Thursday, June 13, 2013

Before Learning a New Piece..

      All right so you heard this awesome piano music over YouTube and you want to play it yourself. You download and print the sheet music and you're about to start when suddenly..

      I was learning the third movement of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata which goes at an incredible speed until this passage came up, requiring me to hold an octave with my right hand and trill the 4th and 5th fingers (4th being on the upper note of the octave, 5th a half step above it). The amount of tension I felt due to the wide stretch was unbearable, and for a moment I thought my fingers would snap off my hand.

      I had this piece on hold for 10 months before I could execute this passage fairly enough that it doesn't make my ears bleed. All because of a stupid single mistake: I didn't go through the whole score before tackling it, and that experience has taught me. Even the most simplest of pieces may contain one devilishly tricky passage which will need special attention.. so I check that I could play that part alone, and if I was successful to the degree that I can at least hit the right notes at the tempo, I learn the piece. If not, I do some finger exercises to help me execute such passages better, and come across the same piece 3 months later to check for progress.

      So, before learning any new piece you must scan the whole score for technical obstacles. You shouldn't worry about unfamiliar marks, though, a pocket music dictionary or the internet will tell you how to play notes with these marks on them. But most importantly learn what is possibly within your grasp but also with a little technical challenge, to guarantee improvement in overall piano playing.


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