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My100Days: Kodaly Event (sneak peek)

This Friday, October 18th I will present a public lecture and performance. The talk is titled ‘Learning Out Loud’ and it is a foray into the how, why, and what of learning. As is typical for me, I am putting myself out there. I never ask others to do what I am not willing to do myself and the hope is that through demonstration of the process, others will see a glimpse of ‘yes I can’ and know that it is there for them too.

I will start with a talk, and then play the cello. All around the room will be the evidence of my learning. Sometime early in the summer I decided to start learning out loud – on a platform that housed a collective of creatives all doing and sharing projects to gain feedback and deepen their own reflective practice. Yapnet is that home. I decided I would document my practice in preparation for this lecture/performance in a similar vein to the ‘My100Days’ projects that you can see on social media sites. This was different. I was not doing it for any public show, nor was I spending ages preparing and presenting a polished few seconds to demonstrate that day’s work. When I did decide to include my process in this presentation, and I gathered all the days documentation: words, images, audio clips, video – I had over 40K words, and oh so many videos (116!) of short passages, describing how to figure it out, some squeaks, some successes – all progress. Day by day. The audio and video will be shared via QR codes so, if they would like, people can genuinely have a window into what I did.

Learning out loud is not something we see often – perhaps we think it is too close to failure. Well, you only get anywhere by putting one foot in front of the other and I for one am stepping out. When I began this journey I never intended to share beyond the Yapnet community. The reflections are all genuine – when it goes well, I say, and when it’s tough, I say that too.

This event is going to be a talk, a performance, and an interactive instillation (and an installation too).

And, one more thing – excitingly, I ordered 100 cello themed cupcakes for the event. 🙂 Cake and Kodaly – what could be better!?

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the documentation of my learning journey:

This was written on June 28th, 2019:

MY 100 DAYS: DAY 28

Well, you know what? That bit I worked so hard on? I learned the high sequence wrong. That’s right. How did I find out? I watched a video and thought, hey, is that famous person playing the wrong notes? His fingering didn’t match anything physically possible to play the pitches I thought there were.  … So I went back to the score and looked really carefully at the music, where I’d written ‘D’ over the note was supposed to be a ‘B’. I sometimes have a hard time counting leger lines, and have to put a pencil or my finger to count which one I’m one because I lose track, and sure enough, I miscounted and learned that sequence wrong. Fortunately it’s easier the way it’s written, and makes more melodic sense (haha, not surprisingly!!) but that’s ok. It’s easy to change.

I played the following two pages lots. Well for a half hour, which was all my right arm would allow today. I had a suite of vaccinations this morning in prep for a trip to speak in Brazil in August, and the nurse did say that my right arm (they used both!) would feel like someone swung a bag of bricks into it. At least my thumb doesn’t hurt!! 🙂

Those two pages. Notes up high and coordination. It was all about getting the patterns in my mind and ear. All three finger, four string chords where between chords you move up to beyond where you are, but to a place that was held by one of the higher fingers. You know the Harry Potter giant chess game in one of the movies, where they must move to the right places and sometimes it’s a perilous leap?

That’s it. Until it’s stable, then I’ll be like a parkour princess.

I leave you today not with a recording, but with the new skill at the bottom of the seventh page of mvt3 where I bow the bottom string with one finger on it, and also hold down the next string with that same finger and the other two strings with the middle two fingers AND THEN pluck the top three strings with my pinky.
yep. pinky.


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 😉
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! 🙂

Oh to have more time!
#My100Days #YesICan

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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