• Welcome to my Piano Blog!

    I play piano and I am currently on Grade 8. About two years ago I used to play Ragtime but now I only play classical music because it is much better and there is more classical music out there than Ragtime. Don’t forget to leave me comment, subscribe, add me as a friend and leave a message! This channel is videos of myself playing mostly classical music. I love to play the piano and I will never stop! If there is a piece you would lke me to upload please let me know! PIECES PLANNED FOR UPLOAD: Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 in E flat Major Beethoven Sonata No.25 in G, Op.79 1st and 2nd Mov. Mozart Sonata K.280 3rd Mov. So please have a look around my music videos and blogs and subcribe to my YouTube channel “ClassicalMusicPiano”!
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Developing a Classical Piano Repertoire and Building a Music Library

 
One need not be a concert pianist to take the time and effort to develop a substantial repertoire. What does “repertoire” mean anyway? In short, repertoire is a body of works that forms the pianist’s core or foundation. Many pianists believe that one must keep all pieces “under the fingers” or readily playable at all times and that this constitutes one’s repertoire. I believe, however, that repertoire implies something more all-encompassing. Let us now examine the term and explore the most efficient ways to develop, expand, and nurture it:

 Five Golden Rules of Building a Substantial Piano Repertoire

1. Practice, practice, practice

2. Micro-cycle works you are currently practicing

3. Macro-cycle works throughout your life

4. Consider that no work is ever “finished”

5. Constantly add books and sheet music to your library

The first rule of practicing hardly needs explaining. To become better and more proficient at anything, one must do it, do it often, and love doing it with all one’s heart and soul. Tiger Woods did not become a great golfer by nibbling on snacks and watching TV. The world’s best surgeons did not get there by hanging out in bars and drinking beer. Likewise, an aspiring pianist wishing to have fun and success playing hundreds of pieces will never get there by neglecting to practice on a regular basis. Ideally, one should practice not out of obligation, but rather out of the love of music and heart-burning desire to improve.

The second rule of micro-cycling works constitutes the pianist’s short-term plan, which may range anywhere from a few weeks to several months or perhaps a year at the most. This is what most people imply with the word “repertoire”, since it is the timeframe in which one could sit down at any time and play (preferably from memory) a set number of works. I have found the best results for micro-cycling by focusing on about five works at a time. For example, I will often spend an entire week practicing exclusively one work (like a Joplin rag), the next week exclusively another work (like a Mozart sonata), and the next week exclusively another work (like a Liszt étude). Then, I may not even touch them at all for two months and, upon returning to one of them, it feels like “meeting an old friend” which accelerates its re-learning phase. What once took a week to accomplish now takes only a couple days. Ideally, the pianist should strive to learn, forget, and then relearn works in monthly, weekly, and daily cycles. This is the eternal and never-ending plan I follow when practicing and preparing for my YouTube videos.

The third rule of macro-cycling works constitutes the pianist’s long-term plan, which may range anywhere from one to ten years. A thirteen-year-old just starting out usually does not realize that what is learned in these formative years sets his/her musical foundation for life. I am constantly amazed at just how resilient and powerful the human brain really is. For example, I began practicing Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso this week after it had lain dormant and totally untouched for years, and I was shocked when it came back to me memorized again in only three days. This is one of the intriguingly satisfying aspects about music and piano repertoire. All music ultimately remains in your conscience and forms your “musical identity” until the day you leave this earth. It is never too late to learn piano, develop a repertoire, and tap into the power of one’s musical memories.

The logical successor to the third rule of macro-cycling is the fourth rule of considering a work to never be finished. My usual plan of action was to work on a set number of pieces for a semester or year, “finish” them, and then move on to the next pieces my professor assigned. Now at 18 I can’t help but smirk at my youthful innocence. I have learned through time that no work will ever be finished. Never. Micro- and macro-cycling piano repertoire is the bread of the pianist’s musical life. These cycles continue until the end just like food and water. I am constantly resurrecting works once thought to be finished, and never have I been more content with my musical evolution and progress.

While the first four rules constitute the mental or immaterial components of developing a large piano repertoire, the fifth rule of constantly adding books and sheet music to one’s library constitutes the physical or material component. Just as one cannot wash dishes without first buying or acquiring plates, cups, and utensils, a pianist will never succeed in developing a large repertoire without buying or acquiring printed music. Books last a lifetime and can be used and reused until the end of one’s life. Relying exclusively on free downloads is like eating from paper plates and plastic utensils. Ultimately, the pianist will never formidably expand his/her repertoire without acquiring the physical accessories (i.e. books and sheet music).

So there it is in a nutshell: practice, micro-cycle, macro-cycle, no work is ever finished, constantly add music to one’s library. These are the five golden rules of building a substantial piano repertoire. Thank you for your time, and happy practicing!

My Composition!

Leaving Certificate Music – Composing PDF

Here is my very 1st Composition! I play piano as some of you already know and I’m on Grade 8 but don’t compose. I am in 6th Year, my Leaving Certificate Year(Ireland) and for the Music exam we have to compose a 16 bar melody, with 4 bars already printed on the page as a guide. The exam is in June but the one above is the one I done myself as practice for the real thing. I think my efforts here are very good and I am happy with what I have written! Listen for yourself and input the notes to MuseScore or Finale Notepad!

PDF Free Sheet Music above so please print it out and have a go and tell me what you think in the comments box below or my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/ClassicalMusicPiano

 

Chopin Prelude No.15 ‘Raindrop’ in D flat Major (1)

https://classicalmusicpiano.wordpress.com/ Please view my wordpress piano video blog to view my videos and my piano pieces that I am currently working on/practising!
This is one of my favorites of the Chopin Preludes because of it’s beauty and lyricism. I know it’s not one of my best performance but I have uploaded another version as well to see the differences in my playing.
Please comment and rate my performance!

Summer time means more practising and learning new pieces!

It’s summer time now and it has only just begun. The weather here in Ireland (Dublin) has been horrible and cold for weeks and weeks, but it’s now July and the weather has certainly and finally picked up to a nice hot sunny summer for all of us to enjoy. As always with summer, I always have extra time to practice playing my piano as I don’t have school or homework/studying to worry about! I currently have a few pieces that I am going to learn over the next few weeks/months. Some are for my Grade 8 piano exam (Royal Irish Academy of Music) and some are just that I want to learn to play the pieces I like. And obviously the pieces or should I say, the style/period I like the most is Classical music. The pieces that I have planned are: Scarlatti Sonata in G Major, K.559 (Andante), Scarlatti Sonata in D Minor, K.1 (for my Grade 8 piano exam), which I will be doing sometime in the early 2012 year, Chopin Prelude No.15 in D flat Major “Raindrop” and Mozart Sonata K.280 3rd Mov. “Presto” (also for my Grade 8 piano exam). As I’m progressing more and more into the higher piano grades and the higher and difficult piano pieces, sight reading/ learning the music is getting a lot easier for me. I also am practising the usual scales and arpeggios/ cromatic scales for my piano exams and for my own use in helping me with the correct technique. I know, scales and arpeggios can be, and are boring but they just have to be done! Without them it would be difficult to play the piano.  Maybe after summer or even next year I will get more into playing Chopin because he is one of my favorite composers. I might even have a go at one of his Ballades or even a few of his preludes, plonaises or even a few nocturnes. I started playing the Raindrop Prelude a few days ago and now it’s one of my favorite Chopin pieces/ preludes. I got it from the book “50 greats for the Piano” which I got off my uncle (he is starting to play piano and got it free with his Yamaha Claviona Digital Piano). The book is brilliant and has pieces from the boroque period right up to classical and romantic periods. Pieces ranging from simple pieces like Bach Prelude in C Major to difficult, complex works like Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu! A brilliant book to have which has a few famous pieces in it and a lot to keep me practising. If anyone wants to buy this book for themselves, let me warn you that it’s not that easy to find in music stores or websites because it comes free with Yamaha Digital Pianos. You can buy the book online at Amazon at a dear enough price but it’s the worth the money becuase of the joys you will get out of playing the pieces.

I’m off to practice some more now so be sure to check back here and check my YouTube channel “ClassicalMusicPiano” for new video uploads and new piano blogs. Hope you all read this and leave any comments you may have in the comment box below.

Here is a brilliant video of Irish Concert pianist John O’Conor giving a masterclass on Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas:

Beethoven Bagatelle in B flat Major Op.119 No.11.

Here I play Beethoven’s Bagatelle in B flat Major on the piano. It’s No.11 from the Op.119 set (there are other sets: Op.33 and Op.126). I have the book of Beethoven’s “Complete Bgatelles” (G.Henle Verlag) so I might upload more when I get around to it! This is a beautiful Bagatelle which has a very lyrical quality to it. The trills in measures 12 and 16 were hard enough because I have to play the bottom note and play the trill with the top note at the same time, but I got through it in the end.
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Here is the Beethoven playlist: http://www.youtube.com/my_playlists?p=2859A0A3D8145D00

Take a look around my channel to find more classical music and music from Andrew Lloydd Webber’s “The Phantom of The Opera”. I am sure that you will find something that you will enjoy, and Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” is on my channel to so check it out!
Please leave your comment and video responses, and I hope to upload more Beethoven soon!

Schumann Bunte Blatter Op.99 No.1 Grade 7 Piano

Me playing Schumann for my Grade 7 Piano exam with the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

 

Think of Me from The Phantom of The Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber

This is a song from the very popular “Phantom of the Opera”! The key is the original (D flat Major) and it has a dark side to it, but it is a beautifully played piece on the piano. I learned this piece in a day and I think I did a pretty good job! This piece is from my piano book “The Phantom of the Opera” which has all of the pieces from the show including: Think of Me, Angel of Music, The Phantom of the Opera, Prima Donna, All I Ask of You, Masquerade, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and The Point of No Return. These are all great pieces so I will be uploading more as I go along. Please post your comment on my performance and also post video responses so I can see how you play! Thanks for listening!