I like surprising myself – and this happens often when practicing regularly. I worked last night, first on my C (Bordogni exercises; low F articulation and tone for Dance of the Knights from Prokofiev’s R&J; then Jupiter from Holst’s Planets) – then on to my Eb and the Vaughan Williams concerto. I worked on page 1 and page 2, then spent a while on the cadenza. And, casually, just played the high Ab and Gb “optional” parts. And they are sounding! whoa! Surprise! 🙂 All the practice from last Spring’s Bydlo performance is continuing to pay off.
I’m also VERY happy with the slurring improvements I’m getting from James Thompson’s buzzing exercises. I can hear and feel the difference in the smoother transition from one note to another. If you haven’t tried these exercises, you really should take a look at them.
Finally, I read this yesterday on Andrew Hitz’s blog. It ultimately comes from an accomplished pianist’s strategies on smart practicing. It’s so easy to pat yourself on the back and practice stuff you play well. It’s a trap I work to avoid. Practice the ugly stuff and you’ll get better at it – sometimes when you least expect it. But — I do keep in mind Sam Pilafian statement: you might be happy with how you played something yesterday, but try to improve on it today.
Who knows what improvements you’ll discover the next time you practice!