". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just Shoot Me Now

Please note: the title of this blog post is entirely hyperbolic. But it's what I felt like saying at about 1:30 p.m. today when a lovely young saxophone player named Sarah smiled sweetly at me just before announcing, "I'm only doing the first seven pages.'"

Come again?

She was referring to the Glazounov. You remember the Glazounov, don't you? I have spent hours at the piano over the last three days, shortchanging other pieces that could have used a little more of my attention, just so I could perform this one--all TWENTY pages of it--with some semblance of respectability.

Much of that time was spent on the fugue section of the piece. It doesn't start until around page ten.

I don't blame the student. I didn't meet her until today. I don't know if she was provided with my name or phone number or any means of reaching me. But someone somewhere (sax teacher? band director?) should have made sure that the accompanist was briefed. Over the next few weeks I will be accompanying about 30 junior high and high school students in competition. That's a lot of music. Some of the accompaniments are sightreadable, but many are not. And the compensation is the same regardless of whether I have to practice the piece for five minutes or five hours.

My goal was to get this piece playable by today. In 2-1/2 days' time, I accomplished that. All the notes were not there, but I was capable of playing from beginning to end without falling apart, and was even getting to the point with much of the piece that I was not merely surviving but actually starting to enjoy it, having moved beyond the drudgery of note-learning to the fun of music-making.

It's mostly for naught now. The bright side is that I don't have nearly as much practicing ahead of me as I thought (the competition isn't until Monday, so I would have spent much of the coming week continuing to polish this piece of music).

The down side is that I wasted a lot of time over the past 72 hours. I could have been blogging! Or cleaning my house! Or writing the next great American novel!

Instead, I learned how to play a bunch of music that I'll probably never even have an opportunity to perform.

Unless . . .

Melanie, isn't it about time you made another trip to Chicago? :-)


Presbytera said...

Didn't your piano teacher ever tell you that time spent practicing is NEVER wasted???? You probably feel great that at your age - snicker, snicker - and with your eyesight - snicker, snicker - that you were able to pull it off!!!

Elephantschild said...