In My Mind's Zen Garden
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January 20, 2017

Grand Piano

Had a great piano practice session yesterday. Maybe about 2 hours in the morning, and another 30 minutes in the evening.

I’m realizing that piano practice takes time, and time is needed to practice certain pieces, especially Classical ones.

Like I’m practicing Mozart’s ‘Rondo ala Turka’ and it takes about 10 minutes to just get through it. Which brings this idea to mind. I should get out the iPhone stopwatch and time each take.

The Maple Leaf Rag takes some time to just get through it, but I’m not sure how long. It depends on how fast it’s played, and Scott Joplin specifically cautioned that it’s not meant to be played very fast. It could take 10 minutes just to get through that one once.

The thing is, I might practice a dozen songs and it’ll take me an hour and a half, and this includes practicing certain ‘trouble areas’ repeatedly.

Then, there’s the warm up exercises that I haven’t been doing lately, because I want to dive right in and work on the songs.

Yesterday, I went over Nessun Dorma about 4x, and practicing sections of it repeatedly. This might’ve taken me a good 20 minutes alone.

I do warm up with Bach Inventions No. 1 and 8.

I also went over Mozart’s Sonata in C, and that takes time too.

It’s usually the standards that are easy to go over because the songs are short. And the progressions are easily defined II-V-I progressions and so on. And also I-vi-ii-V progressions.

At the same time, I’m focusing on the set list for the next time I perform. I’m trying to mix things up and keep it fresh, introducing new songs and trying to play the favorites differently.

I’m working on a Master Set List which would give me access to most of the songs I know. It’s a bit overwhelming to look at, but it helps me see some songs I haven’t done in a while. Also, it forces me to keep the set list fresh and listen to the audience, as opposed to just going down the set list, which could be mechanical and not feel in-the-zone… or in-the-Zen.

But, I have a drumming gig today so I’m going to let the Piano take a backseat today…



About the author:
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Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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