My pianoteacher asked me today if I want to play at a students concert. At my old music school, they asked me that at the end of each semester too. And I always declined, using the very valid excuse that, well, I’m not 5. These music student concerts are meant for kids and their parents, and adults showing up to play quite simple pieces would just look weird.
At this new school, however, they’ve noticed that all the adult students use that excuse, and so they’re having a concert for adult students only, advertising that there will be red wine for everyone, to make it sound more fun I guess. ;) I said something in the direction of “Eeek! No!”. And my teacher said “But wouldn’t it be a personal victory for you to play in front of an audience?”. Which is a very good point. Maybe I should challenge myself here. She promised me that several of the other students have been playing just for a few months and so I will not be the worst one.
The problem is, I’m so nervous playing for others that my hands start shaking even when I’m just playing for my teacher. Plus, I’m a very easily distracted ADDer, and once I’m distracted by something and play something wrong, I completely lose focus and can’t figure out where I was in the sheet music. It might just turn into a terrible experience of me freaking out, shaking like a leaf and not being able to finish my pieces, while the students who are at a lower level than me finish their easier pieces without problems. Hmm.
a bit of positive news! I really needed something positive to focus on right now.
I’ve been looking for a new place to take pianolessons, and the only way I can keep taking lessons, is if Cora can come with me. I thought that was a long shot really, this country seems to get less dog-friendly by the day, and many people refuse to allow dogs just on principle more than anything. But I found this music school just up the street from where I live, and the owner was very positive, saying she’d ask the teachers. She’s a dog owner herself, so she understood my problem I think. I talked to her in june, and she said she’d ask the teachers after summer holiday.
She just called, saying “So, I’ve found a teacher for you, and I’d like to welcome you and your dog to our music school”. Yay! Lovely piano lady!
That solves a big problem for me. Plus, I’ll save quite a lot of money on it. The place I used to take lessons was quite a long drive away from here, gas is expensive in Norway, and there’s a fee you have to pay to drive in and out of central Oslo every time, which I did to get to those lessons. And, I’ll be less dependent on my car, which, sigh, is about to break down for good I think.
I’ve not been happy with my piano teacher lately, he just cancels pianolessons on short notice way too often, plus frequently shows up for lessons hung over or very tired from partying the night before. But my problem is, hardly any teachers give lessons during the weekends like he does, and I can’t leave Cora alone on weeknights when she’s already been alone all day.
I just sent an e-mail to another music school though, asking if it might be possible to bring a very calm and allergy friendly dog to lessons some times. I fully expected that they would send me a message back saying “sorry, no”. Dogs are hardly allowed anywhere these days. But the woman running the school actually wrote back saying as long as it’s an allergy friendly dog, she thinks that should probably be possible, and said she loves dogs and has one herself. YAY!!! I guess it depends on the teacher accepting it, but hopefully, one of them will.
Plus, an added benefit, it now takes me forever to get to lessons at the opposite side of the city, it used to take half an hour each way, wich is quite a lot of time in itself. But due to a lot of work being done of the roads, it now frequently takes an hour or more, and the work will continue for years. Which causes a stressful start of every weekend, sitting in the car in a line that is hardly moving, wondering if I’ll be able to make it to the lesson at all is no fun. This other music school though, is situated right up the street, it should take me 10 minutes or so to walk there. YAY!!!
The one I’m with now is just getting too annoying. I went to my lesson today only to find the door locked, tried to call the teacher, who didn’t answer, and then got a message an hour later saying “Oh, sorry I’m a bit late in telling you, I thought I mentioned I’m away this weekend. Let’s do the lesson some evening next week instead”. It takes me more than two hours to get to the lessons and back, in addition to having to get up a bit early on a saturday to walk Cora and get ready, so that was bloody annoying. I met another piano student there too, so I’m not the only one who didn’t get the message.
It’s the first time he’s done that. But he has showed up for lessons seriously hung over several times, and seems to be sick very often. Once, he sent all his students a message at 5 in the morning saying he had got a sudden fever and couldn’t come to lessons in the morning. Of course, he might have been sick and been up in the middle of the night to send messages because of that, but I have a strong feeling he just came back from a party and decided he was too drunk to get up and teach in the morning. He does make up for it, either by giving longer lessons next time or doing an extra lesson another week. But that’s not at all the same as having lessons once a week, two lessons in a week leaves very little time to practice inbetween, and a bit longer lessons doesn’t make much of a difference really.
My problem is though, very few teachers want to give lessons during the weekends. And on weekdays, I can’t really leave Cora alone when she’s already been alone all day while I’m at work. I guess I’ll have to start sending messages to other music schools asking if anyone would be ok with me sometimes bringing my dog to lessons. I have a feeling they will find it a weird request though. Most pianostudents are either children, adults without dogs or adults with families who can watch the dog while they are at lessons. And people are generally not very open to allowing dogs anywhere these days.
But I really don’t want to give up piano, and I don’t want to have to deal with a nice but irresponsible teacer who doesn’t give me the lessons I pay for. Maybe I’ll come across some pianoteacher who is a dog owner and will be sympathetic.
I got a new pianoteacher 6 months ago, and I was quite happy with him for a while. But now he’s starting to really annoy me.
I’ve had lessons on saturdays at 11, and he has now quite a few times shown up at lessons clearly hung over. (Most of the times he tells me that, and says he’s sorry about it, so I know that’s what it is.) I don’t have a problem with that if it’s not too often. But playing for a teacher who is tired and uninspired and only half listening is not that much fun, and it keeps happening.
So, last week, he said that he didn’t want to work saturdays any more, and asked if we could find an evning instead. Which could solve that problem. But when I’ve been at work all day, I can’t leave Cora alone again in the evening, and I told him that. He said she could come along to lessons then, at least we can try it and hope that there are no complaints (as my lessons are in a room in the top floor of a mall, and dogs are probably not allowed in the building really). So we agreed on a lesson today, and he said he’d call me about exactly when. He didn’t call, so I sent him a text message, and he replied “Oh, can we meet saturday this week, today is not good after all”.
Argh. It’s just really stupid, he could have told me that earlier, I’ve planned my day thinking I was going to pianolesson tonight, saying no to another invitation.
He just seems to treat this as some kind of hobby, whereas I pay a lot of money for these lessons and deserve a teacher who takes it seriously.
I think I have the right to ask for another teacher. But on the other hand, the other teacher might not work on weekends either, (most of them don’t) and might not allow Cora to come along to lessons. I have no right to bring my dog to lessons, it completely depends on teachers being dog friendly. And if a new teacher isn’t, I would have to find a dogsitter every week to go to lessons, which would make the whole thing stressful. Hmm.
I am working on baroque music on the piano. Which was of course never intended for a modern piano. And I’ve always wanted to try playing a cembalo, to experience what it’s like to play on an original instrument. (Well, not original as such, they are mostly copies, but the actual kind of instrument Händel would have played on). And the opera singer I’m dating says they have several cembalos at the opera, so he’s going to take me there so I can try one. Yay! Supexiting! Better practice Händels Pasacaille (which I’m still working on, very difficult) as much as I can until then, so I have something I can play! Fun!
Now that we’ve had a few lessons he seems less nervous about it, and things are going well! He’s very dedicated, and gave me some good advise about how to practice today. And he had gone through his sheet music at home and found something by Händel for me to play, since the first piece I had chosen was by Händel, so he thought I might like it. Which I do, obviously! This one is far more complicated than the first one. But the good thing is, it’s made up by a collection of very short variations, so I can learn them one by one, and then put it all together later. Working on the first now, it’s fun! And he keeps telling me how well I’m doing, which is of course makes him a popular guy ;)
The last teacher moved back to Sweden, and this was my first lesson with the new teacher. I’m always really nervous when I’m playing for a new teacher for some, stupid reason, so I was sure I would forget everything I knew and play terribly bad. Which I did. But then I discovered the teacher was actually more nervous than me! Quite strange, I think this must be his first teaching job or something. He had brought a million different sheets of music, to explain to his students that he has lots of fun things we can play in any genre, but he had brought so much he couldn’t find the things he was looking for and it was all a bit chaotic. So we decided in the end to just stick with the book of baroque music that I had brought and already started working on.
Then he kept making mistakes when he was playing it for me, constantly apologizing for his bad playing.
He was nice though, and super-encouraging, constantly telling me I was doing well, which is always nice. ;) And I think most of his mistakes were due to him being even more nervous than me. Plus, he said he likes baroque music very much, and had lots of it at home, that he could bring to lessons so I can have more to chose from.
So I’m thinking I’ll stick with him this semester and see how it works out. Very much looking forward to learning more about playing classical music!
I also told him about my main problem with reading scores, which is that I can’t do it while I play. So I learn things by heart, but then frequently forget where I am, and then I can’t figure out where in the scores I am, so I have to stop completely and look. He said “Oh, yes, I remember that, it is like “that for everyone in the beginning, it will get better with practice”. Yay! I was thinking it was some ADD problem that will make this difficult for me, but apparently it’s a problem for most piano students. He also said I could make it easier by dividing the music into phrases, and write A, B and so on in the scores for each phrase, to make it easier to see where I am when I forget. Will try that!
Written by my hero mr. Händel of course. I should probably mention that Bourree no. 1 is one page and arranged for easy piano. ;) Still, quite happy with it!
I have a bit of a problem with sheetmusic though. I’m just not used to it at all, all the time since I started playing I have only had a simple melody line written down, sometimes not even that, and then the list of chords. My big challenge with sheetmusic is that I can’t really look at that and play at the same time. I tend to learn it by heart and as I learn the pice better, I play it without looking at the sheetmusic at all. But then I do sometimes forget where I am and what notes to play next. And then I have no idea where in the score I am, so I have to stop completely and look through the scores again and try to figure out where I was, and then start over.
Hm.When that is a problem with one page pieces, it will certainly be a problem when I start playing longer and more complicated pieces. Even professional musicians have the scores in front of them and read it while playing, trying to play everything by learning it by heart and not being able to check the scores won’t work.
Maybe I’ll get better at it in time. I have a feeling it might have to do with my ADD though actually, attention is my problem, and focusing on both my playing and the scores at the same time is a bit much. But well, no excuses, I’ll have to try and figure out a way to work around that somehow. Hopefully I’ll get a teacher that I feel comfortable discussing that with, maybe he or she will have some ideas.
I´ve just had way too much to deal with, I´m not really motivated to do anything at all these days. But I do need something positive to focus on, watching tv all the time to get through the evenings just isn´t a good plan. So, in order to increase my motivation, I have moved on from Beethoven to my number one musical hero: Händel. Noone comes even close to Händel in my book, so I´ve decided he´s the guy to turn to. Obviously, Händel didn´t know what a piano was, so there´s not that much pianomusic available, but I have found some nice, easy solos to start with. I don´t know if it´s actually cembalo music or simply something originally written for a completely different instrument, but either way, I like it! Did some practicing yestereday, must do more today.