I have been thinking a lot lately, and sometimes I think it's hard to be efficient about practicing really knowing how to practice. I am starting to think that it is really important to know what I am actually trying to achieve through practicing. I think a part of that is because sometimes, my technique limits what I can do musically, but other times, my understanding of musical interpretation limits me technically, if that makes sense.
When I practice, the progress is slow, but I think the results are concrete, noticeable, at least on some level. I'm a full time student right now, and not taking lessons, but whenever I have time to practice the violin, I would record myself playing either an excerpt or a piece maybe once or twice a week.
Today, I listened to a recording of a piece I played a month or two ago, and was shocked how cringe worthy the intonation was in the recording. The recording of the same piece I made today sounded very different from that recording, yet, I did not remember hearing those same out of tune notes when I recorded it a month ago. It's really interesting how perception is different from reality at times. I would not say that my sense of pitch changed much in such a short amount of time, but definitely, the first time I heard my initial recording, I was not aware of all of the problems with pitch, or all the extra noise I was making with the bow. Yet, despite the fact that I wasn't aware of these things, they changed for the better somehow?
However, I would not say that everything about the my current version of the piece is better than it was a month ago. There were many phrases where I thought I played sounded more musically or less "carefully" than how I play it now.
It seems that perhaps I'm making progress, but also taking some steps back at the same time? I would be really interesting to hear what some teachers have to say about this matter, or how to go about retaining what you like, and trying to get better at what you don't like.
Sometimes I think my practicing is too aimless, and that it lacks direction. I mean clearly, something changed about the way I played that piece from two months ago, but I'm not sure everything I ended up changing was intended, or if things just happened to get assembled randomly.
Before you practice something are you supposed to have some type of an end goal, or some kind of a end result in your mind? Sure, just about everyone wants to sound like the Heifetz, but those kind of results are not achievable in a matter of months. Also, if you just try to copy a recording, then it inhibits your ability to interpret the music yourself, and it's much easier to copy a master violinist's technical flaws than their strengths, because everyone has a different physical makeup.
Sometimes, I listen to me recording, and pretty much I just think, 'wow i really need to work on that martele at some point, that was super sloppy', but I am not even sure where to start, or what my problem is exactly. I mean I know how to compress my bow hair, and just jerk it around. Maybe I can even do it pretty cleanly on open strings, but not when I play that phrase. Or maybe, I think I'm playing it perfectly when I play it, but when I listen to my recording, it just sound kind of awful. It's like, I know what it's supposed to sound like when played well in a recording, but not how it's supposed to sound while I'm playing it? Haha!
The violin seems like such a simple instrument at times, but why is that almost everyone has a unique type of sound when playing a simple legato with a whole bow?
How can we objectively evaluate our playing, and be conscious of everything that we are doing, while simultaneous making calculated adjustments?
Sorry if this rant was hard to follow. I am just not sure how to articulate my thoughts in a organized and coherent manner right now, but I would still like to hear some thoughts.
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