Posted by: Michael | May 3, 2013

Haydn Sonata in a Month Day 10

I preferred not to waste time writing here as there was no significant progress (hence, skipping the writup for a few days) but after my last lesson with my teacher where I could barely even play anything, I have made some great progress thanks to her guidance. I thought I had it going but she showed me how to play it much much better. And she demonstrated different ways to practice different parts of it which made it possible to finally put them hands together in a slow steady tempo and with the correct articulation.

I am putting off the memorization for the time being, I can play fine with the notes and it’s better in the long run because it allows me to absorb more of the score the more I see it.

Movement 1 is going in steady slow tempo almost to the end. Movement 2 is going well except for the trio which is going great in moderate tempo but only Hands Separately.

For movement 3 I am still practicing mostly left and right hand and slowly putting them together. I can go right ahead and skip that but I suspect it will only hurt me in the long run so I am trying to be patient before I move on to HT mostly.

I have removed most of the trills when playing now because they were creating some rhythmic imbalances which need to be addressed before I put the trills and other ornamentation in. I will probably skip some anyway just to be safe for the exam, I don’t want an ornamentation to stop me from playing it well if I can’t do it good. They are supposed to make the music more beautiful not make it harder so unless they become easier it’s best to omit some of them. Haydn’s melody is pretty enough as it is even without them.

It’s already been 10 days… How fast the time flies. Well on to another day of exploring. It was difficult yesterday but today my focus was much better.

Posted by: Michael | April 30, 2013

Plans for Easter vacation

  1. Solfege exam prep 30 mins
  2. 15 minutes of scales warmup, 2 hours of playing in the morning, only the sonata
  3. Break
  4. 15 minutes scales , 2 hours of playing only the sonata in the afternoon
  5. Break
  6. scales and chamber music pieces from 8PM till 10 PM (less if feeling tired)
Posted by: Michael | April 28, 2013

Haydn Sonata in a Month Day 5

Day 5 was a waste of time. I managed to get to the practice rooms only 2 hours before closing time. I spent maybe 40 minutes improving previous material in the sonata and did not learn anything new. The 2nd movement is going well though, I’m sight-reading it fine, no problems technically so far.

Posted by: Michael | April 27, 2013

Haydn Sonata in a Month Day 4

Alright, I just came back from work, I feel rather inspired despite spending so long at work, it was a very productive day and I managed to do a great deal at the office.  I only have to be there on weekends and not all weekends either, the rest of the week I dedicate to music and the pursuit of personal development with the occasional work assignments that take about 30-60 minutes per day to do remotely.

Today I’ll work to secure the things I learned previously and introduce a bit of new material, as much as possible.

It’s also A minor melodic and E minor melodic + E major scales day for my warmup and technical exercise. This includes playing the cadenzas in those keys, and some arpeggios. I am also practicing the chromatic scale with my right hand because it’s in one of the other pieces I play and I need it to be perfect. Also I should practice the first Romanian Folk Dance from Grieg for my chamber music exam. It’s one of the pieces…

Day 4 brought little progress in terms of memorization. I am 7 measures ahead now. It’s still progress.

Posted by: Michael | April 27, 2013

The origins of “genius”

genius (n.)
late 14c., “tutelary god (classical or pagan),” from Latin genius “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, wit, talent;” also “prophetic skill,” originally “generative power,” from root of gignere “beget, produce” (see kin), from PIE root *gen- “produce.” Sense of “characteristic disposition” is from 1580s. Meaning “person of natural intelligence or talent” and that of “natural ability” are first recorded 1640s.
    In his book titled “Mastery” Robert Greene comes to the conclusion that the exceptional ability of someone who is a master in their craft is often characterized as genius. What we often fail to understand, however, is that this genius was attained through hard to work and dedication. It is not something that few select people are born with. The ability to perform exceptionally well in anything we do is within reach if only we know how to get there. Few of us can because we are too busy trying to find shortcuts to being successful. Instead we focus on trying to find shortcuts to success, we waste our lives looking for the easy way and few of us ever reach the level of mastery in anything. It is when we deny the urge to live passively and become active and aware of ourselves that we can truly develop our potential. It’s within every person and each of us is capable of greatness. If only we can stop looking for approval outside and look towards our inner self. Find what works for us and not what is necessarily pleasing to everybody else. Follow our own path no matter how difficult and long the journey seems. This in term is also the formula for happiness and personal satisfaction.
  When this knowledge is so blatantly obvious, why do we still fail to live up to our true potential? Afraid of change maybe? It’s time to seriously think about it and act on it. Otherwise our time will be wasted. We all know we live only one life, yet we spend day after day, lurking in the shadows and never taking risks. We spread our attention over so many things and so many worries. We want to be successful but we do not work on it actively enough. We react to all life gives us in a passive way and we ignore our gut. Me, you, everyone else we already have the answers within us. No external force can teach us what is right for us. It is ultimately entirely up to us.
Posted by: Michael | April 26, 2013

Haydn Sonata in a Month Day 3

Day 2 was spent doing other things and I could not get practice. I used the day to it’s maximum potential, however, so I am satisfied with it.

It’s now 11:23 pm, I just finished playing. I did not stray away from the focus of my work and managed to secure page 2 as much as possible. Now it’s going steady as it should be, the tempo is consistent with page 1.

I had trouble playing HT, so I practiced the left and right hands extensively. I played the notes as chords first then broke them up. All is good now and it’s all memorized, I can play hands together and also either hand from memory and I can also play just the left hand singing the notes of the right and vise versa. It’s a good exercise for training your ears.

Stared on the second movement and it’s going well, it’s easier than the first so far. It’s only 2 pages + 1 page trio so it will be easier to memorize.

That’s all for today. I will have to work tomorrow but I will make it a point to practice when I get back from work as much as possible. Maybe with a power nap before that. My hands will need rest after all the computer work.

Posted by: Michael | April 24, 2013

Haydn Sonata in a Month Day 1

Measures memorized so far (1st mvnt): 32/143

Hello, my name is Teodor. I study in the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine arts in the ancient city of Plovdiv (Bulgaria). I’ve been playing piano for a bout 4 years now (maybe less than that) and so far it’s been an incredible journey of personal drive, searching for motivation, meeting new and interesting people, love and despair, all the good and bad things you would normally expect on a long journey. In this case it is a life-long journey. I am generally very badly organized as a person and this particular project will be a challenge to overcome my flaws.

As you can imagine I am always behind on my assigned pieces but so far I have passed all my exams. For the final exam this year, however, we have to play an entire sonata. I chose Haydn – Sonata hob xvi 27 G Major.

While it’s not particularly difficult to read through, the tempo is challenging and the articulation and little details involved make it a difficult piece to perform.

I have never completed any piece to a decent degree in such a short time. My last Haydn sonata of which I played only the first movement took me 6 months and even then it was nowhere near good but it was flowing nicely and it was fun to play. I learned a lot from it which I am going to use here.

This is not really day one because I took time to read through it on more than one occasion. This initial study, does not help me much as I can not even play movement one from beginning to end without stopping and making some mistakes.

First order of business is to get the first movement in shape. Being able to play it slowly with no mistakes is crucial.

So far I have the first page down but I still do not play it well, so I am thinking that even this slow tempo I took should become slower to ensure proper playing:

The only thing I can think of is to learn it by heart, starting today so that I can remove the technical difficulties more easily. Being able to look at my hands makes things twice as easy. It will also allow to begin gradually increasing the tempo once I can play it with no mistakes.

To ensure proper memorization I will separate in sections and learn each hand, then put them together. I can pretty much handle it hands together but I have come to realize with some experience that being able to play each hand from memory before attempting hands together is much more safe than doing it all at once from the beginning.

In the event that this turns out to be impossible and I fail the exam, I will have to repeat it which will maybe give me the whole summer to work on it. So I am not worried about the exam. What I want to do, however, is push myself to my limit and discover just how much I can do in a month of concentrated practice on one piece. I feel that this stressful situation can be overturned in my favor and benefit my practice regime in the long run.