For those who seek sheet music
There is no sheet music here, please see the explanation in this article.
For those who seek sheet music
I've been practising every day the piano, trying to follow the Piano practise method which I began on mid September (remember this article?)
The pieces I've practising are these ones, in chronological order:
Pieces I continued to practise "cold":
Mozart - Piano Sonata K 333 1st movement in Bb Major
I've got all in my head, but I always bump some notes somewhere, because I'm not as focused as I should be. It's very difficult to keep concentrated all the time, that's why sometimes I forget what to play. It's like I let my hands play all by themselves, but sometimes they need my brain to anticipate the next notes: if I'm absent at that time, hop, I fail.
For me, the most difficult part is the 2nd theme (in F major at the 1st exposition, in Bb major at the 2nd exposition):
You have to be focused not to make a mistake, and stay regular.
The method I used was to repeat very fast hands separate the same pattern over and over. And then replay it hands together at the tempo. But nowadays I only play it from beginning to end, so I can't help myself make mistakes during the piece.
Schubert - Piano Sonata D959 4th movement (Rondo) in A Major
This piece is very long. I played it a lot, but there's always a part where I make a mistake. And the last quarter of the piece is somewhat difficult to memorize since I learnt it before learning the method. Not that it's difficult to plug the parts into the brain, it's because there are lots of measures to put together, and to complicate all of this, they look like each other.
For example, the part which begins like this:
It takes 2 pages to get over it, I'm bored when I play it, so I often make a mistake.
I love the 2 themes in their completeness, so beautiful. I also like the way the 2 hands talk to each other. Thanks to Jonathan Biss and his course on Coursera, I learnt that Schubert was inspired by a Beethoven's Sonata where he used the same structure: 2 hands talking to each other, Cuts in the theme near the end, Presto at the coda.
2nd theme: (in E major, 1st exposition)
In fact I haven't played it for days now, I'm so focused on the Bach's inventions.
Schubert - Impromptu in F minor
I've learnt it a while ago, so didn't take so much time on it. Very pleasant to play, even if I don't really like the first theme in F minor.
Bach - Inventions n°8 (F major), 1 (C major) and 13 (A minor)
I play them when I'm "cold", in order to test if I can play them without mistakes. Every now and them, I still make some, especially in the 13th one.
New pieces I learnt on the flow:
Bach - Invention n°2 (C minor)
It's a piece that I didn't like because of the melody which I don't think is beautiful. Anyway, the structure of the piece is awesome, since it's some kind of canon, Bach is really a genius.
So it's hard to play, and before, with I did sightreading, I was unable to play it correctly. Of course, you have to practise it hands separate (HS) before playing it hands together (HT)! (unless you have a IQ of 200!)
After practising a lot HS and memorizing each hand by heart, I was able to play it HT. Slowly at first, and then when I was at ease, I could go faster.
Anyway, to learn it by heart HS is easy, but learning HT on the fly, how hard it is... I think that's it's the best way to memorize the piece HT, because if I play HT while reading the score, I don't memorize. Because sight reading is easy for me if the piece is not too hard. I don't remember if it was written somewhere on the method if you have to try to play HT without the score, but it's a difficult part, poor brain!
I'm happy because now if I play this piece cold, I can play it without mistakes... 3 times on 4...
Bach - Invention n°3 (D major)
Tricky piece to memorize, still making some mistakes.
Bach - Invention n°15 (B minor)
I've played it a long time ago, it's some kind of revision.
Bach - Invention n°4 (D minor)
Bach - Invention n°6 (E major)
Mozart - Piano Sonata K333 2nd Movement in Eb Major
I'm very fond of this piece.
Mozart - Piano Sonata K333 3nd Movement in Bb Major
Tricky to memorize, but once you know how to play each part, and where is the repeated theme, it's a matter of time and practise.
Cesar Franck - Violin & Piano Sonata - 1st movement in A major
I play with a violonist friend, this whole sonata is wonderful. This movement is kind of hard to learn, it's mandatory to learn it by heart before playing some parts :)
Cesar Franck - Violin & Piano Sonata - 2nd movement in D minor
The most difficult movement of the sonata, but so good to play at real pace. I had to memorize nearly the whole piece in order to play it easily with the violin. It's so frustrating to play by sight reading, only focusing on the piano, and not listening to your partner playing the violin. The best is to listen while you're playing: it's some kind of reward to your practise.
Cesar Franck - Violin & Piano Sonata - 3rd movement in F# minor
The tricky part is the theme where the left hand jumps. 2 times. Learning this theme by heart is hard, because the chords sequence is not very easy to read.
Cesar Franck - Violin & Piano Sonata - 4th movement in A major
Very melodic movement, need to learn by heart nearly all the piece because of the jumps and the complexity of some parts.
I'm thinking of taking one piece and another to explain with details how I learnt it with the method. And even explain my own analysis of the piece, it may not be complete since I'm not a musicologist. But that takes a lot of time, so if you're interested in that (or something else I didn't thought of), could you let me know in the comments? Maybe I can try to make a video, but I always refrain to do one because of the mistakes, and also because I don't think it will be interesting for anyone.
So I go back to my training, see ya!
It has been a long time I wanted to have XBMC on a device other than my computer. Before my hard disk crashed, I had XBMC on the computer, linked to 1 monitor and 1 TV. I had a config that launches XBMC on the TV instead of the monitor.
It worked well, but I always had to have my computer switched on to launch XBMC and watch my favorite series.
I decided to get a Raspberry Pi and install XBMC on it. Well a Raspberry pi alone is useless. I had to buy:
I already had:
I inserted the SD card on the SD card reader, and plugged it in my PC. I did the install on Windows because there are some problems on the Linux install script, because of the language (French).
The soft used to install Raspbmc on the SD card is great, you just have to select the SD card drive, the image file of Raspbmc, I did a live install (not persistant).
Once Raspbmc is installed on the SD card, I plugged the SD card on the Raspberry pi, linked the HDMI cable with the PC, linked the Ethernet Cable to my switch.
And then I plugged the alimentation block to get the current to the rasberry pi. On the TV, I watch the HDMI2 source and see the installation progress. After some reboots (take about 30 mn), it's ready, The raspberry pi is on a IP given with the DHCP protocol.
I prefer to get a Fixed IP, so you can set that with the "Programs" menu.
First configure with the mouse the web server and make sure it's on. Then I use my Nexus 7 where I installed Yatse to use it as a remote control. Then you can remove the mouse. One extra with Yatse is that you can use the Virtual keyboard to type what you want, very useful instead of typing letter by letter with the arrows.
Then I had to configure the time zone, it was not correct.
Then I configured the NAS to get the NFS protocol work: on a synology NAS, there is a bug on the /etc/exports file. (insecure_locks -> insecure) Log in by SSH (use Putty on Windows) with the root user, and use the admin password to login.
Then I could access to my files on the NAS with XBMC when I wanted to add Videos, by using the NFS protocol.
I tried a bit the indexation of the media, but it's slow.
I then tried some extensions, but Youtube doesn't work, it makes the raspberry pi reboot. I don't recommend using these internet extensions since it's too slow to use. I even tried the Passion-XBMC extensions, which are a good addon for french people (Replay for TV channels). But very slow to use here.
If the navigation is a bit slow, the video playing is good. However, some problems when you want to move the cursor of the video: the subtitles disappear. It's better to use the fast rewind/forward to keep the subtitles on.
To conclude, it's wonderful, because when I need to watch something without using my PC, I only have to plug the alimentation block to get the current, get my Nexus 7, and then choose the video to watch. To switch off, I log out on Raspbmc and then plug out the current. The raspberry pi is very small, so in a little box, it's discreet.
Here I am, after 4 intense days of practise: around 6 hours Saturday and Sunday, maybe 2 hours Monday and 4 hours Tuesday. Here's my share of experience.
Before reading the method, I was already practising and playing the Mozart's Sonata K333 (1st mvt), the Schubert's Rondo of Sonata D959 and the Schubert's Impromptu op.142 n°1. I wanted to test the method described here. So I began with the Bach's Invention #8 as M. Chang said in his book: play HS, alternatively RH and LH (right hand and left hand), through little sections of about 3 measures each, and always without pedal. The most important thing to do here is to memorize while practising the sections. At the end of the piece, I knew both hands by memory. It was easy because when I was a kid, I had to work on this piece, so this was some kind of re-memorizing after years not playing it. I think that it tool me 10 minutes.
In every section, I played until reaching the final speed, because you have to master HS (hands separate) at speed in order to work HT (hands together) with a slower speed (70% of HS speed). I began to practise HT a little bit then I worked on the other pieces (the Mozart's sonata and the Schubert's rondo). Because I already worked them, but only HT, it felt like going backwards at first. But I realized that I missed a lot of chance to practise the difficult passages in order to master them, not just playing them roughly, with hesitations, making mistakes.
At the end of each piece, I tried to play at a slow speed to respect the Post Practise Improvement (PPI) rule. That's a real effort to do, because you work a long time on a piece, about 1 hour, and then when you want to switch pieces, you have to play at a slower speed the same thing. Maybe there's something to review here: planify better the practise session in order to anticipate this "slow moment".
After 6 hours (spread during the whole day), it's harrassing for the brain. I didn't sleep well, because my brain was so active.
I played first HS. Yes, I forgot to do the Mental Play (MP) before playing: close your eyes, and play in your head the 2 hands, paying attention to the notes played, the fingering, and the tones. I don't respect the tones on the sheet music I got, because Bach didn't put tones on it originally. I prefer keeping the staccatos that I learnt with my teacher a while ago.
Then I practised HT, section by section, at 70% of real speed. When it was OK, I started to work HS at 150% speed. This is where you have to speed up your memory to anticipate the difficulties, the "flubs". It's not hard HS, it's hard HT. Then I could practise HT at 100% speed.
Then I started the Invention #1, same thing: play HS, in little sections, without pedal. The harder part is the LH with the quadruplets all along. Then I tried a bit HT at a slow pace. But I tried HT 70% speed without the score: it's really really confusing and you need a lot of concentration to do that. It took me a very long time to play correctly simple sections, and I asked myself: when you start to practise HT, should you read the score or should you play it by recalling the HS learnt by heart? On the first case, it's for me sight reading (and somewhat easy for me), on the second case, it's very hard and time consuming, and I don't know if it's really efficient.
Anyway, I came back to HT by sight reading: it's easier, but to memorize, you have to play a lot of time, and repeat, repeat. When I felt that I wasn't confortable (especially with the LH), I came back to HS.
Then finished the 2 pieces with a slow play in order to respect the PPI. Then did the same with the 2 other pieces.
Less time to practise, I played the Invention #8 HT at 100% speed, making mistakes because I didn't master some passages, and also because memory is failing me. Mental play is very important, I should practise it when I'm not in front of the piano. And also repeat some passages with different speeds, HS or HT, depending on the mood. This allows exploration of the segments with different points of view, testing different gestures and techniques. Remember, you must come rapidly to 100% speed in order to work at a slower speed without bad habits. If you begin at a slow pace and stick to it too long, you take the risk to have different gestures and habits that you can't allow while playing at fast speed. Instead of learning bad habits, quickly come to speed HS and acquire the correct gestures with relaxed hands, fingers and arms.
Also worked Invention #1 HT at 70% speed.
I practised the Inventions #8 (nearly mastered), and #1 HT at 100% speed. And I started to play HS the Invention #13. Then I switched to Mozart and Schubert.
All the way, my mind wanted to practise hard the RH, especially in the Rondo of Schubert where you have to torture a little your little finger in the passage E4F#5E5 G#4A5G#5 B4C#6B5 E5F#6E6. I began to feel hot in the little finger, and I should have stopped sooner... I ended with the invention #13 at a slow speed HS. I was very tired, and my mind was... blank, I felt I was playing automatically, without thinking. I knew I was pushing too much, but I continued until the end.
Tuesday evening, I felt I pushed too much. I felt already on Monday a pain in the last finger of the RH, and it raised little by little up to my shoulder and back.
And that's because I failed to respect one of the most important rule (among many others...) of the method: relaxation! It's one of the utmost rule not to forget while playing, because it's the key to endurance of practise, and also the key to break the speed wall when encountered.
Today, I still feel the pain, and I think I have some kind of tendonitis due to the hard work. Today, I forced myself not to play the piano, since I also work with a computer: the fingers have to work too, it doesn't help the healing.
It's so hard not to play the piano that I practised the LH of the Impromptu (with the score) and the Rondo of Schubert (by heart, play the RH in my head in the same time). With relaxation in mind this time, realizing each time I was too tense, and that I had to go slower in order to get my fingers more relaxed. It's very hard to think about that while practising, it's like meditation you know: your thoughts are coming, coming, and you forget that you have to watch them, not follow them.
So the lesson is to be very careful of relaxation: relaxed fingers, hand, arms. And also, stop once you feel that you're pushing too much, and feel some pain. I felt pain in the back too, it was too stiff because of the long practise sitted in front of the instrument.
Have you also encountered this problem? What are your solutions? Feel free to comment and discuss about that!
PS: I raised the font size of the website, it is too hard to read. What do you think of the new font size?
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