For a few days now, I’ve been mulling over some feeling of frustration with myself and the course. Some of them are unavoidable, but frustrations with my lack of progress in some areas of classwork need to be changed and I think I’ve worked out the solution.

I think I’ve had the idea in my head that by the end of my time here all aspects of my playing need to be ‘perfect’, and as a result am really down on myself if I don’t see improvements from lesson to lesson. The reality is that in an environment such as this I am going to improve a lot, and already have. However, music is never perfect and nor should it be. By thinking in this way, I’ve failed to see some of the changes that have already taken place, and probably played worse in class on several occasions as well.

So today I went into class trying to keep this in mind; I’ve improved a lot already, I’m working hard, and I’m also on a path for which there is never really an ‘end’ per say. Some things still weren’t amazing, but I was surprised by how much a positive outlook did improve things. Reichert still needs work, but I got through the major/minor scales plus shortened Reichert quite well at Trevor’s brisk speeds. My sequences were congratulated on being much improved since last week.

Unfortunately Altès studies still need a bit or work, with the dotted rhythms in no. 6 still giving me a bit of a headache. However, the Andersen study went well, and I now have a much clearer idea on how to fix the Altès. After focusing on expression in Moyse Little Melodic Study No. 13, the exercises instead became about dynamics, with Trevor asking me to play it fortissimo. Point taken, I still need to remember to play with a bigger dynamic range!

This evening the temperature dropped to around three degrees, and our walk back from the Old Dairy was chilly even with scarves and gloves. The sky, though, was stunning – cloudless and expansive, it twinkled with a patchwork of stars, and the Milky Way cut a streak right through the centre. It reminded me just how little of it I’ve seen living in Melbourne, and just how much there is beyond that isn’t visible to the naked eye.