Day 115 – January 23rd – Learning it quickly

One of the big things I’m learning as part of this course is how to prepare a lot of music very quickly. Last weekend up in London I was telling a friend about all the studies we have to play each week, and then added that Thursday is repertoire and excerpts. She almost fell off her a chair!

While it’s not normally comfortable preparing this much music each week, I’m definitely getting much better at it. This week, however, is another step up again. Not only is Trevor applying pressure to me in particular with studies, we have the Fauré Fantasie on Thursday and then different repertoire for the masterclass on Friday. I’ve played the Fauré before, and so my main worry this morning was the Taffanel for Friday – the Scherzettino in particular needs to be fast and fluid despite some tricky finger passages.

This afternoon, though, I spent 45min working quite solidly on the Taffanel and already feel a lot better about it. I think that I’ve learned to isolate the passages that really need work, and also the type of work that’s needed, rather than assuming I need to spend hours on every last corner of a piece. In the Scherzettino, I need to spend more time on articulation in the theme, as well as some fingering bits at the end. The Andante Pastoral isn’t as hard as it looks – there are a couple of demi-semiquaver flourishes at the end that need a bit more time, but otherwise it’s basically counting and making sure that my ornaments in the poco piu mosso stay in time.

The other big factor in learning all the music quickly is definitely all the scales and finger exercises – my fingers fall into the patterns so much more easily now! The studies, though, are another story. They’re meant to be hard, to challenge both our technique and our musicality. Looks like they’re what I’ll be working on after piccolo class tomorrow!

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