I didn’t think I would return to do these notes but I changed my mind. But please note: If I say I’ve been assigned anything, just assume it’s from a music teacher, but I think to be fair to all, best not to get too tedious with the “my teacher”s because it looks like I don’t have my own mind. Also, I don’t want to put accidental pressure on anyone reading these things.
- Exam Scales: D-minors (natural, harmonic, melodic) both HA and HT, Arpeggios (Dm, Am), Am scales, Fmaj scales.
- Hanon Exercises 1, 6, and now 4. Hanon exercises remain my happy place.
- I’ve made a lot of headway with Anne Crosby Gaudet’s Angelfish and it’s my happy place. The pedal action’s automatic now and I’ve got the dynamics and pulse to where I want it to be. I do feel more work is needed for the pulse so I’m still practising intermittently with the metronome.
- Started working on Helen Madden’s First Flakes Are Falling for class and am concentrating on the first eight bars because voice separation is pretty important for this piece.
- Elisabetta da Gambarini’s Minuet is also coming along nicely, I’m finally (after MONTHS) feeling slightly more confident about the counterpoint section.
- From the Trinity exam book I’ve been playing for my own pleasure Michael Proksch’s Freudich/Feelicitous. I like it. It makes me feel like it’s a soundtrack from an earlier film scored by Michael Nyman (specifically circa The Draughtsman’s Contract.) Did a bit of that tonight and really enjoyed myself. Sometimes I just need to have these sight-reading flings to develop my eye and ear and to just have some musical abandon. Not to just stick to the script of what I need to prepare for class. Speaking of Nyman, back when I had more of a life, I saw him perform live and it was one of the highlights of my over two decades of attending classical concerts. And yes, he played that piece from The Draughtsman’s Contract, which was a great movie.
- Still proud that I managed to get all three women composers for my G2 list, but because I am taking the digital exam, I need a fourth piece. Have not decided on it yet. Looks like we can’t do the Ravel piece because it would have to be an actual duet…I think I’m leaning toward’s Bartok’s Sorrow, though. Because he’s one of my favourite composers. Well, he used to be, I haven’t been listening to him much since my twenties. Now’s a good time to revisit.
- Exam scales: Started doing the exam technical exercise again and found it easier this time around. Also started doing scales.
- Method: I’m still faltering with Luise Walker but religiously doing the Carlevaro drills every time I practice. Also doing all usual warmups.
- Pieces: Bach’s Sarabande is getting better and less squeaky. Piazzolla’s El Viaje is sounding smoother and I’ve gotten the pulse in Dowland’s Can She Excuse sounding better.
- Other pieces I’ve been playing: Untitled 1 and 2 from Jane Pickering, Campion’s What If A Day, Greensleeves, Robin is To The Greenwood Gone and Packington’s Pound. All from the same book transcribed by a previous teacher. Also played Carmen Guzman’s Dedicatoria from Grade 5, Piazzolla’s Vuelvo al Sur and Milonga for Three, and returned to Bach’s Prelude to BWV1007, transcribed by Duarte (though that was a couple of months back).
- Have been feeling the itch to play Penambuco’s Sons de Carrilhoes again, so might get to it in this week.
- Oh, still working on Dowland’s Preludium because I want it in my “ready to play” repertoire. Play for whom, though? Remains a question. I still want to do a mini-concert on my insta, so there’s that.
Definitely sitting for ABRSM Grade Three Music Theory this year and have been working on assigned exercises. Think I’ve given up on the Uni of Edinburgh MOOC though, honestly it’s uni level and I’m still crawling here.
Improvements in both instruments mean that my improvs are sounding more interesting, and varied. I’m starting to feel a change in my musical voice. Alas, I’ve been too tired and distracted to notate anything. I hope that will change. After all, one of my end goals is a diploma (or two) in composition.
Despite setbacks, heartaches, disappointments, demoralising moments, and times when I just…disassociate from it all because I’m so disappointed in my own mediocrity as a musician, I have stayed the course of my vision. I may be a mediocre musician but I can get better. I can’t be TOO BAD if I got a 78% merit in CG. No one can take that away from me or the fact that I now have both exam grades as physical certificates. But I’ve also reminded myself to remain grounded and to see the wider perspective. I’m never going to make a mark as a composer except hopefully maybe in a tiny way. I’m starting too late. But I am an author and that is still my main thing. I’ve rediscovered my love for writing. I am also in love with my main job as an academic. So, music will never be more than a side gig for me — but definitely not merely a hobby. I may love it passionately but I will forgive myself if I can’t practice 3-5 hours a day because I have so much going on and am perpetually exhausted. It’s more important to be consistent and stay the course.
Oh, and to get those diplomas. I want those diplomas and I want my diploma recitals. I have diploma recital wishlists for both instruments. And I can’t believe how far I’ve come. But am daunted by how much further I have to go.