June 14, 2020

*Sigh* I’ve decided to drop the piece.

These past 2 weeks have been really frustrating for me. I’m currently learning Un Sospiro, but I underestimated how hard it would actually be to learn the piece. It started off pretty easy; I was learning at a reasonable pace—until I got to the broken octaves. So you know, I said, “Well yeah, it’s hard, but I’m sure I can get it down if I practice properly.”. And that’s how I went about it for 2 weeks. I was progressing more and more on other parts of the piece, but the broken octaves just seemed to lag behind. I thought that by the time I would have learned cadenza 1, I would for sure have gotten those broken octaves down by then. But I did get to cadenza 1, and I still didn’t have the broken octaves down, and that really bothered me. So for the next few days, I just kept practicing those broken octaves over and over; I stopped practicing everything else I was working on. But even after focusing all my attention on them, I still couldn’t perform them consistently. Maybe something was wrong with my technique? I just wanted to get it over with at that point. So I analyzed performances of the piece where I could see the hands, but something seemed off about them, until I realized that the broken octaves weren’t even being performed the way they were written on the score! Now, I know that you shouldn’t just blindly follow the score, but this part is meant to played as a polyrhythm, and all of the pianists I watched were performing the broken octaves way too early so that they had time for their left hand to jump back to doing arpeggios. I was freaking losing my mind! Had I been practicing something that was not even possible to achieve, or was this piece just too hard for me? I didn’t want to drop the piece of course. I’d been learning it for 3 weeks at that point, and I was more than halfway through! This was a very tough decision to make, so I thought about it for the next few days whilst still practicing the broken octaves in the hopes of getting a breakthrough or any progress at all that would tell me it was okay to keep going. But I finally decided that for the sake of my sanity/wellbeing, I would have to take a break from this piece. Playing piano at that point just felt like a chore rather than something I wanted to do everyday. Doing something over and over again in the hopes of seeing returns but then getting none can be really demoralizing.  It’s especially bad for my development as a pianist because while I’m going insane playing the same passage over and over again, I could be learning other things that would be so much more beneficial to me. It pains me to drop a piece like this, but I believe it has to be done. I was losing the point and musicality of the piece. And besides, dropping a piece doesn’t mean I’ll never learn it again. I can always pick it up some other time when I’m ready.

P.S. — Whew, sorry for the ramble. I just needed to get that out there, lmaoo.

Written by Quarter

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