Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Two Hours at the Center for Art and Music

The Center for Art and Music is a huge music store in Wintersville, Ohio (the Hubster's hometown, and my location for the next few days). On the main floor are an art studio, musical instruments for sale, gobs of sheet music and instructional materials, cheesy music-themed gifts that piano teachers get showered with every Christmas, and several "studio rooms" with baby grand piano, where lessons are taught in the afternoon.

On the bottom floor is the "Piano Showcase," a room with six or eight clavinovas, a dozen or so consoles and/or studios, and about eight baby grands. Yesterday the Hubster and I stopped by to ask if I could possibly "borrow" one of their pianos for practicing.

The woman seemed a little uncertain discouraging bemused at our request and said "Maybe, but you need to talk to our piano guy." Okay. So Piano Guy came out and was very nice and said, "Of course you can practice here. No one uses our teaching studios in the morning, so come early and you can play for as long as you want."


So I went to the Center today and practiced my little heart out on a Baldwin grand for two and a quarter hours.

Bach: The fugue sounded good, particularly considering I haven't worked seriously on it for weeks. But I honestly think this was a fallow period. Why? Because I've only sat down to practice it a few times in the last few weeks, and I play it (almost) perfectly every time. With no practicing, I can still play those sections that I've learned HT. So I moved on to two more measures, worked on them, and ... all I can say is this: HT doesn't seem nearly as difficult as it did a month ago. It's coming along a lot more quickly. Instead of having to play a fourth of a measure twenty-five times before I get it, I'm only having to play a full measure a few times before I get it (by "get it," I mean being able to play it through without mistakes ... this step comes before the incessant drilling of passages).

I played through the Prelude, very slowly. I can play it note-perfect if I play it slowly. I think my future practices, as least for the next week or so, will include just one or two slow play-throughs of this piece. I think it'll be kind of like watering already-planted seeds in my brain.

Liszt: Oh, baby. Liszt is sounding good. I have all the notes, and now I'm working on movement and expression. It didn't sound so good on the Baldwin grand today because the bass was too muddy. For tomorrow's practice, I'll use another piano.

Shostakovich: Haven't started it yet. Maybe in a couple more weeks, now that Liszt is in the "polishing" phase.

More later ... I'm hoping to have time to write another practice update tomorrow.

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