Friday, September 27, 2013

Soldiering On With Mozart - Scales

A breakthrough this morning, giving a definite few tickles to the old endorphin production: I've got all LH of the Minuet in the locker: memorized and all joined up. 

The last couple of weeks, I've been warming up with G major scales, all over the 49 keys.  And then broken chords, ditto.  And then the Minuet, RH one day, LH the next.  Because I'm still a fairly slow reader, I find this the only tedious aspect of practice and learning, decoding from the page to the fingers.  But it's worth it for the morning when I get there, at least with one hand, and can play it all through from memory. 

RH tomorrow, and if I get a good run at it I should have that memorized too. Although it's trickier than LH, I've probably spent more time on it over the last couple of weeks.  And then Sunday, I can get started with two hands. Which will be hilarious, the notes which tripped off the fingers with one hand just seem to get lost somewhere when I start with two.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes.  Lilliburlero, comparable in length and difficulty, took me a month on that Bluthner, but at that time I was spending less than an hour a day, usually 40 minutes or so, and missed the odd day, so probably did 20 hours over the month.  Whereas now, with bugger all else to do in a Saudi hotel room, I'm doing a full hour, more at weekends, rarely missing.  We shall see.

I'd usually finish off a practice with a few goes on the sight-reading app.  But it occurred that this might be counter productive.  The app produces a number of random notes, (I'm working with eight at the moment) on a clef, alternating between the two clefs, about five turns each.  Then you get a score based on an algorithm involving the number of mistakes and speed. 

The random nature of it is what might be counter productive to the practice I've just finished, namely learning a piece, Mozart at the moment.  I mean, it's not musical, and my brain is trying to recall a pattern of notes as Wolfgang wrote them, which certainly are musical.  I worry that the random series might interfere with the non-random series I'm attempting to process. 

Anyways, I need to learn to sight read, and I think the app's good for that, but I'll not use it straight after practicing/learning/decoding a piece.  Keep it as a discrete bit of practice.  A game.

As for scales, I was interested by this idea I bumped into on Twitter this morning.  I had a go, but the midi keyboard hasn't enough keys or sensitivity for it. I like the idea, though, getting out of a two octave, forte, fast-as-possible rut.  So this is a note-to-self to come back to that when I'm home with the Kemble, or when I get 88 weighted keys here.

Which is going to be a sheer joy.  I mean, the midi keyboard has worked out better than I'd hoped, but it's cramped and unnatural, (there's a metaphor regarding my life in Saudi, there, somewhere).  On the plus side, I suspect it's strengthened my fingers, though, it being much harder work to depress the keys - I'm looking forward to seeing how a proper keyboard feels, after this.