I’m sitting at the piano, currently trying to learn the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. For those who don’t know it, watch the video below. For those who do know it, you’ll likely know how insanely hard it is.
Rewind 10, 11 or 12 years ago to when I was having piano lessons in my long suffering teacher’s home. I enjoyed playing the piano, I liked starting a new grade book and seeing what pieces of music I would be working on for the coming months. The sight reading and singing part of the exam I was terrible at of course, but I wasn’t bothered about that.
The other part of the exam is scales and arpeggios. I was generally okay with these, although I practiced with reluctance. I mean, they’re pretty boring aren’t they? Going up and down the piano in different positions (that’s what she said) and getting arm ache before you’ve even started practicing your pieces.
The trouble is, as I have recently learnt, they’re bloody important. You see, when it comes to playing insanely difficult pieces like the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, scales and arpeggios give you the workout you need in order to be able to tackle them. And the thing about the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, is that it consists largely of scales and arpeggios.
Maybe I’d find it easier if I had some sort of practice regime for this over the last few years. Maybe if I could borrow Peter Capaldi’s newly acquired time machine, I could travel back in time and tell my 15 year old self that if I didn’t practice my scales more, then in 13 years time, I’d be sitting at a piano, periodically swearing at it when I keep messing up the first page of a piano sonata.