Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2nd Time Around

Year 2, semester 2 of grad school degree #2:

What have I learned so far? 

Playing the Organ is mindbending.
            Organists are another breed.  They think as an orchestrator in order to register (choose voices for) their pieces.  They read 3 staves as a matter of course, and perform using hands and feet.  Their repertoire goes back further than piano repertoire.  They need a thorough grasp of musical history and organ history (development of the instrument) so they can both perform the piece (articulation/gestures) and register the piece correctly. 
And they have different shoes.

Performing from memory takes a unique focus
            Note the word ‘performing’ - it’s a different task than playing something from memory, alone within a practice space.  For a pianist, performance from memory involves a controlled energy fixed on the music that is being made in the present – as well as an ongoing mental anticipation of upcoming music.   This kind of musical focus is really hard to maintain when you are being stared at by a bunch of people. 
            It’s another level of concentration, different from performing with collaborators/with music, that I find fascinating*.
I have a lot to learn about practicing
            Or, in other words: it’s really easy to waste time in the practice room.  Mental self-discipline means you pay attention, listen to the sounds you are producing, and use critical awareness to evaluate what is correct and what needs to be adjusted.  This is hard.
            Practice makes permanent. 

*I did solo work as a part of my other degrees, but all my recitals were collaborative.   So now I’m learning the difference between playing 10-20 minutes memorized vs 60.  

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