I have no idea how long I practiced today. I think it was about two hours.
For those who don't know, I took a big, long sabbatical from George during the madness that was Relay For Life in March, April, and May. I'm not proud of having taken such a long break; I certainly didn't plan it. I suppose I could psychoanalyze my reasons for stepping back, but I think it was just a matter of priorities. And now George and I are getting reacquainted.
When I started practicing again (about the time I started my new job), I was happily surprised to find that my playing had not suffered much for the break. The Liszt was a little sloppy, but to tell the truth, it had always been a little sloppy, in my mind if not in the execution. I had a few issues with scales here and there ... but they were the same issues that had developed back in early March. (Do scale issues never cease to bombard the hapless pianist?) Arpeggios actually sounded better than before. And the Bach pieces, while they took some re-familiarizing, sounded as good as before.
Deborah is going to be performing next weekend, so my lessons have been few and far between while she prepares for her recital. That's fine with me. I got a crazy idea: to have everything ready by my next lesson. I'm pretty far along in all of my pieces (I'd better be, after working on them for a year!!), and I know, deep down inside, that if I would just work seriously on these for a few consecutive weeks, I would be able to play them well, enjoy doing it, and move on to new pieces.
So that's what I've been doing. My intermediate piece, a Bach prelude, is sounding polished. The C#-major prelude sounds great and I'm now working on speed. I can play the entire fugue, hands together, and am simply working on smoothing out some rough edges before I begin focusing more on speed. And the Liszt ... the Liszt sounds beautiful. All I'm doing with it is drilling the "sloppy" sections to de-sloppify them. And that's going well.
It's my dream to someday participate in the Cliburn Amateurs Competition. It'll probably have to wait until after the novel and the marathon and the PCT thru-hike, but it's a dream. And I may as well keep it in mind as I practice each day.