The Debrief


I met with Patrick today for lunch in place of my lesson (damn this sickness!) to discuss my time in Melbourne. We had a long and very good discussion about what I had taken from those four lessons and what might work best at this point.

Patrick’s major points were that:

  • I really do need to have a clear idea of what sound to use when and where, and how to make it – in fact, that this is even more important in contemporary music than in standard repertoire, and
  • To work on this will require separate technical practise (isolating colours, dynamics, vibratos), as well as exercises in conception, testing out, and self-recording, followed by decision making (that is, articulation) – it will also be helpful to do some identification work when listening, and imitation practise.
  • A good approach may be to do ‘month on, month off’ alternating between intense technical focus and intense repertoire focus (during the former doing mostly note-learning work on repertoire, and during the latter using parts of repertoire to isolate particular technical problems), and that
  • This must carry through busy periods – for example, the period leading up to the MAC concert earlier this year.
  • My upcoming masters recital is on November 27, which is 6.5 weeks away – in the next few weeks I should focus on technical practise (+ listening work and note-learning), following which I have a period of about 4 weeks leading up to the recital strictly dedicated to repertoire practise (trialling, decision making and application, practising in, then increasingly ‘performance practise’ – as in, practising for performance – increasing the size of sections until playing through full piece, then self-recording, playing through for friends, etc.).

So, in short, some very exciting and clear ideas about how to approach practising leading up to this recital!

Just quickly, I had a few additional ideas I’d like to note down, to do with these ‘decisions’ that will need to be made… It gets very tiny! Within an entire phrase (small as that may be) there are macro details – overall phrase shape, dynamics, breathing, basic articulation, vibrato through the line – and micro details – colours employed, individual note shaping, specifics of articulation and vibrato. Of course there are much bigger, structural details to work with too, across the full body of a piece, but I think I need to spend a bit more time focussing in on the little things.


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