They really do interfere with one another, or have so far. It’s annoying. Learning “Bethena” has enabled me to PLAY my own music much better, but it definitely impacts my writing. There is no way in hell that I would be able to squeeze viola into all this. 😦 I miss my viola. It’s beautiful and it’s a very different view on music, and one that I can stand to absorb a bit.
I am going to have to shed “Bethena” and then just call a temporary moratorium on learning new pieces for a while. I think this leapfrog approach is all that will work for me in the future, but we’ll see. Learn a new, challenging piece, write one, learn one, write one … Doing both simultaneously is just very, very difficult. Each requires an enormous amount of attention away from the piano. When learning a piece, I need to focus on mental practice away from the thing, working on seeing myself doing it, even while falling asleep. When writing a piece, I need to use all that free time to hum and mumble to myself silently (well, hopefully silently for the sake of people next to me in line in the supermarket). Swapping from one to the other takes time — I find that it’s just not possible to flip effortlessly from mental practice to mental writing. The gear-shift takes time to occur.
And after I’m done with “Bethena,” I want to get back to writing. I’ve got two pieces to finish up (the C#m thing finally, and the dissonant Em thing that surfaced a while back), not to mention the two “songs” that I cranked out (the pop song in G that I woke up humming months ago and the Shirley-Jones thing in A).
I’ll keep moving with “Bethena” since just shedding that is a great lesson in technique, but after I’ve reached fine on it, it’s back to writing again for the time being until I feel I need a break. Originally, I felt like I needed a break after the Fm, which was like giving birth to an elephant. Now … break’s almost over.
Like I said, leapfrog.