Class today wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be, though I am still really struggling with Trevor’s sequences in the warm-ups. The problem is certainly not to do with my ability to play scales and arpeggios, as I can do everything in the normal full-range mode at quite high speeds. Yet playing sequence such as these is still tricky:

Arpeggios, one octave: C maj up, C# maj down, D maj up, Eb maj down

Dom 7ths, one octave: C, C#, D, Eb etc.

Today I managed the major and minor arpeggios well at a slow speed, but as soon as Trevor pushed the tempo I was lost. I know that I need to keep working at these rather than just getting frustrated with myself, but am definitely feeling behind some of my peers on this exercise, and that’s not where I want to be!

As for pieces, my William Tell Overture was pronounced “quite good – much better expression” in the opening tune, though I need to make sure that the semiquavers continue to fit in with the cor anglais solo even when the grace notes start! My Damase study wasn’t stunning, but I think Trevor could see that I’d work on the musical aspects as well as the technical, and didn’t seem too bothered. As for the Ibert Pièce, I was a little bit miffed here that Trevor spent almost all time with one student and then didn’t seem terribly bothered about hearing the rest of us. Yes, it useful to hear Yi-Yin’s lesson, and I learned a lot about the piece, but I’m sure the afternoon’s time could have been divided out a little more equally. I did get up after Yi-Yin, but only to play the first page of the piece. My two key points for the lesson were flexibility in aid of expression (third bar of the a tempo, where I was playing totally straight triplets rather than letting them ‘fall forwards’ a little), and that it’s often better to breathe before syncopation in order to increase the tension.

Finally, we played Trevor some of his jazz arrangements that are on the Christmas concert program. I was a little surprised that he wasn’t harsher with our performance – all in all he seemed to quite enjoy it. The main thing is clearly rhythm, but no comments were made at all about intonation, despite a couple of dodgy moments. Maybe he was being a bit softer since it was the first time he’d heard them!