The second-best time is now
About 3 years back, during the covid lockdown, I started working on Chopin's prelude No. 15 often called the raindrop prelude. By the end of 2020, I got the notes down. More or less. But never ended up being able to play it as well as it deserved to be played.
That piece is in the key of Db, a key that uses all the black keys. And I wasn't very comfortable with it, my fingers would slip it I wasn't careful.
Just about a month back, while scrolling through YouTube shorts, I came across a video where this lady plays a cool two-hand run on black keys only. I did some digging and it turned out to be some etude by Chopin. The Black Key etude.
"An etude to help me play better on black keys! Wonderful!"
I started practicing it the very next day. And boy, I was in for a surprise. I almost wished I started learning this piece a few years back instead of now.
Though I can barely play the first page of the etude, it has already improved my playing on black keys. In fact, I started the first few bars as a warmup exercise, and then spent the rest of my practice time on the raindrop prelude and now I finally feel like I can play the raindrop prelude well—down to the dynamics and pedaling and everything. And my fingers do not slip off the black keys anymore!
While I cannot play the Black Key etude yet, I'm grateful for it.