Thursday, April 04, 2013

No to Hanon and DIY fingering. Yes to the good old ABRSM.

Being off work this week, I was able to get 90 mins all told on the Prelude No.1 in C Major this afternoon.  Still with the first twelve bars, both hands, quite slow and with mistakes. Then I finished with a lot of the time just with the right hand, doing the first four arpeggios: G-C-E (x2), A-D-E (x2), G-D-E (x2), G-C-E (x2) (again), and then the big stretch at A-E-A (x2).  I kept playing them all in that sequence, all being well until the last one, which I'm beginning to get the hang of, though it's a literal and figurative stretch.  I could get the next one, F#-A-D, too, but was really uncertain if I was fingering it right...

I've decided to shelve the Prelude for now.  It's 60-something bars, which is a lot of bars with guesswork on the fingers. I don't want to get into any of the "bad habits" which I keep reading are so difficult to get out of later.  I'm pretty firmly in the anti-Hanon camp now, (though I did do a few quick one-handers of Exercise No.1 today just to boost my confidence when Bach was feeling a bit daunting). And I think learning actual pieces of music is the way to go to build technique.

The nine pieces in the ABRSM Grade 1 exam syllabus for 2013-14 are all each on one page, about 20 bars, and I've read through them all, (away from the piano) tonight. Common sense suggests that as these have been chosen for beginners, getting them all into the repertoire is the next move. So that's what I'm going to do. They've got fingerings in the ABRSM book, of course.  First, there's Mozart's Minuet in G:



So it's 100% focus on this now.  If I get an hour a day, that's two weeks?  Three?  I'll do a video when I've got it. And maybe five months for all nine pieces, (then I can go back to the Prelude, and also We'll Gather Lilacs). So I'm looking at the Grade 1 exam early-ish in 2014.  And maybe get back to the Jazz Piano Grade 1 at some point, too. Jazz is probably the way to go: longer term, I want to play around.