I started private Piano lessons in Grade 3, at the same community arts center that I would later start Flute lessons. Upon moving in Grade 7, my piano lessons too were halted, for two years. When I returned in Grade 9, I had to repeat one year's worth of material. (Simple advice: don't quit. Piano was boring until I got about four years in. After that point, piano was fun. If you find your lessons boring, wait until you're good enough to play some fairly decent music.)

Repetoire of the (recent) ages past:

  • Mazurka--Chopin, op. 7, no. 2
  • Polonaise "Adieu"--Chopin, posth.
  • Sonata--Beethoven, op. 2, no. 1
  • Pour le Piano--Debussy
    The present piece that I am working on is Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie, op. 61. I've already performed it in a recital, but I know it still needs a bit of work. (It's not supposed to be 20 minutes long, is it?) The one thing that is a bit annoying at the moment is that I have access to only one recording of the piece, done by Horowitz; and though I liked the recording, you don't typically listen to his music if you want to find out how to play the piece... Other Piano stuff:

    If you read the flute site, (or play both instruments) then you will know the reference to physical shaking and "vibrato" was also a reference to the piano being one of the more difficult instruments to perform. I've had "performance anxiety" (jargon, yes, I know) bad enough where my arms froze and I couldn't force them down onto the keys partway through a piece; and other times, they were shaking side-to-side enough to the point where I began missing keys. So, I can relate to anyone who has had similar experiences before. Feel free to send me your stories. If I get enough of them, I might try to post them (anonymously, of course).

    I was going to put a Haydn sonata up there on the repertoire list, but I couldn't remember either the key or the number. It then occured to me that "Haydn Sonata" wasn't really all that descriptive... :-D

    To any of you poor piano students who practice on an electronic keyboard: I'm really sorry. I once had to do so myself. Things that keyboards fall short on: key weight (next to none, as opposed to controlling the speed of the hammer), half-pedal (which is impossible on keyboards), volume contrast (and no, this doesn't refer to the volume controller on the keyboards). I could make the list go on and on. For any parents of piano students, who want their students to take piano at least moderately seriously, I highly suggest avoiding the keyboard substitute, no matter how fancy they look (though the demos are kind of cool...)

    Regarding "performance anxiety," my first accompanist assignment was to accompany a trumpet player, in Grade 11. I got the music a couple days before the concert. It consisted of simple triads, and so, I figured I was good to go. That aside, I still practiced all friday. Well, the Christmas concert came, and we got up to play "Away in a Manger." I got to the piano, and after tuning the trumpeter, I began playing--by hitting the wrong pickup note! I restarted, hitting the same wrong note again, but continued this time, making mistakes every other chord. (A Schoenberg Christmas?) I think I must have scared the trumpet player, because he started making lots of mistakes too. Que sera, sera? By the time we got to the end, I believe we got the largest applause of the night. Not that we did a great job or anything--it was the sort of applause reserved for that marathon runner who breaks their leg on the last 100m, and crawls across the finish line. Yeah, I think I'd rather that keep the title of my worst performance ever...