"The journey of 1000 keys starts with a single note."
Today I invite you to take a trip with me ... , down the long road towards the 3rd movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
Follow my warts and all progress as I work my way towards playing this piece to the best of my own humble ability.
Am I a professional pianist? No
Am I a gifted pianist? No
Have I been fortunate enough to study with world renowned masters? No, but I had a great non-world renowned teacher.
Am I an advanced pianist? Perhaps on a good day :) I'm certainly not super advance or at concert pianist level.
I am probably just like you. I love music and simply aim to improve my skills little by little, day by day. Some days I feel that I am making progress and other days, I feel like I am wasting my time. But I keep going because logic tells me that the only way to stop improving is to stop practicing, so even the less than inspiring days are positive ones.
I can say that I am quite disciplined when it comes to practice and if I have access to a piano, which is most days, I do spend a few hours trying to improve my skills.
To that end, I always have a challenging piece or three on the go to stretch and advance my technical and expressive skills. This Beethoven movement is my latest challenge.
I have a real fondness for slow expressive music and thought that I needed to work on something with a faster tempo to stretch my skills. I have played other Beethoven sonatas and movements and the first movement of this Sonata is one of my favourite pieces of music, probably because it is expressive and slow.
I thought that I would vlog my progress of this journey, hopefully to keep me motivated when I hit walls and to demonstrate to my global student family that "all good things take time" and it takes each one of us as long as it takes, sometimes years, to master the musical challenges before us.
Given my current level of skills and the rate at which my brain absorbs new ideas (which is gradually declining in my advancing years) I anticipate that this piece will probably take me 1 year to outline, at a relatively slow tempo, and maybe 2 years to get to the point where I can play this at performance tempo. I anticipate that I will keep this one in my repertoire and so as I continue to play it throughout the rest of my life it will hopefully keep improving.
How will I tackle this challenging piece?
I intend to memorise some sections and read the music from other sections, working on small sections at a time to gradually build up the movement piece by piece.
Here's where I am at on Day 11.
I have practiced this for about 30 minutes per day and so I'm about 5 and a half hours into my journey.
I am trying to memorise the first run of arpeggios as I need to look down to make sure that I hit the right notes. Once the arpeggios are finished I am madly following the music as I find the finger coordination in the next small section really tricky. More arpeggios follow and so more memorising. Finally, and thankfully, something a bit easier to read with a more straight forward left hand pattern and longer notes for the right hand. It's not very solid though, as I have not practiced this last section as much - yet!
Do you have your own 1000 keys project?
I'd love to hear about it.
Why not make your own video and post it onto our Private Facebook Gallery? Request to become a member of this group via email and share where you are at on your own musical journey.
Thanks for taking to the time be begin this challenge with me.
Tune in next time to see where I am at.
Hang in there. I will too.