Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to Piano...still!

A while back, I posted that I had gotten back to playing piano. Well, I have stuck with it! Long ago, I had a fairly decent repertoire for a beginner. Almost all classical music. None of it was super difficult stuff; it's mostly the kinds of pieces "any serious student has in their repertoire" (according to the one of the books of sheet music I have).  I've really enjoyed getting into this again; it activates a whole other part of my brain.

One of my favorite composers to play (that sounds pretty presumptuous since I haven't got scads of composers that I play!) is Chopin. He was born in Poland, so he's a countryman. His stuff is really emotional, and there's a somberness to some of his pieces that I really love. I'm re-learning a couple of his preludes and a waltz. Some of the pieces are really short so they are quick learns. But some of the chords this guy has in his music! It's like you have to stretch your thumb and pinky as far as possible in opposite directions and it's still almost impossible. I think I read somewhere that he had a very wide reach with his hands. Must be true, because the sheet music offers alternate ways to play some of the chords so that you lose one of the outside notes. And that's good, because there's a few chords that I physically cannot do!

I'm also relearning a sonatina by Diabelli that I used to be able to play all the way through. Much longer piece with different sections/movements/whatever you call them.  Diabelli is much more light and happy in tone. He's a good antidote to all the Chopin. 

The best part of this is the mental break it offers. I come home for lunch, eat, and zip through a couple pieces. After I'm done it's like I've taken a mental bath. My mind feels clearer and I'm more relaxed and in a happier state of mind. I think it's because I have to focus so much on my playing that my mind just ejects any extra baggage sloshing around in my skull.

One thing I've never done is play in front of anyone. Jim hears me sometimes, but he's not really listening, and I really try to practice as much as possible when I'm alone.  In fact, I'm not sure I could play in front of someone. Maybe when I get a better handle on some of these pieces. For now, though, this is a very private thing.

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