Monday, March 19, 2012

Piano Competition

Last weekend, I had a piano recital to prepare for my piano competition. The recital was at my home because we have a baby grand piano. My little sister Hannah also played at the recital, and it was her first performance  She is  five years old and played 3 pieces, Dance of the Swans from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, Sick Dolls by Tchaikovsky, and Clowns by Kabalevsky . After her, I played Sonata in D major Hob. 16 No 37 by Hadyn. Last, but not least, Miriam also played a Sonata by Haydn in C major.  The two sonatas were very different. My Aunt, Uncle, grandma, and grandpa all came to the recital. After the recital, my dad made dinner for everyone. 

The real competition was a week later at a piano store. Before we performed, we got to pick a piano and practice on it at the store. Some of the pianos that we used for warm up were connected to head phones so we wouldn't distract the other competitors while they performed in front of the judges. There were 2 judges listening  to us perform. My teacher said that I performed very well and didn't make many mistakes. The piano we used to perform was a Bosendorfer grand piano. Is is one the most prestigious piano in the world and it is hand-built in Vienna, Austria. It sounded beautiful. 

It is 6 pages long!
The sonata that I played was written by Haydn in 1780 for the Auenbrugger sisters. They were Viennese patrons that Haydn met while working as court musician for Prince Esterhazy. The sisters where accomplished piano players in Europe. Hadyn therefore composed this sonata to be challenging for even talented performers.

Since they didn't allow anyone in the room while we played for the judges, my mom recorded me playing a week earlier at the recital.

Do you like Haydn's music?

Monday, March 12, 2012

My First Level 6 Gymnastics Meet

Last weekend, I had a gymnastics competition. It was my first competition as a level six. My highest scores were on floor (9.050), and vault (8.900).  Floor is my favorite event. The hardest part on floor is sticking all of the landings. The judges give deductions for not sticking the landings. During my routine, I didn't stick my front tuck but I stuck everything else. In past competition, I always received the highest scores on floor because it is my best event. 

I also like vault. Vault is almost the same as floor because you also have to stick the landing at the end and you need to run fast so you can get some power. This time, I took a small step after my vault and received a deduction. My favorite thing about vault is flying off the vault. It is very thrilling.

Bars is my hardest event. The hardest thing about bars is the fly away. A fly away is when you swing three times and on the third time you let go of the bar and flip. It is scary because it is really high off of the high bar. After you let go of the bar and flipped, you need to stick the landing. If you don't,  it is a big deduction.  I stuck it perfectly. The hardest part with bars is connecting each element. That is something I still need to work on.

Beam was the event that I always struggled with, but last year, I got my highest score on beam which was a 9.525. I didn't do as well on this meet and received a 8.825. On this meet, I wobbled a little bit, but I didn't fall. On the beam, you have to do a back walkover. My back walkover is hard because it is hard to get your hands on the beam. I also have a full turn in my routine which is hard to do. The final element in my routine is a dismount. My dismount is a forward handstand that I have to hold for 1 second, turn and do a side handstand for 2 seconds and then a final turn off of the beam. Maybe next meet I won't be so wobbly, and I will get a higher score.

Here is a video of my gymnastics competition.

Have you ever participated in a competition?

What kind?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Waltz in A-flat major Op. 69, No. 1

Frederic Chopin composed music in the early Romantic Period (1820 to 1850).  The Romantic Period began as a reaction to the more formal music of the Classical period. The music in the Romantic Period had more feelings and emotions to the music and Beethoven began to write such music in some of his later works even though he lived during the Classical Period.

Chopin was born on 1810 in Poland, and died in 1849 when he was just 38 years old. Chopin mostly composed music for the piano. He gave his first concert when he was seven years old and was compared to Mozart and Beethoven. No other composer could play the pinao with as much feeling as Chopin. He was sick most of his life and died from tuberculosis.

The Waltz in A-flat major, also called "The Farewell Waltz,"  was written in 1835 as a farewell piece to Maria Wodzińska. Chopin was supposed to marry Maria but her parents didn't allow her to marry Chopin because he was very ill.   

I really like this piece because I like how the rhythm changes.  In some places it is faster and in other places it is slower. When I play, I feel the music and decide where to play faster and slower. The musical term for this is Rubato, which is expressive shaping of music.  Chopin was famous for this. I also really love the melody of this waltz.

Have you ever listened to Chopin before?

What do you think of his music?