Thursday 18 September 2008

First week of classes

Monday was good: it had the first Arranging class. We have a different lecturer for this module this year, and I'd been a little nervous about whether lessons would be as well-organised and straightforward as last year. I needn't have worried: the module leader (who taught us last year) has put together a little booklet for us that lays things out quite sensibly, and the lecturer seems to have similar ideas about how to plan and execute assignments. The first assignment is due rather soon--20th November--so we do have to hit the ground running. I'm glad to be back!

Also on Monday I had a brief rehearsal with a pianist for a concert last night, and some piano teaching to do. The day went quickly as a result.

Tuesday I had no classes, but I got a lot done in terms of practising and also inched forward a bit with getting some chamber music sorted out.

Wednesday was long.

I arrived at too-early-for-the-library-but-too-late-to-practise, so wandered around a bit. Then was the first class, which is basically a sort of support group for our Year Four Projects and the other aspects of the course which are in the same category. Yesterday's session was spent discussing an overview of the course structure and how all this fits into it, which was useful but did not lead to specific next-actions-to-take. After that I went and did some practising.

Afternoon brought Improvisation class. Last year I felt I floundered somewhat in this class, but again, there is a new lecturer this year. We each played a short improvisation, and we spoke a bit about focus and concentration and nerves. It was a very useful class and I'm thinking I will get a lot out of this module this year.

After that was horn class. Andy Fletcher (of the RPO, not this one) came to get us started; we discussed various elements of a good warm-up and specific tips for getting back into playing after a bit of time away. Then we worked on the Schumann Konzertstück, because there's nothing like talking about the importance of a gentle warm-up and then attempting to play an E above the staff! It was good fun, though, even if my own playing was rather patchy.

I left horn class a bit early to get ready for a concert I played in last night. The Head of Student Services at Trinity for the time I've been here is leaving to pursue a slightly different career path, and the Student Services department organised a bit of a going-away do. She has been a tremendous source of support and inspiration during my time here, so I jumped at the chance to play despite having fairly short notice. I was more nervous for that than I've been for a performance of any kind in quite some time, but it was a pleasure and an honour to be able to play for her before she leaves. It was also a pleasure to work with a new pianist, who did a wonderful job on very short notice.

Today: no classes, and no scheduled rehearsals. I came in later than normal, did some bits and pieces in the library, and have chatted of matters trifling and serious with various people... but I've also picked away at getting some more chamber music sorted out. I think the secret is to sit on the bench in the courtyard. It isn't as busy or noisy as the caff is and people are not usually so deep in conversations or lunch, which means it's a good opportunity to just grab them. I don't know how well it'll work when winter sets in, though!

Tomorrow: no classes, and no scheduled rehearsals! As I teach all day on Sundays I'm thinking I will try to use Friday afternoons for general life-maintenance tasks. In the morning, though, I need to choose a standard to use for my Arranging assignment, and do some serious planning of my year in terms of solo playing and just when I'm going to do this Year 4 Project.

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