Started working on Chopin Scherzo 4 yesterday. It will take time and diligence, but everything will be squarely manageable except for all those pp thirds near the end. How I will ever get those to sound like anything more graceful than an idling engine without one of its sparkplugs is beyond me.
If you sound great in the practice room, you’re probably practicing the wrong thing.
Off to practice tons of accompaniments for an art song presentation and then a vocal masterclass, both later this week. I’m a touch out of shape from the holiday. Wish me luck… @_@
Pianists differ pretty widely on memorization, I’ve noticed. There are many who will conscientiously memorize music a few bars at a time.
The process I’ve sort of fallen into over the years goes something like this: when I’m getting to know a piece, I’ll practice it with the music for quite some time before I allow myself to even think of memorizing it. When most of the technical issues are ironed out and I’m able to do run-throughs, at some point I’ll take the music away and see how much of it I can play. Almost always I really surprise myself, but often there are a few “spots” that I have to pretty carefully review.
I would say the downside to the kind of memorization you’re describing (if I understand it right) is that it focuses on “muscle memory,” that is, memorizing movements instead of musical ideas. A certain amount of playing from memory is always going to involve muscle memory, but relying on it can create a situation in which you might find it very difficult to regain your composure, for instance, if you had to stop in the middle of a performance.
So I’d say it’s partially about connecting the page with your fingers, but mostly it’s a matter of internalizing the music as music and not as physical activity, though it certainly is that, too. It helps me to spend a lot of time just sitting and studying the score, listening to it in my head. But everyone learns and works differently, so there’s no right or wrong answer.
After you’ve done all the work and prepared as much as you can, what the hell, you might as well go out there and have a good time.
I try to practice with my life.