|Rodin's "The Thinker," image from|
Following my fingering fest I grappled with another passage in the cadenza that I want to improve. I decided to use another one of my practice techniques that I often use. I call it my "Reductionist" technique. It is comprised of reducing a passage of music to the bare bones, more importantly what I consider the essential bare bones, leaving out a lot of the filler material that can often distract me from the important line. When I do this by memory, it makes the technique even more challenging but also productive. You'll hear several wrong notes while I'm working this all out but I think that's ok - the wrong notes aren't there out of ignorance, they're there because I'm struggling a bit and for me, cognitive struggling produces more solid understanding. I see several other advantages to doing this exercise. First of all, the process of distilling what I think is important prompts me to really listen and to make some important decisions - I'm not just playing the notes because that's what's on the page. Secondly, if I have a specific line that I'm following it can help me stay on track should a few filler notes get played incorrectly. I can more easily say, "Oh well...here's what's really important anyway" and move on while maintaining the musicality that I want the audience to grasp. Doing this exercise also forces my mind to slip out of automatic mode, engaging it in an activity that usually re-energizes me, which is always a good thing when it comes to practicing.
I practiced the opening of the slow movement to review what I had worked on the previous day in regards to opening my sound up a bit and allowing all the notes to sing. I was so tempted to just keep playing on in the movement but since I only had 15 minutes I moved on to the third. Sigh.
Third movement - continued drilling in the coda. It's a tricky passage and my hands keep getting quite tired so I tried to find places to make sure that I was retracting my hand so that it wasn't staying open for the entire time, thus tiring me out. I'm hoping that it's partly my piano that's contributing to the problem - I think I need to try it out on another piano to check on that. More woodshedding in the third movement and then "ding" - time's up!
Time flies by when you're having fun.