WEEK 2: Bach in March Practice Updates

As we enter week 2 of  Bach in March, I'm pleased to share that I've finished memorizing my Bach Toccata in D minor and I can't wait to play it for you on March 20 in my upcoming livestream, Counterpoint Come Alive. I'll talk about how one can use dynamics and articulation to bring out Bach's playful counterpoint.

For this week's discussion prompts, I want to shake things up a bit! Instead of me asking you questions, I want you to ask each other questions!

Here are some questions that may help you enter into conversation and understand how your fellow pianists play, practice, and experience music. Listen and read their practice update and identify something you're curious about. Then  - ask them!

  • How did you decide upon your tempo?
  • What makes you feel connected to your piece?
  • Who have you heard play this piece before?

There's always going to be a first person to post... so that's going to be me! Here's a short video of an excerpt from my D minor toccata. Please ask me a question, and I'll respond!

I'll be so curious to see what we all learn from and about one another!

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    • Randi
    • Randi
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Here is my latest Invention 1. My teacher gave me a great idea for getting it right - cut each line so it's on a different piece of paper. Randomly play each piece until I make no mistakes. Then put it together. It has helped so much!

    Like 7
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Randi Great job, sounds nice!

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    • Randi Good luck learning more! They are great pieces.

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    • Randi I always love to hear this piece! Thank you so much, sounding really nice!

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      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Vidhya Bashyam Thanks for asking   @Randi  the question you did - I think it's so great that your teacher is encouraging you to learn them all!

       

      Randi   I really appreciate that your tempo stays steady throughout your performance. I think it sets you up very well as you continue to grow with this piece. Apropos the recent livestream I did with Nico, and that your teacher asked you to cut the piece up into little strips... did you notice any patterns that stayed the same between the different elements? How do you think you could use your technique to pattern the piece?

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      • Hazel
      • Hazel
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Randi I like how even and flowing your playing is. 🙂

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  • Such beautiful playing, Hilda! My questions are: how do you decide upon your tempo for a particular Bach piece? and what makes you feel connected to your piece?

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    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Lovely toccata, Hilda!  Question:  Do you memorize as you go along, or do you nail everything down and then start to memorize?

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      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr , I had that very same question for Hilda Huang .  I find Bach so difficult to memorize (although some of his pieces I find easier than others).  I've also read of so many different memorization techniques--memorize each hand separately, memorize a few measures each day, memorize from the end of the piece, etc., etc.  So it would be great to hear your memorization secret, Hilda.  🙂

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake The really strange thing is that I still remember the Preludes I learned as a kid…just not the fugues!

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      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr , I don't remember any of the pieces I learned in my younger days😆.  And I don't think I was mentally ready to take on a fugue until after high school.

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake I never said I was actually any GOOD at it, LOL.  I just kind of tried!

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      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr , LOL.  But I think there are some advantages to learning some pieces as an adult.  Was thinking about this afternoon's live stream, about how there are certain aspects of learning piano that are like language learning where it's easier to learn when you're younger, but there are other aspects that can be learned with a more studied approach, by learning about cadences and sequences, for example.

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anthony Miyake excellent point!  My COVID project was learning Italian, and I agree that parts of that experience were actually easier as an adult because I now have context that I didn’t have as a kid.  I’ll try to watch todays live stream over the weekend. 😊

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      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr Anthony Miyake It's a good question... I like to memorize as I go along! I also memorize by voice :) how about you both? Do you memorize first or learn first?

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hilda Huang I’m finally getting started on the Goldbergs (like 3 weeks late! 😂).  I think I’ll try to memorize as a go along.  🤞

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      • Anthony Miyake
      • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
      • Anthony_Miyake
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hilda Huang , memorization is one of my weak points, so I generally try to learn a piece first (emphasis on try).  

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      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gail Starr That's great Gail - a great Idea!! I think it really helps to look at my hands. A famous pianist - I can't remember who - said that muscle memory is the most effective kind of memory for memorizing music ;)

      Like 1
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hilda Huang Great point!  I DO need to start looking at my hands.  I think that one of the reasons I’m so scared to try to memorise is that the ONLY piano I’ve done (before joining Tonebase) as an adult is play chamber music with my friends.  And THAT was mostly sight-reading without much actual practice.  Going to turn that around!

      Like
    • Brett Gilbert
    • Piano and classical guitar
    • brett_gilbert
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Episode 2 of Bach BWV 992 Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratello dilettissimo “Capriccio on the departure of a beloved brother”.  

    Still trying to convince the beloved brother not to leave in episode 1, in episode 2 the title is

    "A depiction of the calamities that could befall him". 

    Like 6
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Sounds great, Brett! What a beautiful piece!

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      • GerryM
      • GerryM
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Beautiful playing, Brett! 

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    • CK
    • br0wn
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    thankyou for playing this theme. It's my first time to hear it. Very nice. 

    Like 1
    • Anthony Miyake
    • Work with numbers and statistics, but music is my true passion. Piano hobbyist.
    • Anthony_Miyake
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Here's my week 2 progress video. The page turn occurs in a particularly tricky part of the piece, so I've been practicing with my ipad and wireless page turner. It takes some getting used to as the ipad can only show 1 (instead of 2) pages at a time so doubles the page turns, but having my right foot free from any use of the sustain pedal helps. The piece still needs to be cleaned up in places which I hope to do in this last week of the challenge.

    Like 3
    • khoi
    • khoi
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hilda Huang since we are in Bach month, can we have a brief theory lesson on the baseline of Goldberg variations? I look at the variations, and they seem to not have a fix baseline, but vary from variation to variation.

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      • Hilda Huang
      • Concert Pianist and tonebase Piano Community Lead
      • Hilda
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      khoi That's a great idea - There isn't room in the calendar for that topic but I can certainly make a note of it in the interactive masterclass later this month.

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