There’s been a lot of flute playing going on around here lately, as you might imagine. I think I mentioned it in the comments on another post, but I passed my grade 8 exam! I got 27 marks out of 30 for two of the pieces I played, and 26 for the other, so I was ever so pleased. My scales were ‘well prepared and mostly evenly played’, and even passed the aural tests despite several inaccuracies.
I did enjoy receiving the examiner’s comments. When I did grade 7 (at school, er, 15 years ago), the examiner said things like ‘this piece had some life but would have benefited from a range of dynamics’, so I was most gratified this time to read things like:
‘you exploited an appropriately wide dynamic range and contoured the phrases musically’
‘some blemishes today, but the rhythmic sense of direction and vitality projected the spirit of the movement convincingly’
‘tonal control at the extremities of the range not always quite reliable, but generally a stylish and expressive account, despite small blemishes’
I confess I was rather chuffed with myself (despite the profusion of ‘blemishes’).
It’s a bit strange sometimes when you do something that takes up lots of time (flute exam, marathon, phd all spring to mind). When it’s over, you find yourself wondering what comes next. Fortunately I already had something exciting lined up for the weekend…
On Saturday, I caught the train to London for a day with the Not(e) Perfect Orchestra, formed for one day by the London Symphony Orchestra’s community and education programme.
Everyone was thoroughly over-excited, and it was great fun. I’ve been on a couple of orchestra play days in the last year, but this one had a special air of celebration about it. It also had the slightly alarming distinction of having conservatoire students and some of the players from the London Symphony Orchestra playing alongside us (they were very nice and not at all intimidating, honestly). You can read all about it here.
I’m enjoying playing a lot at the minute. I didn’t play for such a long time, and when I started again I was rather nervous, not wanting to play when anyone could hear, even in my own house. I didn’t tell anyone I played. I whispered through my flute, trying to play as quietly as possible. After a while, I found I could play in the attic if Peter was in the kitchen two floors below, and then later, in the next room. I started playing with friends, and joined a flute choir. And I signed up for a few orchestra days, playing music I didn’t know alongside people I’d never met, and even rather enjoying it.
It’s a good feeling, knowing you can get better at something if you put the time and effort in. I’ve got so much better in just 18 months, and I know there’s still so much to learn. Already I’m casting my eyes about for the next challenge.
What about you? Any long-forgotten skills you’d like to dust off? Something you’ve always wanted to try but never got round to?