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  1. Myself and fellow teacher Daniel Christian have decided to collaborate and arrange a recital in order for our braver students to enjoy the opportunity to perform. Details are given on the calendar/events page. Daniel and I will also be playing after the interval, ably accompanied by Jane Andrassy on Piano.<BLOG_BREAK>
    By 'the juggling game' I am referring to the trials we face when we are multi-instrumentalists. Like most people I have limited time to practice, although I always make as much time as possible and it is one of my favourite pastimes. With 4 main instruments, and 2 more in development I find that when I do practice, it has to be really thought out, I choose my practice material carefully in order to achieve the best results in the limited time scale.
    I usually only practice one instrument per practice session, but if I have to combine 2 or more, I always begin with flute, as I find my embouchure sufferes greatly particularly if I have played saxophone beforehand!
    We have all heard ' practice your long notes and scales' and yes, there are so important as these are the building blocks. I often like to disguise these, and particularly enjoy pieces such as 'Spiegel im Spiegel' (Arvo Part) for long tone exercise, and usually have the tuner on my stand!
    For scale practice I enjoy Kohler which seems to be effective on the woodwinds and often takes you through a few key signatures. I enjoy the challenge of seeing how quickly I can play through all the major and minor scales, so that is quite good fun. Bach is always good for getting your fingers and tongue working well too, and I always leave time for improvisation, which I frequently do at church, or more expressive pieces. Playing many instruments is a pleasure but quite a commitment.
    On a different note (excuse the pun!) today the recording of my Alto saxophone version of Songs for Claire was completed, so will be winging its way to Spartan Press Music Publishers who said they would also like to produce an Alto version. It's been enlightening seeing the whole recording process, and really rather interesting, though i'll be pleased to get back to previous projects that have had to be put on hold.
    I look forward to seeing many of you at the concert, either as performers, or as part of the audience.
  2. I received by email our exam results today for our 7 recent exam-ees,<BLOG_BREAK> and am pleased to report 4 healthy passes, 1 merit, and 2 distinctions, well done all of you!
    Certificates should arrive very soon, now to see if we can decipher the examiners handwriting....!
    I've been asked if I would take part in 'South Normanton's got talent' tomorrow evening at my church; The junction 28 church, south normanton. I'm not sure what to expect, but i'm sure it'll be a real giggle! My daughter Lauren is doing a dance, and i'm choosing to play my EWI, a calm yet funky piece that i'm planning to improvise in, plus a little party trick before hand. It starts at 7pm I believe, but I am planning to arrive after the first half due to it being my sons birthday, gosh they grow so fast!
    I've just about come back to earth now after my exciting news last week having been so busy this week!
  3. Today 7 of my students took practical exams at Ravenshead. I'm really proud of them all. They were no doubt nervous, particularly those who hadn't taken an exam before, with parents looking equally nervous!<BLOG_BREAK>
    It's very easy to say, just try and enjoy it and relax, but not so easy to do in theory! Even the top professionals suffer with nerves, it would be pretty unatural if they didn't, so well done all of you!
    Yesterday saw the start of beginning to record some of the pieces of my new collection based on my students. With the expertise of Alistair Parnell's accompanying and recording skills we were able to record 'John's new flute', 'Sandra's mini', and 'Truffle takes a stroll' (all flute/piano versions, recording on Clarinet and Saxophone will begin soon). It's very rewarding to hear the pieces on a CD as my notation software is great for writing music, but pretty poor and uninspiring on playback!
    I am still keen on the idea of a student concert in the near future so will be putting forward some suggestions on possible dates soon. The hope is that students will volunteer to play one or two pieces to gain a little performing experience, and also hopefully raise a little money for charity. Concert may possibly be on a 'Stage and screen' theme, but is flexible.
    I feel I should end on some intelligent and deep music type quote, must look into that......
  4. Hi all,
    Hope you've all enjoyed a relaxing Easter break. Ours has been rather low key what with Lauren recovering from a bad chest infection/asthma related problems.
    The children have now returned to school so I may be able to catch up on all the things that have been put on hold! <BLOG_BREAK>I am hoping to complete my first set of lighthearted educational pieces in the next few weeks. Four pieces are complete; Truffle takes a stroll, Loretta plays the blues, John's new flute (featuring in the flute book only), and Sandra's new mini.
    I'm still receiving lovely feedback from 'Songs for Claire' that was written towards the end of last year, with people emailing (even from New York!) to say they were brought to tears etc, or how it made them remember a loved one etc. It's a great feeling when the music gets the desired reaction, however Songs for Claire is a very personal piece for me, and was played from the heart on the recording, so I'm glad that came across and that other people can identify with it.
    It's long until our exam session now, and I have quite a few entered this time. I'm hoping that everyone can go in fairly relaxed and just enjoy it. From personal experience, I've always found that I've done far better when I just go in to enjoy performing to the examiner. I always eat 2 banana's in the couple of hours leading up to an exam, and prayer helps too (no, seriously!!).
    I'm enjoying building my piano skills and do hope at some point in the not so distant future to be able to offer myself as an accompanist for exams which should be beneficial as students will already have played with my accompaniment in lessons and it means we can be a little more flexible with exam sessions.
    Keep up the practicing, but remember...qualitly practice is better than hours of mindless practice!