Imperfect Practice #1 An introduction – 18 mins

I lost interest in playing classical piano in my late teens because I was fed up with trying to play “properly” and spending so much time being upset with mistakes. I was frustrated and dissatisfied, and ultimately didn’t fully return to classical music for about thirty years.


Imperfect Practice #1 The Swan (Saint-Saëns), Venetian Boat Song (Mendelssohn) and Rêverie (Debussy)

Now I think to be able to play at all is a blessing, and I would be foolish not to just enjoy every moment that I have to play any and all kinds of music. I’m learning many new pieces, including some of these today. I have the patience of an older person and reading notation has become a genuine delight: read and play, and reveal what is within those dots and lines and squiggles. There is no urgency to reach the end result, it’s the process that is magical.

It’s also going to be a piano journal for me, so I can hear what I was doing, in ten years time.

I’m not bothered by tricky bits, I just slow down and articulate as best I can. These days I have some knobbly nodes on my finger joints and I’m slower than I was, but I don’t torment myself anymore.

It’s beautiful music, even with my mistakes!

These days we are constantly editing ourselves — whether it’s photo filters, or tweaking MIDI to make note perfect songs or sharpen flat voices, or software to fix spelling and grammar. #Imperfect Practice is me playing for myself, playing duff notes and mumbling expletives while I work on things. I might work on the same songs for years and it still may never be perfect. That’s the life. It doesn’t matter, because the journey is enjoyable. So I will record what it’s like to play at home, warts and all.

Because this is the first recording, I was self-conscious. It’s weird talking at the phone. I spoke so formally, and just played three songs, once. Normally I would have played each song at least a couple of times before moving on. I don’t know whether I’ll end up recording whole sittings, or just pick one song, repeated several times over. But let’s make a start.

If you’re doing chores, it might sound like someone is in your home practising the piano, which might be nice. I thought maybe my students might have it on while doing their homework, but maybe that’s a bit optimistic 🙂

Why is the feature pic my lavender? I don’t really know but that’s what the weather was like today. Plus, I just love my lavender.

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