Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 3 Lesson Recap

I went into this week's lesson feeling like I had not progressed at all. The pieces I had been working on, Clementi 36.1.2-3 (opus number, work number, movement), Ballade by Burgmuller, and Soldier's March by Schumann should have been further along in my estimation. I warmed up with Hanon No. 13 and got 14 as an assignment. Next I went on to to the A section of Clementi movement 3. I obsessed on one bar of that for many stretches of practice time, all because the fingering for the dominant arpeggio (4-3-1, from 4-2-1) would never stick. I noticed my teacher playing it 5-4-1 (from 5-3-1, a more logical fingering for the root triad anyway), and when I went home and tried it, it played itself. It still kind of bugs me that I couldn't nail down the suggested fingering.

Schumann has required the most HS practice I've put in in a long time. We played it as a duet, switching right and left hands, and I realized that I need to play with a metronome WAY more. My timing is way different from hers.

We wound up by picking out some duet music for my wife and I to work on. We bought a collection of teacher/student duets weeks ago, but when I showed them to my teacher she said "Oh, those are way too easy for you!" so she offered to find us some others. And she did--an arrangement of Galway Piper and a Mozart piece whose title escapes me now.

I asked her a bit more about how she decides what is "too easy" versus an appropriate level. For example, I cannot even sight read those "too easy" pieces, though it's conceivable that I could have it nailed down in a matter of days. Apparently, that's the point. I shouldn't be able to sight read at my appropriate level, but I should be able to work up to an acceptable level of playability in a matter of weeks. This has been about right for the pieces I've worked on so far. It took me about 2-3 weeks to "pass" on the first Burgmuller. It has actually taken me almost a month to get the second movement of my Clementi Sonatina smooted out at a glacial pace. The third movment won't take me as long. But, at least now I have a much better idea of what sort of progress I should be making.

This was my last lesson for two weeks, since school is closed on Good Friday. My assignment workload wasn't much heavier, however. Basically, HT on the Schumann, finish Movement 3 of Clementi, and memorize Ballade. I think I may have Clementi Movement 2 memorized by then too.

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