I’m still struggling to memorise the sequences that Trevor proposes in our warm-ups, and so today played them in each of my hours of technique practice. Hopefully the focus will make them stick a bit more, because I’m a bit sick of getting flustered in class as soon as the tempo goes up at notch. On the other hand (as I was reminded by a friend in Australia the other day), it’s not about learning it all right this minute, but about the improvement – if I can play them a bit faster in class tomorrow then I’m getting somewhere!

This week’s etudes are something of a mixed bag. I’ve done a lot of work on Andersen No. 6 before, and ended up winning the open study section of the Lesile Barklamb Scholarship (Victorian Flute Guild) with it in 2011. I feel like it’s come back together relatively easily over the past few days, but that Trevor will have a lot to say about ornaments, trills and expression. I’ve been trying to play grace notes and mordants as fast as possible, and to make sure that all dynamics are observed. After last week comments, I’ve also spent some time thinking about the large-scale picture, of harmonic direction and the overall structure of the piece.

I am, however, finding the Altès studies less appealing. I was asked to repeat the central section of No. 5 at the correct speed, which hasn’t been too difficult to achieve. Moving on to No. 6, and I can play both the articulation patterns, just not for three pages at the given speed! No. 7 is a similar story. I’ve been trying not to get too frustrated with these studies, and to embrace the challenge of maintaining the clarity of articulation, but definitely find them less appealing to practise than the Andersen.

Today I had my first experiment with the slow cooker, and was really happy with the result. Leftover sweet potatoes, cabbage, parsnips with veggie stock and some herbs came out five hours later tasting absolutely fantastic!