Mostly a quiet practice day today, and with a good sleep last night things were better than yesterday.

I upped the tempo for the Practice Book 6 exercises to crotchet = 120 because Roya said she had and I didn’t want to be left behind. 116 would probably have been a safer bet, but I got through them. Major scales and all my arpeggios felt really good, but the melodic minors are still driving me up the wall. I think some of it’s that I worry about the turn around at the top, then of course I chicken out! Andersen No. 4 is tricky with all the leaps – at the moment I feel like it’s all the notes, a clear staccato or speed. If I can get two working together by Monday I’ll be happy!

Two little pieces of inspiration I found today:
1. My running circuit, which is still three miles long, but which I accomplished in 25min. We live at the top of a hill, and so my circuit involves going both up and down a hill. At the start of the month, I turned right out of the dairy, going round anticlockwise, and dying every time I reached the hill to come back up because it’s really steep. By the end of the first week I was making no progress, so started turning left out of the dairy and running clockwise round. There is still exactly the same amount of hill to go up, but it’s spread over a longer distance, and I can now run all the way without stopping (or feeling like I’m going to die!). Lesson: looking at things a different way can often make a huge difference!

2. I picked up a book at Trevor’s on Thursday, Becoming an Orchestral Musician by Richard Davis. I mentioned a while ago that Trevor had given me a book called The Handbook to Higher Consciousness in the hope that it might help me to play more expressively, and while I have been reading it, I certainly haven’t been enjoying it. The Davies has a chapter on performance philosophy, which talks about a number of points, specifically giving music that je ne sais quoi. Three ideas were given: playing as if it’s the last day of your life, playing as if it’s the first time you’re experiencing the music, and finally the importance of always taking your audience on a musical journey. Nothing I haven’t heard or read before, but refreshing to read again. And tonight on our walk, I plucked up the courage to tell Trevor I’m not getting along with his choice of reading material!

For dinner, I made a yummy aubergine and courgette soup with plenty of garlic to stave off any looming colds. Final lesson of the day: cooking is relaxing.

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