Thursday, March 17, 2005

Post Practice Thoughts

Just got back upstairs from practicing. We finished our basement and converted it into the "music room". I'm glad we did this because it's really coming in hady now.

Today I practiced from 8:30 to 9:45. I start getting tired maybe at 45 minutes but can usually play another 20-30 before my embouchure just dies. It's so funny because when I started I'd get tired at 15 minutes and couldn't play for more than 30. I think I'm going to stay at this 75 minute mark for the time being and focus on doing things better (rather than longer).

My last two classes have been mostly about reeds and I fear that during the last few weeks I've picked up some bad embouchure habits. I think I was starting to bite some in trying to compensate for the recent reed issues. I know have a semi decent reed again (oh, purple stringed reed, how I miss you) so my focus this week has been my embouchure. Today was the first day all week that I felt better about it. I had my lips in well and wasn't smiling. I also think I may have been taking in more reed than necessary so I tried to work on that as well. I'll have my teacher check it tomorrow. I want to work on sound so that someday I can have a nice "covered" tone. Right now I know that several of my notes are "spacey". The E above middle C being the biggest culprit. I am getting some overtones on that one. UGH.

About a month ago I had a really nice lesson where I felt very prepared in terms of the pieces I had studied. I'm working on Gekeler Book One. The "first reed incident of 2005" (say it in the voice of a meteorologist who's describing yet another snow storm) kind of blew my cool so I'm not feeling quite as prepared for tomorrow. I've been spending WAY more time worrying about sound production and intonation again. I did practice some slurred scales that he wanted me to do (so that I can hear and correct sloppy fingering). I feel like my G# key is too low on the instrument and that I have to move far with my pinky to reach it. So most intervals involving that note sound kind of messy as do the ones involving the left handed D#. E major is evil!

So last week I asked my teacher what my next method book would be since he had already said he didn't like the second Gekeler book. He tells me to look for the 48 Ferling Studies. All online references lead me to his 48 "famous" studies so I ordered it and it came in today. Now I'm wondering if I bought the wrong thing. There's no way that can be my next book. It's so much harder than what I'm working on now. It's like skipping from 2nd grade to high school. Unless we're going to be doing everything super slow. But even then. It's got a lot of trills and other fancy stuff I don't know yet. I'll find out tomorrow if I bought the right thing or if Ferling had some other book of studies ("48 fabulous studies for the enthusiastic beginner").

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