Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Questions and answers for 2ndSoprano

Recent comment from 2ndSoprano:

I like your evaluation index- it's an interesting concept.

As for your next piece to learn, is "polishing for the next recital" (which you mentioned several times) a strong criterion? If so, then I would think you want something you think you can get to speed. And are you limiting to Einaudi only? If so, I can't help you out there. Not really a fan, but that's just me, apparently. lol

And, as always, this is all IMO, mainly because:

1) I've decided I don't want to play really difficult pieces. I'm working on expanding my collection of Easy Piano books.


2) I've given up on the recitals.

How's Jason doing?

I'd answer there, but it's a little buried, and probably is best addressed in its own post.

First, Jason. Great. Wonderful. He's himself, albeit a little easier to talk to than before, since his hearing and pronunciation are improved overnight. He didn't really have a bad day at all last week. Even the very first day, you'd have think he merely had a tooth pulled or something*. We spent all of last week trying to reign him in, mostly unsuccessfully.

* - In fact, he did have a tooth pulled as part of the procedure. He had an upper front tooth that was very loose, and they went ahead and yoinked it. Apparently, there is a slight danger that the tooth could come out, and lodge itself in the windpipe or even lungs. We haven't seen the bill, so we're looking forward to finding out whether this impromptu feat of dentistry comes free of charge.

Recital pieces... yes, I am always keeping an eye towards possible submissions on the recitals. I regard the work it takes to polish a piece as necessary and useful in my progression. What caused you to decide not to participate in these?

As to playing difficult pieces... it's not necessarily that I aspire to play things that are hard because they are hard. (Well, maybe there is a little of that in me, now that I think about it.) But it's more a matter of enjoying that also happens to be difficult to play. I like Liszt; I like Chopin; I want to play, for example, "Linus and Lucy"; these are hard. I'm not going to be content playing things out of Alfred's the rest of my life. So I want to improve, and increase the breadth of what I can approach.

The flipside is that, to get there, I have some unpleasant work to do, like Alfred's, scales, arpeggios, Hanons, and things like that.And in the meantime, I also want to play some music.

Which brings me to focusing on Einaudi... it's not so much I am a huge, longtime fan. 6 months ago, I'd never heard of him. It's really more a matter of my lack of awareness of other composers and repertoires* that are simultaneously musically interesting, and yet approachable for me as a noob piano player. I'd play classical if I could, but for the most part, that stuff is beyond me. I'd play jazz or ragtime, but again, the music is either trivially uninteresting, difficult but interesting, or difficult and uninteresting. I'll take any recommendations you have for me. I know some of the Bach Two Part Inventions have been submitted by novices before, but I don't know which ones.

* - I like the word repertoire; all the letters are in the top row of the alphabet portion of the keyboard. It's the little things, what can I say?

- Aw2pp, who does not have a Facebook status.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I should have better things to do than this on Christmas, but most of what I have left to do is in the dining room, and *someone* is wrapping gifts-that-I-may-not-see-yet in there! LOL

I've given up on the recitals because I put far too much pressure on myself every time they come along. I know- it's not a competition and no one is judging (except myself). I find it almost impossible not to be hyper-critical to the point that I get so frustrated and upset with myself that I don't even want to touch the piano for days after I record a piece for a recital. And I did not start learning to play for that. I started because I wanted to do something entirely for myself; something I would find enjoyable and relaxing. And I don't get that from the recitals, so I stopped doing them.

As for the "hard" pieces, it's much the same thing. It takes me a long, long time to get a simple piece to any sort of reasonably playable condition, and there is just too much music that I enjoy and want to play to take months or even years to learn one. I've decided that's not for me. Others see things differently and that's fine.

As for other things to play, hmmm. I enjoy David Lanz and have a few things of his that aren't bad, plus there are several easier arrangements of things as well. (Remember, I am content with easy piano versions of things.) Martha Mier has some interesting arrangements and original pieces, as well. She's fast becoming one of my favorites. Her stuff is just different. I have her Romantic Impressions book one and two. I've gone thru book one, and will start book two in the new year. I also have her Jazz, Rags and Blues book one, and the Christmas Jazz, Rags and Blues. Oh, and Mannheim Steamroller. I have the sheet music for Fresh Aire and the first thing I ever learned to play was Mist from that. I still play it now, and it's really my best piece now. I also learned one of the Interludes, but haven't even looked at that in a year or so. I want to get more into that one soon.

On the classical end, I have a book of Easy Piano Classics (or something like that) that has decent "watered down" arrangements in it. Plus, the Anna Magdalena Notebook (Bach) has some stuff that's not impossible. Beethoven's Ecosaise in G is not impossible for a slow learner like me. Mozart has a few not too difficult to play waltzes that sound decent.

As for Chopin, much to my Polish husband's dismay *grin*, I enjoy listening, but have no desire to play.

Jazz- hmm, Some of Pat Metheny's ballads aren't too bad (tho the sheet music is not easy to come by!). I have a book of standards that are nicely arranged for the most part and not too tricky. I'll have to look up the title later.

Basically, I go digging thru sheet music and look for stuff I like that doesn't look too complex.

Did I answer all your questions? I hope so!

Glad to hear Jason is doing well.

Merry Christmas to all!

ral said...

For approachable, interesting music in a variety of styles I recommend Catherine Rollin.

Her web site doesn't have a complete listing, try here for more of a list.

My teacher had me learning "Winter Waltz" about 4 months after I started lessons. It's termed "early intermediate" so maybe that is a useful guide to difficulty.

ral said...

P.S. Merry Christmas & happy New Year!

Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

thanks all, for your responses. And yes, 2nd, you got to all my questions. Well done!

We had some folks over to the house the other day who also recommended Jim Brickman. Any thoughts there? Never heard of him myself.

Anonymous said...

Brickman's not bad. Not quite as "deep" as Einaudi, but pretty music. Very New Age (a term I am fine with using!) and romantic. There are some quite approachable pieces. A lot of vocal music, not that you can't play it without the singing, of course.

There are a couple videos on his site: