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!