Practise in February

Standard

Over the next two months I have a lot of repertoire to get to performance standard (I’ll list it in a second), which means I have to be super focussed in my practise regime, targeting my specific weaknesses of the moment. As we prepared for Kupka’s series launch (we’ve got a four-concert series at the Judith Wright Centre that we’re really excited about!), there were a few gaps in my technique that I feel need attention:

Isolated finger technique: my fingers have been a constant source of stress, and lately I’ve slacked off finger exercises a bit too much. When I was down in Melbourne I had a great lesson with Margaret Crawford, and she suggested spending a few minutes each day on silent finger exercises, getting absolute control of each finger on its own and in every possible combination. This and then some third register exercises will form the basis of my finger work for the next couple of weeks. For evenness, I’ll pull out every trick in the book for my repertoire – including new ones from Andrew Macleod: selecting points through a semiquaver passage to pause, making sure the notes continue with absolute rhythmic accuracy.

Clarity and reliability of attack: articulation is another area that needs consistent maintenance, and I’ve been neglecting it far too much. Speed is less an issue than clarity, so single tonguing and hard attacks – especially on repeated notes – are the focus. I want to improve my Rampal-style detaché (tadpole-shaped notes), my Bennett-style ‘rolled R’ repeated articulations, and my accents in the low register especially. Exercises to be selected from Wye’s articulation book, Reichert’s 7 daily ex, Bach & Telemann, and on scales.

Legato line: this one I have been working on and making progress, thanks to the book of exercises Latham put me onto by Philippe Bernold: La Technique d’Embouchure. I’m up to the second chapter (on intervals), but will continue to work through the first. To this I’ll once again add Werner Richter’s Konditionstraining to make sure I can properly control movement between registers, and don’t revert to stretching the corners of my mouth and jamming my jaw forward. This will all accompany jaw/lip position and colour work within my repertoire, and the slow movement project.

I’ve just drawn up my basic weekly schedule for the next few months, working out exactly how much practise I can fit in. By my reckoning, I’ll get between 19 and 23 hours of practise in per week. But I’ll have to be pretty disciplined to fit this in around a pretty busy schedule (and a puppy!).

I’m preparing (for and what):

QSO casual audition: date yet to be specified, sometime in February? Mozart D Maj 1st mvt + orchestral excerpts.
Kupka’s concert #1 – Asia: 8th & 14th March. Wang Lu From the Distant Plains II, Isang Yun’s bass flute etude (IV) & Liam’s new song cycle.
YPA round 1: 21st March. Telemann Fantasie no. 8, Haydn sonata in G, Bozza Agrestide, Saariaho Laconimse de L’aile & Liam’s flute & piano pieces (all 3).
Hopefully … Tokyo Wonder Site – Ensemble Modern academy: 24-30th March. Not sure what repertoire yet.
Study with Camilla Hoitenga in Cologne: April on I’m hoping. Saariaho’s entire flute ouvre (I kid … kinda). Plus plenty of other stuff!
Australian Flute Festival competition tape round: due 28 June (this will depend on YPA results…). Carl Vine sonata 2nd & 3rd mvts, Telemann Fantasie (8 again?) & own choice w/ piano … Bozza? Messiaen? Furrer?

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