My last gig was around 15 years ago. I have not played piano much lately, just an hour or so a day, and mostly Mozart, Chopin & Beethoven. In the last week or two, I resolved to revitalize my memory by dredging up the hundreds of songs I formerly played from memory. It is easier than I thought it would be. But there is one startling phenomenon. My style of playing is highly improvisational. This time around, the style of the improvisation has changed dramatically. I can not describe the difference except that arpeggios are fewer and better executed, and there is much more polyphony than previously. Since I no longer do it to make money, my playing has improved, and I have no much idea to what this change derives from. I am wondering how many others may have experienced something similar? I should add that my improvisational performance bears very little resemblance to my compositions!
Ha! You've learned!!! GPO works in mysterious ways and maybe this is one of them. Plus, you are not under the preasure you were when playing for money. More relaxed, better concintration due to the lack of pleasing so many others. I find when, and I mean when, I have the pleasure to sit down and play my instrument I feel the same as you describe.
Nice topic rwayland ... sort of Twilight Zone.
Think of the skaters in the Olympics. When they are being judged and working toward a medal, their skating is one way. However, when they are doing the evening where there is no judging or scrutiny, their skating is much more fluid and improvisational because the pressure is off. They are not reciting the moves they have practiced over and over for the last year. Rather, they are free to express themselves for the joy of the art.
I've experienced something along the same lines. I haven't really practised now in 12 years, since my final recital at university. Back then I was doing eight hours a day. Now I'm lucky if I get an hour a month. But then there come periods of quite intense work, for instance when I have to accompany a batch of students at school. For some reason I find that my technique is better in those times, with an hour or so a day, than it was 12 years ago.
Of course this could just be in my mind. On the other hand I think there was a certain type of fatigue that set in when I had to practise so much. I suffered dreadful tendinitis, and a kind of mental staleness that came from working pieces to death. Now I've recaptured the excitement of engaging with a piece for a reasonable period, and then giving a risk-fraught performance.
It reminds me of an exhibition I saw in Canberra several years ago of most of the world's works of Rembrandt.
I was moved to tears by the incredible skill of this artist!
But one of the interesting things for me, an ignoramus of the visual arts, was that his early paintings are characterised by very fine, minutely detailed brushstrokes for every hair; every subtle nuance is painstakingly placed on the canvase. In contrast, his late paintings are characterised by an economy of flamboyant macro strokes of the brush, and yet he still manages to capture the details that his early craft required painstaking attention.