Another full day of classes, and once again I didn’t have a great time of things.

Warm-ups in the morning went ok – I’d manged to fix some of the things that Trevor wanted such as posture (I’ve now got more space between my flute and right shoulder) and expression in the more lyrical warm-up exercises themselves. When it came to the devilish finger exercises I did quite well, and with the scales test I was better off than most. A slight glitch when Trevor got me to sightread No. 1 of Boehm’s Twelve Studies, but I think that my being selected might have been because he thought I might be able to make something of it.

The difficult bit of the lesson came once again with the presentation of Moyse and Andersen studies. I played Moyse No. 1 and 6 (at least an improvement from last week where we got sidetracked onto tone colour exercises and I didn’t play any!) and Andersen No. 2, and it was the Andersen that rather undid my confidence. I was barely allowed to play a bar before the criticism started, and it can be summed up as follows:

– No character or understanding of the musical phrase

– A and B on the first and second beats need to be weighty because they’re the tune, but not legato. Rather, a full, expressive staccato with bounce.

– Then the E pedal staccatos need to be shorter and crisper because at the moment they sound legato

– There needs to be direction towards the downbeat A of the next bar, which I need to show as weight in the music without elongating the notes.

– In general I’m still playing too softly.

– And P.S. he didn’t like my choice to put a decrescendo at the end of the second bar, he prefers maintainig a forte dynamic to convey the drive in the music.

– And P.P.S. the one time that I was allowed to play more than a couple of bars (I got through a page and a half), it was only to convey to everyone that I wasn’t maintaining the staccato consistently.

All totally valid criticisms of my playing, and I know that staccato isn’t my forte (no pun intended). The thing that has left me feeling a bit down is that it after a week and a half Trevor has labeled me as ‘good technique, no expression’, and that that is now all he hears in my playing. It seemed that he was hounding me almost for the sake of it, to make a point that he would stamp out my musical bad habits and focus on them above all else. He could see that I was trying to put all the pieces of the musical line together, but kept driving the point because I was struggling to get everything happening at once.

To cap off the day, I have been given a book called The Handbook to Higher Consciousness to ‘help you think about playing more expressively’. Not wanting to be too pessimistic, but I don’t think this is going to be my cup of tea. The one saving grace of the day was that we went for a lovely meal at a pub called the Black Horse this evening, and the apple and rhubarb crumble was wonderful!