Many years ago, I listened to Wynton Marsalis’ recording of Grand Russian Fantasia. If you haven’t heard it, it’s okay. Let’s just say my 18 year old brain couldn’t comprehend how something so difficult could be played with such ease.
Well, Wynton made it sound easy anyway. But I remember thinking, “That’s impossible, no way could I play that…”
But I had a chance to look at the sheet music for it awhile later, and realized it’s NOT impossible. I immediately realized what was needed to play it. Time. Playing slowly, then playing it just a little bit faster, a little bit faster.
Now it’s part of my warmup routine. I do a little exercise I made up that consists of long tones, scales and arpeggios, and then I play the super fast section from that piece.
So I dubbed it, “The Impossible Warmup”.
Truth is, that’s how everything of any value is created, honed, perfected, etc. Just keeping at it, getting just a little bit better at it each time. Not getting discouraged when you have a day or 3 (or a year or 3) where you seem to make no progress – or even regress from where you were.
It took me several years to get to the point where I could play that excerpt with something that resembles proficiency. I could have done it sooner too, but things in life prevented me from doing so.
I just recorded a Facebook live of the process I used to get to the level of proficiency I have now. This is basically 10 years of my practice on it condensed into 6 or so minutes. If you have a bit of time in the car, you may find it interesting: