I practiced cello three times today, about 20 minutes each time. That’s about how long my left hand could take before it gave up. As I said in my last post, I’m working on first-position extensions. All my practices today were focused on that. No trying to play music, just pure technical work. Scales, over and over, D and A. Focusing on posture, breathing, exactly where I’m putting my fingers (as my pinky has a tendency to splay out flat instead of landing on its tip on the string), making sure the bow is in the right place. Paying attention to what my left shoulder’s doing and what it ought to be doing. I even wrote down a list of what movements to focus on.
It was sort of Zen after a while and I enjoyed it more than I used to. For a long time now “practice” has meant “playing the piece I’m learning until it sounds better,” when I should have been doing more for my muscle memory. I think over the course of the day my left handspan has felt a little wider — the extensions feel a bit easier, and when I spread my hand out it feels nice and stretchy.
I think maybe the break from lessons has been weirdly good for me, because I’m regaining my commitment to playing now that the break is over with. I want to get better, not just be able to play the assigned pieces. I want to sound better, have a better form, really dig into it. I hope this desire lasts and isn’t killed off by depression again. I’ve been less depressed the last couple of weeks, and I hope that lasts too.