Monday, November 12, 2007

Chunky Bach Update

You may recall that 'way back in August I undertook the project of learning the Bach two-part invention in C Major on the piano, inspired by Josh at Joshua Nemith's Cincinnati Pianist Blog. He went to the very great trouble of outlining a practice approach for the early intermediate student who was facing this piece as their first can't-tame-it-in-one-gulp project.

It's a little over three months now, and yes, I am still working on it. The first month was very hard going, initially at a pace of two measures/practice hour. After the two-week break of my vacation it was memorized, but not reliable. I started playing it for my teacher in group lesson, frustrated, as usual, at my inability to recover when I screwed up. I think she thought it was in worse shape than it actually was for quite some time.

Three weeks ago I added the ornaments, which engendered another learning curve and regression in progress. But I am pleased to report that I played it entirely through in class today, recovering each of the half-a-dozen times I faltered. Go, me!

Our piano teacher would like for me and my fellow student to perform a piece for the class of less-advanced students that meets before us, perhaps two weeks from now. Next week we'll perform for each other. (This week was separately for the teacher, using earphones. It's a piano lab with e-pianos.) So today, after class, I sat down and recorded my first performance practice. I was still relatively warm from class, so I recorded my first attempt. I would expect to perform slightly worse than this if I had to do so right now, as I find performing in person more nerve-wracking than playing for the recorder.

One thing I have found, now that I can play through pretty well, is that that's all I want to do. I love playing this piece! So for the next week I'm committing myself to one play-through per day. That's it. It can be the first thing, or the last thing, or something in the middle, but only once. I'll spend my actual practice time working on starting each bar independently, from the end of the piece backward. I need more rescue ramps. Plus I'll do extra repetitions of each of the ornaments and getting into them, where most of my falters occur. I should probably do some slower metronome work, too, to help fight my tendency to rush when I am playing it under tempo like this.

I'll check back in in a month or two.

Mobile post sent by gottagopractice using Utterz Replies.  mp3

BTW, that cute little skinny bar is the mp3 player. I'm liking Utterz.

1 comment:

Joshua Nemith said...

Hoorah to you for making it through to the point of a complete playthrough! I was happy to see that you have stuck with this...and glad to hear you love playing the piece. That's what it's all about in the long run anyway.

Best wishes on your continuing perseverence. It should pay off handsomely.