PracticePrompt Blog

Practice Log for 31/10/2011 at 22:17:46

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on October 31, 2011

Total practice time for 31/10/2011 : 96 minutes
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Practice Log for 30/10/2011 at 18:44:18

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

Total practice time for 30/10/2011 : 96 minutes
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Practice Log for 29/10/2011 at 21:05:35

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

Total practice time for 29/10/2011 : 66 minutes
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Practice Log for 28/10/2011 at 20:36:19

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on October 28, 2011

Total practice time for 28/10/2011 : 73 minutes
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Practice Log for 27/10/2011 at 21:09:12

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on October 28, 2011

Total practice time for 27/10/2011 : 49 minutes
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Practice Log for 26/10/2011 at 22:08:21

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on October 27, 2011

Exercises and studies: These were nice and relaxed…

Scales: The second set at my highest tempo (80). It was friable and flaky in places, in particular the left hand. But, it seem to come together at the end for each scale. I took a break at 15mins just to rest the hand a wee bit….

Sight reading = stairway to heaven… way tooo coool! The two SR studies also went well.

Total practice time for 26/10/2011 : 68 minutes
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Practice Log for 25/10/2011 at 21:12:53

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

Scales: Started working on the next cycle around the circle of fifths, but at a new all time high tempo of 80. At the end of the 30 minute slot my left hand was tiring and a few mistakes started creeping in, not so much wrong notes, but lack of smoothness and not being synced with the right hand properly.

Sight Reading: The two studies went well as did the Level 1 sight reading piece.. a Grade2ish version of ‘Moon River’. The left hand jumped about quite a bit, but this song is a classic melody and lots of fun!

The sight-reading felt much more relaxed and natural today. Recently I’ve been using a metronome and found I could increase the tempo slightly. I also felt as if I was looking ahead better today. So I enjoyed the three tasks, and it felt much less like a chore than it often does….

Total practice time for 25/10/2011 : 68 minutes
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Practice Log for 24/10/2011 at 22:54:09

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on October 24, 2011

Completed the current cycle around the circle of fifths at mm=76 so tomorrow it’s time to go up to 80. The last time I tried this tempo, at the start of this year, this was very tricky with oodles of tension and particularly for my knackered Left Hand. So finger crossed then….

The sight-reading today was a blast, the SR method studies went well as did the Level 1 piece.

Total practice time for 24/10/2011 : 68 minutes
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Practice Log for 23/10/2011 at 20:55:38

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

A new collection for sight reading ("What else can I play? Piano grade 2). This collection is progressively graded and each piece increases slightly in complexity, so should be good sight-reading fodder. Today it was a simple arrangement of the old Northumbrian tune Johnny Todd (or the theme from Z-cars!). Whilst the left hand Alberti bass pattern was simple, I messed up some of the chord changes. I also stumbled over the final chords (now if only I’d followed the ‘rit’ instruction). But it was a lot easier than sight-reading the recent collection of ABRSM G2 examination pieces and as such made a pleasant change.

The scales and exercises went very well. Nice and relaxed and without tension.

Total practice time for 23/10/2011 : 68 minutes
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Practice Log for 22/10/2011 at 22:50:02

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

I enjoyed the sight-reading today and covered several SR-studies and two ABRSM grade 2 pieces. The scales and exercises went well. The scales feel the most relaxed and calm that I’ve played them.. After the formal study I played the last minor scale at tempos from 80 to 90plus, just to get some "feel" for the higher tempos….

Sight Reading Pete Sculthorpe’s "Singing Sun" (from A little Book of Hours). I guess this is a "contemporary" piece. Basically, broken chords played between the two hands. It sounded better than it looked on the page. It sounded like something from a Steven Spielberg film ("AI" or similar), melancholic and exposed. Now whilst it was in 4/4, and based on eighth notes, there were the odd bars of 2/4 inserted between the first couple of phrases. The piece was in A minor and so there’s the expected accidentals, just not the ones I anticipated. I wish I understood more theory! I’m sure the "secret" to reading the piece is recognizing the chords and the chord progressions instantly (rather than reading note-by-note). Whilst I enjoyed it a lot, I’m not sure that the "ambient and spacy" sound is what was intended. The latter half was a bit more demanding, as there was more interplay between left and right hands. The first phrase of the piece showed "LH" for the first two notes then "RH" picking up the phrase. So there were a lot of little interesting things in this piece.

Sight Reading Pam Wedgewood’s "Strawberry Flip" from "Easy Jazzing about". This comes with instructions to play "In a lively Reggae style". So I couldn’t find any weed and had a couple of rum and coke’s to get into the mood 😉 Well, I sat down and looked at the score. There’s not many notes, a little bass riffy thing, but I always get thrown by timing in jazz/pop/rock pieces, all those syncopations. So I sat and read, and read, but couldn’t "hear" it in my head. So I cheated and searched YouTube, where there’s several versions by seven year olds. Once I’d heard the piece, I understood it and had a template to work to. This made the actual playing much easier.

These two pieces were the last in this Grade2 collection, and went better than some of the others. Overall, sight-reading these has felt hard. So for the next collection I’m going to pick something a little easier. Also, I’m going to put the top 4 or 5 for further study.

Total practice time for 22/10/2011 : 80 minutes
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