So Mozart has become my gold standard this Fall. I'll stick with some of the flashy stuff, but adding a Mozart Quartet and an old favorite Concerto (5!) back to my repertoire will hopefully serve as a...purifier, for lack of a better word. The Mozartean elements that seem to be most alkali to my sloppy technique acid are:
1. tension: you just can't hack your way through Mozart! It's only pretty of you stay relaxed and responsive.
2. phrasing: notes look deceptively simple, but it's all in how you string them together. Long phrases without herky jerky or trashy accents are so difficult but make all the difference with this music.
3. intonation: this music is so exposed! Both texturally and harmonically. Sloppy intonation sounds even worse in Mozart than it does elsewhere (and, of course, it's never ok!)
3. Listen like crazy! It's taken me a while to get back to listening as a daily practice - both of others and myself (I know: heresy!!). Again, the why is boring and, hopefully, behind me. But listening to other musicians - for ideas of both what to do and what not to do, is immensely helpful. Also, listening to oneself....it's hella painful, but it IS the magic bullet (just kidding, there isn't one! But this is the closest possible thing). Again, both for what is coming along ok and for weeding out whatever unappetizing habits might have snuck in.
Finally, there just has so be some acceptance. I don't sound audition-ready yet. But denying and trying to sound like I am slick prematurely is only going to create more tension. Sometimes, just allowing the sloppiness, really hearing it, actually allows for faster progress.