Archives // Music



Learning to Play Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor by Chopin

10.02.2020

I’ve been teaching myself to play Chopin’s Nocturne No.20 in C# Minor for the past few weeks and I’ve just about mastered the first section which corresponds to the first page of the Schirmer edition of preludes, nocturnes and waltzes. I had piano lessons from the ages of 10 to 17, but I never really learnt how to practice properly. I always thought that music practice for both violin and piano involved playing through my pieces, studies and scales for an hour or so, start to finish. I rarely pulled my pieces apart bar by bar, didn’t really warm up before practising, and gave up each practice session as soon as I got frustrated. Learning how to practice piano – and violin – properly as an adult has been an interesting experience.

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A Farewell and a New Beginning

09.01.2020

On Sunday afternoon I said a very emotional farewell to the digital piano I have had for twenty-three years. In my pyjamas with a cup of tea next to me I pulled my grandfather’s crumbling score for Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier down from the shelves above the piano and played goodbye to my Roland with Prelude in C Major. It’s such a simple piece, but it’s one of my favourites. When I had finished, I closed the lid for the final time and began to disassemble the piano ready for the family who were coming to collect it from me later the same day.

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Falling Back in Love with Classical Music

15.10.2019

On my eighth birthday my parents packed up the house in Berlin where we had lived for four years and our family moved back to England. English was my first language, my parents were British, I had gone to an English language school in Germany and I held a British passport, but culturally I didn’t feel British. I didn’t know what a pound or a penny was, having only ever used the Deutsche Mark and Pfennig, and I didn’t know the pop-music or TV shows that were popular among English children my age either. We had SSVC and Cartoon Network in Germany rather than BBC and ITV. I simply didn’t hold the cultural reference points that other children who had grown up in Britain did, and felt like a bit of a misfit.

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