I meant to call this post ‘Remember, remember…’ as tonight is Guy Fawkes night and I have some lovely memories of going to see the bonfire and fireworks from when I was little. However, today has been soggy and wet, and the local bonfire night isn’t happening until the weekend. Instead, I want to use this post to mull on a slightly different topic – how to fill my time here through the winter so that I can be the musician I want to be at the end of it.

Despite the rain, or maybe because of it, I woke up early, but then decided it was probably not the best idea to get drenched going for a run. So I started practising early (my flatmates were both awake thought!), and as a result got five hours of flute practice done by 3:30pm. I kept a hopeful lookout for some better weather, but the best was an uninspiring light drizzle. I felt itchy, in need of things to do that would keep me excited – I’ve never been one for watching lots of TV shows and so that was out as an option for the afternoon.

I ended up filling my time with a few things, some more productive than others. I baked chocolate, date and hazelnut brownies, improvising a little since we’d run out of eggs, which both great fun and warming. The result was moderately successful, it turns out that substituting greek yogurt for the eggs results in a nice gooey texture, but isn’t quite as good at binding everything together. Looks like I’ll offering everyone a fork when we eat them tomorrow!

Chocolate, date and hazelnut brownies. Look and taste good, but somewhat lacking in structural integrity!

Chocolate, date and hazelnut brownies. Look and taste good, but somewhat lacking in structural integrity!

I’ve also achieved my daily goal on Duolingo, where I’m trying to learn German, and have almost finished reading Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw in preparation for out trip to see Benjamin Britten’s opera this Friday. While baking, I listened to an episode of the radio series National Contemporary Landscapes, which I did some work on at 3MBS just before leaving Australia but haven’t yet had a chance to tune into. I listened to a CD of Robert Dick’s flute music as part of my extra work for Trevor as well, and plan on doing some reading for my project later this evening.

One of the things at the forefront of my mind with this course is that it could be the last period of being a student that I have for some time. Of course, I’d like to do a PhD eventually, but who knows what the work/study balance will be when that comes round. I want to emerge from this course not only as an expressive, technically competent flute player, but also as a savvy, skilled, opinionated and thinking musician who can hold my own and create exciting opportunities in a competitive and demanding field. I’d like to be the flautist that other musicians want to work with, not only for being a good player, but also because I’m engaged, individual and can bring other skills to the table. I’d also like to continue to combine performance with arts work in a broader sense, be that through writing, radio, concert organisation or indeed something else.

Trevor’s course is very much geared to getting an orchestral job, and while many of the musical skills are essentially the same, I know that to make the best use of my time here I need to have my own professional development projects on the go as well. I suppose my conclusion is that there is plenty to do to fill my time, rather too much in fact! I just need to pace myself, decide what is really important to me and keep my long-term goals in mind. I definitely don’t want to waste my time here watching TV shows online (as a few are), but do need to give myself down time as well, whatever form that takes.

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