Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday, July 31

I grabbed about 10 minutes early this afternoon to play through mm 20-22 of the fugue. It didn't sound great, but it didn't sound bad, either. That's good news.

This evening, I sat down for my real practice, which lasted about 80 minutes. The scales o' day were Gb-major and Eb-minor. I love Gb-major. I think it's my second-favorite scale, after Db-major. Eb-minor has given me problems in the past; that 3-1 crossover in the LH always gets me. I did 9-8 and used the C-major fingering and did rhythms. It sounded pretty good after all that, but truth is, I really didn't want to spend that much time on scales tonight. Oh well. I'm obsessive. What else can I say?

I know, I know, I know I was supposed to start with Liszt, but I yielded to temptation and started with Bach. The next few measures after measure 22 are a little easier because one of the voices drops out for a bit. I worked on those measures, and while I won't say they were easy, they were much more accessible HT from the start.

I moved on to the Liszt. I worked on learning the first half of the piece, from measures 1 to about measure 38. I already know the rest of it, and the first half is much easier than the second half. It's still tricky, but I'll have it before too much longer.

I did spend some time working on the voicing in several measures of the Liszt. There are quite a few spots where I'm playing thirds in my RH and the higher notes need to be louder than the lower notes. So I worked on making the higher notes sing while playing softer lower notes.

It wasn't a bad practice session, but I did finish it feeling a little deflated. Both of these pieces are "stretching" me, to use Deborah's word. Honestly, I really think the fugue is too hard for me. I told her that, and she basically said I shouldn't have such a negative attitude. I wonder if I'm really being negative, though. I don't feel negative about the piece, or my progress. I love it, and I love working on it. I just think it's a big step from where I was before, and I feel a little (a lot) overwhelmed by it. Sure, I can learn it, and I will, and I love it, but it's costing me blood, sweat, and tears (metaphorically speaking, mostly) to learn every single four-note beat. It's not like I want to be able to play it perfectly the first (or even the hundredth) time I look at it, but it's taken two weeks of hard practice just to get six measures. Granted, I can play those six measures quite well (and by memory) now, but I still feel like an ant trying to climb Kilimanjaro.

And the Liszt ... I felt bored with the Liszt tonight. Maybe I was just tired. But it seems like I've worked on it for such a long time and have gotten almost nowhere.

On top of that, my right forearm aches after Bach practice and my left forearm aches after Liszt practice. NOT good. I posted about this on the Piano World Piano Forums, and people are saying to see a doctor about carpal tunnel syndrome. I really hope it's not that.

My lesson last week was good, but one thing frustrated me: my piano teacher and I probably spent 25 minutes of the 60-minute lesson chatting. Granted, we're both going through some things and are friends as well as teacher and student, but we never really got to "dive in" to either of the pieces. A lot of the lesson time we did use for piano went to scales, inversions, arpeggios, and Suzuki. We probably had 15 or 20 minutes total for both the Bach and the Liszt.

I think both of us would have preferred to do more piano and less chatting, but it just didn't happen. I think we both need to agree to keep the chat time to a minimum in the future so we can make more time for piano.

I have two more practice sessions between now and Wednesday's lesson. My goals are to learn to play a few more measures of the fugue smoothly, and to play the Liszt in its entirety. I'll also work on the prelude, which has been on the back burner for the past couple of weeks. It's not exactly easy, but it's certainly easier than the fugue. Maybe I should work on it more; I feel like I need something a bit more manageable these days.

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