I didn’t practice Thursday or Friday last week – not a terribly uncommon occurrence. While I almost always practice at least five days a week, it’s unfortunate that my most likely to skip days often are the two following my Wednesday lessons – days that tend to be longer for me at work. The final quarter of the year is also quite monstrous for me, vocationally speaking, and the frantic pace extends into the first week or so of the new year. Yesterday was the finish line of the annual marathon, which I feel like I ran relatively well this year, so today I’m feeling pretty good about the universe.
But those practice session skips, the weather, and the fact that my annual marathon was not quite over did conspire to make Saturday’s practice session one of my worst in recent memory. My case’s hygrometer was reporting 0% humidity, matching the 0 degrees on the outdoor thermometers in Chicago that day, and when I pulled out the violin the G string had loosened completely. As I tuned the instrument, the A and the E string pegs also popped out, loosening those strings as well. While the A and G strings have done that before, this was the first time the E string went into open rebellion. I tuned the violin four times as I practiced, wrestling it back into shape over the course of an hour. It was a good reminder that I really have to remember to keep my humidifier wet even when I don’t get to practice – I need to do it after brushing my teeth or something. Letting it go for even those two days made the instrument deeply unhappy. But, like most things, it’s on the hardest practice days that I tend to learn the most.
Yesterday’s, by contrast, was a fine practice session. The annual marathon behind me, I really dug in to the first two lines of the new Gavotte, which turn out not to be particularly challenging, though the song has a very distinctive minor sound quality to it that is new for me. It’s really lovely to explore playing with such a minor sound, so for me the challenge of the moment is hearing the proper minor scale and being in tune. I’m having fun exploring hearing the scale of the key in which I’m playing and having my fingers naturally know where to go. That’s the point of Suzuki’s lack of focus on reading music at first, it seems. Hear it, do it, then learn the names for everything later. This song will get challenging probably in next week’s lesson– there’s a very long rambling and embellished scalar section that is showy and fun coming right up.
One note at a time. One song at a time. One day at a time. One year at a time.
Thanks for reading.