So today has been an interesting day...let me rephrase that...today has been nuts. When I thought about writing this blog post for today, I thought, "hmmm...perhaps we should just skip this day" but then I realized that today is really just realistic and just about everyone relates to trying to squeeze 28 hours into a 24-hour day. With that said, here is where I am with Project Capriccio. I am still on track. Actually, I am a day ahead of schedule because yesterday I had about 45 minutes of extra time. Knowing what my schedule was going to be like today, I chose to spend that time working ahead in the music and managed to complete today's portion of new music ahead-of-schedule. Not bad! That definitely made me feel good, optimistic, on top of things, in control...all of those good things. And yes, I was on top of the world...at least for the remainder of the day. (That's all right, go ahead and snicker a little bit...I bet you know what's coming!) But I don't want to leave the success part quite yet because I truly believe that having moments such as these are crucial in our musical lives and it's why I have created a method of practicing that allows for these moments almost at every turn. I believe in setting realistic goals that I know I can attain, simply so that I can have multiple successes, almost continuously.
OK, it's time for the "but" that you may have seen coming from a mile away...BUT life happens, doubts creep in, days don't go so well...that doesn't mean we should abandon what we're doing. Here's what happened to me today. I started out just fine with my Project Capriccio practice session. I reviewed yesterday's new music, marked in trouble spots, changed a few fingering and then moved on to learn the chunk of music that was next on the list. But while I was learning the new material, I started getting nervous because I knew I was supposed to go to my first rehearsal for the Capriccio in the afternoon - I still hadn't even looked at the first two pages! How was I supposed to rehearse? Voices started creeping in, telling me I should abandon my plan and cram. I decided, in the end, to disregard those voices. There was nothing I could really do to get the rest of the piece learned in time so I took a deep breath and told myself to proceed with my plan. So that's what I did...I refused to listen to the gargoyle sitting on my shoulder that was telling me, "Play faster! Play faster!" and I kept everything slow and relatively relaxed and told the gargoyle to take a hike.
My rehearsal with the pianist was this afternoon and although I didn't totally bomb, well, it wasn't as good as I would like it to have gone. (I need to add here that the pianist, a young man whose sister I often accompany was very prepared so I take full responsibility! Thanks, Martin!!) The reason I'm sharing this with you all is because again, I think this was a realistic, fairly commonplace experience but it doesn't mean careful, planned practicing doesn't work. I have been in this situation before and I know that my practice method has worked in the past and it will work again in this situation.
So what did I learn today? (I figure I might as well find something positive in it all.) I learned that I should have started learning this piece sooner, surprise, surprise...and that perhaps I should have waited to rehearse with the pianist until I had finished learning the entire piece. Again, no surprise there! But such as life and I will move on and I will finish learning this piece without relying on mindless repetition or luck. I refuse to take that highway to Las Vegas again.
How will this story end? Stay tuned - I promise there will be more practice tips to come. But that'll have to be on a better day!
Previous posts in this series: