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MP Days 8 & 9: No More Time for Being Grumpy - Play Scales!

I remember a time before I set myself this task. It was an idyllic time, where the sun always shone without being too hot or bright; where birds would join you in a song when you rose from a perfect slumber; where strangers would join you in an impeccably choreographed song and dance routine about how the world is a super-duper place. Now I sit in my studio at home where it's too hot and sweaty; where there are no birds but the dogs next door bark loudly and constantly; and where the strangers on the street may be doing impeccably choreographed song and dance routines but I wouldn't know anything about that because I'm at home playing scales.


It's not to say there hasn't been steady improvement, because there definitely has been. It's just not the exciting project I thought it was last week. But what did I expect? It's scales - dry, difficult, uninteresting, purely technical scales.

OK, so maybe I'm projecting a little bit of my mood over the past week onto my work, and that's not great. It was a hard last few days and I'm still getting over certain things, and it slowed my momentum down to a crawl. I thought I'd get a lot more done but when you're an emotional mess it's hard enough to sit down and work, let alone even contemplate starting! And now that's where I am - I've managed to start again, and what a lucky place too, as days 8 and 9 of the Moyse Project take us back to the beginning with the first and second set of exercises.

Day 8 was more or less fine, staying at the same tempo as before, 92bpm. I definitely had some concentration issues and it took me longer to finish the set because I kept stopping to "take a break" (read: check facebook because it's the easiest distraction on hand). I was just not in the mood, and it was one of those days where you push yourself to practice even though you don't really feel like it, hoping that once you start you'll get into it and enjoy playing. Not that day, unfortunately. It was definitely a struggle.

Day 9, however, was a big turnaround. I was feeling better and I was motivated. The major and minor scales in thirds when off without a hitch...almost. There are a couple tricky ones in the minor scales that gave me a little trouble, but overall it was smoother and more assured. In the arpeggios and seventh chords it was just the usual suspects: the ones on F-sharp and B. A lot of it has to do with the awkward shifts in the upper register, like D-sharp, E, F, or F-sharp up to A-sharp/B-flat. The right index finger has to be in two places almost at once and mine just doesn't want to move. It's where the smoothness disappears. Frustrating, but useful knowledge. After that, the rest of exercises were fine. I was able to take the whole set at 80bpm with very few repeated sections. It was a good day. Four more sets and I've covered everything!

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