My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beethoven in 15 Minutes (or maybe a few more) a Day: Day 3

My goodness.  I'm having quite a difficult time keeping my practicing of the Beethoven down to only 15 minutes!  I think that says something about Beethoven's music - it's difficult but also incredibly wonderful to play.

Before I talk about day three's practice session I thought I'd share something I'm excited about in regards to this project.  I contacted the powers-that-be at Radford University, where I am an adjunct faculty member, and asked if there would be any way that I could make my video recording for this project in the beautiful hall there, on their fantastic concert grand Steinway.  They said YES!  This makes me even more excited and eager to keep going on this project.  And now I have a very clear deadline - Monday, March 19th, from 9:30 until 12:30 in the morning.  

So now I've got the goal, the music, the piano, the hall...I'm so excited. 

Now on to my practice session last night...

I was really pretty exhausted by the time I got to the Beethoven last night and it was after a full day of work and a full piano trio recital in the evening.  As soon as I started practicing, especially the last movement, I could tell that my fingers were in a bit of a rebellious state so I didn't push it.  Here's what did instead.

Last night I started with the second movement.   (I start each day with a different movement, rotating them in a pretty systematic way so that I ensure that every movement gets fresh attention every couple of days.)  Continuing on in the work I did on day 2, I made sure that I started by finding a pulse that works well throughout several different passages.  Once that was internalized I worked on in the movement paying particular attention to the rhythm of this one particular turn that always throws me for a loop and then worked on figuring out some more patterns and fingerings.  I stuck to this movement for a while as a bit of an indulgence (I love it!) and as a rest from the evening recital's many, many fast notes!

Next I worked on the coda of the third movement.  I tried working on the octaves at the end but my hands weren't going to hear of it so I moved to woodshedding and coming up with better fingerings to match the patterns in some of the previous passages that I worked on the day before.  Hopefully these new fingerings will make it all make more sense to me.

Last but not least, the cadenza of the first movement.  I backed up just a tiny bit and then reviewed what I've already worked on to hopefully start building up some speed since this needs to be ready to go in...

17 days! 

No problem.  (Can you tell I'm feeling a little more confident today? We musicians are such a roller-coaster of emotions, aren't we?)

Until tomorrow, happy practicing. 

Pulling a concerto out of my hat
Beethoven in 15 Minutes a Day: Day 1
Beethoven in 15 Minutes a Day: Day 2


  1. Love how you are so deliberate in your practice, Erica. I can use some of that myself! Excited for you about your competition entry!

    1. Thank you so much, Cathy! And I'm excited to see how it all ends up in the end too. I regularly only touch on pieces I'm working on for a few minutes a day but not usually with such a lofty goal in mind. We'll see what happens! :-)