Holiday Assignments


I had tea yesterday with the eminently wonderful Kathleen Gallagher, to debrief my end-of-November recital and talk about plans for next year. As always, she had many astute observations and terrific suggestions to offer. In particular, she pointed out my finger problem, which obviously was not so much of a problem in our lessons as it was in concert performance. In fact she seemed quite surprised that I was struggling with technique at all, which surprised me because I still feel that my fingers are my biggest sticking point and that that must be obvious to everyone else as well.

So she has given me a few holiday assignments to address this:

  1. Trevor Wye finger & digital exercises from Advanced Practise (I already practise these, but now will attack them with renewed vigour!!)
  2. Marcel Moyse Unfamiliar Sequences (1 per day)
  3. Salvatore Sciarrino’s All’aure in una lontananza from L’Opera per flauto (a work with long notey aeolian chunks, without repetition or pattern! I’m to learn it and map out my learning process, a valuable exercise!!)

In addition to this, I’ll keep working at tonal scales (Moyse Gammes et Arpeges, Taffanel & Gaubert Daily Exercises, and Gerhard’s exercises), but I’ll slow them down considerably, really paying conscious attention to what the fingers are doing. The main thing is to eliminate exaggerated action and grabbing or tension in my wrists. And to create good mental cues, especially for passages with long, fast runs of notes.

So with my articulation practise and this and then the breathing work I’ll need to add in, I’ll need to overhaul my tech practise plan. A job for tomorrow…

Also tomorrow, the Kupka’s Piano crew will be getting around a table to start planning out rehearsals for early next year. Derive (Boulez) AND Talea (Grisey)!!!! I’m so excited!


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