That’s not to say I don’t want to play anymore – it’s something I miss terribly when I don’t do it – but between work, keeping up a grueling gym schedule, and just finding time to relax in the evenings with my hubby, my piano skills (such as they were) have suffered to say the least.
And I’ve found that laziness begets laziness. Initial laziness means causes you to lose some of the skill needed to play – fluency with reading sheet music, the dexterity needed to do scales, etc – which then makes it less fun to play because you just know you’re not as good. Which makes you WANT to play less…which leads to skills deterioration…It’s a vicious cycle.
Since returning from Africa, though, I’ve approached the piano with renewed vigour. I’ve decided to take it slowly and try to learn one new piece a month – and to only commit to practicing for 45-60 minutes, 3 (maybe 4) times a week. It’s been a bit of a slog, in part because I’m slowly re-developing what I’ve lost, especially when it comes to a facility for reading scores. Makes it hard to learn a new piece when you can’t even figure out which fingers to place where!
Plus I’m not willing to backtrack and learn easier pieces from earlier grades. I want to play at the level I was playing before I quit lessons.
And finally, the piece I’ve chosen is a rag by Scott Joplin – The Maple Leaf Rag – which is syncopated and jazzy, and fast, and in a style that I’ve never really played before.
There’s a lot stacked against me. But the piece is finally starting to take shape. It will probably take me another month or more to be able to play it through without too many mistakes, and at a constant speed, but I’m seeing progress, and that’s encouraging.