It’s holiday time, and we’re all eating with gusto. In honor of Thanksgiving, we completely let go, pardoning ourselves of any rigid diet that would preclude an all out splurge.
So now, enter the piano, as a feast of delights waiting for the player to partake without a hint of holding back. It seems like climbing a mountain.
Agreed that you must learn the notes carefully at first and parcel out the fingering, etc. It takes patience. A famous piano teacher, Irena Orlov, from the Levine School of Music in D.C. recommends that students master one measure per day, particularly when faced with technically challenging pieces. Just imagine how well a pupil would know the Mozart Rondo Allegretto K. 545 after just 76 days! Not an impossible task, considering that a baby needs more than a year to learn to walk.
It’s all relative….
Tonight I was shuffling between my Haddorff console and Steinway grand piano, deciding which instrument would best suit the Mozart I had previously mentioned, and then again, Aiden was bench hopping so I allowed it because of the holidays. I reasoned, why not include him in a recording session in between turkey treat nibbles. He needn’t be shooed into the bedroom in solitary confinement every time I attempted to capture some music on my Imac.
Sad to say, by lifting restrictions on his comings and goings, he killed two especially good readings of the Rondo. In one he managed to squiggle off the piano bench, meandering his way to the window sill where he orchestrated his usual racket. (When iMac is capturing an EVENT he knows just when to paw the shutters to bring any and all music to a grinding halt) Naturally, as soon as I sense his general direction, my playing begins to deteriorate. A glaring case of anticipatory anxiety.
Irena Orlov would have interjected in her Russian accent, but dorogaya moya, Дорогая моя (“my dear”) you hev to learn to concentrate.. and maybe you need to think one measure at a time.”
Redux: Aiden did it again, but on the third warning, he abandoned his monkey business and jumped off the piano bench and settled into his favorite chair. (off camera)
What has all this to do with playing piano and getting into the spirit?
The basic lesson to be learned is that you must find a place within yourself where music totally absorbs you and allows no room for distraction.
What other reason is there to take up the piano in the first place if not to be immersed in a spiritual process.
Tonight after I had gorged myself silly on turkey, homemade stuffing, and pumpkin pie, I wobbled over to the piano, and reclaimed my right to channel Mozart without a hitch. Aiden was hanging around being otherwise quiet until…
That’s in the past now, because the Mozart Rondo made it to You Tube while two other playings were “moved to the trash.”
Link to Documentary about Irena Orlov: