Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On Deliveries and Decisions

Well, it's good to know that I've gotten this blog off on the right foot - which is to say with procrastination in updates! Still, better late and in part than never, right? Right?

Anyway, the piano was delivered successfully - let me tell you what an ordeal -that- was. First of all, the truck was supposed to arrive by 2ish, originally... but thanks to traffic issues on their other deliveries they didn't show until 8. I literally spent all afternoon jittering myself silly with anticipation. The delivery guys decided the best approach would be to take it through the back yard, which is probably true given the number of stairs on the front walk. Still, seeing a 600 lb machine trundling over grass on a dolly roughly a third of its total length... rather terrifying. I spent most of the (rather laborious) trip through the grass chewing my knuckles. Luckily they made it into the patio without incident, and the piano cleared the back door by a good inch and a half. A few more antics ensued as the movers shuffled blankets around so they wouldn't step on our carpet (as there was an unfortunate run-in with a doggy landmine - I felt pretty classy about that).

Finally, around 8:45 I had a piano set up in the Library, entirely playable. There are not words for how thrilled I am. Every time I walk past and catch a glimpse of it I get this ridiculous grin plastered across my face. I'm so easy. I've taken a number of pictures but haven't unloaded them from my camera yet - hopefully I can get to that sometime before next weekend (which is bound to be excessively busy) comes around. I'd also like to do a bit of beautification to this default blogger skin, but we'll see how ambitious I get. After all, when I'm at home I could be playing rather than typing, which is a much more entertaining use of my fingers.

Right! So! Now comes the part where I ruminate about how best to get back into practice. My first and biggest concern is that sheet music has become embarrassingly hard to read after a 6 year hiatus. Luckily that seems to be passing fairly quickly - I've played for 45 minutes or an hour every day since The Delivery, and I'm not longer having to struggle over every note. This is aided by the fact that I've started myself off gently working on some pieces from my first few years with Daniel Light.

Hmm - let's pause for some back story.

My mom started me on piano lessons in second grade. She had played for years, but mostly was back to about the level that I fancy myself at now... which is to say she could still pluck out a few of her favorites but mostly just from muscle memory. I remember that she used to play Moonlight Sonata for me as I fell asleep some nights.

Regardless, I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to learn to play myself. I started taking lessons from Mrs. Ballou, the mother of one of my schoolmates who lived a street over. I remember how excited I was when she let me start working on a simplified version of Moonlight Sonata in 3rd or 4th grade. I took it home and perfected the first few measures and then waited for my mom to pull into the driveway so I could be playing that part when she came through the door.

I studied with Mrs. Ballou until I was 12, at which point after a long time on a waiting list my mom had managed to get me lessons with Daniel Light, arguably one of the best teachers in the southeast. Certainly the best in Louisville. With Mrs. Ballou I mostly learned less serious pieces (folk songs or movie soundtracks, for instance). When I started with Mr. Light he promptly tossed all of that and started me on "real" music, making sure that each year I had pieces from each musical period. I had never done recitals before but with Mr. Light they became a thrice-yearly ordeal (including one duet recital). Additionally every year I'd participate in Guild... which involved memorizing a bunch of pieces then playing them for a single judge that would then rate your performance. More on that in another entry.

I suppose the point I was getting across there is that I've decided to get back into practice by taking a step back to some of the pieces I worked on early in my time with Mr. Light. I've picked out a few of my favorites from my second or third year with him and I'm trying to get them back into shape. Of course the quandry I'm facing is that I have FAR too many pieces both new and old that I want to work on, so focusing on something long enough to master it is a challenge. I've mostly settled in and am working on Daquin's The Cuckoo and CBP Bach's Solfeggietto. Remind me to check on all those names when I get home to make sure I'm not butchering them entirely. I also found an easy little prelude that will probably be my first piece I record and post here, as it's very pretty and I can already make it through with almost no mistakes. Additionally I've been plinking away at Bloody Tears from Castlevania and The Heart Asks Pleasure First, from the movie The Piano.

My plan is to try to get an old piece or two up to snuff every month, moving up to increasingly harder pieces until I'm back where I was my senior year. Once I reach that point I can begin the process of working on new music more in earnest.

Goodness, this entry got quite long - congrats to anyone who made it to the end! Anyone who sees me in the next week, please pester me to figure out how I'm going to record performances so that I can get my first piece up. Does anyone have suggestions? Thoughts on music-editing software? Any suggestions are much appreciated!


JD said...

Also nag her to keep practicing! Sure, it's exciting now, but I don't want my pretty pretty background music fading away in the next couple months! :D

Jonathan said...

I'm with JD on this one, keep practicing!

Music editting software... hrm... I've used Audacity (free) and Forte (paid for....maybe) in the past.