When learning music as a soloist, it's always a good idea to learn the notes well ahead of time so that we can allow the music time to mature, for the delicate arts of interpretation to take shape over the course of weeks or months, so that our outlook of the piece can mature at the same pace as our bodies become more comfortable with the act of performing the work.
As collaborative pianists, we rarely have the luxury of time. We often have only days to prepare a work well enough to bring to the first rehearsal. Since we are constantly juggling projects with different completion dates, interpretive and ensemble choices need to be made and remembered on a split second basis. Comfort with playing a work must be learned extremely quickly if we are to both survive and thrive in performance.
Nearly all collaborative pianists feel a disconnect between these to learning timelines. My advice for pianists learning how to cope with fast-approaching deadlines takes two forms, first a gentle approach, then a more direct one.
I'll take the gentle approach first. We need to honor these seemingly contradictory learning processes, building on the strngths of learning a work slowly and carefully over time while also learning the lessons of quicker prepararion. Fitting these two methods of preparation into our process will allow us to more fully experience the diversity of approach we can undertake as performers.
Next, some more direct advice:
Deal with it.
Pianists: how do you cope with the pressure of fast-approching deadlines and still maintain interpretive integrity?