A Semi-Productive Snow Day
You might have heard a thing or two about the crazy snowstorm that just pummeled the East Coast this weekend. It looked something like this in my neighborhood:
With a blizzard warning and travel ban throughout New York City on Saturday, I was stuck in my apartment for the day. And if I couldn’t get to school, I couldn’t practice. I’m all about taking days off, but considering I have two concerts coming up this week, I was a little worried about this one. Turns out, it was probably a really good thing that I couldn’t get to a piano that day.
As musicians, our tendency is to put so much effort into playing the right notes at the right time. To achieve that, we often set our music on the stand and immediately pick up our instruments, trying to spin chaotic physical motion into beautiful music. As a collaborative pianist who is constantly working with texts of songs in addition to just notes on the page, my professors often remind me that being a good musician is SO much more than just perfecting our playing. I fully believe it, but sometimes I need a reminder. This time, I got one in the form of a blizzard.
Being forced to practice without my instrument was one of the most productive hours I’ve spent. I spent so much more time than I ever would mulling over the poetry of some art songs on an upcoming program, reading about the composer and poets’ lives, and staring at the score trying to understand how it tied all of these elements together. I always spend a few minutes here and there in a practice room figuring out this “context” of a piece before I start hacking away at the piano, but spending an hour focused on just this was illuminating. When I finally made it out of my apartment the next day and got to play my instrument again, it was so refreshing to bring such a deep understanding of a piece before I attempted to play it.
So thanks, Snow Day, for reminding me that good practice isn’t just about playing notes. And the Harry Potter movie marathon that occurred afterward? Thanks for that, too.