Monday, May 5, 2008

When does it let up?

"It", in this case, being the mental energy I give to this piano thing. There are some easy answers to this question, but I am not entirely sure those are the correct answers.

I probably spend more time thinking about piano than I do actually playing it. Part of the reason for this is that I don't get nearly as much practice time as I need, or as I would like. I try to do the mental play thing described in Chuan Chang's book, where I mentally rehearse pieces I know, but still have trouble with. The easy answer, in this case, is that I would think about piano less when I am not playing it, if I simply played more. My goal was to put in an hour a day during the week days, and maybe a total of 5 hours over the weekend (which is how I arrived at the 500 hour figure mentioned in my last post...) Surely, I say to myself, if you were able to put that kind of practice time, you wouldn't be thinking about it nearly as much.

But is that really true? If I played more, would that exhaust, or at least vent the mental energy I spend on this away from the keyboard? I'm not entirely sure it would.

Much of the mental energy I devote isn't to playing, per se, but rather, as you know by now, to The Next Piano. What's it going to be? Acoustic or upright? A high-quality instrument, or something just to hold us over for a couple years? Where in the new house should the piano go? Each prospective answer to those questions opens up new branches on the decision tree, more what-if's to be explored.

If you're playing along with me here, the easy answer is obvious: Surely, I say to myself, once I buy The Next Piano, I will stop thinking about it so much, and concentrate on learning to play.

(Must... resist... overused... quotes... from... "Airplane!")

Again, though, I have my doubts. I have seen others go through this on from what I can discern, those of us who go through this have a little bit of James Bond in us. There is always The Next One. In Bond's case, the next girl. In our case, upgrading. Upgrading from a digital to a better digital (or an upright). Upgrading from an upright to a grand. Upgrading from a grand to a bigger grand. I haven't read Grand Obsession yet, but I think I know where the premise of the book is coming from.

I've been aware of this going on in me for a month or two. It has been going on for longer than that, of course. But it isn't getting any better. I am currently watching about 9 auctions on eBay... some digitals, a "new" (not really, but unused) Pramberger, and yes, they have that Astin-Weight listed again (no it doesn't look like it's going to sell). I checked these auctions probably a dozen times over the weekend. And I'm not even bidding on any of them! I'm just "edumacating" myself, as I told my wife, to be ready when the time comes to make an informed purchase. She nodded knowingly. She knows me well.

Topics for future consideration include teachers, recording methods, new Ludovico Einaudi releases, Chopin (this blog's name was almost an awful pun on his name), recitals (virtual and otherwise), and future releases of Larry Fine's book. These are things I don't think about much these days, but others do, and I might.

This blog helps. It causes me to attempt (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to organize these thoughts in a way that makes sense to complete strangers. That has a way of reducing the perception of chaos, if not the chaos itself. And certainly, when this initial surge of interest wanes, you'll be the first to know. Well, second. My wife will know first, then you. I'll come around eventually.

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