Cancelled concerts are something so many musicians across the world are having to deal with right now, so I wanted to spread some positivity and share my experience.
It’s beginning to hit home. The reality that I won’t be playing my end of year recital.
Earlier this week I got an email saying that all end of year recitals were cancelled due to Covid-19. Initially, I kept asking the questions:
Why? How could they? Don’t they understand that at a conservatoire this is all we work for? Is there not a way around this?
Of course the answer was no to all of the above.
After speaking to a few of my friends in the piano department I’ve come to understand that it isn’t actually the thought of not getting a mark that’s upsetting (although this does drive some people). It’s the fact that we won’t get any closure on the pieces we’ve been working on for months.
For those of you who are non-musicians, imagine if this was your partner. You’ve been spending between 3-6 hours or more with that person per-day. Even when you’re not with them you can hear their voice on repeat in your head, you’re listening to them speak on the phone. You’re getting to know every single little detail about them. Now imagine that this person suddenly disappears from your life.
Luckily we haven’t lost the pieces themselves, we’ve just lost an opportunity to share our hard work. We are extremely lucky because these pieces we’ve been working on for months are immortal on paper, in recordings and at our fingertips. The only problem is how do we practice now that there is no reason to? I’m sure many music students are asking themselves the question – what am I supposed to do now?
I may not be performing these pieces anymore but there is nothing stopping me from continuing to practice them. I’ve got a really great practice diary (linked down below) that helps me to organise what I’m practising and give myself a daily routine. Like most people, I don’t cope well with a change in routine, so this helps me to keep feeling productive.
I can still continue to work on my technique. Its a great opportunity to explore new repertoire and find things to sight-read (even though all of my sheet music is still in Cardiff) thanks to IMSLP, nkoda and old copies of Pianist Magazine. But most importantly, I can play for fun, something I don’t always get chance to do.
Just remember that there are lots of fun things to do while in social isolation – I’ve signed up to do a 24 hour Pianoathon for patients at The Royal Hospital of Neuro-Disability! I’ve also been getting up to some DIY around the home, reading (something that I’ve always loved to do but haven’t had the chance to lately), baking and cross-stitch. But its also okay to not want to play for a while if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate or find the motivation with the current situation going on.
Keep at home and stay positive!
Pianist Magazine: https://www.pianistmagazine.com/
Pianoathon for The Royal Hospital of Neuro-Disability: https://www.facebook.com/rhnpianothon
Practice Diary: https://liquidrum.com/pages/the-practice-journal