Audition Daily Blog 08

22 November 2015

A few minutes blog, pre-practice. 8:30 am

I’m stalling. I’m avoiding. I’m wishing I didn’t have to devote most of the day to these 25 little bits of music.

What I need to do is practice, again. Go through these 25 things again. Be able to play them as if I were reciting my address, but with more feeling.

What I want to do is sit down and watch the Brazilian Grand Prix race that I have TiVO’d.

What I end up doing is puttering around: filling the humidifiers, helping my wife take in the now-frozen window boxes, cleaning up in the kitchen. I’m being usefulhelpful, right? So it can’t be a bad thing that I’m not practicing, because I’m doing stuff that needs doing. Instead of just wasting time watching the TV.

But it’s a full day, and if I don’t get to practicing now–this Sunday morning not even 9 am yet–I will not get to each and every one of those 25 little bastards. And if that doesn’t happen, my guilt will mount. No matter how many frozen-shut car doors I help with, or freshly-made scones (yes, my wife made scones) I properly package and put in the freezer. Or minutes of blogging I do. See ya later today (below).

 A mostly pre-practice minute. 12:30 pm

Haven’t practiced much yet. WHAT?! Went to the church service my daughter is singing in. That’s familial duty, and it’s important. But in the car ride to get there, I looked over the excerpts and prioritized what I’m going to work on. And work starts now.

Post (or mid-) practice. 5 pm

I say “or mid” because, heck, it’s 5 pm. I’ve got at least 3 more hours in the day. Why not keep going? I have gotten through all of the 25, plus the solo piece. I prioritized, I varied, I (sort of) interleaved (see the earlier post); I’m doing the right things, I think. And generally, my playing is showing it. I am making progress.

One of the things I’m doing, more successfully now than I was even two weeks ago, is practicing slowly. I always think of my friend Marcus “Pops” Barron (guitar) when I do this. You have to practice slowly. Under tempo. And gradually get up to tempo. One metronome click at a time.

This is devastatingly concentration- and willpower-intensive. Especially if you have a metronome capable of incrementing in 1 bpm increments (unlike the varying 2 to 6 bpm increments on the old-fashioned metronomes). It takes tremendous will to NOT just barrel ahead to the performance tempo.

But as my daughter has reminded me, “practice makes permanent.” So better to make permanent the right fingering, the accurate shift, the correct subdivision of the beat, rather than the emotional and “but it’s more fun” method of just ripping ahead and saying that you’ll fix problems later. When is later?

Well, that’s my five minutes. Plus a minute, plus five minutes, all earlier in the day. What looked like a squandered opportunity, well, I didn’t completely recover it (what if I had starting practicing in earnest at 8:45 am), but I didn’t completely waste the day. (I admit that it helped that we as a family decided not to go to a friend’s party 90 minutes ago.)

So, if I do some more practice tonight, I may write a supplemental post at the very end of the day. Meanwhile, this is it.

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One Response to “Audition Daily Blog 08”

  1. Leah says:

    Enjoying your blog!

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