I see that Fitness coaches are giving guides of their fridge. You really don’t want to see the inside of my fridge! However, my version of this is to give you a guided tour of my little music room. As I glance around my workroom I see many things that spark off so many memories, as well as the more practical aspects of my day-to-day life. I have artwork that my husband produced decades ago, from when we first met, and cartoons that just make me smile. I also have reference books that take me right back to when I first embarked on my musical journey (though I didn’t realise it at the time). I’m never alone in my music room as I have some furry friends who keep me company there. Welcome to my humble abode.
The new Discovering Music Theory workbooks by ABRSM are on my list, and I’m working away in the background to get the lessons online for you. However, I have a lot of background work and I have to just ‘get my ducks in a row’. I know that I’ve had a long break from providing these lessons for you but many factors have been a problem. In addition to family commitment I also have to prioritise my pupils - they have been working so hard and keeping me very busy. (I’m so grateful to my pupils for keeping going despite all of the lockdown situation problems.) I’ve got lots of plans and I’m getting all of my technology sorted - there’s so much to do and I’m really looking forward to making these lessons available to you. Thank you for your patience!
Time management with music practice is so important. Unless you have unlimited time to spare it is important to make the best use of your time. As you progress in your instrumental studies you find that you have more and more that you need (or want) to practice, but it’s rare to have regular, long stretches of time. Instead of always trying (and often failing) to find hours of time break up the tasks and work in shorter stretches. You still get the job done! Of course, if you have the luxury of a long stint playing - enjoy it! However, if that isn’t the case divided practice is the answer. I remember some of the stints of huge scale lists that I had to get through (I even find my old lists!) and I’m going to revisit them… but not all at once.
The new ABRSM Music theory exam syllabus, with the new digital presentation, still involves a knowledge of the basic foundational elements of music theory. However, when working through this exam there is one Golden Rule: Don’t Look at the Answer Options! Strange as it seems this is a huge mistake. In this vlog I discuss the basic technique for best success in the theory exam. The principle is true in many forms of music, both practical and theory.
A general understanding of the instruments of the orchestra is required for ABRSM Music theory grades 4 and 5, (and also the advanced grades). However, even if you aren’t studying for an exam a basic understanding of orchestral instruments is beneficial to your own performance, whatever instrument you play. It may be that you are playing an arrangement of a piece of music and understanding the general characteristics of the instrument that the music was originally written for is extremely beneficial. In order to prevent this being a dry exercise of abstract revision, I give a quick, whistle-stop tour of the main instruments of the orchestra (with illustrations) and chat away with personal anecdotes. It’s an engaging topic and I hope that I share my love of all things musical as you hopefully learn something along the way.
I really love New Year! It really gives a sense of refocussing and re-engergising. It don’t mean in the sense of ‘new year-new me’ but it’s definitely a real opportunity for at least a new page, if not a new chapter. The Christmas break has been a great time of resting and rummaging through piles of music, but now I’ve got my goals in place and my game face on! Let’s encourage each other on, whatever 2021 may bring. Happy New Year!