Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Triangle of Practice and Performance Preparation

Yesterday was the May meeting of the Twin Cities Suzuki Piano Teacher's Guild. Three of us long time board members stepped down and two veterans returned to lead the ship. Thanks Jill, for the sweet note and the chocolate, which I will eat as soon as I finish my latest no sugar, no chip-food no gluten kick, which will probably be soon. . . .

It feels very weird to think about not being on this board. I can't even remember when I wasn't involved. We've had a great run. I'll still be involved of course--as SAM President and piano graduation chair the lines are more than a little blurred. . . but. . . it's five fewer meetings per year and right now, every single meeting counts.

Balance, balance, balance.

I finished the Deerwood plant sale last Friday. It was 40 degrees and raining. God bless you Mrs. Fischer for letting us use the gym. I can't tell you the darkness that was creeping into my soul upon the thought of unloading $10,000 worth of geraniums and sorting them into orders in the 40 degree pouring rain out on the sidewalk. You know by now that I'm a little detail oriented. . . but can I just say that we were flawless. The orders reconciled down to the last petunia. That was a first. And a last. My last Deerwood duty. Ten years of dropping off little Calvin and Mary every morning and picking them up after school at the wonderful round about where sometimes parents behave and sometimes they just don't. Deerwood goodbye is another blog. . .

We are getting ready for all kinds of recitals. Senior recitals. Book four recitals. Freshman recitals. Studio recitals.

So here's my focus: balancing the triangle of accuracy, expressiveness, and physical comfort. I believe it all boils down to this. Any of these without the others is not a success.

Physical comfort

Expressiveness without accuracy is sloppy. Accuracy without expressiveness is boring. And any playing with discomfort or pain is unacceptable.

I believe we spiral around this triangle over and over in the lessons. We work on perfect repetitions but then we say don't worry--let go and feel the music. We start to really get it all and then notice some physical tension creeping in. Round and round we go. And I think that's okay. Checks and balances.

The danger is when we lose someone mid triangle. We spent so much time on physical comfort that they lost interest, or we were so uptight about accuracy that they never felt the joy of throwing it out there and having something wonder happen.

I guess if I had to pick--I'd pick being expressive at all costs. No one ever quit because they felt the music too deeply.

That's all for now. Thank you Suzuki Piano Teacher's Guild for being such a great group of teachers, past, present, and future.

Not gonna eat the chocolate just yet.
Not gonna eat the chocolate just yet.
Just yet.