Day 176 – March 25th – Mum

Only a short one tonight as I’m dead tired. I was up early to Skype with my sister, and then caught the train up to London. The day seemed to be full of delays, and after spending forty minutes waiting for our train to leave Ashford station, I was a little pressed for time. I left some things (music, my big coat, my alto flute…) with a friend in London before heading to meet Mum off her plane at Heathrow. It was perhaps lucky that her flight was a little delayed as well! 

Anyway, after nine months it was lovely to see Mum, and to chat with her about all that has gone on here. She is staying in Wye for the next few days, and I’ll be off to join her at every opportunity. Then once the course is over we’re off for a well-earned holiday in France! 

Day 175 – March 24th – History

Today was both the last Tesco trip and the date for submitting the second part of our flute history projects. Trevor made sure that we got in a full session of composers in the car, and we made it through to S. While it has definitely been a good exercise – my knowledge of flute repertoire has increased dramatically – I won’t miss the awkward silences as everyone thinks of what to say!

I spent a few hours in the afternoon proofreading my project. This time round it had much more accessible language for fifteen year olds, no tables and no sentences longer than a line. However, I’m not expecting any glowing feedback, or even any good feedback for that matter. At this point in the course, I think Trevor would actually give each of us the same feedback no matter what we submitted to him, which is a pity.

That same feeling continued through my practice time, which is a pity as I really like both the pieces that we’re preparing for Thursday. I didn’t know either the Vasikenko Suite – Spring or Muthel’s Sonata in D major before coming, and both are really lovely. I spent quite a bit of time on the Muthel, which is very decorative Baroque sonata. I feel like I’ve got the skills and knowledge to really get into this music now, but yet am lacking any confidence in my ability to play it in class on Thursday.

My mum’s arriving tomorrow, and I’m heading up to London to meet her at the airport. I’m looking forward to it!

Day 174 – March 23rd – Daffodils

These were always my favourite daffodils as a child!

These were always my favourite daffodils as a child!

I’ve been meaning to go and take some more photos of the beautiful Kentish Downs for a a few days now – spring is well and truly here and it is gorgeous. Today was stunning, and I took advantage of an early end to class to go on a long walk up across the fields to Bodsham. My strongest memories of England as a child were of spring, particularly the hoards of daffodils that covered the village. Today’s walk didn’t disappoint!

Class itself went quite well. I’ve always enjoyed the way that Trevor teaches Baroque music, and once again felt like I learned an awful lot from the lesson on the Telemann sonatas. We talked a lot about trills (which must always be measured), but also about ornamentation in a broader sense and relative tempos between movements.

DSCN6264Then came Syrinx, which we were all a little nervous about. We had heard some stories from past students about Trevor being rather picky with this piece, and not liking the way that anyone played it! So we had all been slaving away with a metronome to make sure that everything was correct. It didn’t turn out too badly, though the session did start with us each getting up one after the other and playing it through. My feedback was that I was “slurring all the way through” (so not articulating clearly), that I wasn’t doing all the subito pianos, and that my rhythm was wrong in the second theme. Fair enough, especially with the second theme. I was being rather too enthusiastic with my rubato, and the second and third beats of the bar were almost the same as the first. Whoops!

Trevor went on to tell us about the history of the piece, its writing for the play Psyche, and its performances by Louis Fleury and Marcel Moyse. Originally the piece was called La Flûte de Pan, but the publisher already had a piano piece by that name and didn’t want to confuse his customers.Trevor talked about the ideas he sees in the music, and the way that it reflects the story of Pan in Psyche – it is his last reflection before he dies, and perhaps a remembrance of all the pretty girls he has pursued! Then some of us got up and worked on it a little more. Once again, I felt I learned an awful lot from this session, and it has inspired me to work on the piece again in the near future.

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More lambs – they’re everywhere now. This pair were definitely twins. They moved as one, and were quite inquisitive.

Finally, we talked through Trevor’s method books for teaching beginners,and a little of our own teaching experiences. Though the topic isn’t top of my priority list, it’s all good to know.

Back to my walk, and in some ways I’m sorry to be leaving Kent just as spring arrives. While there have been many frustrations about my time here, I have also enjoyed the head space. Before coming away, I would rarely have gone on a long walk just for the sake of it, mostly because I just kept filling my time! Here, I have been on numerous long rambles across the countryside, exploring just about every road, laneway and footpath I could find (along with a couple of un-marked fields) in the area around Elmsted. It has given me time to think, and hopefully also to grow.

Day 173 – March 22nd – Baroque

Just a short one tonight, as it’s all of a sudden late and time for bed. I spent the day alternating productive flute activities and semi-productive procrastination! Along with Syrinx tomorrow we’re playing Telemann sonatas in F major and F minor, and I had a lovely time this afternoon practising them. My time here has really rejuvenated my love of playing Baroque music.

This evening, I bit the bullet and did a good session proofreading my flute history project. I’m making sure to use language suitable for fifteen year-olds this time, and have been sure to include some nice clear pictures. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it all off after class tomorrow.

As for the procrastination….I went for a run, did some sorting in preparation for moving out, and baked bread again! It wasn’t as good this time unfortunately. It seems like I got the one good kick from the out-of-date yeast when I opened it a few days ago. This time it didn’t activate at all, and I had mostly self-raising flour to use up. The result was a pair of rather pretty but solid loaves that have the consistency of scones rather than bread. Oh well, I just enjoyed kneading the bread! And it didn’t taste too bad with my carrot soup either.

My rather solid bread

My rather solid bread

 

Day 172 – March 21st – Syrinx

Today was a bit of work and a bit of relaxation time. This morning, Trevor rang to see whether anybody wanted to go to the market in Wye, and I was happy to get out of the house. Not the biggest market, but there was some nice organic produce, and so I’ve got some bags of fresh apples and carrots to cook with.

The final week of the course is mostly repertoire, with studies only if and when we want to play them. On Monday, we’re playing Debussy’s Syrinx and Telemann sonatas in F major and F minor. Then on Thursday it’s Murtel’s Sonata in D and Suite – Spring by Vasilenko. I spent quite a bit of time today working on  Syrinx, as it’s one of those pieces I know, should be able to play quite well, and am hoping not to get torn to shreds over! Most people play this with far too much rubato, and all the rhythms are distorted. I don’t have any past recordings of myself playing it, but my first read through suggested that I’ve definitely been quite liberal with the rhythm myself in the past. So it was back to the metronome, making sure that everything is exactly in time and as written on the page before I start trying to do anything fancy.

This evening, I spent some time making thank you cards for all the people here who have lent a helping hand over the past six months. I’m beginning to sort through things in my wardrobe and work out how everything is going to fit back into my backpack. Almost the end…