I started up lessons again with Mariano on January 5th. I was surprised that he was able to hold my old time open. That is too cool.
I’ve already discovered something pretty interesting. As you would expect I’m really rusty and have forgotten many things that I knew by memory. In particular, songs and riffs that I picked up last year are all pretty fuzzy. But the surprising thing is that I am actually improved on some songs that I have been playing for years.
For example, La Farruca. Mariano tracks proficiency on a 1-10 scale where “only God gets a perfect 10” and 7.5 – 8 is a minimum for a professional musician. For the longest time my grade for Farruca has been hovering at 6. But during my first lesson back I played it and Mariano gave me a very strong 7. I have been practicing but didn’t expect this kind of an improvement.
I think maybe it has something to do with changing my approach to the piece. The Farruca was the first complete flamanco piece I learned. Over time, it has become somewhat mechanical to me so I never really developed the feeling and nuances that the song deserves. Taking a break like this definately forced me to break any mechanical habits I had developed. I didn’t really forget the song, I just forgot enough about how I played it to make me figure that out again.