Learning Piano – Part III

April 8, 2011

As regular readers of this blog may have noticed, I have been chronicling the results of my piano studies. These originally commenced at the local junior college, but for the past ten months or so I have been taking privately with one of the instructors. This has proven to be a very wise decision – I am progressing in he directions I most wish to go and my instructor, himself a superior brass player, has proven to be a wonderful teacher.

I have progressed through the Hanon exercises quite nicely and am now working on Numbers 7 and 8. These are coming along well and even I am quite pleased with my progress. I have also been working on triads and some rudimentary stride piano as well – I had the honor to play with a very accomplished stride player in my younger days and I myself play a great deal of tuba, thus interesting me in learning how to play bass lines on a piano. However, this is proving to be extremely difficult. My hands do not wish to work independently at this point and I am working very hard to convince them that just because the left hand is not doing the same thing as the right, I do NOT need to panic! However, I am seeing progress in this area as well.

On that topic, my most recent assignment was to work on a very basic rendition of the great pianist Bill Evans’ composition Peace Piece. This proved quite successful and brought some pretty compliments from my instructor. But more importantly, it showed me some important pointers in how to work he two hands separately and reduce tension – one of my biggest problems. I have also progressed through the Alfred Adult Book Two and am now working on a pair of tunes that will strengthen both my independent hand work and my triad work – Black Forest Polka and ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. The latter has some interesting intervals and is proving quite a challenge. But it is very good for me!

I shall continue to update this series of posts as my skills on the piano advance.

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Upcoming Events

April 5, 2010

I will be leading the Turk Island Jazz Band at the Hayward Retired Teachers’ Association luncheon tomorrow. I¬†will be performing on April 25 at the South Bay Jazz Society as a part of the great banjoist Pat Dutrow’s Jazz Meisters. So far those are the only performances set for the month of April, though there are some other things in the works. Once those are finalized, I will of course update this post.

I have been asked on a number of occasions if I intend to post my own personal schedule of upcoming performances here at Newcomb’s Notations. The answer is no, I already have an up-to-date schedule posted at my official homepage, and I have not yet been able to create a ‘sticky’ post here on WordPress that a constantly updated schedule would require. Should I mange to create such a post, I will of course post that information here on Newcomb’s Notations.

But for now, the best place to keep up to date on my performance schedule is to check my MySpace page – it contains both an up to date schedule and some samples of the kind of music I prefer to perform.


Zinfandel Stompers

March 5, 2009

I will be performing with the Zinfandel Stompers jazz band in conjunction with the South Valley Symphony on March 14. This is a new group, organized by tubist Jim O’Briant. The Stompers are a band that mxes the traditional standards with pieces from more modern eras. They are a very enjoyable group, and are uniformly very talented musicians. The performance will be at Gavilan College Theater in Gilroy, California.

I am looking forward to this engagement and will have thoughts both on the band and on the experience of being asked to substitute with an established band or musical group once I comlete the performance.