Tag Archives: reflective writing

Reflections on’Reflections’: a year at RSAMD

Whilst going through all the material I have written this year for my ‘Reflective Practice Journal’, I found the following comments which were written just after I started the course in October:


This week (15.10.10)

-Trying out new ways of working, inspired by Lydia: recording lessons/sessions to remember what is said in the lesson as I often forget afterwards and find it hard to make adequate notes. Recording sessions also enables you to hear yourself as you sound to others and to hear when things go right or wrong and why – giving you a much better insight into how to solve the problem.

-My lessons with Jane so far have been very helpful but at the same time quite revealing about my playing, as I have not had regular lessons every week since leaving school 6 years ago, and the lessons I did have were usually very focussed on specific works so that I could perform them. This has meant that quite a few bad habits have crept into my playing without me noticing, so I unconsciously do things that detract from the music. Jane has been amazing in this respect: she noticed straight away the things that I’m doing out of habit and has been constantly reminding me (annoying but necessary) so that I’m starting to become conscious of them and can change them. Hopefully I can do this gradually so that I can eliminate most of the habitual stuff that has crept up on me over the years…

Learning points:

  • Learning how to join notes smoothly at the tip- listen carefully when you change bow at the tip (I couldn’t always hear when I got it right)
  • Lengthen the last note before the one you want to join it to
  • Eliminating bad habits that have crept in: bulging notes with the bow and with unnecessary vibrato, and uneven vibrato, on alternate notes
  • Think about bow distribution
  • Try and play up bows and down bows as if they were the same- it should theoretically sound the same either way round! Ie easy and free


These comments, although written less than a month after I started the course, encompass most of the main technical issues that I have been trying to work on in my playing throughout the year.

Nearly 7 months on, I find myself making a very similar list of areas that Jane and I have discussed in my lessons:

  • bow distribution – using the whole bow and less bow where necessary
  • focussing on an even vibrato on all notes in a phrase
  • changing notes smoothly
  • getting rid of old bad habits especially bulging unimportant notes
  • playing with more drive, energy, commitment and volume (where appropriate)

The other issues that have been discussed in this blog such as performance skills, controlling nerves, and improving posture with physio and Alexander Technique are all still relevant as well; I will continue to work on these after I finish my course.

In summary, keeping this reflective blog has helped my keep track of what I need to work on in my playing, helped me explore links with other arts ventures and organisations, and generally enriched my life as a musician, as well as allowing me to explore online world of blogging and its joys! Thanks for reading 🙂

Jess xxx

NB. I will keep blogging after I graduate, though I will probably change the name of the blog!