Interesting class this morning and it was clear from my play-through of the second movement of the Prokofiev my two practice sessions had yet to cement the notes to ensure they would be reliable at the tempo I chose. I was encouraged though and can increasingly see the value of making decisions regarding choice of finger, attack and touch as the first step in the practice routine. Once these decisions have been made then I can commence the process of training my digits. KVB has a methodical and remarkable efficient approach to the learning of repertoire. I’m slowly grasping that this process not only encourages a thorough approach but builds in the security necessary to guarantee a faithful and fluent performance.
The class this morning left me with a clear message – the rhythmic units in any work need to be understood and subsequently displayed through a performance. For example, showing an awareness of the time signature is essential even when the music “sounds” like it is metrically dissonant with the notation. This is connecting with my current reading of Pedro de Alcantara’s recent book “Integrated Practice” (OUP 2011) as I’m currently reading through his chapters on the “grid”. Pedro sees grids as an inherent part of our existence – and grids manifest themselves in music through pulse, beats and rhythm. I’m still contemplating what he means by “learning to oppose the grid” yet I sense the rhythmic awareness I hope to gain through reading his book might aid my learning of the Prokofiev. KVB emphasises close understanding of the metrical framework in a piece and if any opposition to such a framework is present, it is important to not allow the opposition to eradicate the notated metrication.
Having spent the afternoon working through the final movement of the Prokofiev – and other passages throughout my other repertoire – and writing in clear fingering I am ready to get drilling the fingers. The decisions have been made. Now is the time for some repetitive practice!