Tuesday, April 22, 2008

19. Progress -- New Recordings

Not much new to report. I have been faithfully doing at least two hours of sight-reading each morning. I have good days and bad. I recorded the same songs that I posted on this site on March 24, and I'm encouraged that I've improved a bit more than I had realized. You can visit that post to see the sheet music for these recordings.

Of course, it's not technically sight-reading to play these pieces again, but it's been a while since I played them, so you can still make a comparison. For the Rondino, I had a technical problem when recording, so I had to record it again, so that one had a little more practice this time around.

Hymn 296 Then
Hymn 296 Now

Rondino Then
Rondino Now

Humpty Dumpty Then
Humpty Dumpty Now

Goosey Goosey Gander Then
Goosey Goosey Gander Now

Tom Tom Then
Tom Tom Now

Saturday, April 5, 2008

18. Hit the Accelerator

Well, things are starting to happen. Today I got a book out from the library that I had borrowed back in December, and pieces that I could barely get through at 50 BPM I can now read at 80-102 BPM. What's better is that I have a feeling that the music just flows out.

The music is very easy, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Hitting the Accelerator

Prompted by a post by Akira in a piano forum, I realized that instead of choosing a tempo at which I make only a few mistakes, perhaps I should speed things up a bit. That is, play at a speed at which I make lots of mistakes. This seems to be a good thing.

For the last few days I've been choosing tempos that are fast enough that I can just barely keep track of all the notes. Above this tempo, I start to ignore parts of the music (usually the left hand); at this tempo, I feel like I'm just holding on by my fingertips.

This works well because it forces me to interpret the notes quickly, and move my hands quickly.

A lot of people suggest that your sight-reading will improve rapidly if you play a lot of duets with others. If practical (it's not practical for me), this is a good idea since it forces you not to stop and go back and correct your mistakes. But I'll bet that another reason this is good is that you probably play things faster than you would if you were practicing alone.

I'll let you know whether this new paradigm works for me.

Hymnal on Steroids

Yesterday I received a copy of Bach's 371 Harmonized Chorales and 69 Chorale Melodies, which was recommended on a forum. But found that it's like hymns on steroids, and is too difficult for me now. The print is very small, too.