November 30 Practice

Friends, you won't believe this. I actually practiced for about 100 minutes tonight. All because I knew I'd decided, once again, to be accountable to this blog.

I'm tired, though, so this will be a short practice report.

Scales: D major and B minor at 88. The slight increase in speed has made for a bigger adjustment than you'd expect. Here's how each scale went the first time I played them:

Phase I: 2 octaves, parallel motion: Lovely.
Phase II: 2 octaves, (outward) contrary motion: Not bad a-tall. Until maybe the last five notes of the octave.
Phase III: 2 octaves, (inward) contrary motion: The first five notes (the same five that tripped me up in Phase II) are a problem.
Phase IV: 2 octaves, parallel motion: Lovely. Except for those same five notes.

Oh, and those five notes? They're a LH issue. Though they're probably a RH issue, too, since I can play the LH alone perfectly. If I add the RH and try to focus on the LH and let the RH just play, then the RH forgets what it's supposed to do.

Maddening. So I used the increasing "trill" exercises by Mark Westcott with the D-major. It helped. I spent extra time on the five notes at the bottom. I think part of the problem might be that I get nervous because my hands are so far apart at that point, and I can't really "get behind" either of them, so I choke a little bit.

I needed to do the same drilling with B minor, but I'd already spent a half-hour on scales, and had a lot left to do!

Inversions: Good. I listened.

Arps: Good. G major and E minor.

Suzuki (Beethoven Sonatina in G): I played through it. We didn't go over it at piano yesterday, so I'll continue practicing what I've learned, and learning the rest of the piece by ear.

Bach Prelude: I drilled the poop out of the last few measures. Practiced with the new fingering, and it was a challenge. My hands have gotten so used to the previous fingering; they didn't want to change fingering again. (My hands probably get really annoyed with my brain for constantly changing fingerings on them.) But I finally got it the new way and practiced in rhythms of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (the piece is in 6/8 time). Then I played through the entire piece at a super-slow pace, with the metronome, to train myself not to get faster and faster and faster as I play through the piece. It's one of those motoric, whirring preludes Bach is known for, and it's easy to get caught up in it and play too fast.

Bach Fugue: I worked on the last three measures. The antepenultimate measure was the one we focused on in my lesson yesterday. I went over it a few times, then moved on to the penultimate measure. It's a mean and nasty complex little measure. I slogged through it the way I was slogging through individual beats of individual measures when I first started learning this thing HT. I need to do some serious rhythm practice with those measures. No time tonight, though. Tonight I just focused on learning to feel at home with the HT notes.

Liszt: It was getting late, and I was getting tired, so I played through the Liszt a few times, thinking not so much about pedaling or fingering, but about architecture. Thinking about how the sections relate to each other--how they're part of the whole, and how they contribute to the whole. The word that keeps coming to mind is "texture," for some reason. I listened for texture, and how the texture of each section fit into the overall piece. I think the creative visualization helped, and I'm going to continue to do it.

My playing of the Liszt was good, too. There were times when I felt like I was pouring my whole body into the music. That has to be a good sign.

It was a good practice. Now, if I could just have about five more of those before next Wednesday. I'll do my best!


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