I made it to the end of my first month! It at once feels like I’ve been here a long while and no time at all, and it’s still a bit strange to think of this little dairy and village as home. Now seems a good time for a bit of reflection on what has happened so far, so here goes:

– Trevor’s major criticism of my playing a month ago was that I didn’t play expressively. This has been a point of quite a lot of tension, as I was struggling to realise just how much I needed to project my musical ideas and dynamics, while Trevor was often insisting that I failed to understand the music. I had a turning point with Andersen Op. 15 Study No. 3 almost two weeks ago, and am now slowly counting up the classes I go without negative comments on that front. Hopefully it will continue that way!

– I’ve changed my posture somewhat to have a bigger space between the flute and my right arm/shoulder. This does feel more natural, and I’m not sure how the more closed posture had crept into my playing.

– Along with aiming to project musical ideas more, I have had to push my dynamic range out to a much bigger ff and a pp that is almost nothing. These extremities still need a lot of work, and I still have a tendency to go flat when playing very quietly. I am, however, now happy to play with a pp that is almost nothing, whereas earlier this year I would have sacrificed the dynamic for feeling safe with intonation.

– I’ve learned the importance of ending notes beautifully – essentially every one needs a diminuendo, they just vary in length.

– Thanks to all the hours of scales and technical exercises, I can certainly feel a different in the agility and precision of my fingers. Looking in the mirror, there is so little movement now when I play scales. It’s quite amazing what focused practice can do!

– I think that one of the big focuses of the coming month is going to be articulation, aiming for a really clear, short staccato and well-articulated beginnings to notes. This will be a lot of work, but also something I’m really keen to master.

– For the first time in my life, I feel like my body has finally become comfortable with running! I’ve got into the habit of going out about four mornings a week, and am slowly increasing the distance with an aim of five miles by Christmas. I’m really enjoying running (this still seems so strange to say), and am sure it’s doing some good for my playing as well!

I still need to keep reminding myself that I’m here for me and my flute playing, to go with the flow even if it’s not what I would choose myself. I need to take Trevor’s feedback on board, no matter how harsh (or occasionally bizarre) it seems. Yes, there are some things that he doesn’t need to know about, but he is a great teacher and I can feel the difference that this past month has made.

Today was Halloween, and while I’m not particularly into the idea of celebrating it as some sort of festival, I did contribute a yummy vegetarian chilli for dinner. I’m much more excited about bonfire night next week!

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