Friday, July 27, 2018

What's On Henry Today

Here's what I've been thinking about and playing (and thinking about playing) today:

Liszt, St√§ndchen (Serenade) - Schubert Transcription
Joplin, The Entertainer
Bach, Sinfonia in G minor
Brahms, Violin Sonata in D minor
Chopin, Nocturne in B-flat minor
Bach, Prelude in C# minor, WTC 1
Songs in my beloved old Baptist Hymnal
Songs in Standard Vocal Literature - Soprano
Songs in 24 Italian Songs and Arias - Medium High

Life is so good today. I worked hard, I played hard, I practiced piano and voice, and I got to visit with the neighbor and watch my kid run through the sprinkler with her friends.

Henry is happy, too. I keep forgetting that he sat quietly for nearly 10 years with no one to love him.

No more!

Sloppy ... but fun

"That was sloppy ... but fun!"

That's not what one should say after flying through a Bach prelude.

This is one of my favorite pieces I've ever played. I picked it up a few days ago after my decade-long hiatus from regular practice. At first, it was as if I'd never learned it; beyond the first few measures, I was having to re-learn everything as if for the first time. But after a couple of run-throughs, everything came back to me surprisingly quickly.

A few days later, I can play it again! It's sloppy, though. And I'm going on mostly muscle memory.

So I know I need to slow down, re-learn it by memory s-l-o-w-l-y, concentrate on evenness of tone, and work my way back up to my previous tempo.

This is Bach. It could take a while.

So today I sat down and decided, "Okay. Just this once, I'm going to fly through the piece, just as if I'd never stepped away from it."

And I did.

I literally did not miss a note. My muscle memory is fully intact.

But it could have sounded a lot better.

So when I finished, I felt a little breathless, a little high, and a lot happy.

Happy because I'd just sailed through a piece I love, but also happy because my work is cut out for me.

Sloppy ... but fun.

It was both, and the process of cleaning up the sloppiness is going to be fun, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What do you do when ...

... you haven't played piano seriously in many years, and you get a grand piano and you want to start playing again?

You get your fingers back into shape, that's what you do!

It's very nice to be reacquainted with Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, and the rest, but my hands are not the powerhouses they used to be. So I'm having fun playing Hanon, focusing on evenness of tone and simply playing each note for the same length of time. (That fourth finger on the left hand keeps wanting to race ahead.)

So now that I have Henry ...

What? You haven't met Henry? Why, here he is:

He's had several key tops replaced since this picture was taken.

Will I start playing piano again? Will I take lessons again? All of that remains to be seen.

For now, I'm taking it one day at a time, getting acquainted with my new friends, and getting re-acquainted with my beloved composers.