Thursday, December 10, 2009

And He's Back!!!

[This was written December 10 2009 and remained in draft form until today's publication]

I was somewhat surprised to find that my last post was late in April! I shouldn't be, as my practice scheduled tapered off to almost nothing by mid-June. I attempted to stay on top of things with a few Hanons everyday (figuring that something beats nothing, even if not by much.)

as well as scale patterns from the viral PDF "Musically Useful Scale Practice." But eventually my motivation dwindled. Not having a teacher over the summer, I had no regular assignment schedule, nor did I have that regular feedback that usually kept me moving along. Oddly enough, it wasn't for lack of desire to play; it's one thing to dream about how great it would be to play such and such sonata/invention/characteristic piece." But every so often I get bogged down with the realization that there's a lot of work involved getting to that point. The payoff doesn't seem to be there. You need to have discipline to play even on days when you don't feel like it, and you need to be able to believe that it's going to pay off. Yes, there's a lot o faith involved in this exercise--even if you don't necessarily think of it in a religious sense. Faith can be as simple as having the imagination to see "the prize" for your pains, even if it seems somewhat delusional to believe that you'll ever play anything more than, say Mozart's Sonata in C. You have to believe it's possible, otherwise there's just no reason to do anything but vegetate in front of the TV.

My summer assignments were the Frank Lynes Sonatina in C (Opus 36 No 1), Burgmuller's "L'Armonie des Anges" (with pedal markings added my my teacher to get me going on pedaling more.) Plus, with a few omissions, she is having me finish up the first v. of Hanon (through 20, and the first half of 21, which is provided as a teaser--actually I just went out and bought v. 2 anyway.) I got a good start on Lynes, through the second movement, then I got sidetracked while working on parts of Burgmuller by the realization that I am now "qualified" to play an actual Bach piece--Prelude Number 1 (Book 1) in C. I got so excited that I bought the Snell edition of his little fugues and preludes and fugues as incentive to keep working towards more Bach pieces. I came to realize that those are far more difficult, however, and the prelude I've been working on is probably one of the few Bach pieces I stand a chance of mastering in the near future.

Then, mid to late summer my teacher informed me that she was unable to take me on this fall due to a glut of incoming music majors. This is a good thing for the school, but I would have to wait until Spring at the earliest to start thinking about lesssons again. Since I hadn't really worked on the assigned pieces as much anyway, this gave me a bit of a reprieve, even if I didn't really take advantage of it.

So now, the end of the semester approacheth, and as the season changed from fall to winter I suddenly found myself motivated to play again. I've been revisiting and reviewing old pieces, nailing down difficult sections of Lynes, ironing out arpeggios in Burgmuller, and I actually found another Bach prelude to work on--the C minor (BWV 999) that is also known as as Lute prelude, and which I have played on guitar. So, hopefully by late January I'll have an armload of new pieces to play and be ready for another productive semester!