Day 21, Systems

Hours, practiced: 2.  rehearsing: 3, listening to a concert: 2.  Today it came down to the choice between seeing a concert of my teacher and colleagues playing important repertoire or getting those other two hours in.  I went with the concert.  Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be the super inspirational, profound experience I was hoping for.  There were a many things I enjoyed but also many I didn’t.

A couple things that seemed important today in the practice room:

  • On listening to a recording made of myself doing a performance, I remember advice I heard from Sharon Wood-Sparrow, 2nd flutist of the Detroit Symphony, when she came and gave a masterclass at the Glenn Gould School.  She talked about listening to recordings three times for three different reasons:
  1. Listen for rhythm (including rhythmic rests).
  2. Listen for intonation.
  3. Listen for musicality.  In that order.  This little system has helped me give a major facelift to many of my excerpts.  Having three distinct listenings for those three things makes it a lot easier to detect a problem.  It’s hard to carry info about all three on one listening.  Knowing I can and will go back and listen for intonation later frees my mind up to give all my attention to rhythm (and so on.)
  • When I only have a short amount of time to do something (say 45 minutes before I need to leave for rehearsal) I’ve found the best way to be relaxed while working is to set an alarm on my phone.  That way I don’t have to constantly check the clock, worrying that I’ll be late.  I can lose track of time.  When I feel like I have the freedom to do that I’m usually a lot more creative within my practice session.
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