Friday, August 24, 2012

Working through a new book...

Currently, I am working through a new Book now: Masterwork Classics Level 7, Compiled & edited by Jane Magrath, together with Keys to Stylistic Mastery Book 3, which I barely touched it since it was bought coz I had been mostly playing the exam pieces only.

Today was the last lesson before Nancy goes for her delivery. So, I guess the next lesson would be some time in Oct or Nov, and then a break in Dec coz she will be going over to her mum's place in Malaysia and re-starting in Jan 13.

This means I have about 5 weeks to work on a few pieces before I see her again. Hope I can be discipline enough to practice the pieces!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Officially Grade 6 now...

I didn't do well for the practical exams coz I was very very nervous. My mind just went blank throughout the exams, though I still manage to play the pieces and scales, but I was unable to relax and play normally. I think this is due to the lack of performing experience. And this would mean that I need to find more opportunity to play and perform for others, so that I am used to it and not feel so excessively nervous.

Nevertheless, I have officially move into Grade 6 now and yes, Nancy will be getting new books for me. She showed me some of the books which she will be getting for me and they are mostly one book of certain pieces by a composer. And the scores look very scary. The focus will really be on learning the techniques and the style of the period and maybe the style of the composer as well?

In any case, I think I will also need to spend more time practising the piano as the pieces are more technically demanding. And I am also thinking whether I should go for the practical exams for Grade 6 or skip and take Grade 7 or Grade 8 directly, taking about 2 to 3 years to get there? Any advise?

The reason why I am not so keen taking exams because I don't really enjoy the process of preparing the 3 exam pieces just for the exams where I play the same piece over and over again. Was quite bored towards the end. I rather spend more time playing more repertoires and spend more time to improve the various aspects of my techniques.

Anyway, it is time to go off. My girl needs her nap and hugs now. Will write again next time.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Practical Exam on 1 Aug 2012!

Just received the confirmation of my Grade 5 piano exams from my teacher. It will be on 1 Aug 2012 morning at Parkway Centre. That is less than 4 weeks later. Oh gosh, I feel so unprepared and nervous! And it clashes with my month end closing! Oh dear!

But luckily, it is in the morning, so I can take the morning off for the exams, and when I go back office, it would definitely be a long day! But which also means that I need to take a few days off before that, so that I have more time to practice, while my kids are in the childcare! Yet coping with the tonnes of work in office!

Although I keep saying, I am happy enough to pass, but subconsciously, I still hope to do well. Aiya, it is me lah, the want-to-be-perfectionist kind of attitude, even when I have so many things on my plate. Maybe that is why, I am always so tired. Coz I am too greedy and I want everything!

Ok, I should get on to practice more vigorously now! Hope I can do well! Good Luck to myself =P.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Distinction for my Grade 5 Theory!

Yeah! I received my certificate from my teacher today and I got a distinction for my Grade 5 Theory. Happy! But not a full marks distinction, not like my Grade 2.

So I am focusing on my Grade 5 piano practical now, which will happen in Aug. The exact date of the exams is not confirmed. And I will be having weekly lessons now to better prepare for the exams and after which, I will take a break while Nancy goes on maternity leave. Or maybe I will start on my Grade 6 to 8 theory with Carol when Nancy is on maternity leave. Let's see how I cope first.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Postpone the theory learning

I haven't had the chance to go for my first music theory lesson as I had been really very busy with my work and family. Also, Carol had also been busy. 

Since I don't think I can make it in time for the theory paper in Oct plus the fact that I want to spend more time preparing for my practical exams which is coming in Aug, I decided to postpone the music theory for the time being.

I am really finding hard to find enough time to practice my piano nowadays, especially after I return back to work 3 months plus ago. 

My weekdays are also so packed with so much work and long hours to complete my work and head home to tackle the 2 kids, unpack their schoolbags, repack their bag for the next day, wash clothes, bathe them, feed them, put them to bed. And then is bedtime for me, I would be lucky if they can sleep through the night. And the day starts again. TIRED.

And weekends are packed with buying groceries, bringing the 2 kids out "gai gai", visit my mum, do housework. And because they are in childcare, they fall sick very often, so it means bringing them to see a doctor, waking up at night when they cry coz they feel uncomfortable, cannot go to childcare when they are having fever. SUPER TIRED.

Although my husband is very hands-on and he does a lot as well, I haven't been able to find enough time to play the piano.Maybe I am not ready to give up my sleep for the piano yet. And I am the kind who needs to sleep. Else, my brain will be very slow.

Hope I can pass with Merit this Aug. I don't think distinction is within reach with my current practice effort. =P

After the practical exam, I will re-assess to see when I want to start my theory lessons and whether I should continue to learn piano or wait.

Both my hubby and my workload has increased and will increase further. We also want to spend sufficient time with our children and I am not ready to give up my sleep nor my work, it seems I will have less and less "me time". Hope I can continue to maintain a balance.

Anyway, it is late now, I am tired. Goodnight. Hope they can sleep through the night. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Books for Music Theory

I have just started my Grade 6 Music Theory learning journey. My first lesson with Carol will on 2 May as she is tied up with her personal matters in April. I am currently going through the books and exercises which she recommended before my official first lesson. It is not her intention for me to start on my own first. I actually requested for it coz I just can’t wait to start. This is also so that I have more time to learn and enjoy the learning process while preparing for the Grade 8 Theory Paper this coming October.

The recommended books which I am currently working on are:-
1. Guidelines on Harmony for Grade 6 to 8 by Lee Fee Khoon (one book for all 3 grades)
2. Workbook on Harmony for Grade 6 to 8 by Lee Fee Khoon (one book for each grade)
3. In Preparation for the Theory Examination Grade 6 to 8 by Lee Ching Ching (purple book)

They are available from the Yamaha Bookstore at Plaza Sing, which is open after 12pm on weekdays and whole day on weekends.

So far, I enjoy reading the guidelines and working through the exercises. Some "me" time and a nice relaxation from my work and babies. =)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grand Mercure Roxy

On Saturday, I took my theory exam at Grand Mercure Roxy.

It was not near to Sengkang and it took me about 1 hour to get there by bus.
It was not feasible to take MRT either, coz there is no direct train there. Changing from NEL to Circle Line, then a bus, might take longer than taking 43 which will bring me to the doorstep. Moreover, I dare not take the chance as the train system does not seems very reliable these days. Maybe I should ask my piano teacher to choose Central area in future, instead of East. I think getting to Town area from Sengkang is faster than getting to Marine Parade area.

As expected, there were many young children and they were very cute. When I saw a lady, who look like in her 40s, I feel glad. I am not the oldest there =) I thought to myself, if I were to take higher theory grades exams in future, I would blend it better since it would be different session from the lower grades. =)

The exam was ok, I think I should be able to pass with at least a Merit. I finished the paper in less than 1 hour, checked through and there was nothing I could do, so I left the exam hall after 1 hour 15 mins. Sigh, there was one question that I really didn't know and made the wrong guess and it is the meaning of "Alla marcia". Ok, that was 2 marks. So, the damage is not that bad. =)

I don't know why, but after I sit for the paper, I felt happy. Well, I enjoyed the process. And it was stress free. I feel satisfied.

Yes, now I have a better understanding of chords, cadences. And I begin to read more on Grade 6 theory and play some Chinese pop songs, I begin to understand and appreciate the "derivation" of the chords. But Grade 6 theory is filled with rules, 'can' and 'cannot', which makes it not so interesting. =P But spending time to understand why cannot makes it interesting.

Anyway, I think I will continue to do higher theory grades, coz I think they are generally interesting and it helps me to understand and appreciate music better. But I don't plan to rush through it. I prefer to take it slowly and give myself time to internalize the theory and appreciate it.

Also, my piano teacher had registered me for the Grade 5 practical exams this August. Very excited! Time to practice and have fun! =)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Performance Directions

Notes for my reference...
  • Larghissimo — very, very slow (20 bpm and below)
  • Grave — slow and solemn (20–40 bpm)
  • Lento — slowly (40–60 bpm)
  • Largo — broadly (40–60 bpm)
  • Larghetto — rather broadly (60–66 bpm)
  • Adagio — slow and stately (literally, "at ease") (66–76 bpm)
  • Adagietto — rather slow (70–80 bpm)
  • Andante moderato — a bit slower than andante
  • Andante — at a walking pace (76–108 bpm)
  • Andantino – slightly faster than andante (although in some cases it can be taken to mean slightly slower than andante)
  • Moderato — moderately (108–120 bpm)
  • Allegretto — moderately fast (but less so than allegro)
  • Allegro moderato — moderately quick (112–124 bpm)
  • Allegro — fast, quickly and bright (120–168 bpm)
  • Vivace — lively and fast (≈140 bpm) (quicker than allegro)
  • Vivacissimo — very fast and lively
  • Allegrissimo — very fast
  • Presto — very fast (168–200 bpm)
  • Prestissimo — extremely fast (more than 200bpm)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Grade 8 Music Theory?

This is something that I am considering. Should I proceed to continue to learn the Music Theory after my Mar exams? My piano teacher is not teaching Music Theory from Grade 6 and above. So, I will need to find another teacher to learn from if I wish to continue. And then the question is, I learn until Grade 8 for what?

The higher Music Theory Grades seems to be more on composition for different instruments in an orchestra to create harmony and identifying the composer and the period of a given piece, which seems interesting to me but very intimidating. And is not as if I will be really composing a piece for an orchestra. Would I be even able to hear my composed piece played by an orchestra? Is there a software where I can load the scores and they play it out for me to hear? Haha. It is then will I know if the piece I compose sounds horrible or not. Hahaha.

I went to check out the rates to learn the higher Music Theory. They don't come cheap. I mean, a rough estimation is about $3k+ just to learn from Grade 6 to 8. And that is provided I am "talented". If I stupid stupid, the amount might be more if I insist that I want to pass the Grade 8 exams.

Anyway, a teacher offered to teach me during my lunch time on weekdays, which means I don't need to think of ways to settle my 2 kids while I go for lessons, since they will be in the childcare from 7am to 7pm on weekdays. And she claims that she can cover Grade 6 to 8 syllabus and prepare me for the Grade 8 theory exams in 7 months, which works out to be about $1.2k in total. Should I just give it a try and see how?

Back to Piano at a Relaxed Mode...

Yes, I am returning to continue my piano lessons starting tomorrow. My mother in law was very nice. She offered to come over to my house to help take care of the 2 little ones together with my hubby so that I can go for my piano lessons at peace. And yes, I am continuing to learn on alternate weeks and continue to prepare for my exams in 2012.

My piano teacher had registered me for the Grade 5 Music Theory exams on 17 Mar 2012. And I am nowhere near being prepared for the exams. So, the next 5 lessons, the focus will be on the Grade 5 Music Theory. According to my teacher, she says there is sufficient time, so don't worry.

Also, my piano teacher plans to register me for the Grade 5 Piano Practical exams in July 2012. As of now, I have completed all the scales and arpeggios and have learnt the 3 exam pieces, which are:

A2: Joseph Hector Fiocco (1703-41) Andante: from Pieces de clavecin, Op. 1
B1: Aleksandr Fyodorovich Gedike (1877-1957) Miniature in D minor: No. 2 from Dix Miniatures en forme d'etudes, Op. 8
C3:Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) Joyous March: No. 5 from Enfantines

So moving forward, I just need to practice and try to perfect them to be ready for the exams and focus on learning new pieces to brush up my sight reading skills and aural skills!

So, I will just take it slowly and see what the results will turn out to be. Passing both the Theory and Practical exams are in my 2012 Resolution! But not at the expense of my other priorities =)