Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Turns out my weekly recaps did not become a thing as there's seldom enough time for such matters. However, I figured I'd write a post about more significant milestones. Such milestone happened recently as I more-or-less completed practicing my first Rachmaninoff piece and moved forward. The piece in question is Fragments (Posth.). A lovely little piece that I also recorded and might re-record after my piano gets tuned.

Disclaimer: This was recorded a couple of weeks prior to it being ready, so it is not yet completely polished, but I think still one of my better accomplishments as it is a challenging piece that introduces some pretty wide textures and some polyrhythms amid some of the faster parts of it. I might re-record it as a video with the tuned piano just for the "historical" value of it, but I do need to refresh it a bit before doing so.

Anyway, it was one of my bigger milestones as playing anything by Rachmaninoff was one of my main goals when starting out. Everything feels possible now.

I have since started practicing some Chopin; namely Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1 and the Raindrop prelude (Op. 28 No. 15); Both of which I hope to record when the time comes. Currently it looks like the time for the Raindrop prelude will likely arrive way earlier as the Nocturne feels significantly more challenging; especially with the con fuoco- part in the middle. I'm also practicing a couple of more playful pieces, namely Debussy's Golliwog's cakewalk and Prokofiev's Attrape Qui Peut.

I am also looking forward to taking a stab at Rachmaninoff's Elegie Op. 3 No. 1 which is, by far, more challenging than the previous one, but also one of my favorite pieces; perhaps ever. I don't know if it is possible to get to a satisfactory level of mastery on it at this time (or well... when I start in probably a few months time), but people tend to be addicted to the feeling of anticipation over gratification (this is why clickbaits work so well), so I will use this additional burst of motivation and funnel that energy into the Chopin and Debussy pieces which, I should add, are in itself immensely motivating "real" pieces that I want to play. In order to give an example of the kind of motivation I am talking about, I am currently practicing somewhere between 1-2 hours on weekdays and 2-5 hours during weekends, probably averaging around three and a half hours per day. This would be a good rate to reach Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour expert limit in something a bit over 11 years. If I am ever to actually reach that level of proficiency, it will most likely not happen in the next 20 years but it is fun to do the math.

Having graduated to pieces that I actually enjoy listening, I feel like there's some hope for me yet. I have, however, been widely neglecting all composing efforts and almost all improvisation work, which I feel I need to make a conscious effort to include in my practice regimen as the understanding would also, besides the obvious technical benefits, shorten the effort for memorizing pieces. I spend a fair amount of time on watching videos and video lectures regarding music theory, but there's no real substitute for actually getting down to trying to apply it by either analysis or composing.

Anyway, thought that'd make for a good little update on things going on. I don't know if I will be writing more than two updates per year, but I feel like I want to so... maybe.

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