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  1. Every Christmas break I sit and write a set of goals for the year ahead; some I know I will achieve fairly easily, others less so, but in any case I am committing to saying in fact 'yes I will do this'.

    They are not of the weak willed watered down new years resolution variety but more of a promise to improve / expand / and 'step out of my boat' and on to the water as it were!

    I find that we ALL need motivation and goals in order to progress, in addition to time reflecting on our progress. School children as quite used to working to regular goals and set targets and are often required to set at least one target themselves. How much more important then is it for adult students to do the same?.

    I am asking all of my srudents to rise up to 3 basic goals this year (and preferably more);

    1. To attend at least one concert that features their instrument in order to top up their 'inspiration level'.

    2. To take part in some sort of ensemble activity, be it doing a duet OUT of lesson with a friend, taking part in one of my informal 'Ensemble workshops' (keep an eye on the events page for an appearance), work shop (Nottingham Saxday for instance www.saxday.co.uk ) student concert, local jazz band, orchestra or concert band. There really are an abundance of opportunities out there and you will reap the rewards with improved aural skills, timing, improved intonation etc, as well as enjoying the social side of music making (after all, we're not really designed to be playing our instrument locked in a cupboard somewhere in fear of being heard!).

    3. To set yourself a level to achieve by the end of the year, be it a grade, a stage in your tutor book. It then keeps you moving forward, giving YOU ownership of your learning path. In that way you should feel a boost of satisfaction at the year end when you have achieved your goal.

    I look forward to 2011 and again working with my students to achieve great things!

    Wishing you all a very happy new year,

    Keri.

  2. Hi all,

    Apologies that all has again been rather quite on the blogging front recently; a number of projects have been occupying my time.

    The launch of new sheet music label 'Masquerade-music' (don't forget the hyphen!) is planned to take place very soon, which means an exciting new cover designs for my sheet music, thanks go to talented Artist / friend Nicola Pennill ( http://www.nicolapennillartist.co.uk/) for her patience and expertise.

    The launch also sees the availabilty of new pieces 'Czardas' for Clarinet & Piano, and 'Fuerza Tranquilla' for Alto Saxophone & Piano for the very first time! These two new pieces have been attracting some wonderful comments, which is always lovely, so i'm pleased to be able to make the 'dots' available very soon.

    I have a nice arranging project on the go of a stunning composition by local composer Chris Lawry (http://www.chrislawry.com/) called 'Kensa Ha dewatha' ('first and last' in cornish). It's a piece for solo violin and string orchestra, but i'm confident that the piece will work very well for saxophone ensemble.

    My composing tends to slow up a little towards the end of the year, what with increased concerts, student exams, the childrens activities etc, however I do have one or two things on the go, including a piano chillout album, Clarinet chillout, and a Celtic flute album. Recording continues of my previously written collection based on my students (temporarily named 'Mixed bag of styles' but subject to change!) so that demo / backing tracks can be included for sale with the sheet music.

    On boxing day last year I wrote a list of all the things I intended to achieve in 2010 (which was possibly a little over enthiusiastically optimistic!). I'm pleased to report that most items have been completed; the most recent was sending in my entry for grade 5 piano. I still have to crack on to try and achieve ALL the goals on my list, but it really has been a good incentive and I'm planning on a new list for 2011.

    I have had a number of new students start recently so teaching does occupy a fair amount of my time, however I always see teaching as a real joy so i'm going to be enjoying working with them all in the year ahead.

    It seems I have a mysterious chocolate goblin hiding somewhere, as some of you know I buy treats (toblerone bars, maltesers, bags of sweets etc) as monthly rewards for school age students who complete all their set monthly goals. Well, my hubby and I do have the odd attack of sweet-toothed-ness, and recently we were scouring the house for something sweet to munch! In desperation we raided the 'rewards' box and pilfered a toblerone......

    ......since then there have been mysterious disappearings of various sweet items from the treat box, leading to another visit to the confectioners for re-stocking! More puzzling still is that the said chocolare Goblin seems to be flaunting his chocolate nabbing success by leaving the incriminating wrappers and boxes in litter bins positioned directly next to the comfy recliner situated next to TV remote.....hmmmm, the plot thickens! ;)

    Anyway, i'd better be off to do some proper work now, accompaniment writing calls....

    Take care, and God bless,

    Keri D

  3. Well, it seems an age since I was last 'blogging' ! (what an amusing word...blogging, blogging....have you ever thought how silly words are sometimes; take the word 'spoon' for example...quite hilarious when you think of it, or maybe it's just me!).

    On the subject of words, I 've been getting to grips with my new Blackberry phone, which features a whole host of bells, whistles, shimmers and buzzes according to whether i've received an email, text, MMS (I still don't know what this is?!) or facebook or twitter notification! It seems to really come alive from around 11.30pm onwards, and as I also use it as my morning alarm i've taken to stuffing it under my pillow to stifle some of it's musical shriekings! I was writing something the other day, and THANK GOODNESS I checked the message before I sent it; it was trying to change my 'googling' (as in searching on google) to 'go ogling!' which wasn't quite suitable for the context of the message I was sending. I'm not sure quite what I was thinking getting a smart phone as I can't even operate the TV remote, but I'm pleased to report I seem to be poddling on fine (with a few withered looks from my IT whizz 12 year old daughter........)

  4. Apologies for my lack of blogging in recent times, things have been rather busy in the Degg houseshold recently!
         My husband Carl ruptured his Achilles tendon (ouch!) at the end of April and as a result has been at home recovering after his operation. I have therefore been acting as part time nurse in addition to my other activities as he has been unable to do a great deal whilst on crutches!
          Thankfully there have been several days when I have felt suitably inspired and motivated to continue working on my newest piece; a Czardas for Clarinet & piano (alto sax version will probably follow soon!). I have soooo enjoyed working on this piece as I was able to connect with it as it has a number of moods within it which I feel reflects my own personality in many ways...can be deep, but always open to some fun, light hearted.... and the Clarinet (and saxophone) will be excellent to show off these characteristics.
     
           The subject of personalities brings me to my next musing...... I think it's so interesting how you can get quite a clear picture of someones personality through their playing/performance. I have a few new students and it's amazing how after a few lessons and hearing them play I can start to get a fairly accurate picture of their personality! One lady student played her practiced piece very well, and accurately, and, to my surprise managed to hold the last note for the FULL 16 beats (not something I would always expect from a new starter!) I then queried (in a friendly voice) "Are you quite a stubborn sort of person would you say?" at which her immediate answer was "yes, definitely!" .
          As a general observation I've found that the teenage girls (and actually any female student!) will tentatively have a go but apologise throughout when slips are made, teenage boys can be reluctant to try, but after encouragement often achieve a great result and surprise themselves, and adult males can be rather nervous, analytical and hard on themselves! I love working with so many different personalities  and finding the best way to teach that student; finding the best way that they will learn.....
     
           People have often kindly remarked on the sound/expression that I create on my instruments, and it is curious how in tests they have set up identical instruments/ligatures/reeds/ mouthpieces and then recorded several different players, with remarkable differences in the sound produced. This only reinforces my suspicion that the real music actually comes from inside you. You need to picture the sound before the air even leaves your lungs. I find I need to constantly top up my 'inspiration level' by listening to favourite players, walking, reflecting on the beauty of nature (I particularly love the sea, skies, and trees!) and just getting lost in that other world sat at my piano. Hmmmm, that's a bit poetic for a Saturday evening, on to my next news...
     
           I am delighted to have completed my 'Czardas' for Clarinet and piano (alto saxophone version may follow soon) and have thoroughly enjoyed working on this. It is a real audience pleaser, quite flighty on the fingers, so probably around grade 7 or so. All going well I should be recording this in the next couple of weeks, and so far it is going down very favourably with my more advanced students! It will probably appear for sale in the SHOP section at some point in the near future, watch this space.....
     
          And lastly; I have been doing quite a lot more piano accompanying lately and have been loving being part of such an intimate ensemble, supporting, and hopefully bringing out the best in the soloist. There's something distinctly special about playing duets or accompaniments, especially if you get that magical connection where you are both involved with the music in the same way, a real goosebump effect in more sensitive pieces. I have experienced this a number of times and always leaves me with a feeling of awe at the power music has, and a silence afterwards at not wanting to break the spell...... Hope you all get to experience this (if you haven't already).
     
            Right, musings over for tonight, but check back again soon and remember I'm at Hucknall methodist church (Nottingham) on Saturday 3rd July, 7pm in concert with the 'Carousel singers' where I will be playing three sets of music (Saxophone, Clarinet, and possibly EWI) with a wide range of genres; jazz, movies, and more....... bye for now :D
     
    p.s I now have a musician page on facebook where I post far more regular 'mini-blogs' and suchlike! Follow this link; http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Keri-Degg-MusicianComposerTeacher/140952716213?ref=ts
     and click 'like' on the fb page if you wish to keep up to date :D