Day 165 – March 14th – Trills 

I didn’t have a hugely productive day today – after yesterday’s long day and late night I needed a lazy morning. After a run and lunch, though, I was feeling sufficiently guilty about a lack of practice to start doing battle with my studies. 

Altès no. 25, the penultimate study in the book, has a devilish half-page of quick trill coupled with dotted rhythms. I spent quite a while on this bit, really aiming for clean trills that sound easy and don’t disrupt the rhythm. I’ve often been told off for not linking my final turns with the rest of the trill, so this is a big part of my ‘sounding easy’ criteria. Rather than starting slowly, I first made sure that the rhythms were correct without the trills but at the right speed. Then I played through small sections adding in the trills and making sure that all sound even. I though this was a better solution than starting slowly because the temptation with more time would be to add in more oscillations of the trill. Most of it is now sounding quite good (though I’m prepared for it being a couple of notches worse at the start of practice tomorrow), but I need to remember to relax rather than get tense over the trills! 

At the very start of my practice session, I stuck to my goal of working with drone tones. I decided to play my warm-up tune – Morning has Broken – with the drone because it uses a lot of notes from the major triad and has quite a few leaps as well. Even over the ten-minute time frame I became a little more sensitive to my intonation in relation to the drone, which is good. My 5ths and 8ves were likely to be on the flat side, and then individual keys have special difficulties. Theoretically I know all this, hopefully the drones will help me iron it out in the long run. It’s tiring work though, and I felt my concentration wavering after ten minutes. 

Trevor’s cold continues, and it looks like class is off again on Monday. We’re so near the end of the course now, but the next two and a half weeks still seem like a long time! 

Day 151 – February 28th – Five out of Six!

The last day of February makes it five months down and only one to go. I meant to write a slightly longer reflection on how the past five months have gone, but then got caught up with my ArtStart reflection, so might save that for another day. The next month is going to go quickly; we have a little concert at Bodsham primary school on March 18th, our second flute history project is due on the 25th, Julie Wright is coming to give us a class on teaching this Wednesday and there are two more masterclasses to attend up in London. Next weekend, a friend is down from London, and we’re going to do some proper hiking either on the Downs or along the coast at Dover.

Trevor dropped off our parts for the Bodsham concert this afternoon, and there are a few notes to be learned there. I’d already spent two hours on studies by the time the parts came, so didn’t manage more than a quick read-through this evening, but will dive into them tomorrow morning.

Following yesterday’s class I was feeling a little flat again this morning. A long run (before the heavy rain started) helped, but I have found over the past week that I’m increasingly feeling the need for some flute-free time. Friends are wonderful, and several have reminded me that my time here is both a unique experience and a unique learning opportunity. Yes, it’s full-on, and certainly not easy, but I need to make sure I get the most out of the month I have left.