Day 83 – December 22nd – Christmas break

Today was our final class before the Christmas break, and I have an hour to finish packing before I’m off on the train to Grimsby to stay with my grandparents. As ever, the class had some ups and downs, though not quite the ones I was expecting!

I fared quite well with warm-ups – it seems that Trevor was being a bit kinder to us because one of his former students was visiting for a few hours. As I’d guessed, he did get us to play scales, and for some reason I’m much better at that than all the exercises we usually play.

Then can feedback on our projects, and Trevor was not happy with mine in the slightest. It turns out that he doesn’t like academic papers, and went on a small rant about how verbose mine was and how tables aren’t accessible to young students. Fine, but maybe if he’d told me beforehand that the project was supposed to be written for fifteen year olds I could have chosen my language more appropriately! He couldn’t find much I was missing in terms of content, though wanted me to talk more about how the instruments sound rather than their construction, and thought my pictures were lovely. So next time I just need to write it in a different style, which I probably should have guessed anyway. Oh well, I learned a lot about flutes and flute history, which is the most important thing in the end.

As for playing, we all agreed that Moyse 24 Melodic Studies were the only things we’d go through today. Mine were “rather good”, I just need to keep remembering to be expressive from the start rather than warming into it after five minutes. And my high Ds are still flat. Anyway, I have ‘finished’ the 24 Melodic Studies and will be starting on the 25 Melodic Studies (more of the same thing, but more notes and look harder) after the break. As I said a few days ago I need to keep revisiting the 24 as well – there is still a lot I can learn from them.

Right now, though, I need to go and finish packing. My flute is coming along with me, but mostly to play Christmas carols. For the next five days I’m officially on holiday, and will not be tempted to go anywhere near a scale!

Day 80 – December 19th – Rehearsals

This afternoon was taken up with rehearsals for our concert tomorrow. The weather was lovely for our walk to Trevor’s – I can’t believe it’s still up around 10 degrees – and we were introduced to Mr (Robert/Richard?!) Scott who will be playing piano with us. All in all Trevor was rather jovial, and though there were still a few criticisms of our playing he seemed to think the performance would go rather well. I enjoyed the rehearsal, we’ve come to play well together and the jazz pieces are particularly good fun. I just need to remember to be expressive and less strict with rhythm in the beginning of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. 

As for the rest of the day, there seems to be a bit of a feeling of Christmas holidays already. I did a few hours of practice this morning, and am finally feeling that Boehm’s No. 1 from Twelve Studies is coming from memory. The lesson here is almost a silly one, but worth reminding myself of. I know that I don’t have as good an aural memory as some, and had been really struggling to memorise this study despite our playing it regularly in warm-ups. However, once I took the time to sit down and write the chord pattern under each bar, it’s all of a sudden coming easier. Though I wouldn’t have struggled to identify the arpeggios verbally at any time, the act of writing them out has made the whole structure so much clearer, and then hey presto I can almost play it from memory. Something important to keep in mind, as Trevor is going to keep pushing us to play increasingly difficult scale and arpeggio exercises after Christmas!

View down our road at 4pm!

View down our road at 4pm!

Though I’m not totally sure we will be asked for studies in class on Monday, I’m now into the final lap of Moyse’s 24 Melodic Studies, and am preparing no. 22, 23 and 24. I’d played all of them for someone at some point before coming to study with Trevor, but really feel that I’ve learned a lot from preparing them for him each week. They really are the studies when it comes to phrasing, melody and fundamental musical skills, and I still don’t feel that I’ve mastered most of them yet! Once these are done, we’ll be moving on to the 25 Melodic Studies, which I’m sure will continue to reinforce many of the same things. However, I need to remember to revisit this book regularly as well. There are still a lot of things I can learn from practising them, and I need to keep remembering to be my own best teacher and listening observantly and critically to my playing.