Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

another piano playing post

Well, I hit upon how to strengthen my fingers without having to play Hanon exercises. The Bach prelude in C minor for both hands, last movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for right hand and Chopin study #12 for left hand. In other words, semiquavers. Or fraction notes (sixteenths? eighths? whatever) if you are any other nationality than English, including American as I was amazed to discover.

So, after a while of breaking down and rebuilding those muscles, a la Uma Thurman repeatedly punching that board of wood, my fingers are now doing things more similar to what I want them to be doing, and this is very pleasing. More pieces are a case of learning the notes and fewer pieces are a case of physical impossibility. However, I bought Beethoven's Appasionata sonata (nice rhyme) which is apparently still impossible, and for some reason I still can't play Chopin's study #5, even though I used to be able to 20 years ago. It's mostly on the black notes and my fingers just keep sliding off.

No idea why this is, but the more I play now, the more I become aware that I am doing it in a completely different way than I did when I was younger. In the olden days, I picked up more things on instinct, but I also seemed to have to fudge through more things. Now, I have to consciously program in every note, but I can do more difficult things with greater accuracy. For instance, I doubt that my hands have grown, but I can now play in octaves much better than I could then. It's because I think about it differently.

That's right, I'm old. The interesting question for me is, can a person learning something later on in life really ever be as good at it as they would have been had they learned it earlier? Not in terms of missed years, just from the same amount of work-time but at a different stage in their lifelong learning. I can't think of any reason why not, but I never heard of anyone becoming a professional violinist in their forties. Why is that?


At 9:27 PM, Blogger Glen said...

Grandma Moses got to be a pretty good painter at an advanced age. Suppose somebody has become a professional violinist in their forties: why would you have heard of it?


Post a Comment

<< Home