Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What I'm playing this week

On the piano:

Bach WTC: I chose a new prelude and fugue to work on: #2 from WTC II (C minor). These are both short -- just a page each -- but dense and highly chromatic. This should be fun.

Gershwin preludes: #1 is improving a lot; #2 and #3 are coming along, though they're not memorized.

Brahms Op. 118: still grazing on these pieces.

Chopin Prelude No. 8: this is actually improving slightly. It doesn't seem quite as impossible as it did.

On the cello: To prepare for playing "Silent Wood," I'm still exploring ways to develop my tone in a key that's not terribly sympathetic to the instrument. I had thought a Popper etude might help, but although his etudes are good studies for the left hand, they do not do too much for the right. I just don't want to spend the time it would take to make one of these sound good.

Last night, I played some Duport etudes, and these are a bit better, but not much. The musical part of them is so bad that again, they don't seem worth putting that much of my limited time into them.

Maybe I'll try practicing short sections of some of these etudes in detail instead of slogging through a whole one. That might get equal or even better results.

As for the piece, I think it's improving. One thing that's difficult about it is that it's marked mostly pianissimo, but a true pianissimo is not going to be heard above the orchestra, especially in the lower registers, so I will need to play with more sound but with the feeling of pianissimo.

It's always a struggle to get to practicing. It's not that I don't want to, but more that I have too many other tasks hanging in the background. Even when I have a whole day free, such as on a weekend, there are always a lot of other things I need to get done, and I don't feel entirely comfortable shutting myself into the practice room until I do at least some of them.

So that's why I usually don't practice more than about two hours a day, on a good day. Last week, when I had a holiday in the middle of the week, was unusual in that I was able to spend most of the day on my recording project (resolutely ignoring thoughts of laundry and dust bunnies).

It's easy to think that one day's practicing isn't important and that it would be better to do _________ instead. If there are too many of those days, though, months and even years go by and you haven't learned any more music, but those hours spent doing _________ are gone. Sometimes _________ turns out to have been really worthwhile, but more often than not, it does not.

1 comment:

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

I love your last paragraph. It's so true!