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June 15, 2005


Mia Goff

Scales, scales and more scales with sprinkles of chords and the metronome ticking.

That is how I remember my daily piano practice when I was young. Oh and the sound of my friends playing outside ...

But that was in those Neil Armstrong years as well - maybe it's not done that way these days.

So ... have fun.


Good for you! Just don't mention it to Jeff and James. They've been campaigning for years for me to take lessons. "If it is so good for your brain, Mom, ..."


Waydago, Chan!

May I recommend Professor Longhair?



Congratulations! Have fun, and keep us posted on your progress.

Chan S.

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. The lesson went very well! I'll be working on the little A major sonata with a teacher whose favorite composer is Schubert...I can barely contain my excitement.

Robert the Llama Butcher

Good on you! Yip! Yip!



N.Y. Tourist, to cab driver: How do I get to Carniege hall?

Cab driver: Practice, practice, practice!

Scales can be dreary, but helpful later (as in the Beethoven). Scales and arpeggios, until you can do them while holding an animated conversation. But break up the drills with pieces you like.

Start slow. Play it Largo until you hit every note right, then gradually build to up tempo.

A long time ago, someone asked a concert pianist how she learned to play a particularly difficult piece. She replied, "I learn first the hard parts."

Some people recommend learning a difficult set of measures by thinking of it as setting a bone fracture: play the hard parts over and ovre, then add the measures before and after, over and over.

Once the piece is "in your fingers", then you're as much listening as playing, and then things like phrasing and dynamics will take care of themselves.

Do you know the first movement of the Moonlight? Always a good one to play. Beethoven had a fiendish sense of humor: first movement, fairly easy; second, a lot harder; third, forget it.

Chan S.

Robert, thank you!

Mike, thanks for the wonderful advice. A freakish quirk of my personality that will serve me in good stead, I think, is that I actually *enjoy* practicing, even scales. The third movement of the Schubert little A is chock-full of scales and arpeggios, so it'll give me quite the workout. And yes, the Moonlight was one of the first Beethoven sonatas I "taught" myself after my lessons stopped way back when--but the first two movements only! When I want to hear the third, I listen on CD to someone who can *actually* play it.


How wonderful! I hope your first lesson went well. Being able to read music and play an instrument adds immeasurable pleasure to one's life. And I like how you are doing it just for you :)

Chan S.

Thanks, Randa. The first lesson was great, and I'm looking forward to (instead of being nervous about) the next one...progress already!

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