Daily Updates

Piano practice logs, inspiration, musings and more.

Lesson 11 Review

The lesson went really well. I met whatever criteria my instructor had in mind, which was less than what I’d put upon myself, but we were both satisfied with the output of work.

I played “Numb Fumblin'” and we talked about a couple of things to work on for next week. We then started discussing lead sheets and what song to start working on. I let him take the reins on that as I’m just happy to be exposed to whatever.

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Quick Break

I didn’t have lessons last week due to Easter Holiday and it kind of worked out because work has become quite busy. I’ve been a bit frustrated due to lack of time to practice, however, I’m still doing at least 30 minutes a day.

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Lesson 10 Review

It was good to be back in the learning mode today. Last week was fun to just play for someone else, but I’m always looking forward to continuing the educational process.

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Lesson 9 Review 

I had a fun time today. The substitute was friendly and gave some really good feedback for both the Sonatina as well as the Harlem Stride piece.

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Pre-Lesson 9 Review 

This week was again not like I was hoping for. Work kept me busy so I wasn’t able to put in the amount of time that I feel I should be. I averaged about 30 minutes a day when I like to go for at least an hour.

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Lesson 8 Review

We jumped right the Harlem Stride piece, “Numb Fumblin'” this week. What i had learned went over really well, and I received a great critique on things to work on. Pedaling being one of them. Not the priority, but just something to think on. I’ve got to push the pedal down to right where it starts to sustain, quickly lift off, and press down again. It’s going to be a challenge tracking the distance.

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Pre-Lesson 8 Review

Already at the 2nd month of lessons. The time does certainly fly. I wasn’t able to get as much practice in as I would like this week, but I do feel fairly confident that I’ve accomplished enough to meet at least my minimum standards.

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Pre-Lesson 7 Review

The week went pretty okay, as far as I know. I spent a lot of time with the metronome trying to get consistent speeds in the first and third movements, as well as trying to make the entire piece cohesive. I also ensured I practiced my phrasing and dynamics.

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No More Days!

So I completed my ‘100 Days of Blogging’ for the year last week. Although it wasn’t 100 consecutive days, it was pretty darn close, and a great first attempt as that is something I’ve never done before.

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Day 100 – Lesson 6 Review

The lesson went great. I exceeded expectations, which is always fun, and even picked up on a couple things my instructor thought he’d catch me on. There are still a couple things to work on, one being consistency in the sixteenth notes in the left-hand in regards to legato and phrasing.

After the third movement was completed and critiqued, he had me try the entire piece. The first movement was shaky since I hadn’t really run through it all week. The second movement was solid, and the final movement was good, with the exception of the things I had to work on.

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Day 99 – Pre-Lesson 6 Thoughts

I’m about 1 hour away from my 6th lesson. Overall, I think the week went well. I managed to get the phrasing where I wanted it to be.

There were a couple days of struggle just because my hands weren’t doing what they wanted to do and felt a bit stiff as well. I’m still doing the scales and the stretches, but some days you just can’t win.

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Day 98 – Music Conversations

I had the pleasure of talking to my youngest on the phone yesterday. We talked about a myriad of subjects and eventually got talking about music. I let her know that I was taking piano lessons again and that I’d be focusing on Jazz.

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Day 97 – Fighting the Metronome

I currently own a Seiko quartz metronome. It works great, does what it needs to do, but it’s something I’ve been fighting with because it doesn’t have small enough increments.

Seiko SQ50-V

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Day 96 – Lesson 5 Review

Again, the lesson time seemed extremely short, even though we had a 45-minute session. He had me go over the second movement of the Sonatina to ensure that I recalled what we discussed last week.

We then moved on to the third movement, which I was extremely excited for since I’d worked all week to try and get as much completed as possible. I got through the first page then stopped when I stumbled on a run, and we discussed everything prior to that.

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Day 95 – Night Before Lesson 5

I’m feeling pretty good about tomorrow’s lesson. I’ve got a great start on the third movement of the Sonatina, so I should be able to finish that up for the 6th lesson.

There was some improvisation stuff that my instructor went over last week as well that I didn’t get the gist of, so we’ll be revisiting that for sure.

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Day 94 – Technical Issues

If you’ve ever performed live, chances are you’ve run into some kind of technical issue with your instrument or equipments. I recall playing piano (digital piano) for a community theater production of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’, and during the performance, D3 (D above middle C), somehow that particular key became doubled in volume, no matter how lightly it was pressed. Cast gave me a look like “what’s going on?”, and the director gave me the eye as well. I just kept going, and making sure I skipped that particular key (which was more challenging that I thought). We made it through the show, and had to do it again the next night, unable to replace the equipment, and at least we wouldn’t be surprised a second night.

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Day 93 – In the zone

So apparently, I forgot to make this post yesterday. I totally killed it on piano. Due to some particular circumstances, I had a couple of hours to burn through the day so I learned the third movement of the Sonatina and it is almost up to speed.

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Day 92 – Lesson 4 Review

Things went great. Exceeded expectations, and really nailed everything in regards to the technical portions of movement one and two.

Before we jumped into the lesson, he went over some stretches that we’ll do before the lesson actually begins from now on, just to keep things loose. He said that he usually does this every thirty minutes if he plays longer than that as well. It’s nice to be that considerate and concerned and ensuring the best hand / wrist / arm health as possible.

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Day 90 – Memorizing (again?)

Didn’t i mention memorizing back on Day 26 and Day 27? Why yes, I did. So why am I bringing it up again?

I can confirm that, for me, it is really about repetition. I’ve spent the last two weeks practicing nothing but the Sonatina, mainly focused on the first allegro section.

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Day 89 – Smooth and Even

I’ve been trying to figure out why my scales aren’t smoother, even, and not… tonally equivalent (Is that a thing)? Basically not sounding connected, on the cross-over / cross-under there’s a distinct little accent. So I spent yesterday trying to work on resolving that issue, which led me to forget to make a blog entry post, so here it is.

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Day 88 – Day Off

Nothing exciting about today. Took the day off of practicing, with the exception of doing some scale work. However, I was still thinking of the pieces I am working on, so I guess that still might qualify as practicing.

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Day 87 – Lesson 3 Complete

I had a great lesson today, completely exceeding my instructor’s expectations. The critique was explained very well and I took notes on what to work on for next week. I’ve also been assigned the second part of the Sonatina and part of the third, and like last week, should just do as much as I can. We also covered the form and structure along with some music history.

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Day 86 – Slow Day

Practice went well today. It is somewhat ‘painful’ to have to play at a slower speed to ensure accuracy. That G Major scale that plagued me yesterday finally got itself sorted out after working it throughout the day.

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Day 85 – G Major Scale (pain in my… hand)

Practicing went well today. I believe I initially started off at around 80bpm on this Sonatina, and have got it up to 120bpm, which is just the start of ‘Allegro’ in terms of meter. It is much easier to go quicker with this piece, however, I do slow it down to work trouble sections when it arises.

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Day 84 – 4s and 5s

In doing my scale work, one of my goals is to strengthen my ring and pinky fingers. In the right hand, it took a big decline when I had cubital tunnel syndrome and started losing blood flow to those fingers. It is extremely noticeable in scale work when going back down the scale. Which makes me wonder if my hand position needs work as well. That’s something I’ll want to address with my instructor on Friday.

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Day 83 – Diminishing Returns

I finally had the chance to get back to playing piano today. I was able to get an hour of practice in easily. Scale work and the Sonatina were the main focus for the entirety of the practice. I did quite a bit of technical studying as well as focused scale work within the Sonatina.

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Day 82 – Day Off

Posting this a day late, but I was offline yesterday as I needed the day off to just recover and rest. Didn’t have the energy for even a simple post.

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Day 81 – 2nd lesson review

I had my second piano lesson on Friday. 30 minutes is definitely not enough time. Both my instructor and I feel quite rushed. A lot to say, little time to do so.

He assigned some Sonatina (composer escapes me right now, but I’ll have the information posted in my weekly lessons soon) as he would like to work on a lot of technical skills before jumping in to improvisation and other things.

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Day 80 – 20 Days Left

I’m really surprised that I’ve made it this far in the ‘100 days of blogging’. The process has definitely gotten easier. I think the most interesting thing, for me, is that I feel that I really do nothing of interest. I’m a very routine person. I get up, work, play piano, work some more, hang out in the evening, go to bed. Of course the occasional trip to the store or the beach, etc, but for the most part, it is the same thing every single day. Being able to write about random music stuff in my life has been fun for revisiting the past, and probably something I would have never discussed as I don’t really speak about music stuffs unless the kids ask.

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Day 79 – Self-reflection

I keep running the through the evaluation I had last week for my first lesson and realized that was probably the first time I was not nervous whatsoever in that type of introductory settings. Maybe years have passed and I’m just too chill. Perhaps I am comfortable with myself and where I’m at with my playing, but knowing where I think I need improvement, along with the desire to really focus. Who knows, but it has just stuck with me all week, and I’m curious as how that will translate into tomorrow’s lesson.

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Day 78 – A Bit of Balance

Throughout the week, I’ve been working on finding of aural balance between my left and right hand based on the evaluation I had at my lessons last week. So far, it’s a very conscious thing to ensure my left hand doesn’t overpower my right hand, and it will remain that way for quite awhile until my muscles (and brain) naturally allow me to do this.

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Day 77 – Exhausted

Today was a struggle, and it is certainly okay to have one of those days, just not often, preferably. No idea other than terrible sleep that just kept me from being unable to really wake up all day.

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Day 76 – I am the Tortoise

It’s always tempting to jump ahead. For instance, my assignment for the week is technically just 5 scales (well, 15 if you want to be REALLY technical). I am exactly where I need to be for Friday’s upcoming lesson, and I COULD get ahead, but should I?

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Day 75 – Snow & Standards

A few days ago, I mentioned about doing a bit of cooking. I finally got around to making Pho yesterday. Turned out pretty good. Today, I spent the day working, cleaning up the kitchen from yesterday’s foray, working scales and listening to Keith Jarret, specifically Keith Jarrett Standards Trio.

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Day 74 – Scale Work IS Fun

Yeah, it’s true. I’m one of those people who enjoy scale work. It begins as a challenge with the fingering, and once that’s figure out, it’s trying to get the brain to allow both hands to play together. Of course, there is muscle memory involved as well.

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Day 73 – A Fresh Start

I had my first piano lesson today. It was mainly an assessment of my skills in terms of just playing whatever I wanted off the top of my head. We also discussed our own backgrounds. He was able to give me some good pointers in terms of how I currently play and small tweaks on how to improve quickly.

My left hand plays a bit heavier than the right, and although they are basically played the same, the ear picks up the lower tones more so it overpowers the right. I have been aware of that myself periodically, but had done nothing to really resolve that. Now, I’ll get started on fixing that.

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Day 72 – Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht

Well, the day didn’t pan out like I was expecting. Not that it was a bad day, but I didn’t get done what I wanted to for the most part. I got a late start on my morning, and added a couple of things to my ‘going out’ list to help out a friend of mine. I also added a walk on the beach since it was a somewhat nice day.

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Day 71 – Break Time!

Giving myself a break from playing until Friday when I’ll do some warm-ups before my piano lesson. So what will I be doing with my time?

I plan on hitting up the grocery store tomorrow to get some stuff for making a nice broth for Pho, as well as ingredients for Bahn Mi (and will be baking fresh Bahn Mi baguettes), as well as the ingredients for a pint or two of Prik Nam Pla. Other than that, just the essentials.

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Day 70 – All the noise in my head

I’ve always had a writer’s block when it came to creating music. When I thought I had come up with something original, it ended up sounding like something I had already heard and I’d just dismiss it and stop trying to create. That’s pretty ridiculous, honestly, and it took me a long time to get past that as something will most likely always sound like something.

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Day 69 – Blinders On

Well, looks like I’m hyperfocused on my scale and chord scale work. Every free moment I’ve got goes into working different keys, and then listening to a song or two. Definitely not a bad way to handle things for now, but nothing new and exciting to report.

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Day 68 – Down the Rabbit Hole

This weekend just didn’t pan out like it was supposed to, socially speaking. In lieu of any sort of get together, I spent the majority of it playing around with scales and rhythms, trying to find a bit of groove after 30 years.

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Day 67 – Where to start?

I had a good break between activities today so I was going through my old music books, trying to find any type of references to Jazz that I may have had. I realized it’s been 30 years since I’ve properly done any Jazz.

I didn’t have any luck, so I browsed the Internet and found some reference material on ‘basics’. Luckily, it was a good refresher. Blues scales, pentatonic scales, chords, inversions, and progressions.

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Day 66 – And All That Jazz

Signed up for piano lessons today. I’ve decided to go the jazz route, with hopefully some classical training thrown in. Not what I had initially planned. The woman I met with asked me what I wanted to play, and of course, I said ‘Everything’, but then narrowed it down to wanting to take piano to get a good foundation, technique, dexterity, etc and said ‘Classical.. maybe jazz as well.’

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Day 65 – On the Hunt

A little late on this post. Was very indecisive last night with what I wanted to do, but I’ve decided I’ll head into town today before the freezing rain comes and check out a place for music lessons. Wish me luck.

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Day 64 – Fats Waller

Fats Waller was a talented musician, songwriter and comedian. Watching his clips have always brought me happiness (as well as playing his songs) and he always looked like he was having a great time, no matter what he was involved in. Sadly, he died at 39 from pneumonia as it would have been great to see what else he could have accomplished in his life. If you’d like to read more, his Wikipedia page is a quick read. I’ve tossed a few clips of his from YouTube below.

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Day 63 – Still Searching

No luck on the information about a piano instructor starting lessons that I was recommended by a friend of mine, so I’m going to look elsewhere as a backup, but will keep checking back with this particular instructor.

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Day 62 – Another Quick Session

Honestly, there’s not much going on today. I’ve been pretty tired so I just plugged in my mixer, hit record on the phone, and recorded a small piece of Chopin’s Nocturne Op 48 No 2 posted below. Maybe contacting a piano instructor tomorrow?

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Day 61 – Quick Session

Don’t have much to say at all today. Did a lot of scale work today, and probably should work on my octaves as well. A few more days until I can hopefully move on a reference for a piano instructor. Made a quick recording of part of Chopin’s Polonaise Op 40 No 1 in A Major (posted below).

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Day 60 – Snow Day!

Ended up with around 21 inches of snow on the property today. Got pretty cold at my place again so I had to pass on the piano practicing today. It was nice to sit and watch the accumulation and chat to other people in my area about what they were seeing. We were sharing pictures.

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Day 59 – Everything but the Piano

Well, no piano today, really. I did a quick Polonaise here and there as well as some blues. What kept me occupied was doing a few kind acts as well as prepping for the snow storm hitting soon.

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Day 58 – György Cziffra

I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole one day, years ago, and found something that blew my mind. I admit, that I am not all that familiar with Liszt (*gasp*), but after hearing the following clip, I did familiarize myself with a few pieces. Check this out (and if you don’t want to listen to all of it, start at 4m30s):

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Day 57 – Just Another Day

I’ve really nothing to report. It was just a standard day. Wake up, work, piano, work, visit with a friend, blog, all while trying to avoid burnout. It would be great if every day was amazing, but wouldn’t that get boring after awhile? I gave myself a free day of piano to just unwind, and what did I choose to play? Chopin Nocturnes of course. 🙂

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Day 56 – A Bit Worn Out

Today was a bit of a challenge. I couldn’t get my brain to engage in any proper way to feel like I was successful. During my lunch hour, I did go out for a 45 minute walk in the cold to just get away from technology for a bit. That still didn’t help when it came to sitting at the piano.

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Day 55 – Good Energy

My keyboard sits along the wall of my very small ‘main’ room, so I definitely have a ‘lived-in’ space in which everything kind of merges together. Along with my keyboard, mixer, speakers, I have a desk with my computer, in which my laptop also sits. Next to that is the heating element and across from that is the very small couch. It’s pretty much rectangular layout.

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Day 54 – A Bit of Tutelage

It’s nice to have someone interested in playing piano. My son recently started showing an interest and occasionally texts me with questions, and sometimes he’ll send a video. They are good questions. Basic questions about notes, proper fingering, etc. The most recent video was showing me he knew what the chromatic scale was, and gave me a demonstration on how to play it.

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Day 53 – The Trill Has Gone Away

Well, actually it can’t go away if you never had it. Trills are awesome, if you can nail them. Working on trills, that’s something completely different. I believe that this is the most awkward thing I’ve had to work on out of anything else I ever had to do. It makes me feel very inadequate as a pianist, but again, it also presents a fun challenge. i’m looking forward to when I can really nail a long trill and feel a remarkable sense of accomplishment.

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Day 52 – A# or Bb?

I do have to admit, when I was younger (before I started playing piano), and apparently not able to read music all that well, I didn’t realize A# and Bb were the same note, so when I saw this in ‘The Goonies’, I was just happy that they were successful.

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Day 51 – Need Me Some (Better) Gloves

I live on the second floor of a house, maybe around 850 sq. ft or so of space. It has one heating unit, which doesn’t work all that effectively once it gets below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I also have a space heater that I bring from the bedroom to the this main room, and it’s just enough to take the chill off most of the time, however, my hands have been pretty cold today which makes it harder to play.

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Day 50 – Chopin Polonaise in A Major, Op. 40 No. 1, “Military”

Yeah, ain’t that title a mouthful? That’s the first classical piece I ever memorized. I also believe that was assigned to me by my college instructor. I’ve played it everywhere. Random peoples houses, on demand from friends, and even one time at a Costco just because they were selling upright pianos and I wanted to try them out.

No 'Stairway to Heaven'
‘No Stairway to Heaven’ scene from the movie “Wayne’s World”

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Day 49 – Back to the Grind

It felt like a long hiatus, but I’ll be getting back to my piano practicing regimen tomorrow. Scales, classical studies, and starting music theory as well. I’ll consider it a warm-up to finding a new piano instructor.

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Day 48 – Windstorm Melodies

Last night through this morning, the area had a good windstorm with 25-30mph winds with around 50mph gusts. I forgot that the wind finds its way through whatever bad seals around the windows and doors and generates different pitches throughout the day.

I enjoyed it all day, and it was occasionally accompanied by the heating unit clicking on and doing whatever rhythmic thing it does.

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Day 47 – Just Can’t Keep It Simple

Well, I’ve got quite the conundrum, which should have an easy resolution. As much as I want to focus on classical piano, I’ve lately been listening to a lot of jazz, blues, boogie woogie, etc., and I’ve got to scratch that itch.

Luckily, if I can get in with a particular instructor, I will be able to focus on things of my choosing. This would be great because my mind wouldn’t get bored, and what I learn for classical could be applied to another genre.

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Day 46 – Is It Just Me?

Is it just me, or do others feel refreshed after taking a brief break from your instrument? I was gone for nine days to the West Coast and had no piano available to me. I got back just after midnight to my ice cold apartment, looked at the piano and went to bed.

Finally got around to playing a bit earlier and everything felt ‘fresh’. My hands seemed to glide over the keys, the pieces that I know came easier than usual. The ‘heavier’ feeling pieces brightened up a bit, like they should be played.

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Day 45 – Airport Rhythms

I’m currently in the process of packing up to fly back to the East Coast today, so I figured I better get something posted as I won’t technically be back until Saturday after midnight. On the way here, I had mentioned that planes were subjecting everyone to music of unknown genres. And, sadly, I’ll have to subject myself to that again as I never travel with any type of music (ironic, right?).

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Day 44 – C Jam Blues

‘C Jam Blues’, I believe, is what introduced me to Jazz. I’m not sure where, but I was either gifted, or told (or both), to pick up some Oscar Peterson Trio recordings, and I did just that. Oscar keeps you humble, and the trio is soooo tight and in the groove. Ray Brown on bass, Ed Thigpen on drums. Just wow. Everything is so clean.

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Day 43 – Odd Job

Was a bit stumped on what to write about today, so my mother suggested that I write a quick post about a seasonal job I had on a holiday train.

People paid for a round-trip ticket to leave from Seattle, WA to Leavenworth, WA to see the Christmas tree lighting. Leavenworth is a Bavarian-styled village located in the Cascade Mountain range in Washington state, and is well-known for Christmas celebrations as well as Oktoberfest.

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Day 42 – Seasons of Wither

‘Seasons of Wither’ by Aerosmith has to be one of my favorite Aerosmith songs. It is a very underrated song and also a favorite of my friend (who was lucky enough to be on stage with Steven and Joe while they performed it), and one day years ago I was determined to figure it out.

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Day 41 – MuseScore

I’m still going through piano withdrawals, and I guess I’ve kept busy enough that I forgot about MuseScore. It doesn’t allow me to truly practice, but it gives me the chance to fiddle around and be creative.

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Day 40 – Gift of Knowledge

While my son was driving me around town the other day, we got talking about music. He asked me “Do you think I should go to school for music?”, and I told him no. It wasn’t worth the money to pursue at this time.

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Day 39 – Piano Withdrawal

So, this is day 4 (I think) of no piano. Sometimes, my fingers don’t know what to do with themselves. There should be a piano in every home, in case I just happen to drop by randomly. 😀

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Day 37 – Plane Music

I did a cross-country flight today (hello, West coast). Waiting for takeoff and waiting to exit the plane… I have no idea is hired to choose the music, but they should be fired. I get that it is probably just some general algorithm that ‘most people’ from some data set would approve of, but wow, I really wish I had brought my own stuff to listen to.

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Day 38 – I Did Well

When my kids were small, I would make sure I played a lot of music I grew up with, just to hopefully instill some ‘history’ once they started listening to their own stuff. It was a wide variety of music through the 70s and 90s, mainly.

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Day 36 – Playing By Ear

Decided today that I’d record twelve random songs I knew off the top of my head. Of course, they were once requests from my friend that turned into regular things I played. Some of them I hadn’t approached in awhile, while others were more regular. Just standard piano. Nothing fancy.

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Day 35 – No Practice Today

Surprisingly, it’s not my hands that kept me from playing today. It was (and still is) my lower neck / upper back area. I struggled to work all day as the pain just jolting me every so often. Made it through the day, but I’ve felt extremely limited.

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Day 34 – Waldo King

During one summer during high school, my mother enrolled me in a jazz camp. There, I was able to pick ‘courses’ to sit in on over a period of a week. I had the pleasure of signing up for ‘The History of Jazz’, taught by Waldo King.

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Day 33 – A Bit of Music Theory

The last time that studied music theory was when my mother hired a guy (Craig… I think), to give me some private theory lessons. Probably back in 1994? I also, somehow, ended up with a copy of Walter Piston’s ‘Harmony’, in which I may have read about half.

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Day 32 – In 2022…

It’s nice to see that globally, we can all come together in a sense in looking forward and hoping this year will be better than previous ones in all ways. It’s also a good time for self-reflection and self-improvement. Of course, any resolutions or goals should always be evaluated frequently and adjusted as needed to ensure some kind of progress or success.

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Day 31 – End of Year

And here’s the ‘end of the year’ obligatory post. Seeing as how I’ve dedicated more of my time to piano starting 31 days ago, I can only say that it has been worth it, and I look forward to growing more as a pianist, and continue to learn new things about music, and myself as well.

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Day 30 – No Talking, Just Piano

Honestly, I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long blogging. 70 days left. I usually don’t have much to say, so coming up with content can be challenging, or very last minute.

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Day 29 – In Search Of…

After the New Year, maybe end of January / early February, I’ll be on the hunt for a piano instructor. I’m not too sure of what my options are over here. I’m in the land of ‘Berklee’, yet a bit far from Boston. Sadly, I don’t have the time, energy, money to do a weekly round-trip. I figure, with traffic, I’m looking at a three hour round-trip by car. No thanks.

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Day 28 – Memorizing (Day 3)

Okay, last post on memorizing (for now). I’ve successfully memorized the first 24 measures of the piece I’m working on in just a short period of time. Taking two measures at a time, repeating them 10 times with no mistakes, and then adding two more. Going back over any trouble issues slowly.

Small victories, and I’m good with that. 🙂

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Day 26 – Memorizing is Tough

I’ve been working on a Chopin nocturne for 26 days now. I feel like I’ve played it enough to be able to start memorizing it, or at least play some of it from memory. Nope. I can whip up one of his waltzes or a Polonaise by memory, but I’ve known those for years. Why is it so challenging now?

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Day 25 – White Christmas

Merry Christmas to you folks who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to the rest of you. The snow is due to go away a couple hours from now, but it was nice to have around for just a little bit.

View from my balcony – damn those telephone lines

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Day 24 – Favorite Holiday Song?

Woke up to some snow today. It might stick around until tomorrow mid-morning. It got me thinking about what my favorite holiday song is. I’ll have to go with ‘Winter Wonderland’. It’s not necessarily ‘Christmas’, but more seasonal.

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Day 23 – Pardon Me, Neighbors.

When my landlady is out, I occasionally open the windows, and crank up the volume and just play EVERYTHING rolling around in my head. Classical, blues, rock, etc.

I figure if I have to hear various music and genres being blasted up and down the street by various neighbors, I might as well do the same and ‘share the love’. Of course, I doubt the sound really travels far, but you never know.

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Day 22 – The Groove is Good (sort of)

The groove is good, depending on what you’re playing. Hanging on the backbeat of a jazz or blues piece until the very last possible moment. In the pocket with your trio, quartet, etc.., it’s a great feeling.

And then it’s not when you switch to classical music.

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Day 21 – Progress is Progress

I really struggled with the mental aspect of practicing today. Warm-ups are going great and I’m seeing the dividends paid by working those. With the majority of the focused practice, it feels like I’m hitting a bit of a wall. Perhaps it is just an off day, and that’s ok.

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Day 20 – Gratitude

Having been around musicians and other creative types for a very long time, I picked up on how there seemed to be a large amount of ego attached to some folks. Some of it was warranted, due to ability, but even then, it was rather off-putting. I made sure early on that I wasn’t going to be ‘one of those people’. Ego isn’t bad. It can be a motivator, and I understand that. I just saw so much of it that it made me feel awkward.

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Day 19 – Why Chopin?

Why do I love Chopin so much? Perhaps I enjoy the romantic period of piano more than the rest? Maybe it just sounds good to my ears?

The only explanation I can really come up with is this:

Book of Chopin Waltzes
Book of Chopin Waltzes

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Day 18 – First Concert

The first concert I ever attended was somewhere around 1991 or 1992 at the University of Puget Sound. David Benoit, a jazz pianist, was the performer. His Urban Daydreams album came out a year or so previous, and I was only a year or two into piano lessons and really enjoyed hearing that album played throughout the house. My favorite piece at that time was ‘As If I Could Reach Rainbows`.

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Day 17 – Early Christmas Gift

I picked up an early Christmas gift for myself. Well, the only thing for myself.

Joe Hisaishi ‘Ghibli Best Stories’

I recall watching ‘Spirited Away’ for the first time around 2007. I couldn’t find my TV remote, so I just turned it on and ‘Spirited Away’ was playing. The only problem is, that whatever station it was on, didn’t have any commercials, and I couldn’t pull up a ‘guide’ to see what it exactly was.

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Day 16 – Band in my Hands?

My friend showed me a video today of Dave Grohl talking about how he created the song ‘Everlong’. At one point, he mentioned that he approaches playing guitar as he would the drums, the different strings being representative of the different parts of the drum. It was a fascinating concept to consider.

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Day 15 – “I wish….”

“I wish I would have stuck with piano lessons.”

When conversing with friends who found out I play piano, or hanging out after a performance and chatting with people, I’d hear that phrase from a lot of people.

There’s nothing stopping you from picking up the piano, or any other instrument, at any point in your life but yourself. Yes, it is much easier to be a child with little responsibilities and endless amounts of time to take up a musical instrument. As an adult, we have work, family, and whatever other responsibilities that chip away at our time.

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Day 14 – The Struggle for Sound

My brother and I were gifted a Yamaha SY55 between 1990-1992. It was 61-keys of awesomeness. Tons of sounds, MIDI connections (which I got into later), everything you could want for your imagination to run wild.

Even now, I have a Korg Grandstage 88 with thousands of sounds, yet all I want to play are the piano sounds.

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Day 13 – Distractions

Back in college, my piano instructor once told me a story about how when he was taking lessons, his instructor would sit and listen to him for awhile, and then do random stuff like try to stuff himself into a cabinet, drop things on the floor, anything he could do to break the focus of my instructor.

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Day 11 – Slow and Steady

One thing I wish I had learned early on would be to approach every piece I do slowly, at least when it comes to self-study. Maybe I was taught that when I first started, but I don’t recall.

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Day 10 – 2,758 Miles Away

If you have browsed my equipment list, you’ll have noticed that I’m fully digital with my equipment. I moved 2,758 miles across the country in June 2020 and had to put my Boston Essex upright studio piano in storage (bless temperature control), as I had no idea where I would end up. This ended up being a good decision as I live on the second floor of a house, which has a spiral staircase, so there was no chance it could have found a place here.

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Day 9 – You May Control the Horizontal & the Vertical…

… but I (and other musicians) control the time, or at least the perception of time. Other mediums such as film and literature can as well.

A four-minute piece of music could feel longer or shorter based on the amount of notes, rhythms, or what someone chooses to do with phrasing, or how they utilize silence, rubato, accelerando, ritardando, etc… we have a large variety tools at our disposal.

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Day 6 – Different Ways of Practicing

Over the years, I’ve learned that I don’t need to physically be at a piano to be able to practice. I mean, I prefer practice at a piano, but there are some times when that’s just not possible.

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Day 5 – ‘The Machine’

Now, I don’t recall what music documentary I watched, however, it was on Netflix back around 2016 and I felt a bit unsettled by comments made by the man in the film.

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Day 4 – 10%

Back in 2016, I used to stream on Twitch.com, playing piano. I noticed that I was starting to have issues with my ring and pinky finger when I was playing. Loss of feeling and dexterity was prohibiting me from playing well. A good friend of mine suggested I go have that issue looked into.

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Day 3 – Work Ethic as a Musician

I play music alone these days.

I don’t think I’ve played in an actual group since around 2013. The last group I was with was a standard bar band. The lead vocalist / guitarist was that stereotypical mentality we all hear about, but at least he was smart enough to hire a vocalist, however, she didn’t last long. Practices were terrible and just focused on him.

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Day 2 – Sight-reading & playing by ear

I consider myself quite lucky to have the ability to sight-read sheet music. I’m not sure exactly when that kicked in, but it is what has landed me occasional jobs, whether playing for a community choir, musical theater group, or just being asked to record something.

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Day 1 – Welcome

Welcome!

To be honest, I’ve never blogged before, but I’ve been inspired to give it a shot, especially since this project will be 10 years long. Multiple parts of this site will be updated daily, so for those of you with feed notifications, I apologize in advanced.

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