A Chord of Questions

So tonight is the last night of my piano class and our final.  It’s been sort of a strange semester – and I can’t believe it’s gone by this quickly.   Much like last year, the class was whittled down from Standing-Room-Only (25+) to about 6 people.  Last semester, I think it was because our teacher worked us pretty hard and scared people away as it was supposed to be an “easy” 1 credit course.  This year, there’s been little by way of technique and a LOT of music theory (which I’ve loved).  But I think the tangential academic air caused most of the class to depart.  And so, I'm left with a few questions:

What will the final be like?
I have no idea.  Our teacher finally gave us a syllabus on the 3rd week.  We used the book for about a class and a half.  The mid-term was postponed once because he forgot to put together the written part of it, and the actual mid-term (a week later) didn’t HAVE a written component.

In theory, the written part should have chord harmonization and the Circle of Fifths.   We will also have two pieces to play.  The first is our final harmonized piece.  I chose “In Dreams” (theme from Lord of the Rings) by Howard Shore.  Here’s my final version.  You can compare it to the earlier one.  The other piece will be Bach’s Minuet in G minor, which I’ve really grown to like, though I still struggle with it some.  Last year, I was able to choose a couple of Beethoven pieces, but this class he’s assigned a couple of Bach minuets, and I think its been good for me.

Where’s the fear?

My teacher this semester has been so laid-back and haphazard with his teaching method, that it’s hard to get all that worked up as I did for my first class.  Also, he does not really make us do any performance in front of the class (he listens in to our pianos electronically) – which has been my undoing.  Couple those together and the sense of dread is gone.

How do I find a piano teacher?

One of the other reasons that I’m probably not too nervous is that this is the end of the line class-wise.  There is no “Piano III”, so its not like I can take a bad grade, or bad reputation (not that I think I’ll get either – I think I’ve done okay and have been a good participant in class) forward.
I’ve really enjoyed this excursion into music (being the greenest of beginners a year ago) and want it to continue – and it seems that the most sensible course is to take some private lessons.  However, I have no idea how to find a good teacher and figure out if we will be a good fit together.  Suggestions from the more musically adept are welcome.

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11 thoughts on “A Chord of Questions

  1. I'm not musically adept — just chiming in to say good luck on the final, and in finding a piano teacher you click with. If you do, and as you progress in your skill mastery, might I recommend Bach's Air on the G String? I also *love* this one, although I never did master the sheet music…

  2. Isn't this funny, I just finished posting about how much I hated earning my bachelor's degree in music.But I had some brilliant teachers. Here's my advice:
    * If at all possible, ask the students who they like. They're your best resource.
    * Watch the teacher perform. If the can't play, don't let them teach you. This way you can also talk to them and find out if they're friendly. Snotty or lazy teachers don't deserve your money.

  3. Your right, that went by quick, it seemed like just yesterday you were posting about starting piano2. 25+ down to 6 is pretty scary!! Good luck on the final!

  4. I don't have any suggestions for finding a piano teacher, but when you do, if you could share your suggestions with me, that would be great. I've been thinking really hard about taking some piano lessons lately.

  5. You've inspired me! Proof you don't have to be a kid to learn to play the piano. One of these days, I'm going to really learn. I ended up with a free piano many years back. It just sits in our den. I pluck on it randomly, can play "Heart and Soul" and a couple other things from memory, but I can't really play.
    I think I'll wait for Steve to learn and then he can teach me. Although, judging from the time he tried to teach me how to play tennis, maybe I ought to get my own teacher.

  6. Jen — I had toyed with a version "Air on a G-string" last semester as a performance piece — but I was in my anti-Bach phase. =P
    I think the summer is going to be an arrangement of Beethoven's 7th symphony, nailing that last Bach minuet (G-minor), a simplified Moonlight Sonata 1st Mvt and maybe the theme from Swan Lake. Oh, and I can get through the 1st page of "Cristofori's Dream" — but the sheet music for it is like 10 pages long!
    Maya — I asked my teacher at the end of class and he suggested going to the websites of the different music departments because often they will have a faculty/staff/alumni referral page. He warned me off of "music store" people, which I thought was good advice. He also suggested getting the 1st lesson free as he thought that personality mattered more than anything. He also gave me his card and said he thought I'd be a good student — that was nice of him.

  7. Yay!! And I know!! (Had to show equal enthusiasm for both, you know)
    I unfortunately can't memorize anything other than "Heart and Soul" and the instrumental theme to St. Elmo's Fire, and so whenever I play "Christori's Dream," there's inevitably that moment when sheet music starts flying off the piano and floating through the air…

  8. i bet i missed the train on this one, but good luck!! i know you'll do great. i'm still holding my vote for some audio clips. i'd love to hear you play. :)

  9. Actually, with the piano in a different room from my computer, it's harder for me to record while I play. I'll tell you what — I'll try and figure it from The Beloved's laptop…. after I nail this Bach Minuet in G-minor. :)

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