Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tracking practice

I'm still plunking away at the piano, doing a little bit every day. A few weeks ago, I started two new things: practicing two scales every day (major and parallel minor, including arpeggios) and keeping a practice log. For the log, I jot down what time I practiced, for how long, and what I did. I think it will be interesting to see how it adds up over time. I don't want to make this too elaborate because I don't want the record keeping to affect the process.

So for example, here's my log for last week:

Sunday, 4/11: 3:30-4:00 p.m.
Brahms 118/2 - recorded
Scales - E flat major/E flat minor

Monday, 4/12: 5:15-6:00 p.m.
Scales - D major/ D minor
Bach prelude [WTC I  A major] - sections back to front, slowly, faster
Bach fugue - first two sections, HS/HT [hands separate/hands together]

Tuesday, 4/13, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Brahms 118/2 - played through for tone and phrasing
Bach fugue -  by section, different speeds, VS [voices separate]/HS/HT
Bach prelude - by section from end to beginning, different speeds, HS/HT
Beethoven Op. 2 No. 3 - 1st movement - spots
Scales - D flat major/C sharp minor

Wednesday, 4/14 [no time recorded]
Scales - C major/C minor
Beethoven - 1st movement, sections slowly
Brahms 118/2

Thursday, 4/15, 10:45-11:45 p.m.
Scales - B major/B minor, quarter note = 50 (16ths, triplets, 32nds)
Brahms 118/3 - slowly, sections, HS/HT
Brahms 118/2 - play through
Bach - play through

Friday, 4/16, 11:30 p.m. - 12:15 a.m.
Scales - B flat major/B flat minor
Bach fugue - last 2 pages, sections, VS/HS/HT, slowly
Brahms 118/1 - play through under tempo
Brahms 118/2 - play through for tone, etc.

Saturday, 4/17
9:30 a.m. - Brahms 118/2 - play through
1:00 p.m.  - Brahms 118/1
11:00 p.m.
Scales - A major/A minor
Bits of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin 62/2

I think this will be helpful, though I don't know exactly how. Maybe it will help me see patterns. Sometimes I think not having a set practice time is a big problem, but then other times I think it's good, because I'm not programmed to play the piano only at a certain time every day, with every element in the same order.

If anyone is wondering how I can practice at midnight without disturbing anyone: I have a practice room in the basement with a door on it. Although the piano can be heard throughout the house, it's filtered and muted. My husband says it doesn't bother him. (He can listen to the stereo while I'm practicing, and though I can hear it, it doesn't bother me.)


blankwall said...

I love the idea of two scales each practice. I usually do some scales but nothing defined. The major/minor part makes so much sense and better than running through 8 major scales or 8 minor scales.

I've taken lessons but just recently started playing regularly. I just finished prelude 1. Somehow Bach helps out with all other music. Another testament to his genius I suppose.

Love the blog!

Harriet said...

Thanks, ray.

I've been resisting playing scales for a long time, but I finally decided it was worth a try to see if it would help my technique. I still don't want to spend too much time on it. This past couple of weeks, it's probably been about 15 minutes a day. I do a different pair every day; I set the metronome at 44 and do four notes per beat, then six, then eight, and then on the arpeggios three, four, six, and eight (though the eight is a little too fast for me right now). On the minor scales, I've been doing natural, melodic, and harmonic minor.

Bach is always good. I never feel like I'm wasting my time when I play Bach.