Not Keeping Time
Keeping time is difficult. After so long, I thought I finally got it, and then came along a piece where counting was not even that hard, and I was not able to match the metronome while counting and playing simultaneously. The piece I was practicing was meant to introduce me to Dotted Eighth Notes. Now my metronome was counting 1–2–1–2 while I had to count 1-n-2-n-1-n-2-n. At 90bps, it was hard to match the metronome. I think its not the speed itself that was the problem. Rather the fact that I was trying to hear the metronome every few beats to check if my counting was in sync or not. And as soon as I try doing that, my focus is divided between listening, counting, reading and playing. And then I would, without fail, mess up. So finally I decided to record the piece without the metronome.
The second piece called “The Busy Mill” was the one that created all the trouble. It took me nearly 20 tries to get to a recording where I didn’t hit a wrong note or didn’t mess up the timing totally. Even in this recording, I have hesitated at a point and it is clearly audible.
The first piece “The Boatsman Chant” was about using the correct fingering. So in middle of the piece, your hand would shift one key to the right and then it would come back to the original position again. When trying to play any moderately difficult piece these hand position changes are needed all the time. So its great to get that started early enough. Since these are learning exercises, they tell you what to do exactly. But the real skill is to be able to look at a piece and decide when to move your hand to a different position versus when to just extend your first or fifth finger to reach a note.
For keeping time, I am not sure whether I should use a metronome or not. Metronome definitely provides a way to check your counting but at the same time acts as a distraction. Also, without metronome its hard to know what tempo you are counting at. Will have to seek some advice from my teacher on this.
Meanwhile, lets not rush. Lets not drag either.