Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Music on the back burner, sort of

The past few weeks I have felt a need to pursue some other things, so I haven't been thinking as much about music and so haven't had much to write about here. I have been practicing the piano at least a little bit every day as usual, though. I am continuing to work on the Brahms Op. 118 No. 2, and it's getting much better. I made a recording last night to hear how it was going, and it was actually pretty good. I'd post it, but I had one memory lapse, so I will wait until I make a better one.

The Bach is almost there. I spent an hour or so recording it last night, but each take has at least one thing I don't like (a mistake, rushing the tempo, articulation, etc.). But I will have that done soon, and then I'll choose another P&F set.

It's so interesting how each piece I work on seems impenetrable when I start, and I feel as if I will never understand or be able to memorize it, but gradually it moves into another part of my brain and I find myself playing it. I try hard not to rely on muscle memory. I always jot down a basic analysis on the score so that I understand how the piece is structured and know what key I'm in and what chord I'm playing. I also try to figure out the mood, and perhaps a narrative. All of this allows the experience of playing to attach to verbal and logical thought processes. This stuff isn't at the fore when I'm performing, but it helps the whole memory structure hold together.

Cello activity has been limited to our neighborhood band, which has been getting together once a week to prepare for a gig at a coffee shop in May (playing for tips). This past weekend, we worked on our Beatles and Broadway numbers -- "In My Life"; "Here, There and Everywhere"; "Stardust"; "All of Me"; et cetera. "All of Me" is fun to improvise on; it can go in many directions. This combination of instruments (recorder, fiddle, cello, and guitar) probably sounds silly, but what the hey. At least it's something different.

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