Monday, November 28, 2016
So I had a challenge last week and decided to keep on Fig For A Kiss for two weeks. Hard decision but I felt it was the right one for quality over quantity.
This week moving on to Blackthorn Stick/Coach Trip To Sligo .. let's see ...
When I bring my Olwell anywhere I never leave it in the car. I've put it in my backpack to shops and visiting friends.
Then again I don't like to take it out of the house unless I'm going somewhere I need it to practice.
So what to do when I don't take the Olwell?
I have a Car Flute. It's a plastic Dixon D and it lives in the car. You never know when you'll have 20 minutes waiting around when you're doing Dad-Taxi so not uncommon to find me sitting in the back seat playing Lazy Road. Plastic isn't fantastic but better than nothing for a little practice anywhere.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
I bought the Olwell one month ago. 25th October. Here's a letter to Aaron and Pat.
Dear Aaron and Pat,
I did my semi-Ireland tour to pick up one of your keyless flutes one month ago.
Like talking badly about an old friend it feels wrong to talk about my 25 year old flute but the moment I touched the Olwell I could feel the difference.
The heaviness, stolidity, darkness of the wood. Even though this wasn't a new flute the finish was beautiful.
I only played a few notes - the exchange was done in the front of a car in a closed, dark East Clare garage forecourt - so I had to wait until I got home to really play.
There's a weight to the flute and it almost feels like it you can hear that weight in the lower octave. There's a solid, dark tone to the lower notes that you can feel. I was surprised how I could feel the notes in my fingers. It was just a lovely tone and feeling.
I wish I could say I was as happy with my playing in the higher octave. My old flute hadn't a great tone (a windy bottle top comes to mind) but it was forgiving. The new flute wanted precision and wouldn't forgive anything else. My g' squeaked and complained at my weak embouchure. I realised I'd work to do.
In the past month there hasn't been a day when I picked up the flute and played that I didn't have a little 'that's mine!' moment when I opened the case. Practice hasn't always been easy but it has always been rewarding and as the month has progressed the g' has been telling me off a little less each week.
It's a beautiful instrument. Thank you for taking the time to learn and practice your craft. Thanks for my flute. I wasn't sure about buying it before getting the keyed on order but it was definitely the right decision for improving my tone - I don't think I'll have the work to do again on my embouchure for the keyed. Also I have the pleasure of playing this until 2019.
Hope you're all keeping well in Virginia - happy playing, happy making.
Apologies to Commodore fans for that really terrible play on their song title.
So practice tonight was really good. I sat in a cozy seat - had a really relaxed vibe and wasn't trying to force anything. I played really softly - or tried to. To see if I could get the higher notes easily and without effort - with the right tone and sweetness - but without pushing too much air to force them.
It was a lovely session and gave me a glimpse of what might be ahead.
What I enjoyed was the ease. Slowing it all down and getting a nicer result. No rush.
The middle of my working week now coincides with the middle of my practice week.
I ask myself how well I'm doing .. usually worry that I'm behind.
I ask myself if I'm pushing ahead or going for quality?
Practice is good though. Certainly enjoyable.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Munster Rugby legend Paul O’Connell has warned against the notion of ‘God-given talent’ or ‘born naturals’ in sport and life.
Success comes through hard graft and dedication.
You hear a lot about a person having a God-given talent. I hate that phrase.
It’s a dangerous saying.
You hear about somebody having an ear for music, a born natural and inheriting a talent for a game in their DNA. There are a whole load of sayings like this that permeate our conversation:
That excellence is somehow pre-ordained.
It is not.
This belief denies the incentive to practice and make that huge effort needed to reach your goal. There is this myth and I don’t buy into it. Beware of this talk about God-given talent and don’t let anybody put their dreams of success aside because they might feel they don’t have the same talent as others.
Everybody has the same opportunity to work and practice. People who are excellent at what they do have practiced more and often fail more but work harder and bounce back. It’s about being prepared to work and graft very hard.
After Tiger Woods became the youngest winner of the Masters in Augusta he was written about as being the most natural golf talent ever seen.
But if you dig into his past you see the real story of his father working on his golf game even before he was a year old. It was relentless hard work and dedication and did not come to him naturally.
The Beatles were hailed an overnight success, but the group had put in enormous time, often working in seedy nightclubs across Europe, developing their music. In one 18-month period they did more than 270 concerts before they hit the charts. Their success was not about a God-given talent, but sheer dedication and hard work.