We've decided that I'm going to do a 'Performance Assessment' this coming November, to get me back into practice for doing my Grade 5 next year. The idea is that you play three pieces for the examiner, who comments on your playing, but doesn't give a mark. It's to get inhibited adults feeling easier about playing 'in public'.
meme posted on Facebook by ABRSM Greece
Choosing the first two pieces was fairly easy - a Bach Prelude, and the third movement from Georg Benda's Sonata in G, which was a Grade 4 piece a few years ago. But the third one has been a problem. I badly wanted to play something by Ludovico Einaudi, my favourite composer. We tried a couple of pieces - Primavera and Stella del Mattino. But I seem to have some sort of block, so far as Einaudi is concerned. I think the problem is, I listen to his music on CD often in my car, and so I know what it's *supposed* to sound like, and get so frustrated because there's no way I could ever sound like that.
Which is fair enough, because if I could, I should be a full-time concert pianist, instead of a Unitarian minister. But it has made me feel discouraged, because practice has not made perfect, nor anywhere close to it.
It occurred to me today that a better maxim to follow might be "Practice makes better." Most people struggle to do anything perfectly, no matter how hard or how often they practice, but all of us can do things better than we do at the moment, if we practice doing them often enough.
So I am going to stop beating myself up for not being as good as Einaudi, and resolve instead to do the best that *I* can, through regular practice.
This is not only applicable to playing music. It's true of anything we undertake in this life. We can only do the best that we can, where we are, with the talents we have.
As Richard Rohr wrote in today's Daily Meditation: "The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better."
And that is enough.