Beyond My Abilities

It’s musical time again, and this year is a little different. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I have a bigger role in the orchestra this year.

I’m happy to help out–and honestly, glad I can–but the enormity of what I had agreed to hit me last Friday. On Saturday, I was suffocating, so I did some math. I figured out that if I spent 10 minutes per page of music I needed to learn, it would take me 25 hours to get through the whole show once.  So every hour I am home, I sit at my piano for 10 minutes and work on one page.

It’s the kind of thing I’ve told my piano students to do before, when they are stuck on a few measures of a song. Focus in on the measures that are tripping you up, I tell them, and you’ll learn the song faster than just playing through the song a million times.

Turns out I was right.

I’m amazed at what I’ve been able to learn in such a short time. Part of it is the concentrated focus on “just one page at a time,” and I know part of it is Divine Intervention. The show opens in less than a month, and I’m trying to make up a lot of ground. Last Friday at rehearsal, I panicked, thinking I had grossly overestimated my abilities and that I really was not that good at piano.

As of right now, I’ve clocked 6 hours and 20 minutes of practice time since Saturday afternoon. I’m a long ways from show-ready, but mentally, now I know this is something I can do. It won’t be a disaster. It won’t be perfect, but it won’t fall apart.

Which is what good accompanists do in the first place.



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