Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Something Has Happened

I learned that grade 1 arr. of Imagine. Someone on FB pointed out my shockingly droopy wrists, and yes, they had a point. So I moved on to We Wish You a Merry Christmas, determined to get the wrists right. And I noticed the wrists took care of themselves if I played high up the keys. I got so absorbed in all this, playing G major scales properly, with the fingers right, and high up the keys... That was when I realised that those fingerlings enabled me to play high up the keys, and fit neatly into the gaps between the black keys, and that's why, perhaps, the black keys are arranged as they are in twos and threes...

After several years of being a little intimidated by the keyboard, its contours suddenly began to feel friendly, familiar, home-like. The hurried advice I had from Flora (my Sauchiehall St teacher) at last fell on fertile ground: it's actually much easier with your wrists high... It's ok to lean forward... Those two half hour lessons back in October have got me out of the barren place I was in during the summer, wondering, where the hell am I going with this? 

So I got online and ordered the ABRSM Piano grade 1 pieces for 2015/16, though God knows when they'll arrive out here. And tonight I went back to the scales in the syllabus, single handed and all the proper fingers, as required. I know I want to play all the 20th century popular classics, from Ivor Novello to The Pogues, and of course Tom Waits, but I need a bit of structure to get me there, so with a little help from the ABRSM and wee Flora, I'm going to do all of the grades, starting with 1 in June. Everything I've done so far has been leading to this - grade 1, I've read, is not for beginners, but I'm past that now, I can do it with an hour a day. And then a grade every six months, maybe a year, depending on how life goes. And once I get to Grade 8, I've also read, I'll be a good quality amateur, and ready to go where the fancy takes me, blues or jazz or folk. I might even try the accordion. But I need my ABRSM straight piano chops first. 

I have a road map, and I'm on my way. Whilst waiting for the ABRSM pieces to get here, I've got the Lynda Frith Grade 1 pieces to keep me going, and that feels like the right thing to do: learning as many as I can, but seeing them as steps on the road, learning devices, not really as pieces to be performed per se - though I will get them all on YouTube, to garner advice and bring an element of performance. And motivation. Now, I'm pushed to get We Wish You a Merry Christmas done (obviously) before Christmas, get it on FaceBook and show off my elevated wrists and high-up-the-keys style.