Monday, March 17, 2008

Making progress

It's been a good few days. I find, over the weekends, that I can accumulate 2 or 3 hours each day, unless I have a volleyball tournament or something. This weekend, we had some lighting selection decisions to make (yeah, that house is still under construction), but mostly, it was a quiet, stay-at-home weekend for us. So I made progress on the pieces I am working, which, at the moment, now includes this pretty lengthy list:

  • Lone Star Waltz
  • Cafe Vienna
  • Brahms' Lullaby
  • Joy to the World
  • Cockles and Mussels
  • Got Those Blues! (This one is a blast. I feel like I am making real piano sounds!)

Yes, I am actually working on all of those, and yes, in some cases, I have been working on them for, gosh, a couple of weeks. Remember, I work on things for as long as it takes me to get to where I can go through them without any errors, more often than not. But if I get to the point to where I can go through a piece pretty comfortably, even WITH a few errors, I give myself permission to work on the next piece. This means, at any given time, I can be working on either one piece, if it is giving me lots of trouble, and I am not sufficiently successful with it turn the page. Or, as is the case right now, a wide range of pieces.

Two changes I have made: first, I am actually trying to implement some sort of warm up. Before, I just jumped straight into whatever I was working on. Second, I am warming up with pieces from earlier in the book. This came to mind when I unexpectedly found it difficult to return to things I had thought I had "mastered". When the Saints Go Marching In, for example. I pulled that up the other day and was unpleasantly surprised to find that I couldn't go straight through it in the first take. Or second. Or fifth. It took maybe 8 or 9 tries (I stopped counting) before I played it at tempo, without errors. Lesson learned: don't forget to revisit the old pieces.

Finally, today is Jillian's last class in her first ever series of piano lessons. She is there at this very moment, in fact. She is not sorry to be done with the Schaum Green Book, and last week asked her teacher for the next one, even though the next set of lessons doesn't begin until April 7. She is very excited about getting a new book... "Daddy! Did you know that the red book is actually a regular size book! I bet those songs are LONG!"


Michelle Himes said...

Wow! You really have left me in the dust. I'm still struggling with "Money Can't Buy Everything" - I don't know why, it doesn't seem that difficult but I just can't get my brain and fingers to cooperate. I can't wait till I sound like I'm playing music.


Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

I remember sort of liking Money Can't Buy Everything. I don't have my book with me at the moment, but from what I recall, it had the left hand hitting the sharp rather than the right, is that correct? My LH had an easier time with this transition than my right.

There was another piece a few pages later that really confounded me, even though it seemed, on its face, to be an easy thing... I will have to look it up. Hopefully you will have an easier time with it than I did.

Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

Ok, just looked at my book. It was Beautiful Brown Eyes that gave me such fits.