Lately, I have been mulling over the idea about starting a blog. As is now apparent, I decided to give it a go. My idea is to use this platform as a way of sharing about myself and my creative process. I hope you all enjoy reading about my daily life, its struggles, and its rewards.
Last Thursday afternoon, I had to stop practicing because my right wrist was bothering me. Once I realized that I would just need a few days of rest and that I didn't have tendinitis, I almost welcomed the guilt-free break. I finally finished the season of Dexter I had been crawling through and hung out with a million friends I never had the time to see. It felt so great to be real college kid.
But after a day, it stopped being all that fun. My deadlines weren't going away and neither was the soreness in my wrist. At this point unable to restrain my frustrations, I began speaking (ranting) to all of my colleagues about my issue. I suspect that I sounded rather dramatic when explaining this "grave" problem I had. My embarrassment reached an all-time high when I discovered that one of my pianist friends was recovering from tendinitis... (she was gracious enough to still take a silly picture with me)
While this sobering and humbling experience did much to repress my outward emotion, I was still a wreck on the inside. I mean, seriously. Imagine having five essays due and not being able to write them without the great possibility of ruining your ability to write at all for the next semester. I was in a panic!
On the third night of my recovery, I found myself alone in my dark room. Sulking amidst my hand creams, anti-inflammatories, and wrist braces, I began to (perhaps selfishly) wonder how much non-pianists even considered the athleticism and coordination required to play the piano. So, I dug a little deeper and realized that even I didn't fully consider them.
Take Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu, for example (not nearly the most technically demanding piece in piano repertoire). Playing just one second of this piece requires 380 distinct motor actions. Keep in mind that this is what would be required to simply play the piece mechanically (WHAT?1). Now, add to that the artistic and musical effects, the fact that this activity must be sustained over the course of the entire piece, AND the fact that performing pianists are expected to juggle a rather large amount of repertoire.
It requires years of training to be able to precisely execute these fine-tuned actions without building up excess tension. Pianists must also develop strong muscles in order to gain the stamina to keep this up for the duration of an entire concert. Imagine having to pulse a two-pound dumbbell for an hour and a half. Maybe it would seem ridiculously easy at first, but by the 70 minute mark, that may not quite be the case . . .
So, next time you come in contact with a pianist, make sure you get a good double-take on their hands and forearms. You might be surprised!
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