More like music

That’s how my piano playing finally is: more like music.

I didn’t want to mention before that when I wrote, “My left hand played piano today,” what that most likely meant was that I sat at my Steinway and played maybe 10 notes. I could make the keys sound, but the discomfort in the joints at the base of my fingers was too much to do more than play each finger twice. That is what counted for playing piano 3 or 4 weeks ago.

Playing 2 notes at a time was barely possible, but I would try that out daily anyway. I could get a fifth to sound, and a sixth, almost immediately. The day I touched an octave (felt too weak and vulnerable to try to press the keys) I was so pleased, because I had been very worried about getting my reach back.

Then several days later I could actually play that octave. It still hurt, about the way playing a single note hurt.

Then I decided that many visits to the piano each day, to play my 10 therapy notes each time, would be better than trying to play 20 notes in one sitting.

After just a couple days of that, I could play one verse of Under the Greenwood Tree without ending up in too much discomfort. One entire verse! Almost like a song!

The pieces I was longing to play were Under the Greenwood Tree, The Donkey DragThe Golden Passage, and The Phoebe Returns. I have taken them up again, pretty much in that order.

I can play Under the Greenwood Tree pretty well, as long as I don’t try to make the left hand arpeggios legato. I don’t have that much contraction of the thumb toward the hand (hmm, I think Olga calls that one adduction), so crossing 4 to a third above 1 (typical requirement in a left hand arpeggio) is just not quite happening. It is so much closer than it was even two weeks ago! But not happening.

I can play The Donkey Drag, but bringing the left hand up above middle C in the chorus sections is uncomfortable and requires me to get my body out of the way, since I still don’t have much lateral range of motion at the wrist. Again, I have much more than 2 weeks ago, just not enough for this task at the piano. Also, the broken octaves are not strong the way I would like them to be; the joints at the base of the fingers are quite tender. Still, a week or so ago I couldn’t make it to the end of Mr Darcy’s Lament — I was lamenting there right along with him — so I am very happy now to be able to keep going.

My first entire playing of The Golden Passage was yesterday. Lots of left hand arpeggios in this one, so I have to cheat a bit, but my hand is comfortable enough to do it, at least. Last week when I tried to play this piece I had to give up before I had even gotten to the second verse, everything on the left just ached so much. Now I can play it all: YAY!

The Phoebe Returns is in the same shape as the others: I can get to the end, even though I have to cheat a bit in some spots.

And yesterday: I played them all, one after another. Just as if I can play piano! For the first time since January 16, the day before the fateful day.

Then I went and soaked my hands in some nice warm water.

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