December 14th, 2015

Piano playing

Learning with YouTube

‘After all, everybody in Riseholme knew Lucia's old tune by now, and was in his secret consciousness quite aware that she did not play the second and third movements of the Moonlight Sonata, simply because they "went faster," however much she might cloak the omission by saying that they resembled eleven o'clock in the morning and 3 p.m.’

Like Lucia, I can only play the slow movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I’m currently obsessed with learning the slow movement of the Sonata Pathétique; obsessed enough to have had my first run through of the day at quarter past eight this morning. I’m struggling through it section by section, trying not to move on until I’ve mastered each one. So why YouTube? Of course you can listen to the great pianists but you do that for the interpretation, because they will always play all the right notes and in the right order. Plus, I could never play like Barenboim. Far more useful to me is to watch someone else learning, as in this video. Young Michael can play without music, which I can’t, and he also has ‘un prof’. It’s helpful because watching his fingers I can say to myself, ‘A-hah, there’s that fiddly bit of fingering it took me so long to get the hang of … So that’s how that bar goes! … I’m sure my music doesn’t have that twiddle in, perhaps I should buy a new copy instead of using my Grandma’s’ and so on. How I wish I'd kept up my piano lessons!

The truth is, it makes me happy to play, however badly. BTW, if you do look at the video, watch out for the vanishing ginger cat!