YPA rep prep planning


I have been neglecting this blog. Consequently there are many things I have been wanting to write about – notably Sunday’s performance and the lead-up to it, also the come-down afterwards, crazy Japanese waitresses, something to trigger some thoughts on my masters paper, guilt, an increasing penchant for procrastination, thoughts and repertoire for next year, and some planning for how I am to prepare the repertoire for Stage I of YPA. As I am meeting with Patrick to discuss just this tomorrow, the final point wins.

I’ve been noting down some thoughts this evening, bullet points and boring to all but myself probably.


Some challenges

General —

  • consistency of work
  • planned & tracked progress, especially for note-learning stage
  • consideration of the fact that note-learning will happen at a different pace for each piece – allow more time for Hurel especially, as well as Feld, and revision of Ford rhythms & Messiaen
  • this means setting reasonable goals
  • also be consistent and disciplined with technical practise
  • early on start to collect arsenal of ‘daily difficulties’ – small examples of extreme technical difficulty that require daily work away from the piece proper
  • for these, really sort out good brain directions – remember that you can only think long passages of notes in 2s and 3s, divide accordingly
  • keep things slow & manageable most of the time, crank up the challenge on occasion

Specific to each piece —

1) Telemann // Fantasia No. 9

  • clarity of articulation
  • strong low reg tone
  • stylistic considerations
  • character, colour, shaping & energy
  • memorise??

2) Schubert // ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata (1st mvt??)

  • beautiful tone
  • clarity of ideas
  • colour & phrasing
  • breath control
  • some finger passages
  • imitating richness of arpeggione

3) Messiaen // Le Merle Noir

  • solid memorisation
  • technical control & birdlike characters in cadenzas
  • absolute rhythmic accuracy & ensemble
  • legato
  • articulation
  • contrast

4) Feld // Sonata (1st mvt)

  • notes, fingers, accuracy & control
  • breath control
  • dynamics, balance & ensemble
  • energy & momentum without racing/terror
  • demonstrating technical facility

5) Hurel // Loops 1

  • solid note-learning (consistent work!)
  • fingers, rhythm, accuracy & control
  • lip flexibility & control, clarity (tone & articulation)
  • dynamics
  • best fingerings for quartertones
  • throat flutter!
  • intensity & contrast

6) Ford // Female Nude

  • rhythmic accuracy
  • well internalised rhythm & esp. sung notes
  • character (dramatic considerations?)
  • dynamics
  • alto flute sound, beauty & also harshness
  • memorise??


It would definitely be best if all notes were learnt by the end of December, and all memorisation completed. That leaves a lot of work between now and then. The Hurel in particular will need significant practise time, I would say at least an hour per day, in order to guarantee this happens.

Right, then I need to spend an hour per day on the Hurel alone! Really dedicated but unhurried clocking up (get metronome fixed!!).

So I’ll plan week-by-week until the end of December. For now:

Wk 1 – Fri 2 to Thurs 8
This is going to be a fairly low impact week, what with my flute in for service from next Tuesday and the Mater Special School (I teach a music class) break-up on the Thursday. I do have four days until my flute disappears however, so what can I achieve in four days (that also have a host of other commitments sadly…)? I can aim for three hours practise a day planned in and actually done, that will be 2 hours of tech practise & 45mins Hurel plus 15mins on any one of the other pieces (Messiaen, Schubert, Feld & Telemann respectively).
When my flute is in for service I will revisit the alto flute and the Ford, but will only practise 1.5hrs a day in 30min chunks (because alto is so freaking heavy!). I’ll aim for 30mins tone, 40mins solidifying rhythm, notes & sing-plays, and 20mins preliminary memorisation work.


I also must make a decision (rather rapidly) as to whether or not I will audition for the Lucerne Festival Academy – it is highly unlikely I would get in, but I could play the Telemann and Hurel, as well as some piccolo excerpts (including Pierrot Lunaire). Applications must be submitted by January 20th, so I’d have to start organising it now. Perhaps I will talk to Antonia – Chris is no longer a Con student – about lining up a recording session regardless, it will at the least be good preparation for this YPA stage.

Other audition considerations are the Ensemble Modern Academy and their summer school, Klangspuren Schwaz, although getting in to any of these would muck up my plans for the 2nd half of 2012 considerably… Then there’s also Darmstadt!


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