I just wanted to share.
In my lesson teacher and I played through some of the duets from Wohlfahrt Easiest Elementary Method Op 38. They're simple pieces for beginners, but quite tuneful. As we went through them he got me to pick out details, such as the key (no signatures given in the pupil parts), so that then it was easy to think of sections as (say) A minor scales, rather than disconnected notes. We also looked at the harmony in the teacher's part and what that was adding to the feel of the piece, and so on. It was surprising how much analysis could be done in such short and simple looking pieces.
Anyway, we got to number 22 and then we really went for it - pulling together all those analyses. I had to decide what I wanted to say with the music, in light of how the harmony was contributing to the overall sound; how I was going to vary the repeated phrases; and then I had to project that "to the back of the hall, not just the front row."
By the end of the lesson I felt like a REAL musician, playing, REAL music as part of an ensemble. I've often struggled to get the feeling I want into music because the pieces are at the edge of my learning/experience. Going back to these more simple tunes gave me the mental space to really push for the performance I/my teacher was after.
It was really great, because I'm often upset that I can't say what I want to with the music, or I don't bother to try because "it's only an exercise" or "it's only a simple practice piece." The lesson showed me, not only is it possible to really make something magical (well it was for me) out of something simple, but that I have it within me to do that (admittedly with teacher on harmony). Hopefully that's something I can carry forward.
Sorry for the long post, but I just found it so uplifting and so useful to go back to these early tunes, I thought others might find a similar exercise helpful.