Recently, I got back to the piano because I may want to play some of my works in recital soon. And as I was playing my old pieces, I realized I was hitting some wrong notes. “Well, it’s the lack of practice”, I thought. But as I continued practicing I realized I was hitting the same wrong notes all the time, as if I had actually practiced to hit the wrong notes. And then I realized that I had practiced these wrong notes by allowing myself to hit them without correcting myself, playing at random times, without having the notes in front of me and without paying too much attention either.
I just got sloppy with my practicing.
So I took out the scores and started to read them again and I saw that there were other notes that I didn’t even realize that I had been playing wrong. So I had to slow down the playing and read the music note by note and practice it slowly until I was playing all the right notes again, and then gradually raise the speed to get to the performance speed. It was almost like having to learn the pieces from scratch! And it became obvious to me that this was the price I had to pay for sloppy practicing.
So I have spent months practicing only with my full attention, always placing the notes in front of me and playing the pieces slowly until I am hitting all the right notes again, speeding my practicing only then and gradually, at that. And now I feel I am getting to play them better than ever. What a lesson to learn at the stage of the game!