Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Flights of Fancy

Up and away - at 4am tomorrow morning...groan......

So many folk ill! Colds, throats and tummies....it must be the change of the season from late summer to almost winter ! Lots of pupils have cancelled in the 2 days I have been teaching, which is not great for the bank balance, but I would rather not catch their germs ! Like all music teachers I work a system of 'less than 24 hours notice and the time must be paid for', but I found out that one of my adjudicating colleagues, and friend uses the Incorporated Society of Musicians contract, and they require 3 weeks notice for missing a lesson and 48 hours for illness - I find that rather over the top really, and not quite 'human' ! Still, I assume they are just trying to protect teachers' incomes'.

It is still quite a heavy teaching day today, what with putting in some of my exam candidates who would miss their lesson tomorrow when I will be winging my way to Manchester / Llandudno.

I feel in need of a holiday now, and have started to think seriously about the luggage logistics for my sojourn away from Oct 13th - it is akin to packing for war - thankfully I don't have any experience of that however, but so many different needs for working prior to leaving, then holiday wear, then CLEAN working gear for the return journey. I will have to plan washing like a campaign ! I have never been one for lots of clothes, and after leaving the stage bit of my profession, I find that I don't want the hassle of many clothes and lots of make up. I did that with much gusto for so many years, now I cannot be bothered to worry about it! Try to teach looking smart, relax feeling comfortable! So, for the first time in years, even being a seasoned traveller, I may have to write a considered list of 'what to pack' and 'things to do' !

I have been pondering my workshops, and yesterday whilst teaching, took more of a sharp interest in scales and exercises. I use some lengthy breathing exercises with my adults, and it is startling how well lots of folk breathe when they are 50 upwards! My youngsters find breath the most difficult of techniques to master, so I think I am going to work on that and have one workshop entirely focused on breath control. We do 'flip ups', which is a descending scale then back up and down again as many times as possible. I have a couple of ladies who can do that 5 times !!! My most talented and capable under 21 can only manage it twice ! It is not just a meaningless statistic exercise, but one to show how much better use we can make of the finite amount of breath we can intake.

How we use the breath is what matters, not how much we can take in. Applying that scale technique in a song is another thing - but at least they know it should be possible !

The Christmas music is in full flow now, and I have asked my young tenor who took HMS Pinafore music rehearsals with such success, if he will do the honours whilst I am away, and he seems pleasingly up for it. I am, of course, secretly and rather cunningly, training him up for teaching/choral greatness - so I can eventually hand on the Paradise torch, well, for as long as he is around!

A heart warming Edwardian 'Lantern Light Traditional Christmas Evening' is what we plan, with soft lighting, seamless carols and songs, fake snow, mince pies and mulled wine and the odd shiny top hat! A little sentimental perhaps, but altogether comforting and with the 'feel good ' factor.


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