Dec 8, 2008

What to study when you really can't

Last week I did something very stupid: while cutting some paper for making a booklet, I cut my right index finger with a very sharp knife. At first, it didn't look like a bad cut, but in the end I had to go to the hospital to have the bleeding stopped. The effect was that I couldn't use my right hand at the piano for a week.

Initially I figured that a week of rest from the piano wouldn't really hurt me. However, I had forgotten that next week my teacher will have her yearly student's Christmas concert, and that I'm supposed to play in that concert. So she suggested that I focused on left hand exercises, for example, the left hand part of Beethoven's Pathetique. I've been trying to study that sonata some time ago, but thought it's still way too difficult for me. But this week, focusing on the left hand only, really helped to get a better grip on the fundament of this sonata. When I could use my right hand again yesterday, I found that I had made incredible progress!

Yes, I know that it's always a good idea to study hands separately when working on a new piece, and I've known that for a long time now. My experience this week taught me that I tend to start playing both hands simultaneously too early. Learning the separate hands really well before attempting to play left and right together actually works much better than I thought!

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