Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mrs K Retires, For Now - Plus: Sight Reading v Improvisation

I had a couple of short practices yesterday, and then a good forty minutes in the evening.  Mrs Kemble is not at her best, and I think I'm going to have to regard her as largely ornamental until she gets tuned and tweaked, whenever that is.  Definitely going out of tune, and more keys are sagging, failing to respond, sticking.  Maybe it's the heat in the flat, or maybe the dealer did just enough tweaking to be able to sell her.  At two hundred quid, I'm not complaining, because even if I've got to spend that much again, or more, I'll have a lovely 1930s upright at the end of it.  But investing cash in Mrs K this year is probably not the best use of resources.

So that means back to the Sampson for now.  And "going forward", as we used to say in Shanghai, I'll practice on whatever pianos cross my path, and get a digital in Dubai or wherever.  Going back to the how-I-learned-photography pattern, actually, digital might be the best way for the first couple of years, and I can go all acoustic, as I went all analog, once I've got the basics.

Speaking of basics, I've got to learn to sight read.  I've been turning this one over for a while, thinking of those people who can sight read perfectly, but are unable to stray a crotchet off the page into improvisation.  And John Lennnon's words about not learning to read music because it would kill his creativity.  But then, I'm not John Lennon, I'm not going to compose anything, I'll just want to be able to improvise somewhat, one day.  That's far off though.  I need to learn to sight read meanwhile.  Another thing I want to be able to do is pick up an old song for pennies at The Barras, say, and come home and play it fairly well almost straightaway.

So I'm going to learn to sight read.  I've got a couple of apps on the iPad, which I've not really had time to evaluate yet.  Keeping up work on the ABRSM Jazz Piano syllabus with its emphasis on improvisation should stop me getting too anchored to the notes on a page in the longer run.  And there's M Hanon.  I'll always have M Hanon.

Did I say there was a whole mountain range to climb?  A whole series of mountain ranges more like.