Work in Progress

She’s at it again.  Practising. In public. On the internet. Private instrumental practice used to be – well, private, but pianist Valentina Lisitsa has allowed us into her studio via a webcam as she prepares for concerts in the US and at London’s Royal Albert Hall. And judging by the numbers of views, ‘likes’, tweets and the chat between viewers, she has a large audience even before she gets anywhere near the concert platform. Catch her in action here.
It’s not the first time; a similar online occasion had her working on old and new repertoire over a two-week period; I missed that, so was curious to see her in action this time. And what a treat to hear Skryabin, Rachmaninov and Chopin last night, pieces obviously right under her fingers, old friends, being kept at their optimum performance level.
And the effect? As Catherine Shefski tweeted, it is motivational. Practising in one’s own home studio is so isolated; it’s sometimes inspiring  to have the unseen but audible company of others in nearby practice rooms at a music college, for instance, as long as the sound-proofing is adequate. So having Valentina practising on the lap-top screen in the study next to my musicroom is very welcome.
Just now her piano is silent; she’s having a break; it’s just after 5pm in North Carolina. Quite a feat, to practise for hours under public scrutiny. Best wishes, Valentina, for your forthcoming recitals and your London debut.
Now please excuse me, I have to go and practise …

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