Sound advice for Pianothonners!
As Radio 3's second Pianothon looms closer, I'm wondering how participants are dealing with the scary deadline: by Saturday September 12th, you've got to be ready to play! An audience will be there... so will Radio 3's microphones. Will that inflict so much nervous misery that the benefits of Pianothon could be cancelled out? I hope not. But having a performance date can interfere with a great amateur strength - the ability to work on technical problems purposefully, but without expectation. By expectation, I mean the insistence that your work must be successful by a certain point in time. Not minding too much how long it takes for the music to finally come together is the key to avoiding stress. Ah, but then along comes Pianothon, to put a spanner in the works!
I think the best way to survive the new pressure is to use the deadline to give an extra boost of motivation; commit ourselves to do everything in our power to maximise (without forcing) our musical growth. Passages that have been neglected can be polished up; problems that have been avoided can be faced. But opting to put in a bit more practice is only part of the picture. I certainly don't want any Pianothonners to kill themselves in order to turn in their best possible performance! The other important thing to remember is that how people play on the day is just a snapshot of their ongoing development. Fellow-Pianothonners will sense that development and celebrate it as much as the performance itself.
There's simply something elemental and timeless about hearing an amateur playing the piano with devotion: that's why I know that this year's Pianothon will be a magical day. And I truly believe that some music belongs to amateurs. (Have you ever heard Fur Elise played by a slick professional? Ewwww!)
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