During summers and holidays when I was in high school, I would go to the MVSIC AND DRAMATIC ARTS building at LSU, find an empty practice room, and practice my little fingers to the bone for hours and hours. I'm not sure why. I wasn't planning for an audition, and I wasn't involved in any competitions. I just liked practicing and pretending to be a Music Major.
When I started my college career at Tulane, I quickly became very depressed--miserably, desperately, suicidally depressed. My only moments of sanity were when I was at the library, studying, or at Dixon Hall practicing. Again, I would find an out-of-the-way practice room and play for hours--sometimes drilling things I was learning, and sometimes just playing pieces I already knew.
At Mary Baldwin, I'd go to the Deming Fine Arts Center or to the chapel in Wenger Hall to practice. When my friends couldn't find me, they knew where to look. They'd say, "OK, Waterfall, you've been in there for three hours. Don't you want to go have a beer with us or read Shakespeare or something?"
At Oxford, I managed to find a piano and talk The Lady (whoever she was) into giving me a key to the room where it lived. Again, monster practice sessions were my sanity savers. If I thought I was depressed at Tulane, well, I didn't know what was coming when I went to Oxford. I hit rock bottom there, and it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning. I studied Renaissance literature and history when I had to, and spent the rest of my out-of-bed time in that piano room.
I've only had a few times in my life where I could really put a lot of time into practicing. Those times have helped; not surprisingly, I make huge strides when I have hours upon hours to drill, listen, and play. Sometimes those monster practice sessions were an escape from Life In General; sometimes it was just fun to pretend I was a Music Major. Most of the time, I just practiced because I love to practice.
I had the most wonderful day today. I've probably played for four hours today, on and off. Maybe five. Deborah told me to "drill the hell" out of my B-minor sinfonia, so that's what I've been doing, among other things. It's so much fun. I can't believe there was ever a time that I hated to practice.
So it's been a dream day with George. Do you hear anything? I think I do ... yes, I think George is calling me for more playing!
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