Practice: One of those days, you know

I really wish I would never write a post like this, but I have to, and most likely I will do it again …

My workload is still insane. This evening I decided to take a break, though, and play the piano instead.

It was not a success. I don’t panic over a few days without practice; I know it happens from time to time and that I quickly will regain what I have lost, but nevertheless I have lost quite a lot and I get so tired over all these incomprehensible mistakes that suddenly occur everywhere. It is that particular bar (no. 17)  in the Chopin etude, I really need to work a lot with it in order to find the right keys, but this evening I just didn’t have the energy for it. Instead I tried the Fanny Mendelssohn Nocturne which I worked so hard with the other day. The other day I also was very pleased with the results I got, it felt like I was getting somewhere with it. This Nocturne is technically not the most challenging piece I have tried, even though it is not exactly elementary either. But it is hard to make it sound good too.

Today it was more or less disaster. I suddenly felt that I could just as well call it a day. Anyway, I do have some important progress to report: anyone read the post about backward chaining?  I mentioned there that it made memorization more easy too. And I have been working, away from the piano, with a simple little piece. I did it, I finally managed to memorize it! I can play it by heart! Really! As I have not been able to memorize anything at all in many many years, this was fantastic progress. One funny little thing I noticed here was that it much easier to memorize when I am not sitting at the piano.

So I have mentioned that it is very important to summarize your progress after a practice session. What did I do well today? Ok, I fixed a lot of those mistakes in the Chopin etude. I proved I could play a whole piece by heart. And I have also memorized about 6 bars in the Chopin b minor walz … Not bad, really.

I can also mention that I have worked quite a lot with the Carreño walz lately and there a lot of things have happened, so I have not been totally passive. But today … was not a very good day. I work far too much and I am starting to feel confused and alienated. Typically stress. I’ve better doing some meditation exercises instead of fighting with Chopin right now, but next lesson is very soon.

Next practice session will be the parts of the Carreño walz that I have hardly ever played. That must be prio 1 at the moment. Then it must be the last page of the Mendelssohn Nocturne. There are a few bars where I fumble around like I-don’t-know-what and where I have marked that I should use the sostenuto pedal. This pedal – the middle – is very useful but it is only available on grands. As my digital is a digital grand, it has it, but my teacher has an upright. I was proud when I finally learned to use this pedal this summer, but it is still rather difficult.

There.  And I keep on doing memorization when I don’t play the piano.

BTW, here is the Mendelssohn Nocturne, the only recording I have found. I am not too fond of it, though. I want the tempo to be a bit slower … but it will take some more (read: an awful lot more) time before I can record my own version, as I still struggle to find the right keys here and there …


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