Monday, March 29, 2010

I Will Survive

Where does the time go!?!? Monday night, again? The end of March, already?

I know where the time has gone: into my apartment, into all the furniture and little things I've found and purchased and brought home or had delivered and blah blah blah blah blah... The time that hasn't gone into my apartment is firmly lodged in my sinuses. At least, there's something in there. I look forward to the simple pleasure of breathing through my nose again.

Now that we've determined where the time is, where am I tonight?

Home. Almost out of the woods, apartment-setup-wise, thank goodness. Feeling a little lost/stuck: grad school makes its bi-weekly trek across my mind and as I watch it cross, I wonder, should I be giving you more thought? In contrast, feeling content to be alone this rainy Monday night, puttering around, practicing, plowing through paperwork. Having guilt-free dominion over my time is a perk of being single.

Also, I am behind. Not on anything that matters to anyone else, like rent or credit card payments, just on everything I want to get done for myself. Like this project. Now that my mind has space in it for something other than furniture-shopping and just getting through the day, it's hitting home that this project is going to take a lot more time and effort than I've been putting into it in order to get out of it what I want. The self-discovery is great and all, but I do want to improve my chops and my ear, build my repertoire, and write about a process and an experience that other people might find interesting.

After the above, you will not be surprised to learn that I am working on two songs today. Saturday was eaten up by laundry and two trips to Ikea (small car + tall shelves), and Sunday was devoured by work all day and a sinus infection, or whatever this is. My first song is "I Will Survive". It was made famous by Gloria Gaynor, but I first encountered the version by Cake when I was in high school. I loved it, of course, because it had the F-word in it. Gloria Gaynor apparently dislikes that version for the same reason. Anyway, I chose it because it is super-easy to memorize. It basically goes around the circle of 5ths every eight measures ad nauseum, so I printed out the lyrics and played it in a few different keys. My next song is "Glitter in the Air" - the Pink song that turned me on to the Funhouse album after a friend sent me a link to the youtube video of Pink's Grammy performance.

I still have to work on that, so I will sign off after I paste in some earlier observations about tonight's practice session. Oh, I have headphones now! I can practice at night and actually hear myself!

Observations as I practice tonight:
I have so much to do - another song to learn, laundry and books to put away, papers to file, emails to send, more things to practice and read and study and take care of than are realistically going to get done tonight - that I can feel myself rushing as I play. Duh, no wonder I have a tendency to rush or lose the groove - it's a habit.

This reminds me of someone I've been accompanying lately. He's a singer who's not so good at, um, ...pitch. He's very sweet and has a charming stage presence, but he has a problem singing on pitch. Which is kind of non-negotiable. I realized after a couple times working with him that his pitch problem is just habit. He can match pitch easily when I make him slow down and listen to himself. He needs some help with vocal technique, but mostly he just gets distracted and sings off key, and it's a habit.

So it is with my playing. I'm in the habit of constantly thinking of the next ten things I need to do, or remembering the thing that didn't go quite as I had hoped, or having both sides of a difficult conversation that may never need to happen - all while I'm negotiating something as complicated as playing the piano. A few years ago, I noticed that I always seemed to play better when I was feeling a little under the weather - not totally knocked out, but just a little sniffly or achy. And I've noticed recently, as parts of my life have been in boxes and/or shambles around me, that when I have to work, it's a huge effort only accomplished by completely shutting off everything but what I'm doing at exactly that second - but I've been working well when I have to. I believe this is called "compartmentalizing" and "being in the moment". Now I just have to learn to do this when my life is going smoothly.

1 comment:

  1. All your posts seem to indicate so much activity, so much on the to-do list and such time-poverty that I'm starting to feel guilty just sitting here idly reading about it. And yet... I cannot look away.

    You seem to be receiving so many messages of love and support from people that The Universe almost compels me to heckle you to some degree to keep The Balance. I'm not at that point yet - I mean, how very rude! - but the observation has been made; the seed planted. Who's to say what might happen in the name of cosmic balance? ;o)