First, a bit of work-showing. Here are the first four movements of Stravinsky’s Les Cinq Doigts, and let’s see if any of you can identify the four seconds in which I temporarily switched from “focus” to “feelings” mode:

I was able to do nearly all of my morning piano practice in a focused state, which makes such an incredible difference to the output.

I need to write more about this.

I need to write more about everything.

I need to write more about Maggie Stiefvater’s Mister Impossible, which may be the best book on creativity I’ve read since Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

Here’s a really quick overview of everything I did (or didn’t do) on last week’s to-do list:

  • Finish memorizing the first page of the Bach RICERCAR A 6 (almost done, just two measures left)
  • Memorize three more pages of Ravel’s LA VALSE (nope, I went back and did a bunch of polish work on the first half of La Valse instead)
  • Memorize the Stravinsky LARGHETTO MOVEMENT (done)
  • Work transitions between sections in MOZART K332 MMT 3 (done, at least for the exposition)
  • Work the two memory lapses I had when I performed MOZART K332 MMT 2 for my parents (done, mmt 2 is performance-ready)
  • Work the one memory lapse I had when I performed MOZART K332 MMT 1 for my parents (done, mmt 1 is performance-ready)

Here’s what I want to do this week:

  • AS MUCH FOCUSED PRACTICE AS POSSIBLE

That is it.

I mean, if I memorized another 16 measures of the Ricercar or another few pages of La Valse or worked the transitions between the development and recapitulation sections of Mozart K332 mmt 3, that would all be great.

BUT what I really need to do — what L and I are both currently doing, in our own practice sessions — is REVAMP or REFINE or REFOCUS (oh hey, it’s that word again) the way I approach learning and mastering music.

Which really means focusing the rest of me, so that for two hours a day I can work towards creating art/magic/excellence at the piano.

Which really means focusing everything in my life to help me be the best person I can be, so that nothing I haven’t CHOSEN or CULTIVATED or CURATED (an interesting word to use here) is allowed to get in the way of the magic.

I said, the other day, “You know the magic we’re trying to create is us, right? The art we’re trying to create is us, each of us individually and you and me together?”

More on this tomorrow. ❤️

2 thoughts on “Focusing My Goals

  1. Question: with this focused approach how are you handling life’s uncontrollable parts? If you just can’t sleep and are drained the next day? If you get delayed in traffic or something ot of your control? If you just aren’t feeling it one day?

    Also, are you and L doing Huel or is cooking for 2 more worthwhile?

    1. I’ve actually written more about that in today’s post: https://www.nicoledieker.com/2021/05/25/how-to-become-a-magician/

      I will say that for me, the sleep thing solves itself if I manage stress and keep work/rest and food/drink in balance. Or, as I told L, “I thought I was an insomniac, but it turns out it’s a lot easier to sleep all night if you’re happy.”

      And, like, not actively experiencing indigestion.

      On that note, Huel is temporarily on hiatus. We cook together and love it. <3

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