Labor of Love, or Death?

Practicing can be redundant. It can be a painful process, and by painful I mean mind-numbingly painful, not physically. The art of practice is something very few people take into consideration as they prepare for any musical performance – whether for auditions, recitals, concerto’s, and the like.

I’m in competition mode – meaning, I’m rotating 12 works on my stand at any given point. The works range from early romantic to contemporary.

Funny, I don’t find myself struggling, musically, with all the works EXCEPT the contemporary. I’ve always considered myself a strong advocate of contemporary music, I love studying it and find it fascinating to break the work apart and figure out its inner workings.

The Berio, however, is like finger nails against a chalk board. Yes, it’s a sequential piece built on small melodic and rhythmic patterns that Berio builds upon. He works up these little melodic phrases in various inversions, augmentations, retrogrades – you name it and hes done it.

It’s really rather redundant though and difficult for me to maintain my “composure” throughout the work. I get board, restless, and find myself thinking about lunch/dinner/afternoon snack while I’m floating around page 4 of 13.

The reason why I brought up the art of practice is because I find myself questioning certain practice habits as I study this work. Where am I going wrong? What in my practicing do I need to change so that I don’t continually despise this piece?

I’ll probably end up loving the piece. Not because I enjoy it, but more because it’ll be a “labor” of love.

A labor of love that’s slowly driving me INSANE.

Such is life. Happy practicing friends.


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