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I went to the symphony Saturday night, primarily to hear the performance of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Long-time readers may remember I'm learning to play the piano, and have been learning to play the 18th Variation from that piece.

Hearing it performed has motivated me to finish learning it. I hadn't been in a hurry — in fact I've been downright lazy — until now. But having spent a lot of time at it recently, I'm struck by a few things:

It's dramatically easier for me to learn my right hand than my left. (I am right-handed.) It takes me about twice as long to learn anything on the left hand.

It's very hard to integrate both hands. Playing both is, for some reason, very different from playing either alone. The whole is not the sum of the parts. After learning each independently I have to learn almost from scratch how to play them together.

I can't read. I'm getting much better at glancing at music and knowing which keys to play, but my speed is nowhere near real-time. And I discovered this evening that I'd been making a few mistakes. There are a couple cases of triplets on one hand not lining up exactly with notes on ther other hand. I had been playing things as if they were simultaneous, when they're supposed to be very slightly apart. That's going to a trick to re-learn.

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