Friday, July 18, 2008

One of these days...

... I'm going to have to start Amazing Grace.

I'm at the point in The Entertainer where I am focusing on things like dynamics, maintaining tempo, and doing my best to honor those little staccato marks where appropriate. Mind you, I haven't yet gone the whole way through without making an error, but you'd have to know the piece pretty well to know that. (You're a pretty astute bunch, so I bet you'd be able to pick up on my errors.) But, point is, I am LONG PAST that stage where I would consider my grasp of The Entertainer good enough to go on to the next piece. And yet, I haven't.

Two reasons for this. First, Amazing Grace scares the Bejeezus out of me. I have dabbled a little with the RH (so I guess I sort of started it), and, wow. For such a familiar piece (I have all four versus memorized, thank you Camp Ozark*), it's really a baffling thing to play.

* - I learned many useful and important things at Camp Ozark. Scuba Diving, the correct pronunciation of "Regina, Saskatchewan", ropes safety, the words to all sorts of country songs I would never otherwise have heard, and how to differentiate between a king snake and a coral snake (a VERY important difference, mind you). But I don't think I any experience at Camp Ozark shook me quite as much as learning that you could sing Amazing Grace to the tune of the Gilligan's Island Theme**.

** - Of course you're trying this now.

Heck, my pseudo-instructor (PianoNoobAlexMan) never even really mastered it, as you can see here.

But there is another reason. I haven't learned everything Book One has for me. Part of the reason why I know this is because when I dust off, say, Good People, I still can't play it very well. In fact, these last few days, I have tried pretty much everything from Lavender's Blue on. And it takes, depending on the piece, maybe 5 to 10 times through it to get a clean take. I am also finding that when I played these earlier, I had gotten used to watching my hands. I had played all of these enough to have memorized the music. Turns out I had only temporarily memorized these things. So today, I have to look at the music, but then, to my horror, I find I cannot play the piece unless I am watching my hands. I wasn't aware of this habit at the time, but I'll be darned if I'm going on to Book Two without fixing it.

Sawtooth, the new house is about 5 miles due west of Geneva. The mailing address is Elburn, and the kids will attend schools in St. Charles. (Registered them yesterday, we did!) So we're moving to "St. GenElburn".

mom3gram... HOLY COW! 10 grandchildren!


Michelle Himes said...

Yup, 10 grandchildren, and seven of them belong to my oldest son David. His two oldest are taking piano lessons too, on an old digital that I'll bet is in worse shape than Old Bessie.

sawtooth said...

It's been a long time since I've been out in that area of chicagoland. I think my parents were looking at a house in the St. Charles area at one point during our look to move away from the city. I know that Geneva has a metra train station, was that part of the reason for the move out near your location? When we had finally moved up to McHenry, IL my dad worked downtown so he took the train to work. I must say that there's nothing better than looking at rush hour traffic sitting still while you cruise past doing over 60mph on a train. Chicago has a pretty great passenger train system.

Also, I wouldn't be too worried about starting amazing grace. I made a pass at the beginning of the song just to see what it was like even before my BTMD days. I must admit, however, that I've still not touched my Alfred's book in quite some time. I'm mainly been playing Limbo and I due fiumi. Playing something you really want to learn vs some random song in a lesson book can have that effect, I suppose.

On a side note, I'll spend a few days next week away from the piano as I take a short trip to the Chicago area! Yay! :)

discopalace said...

Hey, I wouldn't be reluctant to start on the next book. There's nothing wrong with working off multiple books at once. The beginning and ends of books are a bit arbitrary. Everyone learns at a different pace, and everyone has strengths and weaknesses in different areas.

Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

Sawtooth, you have prevailed upon me. I began Limbo this weekend (which is the next entry).

DP, it's interesting, the first few pieces in the next book are SIGNIFICANTLY easier than the last few in the current book.