Friday, January 21, 2011

Tootling melodiously, harmonically and honourably

It's official: My exam marks are in, and I have passed Grade 6 Clarinet. I achieved Honours status (between 70-80%), which is just fine with Me. And so it begins: The long, hard trek to *gulp* Grade 8 Clarinet. I'm going to aim for the Spring 2013 exam session, which gives me nearly 2½ years to prepare.

First things first: Get a copy of the technical requirements, and start working on the scales and arpeggios...

...No, that's the second thing. (sips some lager) That was the first thing.

Come to think of it, I can't get a copy of the Grade 8 syllabus till Monday. In the meantime, there's lots of things to do this weekend:
  • Research cross-country ski bindings to find out what the heck I've got on My skis (and what the heck I should replace them with so that they actually match the boots);
  • Clean up My office.
  • Research reading Best Practices so that I can get through the average 300-page book in something less than Geologic Time.
  • Clean up My study so that I have room to work on The Dreaded Floor again.
  • Restore the .jpeg scan that I made of the torn and faded dial plate of an old Viking table radio, a very nice-looking piece of cabinetry but completely devoid of circuitry.
  • Clean up My workshop.
  • Schlep a bunch of stuff to the local thrift store, including (but not limited to) books, picture frames, stuffed penguins, surplus carving tools and assorted gently-used knickknacks.
  • Go shopping.
  • Go for coffee.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Go cross-country skiing.
And play some clarinet, of course.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Okay, pencils down!

Reeds, too. You there in the striped shirt -- put down the clarinet and back away slowly.

I've just put My horn away for the third time today, having finished half an hour of practice after a 45-minute lesson and a Royal Conservatory Grade 6 exam.

To get to this point, I had to rehearse 2 pieces (Nocturne by Luigi Bassi and Divertimento #1 by Mozart), 6 studies (half Galper, half Nocenti), plus scales (chromatic plus 12 each major and minor harmonic, plus 12 minor melodic, just because) and arpeggios (12 major and 12 minor).

Let's just say that by the time we got to the sight-reading and the ear tests, My fingers were ready for a nice coffee break... Which I had after packing up the clarinet for the first time and trundling out to the car with the certain knowledge that...

"It's over! The exam is over! Woot!"

I have no idea what the mark is going to be, but I do feel a nice calm inside. The pieces went well, and I and the accompanist played together very well. The studies were fine, and I actually was un-panicked enough to throw in some nice dynamic changes here and there.

The arpeggios were okay, too.

That chromatic scale, however... *shudder*

And in all My years of playing clarinet (about 5½ years of lessons so far), I have never experienced the phenomenon of the reed *and* My tongue drying out simultaneously.

(pauses to sip a glass of Pinot Grigio) Ah, that's better. Remind Me to schedule My next RCM exam for some season other than the dead of winter.