How do you work on old repertoire you're returning to?
So I've been away from my instrument for the past few days traveling in beautiful Yunnan. But now that I'm back to work, I thought I'd share what I've been working on today. Here are my go-to rules when returning to old pieces:
1. Mark out the most technically challenging sections
2. Work slow with mind-body awareness.
Work through the notes as slowly as you can, keeping aware of any tension in the body, frequently checking posture, and starting with hands separate. This is to make sure you're not bringing any old habits from the last time you played this piece.
3. Rediscover the music.
At the same slow pace, try to discover new relationships between notes, and rediscover surprising harmonies. Basically, any way to avoid going on autopilot and getting the piece back in your fingers without intention!!
In general, it's much more important to get a clear mental concept of the piece than it is to physically work out the pieces. Because with old pieces, you will be surprised by how much the body remembers, it's absolutely essential to do as much as you can to prevent automatically playing through the piece. Create as much friction as you can to learn the piece intentionally.
All in all, it's really exciting to reunite with old pieces, I feel like I'm meeting old friends again and I'm stoked to see how I've grown since I last played these pieces. Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you have any pro tips for returning to old repertoire, which can always be a tricky thing 😏😏😏