Friday, July 02, 2010

Plumbing and Carpentry

We have been extremely lucky, over the years, to have just about all of our structural household work done by meticulous professionals: people who take real pride in their work. It is one of the perks of living in an area like ours, I suppose, because these people, who would otherwise cost a fortune to hire in a city, charge prices that people around here can afford. Michael's father made his living by being a meticulous tile man, and mine made his by being a musician, so neither of us would ever dare to delve into the do-it-yourself method of home repair. We have learned that it is best to leave it to the professionals.

It is always very inspiring for me to practice when I am in the presence of excellent craftsmen and craftswomen because they take the time to think problems through and get them right. What they do is intended to last a lifetime. Our fifty-year-old bathroom was built to last half a lifetime, and its renovated incarnation (renovated down to the studs) will probably last twice that long, when it is completed.

I'm working on an ambitious violin and piano recital for the fall: the Bach F-minor Sonata, the Brahms D minor Sonata, and the Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata, and this work on the bathroom reminds me that I have to work from the "studs" outward in order to play the music the way I want it to sound. That means thinking through and "notching" (with the metronome--from at least half tempo to tempo) every single passage daily (of course, alternating passages once in a while so that I can cover everything). That way I can put "plaster" on it that won't fall off, and can enjoy the experience (the "flush," if you will), when it is time to play this program in a concert.

1 comment:

David Wolfson said...

I appreciate this metaphor, Elaine. I'm trying to take a similar approach to the piece I'm starting to write now: getting a good sense of the overall arc and structure before I dive in and start writing notes down. This takes patience, which is not notably a virtue of mine.

Good luck with the recital!