Music for your projects. songtradr.

Art. Music. Design. Thoughts. Projects.

Chopin's “Raindrop” - Valentines Day

February 14, 2020

Piano is a necessary part of my daily routune. I make sure to spend time at the piano everyday. I've only broken from this routine maybe 4 times in the past 5 years. Practice, Practice, Practice. Don't let anybody fool you into believing there is any other path to acheivement. You must build muscles, dexterity, and flexibility. You must embed concepts within your mind through repetition. Practice, Practice, Practice.

A crucial part of practice for me (right now) is trying to maintain the goal of learning at least 2 pieces from the standard repertoire at any given time. By keeping it in my mind as a goal, I am able to ward off the temptation to not learn something new. I, personally, love the physical sensation of playing instruments, so it's very easy for me to sit and noodle (more so on the guitar), or just play the same piece again and again, seeing if there are little things I can do differently, or just for my own amusment; observing myself making music, not only listening, but also feeling the physcial sensation of it all. I find this both meditative and highly entertaining, but I know that it stifles my progress, eventually depriving me of the opportunity to experience new music. I did that for way too long with Moonlight Sonata. Not that it was wasted time, because I actually enjoyed playing it again and again; it's just that I didn't progress in ways that might have given me greater enjoyment more quickly. And, of course, there is a lesson learned. Also, the amount of time it takes me to learn new pieces makes it clear to me that that is the very practice I need; learning new pieces. I make sure to pick pieces that I really want to play, either for some technical interest or because of how much I enjoy listening to it. This ensures that I will enjoy practice, I get to learn from the great composers, and at least somebody out there in the world might enjoy it as something recognisable. Sometimes I need to put a piece back on the shelf until I reach a skill level where I am able to begin tackling it. Sometimes I'll forget that I was working on a piece. This is one of those pieces I forgot about, and it fit just about perfectly into what I might be able to tackle at the time. So, win-win.

What prompted me to revisit it was hearing it in the background during one of my parent's binge watching sesssions of the Crown just before Christmas. While working on one of my own pieces, I recognized the slowly building bass passage coming from the TV room and knew I had to get back on it!

Today, after about 2 months of re-reading, re-memorizing, practicing, and re-thinking, I decided I would call it a successful endeavour, post it to youtube, and move on to other pieces. This isn't because I've perfected the piece, but because I know I will get hung upon trying to perfect it beyond what is reasonable. I'm not a concert pianist, so to expect concert pianist results from myself will only prevent me from creating my own pieces and will prevent me from continuing to learn from a wider variety of truly wonderful pieces. There is also the recognition that I could easily spend far too much time trying to present subtle nuances of pianistic expression that I am quite honestly not at a skill level to play in a manner that will please my own ears, nevermind others—espcially when pieces such as this have been recorded by the best pianists to have ever lived. Not that I'll stop pushing myself to reach further in my ability to find and express greater subtlety; it's just that I know I will in fact be better able to do so at a later date. After more practice. After learning more pieces. After stepping away then returning. And here is one of the curses of learning as an adult. Will I ever be able to return to the piece and be any better at performing it? Well. There's only one way to find out. And, isn't it better to have experienced the joy of playing this music at some level (regardless of how amateurish), rather than to not experience playing it at all? Or maybe even worse; to be able to play it just a little bit better but not experience any other pieces, after spending so much time on one. We each get to decide these things.

The balance between the delicate lulabye-like passage in the beginning and the raw, emotional, almost violent expression in the middle of this piece is just wonderful; specifically the rather abrupt way that the piece transitions back to the original theme. It's almost as if the song says "Here, you human. Here is Rage. Here is Hell. Here is your wrathful expression. It will penetrate your being like thunder. It will grow with ever increasing intensity until it has conquered all. And then? Will it stop? So, why? Why would you bother with it? There is beauty all around you. The air is warm. The afternoon breeze caresses your skin. Your lover waits for you. There is fruit, and wine, and joy. Behind your rage, at the centre of you... There is, as ever; love.

Happy Valentines Day!

And I'll probably do it a little bit faster next time. Not as fast as Rubenstein, but just a little faster. See? I need to step away from it. Leave it Cory. Leave it. Go finish learning that Presto Agitato and work on some Schumann.

~ Cory

Previous Article Previous   |   Next Next Article
Cory (Daniel) Todd is a Canadian Artist and Musician. | Listen: Spotify and iTunes. | Watch: youTube | Visit for more info.
Donate Cash or Crypto