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Lesson 19: Colors

Welcome to this lesson, where expressiveness and emotion take center stage. As you progress, these etudes are designed to help you express a range of emotions through music. My ultimate goal is for you to be able to sit at the piano and convey any feeling you experience. Let’s explore the new concepts introduced in this lesson:

New Concepts in This Lesson:

  1. Slur: Look for a long curved line over the right-hand notes. This is a slur, connecting two or more notes of different pitches. Play these notes smoothly and connectedly, without any gaps between them.
  2. Double Bar Line: You’ll notice a double bar line, signaling the end of one musical section and the beginning of another. In this piece, it separates the intro from the main section.
  3. Fermata: A little crown above some notes, known as a fermata, means you can hold these notes longer than their written value. It adds expressiveness and a pause in the flow of the music.
  4. Blocked Intervals: A significant new skill here is playing blocked intervals. For the first time, you’ll play three notes simultaneously (two in the right hand and one in the left), creating harmony.
  5. High A Notes: At the end of the piece in the right hand, you’ll see notes higher than we’ve covered. These are simply A notes, an octave apart – they’re straightforward to play.

Approach to Deliberate Practice:

  1. Start Slowly: Begin by practicing each hand separately. Familiarize yourself with the notes and rhythms before attempting to play hands together.
  2. Isolate Challenges: If any section, like the blocked intervals, is challenging, isolate it. Practice this part slowly and repeatedly until it feels more comfortable.
  3. Hands Together: Once each hand feels confident on its own, slowly start playing hands together. Focus on coordinating the notes and maintaining a smooth flow.
  4. Attention to Dynamics: Pay close attention to the expressive markings – slurs, fermatas, and dynamics like crescendos. These bring the piece to life.
  5. Gradually Increase Speed: As you become more comfortable, gradually increase your playing speed to the desired tempo, ensuring you maintain accuracy and expression.
  6. Use a Metronome: To keep your rhythm steady, practice with a metronome, especially when working on timing and tempo changes.

Remember, patience and persistent practice are key. This piece is not just about playing the right notes; it’s about conveying emotion and color through your playing. Take your time, enjoy the process, and let your feelings guide your performance.

Embracing Personal Expression in Your Music:

In this lesson, I've included various expressive markings to introduce you to their meanings and uses. Such markings are common in classical music, where composers have precise ideas about how their work should be interpreted. However, moving forward in our lessons, you'll notice that these signs will start to disappear. Why? Because my focus is not on teaching you to play 'correctly' according to my standards, but rather on encouraging you to find and express your own musical voice.

Discover Your Own Style:

Personal Interpretation: Feel free to experiment with tempo, dynamics, and phrasing. You might play a piece faster, slower, louder, or softer than demonstrated – and that's perfectly okay. It's about how you feel the music should be played.

Trust Your Musical Instincts: What sounds good to you is good music. Your personal interpretation is what brings a piece to life and makes it uniquely yours.

Beyond Technical Accuracy: While there are certain foundational aspects like maintaining a steady beat, reading notes accurately, and developing good technique, I encourage exploration beyond these basics.

Intentional Changes: If you feel like playing a different note than what's written – for example, an F instead of a D – go for it. Your awareness and purpose in these changes are what matter.

You Have the Green Light: Remember, in these lessons, you have the freedom to express yourself musically. As long as your choices are intentional and deliberate, you have my full support in exploring and developing your unique musical style.