I’m a big fan of learning new pieces of music. There seems a comfort in opening the fresh pages, listening closely to the music for every nuance, disappearing into a new world. I’m such a big fan that once I’ve got the piece, I move on. I thought this was a focus, unfocus, refocus technique, and to some extent it is. But I think I’m also not big on repetition. I’m ok if it’s new, but something I know quite well, less so. If I have to perform something I do practice, but I’m just as likely to practice another 5 or more pieces that are in some way related at the same time. I also like the feeling of being on the edge, of maybe it will all fall apart any minute. It’s a thrill, but not great when you want some consistency.
And so, I rarely play something I know well. If I get close to knowing something I move on. If someone asks me to play something I tend to randomly pick something I haven’t played for a while. I may play a Farruca that I feel I can’t fail with, only to find my fingers don’t go where I think they will. That might be something to do with not have played it for 6 months!
But I’d like to get better, and be consistent so I thought I’d try repetition. This week I’ve picked a piece that has many techniques in it. And I’m trying to play it often. That can be really hard. To play the same thing again and again! But today I actually felt really good about it. I felt like I started to know the piece in a different way. Much more closely, almost note by note. There was also an (occasional, and brief) sense of calm. Zen?
I do have a Pena coming up with a local dance class and thought some traditional flamenco pieces, with maybe palmas might be good, and I think this one is a fairly traditional Alegria by El Serranito (with palmas to follow). And I feel I’ve got so far, and maybe if I do the same with a couple of others, not too many of course …
We shall see. Update to follow.