Unresolved Practice

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Today’s practice has been… well… I don’t know. I just keep feeling like I have way too much to work on. I started with two octave B-flat major. It was like my A melodic minor yesterday, but worse. There was just so much wrong with it. So I’d isolate one thing, fix it, isolate another, fix it, put it together and see how it sounded, etc. It sounds a lot better. Yet, I still hear all these things wrong with it and what I can do to fix these things. After working on it for a couple hours (yes, a couple hours on one major scale) I decided to move on since there are other things I need to work on. I didn’t really want to move on. I feel like I could spend weeks practicing this one scale for hours each day and still not want to move on. I know, logically, that at some point I must play something other than the one thing I’m working on, but it just feels so unresolved to work on something new when the previous thing feels so unfinished.

Since when does having two scales and two short pieces to work on in one week feel like too much? I think I’d be okay working on a piece and a scale per week (so long as I worked on them over multiple weeks.) I think I’m just going to ignore the Haydn piece for the rest of the week, even if my teacher is upset at me for it. I think I’ll just work on the A melodic minor and the Gavotte by Couperin in A minor. That seems like enough. If for some reason I feel like I’ve exhausted everything I can think to do with the two then I can move on to the two octave B-flat major. More than that, though, and I just feel like I’m spread way too thin.

A couple months ago I was always waiting for the next new piece, the next new neck position, the next new scale. It was like a race to see how fast I could learn basic proficiency on the cello. Now, all I want to do is slow down, to be more thorough, to get one thing — even just a single scale or a single note — to a point where it doesn’t feel unfinished.

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One response »

  1. I struggle with this issue. I figure I have 8-10 hours per week to practice. Therefore, practice time for me is a balance between “perfecting” something like you’ve described, and moving forward at a sufficient pace such that I won’t wake up some day ready to divorce my cello.

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