Wow, it’s amazing how quickly my skills have improved since starting the most difficult musical challenge I’ve ever set myself.
Playing the actual Goldberg Variations is mentally taxing. I actually feel exhausted after really digging into it for a session, anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours.
After playing all the Variations, which I noticed were incredibly demanding, I’ve often returned to the Inventions. That’s the point of my realization that playing through seriously challenging, long-form sheet music has made me much more able to follow and play simpler, shorter Inventions.
In short, it’s a joy and I’m so happy to have chosen this project. :)
Playing the piano has been fun, challenging, and rewarding. I can notice myself getting better with practice. It hasn’t been too difficult to play every day, especially while at home (not travelling).
Yesterday, another good day of piano found me playing for two hours or so. I tried playing new songs I had never played, and had good results simply sight-reading; so I can regard my general skills as progressing through my approach of focusing on a set of 15 Baroque keyboard pieces. (That is, J.S. Bach’s Two Part Inventions)
I want to transfer this consistency of focus on my piano goals to my working goals.
As preparation for learning the Goldberg Variations, I have been working through a set of simpler, yet related keyboard pieces by the same composer.
Today, I played all fifteen of these songs, which was a first. I had never played Invention #7 at all, and three or four of the others I had only played through a few times to completion.
Improving in this skill has been making my life better!
Away from home, I’m in a location with a piano. It’s tough to live in a space other than my own; and even there, I frequently host guests and find myself compromising my own priorities in favor of keeping the space quiet for them.
My practicing in this temporary distant location have been less intense, but I have been able to play piano almost every day. I’m very glad for that opportunity to maintain finger agility.
I have a full-size, 88-key weighted electronic keyboard, and I use the “grand piano” synth sound to play piano pieces.
Memorizing helps to refine and perfect each piece; I want to master it to the extent of feeling that the music is expressed elegantly and beautifully. So far, I have memorized some 2-part Inventions by J.S. Bach. They’re good to practice by, and useful for increasing my finger dexterity.
I love the Inventions; I can play #s 1, 4, 8, 13, and 14 by heart. Next I’ll probably tackle either #2, which is very beautiful (and next consecutively), or #10, which is relatively simple, and which I think I will learn by heart more quickly than any of the other pieces.
Every time I play the piano, my day is improved; since I started re-learning this art, there is more music in my life, and I sing more often, and better.