The LMusA Diploma Journey – Update #4
It’s fair to say that La Maja de Goya is quite a challenging little piece! A fiddly little bugger, with some fantastically gorgeous chord movements that require a little (or a lot of) work. Being a transcription from a piano piece originally that’s understandable I guess.
The piece is one of those things that sounds so very simple, deceptively so. On beginning to learn it one realises it is anything but simple and you begin to understand the level of work required to do justice to such a marvellous piece of music.
Not that I ever expected it to be simple to learn – it’s on the LMusA diploma list after all! And not that I ever really wanted it to be simple either. It is through challenges like this (technical rather than musical in this sense) that one grows, develops, changes, takes the next steps in the never-ending journey of improving your technique and mastering the instrument. And it is never-ending really – there is always more to learn or refine and there will always be a piece of music out there to challenge you.
Those little technical knots and niggles I’m coming across are quite a source of frustration. Seemingly innocuous, seemingly simple, yet the execution of these elements is less than desirable at present. This is where I have to tease each one out in isolation and look at what’s going on with my left and right hands. With the left hand are there any extraneous movements going on, alternative fingerings I could use and so on. With my right hand am I playing the correct strings, which fingers am I using, am I preparing the fingers and thumb as I need to be, am I placing the right hand fingers down on the correct strings in sync with the left hand movements and so on.
As I said, La Maja de Goya is a technical challenge rather than a musical one for me, as the musical direction is pretty clear (to me at least) and I’ve got a number of ideas in my head as to how I want the piece to sound. Which is another source of frustration – I know the music I want to produce, I’ve just got to get the left hand and right hand to help my produce that! And I will. I know that in time, with solid consistent practice, I will be able to play this as beautifully as any other pieces I play.
And this is where I have to exercise patience. It will take as long as it takes and moving from “point A” to “point B” is never going to be a smooth linear movement. This is where I also have to cut myself some slack that it will come as a result of my efforts (which it always has done in the past so why should it be any different now?!), trust myself, soak in the words of wisdom and guidance of my wonderful teacher Ben Dix, aim to let go of that frustration, breath, relax and keep on working.