Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A new year.....

2013 was a very busy year for me. Work takes up a lot of my time. I am a visual effects artist and sometimes work is all I do which leaves no time for other things. I also went on a 2 month trip to the uk and then when I got back to NZ, I was staying at my fiance's family's house for the rest of the year. There was no space for practise there.

I now have just moved into a new home. I have my own study/office/practise room so now can plan a practise routine.

I've picked up an old christian hymns book to help with sight reading. It was $4 from a charity shop and is great fodder full of simple practise material.

Need to set up my piano so I'll hopefully post some pictures of the space this week.....

Friday, 19 October 2012

We're cooking now!

Here we go. Full steam ahead. This is going to be fun. My exam pieces for grades 1-5 and also the music theory work books 1-5 are ready to go! I know there is a lot of work ahead but prepared to put the time in. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

2000 pageviews! October update

Wow, this blog was meant for me to track my progress and hopefully gather a few people who are doing the same and let them follow along. I went over 2000 page views yesterday! It's very encouraging that even a small amount of people are looking at this little journey of mine.

This week has been slower than usual as work has tken over my life. I've had one or two sessions of scale practice (getting up to 200 bpm with RH D major). Also tackled some broken chord exercises and some chord inversion practice.

I started looking at some jazz voicing for chords too. I realised that learning jazz chord would help with remembering scales as you have 'anchor points' to know where scale degrees are in each key.

Another thing I managed to fit in was some natural, melodic and harmonic minor practice. Not serious memorisation stuff but general ear training and scale familiarity.

I'll hopefull get my abrsm books this week and then it's full steam ahead with learning the 9 grade 1 selections!

Pedal on!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

ABRSM exam pieces Grade 1 book

The 2013 syllabus pieces should be arriving in the post in the next few days. I will be learning all 9 of them solidly before moving on to grade 2.

If anyone wants to learn alongside me, then here's a link to the book. It's not that expensive. There are some nice little tunes in there. I have done two of them so far. Looking froward to the other 7.

Also another must have for me is the AB Guide to music theory. I think I have owned this book about 3 or 4 times and lost it since I was about 14 years old. It's the bible of music theory and is the go to reference on scales, rhythm, key signatures and time signatures. it goes on to discuss advanced scales and harmony further on.

Those are two ones I would start with to get a great solid foundation!

On the importance of variety of listening material

In between my practice sessions, I do listen to a lot of music. I find that its very important to listen to a lot of music if you want to make music yourself. It helps to train the ear and also to let you know whats sonically possible.

My current selection of music this week has mostly been.....

- A performance of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No2

An absolutely amazing virtuoso performance by Adam Gyorgy.

- Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

I had never listened to this before but the lovely 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords with soothing sax, and trumpets. Nice music to work to.

- Muse, The 2nd law

new album from the space rock opera gods from Devon, England. This album has loads of arpeggiated chords and lovely vocal harmonies as well as lots of interesting synth and guitar sounds. very well produced.

Maybe once or twice a week I'll post what I've been listening to.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Awaiting New Arrivals

So progress is still steady.

I had some scale practice over the weekend and worked on D major hands together. Started super slow again and managed to get it to a reasonable level. I wondered if when learning just one scale intensely would make it difficult to do other scales as fluently, so I tried E, F, G and A and they all seemed to be okay. It's true that the more you do them, the more natural they become.

Turk's Das Ballet remains pretty solid. I need to go back to mozart and nail down the fingering and spacing. The main problem is spacing my fingers correctly and remembering when not to stretch and space them! It results in me hitting the wrong notes all the time. Must remember to go slow. It's such a strange feeling that when you first start a piece, it feels alien and your fingers have no knowledge of what to do. Once you have done lots of slow practice, it's like you don't have to think about it and it feels second nature. Such a nice feeling.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Lost time

I'm working quite a lot at the moment. I work from 9am to around 9pm most evenings (even saturday). I spend all day thinking about going home and practicing. I listen to music all day and have youtube vids going on in the background while I'm working. Then when I get home, I have to will myself to start playing. Once, I'm going it's fine and its hard to get me off the thing, but just the first hurdle in the evening is the hardest when I'd rather just watch baby monkeys riding a pig on youtube before I fall asleep (you must see that it's amazing).

I think about a life where I wake up and don't have to sit at a desk all day and I can invest time doing the things in life that I want to. Having practice broken up into 30-45 minute blocks throughout the day would be so enjoyable to me. I have a nice little studio room where I can do that and for now, I'm working long hours in the hope that in the future, I can afford to have more free time. Will that time ever come? Am I just always going to be chasing that? Time will tell.