Our lesson today started with a hike across the fields to Trevor’s house. I love the fresh, brisk air, and the view going up the hill is amazing, well worth being out of breath at the top. Yesterday’s rain left the path a bit muddy, but nothing a good pair of hiking boots can’t deal with.

I had been gritting my teeth a little in preparation for the class, but it seems that my practice so far is working enough to at least keen the criticisms from getting any worse!

Warm-ups were a deluge of information: learn this one, and this one, oh, and the one on page 100 is wonderful for your fingers! Everyone was in the same boat though, we’re all trying to look calm while working frantically. I was quite pleased with how the Moyse finger exercises we’ve now been working on for a week have come along. Not perfect by a long way, and Trevor’s metronome marking of crotchet = 108 was rather brisk in the lesson, but at least I got through them from memory at the requested speed.

We finished off the warm-up session with Trevor launching into the first movement of the Bach E minor sonata from memory and all of us looking a bit stunned at having to play along. A bit of work still needed there!

From there, we moved into tunes – which some of us have been set as a cure for lack of expression. Mine is Sicilienne, written by Maria Theresia von Paradis as a a gift for Mozart. Though Trevor was generous in his criticism, I genuinely got a lot out of playing this for him. He really took the time to stress the importance of ever aspect of the musical line – really precise rhythm, note endings, separation, graduation of dynamics, beat stresses, and holding the first note of trills for a fraction to get full effect. This is the sort of detailed study that I think it’s difficult to get in a university setting, where the number of lessons necessitates a certain focus on exam-related goals. Hopefully, the my work on it will show in the repertoire pieces I play in the weeks and months to come.

In the car on the way to our evening walks, Trevor has set about teaching us a selection of call-and-response songs. Tonight, we tried to learn ‘Green Grow the Rushes O’ – all 12 verses! Needless to say that we need a little more practice in remembering all the lyrics. There isn’t a huge selection of videos online, but this one is closest to the way we sound, and good for a laugh as well!

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