I realized that there are two pretty significant difference between really amazing players/soloists & the rest of us:
1. Volume/Tone - The really great players have a tremendously large sound
2. Clarity - The really great players have incredibly clear technique & musical expression ... every note is connected to the others & does specifically what they want.
I've noticed the two are related ... if you play with a really big sound, you build more muscles & everything becomes clearer ... and that's the final missing piece between where I was before & where I am now ... well that plus the constant immersion in music & analysis, which I'm really getting back into.
The other thing I realized is that every practice sessions needs to be a really intense lesson (self-taught), where I'm giving myself constant criticism/instructions on how to do better ... words like ... basically taking a really intense lesson/coaching & making myself the coach & holding myself to the highest standard. I've been progressing a lot, but I'm still so far behind, so I need to push even harder ... I'm really looking forward to being done w/ Summit so I can really focus on the things I need to & dive in to some analysis, while doing 3 hours of technique every day.
I've also realized that I know a whole total of zero concertos (well, I've actually learned 1 - the Vivaldi Double Concerto, but I can't just whip that out) ... So, my next piece goal once summit is over is to learn the whole Haydn C really well & then to move on to something else ... all the while, I'll be really working on technique, and improving on that end, so I'll actually play something well instead of mediocre for once.
This last realization was prompted by the concerto competition, which was really inspiring to watch, because it really hit me over the head with how much basic stuff I haven't done yet.
My goal for next year (assuming I do Summit) is to have learned at least 1 concerto very well (so I can enter the competition) & to be at a point technically where the orchestra music is not beyond me at the beginning. I'm still struggling to play all the notes/play it really well ... though nowhere near as much as last year.
I also realized that I need to do a technical analysis of pieces from now on & make sure my technical development matches what I need to know in order to play the piece.
I've designed a technique routine, which I'm tweaking a little bit right now ... After Summit, I'll write it up.
Sleep time now...