Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How To Get Started...

I hope that as I make my journey from fragments of remembered pieces to being able to perform an hour-long recital with a complete understanding of the music inspires some of you out there who had lessons years ago to get off your keister and get back into the groove again.  I have a few days of setting this whole thing up, but when the name of the blog suddenly came to me last night, I knew it was time to at least start writing about it.  Fortunately for my loved ones, I currently only have an electric piano that I can plug headphones into.  It is a good quality one (Technics, full 88-keys) and is good for now.  Eventually, I will have to get a real piano though.  Nothing beats the sound and the feel of the real deal.  If I get enough followers of my experiment, I may start up a Paypal fund for people to contribute a buck or two occasionally to help me get an upright or baby grand.

So, what do I need to do before I can start "Day 1?"  While I do need a good basic music theory book to start from the beginning (even thought I DO know some stuff, it is just fragmented thanks to the Suzuki Method), it is not necessary for me to have this book at the very beginning.  I do need to do the following, though:

  1. Figure out when I can have at least an hour of time uninterrupted to practice.  
  2. Lay-out the order I am going to re-commit my senior recital pieces to memory.
  3. Make video recordings of what I can recall of these pieces for now and post those videos to Youtube (you need a reference to know that I truly am not able to play more than a page or two of these pieces at present).
  4. Set a time-frame for re-learning these pieces and an end-result.
As far as when I can have at least an hour to myself, I think I am going to have to get up really early in the morning.  I am not much of a morning person, but this is plenty enough motivation for me to hop out of bed a bit earlier each morning.  Nothing makes me happier than to be able to play a song completely and to play it well and to play it not only for my enjoyment, but for the enjoyment of others.

The order of re-learning is probably a bit easier since my performance was made-up of pieces of varying difficulty.  I performed the following:
  1. Nottruno, Edvard Grieg
  2. Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, Edvard Grieg
  3. Golliwog's Cakewalk, Claude Debussy
  4. Clair de Lune, Claude Debussy
  5. Maple Leaf Rag, Scott Joplin
There were a couple of arrangements of hymns thrown in there as well, but I am leaving them off the list and will only include them as a surprise when I am ready to perform all these pieces together.

I have a nifty little HD camcorder that will capture my "fragments" just fine.  I will post each performance in the next couple of days.  As far as the time-frame goes, I think I should give myself six months to re-commit all these pieces to memory.  I may have to adjust as I go along, but that sounds good to me.

What is the end result?  I plan on giving a recital when I'm done.  It is obvious that I will be revealing my identity once I do this.  That is OK.  True success will come after the recital as I plan on taking on four new-to-me works by Debussy as well as the entire Kinderscenen by Robert Schumann.  I imagine that task will take over a year, but the end result will be a nice hour-long (or so) recital that I will give.  At that point, I am hoping that I will have learned enough by teaching myself that I will have a decent repertoire at hand that I will continue to build on, that will allow me to perform at weddings and other special events.

I intend to make this journey entirely without the help of a teacher.  At least for the initial stage where I am re-learning my senior recital pieces.  Every single day will be chronicled.  Just stay-tuned for updates right here!

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