Playing the piano is a very physical activity, more than a lot of people realise. I have to remind myself and work on constantly relaxing and playing with no tension. There are a variety of factors that can affect the quality of my playing. One of the biggest is the variation in temperature. On a cold day like today, and the fact that I am just over the flu, my hands were freezing! Even after trying to warm up for half an hour, my hands were cold. They felt like ice blocks but sweaty at the same time. So on the one hand, my fingers felt frozen in place and weren’t moving freely, and also they felt really sweaty so they kept sliding off the keys. Very frustrating when playing a fast Bach fugue, or scales. I think I will need to take a hot water bottle, or a rag for the sweat. It was a real pain.
This brings me to another point. Every piano is different, and somehow working out which type of piano you have in a few moments can be a challenge. You can usually tell by the tone what it’s going to be like. If it’s out of tune, which is like a cat howling, then chances are there will be sticking keys, and some keys will require less movement to depress than others. If you have a nice bright sounding piano, it could be technique brilliant to play, but for me slow movements just don’t really sing on those. I like the mellow sounds pianos the best. I think part of it is personality though.
Another factor is illness. I have just experienced this myself, i am still getting over the flu. i found myself a lot more exhausted from playing. I also found sweat increasing and frankly I was not really thinking well at my lesson. and trying o play while coughing, or find a suitable place to cough when you are playing something fast is… almost impossible!