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Learning out Loud, an update

My project to learn and perform the Kodaly Solo Sonata is progressing. Yesterday was day 88 of documenting my practice, and writing it all down, watching with a mixture of an external and internal perspective has been really interesting. Here’s page 1 from yesterday’s practice at 8am. I have just over a month to go. I hope you’ll join me at the talk and performance.

Recently I’ve noticed a change. I knew change would happen, but I didn’t know how or when. In the past week I began to plan performances – run-throughs for the piece in public settings, I started practicing in bigger spaces, and I started to work more holistically as well as in detail. Looking back I can see I definitely turned a corner, but I wonder if it is something someone could dictate and plan for another? Could I say that by day xx in learning you should know xxx or you should do this. Yes, really, as a teacher you do this sort of thing, but it also needs to be organic. It does not work to artificially say or dictate you must run the piece now – if the person hasn’t learned it.

What has been difficult for me?

Maintaining the drive consistently. I don’t mean motivation – I have plenty of that. I mean balancing the physical and mental energy needed to focus, alongside other strands of my life. The university term begins Monday and it has been a time of intense preparation and meetings. Family, home, others, and importantly – self are also important and require dedicated attention. For me one of the ‘self’ things that has become apparent is that I need to run. I mean that literally. I run 2 miles a day along the seashore. I am not competing with anyone for distance, form, or time but I am using my body and I find that without it I am more sluggish in the rest of what I do. The physical exertion really benefits everything and helps me to find balance.

If I have a whopping good day of practice and fit in several hours across the day along with everything else, it is hard to maintain that momentum for days on end without allowing something else to take a back seat. I guess what I’m saying is I admit to having a finite amount of energy and I need rest. Sometimes I forget that the opposite of go is rest, (not stop, rest) and where there is one, we need the other too.

This morning I have run. Now it’s time to practice before I turn my attention to family and the other things a Saturday can bring, including rest.



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