The Suite from The Victorian Kitchen Garden, by Paul Reade, echoes in my mind as I take a moment of calm, sitting with a brew in the garden, amid a crazily busy week. It never ceases to amaze me how a collection of notes on a page (here specifically for clarinet and orchestra) can magically create a musical representation of a scene. I only recently realised that this music was composed for a TV series which followed the reconstruction of a Victorian garden - which explains the programmatic element of the music. The activity of the birds busily going about their business, or the eccentricities of a local National Trust Garden are all echoed in this music. It’s one of my favourite works.
Take a break from your music practice! I say this with caution, as this can easily become an excuse to be lazy. However, we aren’t machines and sometimes it’s good to have a rest. Also, more specifically, you can - sometimes - over practice, in a certain sense. Sometimes it can be good to step away from your instrument for a short rest… Just remember, it’s only sometimes!
The role of a music tutor and a music student seems obvious; a teacher teaches and a student studies. However, it isn’t always as simple as this. The roles aren’t always musically exclusive but ideally, in order to get the best out of your instrumental music lessons, you need a teacher who is willing to keep learning and is invested in teaching, and you need a student who is willing to learn and take on the role of actively studying.
A recital repertoire needs to be chosen carefully. Whether it’s for a performance exam or simply to provide musical entertainment for your friends you need to create a variety of pieces which will flow together to provide a cohesive whole. Also, if your programme is for a music exam, then you need to demonstrate your ability to perform various musical styles. It’s good to think of a musical programme as a menu: we don’t want a series of bland dishes and we don’t want to be overloaded with spice!