by Gritton; Timewarp (from “Fingerprints for Piano”) was just totally awesome and too much fun! It was a slow mock bluesie kinda thang! I studied the score for five minutes or so. It seemed that it might be tricky, but it fitted under my fingers really well. I took it slowly and it seemed to go OK. As it was so much fun I had to play it again and again. Then I actually payed attention to the score and noticed I’d missed some chord changes and got a bunch of wrong notes …. DUH!! I corrected the notes. By now I’m into the “polishing a piece” stage rather than sight reading, but what the Hec! Anyhow, I guess it went OK and I liked the bit where it changed from 4/4 to 9/8 and back again finishing with a nice bluesy descent over two octaves that must have come from some “Riffs for Rock Guitar” book or other….

The level 2 piece was improved but skipped Level 3 and scales tonight

Total practice time for 22/09/2011 : 60 minutes
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Practice Log for 21/09/2011 at 20:55:32

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 21, 2011

The Hanon went well, so I increased the tempo from 40 to 52. I’m aiming to keep this nice and relaxed. Similarly with the warm up exercises.

Today the Level 1 sight-reading piece was "In Forest at Night” (from 60 Light Pieces for Beginners Op. 36 No. 32). This is an atmospheric piece. I think this is the hardest so far at this level (G2). In 2/4 time with some tricky rhythms and at the end both L & R hand are written in the bass clef. The little chords at the end were also tricky. Whilst I had the metronome running slowly, all caution went to the wind and this was a struggle!

I hit the Level 2 piece hard as there’s a couple of phrases that just aren’t progressing. So yet again I made the mistake of assuming that because it’s just a G3 piece it’s easy. I should hit these hard right from the start and also use the strategy for Challenging Pieces (break into phrases, hard bars and so forth and attack the hard bits first). So I did several session on the two or three hardest phrases which seems to have greatly helped.

Conversely, the Grieg lyric waltz Op 12 No 2 (current Level3 and an ABRSM G4) seems relatively easy. I’m using the score from pianist magazine, but there’s a very awkwardly placed page break. So I downloaded the piece from the IMSLP database and luckily the central section is all on the same page. I printed off a copy and worked on this section of the piece. I was surprised to find that I’d memorized quite a lot of the pieces and my commit this piece to memory properly as it’s just ‘too cool’!

Total practice time for 21/09/2011 : 98 minutes
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Practice Log for 20/09/2011 at 21:47:43

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 20, 2011

Warmup studies, sight-reading method book, Sight-reading piece and Leve2 and Level3 pieces all went well….

Total practice time for 20/09/2011 : 68 minutes
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Practice Log for 18/09/2011 at 22:07:10

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 18, 2011

Total practice time for 18/09/2011 : 53 minutes
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Practice Log for 17/09/2011 at 22:26:21

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on September 17, 2011

Total practice time for 17/09/2011 : 53 minutes
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