Pianonoise conservatory

Every Wednesday we discuss topics of interest to musicians, usually pianists and organists. The following is basically a topical index of these articles:

The Practice Room--motivation and technical things
Practice your vegetables!   a.k.a., eat your scales
Repetition before you can't get that song out of your head you have to put it in there
Everyone's a critic (hopefully) deciding it's not up to par is a prelude for making it better
Motivation "I can't get no....motivation." That's it, isn't it?
Obstacle course   take 37...
The courage to go to lunch   You have to know when to work hard and when not to work hard
Permission Granted   sometimes the biggest gift a teacher can give us is permission to break the rules 
an act of faith   You just gotta believe...and practice your butt off
Is Consistency Evil? steady effort isn't a lot of fun. Therefore it is bad.  
Blogger, interrupted  On Shostakovich and yard work, or Bach and Little League soccer
The Sinister Hand  What to do about your left hand (assuming you are right handed)

The Practice Room--efficiency and understanding
Sick  Be prepared. Because later you may not be able to....
Woozy   When the notes won't hold still, it helps to know which ones are important
Patterns   it's as if the musical universe is not composed of random notes
How to sound like a human being  the rise and fall of a good phrase
Grouping thi sisrea  llyimp   ortant
Attack of the blobs  They're just dots on a page. But like you, they hang out in groups
You have my sympathy  Learning music the hard way
Some more haphazard thoughts about grouping a little of this, a dash of that
a fun game for the kids There are six subtle difference between these two passages... 
"Getting" Gottschalk sometimes what the notes add up to is a whoosh
  effective practice on limited time

Going for it
  adversity causes a change in plans: or, One blower deserves another
On the Third Day How long will it take me to learn this piece? he asked
how long
? The perennial question of pianistic existence

How to tell if you're making progress whether it's self-diagnosis or obsession, we want to know! Attention to Detail  You needn't bother with this. It's less competition that way.

The stages of practice
The thrill of Discovery practical practicing part primo
specificity how to diagnose, and cure, poor playing 
To be taken orally sure, take two Youtube videos, but call me in the morning, ok?
You have to really want it concentration and desire

performance preparation and general survival strategy
Take Care of yourself  drink lots of water, concert artists!
Getting a good return in the long run  Musicians, it's a tough world out there. Here's what you'll need to survive. 
 Why your organist is a cranky old guy   How First Refusal is supposed to work

Accompanying department
Pitch perfect  Think of the choral accompanist as the starting pitcher
more on the art of pitch giving  Giving pitches to singers is actually a skill

What makes a good accompanist?  letting someone else be your metronome
Kill the Accompanist! Listen for it...

I can't think of anything good to write so I think I'll just throw some words together and hit 'publish.' Is that ok with you?  Sometimes even Haydn couldn't think of anything

Hymn playing for organists
Not too loud, now! Hi, I'm Michael-I-won't-play-the-organ-too-loud!

Improvisation Improvisation season music for stocking stuffing
How did he do that? A few things to consider while improvising 

I think I forgot what I was going to say  don't hurry the memorization process

Who Wrote the 8 short preludes and fugues? series

Organ, learning to play
Rank Amateur  How I stopped worrying and learned to love the pipe organ

Organ mechanics
Flexible  When a note won't sound what's your plan B?

Organ Registration
Whose Idea is Organ Registration?  who gets to decide which colorful stops to use?

Thinking organically  the pipe organ is a great instrument for problem solvers
Organ registration survival tips (part one) We'll start with what some of those knobs mean
Organ registration survival tips (part two) how not to make a scary noise in church
Organ registration survival tips (part three)  fear not...I bring you tidings of hope and confidence! 
oops! (organ registration survival tips part four) I have to stress that the church didn't explode!
organ registration survival tips part five  you've survived long enough--time to thrive

Page Turning
Page Turn how I put the "near" in "near disaster"

Willpower  overcoming the odds by just wanting it badly enough, page turning edition
Thinking outside the page turn
  it is too a science!
five, six, seven, eight  page turning strategies

piano vs. organ  (it's a little like spy vs. spy but not exactly)
piano vs. organ  "The squall in the concert hall"
piano vs. organ, round two  "The campaign in Champaign"

The public 
Marketing  music and demand  (to please the crowd or not to please the crowd, that is the question)
Sellout  Cameron Carpenter has quite a career--and some enemies 
sellout (part two)  Cameron Carpenter and the term impressario
Keep Going If an artist plays something and hardly anyone is there to appreciate it, did he still play something? yes. And it still matters, too.

The Birds  They aren't "Hitchcock scary" exactly, but they are pretty annoying

musical resources
The Vault   There once was a boy with no idea where to find anything

rhythm and meter
Time Change (part one) fun with mixed meter
Time Change (part two)
 more fun with mixed meter

Department of Applied Music Theory
It's just another term for awkward  crossed voices make me cross
The case of the missing measures  In summary, he made it a bit shorter
Bach, the not quite god  Sometimes hearing someone else make a mistake makes us feel better about our own efforts. How about when a musical deity does it?

questions and answers
You've come to the right place...I guess you have questions, I make fun of them
Now that I've called you all here more answers to your questions

just fun (you should be practicing, but instead you are reading these blogs...)
A little Musical Motivation a little musical exercise (video)
Pianogames all work and no play makes saucy Jack a dull boy
Pardon me while I punch that up on my abacus  By the way, I do have a smartphone now
catalogued: Wednesday columns through Jan. 8, 2016

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