Category Archives: Alexander technique

Ho hum…

Well, this week has been quite mixed. It has been eventful, but also rather painful, as I seem to have developed a  very sore right shoulder/upper arm. This is not only unusual for me, as I very rarely get pain in my bowing arm, but very annoying, as I’m supposed to be performing in the viola challenge competition on Monday. I think it might be to do with my new, higher chinrest, which is making me use my bow arm in a slightly different way, meaning that I use different muscles… I had an Alexander technique lesson yesterday, and Isobel told me to rest the arm for at least a couple of days, as muscle injuries take about five days to start healing – does anyone know if this is right?

I also spoke to my teacher and postponed my lesson for this week, and Jane was very sympathetic about it and advised me not to worry about the competition.  The problem is, the piece is not only very difficult, it is also atonal and I’m only just beginning to make sense of it in musical terms, as I’ve either been too tired/stressed/painful to practice it. Part of me wants to play in the competition, and part of me just wants to give it a miss because it’s a silly piece anyway, and it’s just unnecessary stress, and I really don’t want to hurt myself any more than I have already.

Things I’ve done this week:

o   I’ve played in an exam – my flatmate Fiona is a third year vocal student at the academy and she wanted to perform Frank Bridge’s  beautiful ’Music When Soft Voices Die’ in her mid term recital. (Here is a youtube clip – I personally think our version was better!)

o   I’ve played in my first academy competition, the internal round of a quartet competition where the winner goes through to the external competition in London. In fact, we only played in front of Robert and another woman (no idea who she was) and it wasn’t public and felt more like an audition than a competition. However, I think we played our pieces (1st mvt of Ravel string quartet, 2nd mvt of Haydn op 64) the best we have ever played them so that’s great.

o   Decided that my assessment will be weighted 50% on a 50 minute chamber recital, not 25% on a new work (a collaboration with a composer) and 25% on the chamber recital. This means preparing an extra 20 mins of music, but now I’m working with an excellent group of masters students in my piano quartet this shouldn’t be a problem (we’re working on Dvorak piano quartet in D major at the moment)

I’ve also learnt a new piece of musical lingo- ‘toy toy toy’ is opera-speak for good luck (it’s bad luck to tell someone to break a leg in opera dressing rooms)!

Things I’ve missed or will miss:

  • My community music placement- my shoulder was just too painful and it was the same day as Fiona’s exam. It was Burns night so Alison and Liz did lots of Scottish songs eg Ally Bally, 3 Craws, Wee Willie Winkie and they played Scottish tunes on fiddle and flute.
  • My lesson with Jane (it was going to be tomorrow)
  • My session with Hester (ditto) – I need to go through the 3rd mvt of Brahms Eb with her

And of course I’ve missed my wonderful fiancé, Alex, who lives in Crail. I’ll see him this weekend though 🙂