Sunday, September 22, 2019

Week 38: Memorize and "Perform" Chopin's Nocturne in E Flat on the Piano

I've been working on Goal #20 on my 60-week-goal-list for the past couple of months:

Practice the piano and be able to play some of the pieces I used to play well along with some new pieces.

This Chopin Nocturne in E flat is one of the 'signature pieces' that I knew as a kid. So I tuned up my old piano (the same piano I played when I was a kid which was passed down from a great aunt), got out the music, and started playing the piano again!

My piano getting tuned

Surprisingly, it didn't take me long to relearn the nocturne. I also learned "Beauty and the Beast" (which I've been playing as a duet with Megan on the clarinet). 

So, technically, I could have considered this goal complete a couple of months ago. However, I decided to make it more of a challenge, I wanted to memorize the Chopin Nocturne and play it for an 'audience.'  Now THAT was much harder than expected!

Memorizing music is much more difficult than I remember it being! My poor housemates must be SO sick of hearing this Chapin Nocturne, but finally, this week, I had the whole thing memorized!

Now, for the even bigger challenge: Play for an audience!

There's a little, blue piano (that has a very muffled sound) in the Flatirons Mall.  Even though I would have preferred to have my big debut on a higher-quality piano, I decided, that I'd play my newly memorized Chopin Nocturne there with the "audience" being whoever was roaming the mall.

I admit, this is kind of 'cheating' since it's not nearly as intimidating as playing for an audience who is intently listening, sitting there expecting to be 'entertained' by my piano playing.  On top of that, I made a LOT of mistakes in this 'performance.' I'm not very pleased with it, and I wasn't sure whether or not I should keep this goal 'open' until I had a better performance.

However, I got a big surprise! Someone left me a $5 Tip!!  Hooray! I certainly didn't expect any tips and I didn't even see the person who left the money! He apparently just left the tip on the piano as he was passing by!

So, despite the fact that I made a lot of mistakes, I did have at least one "audience" member who thought it was worth a $5 tip and that's pretty exciting!

I still plan to keep practicing so I can commit this piece to my long-term memory. I'm really kind of fascinated by memory and think it's really interesting how eventually, it feels like your fingers just know where to go on the keyboard without my brain actively needing to remember..  But, I probably will need to play that piece many more times (sorry John and Mari!) before I'll be able to play it flawlessly without music.

What worked well:

  • It felt great to be playing the piano again! There had been too many years that my piano had just been gathering dust!
  • The piano tuning went much better this time than the last time (about 7 years ago) when I'd gotten my piano tuned. This tuner was much more optimistic about how long my piano would be 'playable.'
  • I was surprised at how easily I was able to relearn that Nocturne which is a pretty advanced piece.
  • Really fun to play the Beauty & The Beast with Megan on the clarinet (we're going to 'perform' at Thanksgiving, so maybe I'll add a video of that performance, though Megan is not crazy about being recorded.)
  • Proud of myself for sticking with the memorization, even though it was difficult.
  • Very excited to get a $5 tip!!!! That's the first (and probably only) time I earned money for a 'performance'!
What could have been better:
  • I made a lot of mistakes in my "performance."
  • The sound quality of the mall piano was really poor.
I'm really happy to have re-discovered the piano and even though I don't really have the natural talent of my much-more musically-inclined friends, I want to keep playing and find some fun new pieces to learn.


Anonymous said...

Week #38 - Goal #20...your numbers always confuse me!

Goal #20 - “B”

Play the piano in public and sing a solo at the same time....?


Michele Hebrank said...

πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» (Virtual audience response!!)

This week I have been trying harder to memorize some of my pieces too- it was good to hear that it was hard for you too bc it can really be kind of discouraging to see how much effort is required!

John Smith said...

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