Where Dreams and Darkness Meet: 100 Days Piano. I missed the project schedule on the100DayProject.com, who hosted a theme "Where Dreams And Darkness Meet". The theme resonated deeply with me and my piano practice, so I want to bring this theme here as my project.
I resumed where I left off with "Adult Piano Adventures" by Nancy and Randall Faber, and dubiously played some American fiddle tune, a Musette and a simplified theme by Mozart in G Major. At first I was going to video record every single day as my daily progress entry to the project, but I haven't even gotten my camera properly set up. I don't have a camera stand to face my piano seat properly, nor do I have any plans for any post-editing the video recordings. Plus, doing that every single day seems nasty. I imagine I'll spend more time reporting my progress instead of the actual piano practice itself. So I'll fall back to this humble text post as my form of daily update, and only post videos every weekend.
Today I only did a 3-minute finger exercise in G Major. That was before I shower and realised I haven't done my practice for today. I ended up playing Minecraft instead. Should I feel bad about it? No, feeling bad won't help at all. Although having a learning goal would help. The reason I fell for Minecraft was because I have some goals I want to achieve in the game. I didn't set any goals for piano, on the other hand. I was just aimlessly following through the adult piano book. There are some song books I want to go through, plus a weekly Reddit piano challenge on r/piano. Perhaps from tomorrow I should start tackling those, since I usually find lesson books boring.
Established stereotypes say most successful artists and musicians are drug users, for drugs pull the deepest, wildest ideas from the depths of their minds. My piano session tonight was under the influence of half can of beer that I couldn't finish because I was too full from dinner. Sure it's not much, but I have the Asian gene with lesser alcohol tolerance. It doesn't take much for me to be tipsy. On the other hand I feel oddly wonderful mashing at keys in this state of mind. I spent a good 10 minutes on this song - the menu theme song from the game .hack//GU. I remember how captivated I was when I first heard the melody, which was probably 10 years ago or so when the game first came out. I knew the game was new at the time, because my ex boyfriend was a loyal fan of the series and would not miss any new updates from them. Ever since I heard this song, I've been daydreaming about me playing it someday. It still captivates me 10 years later. I can't play this song with both hands tonight, not to mention it seems like a distant dream now to think of playing this song with both hands, let alone perfectly, but I'm very proud of how I managed to navigate the notes when I play it with separate hands, slowly. Two months ago I did write down what the notes were, to practice my note reading. So I vaguely remember the common pattern being F, C, F, D, G, blah. Once I notice a pattern in the notes, the guess work comes a little easier. It's fascinating how music is really a matter of pattern recognition, yet add a few tricks and you'll be able to seize a keen listener's heart.
Where has all the time gone? I came home, had a light dinner while messing with Minecraft, and it was already 9:30pm when I realised I have yet to touch the piano. I spent a few quick minutes messing with the same song as yesterday, this time putting a bit more faith in playing with both hands. However I was doing it by memory. I need to go back to the score and double check the left hand melody. It is more motivating for me to play with full flowing emotions, my hands and body gracefully moving with the melody, with not much care of technique and tempo. It helps when this is such an emotional song with an irregular tempo as well. Teachers out there will scream at me for doing everything that's wrong about learning the piano, but I have to find my own way to stay motivated. As with all things in my life.
Spent 10 minutes first thing after work on the left hand of the song. Listening to deep piano music on my way home from work helped brewing my motivation. Although it is unfortunate that SoundCloud has now succumbed to the interruptive ads selling their pro membership. They are not entirely to blame, perhaps. They need some way to sustain their hosting at least. Although to think that they are now owned by Spotify, leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Very confusing to try to read the score, while all along I had been identifying the notes with my emotions alone. Reading scores and listening are two completely different functions in my head that don't quite talk to each other. Maybe not yet. Then my tablet's low battery warning interrupted my flow. I probably could have gone a bit further, but the fear of the tablet's low battery, where I read my scores off of, urged me to wrap up soon.
Only one day left before I video record my progress, and I realised how vast I have underestimated this song I've been practicing. I don't know how much time I've spent on practicing this today, but it must have been half an hour, going through the melody of both left hand and right hand, separately. I'm confident with the left hand melody, but right hand has a lot of long stretches and jumps. I'm also hopeless at reading the scores, so every note is a ten-second delay before I figured out where my hand goes next. I'm a lot better at memory, but I've heard it's pointless to memorise it if you don't develop a keen eye for the scores and be able to read the notes like a novel. At this stage I doubt how capable I can be to read notes like a novel, but it's also fair to say I have not read enough music to develop such keen eye. Whatever my struggle may be, the frustration of learning has no excuse to stop me from keeping up. I might practice a bit more than usual later before bed, to prepare for my first video record tomorrow.
Had a late night tonight but I managed to squeeze 15 minutes into a new song, from the book of Ghibli animation soundtracks. This song I'm not familiar with from Valley Of The Wind has a much easier pattern to recognise, and I find that I can sight read quite well one hand at a time. Yet I'm still dumbfounded as soon as I put both hands together. I'd have completely forgotten what I had just figured out with one hand and I had to read from scratch if I try to play with both hands. It's a struggle and at the same time an interesting realisation. Somehow it tells me that, if I treat my tactile information from both hands at once as something that's different from when my hands operate separately, then I'll be on the right track to improving my sight reading when I play with both hands. Our body coordination can be such funny and magical feelings. I see why typing on a computer keyboard is different from playing on a piano keyboard - you only ever hit one key at a time on a computer, even if you type very fast, unlike piano where you're constantly using both hands simultaneously, no matter how slow. I do struggle if I try any hand/finger exercises that utilise both hands at the same time. If you see this and have any ideas to improve my ambidexterity, please feel free to comment.
Got "Bach book" from the public domain at the recommendation of piano Reddit as the beginner / warm up series. Started crawling my way through the first song of First Lessons Of Bach, Minuet in G Major, which is a pleasant classic melody that might have been, in fact, a bit annoyingly pleasant depending on how many times you've heard of this tune from where (for me it's the bloody commercials). I prefer practicing to a genuine melody than a robotic finger exercise like Hanon. Actually I almost fell for Hanon practice, thinking that I need to brute force my finger finesse, but it'll really only turn you into a robot instead of augmenting your musicality as a creature with a soul. It's still good for very specific technique practice, but without a personal musical goal it's moot. I've read from a book on piano practice that pretty much every repertoire is a project management undertaking. I also have to admit that my inferior extroverted thinking from my MBTI personality type is most likely being very hyper lately, to make me obsessed with seeing everything as a project management. It's not a bad thing - I just hope I can calm it down before bed time so that I can actually sleep.