Day 108 – January 16th – Bits and pieces

To be honest, today doesn’t feel like it’s been a terribly special one. Despite the chill in the air when I woke up I decided that a clear sky was a good excuse for a run, and really enjoyed myself. Rain, coupled with no walks for the last week, has really made me crave the outdoors and some exercise. Of course, it started raining again within an hour of my getting back!

This afternoon, Trevor sent round an email reminding us of all the things coming up, and all of a sudden there is a lot of extra music to work on! Our class with Juliet Edwards had now been changed to January 30th, but piccolo class with Patricia Morris is back on for next Saturday. I’m also heading up to London with Roya and Shannon this Sunday for a concert (and for me a lovely catch-up with some Aussie friends!), and we’re spending the whole day up there on Tuesday for William Bennett’s masterclass. Then there’s another class with Juliet in mid-Feb, and all of Trevor’s regular classes to prepare for as well.

For the moment, I’m still feeling buoyed up by the positive feedback in class yesterday, and the most frustrating thing in my practice today was arriving at the five hour mark and realising that my lips had definitely called it quits for the day. I’m motivated to work more than I can physically play, and so need to keep remembering the benefits of mental practice, score study and listening.

I should also perhaps start doing some serious work on the second part of my project some time!

Day 62 – December 1st – Advent

All of a sudden it’s the start of December! Following my lovely weekend away (I’ve added some pictures to the posts now), I’m back in to the swing of things here and feeling that there’s a lot to get done in the lead-up to Christmas. Here’s what the next month looks like:

Thursday 11th – Masterclass with Rachel Brown

Saturday 13th – Day trip to London

Tuesday 16th – Submit flute history project and Christmas concert for the local gardeners’ association

Saturday 20th – Christmas concert in the Hastingleigh church

Monday 22nd – Final class, in the evening I’m leaving to stay with family for Christmas

That’s in addition to the regular classes and all that needs preparing for them. Phew!

After my misgivings yesterday, I played a little better in class than I thought I would. Part of it, I think, was that each time I stood up, I committed to playing as expressively as possible, enjoy it and enjoying myself. It didn’t work every time, and I was told told off for being “too scared of making a mistake” when I played Moyse Little Melodic Study No. 14. i have to admit to getting frustrated with Trevor over this one, as he kept telling me to both not hold the first too long and to play it expressively. I knew that he wanted something along the lines of a nice shimmery bit of vibrato, but I wasn’t managed it, and so he interpreted it as me wanting to play with poor rhythm. Study no. 15, however, went quite well, as did the two Altes studies I’d prepared. Andersen No. 7, which was the one I was most fearful about, came across better than I had hoped, though did prompt further discussion of my inability to play loudly. I’ve been told anew to practice tone exercises for a really loud, resonant sound, and will have to make some time for that in the coming days!

I’ve been doing some bits and pieces of reading on different ways to practice, and saw a link to this blog, which gave me some food for thought. The article suggests that it’s better to practice in small chunks so that we are better at re-setting and (hopefully) producing under pressure. It argues that this method of practice avoids mindless repetition and gets things into the fingers and memory in a way that makes them stick a bit better. I’m going to have a try starting tomorrow, as preparing the number of studies Trevor wants a week is still tricky!

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