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Resolution - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2006-05-23 20:27
Resolution
Public
ballroom, piano
I know what I want to do with my free time and creative energies after I've stopped ballroom dancing. The epiphany hit while I was listening to the radio in the car -- it was one of those "driveway moments" when I couldn't tear myself away until the piece ended, even though I was squirming for a bathroom. When the piece did end, I wanted to cry from catharsis, the music was so intense. And I decided: I should play piano again. I used to practice favorite pieces for hours and hours, because piano was my emotional outlet through most of junior high and high school: teen angst, parent's divorce, conflict, confusion -- it was all expressed in my piano pieces. Though I never had the skill to execute a brisk Mozart sonata flawlessly (and never even heard of piano competitions until college, thankfully), I put my soul into my playing. I never got beyond the stress of playing correctly for violin (so many more aspects of the music I'm responsible for!) and always had social hang-ups over dancing (especially with a mother who was a professional dancer and a sister who was also very good), but with piano I could let loose and enjoy the playing. It's no wonder I gravitated toward Romantic and Impressionistic composers, those moody bastards.

Ballroom gives me the opportunity to perform, which I will miss, even though I often thought that the expectations of competitive ballroom were both artistically and socially restrictive (especially at higher levels). Piano doesn't offer many performance opportunities, especially for adults, unless you're really good. Because there are lots of "good" people out there. I haven't performed a piece publicly since Rhapsody in Blue for my senior recital (and I definitely can't play that one anymore), and I don't see many opportunities to play for others in the future. But the times I enjoyed piano most were when I was just playing for myself, anyway, so maybe performance doesn't matter so much after all.

I'd love to learn more jazz and improvisation, but nothing will ever compare to my favorite Romantic and Impressionistic piano pieces. Improv is fun and playful and unpredictable and all, but most people can't get the emotional complexity and intensity in a piece unless they rehearse it and really explore all of its intricacies. Even jazz players often have their pieces more or less fixed to be able to start drawing out the interesting details. (zestyping may disagree -- I kept meaning to write my own rebuttal to his assertion that classical music is boring and rote, but never found the time, as usual. But my playing certainly didn't feel "dull and uptight." And most of the improv I've heard is emotionally dead in comparison to my favorite works of the great Romantic and Impressionistic composers, in my opinion.)

I'll have to invest in a weighted keyboard (or even a real piano, though that's unlikely) at some point if I really do want to do this -- my touch-sensitive keyboard serves me very well, but it's just not the same. But I really do need some music back in my life, and piano used to fill that void so well. I hope it can again.
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Ping
zestyping
2006-05-24 05:17 (UTC)
(no subject)
I am so happy that you have found passion!

Best of luck with the moody bastards (scratch that: the moody seventeen-fingered bastards...)

The idea of playing Rhapsody in Blue with you is still fabulously appealing. I know it's an old dream, and i am sorry for neglecting it, but it's a good one.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-24 07:35 (UTC)
(no subject)
I have neglected it as much as you have (if not more -- you organized those practices, what was it now, two springs ago? sheesh). And I do think it'd take quite a bit of practice to get it back in shape, at this point. But I'll get there! ...
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threadwalker
threadwalker
2006-05-24 06:38 (UTC)
(no subject)
Wonderful to rediscover that! But why stop dancing?

But then that's me. I always go for "all of the above", but I'm starting to realize even I can't advocate that all the time- it's hard to throw yourself fully into 17 or so things.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-24 07:33 (UTC)
(no subject)
I need time to let my back and feet recuperate, and now my partner is moving to New York anyway, and finding another partner would be a possibility sometime but not for a while ... but I do still want to teach and to social dance, so I won't give it up entirely. :~) It just won't take up the 15+ hours/week it used to.
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John
surpheon
2006-05-24 14:04 (UTC)
(no subject)
I didn't realize your partner is moving - seems like a doubly elegant time to take a hiatus in that case.

Piano seems like an excellent choice of pasttime. I somewhat regret I never learned to play piano. Even my stubby-fingered dad can play piano (although that apparently involved the best of the British teaching-by-long-rulers methods).
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-24 18:24 (UTC)
(no subject)
Yep - he actually announced it after I announced my intentions to quit. But it works out pretty well.
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threadwalker
threadwalker
2006-05-24 15:04 (UTC)
(no subject)
Understood. I did that with gymnastics and it was madness. Awesome to rediscover the other outlet. :)
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Jeff
lbchewie
2006-05-24 08:05 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'm thrilled that you're resolved to start playing the piano again. I'm even more impressed that you're one of the last of a dying breed of musicians who believes that classical music is much more than something "boring" or "rote."

If your friend's claiming that music that has every note transcribed lack the artistic expression as "freer" forms of music give, Romantic and Impressionistic music is proof that no two performances are alike. Music encompasses far more than the notes written on the page. Balance, tempo rubato, and other clever tricks add a depth of feeling that one won't find in jazz. Since more is transcribed, one is able to create a more refined and subtle interpretation of the music. One gives up quite a bit in exchange for flexibility in improvising the next note of freestyle - and improvising, while containing some semblance of structure, can also be fundamentally disorganised and haphazard.

This inspires me somewhat to take an earnest approach in practising again, myself. *Growls* I'm so ashamed at how far I've let my skills deteriorate. Fortunately, for us all - it comes back, especially when there's passion.
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rubrick
rubrick
2006-05-24 23:44 (UTC)
(no subject)
I've occasionally considered a similar choice, except that I have no neglected piano skills to return to. It's something I've always wanted to learn, but the idea of taking it up at my age is daunting. I certainly don't have the self-discipline to do it on my own.
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Becca
rebbyribs
2006-05-25 00:23 (UTC)
(no subject)
I keep thinking about getting a decent keyboard and going back to playing. I played 3 instruments growing up, all fairly well (ie taking lessons, practicing, and playing in ensembles for 6+ years), and piano was always the one I liked best. Especially after 10 years, it was so nice to walk in the front door, sit down, and be able to play for a while. I get pangs of piano-wanting everytime I go home and visit my mom's 9-foot grand.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-25 00:29 (UTC)
(no subject)
Ooh, a 9-foot grand ... *mouth waters* I miss my mom's baby grand, too -- I love its soft sound, and of course its keys feel the best of any piano since I learned on it. My aunt has a good baby grand too, but she teaches a lot and now I live pretty far from her ... but for my first semester here, I played it a lot.
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Jeff
lbchewie
2006-05-25 02:22 (UTC)
(no subject)
Yeah... I second the *drool*
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-27 18:55 (UTC)
(no subject)
P.S. What else did you play? I also played violin, though as I said above it was always more stressful than piano. Maybe we could have a bab5 quartet. ;~)
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ternarybits
ternarybits
2006-05-25 04:08 (UTC)
(no subject)
Allegro this Saturday? =)
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Matthew Jones
stridera
2006-05-25 23:27 (UTC)
Hello again...
Morganya... I actually remember you using that back in the day. In what seem like ancient memories, I remember reading papers you wrote with that persona. I still have one about you driving down the street and a guy with a dog kicking rocks at your car. The confrontation and all that jazz... I've always loved reading your work. Few people could put such passion into words as you could...

Also, I remember you playing piano. I remember being at your house while you played Moonlight Sonata and learning afterwards to play it myself at your inspiration.

I remember a lot of good memories. I remember quite a few not so good. High school crushes, and old rivalries.

It's strange what the past can turn up when you least expect it. All from a curious click on my school in livejournal.

So, to begin anew, perhaps...
Hello. I hope I'm not a dark portion of your past you would rather have not brought back up. I also hope you don't mind me reading your journal. If so, I'll retreat once more to the darkness. Otherwise, I hope we can be friends. Possible?
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Matthew Jones
stridera
2006-05-26 00:51 (UTC)
Re: Hello again...
I figure I should add my name to cut down on some of the mistery.

Matthew Jones.

Pleased to meet you, once again.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-27 18:57 (UTC)
Re: Hello again...
Still use morganya, when it's not taken already. ;~) Nice to see you here - feel free to read!
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Matthew Jones
stridera
2006-05-28 00:41 (UTC)
Re: Hello again...
Will do. Many thanks. :)
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Matthew Jones
stridera
2006-06-06 07:28 (UTC)
Re: Hello again...
I join and you stop posting... ahh the horror of it all!
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Jeff
composerjk
2006-05-27 16:49 (UTC)
(no subject)
Getting back to the piano sounds like a wonderful idea for you. I'd have serious trouble without my piano. Playing the piano, creating a new piece, has always been a key emotional outlet for me. It's a key part of my soul.

Though I play mostly what's in my fingers these days -- creating pieces on the fly -- I see both classical and improv as being able to have emotional complexity and intensity. I'd love to have the time to really get back to practicing for hours each day. Working on pieces, both classical and my own. Right now, social partner dancing is taking up a lot of that potential time. Though, it's not stopping me from playing. At least dancing is one of the things that brings joy at the end of a day, too.

Yes, you should get a piano (or at least a weighted keyboard). Of course, I also believe most people should have a piano in their hosue. :) I lived with my keyboards, and not having a piano nearby, for a number of years. I'm much happier having a lovely piano again that plays wonderfully.

I hope to hear you play someday. It's good to realize when you need to bring something back to the forefront of your life.
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jillB
jilflirt
2006-05-30 00:56 (UTC)
(no subject)
What a great idea. As a student, you have access to practice rooms with goodish pianos. And if you take classes you will get to perform. I should put you in touch with my friend NDS (you've actually met him before) who keeps a journal filled with thoughts about playing piano (and also about cs).
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-05-30 17:52 (UTC)
(no subject)
I used to use the practice rooms at Morrison (but non-music majors are only allowed to use them in the evenings). I hope there's something similar at Stanford. But it'd be best to just get my own keyboard. :~) I have one, but a weighted one would be much better.

I've seen nds commenting in various journals ... it's always a trick to figure out who LJ people are in real life. :~)
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jillB
jilflirt
2006-05-30 17:57 (UTC)
(no subject)
His main journal is on freeopendiary. Most of his audience seem to be fellow musicians.
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shallwedance_
shallwedance_
2006-06-01 01:24 (UTC)
(no subject)
Yay for finding your passion (again)! It's nice to have a keyboard at home to play around or just lose yourself when you want to.
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