Thursday, October 7, 2010


Another week, another lesson. I'm in a cramming mode right now, because I don't think I'll be able to get these practice sessions back later. Maybe you can't cram at the last minute, you have to start now. (Kind of different from cramming for an exam.) If I'm going to stand in front of a group and try to play Mozart, in just a few months time, I'd like to not suck, or at least, suck as little as possible. So I have to cram now.

So how do I practice, given the constraints of my life? Well, every day, obviously, zero exceptions, since a lost day requires days to recover before you make progress again. And multiple sessions per day are better than one giant session. Sleeps probably count more than sessions, since new neural connections are formed during sleep. My well-read wife tells me 20 minutes is enough, so if I can sneak a short nap in between the practices, that should help. And basically, I get up early, and try and do a good practice before I need to do other things, and then practice again in the evening. Mornings sometimes I'm late, and only get to scales, and sometimes the evening gets missed, for one reason or another. Scales, etude, Mozart, that's it for the moment.

Oh and reeds. The extra wear from more practicing has I think started to degenerate my reeds faster, despite the cleaner. So I did spend some time this week trying to frantically trim a reed or two closer to playability. Especially since M blamed over-closed reed for some of my sound problem, so I've been trying for a more open tip, yet controllable. Difficult. I blew most of yesterday evening fiddling with G11, lightening it up dramatically (the spine and heart had gotten out of balance with the rest, and needed reducing, since I'd done lots of previous work just shaving the sides and tip). I felt comfortable enough with it that I played it at the lesson, though. And I guess it worked well enough that M didn't feel the need to examine it, try it, or fix it.

Anyway, the scales went fine at lesson. I'd move the metronome up to 61, and have been trying for 16ths, but just played 8ths at the lesson. So maybe it's not surprising that M said they were "well-prepared". Lots of practicing, and quite often, scales is all that I get to. Hopefully it'll pay off in everything else.

Now if I could only apply the same skills to my day job. I wouldn't mind being well-prepared there too, but somehow it's not so easy.

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