Thanks, Erik and Cass for listening.
Yesterday I had a tough day in the practice room....it left me a bit down. However, today I had my weekly lesson and that made a big difference in my outlook. There is nothing like having an excellent teacher to help you make a real breakthrough to lift your spirits!
This week, I will be working on the exercises he gave me to develop the control I wish to have with my rubato. I will record the piece again next week and we will see what the result is.
Funny that you should mention the storytelling, Cass. I went to an Oscar Ghilia masterclass a few weeks ago and he talked about what story the music is telling. As I asked myself about that with regard to Choro da Saudade, I realized I *did* have a story to tell. But how to communicate that story?
Yes, Oski is right....my feeble attempts at rubato in this recording were so "subtle" that no one but I knew they were there.
Part of the problem was due to a few misconceptions I had about what was "allowable". My teacher helped clear those up today. So we will see how the piece changes in the next week.
Cass, you asked about the process my teacher was suggesting to reduce the time to bring the piece to performance. I will outline it below and emphasize that it was tailored to me in particular and it is not necessarily the appropriate solution for another student. Chris told me that this is what I needed to do....but he has another student for which he knows this would not be the right solution. It really depends on the student's difficulties and tendencies.
You mention that you are like me in that you need to let the piece work its way gradually into your bones and being and that is pretty much what I had to do. Or so I thought!
This is the first piece that I have worked on in this way, so although it is much much further along at the same time point than the last piece I learned, it is still not yet ready. Although it is still a work in progress (and will be for a much longer time) it is better developed at six months than the last piece I learned.
How to work on a piece efficiently to bring it to performance in less time?
* Don't allow yourself the luxury of that long time line!
Having a deadline like a masterclass presentation in a shorter time than you are used to having will not allow you to be inefficient. [definitely this was good part of what I needed]
* More balance between technical and musical details (sometimes those details are small...but important).
Attention to dynamics and phrasing earlier in the process of learning the piece. Learning each section with dynamics and phrasing before learning the entire piece. My previous usual process was to learn the entire piece, get the worst technical problems solved, then go back and work on the musical elements. When I learned this piece, I first concentrated on the A section, worked on it phrase by phrase and brought it up to tempo (although it was still really too slow---more on that later. Then I concentrated in the same manner on the B section and then the C section.
*Don't linger at a slow tempo for too long.
This was definitely a major problem for me. I now knew the piece, but had been practicing it very slowly. This can affect your musical model because you become accustomed to hearing the piece slowly. Chris had me bring small bits at a time up to and a bit past the tempo I planned to play the piece. This meant that I brought the bits of the A section up to 1/8 note = 92 before I started working on the B section. Then did the same thing with B and C sections. The "small bits" aspect is that when you play a passage, even if only a beat or two at a much higher BPM, you start to train your fingers to move faster. You might not get it on the first try, but you just start with the number of notes you can play at that tempo. You aren't trying to play the entire section at that speed, just a few beats. When you go back and play that phrase in the piece, the work you did on the bits is there in the fingers and it does bring up the tempo quicker than playing the entire section and slowly moving it up a few clicks.
*Goal oriented learning
Have daily, weekly and long term goals. One week, I worked on making the passages more legato, another it might be controlling the rubato. Basically, you are sitting down to practice and you are trying to accomplish a particular thing. You may not achieve it, but it is the focus of the practice. Know what you are trying to accomplish.
So that is what I have tried to do in this piece, and I have not been entirely successful...but it is the first time I have tried to learn a piece in this manner. Hope that answers your question!
When the sun shines, bask.
Classical Guitar forever!