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Posts tagged ‘Kodaly’

100 Days of Practice …and Yapnet


Yes, I did 100 days and I’m still going…

I’ve been at this Kodaly for a while now and I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of an artistic community where I can share my progress and talk through the processes I’ve undertaken as they have unfolded. Everyday I practise, and everyday I document what I’ve done. As I’ve gotten farther into the days (I’m now on day 113 and have since performed a movement and will run the piece tomorrow at an informal performance, in advance of the scheduled public lecture and performance on Oct 18) I wrote less detail – or maybe only specific details about what I was doing, and the genuine brain blips happen as well as being in different spaces or having pressures of the day encroach. That happened on Day 100. I was teaching all day (lecturing) and grabbed time to practise wherever and whenever I could, and in those settings sometimes switching it on is tricky.

Having that community of people there (at Yapnet) who might read, might comment, but are present – encourages me. I find solitary working very challenging, long term. I need people. I don’t need constant praise, critical eyes are good too, but as a person, as an artist, as a practitioner, I crave connection.

If you are an artist of any flavour (as in a person who does creative projects – in the medium of sound, colour, or words, movement, or some other medium – I invite you to be a part of this space where work can develop in the open (It’s a private open – and that’s why to publicly share what I wrote I have to physically paste it here. The rule of the site is respect and ownership -as in you own your stuff, and people respect that as an artist you are developing something and it doesn’t get shared unless you share it <– you own your stuff.) How do I know to trust it? I co-founded it and I also trust Geoffrey Gevalt, founder who has a mighty track record with creating the very successful Young Writers Project for teens, also founded on the same principles. I invite you to join us in developing your own creative pursuits. Learn our loud with us.

Anyway, here was my Day 100. I didn’t plan to share these, but was spurred to share by a conversation with a friend about self-talk. In these short videos the interesting bit is not the playing but the thinking- and talking. See the very end of vid 1 & 2 and the start of vid 3. got to listen to catch it. Remember these were practice clips – not intended for public screening – when I video my practise I am my own fly on the wall. Some days I run bits of movements, and on this one I captured a bit of process. Practise is lots of nuts and bolts sometimes.

Here’s my entry for Day 100 on Yapnet:

Gosh it feels good to write that. 100 Days. I feel a bit like I did something, and at the same time I’m glad there ismore road ahead.
It’s a helpful practice to notice where we’ve been and where we are now, and for me I keep in mind where I’m going next – but not to the detriment of being present now.

I did a chunk in the day at uni and then another chunk at home, late. It’s busy teaching week time and I did a bit more than 1 hr 15 but not massively more.

Mvt3 and I worked at it. At home I got through the rest of it and the major work from the day before paid off. Gosh I wish I had more time.

The clips show the trials of practice. In take1 who knows what I did – I realised there were some notes all up bow and it suddenly felt funny. It was akin to saying a word over and over and suddenly becoming aware of your tongue motion and then questioning

The pictures are the holding images for the videos on my iPad. They speak volumes πŸ˜‰
everything you know. Take2 shows you my odd nature and how I, yes, talk to myslef. What you don’t see are the times I shouted COME ON. GET IT RIGHT and the like. Who knows what passers by thought (!).

The final one is a bit better and you’ll see I am getting more consistent – nearly got those flappy bits! πŸ™‚

Oh to have more time!
#My100Days #YesICan

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.



Seeing the sound

I have been practising lots this summer, climbing the personal Everest that is the Kodaly Sonata for performances in October and November and I have been writing about it everyday. (no, not here, on a private, open/free to join, network where creatives share unfinished work)

Yesterday I wanted to share something I had realised in my practice. In the end of the Second Movement of the Kodaly Sonata, there are long harmonics, played by lightly touching the string with one finger of the left hand. The right hand is occupied by pulling the bow across the string, and the score calls forΒ moreΒ notes to be played, pizzicato. To do this, you need to use some other fingers on the left hand. I figured out that to stabilise the harmonic while I used other fingers from the same hand to play pizz, it helped to slip my harmonic finger between the strings and rest it on the fingerboard. Good.

Well, I wanted to share this and to document it. All through my practice I have been playing with camera angles and showing the nitty-gritty up-close of fingers and bowing, and I wanted to show the finger placement in an effective way.

I ended up balancing the phone (camera) on top of my cello while I played. The cello rests on my chest (sternum) and I put a practice mute against my chest to act as a base for the phone, so it could lie on the top of the cello and have the camera bit hanging off the end, looking down the fingerboard. I recorded this once, at 7:30 am. It is genuine practice, and so not at all perfect, but what I saw was way too cool not to share.


How completely epic is that!?!?! I can’t quite get over it. πŸ™‚

I’ve been practising: Kodaly

My cello project to document my learning of the Kodaly sonata every day leading up to a lecture and performance on October 18 at the University of Chichester.

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