Friday, November 29, 2013


I have not taken full advantage of this day home alone with nothing to do but practice. It's been almost 2 weeks since my last lesson, and it's 10 days before the next, but when I work on stuff that's "due" I keep thinking "it's pointless, it's no use, my teacher will think I'm terrible, I'm not getting any better." I get bored when I see no progress. 

The scale (c# minor, 1-octave, on both G and A strings) is too high for me to get a consistent tone, and the shifts for the arpeggios (all on one string) are just too big for me to make sense of or come up with a reliable pattern for. I just close my eyes and pray, and meanwhile the tone goes to hell.

The etude (no 37 in the Wohlfahrt II book) is playable at a fairly slow tempo, and I am mostly in tune despite the leaps from first to third position and back, but the feel is lacking. It should gallop; it should rise and fall; it should excite to the extent that a beginner's etude can excite anyone. It does not do this. I try to make up for it by playing ultralegato and adding gratuitous dynamics, but I don't think that will earn me any points.

The 4th movement of the Telemann viola concerto...I've spoken of it before. It stinks. It is thin. It is whiny. It is impossible to play in tune. It needs to be fast and sound strong, and it doesn't. It's boring. I want to stop banging my head against the wall on that one.

I've spent the day playing in short bursts of 20 or 30 minutes, trying to eke some sort of accomplishment out of what I'm doing, even if it's just a bar or two. So far, it has not happened, so I waste time by sight-reading stuff I'll never look at again. It's not a total waste, and I notice that sight-reading is easier than it was a month ago, but it's not what I need to practice.

My former teacher always harped on patience. Patience, patience, patience, your arms and hands have not caught up with your ears and your head. Right, but I'm fifty years old, and I sense some amount of  age-discrimination already. Five years from now I might play better, but it will be that much harder to do anything with it because I am so old. Still, what other choice do I have?

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