Saturday, April 25, 2015

• Rode the exercise bike for an hour this morning. Felt good. What helped was that I set up a little speaker system to play music so it sounds louder than when I used to ride the bike and just listen to music out of my iPhone speaker during exercise.
• Here I sit waiting for my car to be inspected. Always a worry how much money that will end up being. To pass the time, I brought the book "AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' (The Story of Fats Waller), by Ed Kirkeby.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gig Night

• Burned 375 calories on exercise bike for 1/2 hour.  Lost 43.2 pounds since January 5th.
• Good gig tonight. It was really long, though, with many performers. I do not enjoy transporting equipment. Played a little of MISTY on pianos in a local music store.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

SUDNOW'S MISTY COMPLETED: TOOK 15 DAYS

• Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour and diet went well today.
• Thinking of working on The Sudnow Method for piano as a priority, but using Robert Conti's "Ticket to Improv" for guitar also. Might be stretching myself too thin, though, trying to do both.
• Continue to work on Sudnow's MISTY and some scale stuff. With regards to scales, it would be great if I felt equally confident with all of the major scales. Played around alittle playing "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB" by ear using the idea of the scale. UPDATE: Actually finished learning MISTY though of course it needs polishing. 
• Will be playing a number of songs tomorrow for our Church music event.  I'm on guitar and lead vocals on PINK CADILLAC, UNDER THE BOARDWALK, and I SAW HER STANDING THERE. I'm playing guitar and adding background vocals on I WANT YOU BACK. I'll be just playing guitar on LA BAMBA and THE NEARNESS OF YOU. 
• Continued to read "Just Being at the Piano" by Mildred Portney Chase, and added material to a previous post about her book.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Beat Goes On

• Burned 367 calories on exercise bike for 1/2 hour this morning. Diet suffering but I'm hanging in there with the fight.
• Listening to my Sudnow stuff; excellent.
• Still working on MISTY and some scale stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1976

Piano and Rocky III

• Not the best day for either diet or exercise! I'll leave it at that. Gotta snap back into it! I'm not that far behind! It's Rocky 3 time...won the title (lost about 40 pounds), but now Mr. T wants to take away my successes as well as future weight loss! Eye of the tiger!
• Had a good band rehearsal tonight for the six songs we'll be playing on Friday.
• Not a lot of piano practice, but some, tonight, taking my time with MISTY.

Monday, April 20, 2015

JUST BEING WITH MISTY

• Ok so diet didn't go so great last night. Burned 358 calories on exercise bike for 1/2 hour this morning. Did some weight lifting, too.
• So my exercise routine seems to be going ok, but I need to get more strict with my diet. Had too much candy today. I AM losing weight despite my dietary lapses.
• Only have a couple of more pages until Sudnow's MISTY is completed. David Sudnow presents such a gorgeous arrangement of this song. Been listening to his course, too. Didn't practice too long today, but it is great to practice when the internal doubter and evaluator doesn't show up too much and the music comes to the forefront. Decided to put the Kast book on hold for now.
• Added more quotes to the post devoted to Mildred Portney Chase's book: "JUST BEING AT THE PIANO."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Internal Doubter

• Burned about 711 calories on exercise bike for 1 hour.

• Here's a picture of my oldest daughter, taken by my youngest daughter:

• Difficult to not listen to the internal doubter. However despite its presence, I was able to continue some work on Sudnow's MISTY. Did some stuff in the Stride book, but thinking of focusing 100% on Sudnow stuff.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"JUST BEING AT THE PIANO" by Mildred Portney Chase

Somewhere in this blog I may have mentioned Mildred Portney Chase's book, "JUST BEING AT THE PIANO."
Well I started reading it again, and it has such good things to say. I plan on coming back and editing this post with some of her quotes in this gem of a book.

From p. 5:

"The joy of the moment can be experienced at any stage of learning. We need only to recognize when we are guided away from ourselves by standards of performance based on comparison with others, or by the need of approval and recognition for accomplishment."

On p.10 she discusses a student:

"Fear of not playing well enough got in the way of his love for the music and the instrument." 

Again, on p. 10:

"Children are quickly acculturated to measuring their worth by their performance. Too many adults remain this kind of child all their lives."

On p. 23:

"The sculpture is already in the stone and you need only to remove the excess rock to reveal it....by removing concerns with the outcome of your playing, removing any interfering tension, you will be able to release the music that is within you."

Again, on p. 23:
"When you think you have gotten the best sound the instrument can bring forth, think a little magic into it, and you may discover a still better sound."

From p. 31:

"I like to ... visualize the fingers directly linked to the center of my innermost being; that place in my torso from which I draw breath, from which the emotions are expressed. The torso not only physically supports our movements at the piano; it is also the supplier of our spiritual energy."

From p. 33 into p. 34:

"Silence! The mother of sound! ... The phrases may frame the silence or the silence may frame the phrase. You must know."

From p. 35:

"Many composers and performers of the 17th and 18th centuries discuss the importance of expressiveness in performance...The player is instructed to take a strong sense of responsibility 'for reflecting every shade of feeling . . . so as to touch the heart . . . And carry the auditor from one passion to another.' Some writers even suggest that each measure be of a different mood!"

"STRIDE PIANO TRICKS" by Ari Kast meets THE SUDNOW METHOD

• Liking the music of Sufjan Stevens.
• Rode the exercise bike for an hour. Can't tell you how many calories were burned because the dopey batteries ran out of energy, or something.
• Cut the lawn today (more exercise); took a nice nap afterwards.
• Started to have me guitar vs piano debate again as to what I should focus on, and again piano won out.
• Continued to work on MISTY, starting the second section.
• In addition to THE SUDNOW METHOD, I think I will also give this book a try: STRIDE PIANO TRICKS by Ari Kast. I've had it for awhile, and it always seemed intriguing. It's about time that I face my dopey fear of piano chord inversions. Restarted the book today.

Friday, April 17, 2015

PIANO

• Burned 361 calories on exercise bike for 1/2 hour.
• Listened to some of my recorded guitar stuff and it wasn't bad! Wondered for a bit about skipping piano and going back to guitar, but ultimately decided to stay with piano.
• Listed to some of my original Sudnow stuff. Appreciate his individualistic (revolutionary?) teaching philosophy that goes against traditional approaches. 
• Continue to work on MISTY.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Song List

Thinking of songs to put on my repertoire of learned piano tunes, Sudnow style. I'll revisit this post and update the list by either adding to it, subtracting from it, or noting when a song is learned:
MISTY
AS TIME GOES BY
DANNY BOY
OVER THE RAINBOW
SOMEWHERE
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME
WHAT CHILD IS THIS
I'VE GOT A CRUSH ON YOU
SEND IN THE CLOWNS
YESTERDAY
WICHITA LINEMAN
I LOVES YOU PORGY 
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
THE CHRISTMAS SONG
THE NEARNESS OF YOU 
JUST THE WAY YOU ARE 
WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR 

Sudnow

• Burned 359 calories on exercise bike for 1/2 hour.
• Continued to work on Sudnow's arrangement of "Misty."
• Listened to Keith Jarrett's CD "The Melody at Night, With You." I give it 3.5 stars out of a possible 5. I'm a sucker for melody, and this CD has it. Still, it seems to be missing something, and his vocal grunting can be annoying.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Regroup

• No exercise done today. With the diet slipping and no exercise today it's time to recognize that sliding down the "slippery slope" of being less healthy is going on and to do something positive with that awareness. It's a slope I know all too well.
• Ended up exercising today after all! Burned 386 calories on the exercise bike tonight. Diet went pretty well today too! Evenings are my difficult time when food becomes especially appealing!
• Short piano practice session of Misty tonight. Getting there. Interesting how some of those cluster movements in this song weren't played for years, but yet my brain seems to have waken up to their dormancy.
• Band practice tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MISTY

• Burned 371 calories on the exercise bike for 1/2 hour.
• Didn't really follow diet today....got to get more strict....
• Worked a little on major scales; they need work.
• Did a lot of work on "Misty" today. Those wonderful sounds...