Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready for an Update?

Here goes.

I still have pinky problems. Not good. I feel like my poor hands are atrophying. I've been playing piano quite a bit at lunch, but nothing too difficult. Mostly I've been improvising new-age versions of hymns in the style of Jeff Bjork, David Nevue, etc.--not my favorite kind of music, but an unbelievably easy style to play. I really missed my calling as new-age Christian music pianist. Really.

Of course, I'm only 39 ... it's not like I'm on my deathbed. It's just a little depressing that I'm improvising the same old crap since the early 1980's. (My style is crap--not the hymns themselves. At least not most of them.) Truth is, I've played new-agey, beautiful and relaxing renditions of classics like "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In The Garden" for years. It's music I grew up to, so it's in my blood. Show me a hymnbook arrangement and I'll crank out a beautiful solo-piano rendition faster than you can say "Yanni Chryssomallis."

I love my music. I'm just really depressed about it right now. I don't know where I want to go with it. I'm not a performer--I know that much. But it seems like navel-gazing to practice, practice, practice all the time in my little George closet.

I know. I'm forgetting how Bach makes me sail above and beyond all the petty cares of this world. Someone please remind me. Robert? George? Sebastian?

Now that I'm having these hand issues, I'm suddenly feeling like the piano world is not my oyster. Not that it ever was ... but I was seriously considering auditioning for an amateur pianists competition, and now ... I don't know. I'm feeling a sense of ... maybe I can't do this after all.

OK. I just wanted to update the blog and let my reader(s?) know how things are. I'm off to play some piano ... and hoping the exercise lifts me out of these doldrums rather than dragging me deeper in.


music teacher said...

I know that you have so many wonderful stories and experiences to tell. It seems that your website has a lot of great tips and resources for music teachers. Will be following your future posts. Thanks for sharing!

Peter Tarsio said...

What exactly is it that you are doing that is causing pain in your finger and if you are playing on a hard action or a piano that is out of regulation using too much force or practicing incorrectly where you are doing reapeated motions, then you are in for more problems. Laying off and taking time might be the best thing and consider what you are doing with the repertoire you are playing and the demands it makes on you physically and mentally. If your posture is not good at the keyboard or you are sitting too long for each practice session then break it up by taking time out to stretch and breath or do some limbering alla yoga or chi gong, tai chi which is gentle to the body. Your general approach to your techique has to improve over time where you play with ease and do not used excessive force and repetitive motions where you can do serious damage to the joints and ligaments that can lead to injury that could even be incapacitating. You need to be gentle with yourself and take practice as a way of discovering what you are doing in the way of handling the keyboard and the passages you are trying to learn should come with succesful attempts through the correct fingering and rhythm. Always work through rhythm and practice slowly in fact very slowly at first. Take time out to learn the most difficult passages first and do this so that you can understand what is there and is required of you. You will retain what you learn better if you have the proper rest inbetween sessions and also getting adequate sleep. Do not hesitate to write to me at with your questions. I like what you are saying here in your blog and it looks like you enjoy the piano very much.

Best regards.
Peter Tarsio
Pianist/Peroformer and teacher