In my piano lesson today, I felt as if I had entirely and utterly butchered Bach's Preludium. My notes felt like a pile of mush, varied with oddly misplaced accents and staccatos. It began in one tempo, and by the end we had slowed to a crawl. Where it should be Allegro, it was Lento. Maybe. Playing four melodic lines at the same time with ties and slurs and detatched notes in different places felt like saying tongue twisters with my fingers and my brain. The translation between my eyes, musical knowledge, and fingers was not going smoothly. I could get only so far down the page before the mass of lines and notes equaled mass confusion, at which point M. Wittenburg would say, "Don't freak out, don't freak out!" Of course I'm freaking out!!!
Breath and relax, breath and relax. It's a dance, not a NASCAR race. Take care of each beat before going on to the next. There is plenty of time and space between each set of notes. Forget the fact that I must think about playing detatched thirty-second notes, voicing another melody of eighth notes, holding down the bass quarter note, and relaxing my hands at the same time. It's all a beautiful dance.
By the end of my lesson, the page was covered in circles, slashes, and dots that only I will be able to decipher. After my perfectionist side had driven me to nearly banging a huge major chord just for the satisfaction of being able to play four correct notes at the same time, Wittenburg tells me, "You're really doing some good work with this. I'm pleased with the way it's coming along. All we have is some fine tuning to do, now. You're not that far away from where it should be."
Thank the Lord for encouraging teachers, even if they may be overly gracious sometimes. It makes struggling with Bach Preludiums worth it.