Daily Archives: March 1, 2011

Walton by numbers

Today has been a fairly productive day – and by that, I mean a day devoted to practising and learning the Walton concerto. It’s strange that conceptions of ‘work’ can vary so widely: in academia, work means writing/research/reading (what I did for my undergrad degree, in social anthropology at the University of St Andrews), but in the music profession, ‘work’ means practising a piece, either on your own or in a group, or listening to it with a score, or working out fingerings or bowings, or teaching, or any other activity that musicians carry out on a daily basis. Writing and research comes into it, of course (I have to write programme notes for my recital in may, so I have been doing some online research on the Walton), but this is not the bread and butter of what musicians do. I am still getting used to this new conception of work, after 4 years of studying for a very theoretical degree – now I can say things like, ‘I’m off to do some work’, by which I mean viola practice, whereas when I was studying anthropology, my tutors would have frowned at me in vague confusion if I had told them I had to ‘work’ on a piece of music.

Anyway, here is a photo of my viola part of the walton, heavily scribbled on with fingerings/bowings/annotations. Today’s task was to firm up fingerings and bowings so that I can really drum home all the notes into my brain, and to help this, I have used a new way of writing my fingerings in – writing them in red for a shift. This means that my music is now covered in red pen (deliberately) as there are shifts all over the place and it helps focus my brain if I know where they are. I’m hoping this will help me when I practice – a kind of walton by numbers! Let’s hope it works…

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