Thursday, April 25, 2013

Warning: Serious Practice in Progress

My intention has always been to say, "Yes!" if at all possible to opportunities to perform. Scheduling gigs has provided meaning to my practice, has pushed me to grow, and has helped me learn to manage stage fright.

This winter / spring, I've taken on a big project ... Malcolm Dalglish's "Hymnody of Earth."  It is a collection of songs composed and arranged for hammered dulcimer, choir, and percussion, featuring the poetry of Wendell Berry. I've taken on the responsibility of playing six selected songs from the complete work. That would be six complex pieces to work out, learn, memorize, eventually to coordinate with the choral director, choir, and percussionist. Sometimes I wonder, "What was I thinking?"

But I got smart. I arranged a tutoring session with my friend, Marya Katz, who performed some of the pieces last fall. That was a big help! She provided not only specific tips and suggestions for playing a couple of the pieces, but also the special encouragement and support that a good friend can provide.

Events have been put into motion. Practice is underway. I feel alternately capable and overwhelmed, sometimes both in the same practice session! No matter what, of this project I am certain:

  • It will require structured and focused practice.
  • It will sometimes take more time than I have to give.
  • It will bring on fear and trembling.
  • It will get me out of the "minimal practice" rut.
  • It will improve my overall playing.
  • It will be fun to be a "part" of the "whole".
  • It will be over on June 9.

I've been "tweeting" my progress. You can follow me if you like @hammerdulcimer

Have you taken on something big? Is it worth biting off "more than you can chew?" How will you know, if you don't try?

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