Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Recital and Related Thoughts

I played the Piano at a small recital organised in my teacher's home last month. This was my second recital this year. I played two pieces - Theme and Variations by Theodore Kullak and Rocking Horse Ride (Opus 98, No. 5) by Alexander Gretchaninov. Kullak's piece presents a theme followed by five variations of that theme. The hand positions are fixed and the tempo increases in the fourth and fifth variations. 'Rocking Horse Ride' is taken from Gretchaninov's 'Children's Book'. It tells about a rocking horse that starts off slowly enough but soon accelerates and almost rocks too far. But all is well in the end.

The single most important difference from my previous recital was my increased confidence. This was not entirely surprising given that I had prepared myself better this time around. It helped that I had been out of work for a couple of weeks before D-Day. And I forced myself to take a quick nap in the afternoon before the event. It was a refreshing contrast from the previous before-recital afternoon when I was tightly wound up and excited.

All of it paid off in the end. I did not mess up any notes but I did feel that I could have done better on the dynamics.

On a related note I was told that my music practice had noticeably improved ever since I left my job. This was a bit surprising especially since I had not drastically lengthened my practice sessions. I think reduced stress levels made most of the difference. In retrospect I can see that work had been so draining that I had become used to being perpetually wound up and did not notice how it was degrading the quality of my life.

I don't seem to be the alone in being stressed out. I learned from my teacher that there was a time when recitals were far more frequent. According to her pupils these days (that includes me) take much longer to get ready for a recital. She stressed how barely half a generation ago pupils - who were also at school, had a job or were otherwise busy - were somehow able to find time to do justice to music. With every passing year pupils seem to have less and less time to practice, or indeed to focus on anything much outside work.

I have decided to actively combat stress the next time I start working a job. This would mean working regular hours, leaving work behind on stepping out of the office, learning to turn off my phone after hours and during weekends. I don't know how I'll achieve all these but I certainly am not going to let work deprive me of life again.


James said...

Nice to see you back blogging Manoj,
and to see you enjoying your time off productively.

Sarath said...

Keep going buddy !!

Manoj Govindan said...

@James, Sarath,
Thanks for your kind words.


James said...

Hey Manoj, kind of surprised that you have not blogged know ..(the b.o.m.b.) the other week..would have thought that was unusual enough to be blogworthy.

I have a question about music but I will put it in an email as it is sort of complicated.

Sarath said...

@ James,
I heard from Manoj that soon after the blasts he walked to a nearby mall which many believed could be the next target (in order to register his protest!!!!)

Brave but S U I C I D A L !!

@ Manoj, are an idolator, a Kafir and you are not going to get 72 please don't try to be brave again !!! Hehehehe :-)))

Manoj Govindan said...

I'll reply to your comment via mail.

Given that I am destined for a fiery hell the least I can do is enjoy my life in the material world :)

Aeromaniac said...

And amen to the bit about combating stress at work and switching off the cellphone on weekends. I remember what a blissful life i had when I didn;t have a cellphone in the 2001-2002 timeframe.

Akshay said...

hi manoj,
nice to c u bloggin more often....n nice to hear the sabbatical's goin well....
although somehow i expected u to hav been bloggin more now ur on sabbatical.....i recall one of your previous posts had that stated intent....

Aeromaniac said...

Hi Manoj,

guess what, one of my friends dropped by the other day and he left me his electric guitar and his Korg processor! I always had an acoustic at home, but the above stuff kind of got me started on tthe guitar...I have been practicing for 2 days now and am slogging through twnkle twinkle little star, and the following chords- easy C, Easy G7, D, A7...really enjoying it!

Anonymous said...

Glad to know your sabbatical's goin well... :)

Manoj Govindan said...

Thanks for your comment.

I hope to write more this month. Writing took a back seat in the initial days when I was struggling (more) to tackle SICP.

Enjoyment is the best incentive for practice. Have fun and keep going!