Thursday, 13 January 2011

First things First

.....ready by.......

It was a positive and productive first week of term, although still some folk are either away or suffering from the flu. I'm not sure if it is the dreaded swine flu, but from what people tell me it is pretty horrid, and lasts for a painfully long time.

The first week of term is a good time for making 'plans'. I am Plan Woman ! When I am away so much, and some event is closing in on us, I like to organise my pupils' schedule down to the nth degree. It makes sure that all that should be covered is covered, it ensures that a programme, or much repertoire peaks at the right moment, and it allows me to be away without becoming a nuerotic mess worrying about whether all will be 'done in time' !

The best advice I ever had from Middy was, 'first things first dear'. So simple, so profound. When one has a pile of songs and arias needing to be memorised and polished for different concerts or festivals, it is so easy to be side tracked in one's pattern of study.

I was one of those shameful singers who, unless bullied mercilessly, would always learn what I loved first. I learnt my lesson when realising with deep horror that I had wallowed in some delectable Mozart for weeks on end, and completely forgotten about an oratorio which was lurching towards me in the next 48 hours. I had left it in favour of the beloved Mozart. I had sung most of it before, and in the arrogance of youth I assumed I knew it!

On arrival at the rehearsal on a saturday afternoon (the performance of course being in the evening!), I turned a page during the rehearsal and found 2 pages of recititive which I did not think had existed, it was , of course, a different edition from the last performance ! My sight reading was fair, but under pressure I crumbled. I apologised profusely to the conductor and my fellow soloists, and begged 20 minutes in a room with a piano..................

The performance was fine, but the experience marked me forever - actually I was too ashamed to tell Middy, and for ever after I learnt everything with time enough for illness and a holiday to Alaska before the due date so to speak!

So you see, what comes first in the diary is what one should work on first.


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