Finally. I actually managed to play close to how I play when I practice by myself in front of Lynn, my teacher. It’s been a long time coming. Usually I’m just nervous enough to screw up, in some way or another, almost every passage I play during a lesson. That’s followed by my statement, “I usually don’t play this quite this badly”.
At the beginning of the lesson I didn’t do a good job with the arpeggios starting on middle C. I don’t typically have much trouble with these (my opinion, not necessarily Lynn’s) and I was thinking that maybe this lesson wasn’t going to go so well. Fortunately things improved a lot. Again, my opinion but at least I was happy.
We started working on arpeggios that start at low C with the goal of getting to third space C with an embouchure shift from low to high somewhere around middle C. I can do this from high to low pretty easily but not from low to high yet. Occasionally I can do this without the embouchure shift but the tone is bad. I got some really good instructions about how to go about working on this shift. I don’t worry too much about how I play when the lesson is on new stuff. I’m just happy that I understand and remember (I forgot to take notes) what I need to do.
Next up was the Singer #4 exercise. (See A lesson in basics for a description of this and the Kopprash exercise.) This went well and I started to think that maybe this would be a good day after all. The Singer #4 exercise is not one that I beat myself up over if I don’t play it all that well. I’m still learning to do it right so I’m happy with any improvement.
Kopprash #2 followed the Singer exercise. This exercise went really well. In fact, Lynn said it was the best she had heard me play it. She was right. It was the best I’d ever played it. Now that hardly ever happens at a lesson.
Time for Kopprash #19. This is basically an articulation exercise – all 16th notes, some slurred, some stacatto. We’ve been working on my stacatto tonguing for at least a month, maybe two, and it’s been slowly getting better but even this was good today. My assignment for next week is to pick up the tempo.
Onward to Mozart 3, 1st movement and then Strauss 1. There are several passages in both pieces that we’ve been working on. I messed up the rhythm a bit (actually you can’t really mess up the rhythm ‘a bit.’ It’s either right or it’s not) but I got the notes. I’ve had plenty of lessons where I miss more notes than I make so it’s a really good thing if we are only working on the rhythm. By this point I have concluded that I’m having a very good day. I don’t really know why but I’m not complaining.
We finished up the lesson playing some Brahms duets. Even these went well. I remember when I used to get lost or play a wrong note and stop every few measures. I probably stopped once or twice but I played better than I have in the past. So, as I wrote at the beginning, finally a good lesson.
This is a picture of my dachshund Frankie’s butt, taken today, as he hides under a chair during my afternoon practice session. He also passes gas at every lesson.