Monday, January 16, 2006

Joy of Practicing

I love to practice. Right now I'm practicing the violin with purpose because I'm playing a violin and piano recital in a few weeks (Mozart's birthday, January 27th to be exact) at the community college where I teach music appreciation. What I love most about practicing with purpose is the chance to take a mental and aural magnifying glass and examine every interval, every bow change, every shift, and every note for its resonance and relative comfort. It is in practicing when it is possible to really fix problems by rendering the awkward passages into passages of interest.

I love the feeling of "holding" long notes in my hands and letting them develop like a potter lets clay develop on the wheel. I love the way that working on a note-by-note basis can free up musical possibilities and allow new things to happen. I love the feeling that by working they way I am working, the concert might just have the possibility of being a real musical experience for everyone involved.

When I practice like this I feel like I am in the company of great violinists, both living and dead. It is not that I play like one, but I imagine that I am practicing like one. I believe that the better a musician is, the more attention s/he pays to the small details that concern moving through the music from one note to the next. I don't think that great musicians need to pay special attention to the technical details while they are performing because they worked on all the details during practice time. That kind of confidence allows musicians to express themselves and become one with the music and their performing partners.

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