Today was a Bank Holiday, but I hardly noticed. To me it was just a valuable practice day in the week leading up to the rehearsal period for the trio’s festival. Next Monday marks the beginning of a ten-day period in which we have to prepare all the pieces we’re playing in eight concerts. Once the festival opens, on the very day after the rehearsal period ends, the concerts fall thick and fast, and none of us can afford still to be thinking about notes or fingering. Even though it may look from the outside like an idyllic rural event, the festival is in some ways the biggest challenge of the year.
My left index finger is still fragile. No longer painful, it has however developed a ‘twang’ as if a tiny tendon is out of place in the fingertip. If I strike a note too forcefully, my finger ‘twangs’ as I release the pressure. So I’ve decided it would be wise to spend this week playing everything slowly and carefully.
Every year, preparing for the festival feels like a mountain to climb. And speaking of mountains, I got an important tip from reading about Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who at the age of 65 has just conquered Mount Everest. He said that his mental trick was never to think of the summit. He just kept plodding on, ‘walking for ever’, not allowing himself to wonder if he was near the top yet. Putting one foot patiently in front of the other, one of those steps would eventually be the one that happened to place his foot on the summit. I’m going to try to follow his example.