Week 0/104: Goals for August

August 16, 2008

Today I had my first lesson. My piano had come with a free book of sheet music, but almost everything in it is too hard for me (actually, Revolutionary Etude is in it!). I’d been dicking around with Bach’s Minuet in G since I know that’s a pretty simple piece. I’ve got the right hand worked out okay, but putting the left hand together with it is a challenge. Anyway, when I met with my instructor I was surprised to hear him say that he wouldn’t give that piece to someone until they’ve been playing for a couple months. He told me that I could do it in a month, maybe. I think I’ll do it in a week.

I showed him the book, and he told me that Bach’s Prelude is an easier piece, so I’ve started working on that, too. It doesn’t look easier than Minuet at first glance, because it’s got more notes, but having played through it some I see that it is, because the RH is just chord shapes, and the rhythm is simple so it’s easy to put both hands together. I’m hoping to get through that in a week, too, but there is significantly more to memorize than Minuet, something like 3x the amount of material.

I also purchased from him a copy of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course Book #1. A lot of the stuff in the beginning is too elementary and of no interest to me, but I think it’s good because it groups lessons by concepts, and concepts are good to know as a general rule. I’ll be working on this book, too, but I don’t know if I’ll record videos of any pieces from there because a lot of it is stupid shits like Jingle Bells. Christmas has really killed Jingle Bells for me.

Finally, I really like this song, so I downloaded the sheet music for that as well, but this is almost surely too difficult for me right now. In the 4th bar, it is actually physically impossible for me to play it without the sustain pedal (I’ve got small hands that span about an octave). So I’ll need figure out how to use the pedal before I can play this piece–it’s just hard because I’m not used to doing so many different things with my body at the same time. The fact that it’s hard is offset by how much I like the song–that’s really the only thing that’s going to motivate me through this project. If I find a song I like then I’ll want to practice so I can be cool and play it, but if I don’t like something then I’ll be bored and never want to practice.

So anyway, to summarize:

Short term goals:
Minuet in G and/or Prelude (Wohltemperierte Klavier I No. 1) in 1 week
Cavatina in… 3 weeks? But I’m leaving on vacation in 2 weeks so I don’t know how that’s going to work.

Medium term goals:
Finish Alfred’s in… 6 weeks to 2 months? I want to get through the basics quickly and get to the fun stuff!

Long term goals:
Revolutionary etude in 2 years

Revolutionary Etude in 2 Years

August 14, 2008

I have taken it upon myself to learn to play the piano. At 23 years of age, my entire life has been completely amusical–I don’t know how to play any instruments. So now that I can do whatever I want, I am going to change that.

I’ve made a bet with my roommate. He doesn’t believe that I can learn to play the Revolutionary Etude in 2 years. If I lose, I’m going to have to buy him steak, and vice versa. It’s going to be a challenge, but I am confident I can do it (and I base this on absolutely nothing). He did lose the last such bet we made, so I’d say I’m the favourite going into this. I also managed to rope 3 more people into the bet. If you would like to get a piece of this action, let me know.

This blog is going to document my progress with this undertaking. I’m going to post videos of pieces on youtube as I learn them. You can find them here (revolutionaryetudein2years was too long for a youtube handle).

Having done some research, I spent about a grand on a Yamaha Arius 160. It’s a new model, just came out, and supposedly does everything the low end Clavinovas do but for less! Here is my set up:

Yeah, it was supposed to come with a piano bench but that hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve got the laptop up there so I can track my practice times on iGoogle.

2 years. It’s going to happen.