Day 48, Pulse

Practice: 4 hours, Rehearsal: 45 minutes.  Not much doing today except a whole truck load of practicing.  Much of it was spent wood shedding the Barber violin concerto.  I swear everything I’ve ever had to play by that guy has forced me to become a better player.  That’s probably the nicest way I can frame it. :)  The rest was a frenzy of West Side Story.  The Reed 2 book that I was assigned is the all-clarinet book.  Bb, Eb, Bass.  It’s more fun than you can believe and we haven’t even started rehearsals yet!  Practicing for four hours was easy today.

Something finally clicked towards the end of my practice on Barber.  The third movement is wicked technical and you have the choice of thinking in triplets at 192…or half notes at 96.  The latter is how the part is marked.  From working slowly I had a tendency to just think of the quarter note at increasingly quick speeds.  When I left that behind and thought of the larger pulse suddenly everything became much easier.  I think it’s like trying to think of every muscle involved in swinging a baseball bat versus seeing a ball coming towards you and trying to hit it.  Both could accomplish the same thing but one is much….much simpler.  Tangentially it reminded me of the cognitive concept of “chunking.”  Of course it would be easier to think of two groups of six than four groups of three.   It made me wonder how much time I spent hammering in physical repetition when I should have just been thinking about it differently.

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