Life on Arran


Notes from my daily piano practice

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Practice #18 - simple stuff

An hour and a half of practicing the four pieces I know. Haven't done this in a while. You get rusty. So it was useful to just play, record and listen back.

Practice time: 1.5 hours

Practice #18 - simple stuff

An hour and a half of practicing the four pieces I know. Haven't done this in a while. You get rusty. So it was useful to just play, record and listen back.

Practice time: 1.5 hours

Practice #17 - SOme inspiration

Today this is my inspiration:

The amount of time spent, working on pieces that have been completely mastered, is what separates concert pianists from amateurs, because this this is when you really develop advanced techniques.

--The Fundamentals of Piano Practice

Spent another hour working bars 33 to 57 of Le Matin. After a long session yesterday and a good sleep, it's starting to click together.

Practice time: 1 hour

Practice #16 - flow

This is the bit I love about learning a new piece of music: the point where you have memorised it and it is now just practice. Over and over and over again. For hours.

It's the therapeutic bit.


I've memorised Le Matin. First step now is to practice the rhythm and minimse mistakes. Second step is being able to perform.

Practice time: 4 hours

Practice #15 - single hand practice

Spend two hours on the right hand of Le Matin from bar 33 to bar 57 (the end). Resisted the urge to practive both hands - as I had previsouly mentioned the tips read on This focused me on going slow and memorising the right hand before moving on to both hands. The right hand is tricky.

The rest of the week is dedicated to getting both hands working.

Looking foward to being able to play this and perform it. Beautiful piece.

Practice time: 1:45 mins

Practice #14 - four pieces

Focused a couple of hours on the quality of playing the four pieces I already know (Prelude No 1, Minuet in Gmaj, Over There It's Raining and Des Regrets).

As I've been tinkering with other songs and chords and sight reading and getting to know the piano in general the rhythm and quality of the pieces I do know has been improving.

I'm still a good bit away from memorising Le Matin - the fith piece. Would like that completed by end of May. It's so good.

Practice time: 2 hours

Practice #13 - bar 33

Reading has really helped me focus on what's important. Today I've worked on Le Matin more and now have the first 32 bars memorised. Instead of moving on to bar 33+ (which is much harder) I've focused on the tempo, who I press the keys and release them and the pedalling. A lot of repetition, but it pays off.

The next 20 bars are tough and of I was following the advice of Piano Practice then I'd have started at bar 33 (start with the hard stuff), but I didn't when I first picked up this piece, so it is what it is.

Practice time: 1.5 hours

Practice #12 - chords and eyes closed

Used some of the advice from that I am making my way through (more notes on this soon).

Slowly practiced the left hand chords of Let Matin with my eyes closed.

Practice time: 45 mins

Practice #11 - scale study

Picked up on some sight reading practice again from last week. Just C major scale. And played with some chords in C Major too. All part of getting to know a key.

Practice time: 1 hour

Practice #10 - Roland Piano Partner 2

Decided today that I was going to start recording what I've practiced on any given day. I thought I could do that with the Roland Piano Partner 2 app. You can record using the app, but I thought I'd be able to record and then export to Soundcloud et al, but see no option to do that. You also create an account in the app, so I thought I'd be able to login to a web app - a bit like Garmin. But no good either.

The Roland Piano Partner 2 app has some good features like recording and being able to edit the sound of the piano. Flash cards look good too. But I'm not that impressed overall.

The FP30 is absolutely amazing though!

Repeated what I did yesterday.

Practice time: 3 hours

Practice #9 - chords

Day off yesterday.

Today I spent a lot of time learning chord based songs / riffs rather than classical pieces. Two songs; Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by Carole King and Nightswimming by REM. They are not difficult, but a new technique for me. The key was going slow.

Also, practiced Over There It's Raining by Nils Frahm to tighten it up. Its tough to play and the pedalling is hard to get right, but nearly there.

Again, go slow!

Practice time: 4 hours

Practice #8 - sheet music

The last few days I've been focused on finger transition, pedalling and starting to sight read. Today, I picked up a piece I learned a couple of months ago, which I'd like to be able to play without having to memorise it. It's good for beginners (I think).

Spent an hour on it playing from reading rather than looking at the keys. Got the righthand working. The left hand needs work and coordination in general. But felt I improved overall from reading it, as the sheet music gave me some support and guidance along the way.

Practice time: 1 hour

Practice #7 - improvements

Practiced single hand Cmajor scale very slowly today to get the finger transitions much smoother. Mainly workd on the pedally between bars on Bach's Prelude No 1. Much harder than it sounds. But made improvements, and played to a couple of visitors as well :)

Practiced in the evening too. Some sight reading and excerise the teacher gave me the other day. Actually felt I made progress with just reading and playing at the same time, which I was surpsied at.

Returned to Over There It's Raining too for a bit, as that needs more work on technique and pedalling. Long way off sounding as good as it should.

Practice time: 3.5 hours

Practice #6 - slooow

Taking what I was taught yesterday and applying it to Prelude No 1 by Bach, the first piece I learned.

Hearing the mistakes much more clearly now and how the timing is marginally off. Practiced very slowly the piece, the scales exercise and the pedalling. Also noticing how rigid my hands are.

Classic example of thinking I had it, but it actually sounds no where near as good as it does.

More practice required.

Practice time: 1 hour

Practice #5 - lesson

Had my first lesson today. A realisation of how far it is to go to be "good". Spent the session on four bars covering:

Hand position and fingering
Technique (pressing and releasing)

The lesson was also a good reminder of the bad habits you learn from teaching yourself (anything).

Practice time: 1 hour

Practice #4 - single hand

Day off yesterday.

Single hand practice on Le Matin took me to around bar 47. Chord changes difficult to master. Did some scales and arpeggios to warm up.

First lesson tomorrow :)

Practice time: 3 hours

Practice #3 - bar 21

Got to bar 21 of Le Matin. Did Eb scales and chord shapes beforehand, then practiced the piece for another 1 - 1.5 hours. Played four other pieces that I know, to keep them fresh plus their scales. Should know it roughly by the end of the week.

Read more of the Piano Practice. Some interest points on Mental Play, Slow Play and Memorising.

Using metronome more. Very useful.

Practice time: 2 hours

Practice #2 - Eb

Two and a half hour session. Practiced Eb scale over two octaves then first eight bars of Le Matin by Yann Tiersen in Eb. All new stuff.

Practice time: 2.5 hours

Practice #1 - Amaj

Got as far as I can get with Baby Just Cares For Me. Half way through the solo and not improving much now, so will take a rest from it and return in a couple of weeks. Have improved at A major scales.

Back to learning a classical piece.

Practice time: 1 hour


I started something in January this year. Yesterday, I contacted a potential teacher. Here's what I wrote:

I'm focusing on classical music at the moment and technique, as I feel that will be best in the long run. In terms of longer term goals I'd like to play live, be able to sight read and maybe one day even teach :) I'm undecided on whether to go through the formal grading process. I think I'd like to, but would welcome your input.