Hey guys. I've been reading your posts on the forum for a few weeks and just joined. This is my first post and I just wanted to say hello to everybody and talk a little bit about myself and my relationship with the piano.
I'm a 26 year old architect in NYC, recently out of graduate school. I began playing the piano at age 11 and played regularly through high school and undergraduate. My teacher from ages 11-18 did not actually teach me a great deal; he basically sat beside me and told me when I hit a wrong note. Technical education was limited to Hanon exercises (which, contrary to many people on this forum, I believe to be very valuable if used correctly). In college I had an excellent teacher who really helped me develop my technique and musicality. I didn't play very much at all during graduate school (the last three years), but after graduating I purchased a digital piano (Yamaha P-140) I could fit in my tiny apartment and have been very happy with it so far.
For the last couple of months I have been working on Chopin's Opus 10 Etude #1 (along with a few other pieces I had learned in the past, including the three movements of the Pathetique, Mozart's "Ah! Vous Dirai-je, Maman" variations, and a couple of others). Right now I can play the entire etude pretty accurately at 100 bpm, pretty okay at 120 bpm, and I have begun to practice the first 16 bars at around 140 bpm.
I don't really have any questions at this point, I just wanted to say hi and let you all know where I'm at. One comment regarding this piece is that, while I do find that slow practice helps with muscle memory and general memorization, I also find that playing the piece through a few times at a speed faster than I am comfortable with sharpens and speeds up my focus and helps me gain speed overall. For example, if I play the etude through once at 140 bpm, I always then play 120 bpm more accurately immediately afterwards. It seems there are countless ways to practice this etude, from rhythm and accent variations to chord attacks and repeating very small sections many times. I really love the etude for this reason and the technique I inevitably gain through practice. But man, that left hand really sits still, doesn't it? I never played Czerny before, but I have been trying to pick up a few of his etudes to keep my left hand going a little bit while focusing mainly on the RH-intensive 10/1.
Anyhow, I'm starting to ramble. Hi to everybody!