Author Topic: I play piano sometimes  (Read 2432 times)

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Harrison

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I play piano sometimes
« on: June 24, 2014, 11:02:47 PM »
So about a year ago I started playing piano. I'd been wanting to start for years but never had the money for a decent piano or the ability to take lessons. College changed both of those things! Last summer I bought a piano, and I've had two semesters of lessons thus far, with two more lined up before I graduate.

I'm starting this thread because one of my goals in playing piano was to be able to play For River, and this past week I finally achieved that~

I've started recording myself playing and putting in on my Youtube channel.

Pieces thus far:
Inevitabilis - Puella Magi Madoka Magica
For River (Johnny's Version) - To the Moon

The quality's kinda meh at the moment, I don't have the hookup to record directly from my piano yet. Phone quality will have to do for now. Let me know what you think! I'm all for constructive criticism.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 09:16:19 AM by Harrison »

~

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 08:16:54 AM »
i never watched Madoka so I skipped your cover of that one and only watched your For River one. It was very pretty from what i could tell. I think you captured the dynamics of it nicely. If  you make more of these i'd recommend picking up a reasonably priced audio interface. for software, you don't need anything fancy if you're just capturing external sound, Audacity works fine for this purpose.

I also think you have a nice beard. Mine grows all patchy, i can only really grow a moustache-goatee-chin-beard-hairblob-thing. I don't actually have any constructive critism regarding your beard though, so I'll leave this part of my post awkwardly unfin
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 08:20:09 AM by SpecialCookies »
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Roxaszu

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 01:20:35 PM »

I also think you have a nice beard. Mine grows all patchy, i can only really grow a moustache-goatee-chin-beard-hairblob-thing. I don't actually have any constructive critism regarding your beard though, so I'll leave this part of my post awkwardly unfin

Hey, No comment other than the music.
Hey, Nice Tv set with stereo btw, Can I have it ? :P

Anyway,
I don't really sure I know about Puella Magi Madoka Magica Music, But I know For River one, It's really nice Though.

Harrison

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 09:36:17 PM »
i never watched Madoka so I skipped your cover of that one and only watched your For River one. It was very pretty from what i could tell. I think you captured the dynamics of it nicely. If  you make more of these i'd recommend picking up a reasonably priced audio interface. for software, you don't need anything fancy if you're just capturing external sound, Audacity works fine for this purpose.
Thank you! And yeah, I've got a cable and adapter on the way. I had stuff that I thought would work, but as it turns out the current cable I have doesn't fit properly into the adapter for my headphones. Such is life.

I also think you have a nice beard. Mine grows all patchy, i can only really grow a moustache-goatee-chin-beard-hairblob-thing. I don't actually have any constructive critism regarding your beard though, so I'll leave this part of my post awkwardly unfin
Haha, thanks! Once I realized mine was no longer patchy I just went with it. I need to trim it though...

Hey, Nice Tv set with stereo btw, Can I have it ? :P
Hah, nah I don't think that's going to happen :P That's my PS2/Chromecast setup, it's going to get me through the next year.

Anyway,
I don't really sure I know about Puella Magi Madoka Magica Music, But I know For River one, It's really nice Though.
Thank you!


You both should watch PMMM. It's amazing.

Harrison

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2014, 09:04:13 PM »
I'm back!

I have a "new" recording... which is just me rerecording For River since I changed the way I play it by a lot. That can be found here.

The rest of this post is about to get really long. Scroll to the bottom for the tl;dr:

Here are my reflections on my first two performances.

Performance 1: At the retirement home

I was only asked to play this one two or three days prior to it actually occurring. I'd be playing two pieces that I'd been working on in my lessons, Clementi's Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1, and Renge Batake (Lotus Flower Field) by Hiromi Mizutani. Two other piano students from my school were also playing here as a duo and trio with the instructor.

The morning of the performance I played through both of my pieces only once. At the venue, I played the first four measures of each just to get a feel for the action and keys of the piano (it was a Yamaha upright, which I've found to have sticky key surfaces that make runs a bit tricky). Beyond that, preparation was just little hand and wrist exercises to limber up.

I was third on the program so I had time to either psyche myself up to play... or psyche myself out. My time to play came around, and after awkwardly waiting for the bench to be replaced (I'm the tallest in my program so my bench is always very low comparatively), I stood up and took my place at the piano.

Clementi - I. Spiritoso: 
I've got the entire Clementi sonatina memorized. It's set up as AABB. I play through A1 without issue.

Until the repeat.

As I get about halfway through A2, I blank. No idea what note comes next, no idea how far I was through it. Nothing. After sitting there for what felt like ages (in reality it was probably only a second or two), I do the only thing I can think to: Restart A2.

I finish the movement with no real issues beyond a few off notes.

II. Andante:
This one was a bit iffy. I originally wasn't going to play it as I had only just learned it shortly before, but after practicing a bit I decided that I may as well. This one didn't really have any issues, bar one time where I didn't invert in the left hand. I figured it out though.

III. Vivace:
Of the three, I think this is my favorite movement. There are a lot of places to play with dynamics, ramping from p to f and back down again all in the span of a few bars, and it's at a decent pace.

My hands tripped up on the runs, but not enough to kill the movement. I finish the piece, stand up, and bow.

At the time, I feel like I completely murdered poor Clementi.

-----------------

There are a few pieces before my return to play Lotus Flower Field. I spend this time feeling mostly awful about how I did on the previous piece.

-----------------

Lotus Flower Field - Hiromi Mizutani:

This is a sweet piece, I think. The left hand is mostly arpeggio runs, right hand has a nice melody. It's from an anime because I'm weeaboo trash. I haven't watched the anime, though.

This is the piece I've been working on the longest and was definitely my best piece at this performance. Remember how I mentioned earlier that Yamaha keys tend to be sticky? That was an issue here. I worked around it by slowing down a little more than I wanted to.

My pedal leg was twitching like crazy, but luckily not enough to affect its use. Very tense, though!

No real issues were had with this piece beyond that, and I left the piano feeling much better than I had going up.

------------------

Now, onto Saturday:
Performance 2: Playing for the school

------------------

The Saturday program ended up being the same as the Wednesday program. Originally, a fourth student was supposed to join us but "didn't practice enough". Oh well. One additional piece was added by the duo that required two pianos, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy".

I'd been inviting people to this performance the entire week leading up to it. My dad even came. The school president even came.

------------------

When I walked out on the stage, I realized that I couldn't actually see the crowd. The stage lights were incredibly bright. I don't know if this helped or not, but I seemed to be much less nervous than at the retirement home.

I won't go into specific details about each individual piece this time, except for this: Compared to Wednesday, I played SO MUCH BETTER. There was no blanking, my fingers didn't stick (thanks, Steinway), and overall I feel I played much more musically than I had before.

Much like the last time, I only played each of my pieces once the morning of. Waiting backstairs between pieces I did wrist exercises, shoulder rolls, and various stretches.

After I finished Clementi (without messing up!) I stood up, bowed, and started to walk off the stage.

As soon as I was out of sight of the audience, I jumped for joy. It was great! And then I had no one backstage to celebrate my not-messing-up with, as the following piece was the trio. Pacing excitedly backstage was my release.

Lotus Flower Field didn't get played as well as I'd hoped, I sounded the final chord way too lightly.

And that was it for my first (real) performance.

----------------

Earlier I mentioned that I couldn't see the audience. Once we left backstage to mingle after the performance, I realized how lucky that was: More than half of the crowd were people that I had invited. Had I realized that beforehand, there's no way I would have played as well.

-----------------

tl;dr pretty much!
My takeaways from this were the following: 
1. Performing is really, REALLY rewarding. I felt great after this.
2. It was a very good thing that my first time doing it was at the home. Had I messed up like that at the school performance, I'd have been mortified.
3. That said, people don't care how you perform: They just appreciate *that* you performed. I wish I could have expressed this to one of the other performers, who ended up crying backstage after messing up a bit.
4. I wish I had started learning piano sooner. I've only got one semester of college left, which means I'll only have had 4 semesters of lessons.

Eli

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2014, 12:15:28 PM »
I'm glad that you are happy with your performances, especially with your school performance. :)

BTW, have you listened to A Bird Story music too? I'm sure you will like it. :)

Reives

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 03:49:02 AM »
Ooh, you started only a year ago? Glad to see you've been progressing really nicely. :) And thanks for having playing For River as one of your goals; it's an honour.

Harrison

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Re: I play piano sometimes
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2014, 12:25:05 AM »
@Ali, I'm listening to it now! I only found out about A Bird Story being released right before posting. I'm going to have to get it.

@Reives, thanks for the kind words! It's a honor to have you comment on it, haha.


So I'm back at home for thanksgiving and I found the adapter for recording my piano. Expect some new videos in the upcoming days!