I confess that I have been spending more time "doing" than writing about doing these days, but the rambling rumblings inside of my head need to come out, so here they are.
It is hard to believe that it has been nearly a year since I played a viola and piano recital, and the above concert has some more technically difficult viola music on it than viola concerts I have played in the past. Viola recitals are different from violin recitals because the violin is less physically taxing to practice at length than the viola, particularly when you have an arm vibrato (and I like the sound, so I'm not giving that up).
I have been trying to make things easier for myself by practicing carefully, trying to make all my shifts with conscious correctness, trying to avoid tension of any kind in either hand, and trying to make sure that my brain and the fingers of my left hand arrive at their desired locations ever so slightly ahead of my bow, so each note sounds full and complete when it is time for it to be heard. I practice my scales this way first, and then do the same with my music. My aim is to extend my attention span, and then tire it before I feel the aching wrath of the poor nearly 54-year-old abused tendons of my forearms. We must labor to play beautifully.
I actually love practicing this way. It is very efficient, and, if I do not get too impatient and try to play difficult passages at tempo before they are ready to be played at tempo, it is very rewarding. There is a certain joy in performing, but for me there is an even greater joy in the process of working on the music in order to get it "ripe" for sharing.