Busy

It’s been a particularly busy time recently. Classes and performance department rehearsals have stopped for the year, but there’s still a lot to do.

I mentioned on Friday that I’d joined the tail end of an open-air concert. I didn’t mention the horn lesson that morning, or the rehearsal of the Brahms horn trio with shiny new page-turner, or the coaching session. Nor did I mention that by hook or crook we managed to get a wind quintet together for the very last Arranging class of the year, so I got to hear my arrangement played by real alive players.

I’ve been getting along quite well with the Singer exercises, and am already noticing improvements in my playing as a result. It does take a fair old while to get through the ones I’m doing, though; I expect this time to shrink as I get more familiar with the exercises and also as my endurance increases (so I need fewer rests), but in the meantime it has been quite challenging to fit everything in.

Friday’s horn lesson was a bit fraught, to be honest; too many orchestral excerpts to work on, not enough time, and I really wasn’t playing my best. I’ve had better lessons. It was useful, though.

From there I went straight into Brahms rehearsal. This went well; Stephen Stirling was able to join us for some coaching in the second hour, and as usual it was amazing to have input from someone who knows so much about the piece and presents it so simply. We were working on the third movement, which is quite slow, so I’m afraid our page-turner didn’t have much to do but it was still very good to have her there. Unfortunately we were stuck in a much-too-small room again, and it’s very difficult to get the balance right in that situation. I’m hoping that after exams are done, we’ll have more opportunity to rehearse in larger spaces.

Hearing others play my arrangement in class in the afternoon was very, very neat. They took the piece faster than I’d originally imagined it, but it worked better at that speed, I think, than it would have more slowly. There are still some things I’d like to change about the arrangement. I also renewed my dislike of Sibelius, the default style options are not wonderful for reading but I guess that just means I really need to concentrate this summer on learning LilyPond.

The long weekend was full of travel, practising and teaching.

Yesterday was another horn lesson; this one went much better than the previous one and I think I’m going to be okay in my exam this Friday. It won’t be perfect, but I’m still not prepared to play a perfect exam at the cost of long-term progress.

This afternoon I have a Brahms rehearsal, then this evening a rehearsal with my accompanist followed by a rehearsal and mini-concert for a friend whose final I’m playing in this Friday. That will make for a long day. Tomorrow is quite a bit clearer, with nothing concrete except a physio appointment. Really, today is the last proper working-on-things day before my exam: tomorrow I will do a reasonable amount of playing, but I don’t want to risk having a tired lip on Friday so I’ll have to be quite gentle with myself.

Friday will be busy too; playing in my friend’s final (not strenuous at all), then my own assessment, then I have time for a bite to eat before I head off to rehearse with a wind dectet I play in for a summer concert or two.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week I’m planning to take a break, stay home from Trinity and catch up on rest and various life-maintenance tasks. By Thursday I should be feeling sufficiently refreshed to start working on my summer plans, some of which are more exciting than others.

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