I bought the music to "Standchen," a Liszt transcription of a Schubert song, several months ago. I've been so busy writing tests, planning lessons, and grading essays that I haven't practiced it, save for intense mini-practices here and there on the same five or six measures. Back in February or March, I went through the piece and divided it into 6- to 10- measure sections. Then, I ranked the sections from hardest to least challenging. Then, I got to work on the hardest section.
Whenever I'd sit down to practice, I'd go back to the hardest section again. I'd make a little bit of headway into it, but then I'd have to stop, and I wouldn't touch the piano again for a week or two.
It's been a very frustrating way to (not) progress, but I imagine it's not that unusual an experience for adult piano students.
Last night, I sat down to start on the hardest section again, scared that Liszt wouldn't "come back" and I'd have to re-learn that section all over again, from scratch--like I'd had to do every time for the last few months. But this time was different. This time, (1) I wasn't stressed, and (2) I had two wonderful hours ahead of me for practicing.
After an hour, I was playing the hardest section and the second-hardest section that followed, and it sounded GOOD. I recorded myself, just to make sure I wasn't hearing things, and it still sounded good!
I was in tears. Liszt had come back! All those mini-practices must have done some good. In only an hour, I had the entire last page and a half of the piece. And you have to hear this piece--it's so unbelievably beautiful.
When Hubster got home from camp, I played the whole piece for him. It's about seven pages long, so five and a half of those pages were sight-reading. Remember, I haven't practiced any of this piece in months, except for the hardest section.
It sounded gorgeous. Of course, the sight-reading section wasn't perfect, but it sounded pretty darn good for a sight-read. I skipped notes here and there and kept tempo. Hubster got all misty-eyed. What an old softy he is. But Liszt can do it even to the most hardened among us.
So, Liszt came back. Or maybe I did. Either way, it's good that we're both back. I'll see if Bach comes back today. I think he will.
Life is good.
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