Don’t slow down for the bump

It’s cold here in the UK tonight, very, very cold, snow everywhere, and untreated roads are sheets of ice.

So I got stuck this evening on my way home, and sat in an immobile car while the wheels spun uselessly. A friend who lived nearby (thankfully) told me what to do: ‘ Back up, get into second gear, take a run at it and don’t slow down for the speed bump.’ And with much drama, noise, wheel-spin and slewing all over the road, I made it.

I report this only because later it made me think of technical obstacles faced in pieces we encounter; in certain conditions, to negotiate them too carefully in performance would be the wrong manoeuvre.

Rev up and go for it. Don’t slow down for the bump.

Here’s Prokofiev’s ‘Battle on the Ice’ from Alexander Nevsky.

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4 Responses to Don’t slow down for the bump

  1. This is what I call “playing as if you don’t care”. I get my adult students to do it to overcome anxiety and to help them play in a freer way. I also do it myself, especially at the end of a long practise session when I’ve had enough of doing detailed work. Barry Green is an advocate of it in his book The Inner Game of Music. It works for some pieces – I played the Chopin Ballade yesterday, just for ‘fun’ (ha ha!), and it was much better (nevermind the errors!) – but I wouldn’t risk it with the Bach I’m learning, at least not yet.

    Hope you’re keeping warm in Suffolk. We finally had a snowfall here (SW London) overnight – a great excuse to stay in and finesse my concert pieces!

    • Christine says:

      Thick snow here and it keeps falling intermittently – Liszt’s version of Dante’s Inferno keeping me warm!
      Agreed re Bach. Best wishes for a great concert!

  2. I am glad you are into Dante Sonata. It sounded great on Saturday at JD.
    Have a lovely Christmas!

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