I usually work during the day and practice during the evening. Since I'm going to be at Brevard Music Center tonight to see Chu-Fang Huang perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, I decided to work only a couple of hours this morning and spend the late morning/early afternoon at the piano.
Good decision. I practiced/played for about 80 minutes.
Scales sounded good. Today was Ab-major and F-minor. Of all the scales, I think F-minor and F#-minor give me the most trouble. They shouldn't, but they do. They sound pretty good now, but it took a lot of work to get there.
F-minor acted up a bit, so I tried some of Robert's suggestions (see comments for this post). It helped to do them in groups of nine. The back-and-forth effort of suggestion #4 was actually easier than I thought it would be. "Easy" is a relative term. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't quite the impossible challenge that I imagined it would be.
Next, I went straight to Bach, my beloved Bach. This week's goal for the C#-major fugue has been a seemingly small one: to learn Episode II (measures 16-19) hands-together.
Well, guess what. I DID IT!! And it's only Friday! (My "piano week" runs from Wednesday to Wednesday, since that's when I have my lesson.) Only two days of practicing, and I have all of Episode II hands-together! And Episode II is, in my opinion, the hairiest, scariest section of the entire fugue!
I think the fugue may be within my reach after all. My piano teacher never doubted it but, being a chronic self-doubter, I wasn't so sure. "Just take it as it comes," I thought. "Plug away, and see where it takes you." And look where I am now! All of Episode II, hands-together, in the bag! :)
The next goal is to learn, HT of course, the rest of Measure 19, plus Measures 20-22. Measure 20 has a hairy LH section. That'll be my next big (fun) challenge.
I reviewed last night's work on the Liszt for about 10 minutes. It sounded good. Very good. I've always been better at playing the Romantics than anything else, and I really feel good about how the Liszt is shaping up (the second half of it, at least. That's right. I still need to learn the first half).
Then I did a very dumb thing. I took out Chopin's Bb-minor nocturne (Op. 9, No. 1), just to play it for fun. I love this piece. The reason I started playing piano again was so I could learn this piece. I play it every now and then, but hadn't played it in a couple of weeks.
Why was this a dumb thing to do?
Well, as much as I've played the nocturne, I've never memorized it. (I know. I need to do that.) So I was playing with the music.
Do you know how weird it is to play something in Bb-minor (five flats) when your brain has been spending most of its time in C#-major (seven sharps)?
Do not try this at home, folks.
It was rather amusing, actually. I've never missed so many notes in the nocturne as I missed today. Live and learn. If I ever do a recital, I won't have two such different key signatures next to each other in the program.
Time to run! No practice tonight, probably, but hopefully I'll squeeze in an hour or so tomorrow.